Creativity, Mistakes And Low Cost Make Great Viral Ads

While we may, quite possibly, be the last human being in the world to see the viral clip of Gary Brolsma lip-synching to some Romanian bubble gum song, we can't help ourselves. We have to share. Watch. See? You did laugh. After mentioning the clip has received attention from the likes of VH1 and MSNBC, Tessa Wegert asks why more business aren't using viral marketing. Sadly, the answer is, bluntly, marketers can't help but fuck it up. Slapping a logo on a funny TV commercial does not pass as a viral ad. Sticking a "Send to a Friend" button on a website doesn't really cut it either.

Successful viral advertising falls squarely into the "I know it when I see it" category. Sort of like the definition of pornography. Which, of course, makes it highly difficult to create successful virals in the first place - unless you know how to time travel. There are many components of a successful viral campaign from seeding to tracking to product tie-in to GUI to file size to...the list goes on. However, nothing. We repeat, nothing, is more important than creativity. While distribution strategies can certainly aid the spread of a viral, unlike paid ad placements, nothing is guaranteed. The only thing that will compel further distribution of a viral ad is its entertainment value, hence, it's creativity. Nothing else really matters. This is the one medium in which creativity should be given full reign and full appreciation without boundaries.

There's not much a marketer can lose using the viral medium. The stakes are low. The potential return, very high. The worst thing that can happen is no one will see it. No problem. Try again. It's cheap. Sure, there are creative, hosting and distribution costs associated with virals but they pale in comparison to typical media budgets required to support most ad campaigns. For the most part, the viral distribution channel is free. With viral advertising, fucking it up just might be the safest fuck up a marketer could make.

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05    

ABC Sports, ESPN Debut Split Screen Commercial Non-Breaks

Perhaps permanently fending off TiVo's ad skipping abilities, ABC and ESPN debuted split screen commercial breaks during their coverage of the 2005 IndyCar Series races. During the telecast, commercial breaks (except for local breaks) did not interrupt race coverage. Using split screen technology, ESPN on March 6, and ABC on March 19, delivered ads in a larger screen while continuing to show race coverage in a smaller screen. The entire screen was branded by race sponsor Toyota. During the commercials, the audio feed from the race was silenced.

In truth, this commercial non-break approach would not work so well for episodic television but can work great for sports broadcasts as sound is not always needed to follow the game.

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05    

Hayden Panettiere New Face of Neutrogena

Actress Hayden Panettiere, 15, recently seen on an episode of NBC's Law & Order: SVU and starring in the upcoming Disney movie Ice Princess, will become the newest face for Neutrogena this Spring. The deal, signed last Fall, adds Panettiere to a long line of Neutrogena faces including Mischa Barton, Gabrielle Union, Hayden Panettiere, Kristin Kreuk, Jennifer Freeman, Julie Bowen, Paola Rey and Jason Taylor. They get younger every year. Check her out further in an interview on Dennis Miller's CNBC show. Predictably, she's also signed with a record label.

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05    

Website Publisher Scoffs At Adult Friend Finder Tactics

Not that we're really all that surprised about this but because the trashing is so well written, we're going to tell you about it. Ryan Perry, publisher of the esteemed GorillaMask, was considering accepting ads from Adult Friend Finder who had told Perry about their new geo-targeting capabilites which deliver up geographically specific ads displaying people desperate to hook up. As Perry got closer to deciding whether to accept the ads or not, he realized the same faces were being shown in the ads all across the country - hardly a truthful "girl next door" experience for his readers. So he dug deeper and had fun doing so.

Not a exactly a shocker a porn purveyor is being less than honest but Perry's unique verbal lashing of Adult Friend Finder is well worth a read. Sampling Perry's lashing, he writes, "Now, I don't consider myself a marketing expert (oh wait, yes I do), and AFF is obviously doing just fine without my advice, but sometimes "doing just fine" and "shooting yourself in the dickhole by inefficiently executing a brilliant concept" can have fun as running mates. For the life of me I can't understand why they're representing a region full of beautiful women with a bunch of chicks I wouldn't screw with my dead uncle's dick (although I'm not sure what I would screw with my dead uncle's dick).

If my region is repped by chicks with more clap than an auditorium, I don't even want to know what someone operating one of the eight computers in Arkansas sees when these ads come up. (Roadkill, maybe?)"

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05    

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King Kong Beats Crap Out of Ford Ranger, Ranger Wins

In an engaging commercial, Ford in Thailand uses the King Kong motif to effectively convey the strength of its Ranger truck. Also making their debut in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week, are commercials from DaimlerChrysler which is promoting its Jeep through a tie in with the Paramount Pictures movie Sahara; J.C. Penny which imitates Victoria's Secret to sell lingerie; McDonald's engages the Aztec game of Tlachtli in a Hispanic "I'm Lovin' it" spot; Community Choice Credit Union gets a bunch of Bills together to promote its debt consolidation; Coke dresses a guy up in a dog costume to sell Dasani water including the very cool copy, "it'll take the taste of tennis ball right out of your yap"; Sprint engages a Dad and his son in some sort of weird phone game to, well, sell its phone service; and Volkswagen gets inky in a Hispanic spot to promote the Toureg.

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05    

Virgin Mobile Promotes Text Messaging With Spring Break Thumb Wrestle

Capitalizing on the concentrated hoards of prime cut cell phone target audience, Virgin Mobile will host, as part of its month-long text messaging celebration Text Fest 2005, a Thumb Wrestling Championship in Miami March 22-25. At the beach near the Shelbourne Hotel, a regulation-sized boxing match will be set up where contextants will go at it. It's a great move on Virgin Mobile's part to both create an event so closely aligned with the service being sold and to do it in a place where likely 100 percent of the people are text massaging fanatics, not to mention drunk and up for any sort of foolish activity such as this. We, of course, wish we were there. Please send pictures.

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-05