Spreading the Disease

Viral ads tend to be experiments - stitched together by madmen. But Frankenstein-like experiments can spawn some odd monsters. Gather your pitchforks, people.


Yozan WiMAX viral commercial"Eavesdropping: Yozan WiMAX viral commercial film"

Now that marketers can makes ads longer, some people think they must. In this case, they took about 30 seconds' worth of ideas (if that) and taffy-stretched them out to 10 times longer than they should have been: Passersby tell some guy "It's coming." He imagines what "it" might be, and goes searching for "it," until "it" turns out to be a wireless broadband network. That's the whole ad - for five minutes. Despite blowing money on special effects (a dinosaur, aliens), the video got fewer than 8,000 hits in its first year-and-five-months on YouTube. "It" apparently didn't have "it."


"Stupid Internal Microsoft Vista SP1 Video"

Evidently to thank its Vista SP1 sales force, Microsoft put together a musical group that looked vaguely like an '80s Springsteen and the E Street band in a full-blown recreation of the "Dancing in the Dark" video (sans Courtney Cox). That's a lot of production for lyrics such as: "And there's hacker and virus detection/With network access protection." So awful, it boomed - 800,000 hits in its first week-and-a-half on YouTube, while attracting derision and hecklers in its comments box. You do want tons of hits for your video. You do want people talking about your video and forwarding it to their friends. Just not like this.


Viral Advertisement"This is a Viral Advertisement"

That's not only the name of the video. It's also the content - white text on a black background, politely asking viewers to forward the video to their friends. It then goes on to meta-painfully explain how a viral ad works - with a little Spanish guitar thrown in - until the climax: "If done properly, this will become ... VIRAL ... and you can all see what is at the end ... (wait for it) ..." How well did the ad work out? In its first nine months on YouTube, the video got ... (wait for it) ... 1,145 hits. They really shouldn't have left out the postscript about what happens when nobody forwards - or even watches.

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