Over-Achieving Viral Makes CD Look a Fool, All While Generating Zero Site Visits


This time last year Jonathan Schoenberg of TDA Advertising & Design conducted a guest lecture in Boulder, CO and smashed the disruptive cell phone of a student with hardly a pause in his sentence. Naturally, somebody recorded it.

The video is startling but not nearly as exciting as the one of the UCLA student getting repeatedly tased. Even so, in 12 months it's made multiple public TV and news cameos on ABC Nightly News, MSNBC, CNN and O'Reilly Factor, not even counting appearances in New Zealand and Canada. To date it straddles nearly 3 million views and is the 16th most-discussed video ever.

Bummed-out TDA creative director Schoenberg admits the viral was staged, though this fact is eclipsed by the more popular sentiment that he's simply pure evil. "The point was to show my students, and our clients, the power of 'disruptive' communication, and that it's clearly done," he explains. "However, there are now millions of people out there who think I'm a dick. That's a big increase." Other culprits include TDA's Justin Horrigan and Ben James.

The last nail in the coffin? The uber-popular viral generated not a single unique visit - no, not one - to the TDA website, which generates little more than 60 visits per day. Go figure, considering the agency isn't mentioned. Way to win 'em, tigers.

How on earth could a viral fail more? we wonder. Or is it actually a success swathed in really ugly trousers?

by Angela Natividad    Apr- 4-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Super Bowl 2007, Video, Viral   

Enjoy what you've read? Subscribe to Adrants Daily and receive the daily contents of this site each day along with free whitepapers.



Think if it were an iPhone he would have made a quick sprint to door?

Nice headline, btw.

Posted by: Edward on April 5, 2007 12:00 PM

Don't be silly. If it were an iPhone he would have sprouted wings and shat gold.

Better than B-?

Posted by: Angela on April 5, 2007 12:09 PM

The reason it failed is because there was no call to action. If you look at the video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hut3VRL5XRE), there is nothing intuitive that tells the user that more information can be gained at TDA's site. Even if the video had not been staged, it would have been appropriate to give the user the next step.

Posted by: Jeremy on April 5, 2007 1:22 PM

Viral sucks so hard. Never have so many tried to be so hip to so few. There's nothing as tiresome as someone who tries to be hip and just doesn't get it.

Gives me total douche chills. Worse than Randy on American Idol trying to be ghetto.

Word to all advertising people (including myself): save your "cool" thoughts for the guys at the Star Trek convention. That's where your ideas will seem new and hip.

Posted by: Frankentron5000 on April 5, 2007 2:08 PM

Advertising sucks so hard. Never have so many tried to be so hip to so few. There's nothing as tiresome as someone who tries to be hip and just doesn't get it.

Gives me total douche chills. Worse than Hack Madison Ave types trying to be relevant.

Posted by: Frumpy on April 5, 2007 2:23 PM

“How on earth could a viral fail more? we wonder.”


Posted by: makethelogobigger on April 5, 2007 9:19 PM

Wow. You guys are a tough crowd. This video wasn't made to drive hits to any website. It was part of lecture that was meant to surprise the students and get them to think about just what you're ranting about. We thought it would be fun to tape the reaction. It became popular mainly do to people's general feelings about cell phones. When news shows started acting like idiots and using it as real news against professors it was time to show the real ending. Yes my partner is a fool. But not because of this video.

Posted by: thomas dooley on April 6, 2007 9:00 AM


I considered the sentiments that fly around on colleges about professor outbursts pertaining to cell phones in particular. It's an ever-salient topic for students.

Having recently come out of college myself, it's my opinion that if students had footage of that type of demonstrated outburst - and not just some crazy-eyed story from one of our peers - we'd be all over it. It would fly around faster than Berkeley's Putnam Porno.

So while I get what you're saying, the media reaction is something I would have tried to account for at outset, esp. if there was a video footprint of it, and in particular because the media has a funny tendency to forget the "just kidding" part of a heated story.

That's just my logic, though, and I don't know that it's completely coherent as I'm running on about 6 cups of coffee. My regards to your buddy Schoenberg.

Posted by: Angela on April 6, 2007 4:36 PM

But, because it failed, now it's generating visits, I would presume. So did it fail, really? :)

Posted by: Paul McEnany on April 6, 2007 8:52 PM

i am not quite clear what ppl expect/want..."this viral video has been brought to you by Company A"?? that is surely not going to drive ppl to a website... so, i *guess* this was successful? i don't know, i personally get pissed off by fake shit... but if the target is not the consumer, but the marketer... i guess it would work? ugh, i don't know, am very confused at the objective of the whole thing.

Posted by: kate on April 6, 2007 10:23 PM

Even if the video phone had not been staged, It would have been appropriate to give the user the next step. JMHO

Posted by: Rabbit Vibrator on August 4, 2008 2:22 PM