So much for "free" internet video.
March 11, 2007 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Viral Marketing Suggestions. At one time, when YouTube was new, ordinary people filled it with interesting content. But only 3 years later, after television content producers have forced them to remove millions of copyrighted video clips, we are starting to see an even more insidious phenomenon: the posting of "phony" videos on YouTube, for marketing purposes. NBC has just been caught posting a bogus parody of their show "Heroes". Not to mention's pathetic attempt to get an ad contract with Subway, lonelygirl15, and many more that have yet to be discovered. Best of all, you can now find how-to instructions on marketing websites showing how to use YouTube for viral marketing. People are starting to notice....yet it is becoming more and more commonplace. (And I won't even mention how many MySpace and Facebook pages are viral in nature.)
posted by metasonix (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So, basically you're saying Metafilter is one big scam?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:30 PM on March 11, 2007

The guy who made the Cremaster Cycle (which I've never even seen), or someone purporting to be him, sent me a Facebook friend request today.

I also got a message from a girl in Virginia who found me incredibly attractive and "maybe you could be my husband or baby daddy." (My facebook picture is a shot of Ringo Starr.) Not sure if this second one is viral marketing or just weirdness.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2007

When marketers try to jump on the viral content bandwagon I get the same embarrassed/creepy feeling that I get when parents try to act cool in front of their children.

But, only when it's unacknowledged. If a company wants to hire a bunch of web savvy artists to make a promo, and it ends up on youtube as 'cool ad by .....' then I appreciate it for what it is.

Intent matters. Did you do it for love, or did you do it for money?
posted by BishopsLoveScifi at 1:39 PM on March 11, 2007

Advertising is nothing but an attempt to trick you into desiring something you don't need.
posted by interrobang at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2007

Intent matters. Did you do it for love, or did you do it for money?

For me, the primary question is: is it interesting or is it lame? If something is interesting, I don't care who was paid to produce it. If something is lame, I don't care if it was done for love. Most things done for love tend to be more interesting, and most done for money tend to be more lame, but neither is a given.
posted by scottreynen at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2007

The thing, and the parodies, are interesting.
posted by jayder at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2007

Woah, woah, woah.. Wait.

posted by keswick at 1:54 PM on March 11, 2007

I'm shocked, shocked that advertising would appear on social media sites!

Advertising is like crabgrass, it grows where ever there is a niche it can fill.

I'm reminded of this reaction to whole ATHF Boston scare. How dare they use the tools we created to communicate to communicate to us!

Sites like youtube give everyone a voice. This includes Exxon Mobile.
posted by zabuni at 2:00 PM on March 11, 2007

Intent matters. Did you do it for love, or did you do it for money?

What if I love money?
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2007

I like my advertising to be blatant!

The future of advertising. (youtube link natch)
posted by furtive at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2007

Intent matters. Did you do it for love, or did you do it for money?

If we're talking about a company with shareholders, is this even a question?
posted by JHarris at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2007

Apparently, the point of this post is "Advertising Is Bad."
posted by fandango_matt at 2:20 PM on March 11, 2007

I'm pretty sure expected their video to go viral because it was "edgy" and "clever", not because they came across as a bunch of douchebags.

And the Coudal parody is hilarious.
posted by O9scar at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2007

The BBC recently did a deal with YouTube to host some of it's on and off-schedule content, here's an example. The Beeb gets a share of YouTube's advertising revenue generated.
posted by topdrawersausage at 2:33 PM on March 11, 2007

I wouldn't worry too much because we are in an era where us consumers get to decide - if at some point we deem YouTube to be boring or too advertorial, we will just stop going - nothing they can do to stop us. Unlike early internet days where peopel were unsure of where to go next (hence, MS early search lead but now, MS can't get anyone to even type in ONCE and bookmark it) - we decide all. Just like no one really goes to Comedy Central or with their phony clips or WMA requirements. If it's not Flash or QT, we'll just stop going or never go at all - unlike Tv where the channel configuration is limited but basically anyone who can go out and buy two servers and afford bandwidth can launch a YouTube competitor in days - are there moron companies like Viacom run by lawyers and geezers who still think it's 1955 and they decide what's good for us? Viacom doesn't have to look far to see how they blew Star Trek with their lawyer takedown notices 5 years ago - by shutting down all the fan sites, what did they do? They killed a franchise. That's why George Lucas was/is smart with letting fans "play" with SW (with limitations, of course). Companies have to realize that it's moving towards bottom to top now - and that we are simply smarter than them - we can see through a fake viral campaign faster than they can shovel it. And if they suffer the consequence when they don't pull it off. Like the Sony, Walmart, MS blogs - it just makes them look moronic. Conversely, look at ZEROES. It's harmless SNL stuff - honestly, does anyone who doesn't watch Heroes - would they be swayed by that? If anything, they might lose a couple Heroes viewers right but again, we didn't pay for anything - we didn't have to log into or sign up to view, it's just there. It's just having a pamphlet at the counter - you pick it up if you want - if not, at worst, you wasted 3 minutes of your life ... or like Lonely15 - if you are drawn in - who's fault is that? That's she's really not some lonely girl you want to "rescue?" It's like seeing a documentary of someone to find out they compressed a few events or composited some characters - you can feel duped if they skipped over some major fact like he was a racist but if his school wasn't really painted green, do you still feel tricked? The bottom line is what are they asking of you? If it's to join a new religion, then there should be truth - if it's whether a waify girl likes to drink Coca Cola - who's responsibility is it for YOUR decisions?
posted by jbelkin at 2:54 PM on March 11, 2007

The viral thing will have a shorter cycle than advertisers realize. I'm already seeing both colleagues and younger people being skeptical of the latest funny video, and being really quick to say "fake" and move on.

Viral videos (formerly know as America's Funniest, Cops, etc.) are only effective when the audience perceives them as being an authentic - and improbable (OMFG I can't believe I was taping!)-artifact.

Even the rush to create viral videos for the purpose of making the videos viral is having a detrimental impact on the effectiveness (or virulence) of the medium.

I guess you could say that our immune system against viral video infection is getting stronger, har har har.
posted by illovich at 2:59 PM on March 11, 2007

I enjoyed when the Youtubers figured out what frame would be used in picture and starting spamming with pictures of half naked cuties and then moralized at me when I clicked on them.
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 PM on March 11, 2007

Jbelkin: Get out of my head man. You heard me, out.

Advertising is here to stay and bitching about it leaking into your favorite segments of the internet is just pointless.

If sites like YouTube are utilized by advertisers to make more entertaining, thought provoking (Yeah you read it, I said it), and fundamentally more interesting advertising then I say awesome. I check YouTube everyday to see if someone's put up that Robert Loggia Orange Juice commercial.

If someone wants to gently mock their own product for the sake of raising awareness a little, fine by me. If advertisers want to start hitting me where I live and stop subjecting me to commercials that assume I am mindless and deaf, well that rocks too.

You've all seen them before but here's some commercials I have favorited on YouTube.


Orange Juice

Happy Morning
posted by SinisterPurpose at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2007

Advertising slime are further ruining the internet. Film at 11.

There's some ad that pops up on late night cable around here that advertises some "viral video class." Yes, a class on how to make and promote a 'viral video.'
posted by drstein at 3:30 PM on March 11, 2007

Can somebody explain to me what happens in the Subway/ video? I'm way too bored to watch the whole thing.
posted by phaedon at 3:36 PM on March 11, 2007

The current stealth marketing campaign for Nine inch Nails' next album Year Zero I find faciscinating, not just because it's a high-concept approach to the concept of the album, but because it rewards the viewer who plays along with it -- free MP3s, hidden messages, details related to the storyline revealed in bits and pieces. Sure, a new NIN album would draw interest regardless of publicity, but the concept is interesting, especially when it moves beyond mere promotion and into an a part of the product itself.

The greatest example of this was, of course, the campaign for 'The Blair Witch Project', where an eerie back story and new footage that would gradually find its way online, helped along by a couple stingers that created the buzz (as well as advance screenings that preceeded a lot of the mainstream hype).

That's what I believe makes a viral campaign succeed -- not just phony videos that trick an audience into believing it was created by fans and not marketers, but a wholey unique concept that draws the audience in and rewards them for doing so... Something more than a cute idea masking the blatant advertisment under its surface.
posted by Down10 at 3:53 PM on March 11, 2007

Forget it. I don't want a recap. The dude can shove his military camouflage yankees hate up his ass, for all i care.
posted by phaedon at 3:54 PM on March 11, 2007

Just like no one really goes to Comedy Central or with their phony clips or WMA requirements.

For the record, Comedy Central posts The Daily Show and Colbert Report stuff in Flash. I'm assuming the rest of their content is the same.

Dunno about, I never go there, but I bet they're doing Flash these days to so kids can embed the latest Fall Out Boy video on their MyFaceSpaceBook.
posted by sparkletone at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2007

I help run videosift and we see a butt load of astroturf, we kill at least two accounts a day because of it. Recently sites have started sponsoring competitions with cash rewards, which has made it even worse for us. In particular I am talking about the new Numa Numa competition, it's not just people marketing products, but people marketing themselves. Which is far far more odious because at least a product comes with something resembling production value.
posted by sourbrew at 4:14 PM on March 11, 2007

Online advertisements? Next you're going to tell me there's naked ladies on the internets.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:14 PM on March 11, 2007

One thing that struck me about the "viral video" ... the blonde woman in it (who called herself a cross between Grace Kelly and Rodney Dangerfield) bears a remarkable resemblance to the blonde women who's one of the "Others" in Lost -- it's really creepy. It sort of overshadowed the whole video.
posted by jayder at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2007

So, I should pay attention to _false_ advertising ? And browse youtube looking for them ?

Nah I'd rather have the brand pay me cash money to pay attention.
posted by elpapacito at 4:35 PM on March 11, 2007 posts full episodes for a large number of their shows, in addition to extra features. I heard about that from my little sister, who isn't exactly an internet know-it-all, so I think MTV is finding the audience they're looking for.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:39 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tony Chapmanā€™s team over at Capitol C are the creative team behind the Bride Wigs Out youtube video.

That took a team?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:07 PM on March 11, 2007

If those who are doing viral marketing are paying YouTube so that I don't have to pay to access YouTube? I'm cool with it.

If those who are doing viral marketing make it funny, or worthwhile to watch? I'm cool with it. The Zeroes parody of Heroes works for me, but then I'm already addicted to the show. I imagine that was an attempt to get the attention of people not already obsessing over whether or not Peter has all of Sylar's powers and whether or not he knows how to use them.

When advertising annoys me, that's when I tune it out. They're not talking to me anyway. Advertisers are talking to people who actually have disposable income. I haven't been able to make enough money to live comfortably since GW got into office... I'm sure that's just a coincidence. Everything I make goes to eating cheap food and paying bills. So if I'm not already paying for it? They're not gonna convince me to start paying for it.

So spam YouTube all you want, advertisers, but only if you're paying YouTube for the privilege. Or better yet, start paying me to watch your crap, and maybe then I'll be able to afford to buy your crap.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:37 PM on March 11, 2007

Ants at picnic, film at 11.
posted by unixrat at 7:04 PM on March 11, 2007

While I'm glad you did some homework on this, it needs to be said that this has happened to every single nook and cranny on the internet and in the world since time began.

There was email and then the spammers came.
There was USENET and the spammers came.
There was the web and the marketers came.
There was x, y, myspace, z, youtube, aa, facebook, web 2.0, bb, and the marketers came. They will come and take dump into whatever pristine waters there may be in the hope of making a buck or two.

Expect this same post 6/12/18 months from now with another medium selected.
posted by unixrat at 7:08 PM on March 11, 2007

Being a big lonelygirl15 fan, I hesitate to point out that the show is not viral marketing, except as a resume-builder for the director and actors. And if that qualifies something as viral marketing, then nearly everything on the internet is viral marketing.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:05 PM on March 11, 2007

Um, by "hesitate," I really mean... um, the opposite of "hesitate."

The San Francisco meetup was pretty awesome.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:08 PM on March 11, 2007

"I just read about..."

(oh nevermind.)
posted by jca at 10:41 PM on March 11, 2007

This post smells a bit of SEO to me. Two links to that site, one with link text "Viral Marketing Suggestions" and the other with link text "viral" - and that particular link wasn't really that interesting.
posted by simonw at 1:24 AM on March 12, 2007

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