It hurts me to share these. Prepare for major cringe. But with the good viral efforts (thank you, exploding Mentos guys!), we must also accept the bad, as well as the... paid. It's time for the most contrived corporate viral videos and ad campaigns.
Our first hackneyed harlot is from casual dining with Ruby Tuesday. They went to the extreme of blowing up a building and still weren't funny. The whole thing feels staged from the start. Let's follow the sickly saga, shall we?
The wrap video. It's at least funny in a dry, office humor kind of way:
And for the truly masochistic, the behind the scenes clip:
Nike's mistake with the next clip was the same: over-producing it and doing it entirely with suspecting actors and special effects. Do the paparazzi seem believable in this video? It might make a reasonable TV commercial, but there is nothing surprising or worth retweeting here. The two second zoom on her shoes in the beginning is a nice touch though--well done.
Cheetos. OMG this is so hard to watch. Make it stop, please. All told, only 17 people ever blogged about this monstrosity. (Now, the count is up to 18.) I'm going to close my eyes - tell me when it's over.
Sony threw a whole slew of pay-for-post PSP drek around for Christmas. Whoever picked out this guy's hat needs to be abandoned somewhere in the Arctic.
Don't forget the tribute video to their marketing consultant, I'm sure he is doing well on the back of his work for Sony:
For my money, no one wastes more cash on worse ads than Microsoft. They somehow even took the funny out of Jerry Seinfeld. One day, in some marketing meeting, approval formed around the idea of making a website just to hold back the hoard of people so excited by Vista that they just had to make a video about it. And so, with much meeting approval of their "can't-fail-grassroots-internet idea", www.showusyourwow.com was born.
Strangely, the site is now shuttered. I'm shocked. All that remains, as is often the case with corporate viral campaigns, is the blow back mock-u-mmercial.
Trulia earned the top search result for "lame viral" with what you could - generously - call this 'attempt' at a viral video. It seems like the only plan was to buy a costume and wing it from there.
In the funny but pointless category:
Charlie Murphy's kinda silly TV ads ran for a while. Nike is the suspected - and only possible - sponsor. Nothing can be bought there and no brand is advertised on the site. At least they learned not to be blatantly obvious. I went to the site out of curiosity, puttered around a bit on it, and left very confused.
If you need to wash the awful taste of bad viral video ads from your mouth, I recommended the following mixture of Diet Coke and Mentos:
An oldie, but still a goodie.