Those Cell Phone Popcorn Videos? Marketer-Created Of Course
Those videos with cell phones popping corn have been floating around since May 28 and have garnered much discussion surrounding their validity. While cell phones can fry your head and reportedly cause cancer, they don't pop corn. They can, however, take on a starring role in a series of videos for Bluetooth headset maker Cardo Systems.
On the YouTube page where Cardo posted its reveal, the marketer writes, "More than 4 million people have watched our little videos since May 28, 2008. We are very happy to have made this contribution to an important international public debate."
Adland dubs the whole thing "murketing." Murky marketing. Perfect descriptor. While the videos were initially passed of as something other than what they really were, the marketer did fess up and claim them as part of a marketing campaign. Under the guise of facilitating a discussion about the relationship between cell phone usage and cancer, Cardo Systems, perhaps, elevated a discussion that's waned since the topic first arose years ago.
Teaser campaigns are not new. However, online they tend to receive a higher level of scrutiny than they did/do offline. Perhaps it's the notion everything must be transparent. But, with complete transparency, the ability to tell a story can be severely limited, Some stories only work if some of the details are, at first, left out.
A key element in whether or not a fake/teaser campiagn will be dubbed "bad" versus "good" is time. If the "mystery" is revealed within a certain period of time providing the needed "Oh, OK. I get it" resolution, then the campaign is likely to be deemed acceptable. If it takes too long to reveal (or is never revealed as part of the campaign itself), it could be seen as trickery.
Sounds simple but it's not. The amount of time deemed "acceptable" is dependent upon countless other variables in the campaign such as the subject mater, tone, target audience and weight of distribution to name just a few. As with many things in marketing, there are no clear answers. All that can be advised is that marketers be sensitive to and continuously read the market's consumption of a given campaign and be ready to immediately react based on market vibe.