Commentary

Attack Of The Bad, Smelly, Viral Boys

A mildly disturbing theme emerged in last week's Visible Measures Top 5 list of viral video ad campaigns. Apparently, testosterone (an overabundance of testosterone, in fact) is driving viral video. Hip Hop and unfaithful male babies, a Dad-humbled Tiger Woods (arguably a blend of Lothario and man-baby) and male odors topped the list.

1. Odor Blocker (Old Spice/Wieden + Kennedy) 2. Earl and Tiger (Nike/Wieden + Kennedy 3. Live Young (Evian/BETC Euro RSCG) 4. The Man You Could Smell Like (Old Spice/Wieden + Kennedy) 5. E*Trade Super Bowl 2010 (E*Trade/Grey)

See what I mean? We have two male body wash ads discussing male odors, or lack thereof. Tiger's infamous talk with his late Dad. The popular Evian hip-hopping babies spot and the E*Trade cheating baby ad that invited a bizarre law suit from Lindsay Lohan.

Veterans of the digital domain will well recall that babies, especially dancing ones, have a history on the Internet. The animated dancing baby icon became one of the memes of the early Web, and even made cameos on "Ally McBeal" back in the day. Before there were cats playing pianos and dogs surfing on YouTube, there were dancing babies. We have to regard this amazing but long-lived Evian crew of hip-hopping toddlers as a kind of evolution? After many months online, the spot is starting to show up on TV in some local markets, according to reports. Is the brand finding the limits of Web-only viral marketing, or is it simply treating the Web as a lab for other media, assuming there is another huge audience out there that won't overlap with the millions who have already seen this?

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As for the stinky showering guys, I can't really hazard a guess here about what cultural theme is being worked out. These two Old Spice ads on the list are joined in my mind by a Gillette body wash ad in which power tools and lawn equipment fall to the ground to suggest just how tough our aroma gets. The top slot in viral video ads this week is so badass it actually tells you it is too badass to let itself end so soon. If an alien were to land on earth and judge our culture from the evidence gleaned just off the top five viral videos, what would it think? Cradle to grave, men are loud, cheating, strutting, prideful, and stinky, and damned proud of it...until we get caught at it.

1 comment about "Attack Of The Bad, Smelly, Viral Boys".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, April 20, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.

    This is what happens when your creative director's favorite movie is Dude, Where's My Car?

    Pretty soon if won't matter if your ads aren't written well, because your audience won't know how to read and won't care.

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