How does a brand, in this case a celebrity brand, go from a 38 media rating to 58 in a single month?   Well, Dennis Quaid and his signature smile did just that in April when his media rating shot up +20 points or a whopping +35 percent to a 58 rating.  A 58 rating is not extremely high in the Artists & Entertainers sector, but the brand’s prior-month rating change did lead the sector for April.

If you Google “Dennis Quaid freakout” you’ll soon discover the particulars of how the Quaid brand managed such a media rating feat.  (Here’s the video just because +3 million views is still kind of low for something this hilarious.)

But I’ll leave the Youtube commentary to the viral experts. What I wanted to profile was the media rating particulars.  And what opportunities abound when you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of a tectonic-size rating spike.

First, let’s start with some ranking data. As of April 2015, the mediaQuant Artists & Entertainers sector consists of 370 top actors, musicians, directors, writers and you name it in the entertainment industry.  Some more public-facing then others.  In March, the Dennis Quaid ranked #336 out of the 370 tracked “celebrity brands” in our service.  Let’s just say, Dennis was swimming in the shallow-end of the brand pool. Personally, Mr. Quaid is one of my favorite actors, not only for his acting chops, but for a gracious, million-dollar-smile infused encounter I had with him in New Orleans during the filming of The Big Easy.

Anyway, back to the analytics.

You can see the key rating measures below.  The celebrity brand is significantly up, +20 points to a current rating of 58.  Dennis Quaid’s trailing 12-month average is 41.  Now you’ve got to credit Dennis Quaid for pulling off such a viral video.  Timing, acting, distribution and subtle promotion made the :44 second spot a instant internet success.  But take a closer look at Quaid’s numbers and you soon realize that 58 is not the actor’s 4-year high watermark.  That rating came in September 2012, nearly 3-years prior to when Dennis Quaid starred in his first TV series, Vegas.   He was also completing a number of Indy film efforts at the time, which culminated in three media rating triggers.  Unfortunately, none of those media events managed to elevate the brand beyond its historic 45 media rating average.

What makes for a sustaining brand in the media these days?  You need to give the media, in both traditional and social segments, the right character cues — the less subtle the better.  This could be great media inflection point for an actor known for both drama and comedic roles to move into the latter part of his career as a “character” who doesn’t take himself that seriously.  The Dennis Quaid “Freakout” solved the other major requirement to media brand development – cross over to mainstream media.  The video did that and more.

Was the video a one-time humorous prank?  I find that hard to believe.  That resources and effort are hallmarks of a carefully crafted brand development team.  I’m hoping Mr. Quaid can parlay his new media visibility into additional film and TV roles.   The whole effort had elements of his original character in Breaking Away, an all-time coming of age movie that helped launch his movie career.