More often than not the big media cat-chase for the elusive hot viral comes up short. This could be for a ton of reasons - the ideas are too contrived or simply out of touch with the demo.
LA-based Feed Company put together Social Video 101: a Primer, an example-ridden tutorial on why some Youtube "virals" work and others don't. Will your video start a conversation? Is it funny? Is it sexy? Is it something you'd share with your friends?
"Viral is video that you're prepared to share with your friends," says CEO Josh Felser of Grouper. "If you're not prepared to share it with your friends, it's not viral video."
We'd like to say this sounds like mostly common sense. The unfortunate truth is if it were, major media entities would be more successful than they have been, and to be fair they're getting better.
That's not to say we don't still have a lot to learn from the unlikely geniuses of Smosh, whose Pokemon theme song generated a bewildering wildfire fanbase. And when you've figured out why, you'll probably be holding the key to the secret of life.
Yesterday, we asked you to take a look at a YouTube campaign for the marketing book Punk Marketing and tell us which of the two models, who strip while reading excerpts from the book, you though was hotter. Perhaps because Cleo did three videos to Anna's one, Cleo suffered the burden of burnout. I mean, how many time can you watch the same woman strip? Oh wait, that's a stupid question. In any event, newcomer Anna trumped Cleo with a resounding 75 percent of the vote. What was it? The blond hair? The girlie jean skirt? Do tell.
Hardee's and Carl's Jr. are up to their spicy hotness again. If you remember, this is the restaurant chain that had Paris Hilton slather herself all over a Bently while eating a giant hamburger. Now, with help from Spacedog Interactive, the chain has enlisted the services of another delicious-looking (hey, we're talking about food here so we can use the word delicious if we want!) blond named Ashley Hartman who takes center stage on the company's Spicy Buffalo site and alluringly frolics about for your pleasure. It's all to promote the chain's new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.
On the site, you'll find a description of the sandwich, a history of Frank's Red Hot Sauce, a behind the scenes look at the commercial shoot and, of course, the spots themselves. The best line in the commercials: Good thing chickens have big breasts. Yes, the entire thing is laced with double entendres and we love everyone of them. Bring on the cause groups!
For album "Year Zero," Nine Inch Nails sets fans on a scavenger hunt with a series of webpages predicting the future. One example is Another Version of the Truth, a picture of a seemingly gentler America. When you click and drag your mouse, the pastoral picture reveals a desolate wasteland.
The first of the sites was discovered by fans who put together a set of highlighted words on a tour shirt. After that a spiral of other sites were found with roughly the same end-of-the-world, fascist/religious theme.
The effort was orchestrated by 42 Entertainment, the mad geniuses responsible for the Halo 2 campaign that sparked a dramatic nationwide search for a princess trapped in cyberspace.
We reported Auntie Anne's V-day viral blast once already but we just noticed She's So Twisted for the first time and thought, how awesome would it be to hang out with someone who was bent out of shape all the time?
Not very. But this chick seems good-natured enough and we like how her little friend drags her around on a little rollie-board. Having a pretzel friend must be way funner than having a puppy or a ferret. We'd try being pretzels for a day but our drunker companions might eat us.
Symantec's RockDotRock has added a Valentine's Day Serenade feature that allows you to send a customized message to your loved one (as long as they are o the list of 200 names) sung by the heavy metal rockers who grace the site. It's a nice continuation of the decidedly very different software campaign.
To promote Tourgasm, Dane Cook launches a prank site where you can send customized dean letters and expulsion notices to friends. The prank letters are somewhat convincing but anybody who's been on the net long enough knows to check the e-mail address first. And it looks pretty spammy. Additionally, inches from the letter text you're told that Dane Cook has pranked you. That really destroys any possibility of shock and dismay.
One reader mentioned being pranked into thinking he got his ex preggers. We figure that, like people who still fall for voice mails that start with, "Hello ... hello...?" There remains a market out there for those who fall for prank e-mails. Plus it's Dane Cook and nothing he does could possibly be unfunny.
Channel 4 and viral site BoreMe are launching Germ2, the 2nd annual International Viral Awards which seeks the best viral work. Last year London based viral agency Maverick won the Best Commercially Produced Viral for a campaign to promote the racing simulation game Juiced. The awards are also open to individuals around the world, not just professionals. Entries can be submitted at until March 31st.
Turning a serious topic into a matter of farce is a great way to keep things relevant. Better still is the marriage of farce and sex, especially when it comes to politics.
It's not really clear who's behind this viral about a couple that decides to roleplay as Bush and The Country, but it's funny in a sadistic way to watch the one have a go at the other with pillow-talk like, "I'm gonna get you involved in a unjustified war in Iraq - with no exit strategy!" as the notched shouts, "Don't pull out, don't pull out!"
It's not hard to tell who here is getting screwed. Better still, the roleplay Bush tosses in some saucy grammar like "I'm gonna jeopardate social security - and I'm gonna make millions without healthcares."
We'll see how big of a splash the statement makes with 'net users at large, but you have to commend a group that attempts to turn you on, alter political bearings and make you laugh all at the same time. The words "habeas corpus" were never sexier.
We can't even count how many times somebody walked past our cubicle, leaned over really close and whispered "One - cut a hole in a box." This was only one travail we suffered resulting from the mind-boggling circulation of the Timberlake SNL spoof Dick in a Box, which came out around the holiday season.
It's since been spoofed by a girl who clearly wants Justin to know about her box in a box - and impressively, her version is more embarrassing to watch than the original, which at least limits its embarrassment factor to lovers of '80's teen idols and women with teased hair.
We hope the wrapped-and-ready brunette gets her wish: namely that Justin scopes Youtube for Dick in the Box spoofs, where he'll doubtless find her and fall in love with the one person who really understands him.
Update: Ivy Gate unveils the girl behind Box in a Box. Apparently she's a little high off her awesomeness right now, having opened a CafePress store for Box in a Box boxes on CafePress. We only wish we were kidding about that.