Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused – Continued

A year and a half ago I posted a couple of emails I received from Unruly Media, a self-proclaimed “viral video seeding specialist”, urging me to publish on my blog a video of T-Mobile‘s flash mob in Trafalgar Square. I thought it was much more important to post the actual emails than the video – and so I did just that.

It goes without saying that there is nothing illegal going on. I just thought it is important to see how hype is manufactured, and that is why I am posting the following emails, received today:

From: Sam Lassman <[redacted]@unrulymedia.com>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: T-Mobile flashmob greets tired travellers at Heathrow T5
Date: Friday, October 29, 2010 11:05 am
 
Hey
 
Over the past few years T-Mobile has taken flashmobbing to new heights. In 2009 they brought Liverpool Street station to a standstill and followed it up in Trafalgar Square with a mass karaoke singalong. Now they have taken it upon themselves to welcome back hundreds of travellers to Heathrow Terminal 5.
 
We’re writing to you from Unruly Media to give you a heads up about the latest T-Mobile flash mob at Heathrow airport, where bleary-eyed travellers arriving home were greeted by a mob of hundreds of people clapping and singing welcome home songs.
 
You can watch the teaser video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHRTMUt1gVU
 
Right now, the team at T-Mobile are putting together the full edited version which will be screened simultaneously across more than 80 digital and terrestrial TV channels at 10.15pm on Friday night. If you are interested in featuring this on FRGDR, let me know and I can send over the link to you as soon as it goes live.
 
We’d love to get you involved.
 
Sam
 

Sam Lassman Watts

Unruly Media
www.unrulymedia.com
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
(+44) [redacted]
(+44) [redacted]
 
The contents of this email are confidential and the information in it may not be disclosed expect for the purpose for which it has been sent. If you have reason to believe that you are not the intended recipient of this communication, please contact the sender immediately.
 
Unruly Media Limited – Registered in England No. 5411297
Registered Office: 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL, UK

A few hours later I got the following email:

From: Sam Lassman <[redacted]@unrulymedia.com>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: Full Video – T-Mobile flashmob greets tired travellers at Heathrow T5
Date: Friday, October 29, 2010 10:39 pm
 
Good evening,
 
As promised, here’s the link to T-Mobile’s latest foray that took them
to Heathrow Airport where singers and dancers welcomed back travellers
to an overcast London: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3NPNM4xgo
 
The ad is not due to go live until 10.15 am, so it’s exclusively
online until then. We’re also using the #t5welcome hashtag for tweets,
and we’d really appreciate it if you could include it if you’re
tweeting about the campaign.
 
Thanks so much for being involved!
 
Let me know if you have any questions, bcc-ing
[redacted]@unrulymedia.com in case anyone here can respond
faster!
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Sam
 

Sam Lassman Watts

Unruly Media
www.unrulymedia.com
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
(+44) [redacted]
(+44) [redacted]
 
The contents of this email are confidential and the information in it
may not be disclosed expect for the purpose for which it has been
sent. If you have reason to believe that you are not the intended
recipient of this communication, please contact the sender
immediately.
 
Unruly Media Limited – Registered in England No. 5411297
Registered Office: 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL, UK

Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused

I see ad people. Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.

T-Mobile Conquers Trafalgar SquareI have blogged about flash mobs in the past, both in its purest form (Improv Everywhere creating street performances just for fun) – and in its commercial form (T-Mobile trying to cash in on the trend). If you do not share my notion on mind share, that’s fine. A reader of mine (which may or may not work in an ad agency) actually called these public space disruptions an “experiential advertising that actually provides real value for the audience”. Yeah, right. Reading blogs like the one by Israeli ad agency Mizbala gives you a scary glimpse into the psyche of these people. They actually call these well-funded acts ‘guerrilla marketing‘.

A couple of hours ago I received an email from Unruly Media, a London-based “viral video seeding specialist that works with global brands and agencies to harness and engage the social web”. I thought posting the email would shed some light on the behind-the-scenes activities that make a video go viral. All emphases mine:

From: Sal Azar < [redacted]@unrulymedia.com>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: Early Warning: T-Mobile Flash Mob Assets Available to FRGDR Tonight
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009 5:57 pm
 
Hi Shahar,
 
The next T-Mobile flash mob is happening tonight from 6-7pm in Trafalgar Square, London. It’s the follow up to the hugely successful T-Mobile Dance in Liverpool Street and we’re hoping to have live footage from the event edited and available within 2 to 3 hours of this evening’s event.
We want to make sure that the video is with influential bloggers and online commentators as soon as is humanly possible and we will send you a link to the content (and additional campaign information) the moment it’s edited and uploaded.
If you’d like me to send across the video source file or if you have any other questions about the campaign, please feel free to drop me a line.
 
We’re also looking for partners to run the clip (and the official TV ad when it launches next week) on a commercial basis. I don’t know whether you’d feel this was appropriate for FRGDR, but if you’re interested, we can give you a video player to embed, pay you an initial fee for posting the video and a small additional amount for each UK view of the clip. If this is something you’re interested in doing, please drop me a line and I can send you details of how to sign up for the campaign on the Unruly Network.
 
If you want to check us out, please take a look at http://www.unrulymedia.com. We adhere to a strict code of ethics, which you can read here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/ethics-code
Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, and if you’re anywhere near Trafalgar Square between 6 and 7pm, come along and join in the fun.
 
Kind regards,
Sal

Continue reading Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused

The T-Mobile Dance: When Frozen Grand Central Meets Evolution of Dance

Since traditional advertising ceases to be effective, I am afraid the future is made out of quote-unquote guerrilla marketing like this T-Mobile ad just shot on London Liverpool Street railway station. The war over mind share rages on and in the very near future it would be impossible to leave your home without stumbling into an advertisement, and most of the time you won’t even know you’re in one.

It is a loathsome, offensive ad. Yet I can’t look away:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM

Check out T-Mobile’s Life’s for Sharing YouTube channel for prep videos.

You Cannot Put a Price Tag on That!

While I realize the entire world is slowly going into a recession, and I do acknowledge that publicly funded broadcast television has always been on the brink of bankruptcy – still, it seems Israel’s IBA News has really gone too far this time:
This past Thursday I was watching Channel 1’s evening news, when the anchorman turned to culture correspondent Dana Herman and I noticed there was something under the back of her shirt, an object that looked eerily similar to a price tag:

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Is this a major faux pas on Herman’s part, or does Channel 1 force their reporters to perform the ol’ wear-once-then-return-for-a-refund trick? …and if that is the case, can someone tell the director not to shoot the reporters in the back from the back?

While we’re at it, could someone at Channel 10 talk to the cleaning people? Tell them that you may turn a blind eye when they occasionally do not clean the dust from the studios, but they cannot ignore a big rope lying around on the floor. This is from this past Thursday’s London & Kirschenbaum:

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