Gillmor mentions a couple different hoaxes perpetuated by people pretending to be something they were not using the Internet and fake credientials.
This resonated with me as I was watching G4’s Attack of the Show. Kevin and Olivia are showing us the internet clips of the day. One video’s final frames display the Sony logo and another video briefly focuses on a UPS label on a box a kid shoots with a homemade potato gun. Kevin says, “Those have to be viral videos.”
Olivia responds, “You think everything is a viral video. Say it with me, not everything is a viral video.”
Kevin mimes, “Not everything is a viral video… most of them are, because everything on the internet is fake.”
And that is true. We don’t realize it yet, but we’ve been inundated with viral videos containing ninja-like placement of product. I’ve seen a couple videos that I’ve thought were product placements that I found extremely annoying. There is something about them that feels too produced to actually be real. See: Bride-Hair Freakout (some hair product placement).
I get upset when I find out the video I’m watching is an advertisement. I’m watching a video for entertainment, not to be sold something. When the video I’m watching that turns out to be a commercial in disguise, I get angry. I feel suckered into listening to someone’s message that I did not want to hear. I want ads to be upfront with what they are, not feel like someone has tried to quickly pass something off as credible entertainment.
On the flip side of these viral videos comes marketing. I do like viral marketing campaigns. Some people have come up with great viral games, where you have to solve the puzzle and look for clues. Halo 2 had a great viral internet campaign; the latest CD by Nine Inch Nails, Year Zero, had a wonderful little web story to help flesh out the idea behind their album concept; I still haven’t figured out everything at the Donnie Darko site. It is a great way to get information across if the audience is willing to take the time to figure out the little clues they are given. This method won’t work for a majority of campaigns because only the most diligent of consumers/fans will get involved with these puzzles.