Babies with belly-laughs are the darlings of YouTube—one video has been seen by more than 35 million viewers—and now AIG is deploying them to sell financial instruments. Slate finds the AIG giggling-baby campaign instructive of what works and what doesn't in adapting YouTube videos to TV. For one thing, the ad co-opts a whole genre, not a single beloved video—which risks backlash.
And the low-key spot's message isn't gratuitous: “Laughter can add 8 years to your life. So live longer, retire stronger." Other videos that haven't fared so well include BMW’s ad showing two kids freaking out about their new Nintendo 64; because the video had climbed YouTube's most-viewed list before BMW bought it, "the clip was already such a prominent brand that the commercial couldn't override it."