To demonstrate their understanding of and ability to develop viral content for a pitch to Subway, Agency.com created a video of themselves getting immersed in Subway's business for the pitch. They shot it, edited it, uploaded it to YouTube and did what they could to pump it and get a viral brushfire started. (I heard about it by way of a mass email from a former colleague at Agency.com asking me to check it out.)
Over a week it has generated a lot of conversation, a few parodies and over 44,000 views.
Some people loved it, some people hated it. At they end of the day it was a commercial for Agency.com. So like any commercial if people find it relevant and/or entertaining it is received positively. If not, it gets trashed. The difference with social media is all those confirming and dissenting voices get heard.
I think there was so much negative response generated because it as quite transparent that they had used most of their audience. Viral content in the strict sense is stuff that gets shared because someone dug it. Stuff that gets created by people with the end of goal of "entertaining" or sharing in some way. The Agency.com piece was obviously created to help them win work from their "real" target audience, the potential clients at Subway. I think where it fell short was delivering something stronger to that massive secondary audience they took for a ride.
I didn't really have strong feelings either way. I wrote this post because I wanted to think about the mechanics of it as a marketing piece. Most of the debate generated has been either irrelevant (is it viral?) or tiresome. I got a few laughs out of it but I didn't hear any smoking creative ideas or learn anything.
They did take a risk and I have to give them some props for that.
Seth Godin appeared on the last podcast from "Across the Sound" with Joseph Jaffe. Agency.Com got tagged as both loser and winner of the week. Seth dismissed it as a "who cares".
I guess whether its a good piece will be determined when the account is awarded.
Douchebag Mountin. What happens when an interactive agency goes gay?
Agency.Com on Space Ghost
Coudal Partners' Unsolicited Response.