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 www.snopes.com is your friend, as always.