Scary Moments In Video Marketing: Six Horrifying Corporate Videos

Scary Moments In Video Marketing: Six Horrifying Corporate Videos

It’s that time of year again! No, not gift-giving or turkey-carving, nothing nearly that endearing. It’s Halloween week, and Halloween means scares so we thought we'd look back through the archives for the most terrifying business videos we could find. Or, at the very least, ones that come with a generous heap of awkwardness. Sometimes, the best intentions and the biggest dollars result in an unexpectedly viral video that’s being shared for all the wrong reasons. So, without further ado, brace yourself for the awful, spine-tingling weirdness of the following videos. And laugh a lot in the process:

1. Microsoft Internal SP1 Video (2008)

There’s a lot to dislike about Microsoft, but they can’t be faulted for going beyond the call of duty for their internal communications. While there are plenty of corporate music videos that deliberately try to (and succeed at) being funny, Microsoft misses the mark by about a mile with this one.

Takeaway: Making your own employees suffer second-hand embarrassment while working is probably not the best way to lower staff turnover. Can you even imagine watching this first thing in the morning as you’re trying to caffeinate yourself to life? Because we can’t. And we don’t want to.

2. Bank of America U2 Cover (2007)

If you thought that Microsoft’s faux-Springsteen music video was bad, check out this offering by some of Bank of America’s top brass. As far as we can tell, this took place in the middle of a full-fledged company dinner to celebrate the impending acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and boy, Bank of America sure is excited.

Takeaway: There are really no words that can do this event video any justice. For the record, we even think the guy singing is pretty good. But was there a single person at that dinner who knew what “non sequitur” meant? The reactions from the audience starting at the 0:38 mark really nails the problem with this video dead on the head. Everyone is so, so confused. And apprehensive.

3. Samsung 840 EVO Series Solid State Drive (2013)

The next corporate giant at the chopping block is Samsung, who released this cringeworthy promotional video only this year. In it, a tech-dolt housewife, a life-could-be-better Korean student, and a corporate climber join forces to insult your intelligence at 24 frames a second. Samsung’s new Solid State Drive is apparently so good that it makes their acting bad. Really, really bad.

Takeaway: According to various sources, this was an internal video that was mostly shown to South Korean investors and company top brass. The corporate climber with the fake smile also went to Reddit to explain that all three actors were forced to act that way by the creative execs. “They ask us to exaggerate since many Korean people feel that’s how we naturally act (most people here are not very expressive)...It’s how the director and client (in this case, Samsung), WANT us to act.”

We’re going to go off on a limb here and say no, not all Koreans are un-expressive, and no, not all of them are sold on this new wave of “bright acting.” Epic fail on the part of the director.

4. Rhinofly - Yes, We’re Hiring (2006)

Sex sells, and we all know it. So does design agency Rhinofly. When it comes to recruitment videos, they don’t beat around the bush or make elevator pitches like “live who you are”, “pursue your dream job”, or “create your own success.” No, they don’t have to stoop that low. They just tell the truth, plain and simple: Rhinofly has hot female employees.

Takeaway: Based on the majority of the comments and likes on Youtube, most [male] viewers are on the same page as Rhinofly. Except selling sex doesn’t sell anyone on your corporate culture, character, or integrity. We’re sure most of the guys who watched this video wouldn’t mind working at Rhinofly, but would any of them really want to work for Rhinofly? Probably not.

5. Domino’s App feat. Hatsune Miku (2013)

Domino must have been taking notes from Samsung, because it made the same cultural faux-pas with its latest Japanese video. Granted, this commercial was meant to be viewed by Japanese viewers that are probably very aware of Hatsune Miku and corny corporate tie-in promotions.

Takeaway: That being said, there’s no excuse for this monumental awkwardness. One of the top Youtube commenters on the video stated, “If you could convert sheer cringe factor and proxy embarrassment into clean energy, fusion is off the table because we’re set for good.” It’s almost like Domino’s president Scott Oellkers genuinely believes that his over-eagerness and higher-pitched voice will really appeal to the Japanese pizza-eating demographic.

6. Fred And Sharon’s Movies - Who Needs a Movie? (2008)

Of course, we saved the absolute best for last. Fred Spencer and Sharon Spencer’s mom and pop promotional video has got to be, hands down, the most awkward business video ever made.

Takeaway: Honestly, we’re not even sure what to say at this point. Some clues in the comments point to the possibility of deliberate, terror-inducing awkwardness. But we’re not buying it. The number of things wrong with this video provide enough talking points for another separate post. The cropping is all wrong, the green-screening is painfully obvious, the pauses are jilted, and in some places the script actually overlaps or is cut off. Not to mention Sharon is extremely unenthusiastic.

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About the Author -
Carla Marshall is the Managing Editor of ReelSEO, and the Community Manager for the ReelSEO YouTube Channel. She is YouTube Certified, and specializes in video optimization and organic marketing. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Alan Douglas

    The Dominos Miku video was intentional viral marketing that was a phenomenal success. The video went viral across social media, the blogosphere, and countless news outlets. The result was a huge sales boost for Dominos Japan, with some regions seeing a tenfold increase! Scott has a history of making videos like this, starting with awkward TV ads when he was with Dominos Taiwan.
    Takeaway: don't quit your day job :-P

  • JC TubeTrackr

    Haha, very funny. I love the Fred and Sharon one.