U.K. Channel 4's IdeasFactory, along with viral email collector Bore Me, digital agency DS.Emotion and viral promoter Hot Cherry have announced "Germ," a viral email contest which seeks viral ideas that "get the whole world talking." Oddly, according to contest rules, only U.K. agencies, apparently, are able to get the world talking as U.K.-based agencies are the only agencies welcome to enter the contest. Though, it seems, the "general public" is allowed enter as well. However, it's not clear whether that refers to worldwide general public or U.K.-based general public.
Close-minded contest or not, the winning agency, in an even odder, oxymoronic move is promised by contest organizers to have it's work seen the world over via seeding by Bore Me. In a not so oxymoronic but clandestine promotional move, all of the companies hosting the contest have, surprise, a stake in viral advertising and, with the contest putting them into contact with top viral marketers, the hole thing is basically a new business endeavor for the organizers. Nifty.
Burger King has scored a branding coup. It's Burger "King" has been Farked. After being posted to Fark October 4, there are hundreds of images of the "King" taking on all sorts of personas such as the Army's "I Want You" guy, Bush's Supreme Court pick, Santa, Jesus, Larry King, Colonel Sanders and even Ronald McDonald himself. Not to be one-upped by it all, Crispin Porter + Bogusky is capitalizing on mask mania with the launch of BK Masks, a site where visitors can buy masks of the King himself and the famed Subservient Chicken. Wouldn't it just be sweet for Burger King and CP + B if this actually took off and kids across the country appeared at your doorstep wearing these masks? That would be successful marketing.
Promoting a the Australian men's magazine Explode, Soap Creative has launched a "customize your ride" game, called Bling My Bomb, in which visitors choose their vehicle and customize it selecting color, wheels, graphics, engine, plates, horn, your street scene and yes, the hottie that will ride with you. Sorry, ladies, this one's for the guys. Besides, you probably don't want to visit a site that treats women like hood ornaments. Oh please. After all, it's all just fun and fantasy for single-minded guys. That said, Explode will be happy to know we actually spent a significant amount of time on the site crafting our ride.
As word of mouth marketing spreads, lawyers, who can't keep their hands off anything, are circling the medium questioning its adherence or lack thereof to FTC guidelines. Putting it simply, Reed Smith Chairman of Advertising and Marketing Law Douglas Wood told Ad Age,"If the motivation for [an endorser] is to profit from his or her endorsement, that connection probably needs to be disclosed. But since disclosure undermines the value of buzz marketing, advertisers are in a Catch-22." That simple statement presents a gigantic problem for buzz and word of mouth marketers who, while stating they fully support disclosure, can't avoid the notion true transparency can lessen the effectiveness of this form or marketing.
UPDATE: The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has responded to the Ad Age article in Comments and clarified it's stance on word of mouth marketing on it's own site here.
Snowmobile maker Artic Cat has launched Moose on the Run, a quirky microsite with all sorts of tips for moose hunters. There's the usual game, moose translator, mini movies in which moose ride snowmobiles, moose pictures, moose profiles, a moose trap contest (which is closed) and, unlike some other non-transparent marketing efforts, an actual link to the Arctic Cat website. It's good work.
Dell has gone all out to promote its semi-new Dell Ditty, a USB MP3 player with 512MB of storage, with dozens of slow loading, bandwidth-hogging videos featuring a goof Mitch Ferrins who attempts to teach dance steps K-tel style. Oddly, there's so many videos, it's unlikely they could all fit on the device being promoted. Yea, we know Dell is going for Kitch factor here but nothing's funny when it takes eons to download.
Celebrating the beauty of violence and glorifying its callous regard for it, Mortal Kombat has launched a new viral (or, at least an online film they hope goes viral - after all, it's ain't viral until it becomes viral), called Blood on the Carpet, to promote the new Shaolin Monks game. The film was directed by Seamus Masterson of Maverick and will be tracked by Viral Chart. Violent or not, you have to admit, after day-long, mindless, chest-thumping, group hug, brand-building blather sessions, this is exactly what you'd want to do to the pontificating, puffery-spewing idiot sitting next to you.
Spoofing its own Pepsi Max Heaps Rich campaign, Pepsi Australia has launched a viral advertising campaign called Heaps Poor Pepsi Min which, over the past three weeks, has been viewed by 160,000 people. The site features a spoof of Pepsi's currently running promotional television spot along with purposefully bad prizes and a game that lets visitors determine how boring they are. Some nice insiderishness here.
Left-wing grassroots organizer Tom Kertes has launched Bill For First Lady 2008 which is being promoted by a viral of a Bill Clinton look-a-like dressed in pink and modeling, disgustingly, a thong. The site explains the effort thusly, "It's serious fun. It's a serious strategy. All laughs aside, Bill-for-First-Lady.com is about serious politics. It's about taking back the White House in 2008. But serious politics doesn't need to be boring politics. (We'll leave that up to the Republicans.) The Republican attack machine is already going after Hillary. That's because they know that she's the most popular and electable Democrat." Seriously, wouldn't that be hilarious if Bill actually did become First Man?
The site's got all sorts of logoed promotional items such as trucker hats, caps, mugs, t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers and even thongs.
This viral video which pits an old lady against a pompous jerk with no patience promotes an ethereal website for IKEA which challenges you to imagine odd combinations which, together, form useful home goods. Well sort of. We still don't know why anyone would need bamboo sticks to clean a house.
The site explains, "IKEA asked 28 designers to explore and experiment. To test new materials, techniques and new ways of working. But most of all, to have fun. They responded with a cavalcade of ingenious and madly innovative ideas for every home bold enough to be unconventional and the results can be seen throughout this website."