Use the Force, Bruno!

Okay, so, since my introspective nuttiness this morning wasn’t in keeping for heading into what is, for me, a three day weekend, here’s something a little more fun!

Watch this video, it’s short, and you really don’t need audio. And it’s safe for work, so long as screams of “WTF” are appropriate.

Okay, now was that amazing, or wasn’t it?

Pretty awesome video.

And it’s a real video! Isn’t that amazing!



Now, the content depicted in the video is a compilation of special effects wizardry, and what the video depicts isn’t what actually happened in the real world, but because I’m telling you this, I didn’t really lie to you. It IS a real video! Start it, play it, it plays a scene. It’s a video.

Now, If all I’d said was that it’s a real video, and nothing more, the impression I would be giving you would be that it was not only a real video, but that the content depicted had actually happened as portrayed.

I would have been lying by implication, which is still lying.

This was what they call a viral marketing campaign, and this one was targeted for computer users in Germany, and the core website for it is right here. The end point seems to have been to sell Microsoft Office 2007.

Now, I admit I’m not savvy on the ethics of marketing. I’m a pretty simple guy, so clearly, what others see as being a new cutting edge marketing tool to get a product visibility, looks to a simpleton like me as various methods of lying, coupled to an understanding of the human need for drama.

I can clearly see it’s effective. I heard about it after all, and I don’t even travel anywhere NEAR Germany.

What I don’t understand is where the concept came from that it’s a great marketing idea to setup something that you are implying is for one specific purpose, when really everything is staged, scripted, planned and acted in order to decieve others, draw attention, and then once a large audience has gathered, reveal that it was all to get eyes on a product.

Now, call me kooky, but isn’t this all similar to someone crashing a car by the side of the road, bodies covered in blood all around, and then when the audience comes over to gather around, having someone pop up and ask, “Do you have Life Insurance? Isn’t it time to start?”

Looks like one thing, people gather together, and then are told, “Haha, fooled you, it’s really about selling you this.”

Now, my example obviously is not an apples to apples kinda thing, because in the Megawoosh video, nobody was fooled into thinking that folks were dying or dead in order to draw attention to the product.

But they were led to believe that someone might be risking life and limb in a harebrained plan… which is what I meant about understanding the human desire for drama.

How is this not simple lying by implication or misdirection, but instead viral marketing?

Is it because it’s a really cool video?

But it was only a really cool video when we thought some crazy guy with a dream had filmed a successful run. Now we know there was a pretty big special effects department, scripts, plans, acting and a schedule behind the whole thing.

Now it’s not different than any other movie… except that you were led to believe the show was real, and there might be commericals, and at the end you discover the show WAS the commercial. 

Is the video any less cool? I think it is. I figured it was fake, but I thought it was a fake by a couple people, like the Oxhorn Machinima. Great video from some indie artists with a dream.

Now it’s something dreamed up in a Microsoft marketing meeting by suits. Yay.

What do you folks think?

Oh, and is your friend, as always.


12 thoughts on “Use the Force, Bruno!

  1. Awesome vid, until you realize how unlikely something like this could be real. For a moment there I thought it was, and logic told me that these men must be engineers and were able to calculate exactly how to pull this off.

    Yeah it’s a lie, but I hate most marketing as it’s meant to deceive you anyway.


  2. That was my first thought too, that the people involved were able to precisely calculate it. Would have been much cooler that way.


  3. I agree, it would have been much cooler if it had really happened, but as my hubby astutely pointed out, if he had missed, he would have been dead. People are stupid, but not that stupid, I don’t think… I know what you mean about the advertising though. Many times we’ve watched commercials on tv only to ask at the end, what does that have to do with this product? It mostly works against the company, at least in our house. We want to know what your product does and why we should buy it, not that you have a huge advertising budget to create some spectacle.
    .-= Asara´s last blog ..It’s been a while! =-.


  4. Asara, Albert Einstein said:

    “There are two things that are infinite, the universe and stupidity. And I’m not so sure about the universe”


  5. Of course it’s a fake. It’s a nicely constructed fake of a fun idea, though.

    …that said, yes, it’s disappointing that it was a marketing tool rather than someone with a great standalone idea. At least marketers are a bit better than bankers, though. 😛
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Dusty Trails =-.


  6. There was a series of car commercials, I think it was Infinity, that were kind of like ripoffs of perfume commercials. They showed beaches or people and nothing else, and at the end it said “infinity”, these kind of remind me of that. Sometimes commercials have nothing at all to do with a product, and if they are like this they’ll get people talking, but is that talking about the product, or even getting any eyeballs on the product? I don’t know.

    Well you know it’s fake because even if he didn’t miss he’d be dead. A pool slightly larger than a baby wading pool isn’t going to save you.

    “Marketing is meant to deceive” this is interesting, it’s how I generally feel, but the more I read evolutionary biological behavior, I realize everything is to deceive, in order to procreate and expand your power. The idea that animals practice deception used to be hotly debated, but that has died down and most behaviorists believe they do deliberately deceive other animals. About a month ago a paper was published where robots were taught to evolve themselves (reprogram themselves) and they have as a result taught themselves to lie (the “lie” was blinking a different light in order to fool other robots). Parents teach their children to lie, by punishing them when their lie is not good enough. Often the child doesn’t learn “this behavior is bad”, they learn “my lie wasn’t good enough, I must lie better next time”. Funny how that works isn’t it?


  7. I think it is great marketing! The website clearly depicts how one can use the product (in this case Microsoft Project 2007) to plan and impliment an idea from beginning to end. The site shows many of it’s uses in a way to inspire people to think about how they could accomplish their hair-brained ideas using the software.

    Is it the video not true? Absolutely! But you don’t think that a particular alcohol will get you laid, a fresh smelling home will make your kids behave, and male enhancement pills will improve your golf game do you? The entire point of marketing is to draw attention, which this clearly did (otherwise, we who have never been to Germany wouldn’t have heard about it). In this case it goes further and is entertaining! One can only hope that as a group of marketers pour over concept ideas and lattes that they keep entertainment in mind.

    I say “Cheers!” to the marketers who came up with this one. Great job!


  8. I was a journalism major in college. We all had to take courses in creating this kind of thing. I can tell you that it makes me view commercials differently, and they rarely work on me. There are two things to keep in mind. What are they selling? What do they want you to buy? They are often 2 different things. For instance beer commercials sell power or sex, but they want you to buy the beer to get it.

    That said I love some commercials, especially the cavemen. I have been following their development for a long time, and I always look forward to the next jump in their story arc. However I do not save any money by switching so I don’t. ^.^

    “Please if you don’t mind, let me be myself.” WIN
    .-= Arkaneena´s last blog ..Paladin Instance Healing by difficulty Trial of the Champion =-.


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