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This article was published on June 17, 2011

How low will brands go for social media buzz?

How low will brands go for social media buzz?
Niall Harbison
Story by

Niall Harbison

Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the world and engage with their customers using the free tools available to them.

I spend a lot of time researching videos and I’ve noticed a trend recently where the quality of videos shared by brands and businesses is decreasingly rapidly. The big race is for everybody to create something “viral” which basically means getting a lot of views at all costs. The easiest way to get views online is by doing something completely shocking but although that gets the viewer’s attention is it really wise to portray a crazy message for your brand just for views?

Are brands thinking about the image that these crazy videos are portraying for them online? TV advertising has been around for 50 odd years and although there are plenty of bad ads they never went down the totally crazy route of just making videos mental for the sake of views. We live in an age where all brands and agencies think about is the elusive “Share” button and pray that people pass stuff on and being shocking is a cheap and easy way to do that.

Here are 3 videos that I spotted in just a couple of hours today on several blogs and websites. They are all totally unremarkable and boring videos but they have all clearly been made with the intention of being shared and getting coverage online. In terms of achieving the goal of getting views they have all worked but what does that even mean? Will I ever remember any of these brands?

Dead Man’s Ashes Chewing Gum

This ad starts off seeming like it could have quite a good story line and is reasonably well shot but it all goes down hill towards the end of the video when the story takes a bit of a twist. I don’t even see how this is relevant or funny in any way. The people making the ad have clearly said “lets make something so disgusting that people will share it all over the Internet”. People are sharing the video but what does that do for the brand? Does this ad really make me want to eat chewing gum? Quite the opposite actually.

Naked Women Sucking Limes

If you have exhausted all types of creative for you ads you can always turn to videos of naked women. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. You don’t even have to come up with much of a story line because this video is all over the web today and getting 100s thousands of views basically because it is a hot girl sucking on limes.

Watch A Whopper For 10 Minutes

If all else fails you can at least bribe people to watch your ads online (although this ad was mainly started on TV, it is being distributed extensively online today) by giving them a free burger which is what Burger King has been doing. The concept is a simple game where you can win free burgers but you have to watch every single second of the 10 minute video and spot hidden clues. It’s one way of making you watch an advert but I’d personally prefer to see them come up with something more creative and just go out and buy a burger because 10 minutes of my time can be much better spent than staring at a burger going around in circles.

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