Seven words that make your heart sink.
Then people can upload their own versions.
I completely second that emotion.
But I’d also add the seven words that make every digital agency wince. The seven words usually spoken by the ad agency in an all-agency, all-discipline meeting with a client.
And we’ve written a few viral scripts.
No you haven’t.
You’ve typed onto your agency’s script template and changed the word at the top from “television” to “viral”.
In other words you’ve written up a few film content ideas.
None of which have a cat in hell’s chance of actually going viral.
People who write TV scripts for a living – i.e. content that is created to work, and which does work, with an above the line media spend behind it – need to understand that the same kind of content without a media spend behind it can’t just be re-badged as a “viral” with any realistic expectation of success.
“Wanting it to be so”, in other words abandoning hope in favour of blind faith and expectation, just doesn’t cut it when it comes to creating content with viral intent.
Especially when that viral intent is a means to an overt and obviously commercial end. Very few people are going to collaborate with you if what you’re effectively asking and expecting them to do is to distribute for free something that looks, feels and behaves like a piece of advertising,
Smartwater wants it to be so.
Their agency has written a “viral” script on a television template.
In classic agency fashion they’ve “magpied” various memetastic ingredients and bunged them all together in the hope of achieving sufficient viral load for this thing to take off.
It is dreadful.
The only award this is going to win is “worst use of a celebrity”; namely the hapless and more than slightly bemused Jennifer Aniston.
(I think the bemused demeanour is genuine rather than acted).
See for yourself.
The fact that she’s in it, the fact that they’re calling it a “sex tape” and that the fact that it’s getting hundreds of embeds on dismayed blogs like this one have propelled it to just over 800,000 views at the time of writing.
Maybe the brand is happy with that.
But it pales into insignificance against the 26,000,000 views enjoyed so far by the Double Rainbow clip that is referenced in the ad-not-viral.
Truly, spectacularly viral is something that happens once in a blue moon to genuinely original content.
And half the time – Double Rainbow being a case in point – it’s impossible to post-rationalise and bottle up why it happened.
I keep hoping that the quest for viral will usher in a brave new world of experimental, 100% original agency-generated content (AGC).
But I’m still not sure that trad agency cultures, trad agency working practices, lots of trad agency creatives, or trad agency/client relationships are set up to deliver genuine originality.
This Smart Water film is no exception to that rule.