Saturday, 26 July 2008

Stealth Ad Virals

For the first post on the new blog, I thought I would open with a string of videos that have been popping up lately and providing some mild amusement.

Basically, the idea is a very simple one, with only 3 rules:
  1. Film a low budget movie with clips of people do "amazing" things.
  2. Pretend they are real tricks and filmed by ordinary people.
  3. Have your logo or product in the clips at some point but not in an obvious "in-your-face" way (otherwise you risk breaking rule 2!)
As far as I can remember it seemed to begin quite some time ago with the Ray-Ban's film of a guy catching sunglasses on his face. It was a very simple trick (SPOILER ALERT!!! Pull the glasses off his face using a piece of string and then play the footage backwards with forwards footage cut in before and after!) but it got a lot of people talking. Using their own product throughout the film and having their slogan "Never Hide" written in the dirt on the window of the car at the end are the subtle references that give the game away:



However, as with most things in advertising, a great idea will be copied in an attempt to better it. The following 3 clips are more recent examples of what I like to call stealth-advertising. With You Tube being the household name it means that people send links (or paste them onto their blogs and websites :) !) on a daily basis. It is certainly a regular thing in my office for people to share the latest video that they find particularly funny/interesting. It means that it becomes very cheap/free for these videos to be distributed around the globe and be seen by 100s of 1000s of people and get people talking about it with their friends...all while they are being exposed to what is still an advert!

First up is Nike's effort with the basketball tricks being performed by a group of girls. Incredibly fun to watch as it one of the more believable ones out there but the keen eye will catch the focus in on the Nick Tick stuck on the ball right before the camera pans up to catch the final trick:



The second is the back-flipping into jeans from Levi Strauss. The ad is very impressive with its mix of tricks with the Parkour-esque feel to it. Again the company has such a strong brand that it doesn't feel the need to plaster its name all over the video as the products it sell are permanently within shot anyway:



My final example for today is that from Gatorade. The product itself is probably the biggest brand name in the world that the majority of the UK population will have never heard of. I myself can only recall first hearing about it after having watched Adam Sandler and The Fonz in "The Waterboy". Perhaps I'll save that clip for another day! However, I do believe that they have begun the process of hitting the UK shops so expect them to rival Powerade!

The clip shows a ball-girl at a baseball game performing a gravity-defying jump to catch the ball before it could go out of the field, to the disbelief of all the players and the commentary team. Pretending to be live coverage of a real baseball game it has fooled a lot of people into thinking it happened. Once again the use of string has come in handy!

As with the Nike ad, they have had to place the product within the video in the last shot with the girl sitting in a chair on the edge of the field with the bottle of Gatorade on the floor next to her:

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