We’ve seen many a fake viral fall flat in the past; most notably the high profile backfire of Naked’s Witchery viral in early 2009. It’s true you can’t fool a YouTube audience. However, Hi-Tec have made a masterful attempt at tricking YouTubers into thinking a group of european thrill seekers have managed to run on water. Gullible bogans. Lots of people have called it, but many people seem to have been taken in:
… or are they?? Or have CCCP (the dutch ad agency behind this genius) done the sensible thing and flooded the comments board with a load of bollocks to make you put all logical thought to one side and think this is actually real. I sincerely hope these comments are genuine, but sadly I suspect the most gullible ones are not.
I have to admit it had me going until I saw this shot:
… and the bit with men running on water.
As an agency, we don’t create “viral videos”. We create pieces of content that, given the right ingredients, we hope will achieve viral status.
So I thought it would be worth deconstructing the ingredients of one of the best ‘fake virals’ I’ve seen.
Here’s my learnings from CCCP’s viral miracle.
1) Make the context feel genuine. However far-fetched, like any good april fools, the context needs to be believable. There is probably a group of dutch nutters somewhere in the world trying to run on water.
2) Get a brilliant director. Too many fake virals have tried to simulate home movies. We spot them a mile off. The premise of a documentary here ensures we don’t see the fake immediately and allows for genuinely high production values to disguise the special effects.
3) Get great talent. Lots of creative ideas end up being a “viral video” because the client doesn’t have the budget to make a proper TVC. This often also means lame talent and lame script writing. This example has neither. Believable performances and a believable script creates the illusion of these guys being the genuine article.
4) Get your product away from the screen. I think this film would have been so much better if they resisted the urge to have the perfect branded product close-up shot. For me it gave the game away. The fact that I’m writing this post about High-Tec is evidence to show you don’t need a product shot to advertise.
5) Reveal at exactly the right time. One of the most-effective elements of this campaign is the reveal. Hi-tec’s timing was brilliant. Too short and you’re just another brand making a “viral video”, too long and everyone forgets about it. I can’t help wondering if it would be possible for another brand (eg. Canon or skins who also feature … or even Nike who don’t) to brand jack this ad and claim it before Hi-Tec?
6) Seed comments to trick and deceive. I once bought a bottle of fake aftershave solely because a woman in front of me in the queue bought 4 bottles. She was as fake as the aftershave. I think this trickery is going on in the comments. I’m sure many comments are from genuinely gullible people, but I’m sure lots aren’t. Have a look and see if you notice a pattern of writing style. It’s brilliant.
This piece of film is a thing of beauty. I love it and I’m very jealous of whoever thought it up. I salute you CCCP. 🙂