Over the holidays, I was looking for uplifting video post ideas in my cozy home office, when I heard my wife Nancy scream. She had discovered that our trusty Maytag washer in the basement was leaking water from the bottom. Sometimes you find the stories. Sometimes the stories find you.

Now, I may know something about YouTube and video marketing, but I know nothing about major appliances. So, my first response was to start searching for a Maytag repairman. As I started typing “Maytag repairman” into the Google search box, I started seeing predictions of searches that I might be looking for. Google Instant suggested “Maytag repairman actor” and I discovered that Jesse White played the role of “Ol’ Lonely” or the “Maytag repairman” in Maytag TV ads from 1967 to 1988. Did you know that his character was created for Maytag by Vincent R. Vassolo, a copywriter at the Leo Burnett advertising agency?

In a world where the laundry appliances of major manufacturers had reached the maturity phase of their product lifecycles and differed mostly in minor details, Leo Burnett’s ad campaign was designed to remind consumers of the perceived added value in Maytag products that derived from the brand’s reputation for dependability. Maytag ads proclaimed, “Ol' Lonely's predicament is testimony to the durability and reliability of Maytag appliances. Now if only he had something to do with his days.” I told my wife that the campaign had proved a huge success, allowing Maytag to set a substantial price premium, as well as strongly influence consumer preference at the higher end of the laundry appliance market.

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Google Search: The Cost of Repair vs. Buying New Washer

That’s when Nancy told me to go out into the garage and get some old newspapers to put on the floor in the basement to soak up the water. While I was busy doing that, she did a quick search on Google for “Maytag washer prices.” Maytag 2 The sponsored listings at the top of the page showed her top load washers, front load washers, and large capacity washers were available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears at prices ranging from $494.00 to $674.99 to $719.10 to $763.00 to $899.99. She averaged the five prices and figured that it was going to cost about $710 to replace our old washer with a new one.

This prompted my wife to do another search on Google for “Maytag washer leaking from bottom.

Maytag 3

Hey, you can’t make this stuff up. And a video appeared at the top of the search engine results. It was a how-to YouTube video from ApplianceVideo.com, entitled, “Washer Leaking water Repair & diagnostic - Maytag -Whirlpool - Sears LAT8434AAE.”

YouTube How-to DIY Videos: Answering a Real Consumer Need

The video’s description says, “We take you into a real customer’s house with Ace Appliance and teach you how to ‘Fix it Yourself and Do it Right the First Time.’” And in 7 minutes and 25 seconds, Troy from Ace Appliance in Toledo, Ohio, showed how to fix a Maytag Washer that had been leaking water from the bottom of the unit. He also explained that viewers would need a 285655 Hose Clamp and a 213045 Tub to Pump Hose to finish this repair.

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Nancy went to the local hardware store and bought the parts for less than $10. When she returned home, she was able to fix our trusty Maytag washer in roughly the same amount of time that it had taken her to watch to do-it-yourself diagnostic and repair video by ApplianceVideo.com. And she had just saved $700 by using Google, YouTube and ApplianceVideo.com.

In a world where one billion people around the world watch more than 300 million hours of videos on YouTube every day, it is worth reminding ourselves that a relatively small number of these people are spending a comparatively limited percentage of this time watching movies like “The Interview.”

Yes, I read Jonathan Mahler’s recent story in The New York Times, which was entitled, “YouTube’s Chief, Hitting a New ‘Play’ Button.” And, I agree with his premise,

“YouTube, founded in 2005 as a do-it-yourself platform for video hobbyists — its original motto was “Broadcast Yourself” — now produces more hit programming than any Hollywood studio.”

But as my wife has just reminded me, the global digital video empire over which Susan Wojcicki presides just saved us $700 – on a weekend – in about 7-and-a-half minutes. So, let’s express some gratitude for that do-it-yourself platform for video hobbyists. It’s still the first place that I should have gone instead of wasting my time reading about Ol’ Lonely.