Monday, January 19, 2009

Will 2009 be the Year of the Fake Viral

First Tourism Queensland and the tattoo and now the Youtube girl with a jacket story have been revealed as fakes. Let's give the ad agencies who came up with them a hand, 10/10 for creativity. But seriously, 0/10 for authenticity. Did they actually think beyond the execution to what the audience reaction would be if their lies were exposed? News media don't appreciate being misled. Denying you knew anything about it is cowardly. And what does that exposure do for trust in the brand they represent?

Hiring actresses and having agency staff film fake tattoo parlours showcase all the hallmarks of why ad creatives don't get social media. Let's call these efforts the "reality" TV show approach. It's entertainment designed to gain maximum exposure in the various news mediums. Fake is ok because we aren't really hurting anyone, right?? Wrong.

Real everyday Joe's and Joanne's are reading these stories and believing them. They are being reported in mainstream press. When it's proven to be false, the brand connection is instantly severed. The trust is gone. And I'm sure the integrity of the news agency also fades slightly but that's another issue.

So consider a different approach. Tourism Qld promotes the video of an actual entry. The clothing label finds a real girl looking for a real boy (plenty of those out there). The stories are followed to a happy conclusion. The brand behind the campaign is revealed as part of the narrative. And a relationship between brand and audience begins. The hard marketing campaign can then laud that Jack and Jill wore this apparel on their first date. Almost a Carrie and Milano Blahnik moment or was that Jimmy Choo...

Certainly saves you the cost of an actress.