01 April, 2011

The viruses you want to catch

Herald Sun Friday April 1, 2011

Never one to resist a bargain, I love keeping tabs on the viral video scene, especially seeing the clever ways it has been used as a marketing tool.

Currently the world's number one viral video of the month, is actually a six-minute commercial. I first saw it a couple of weeks ago, sent by one of my joke-buddies. (You know, those mates who keep sending you rude jokes.)

It was certainly out of his mainstream tastes - in fact it was a piece of science. The video is both a commercial and a short animated film. From Corning Glass, it's called "Day made of glass".

It's the story of a family in the future, but not too far ahead - most of the technology we recognise as already existing, but here taken to its logical development.

In a modern bedroom an alarm wakes the couple. It's in a TV screen half the size of the wall. The windows change from opaque to transparent, letting the daylight in.

Mum goes into the bathroom, as she freshens her face, the bathroom mirror also displays a TV and her Outlook diary. In the kitchen the whole benchtop is interactive glass.

On one side it's a touch-sensitive computer that's also a TV, the other half is a stove top that appears at a touch and is regulated by a finger tip.

So the commercial goes on, indoors and out, home and office, everything is interactive touch sensitive glass. It's a future we can recognise.

At last count it had 10.5 million views and growing. You'll see what I mean on YouTube.com, just type in "Corning day of glass".

Here in Australia the media always do well - if the public likes something they want to see it again and again. Like the famous screw-up on Australia's Top Model where Sarah Murdoch was fed the wrong winner and had to profusely apologise and change the result. One and a half million people liked to watch that.

A good viral publicity stunt - if you can pull it off - is the "flashmob". Invented by Bill Wasik of Harpers Magazine, it features dozens - even hundreds - of "passers-by" appearing in one public place and doing something spectacular.

Last week a flashmob appeared at Central Station, Sydney. Music played seemingly from nowhere and a boy started Irish dancing in the middle of the concourse. He was joined by a few girls and boys, then a group of adults - until there were scores of stiff-armed, leg-kicking Irish dancers watched by a rush-hour crowd brought to a halt.

You'll find it on YouTube if you search under St Patrick's Day Flashmob Sydney. The Irish Tourist Bureau organised it, with seemingly every Irish dancer in the city. But it worked - they got 660,000 views and counting.

There are a lot of examples of these viral videos and they are well worth doing. But just bear in mind the realities.

While those videos that win the jackpot run up hundreds of thousands of hits, this little newspaper gets one and a half million "hits" a day. Multiply that by every paper on the planet and you'll see that the digital era is still a long way off replacing paper and ink.

So what's the world's most popular viral video? The one that scored half a billion hits? Well it's a 17 year old Canadian schoolboy. Yes, Justin Bieber's Baby takes the popularity prize.

Blog: themarketeer-raybeatty.blogspot.com

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