Okay – so I’m having a hard time deciding how to labeling this one. On the one hand there’s quite a bit of negative buzz being generated by viewers who recognized the video as staged (“victim” wearing a mic etc) and were offended at Verizon’s apparent attempt to dupe them. On the other hand there’s plenty of buzz about it – both good & bad.
So, is it true what they say… “There no such thing as bad publicity” ? Is ‘any’ buzz good buzz, or has this attempt at viral marketing backfired on Verizon?
Critics of the effort claim it is obviously a fake because…
- The mark repeats the company’s brand tag line “It’s the Network” like 3-4 times
- The mark appears to have a mic on his person – his voice can be heard very clearly through-out the clip
On the other hand some elements seem pretty authentic…
- Realistic camera shake
- Crowd reactions seem genuine
- The mark’s laughter seems real
Either way, I’m not convinced the viral effect is hurt at all by the video’s questionable authenticity. I’m more interested in the ‘why’ of the whole thing.
Charlie Todd mentioned in his Urban Prankster post about the Verizon video the the Improve Anywhere group (who I LOVE) has received hundreds of requests to perform this prank themselves. They chose not to do it because the “The funny idea… was already in the commercial itself” doing it live really didn’t add much to it.
Which brings us back to the Verizon viral video… what would be the point of faking the video? They already have dozens of versions of the gag that are obviously commercial, and performing pretty well. (How often do you here somebody “Can you here me now?” & grin)
Is the Verizon video authentic or not?
So is the video authentic at all? Is the ‘mark’ truly unaware of the gag? I like Charlie Todd’s idea (seen in his posts comments)…
“…it is possible that the guy wasn’t in on it but was setup by the friend who called him. His friend could have known he had Verizon, could have asked him to meet him a specific place at a specific time…”
Either way I think the effort is performing at least one of it’s assigned tasks perfectly – it’s generating buzz.
Related Posts and Sources:
- Break – Verizon Wireless Surprises Customer
- Will Video for Food – Verizon Botches Viral Video
- TJCNYC – 5 Lessons From The Verizon Viral Video
- Pranks.com – Verizons Fake Flash Mob Viral Ad
- YouTube – Verizon Viral Video
- Urban Prankster – Verizon Wireless Network Prank