So is it viral if you call it viral?

Well, is it?

Can it still be viral when you get famous for making viral videos? Or is it actually just another general mainstream media outlet?

OK, so I watch Rob Dyrdek’s TV show “Fantasy Factory”, because Tess and I were fans of “Rob & Big” and really like Drama, Rob’s assistant/cousin/sidekick/whipping boy.  Not as fun as “Rob & Big” really, but it can be amusing, especially when Rob decides that letting sharks bite his arm was a good idea.  Anyway;

Rob”s “Happy Star Saved My Life” video was described in the show, which shows how it’s fake and in fact, a crash dummy (an idea everyone and their mother is ripping off of “Mythbusters”), as a viral promotion for some sort of cross-deal between Rob and Carl Jr.’s.

My question is, is it still viral since Dyrdek’s arguably actually famous now?  Arguably a marketable brand name with legitimate name recognition, does that make this just another video that’s published on the internet?

Another example is the influx of “viral” marketing attached to what are major-name products (films and musicians).  Is it really viral marketing for the new NIN album if everyone who likes NIN is going to fucking buy the album no matter what?  Was Marvel Comics’ “Secret Invasion” so-called viral WHO DO YOU TRUST? marketing actually viral?

I mean, everyone knew about it already, it’s not like half the comic-buying community in the western world wasn’t already waiting for it.  Those secret video(s) that Marvel “leaked” of someone talking into a night-vision camera, flipping through pictures of various Marvel characters with Skrull chins and green skin like they weren’t piece of art but rather, photographs?  Fucking embarrassing.

secret_invasion_who_do_you_trust

I know that viral marketing is fast becoming one of the best ways to get the news out there to an ever-widening audience, but seriously?

The web has effectively circumvented the need for viral marketing.  That’s the plain truth.  Think about it, if you look at the slow decay of conventional paper journalism and publishing and the continual push and growth of online publishing, making more and more of what was non-online mainstream media part of the online world, the domain of the viral marketing scheme is being invaded by the very mediums that it was initially circumventing.

Everyone and their disease-ridden mother liked The Dark Knight.  I don’t know why, because Iron Man was better, but everyone liked The Dark Knight.  The film had a massive marketing program backing it, pushing it in your face everywhere from trailers to speculation on the internet to Domino’s offering “Gotham Pizza” or something like that.

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So was all this (like above) necessary?  The “leaked” alternate posters, the fake sites with clues that weren’t really clues to anything meaningful about the film…God, I don’t know about you but I fucking hated it.  To top it off, Batman Begins was so successful (and moderately awesome) that there was no way in hell that people weren’t going to watch The Dark Knight, and the mere mainstream news mention of the film’s primary villain being the legendary Batman villain the Joker had the fanboys frothing at the mouth, don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Anyway, while I know that that form of advertising and media blitzing does work to an extent, I just think that at this point it’s lost a lot of its power.  Unless you are starting from a truly unknown point, it’s not viral.  If you can identify the source easily, if you’re established already in any form (even if you’re one of those fucking types who tries to get famous making viral videos that end up being about nothing), it’s not viral.  It’s just conventional marketing.

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About Costa

Writer. College professor.
This entry was posted in blogging, independant media, journalism, marketing and advertisement, random, viral videos, what the fuck?. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to So is it viral if you call it viral?

  1. Pingback: Articles about Viral Marketing as of April 28, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  2. Ben Cogan says:

    Viral is effective because it’s considered a word to mouth form a friend or acquaintance reliable recommendation and not seams to be a sale made by
    the product/service owner.
    That boost the effectivness of the campaign in 100’s percents more and get’s much more exposure.

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