Oh, to beg a nickel for every client meeting nowadays let by someone who says:
"We're going to create a viral video."
There is a technical 'marketing' name for these people. They are idiots.
Don't get me wrong: creating a viral video is possible. So is writing a bestselling book, a Grammy-winning teen anthem, and a runaway-hit Broadway play, and an Oscar-winning uber-hit.
So let's look at a marvelous example of that winning-lottery-ticket breed: a video that's fast-earning the adjective 'viral'-
I love this video, and the entire campaign. It's made by smart, intuitive people, who completely understand the reinvented self-parodying Bill Shatner. They intuitively understand that if turkey is funny, a turkey deep-fryer is even funnier. A 'dingle-dangle' is pure, well, gravy.
Most of all, I love how un-corporate it makes an ad for a massive insurance company.
Viral ads are the new platinum in the shift from 'push' (where advertisers would shove their ad in front of you- on TV or Radio, in print, or, say, with Banners on the Web) and 'pull'- where an attractive ad or idea is released into the zeitgeist, and attracts an audience.
This is not a process story, but rather a quick glimpse at how this viral ad did *not* come about. At no time did State Farm's creative team use this handy checklist:
Which doesn't stop clients, bless 'em, from making the hopelessly naive request: "Can you make me a viral video"; to which Marketing creatives can respond with one of two answers:
A) Of course! Or-The first is a big fat lie, the second screams 'fire me and meet with someone who will answer 'A'.
B) We'll try our best
Creating a viral-video to order is but the latest chapter in a century long struggle to glean a formula from creative success and apply it to other campaigns. But as self-serving as it sounds, Ad Creative is art, and art doesn't work that way. Aspire to create a new 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and all you'll wind up with 'Friday the 13th, Part VII'.
Good to meet you here again. Did I mention that?
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