Viral Video Marketing & The Boy Who Cried “Fake!”

Viral Video Marketing & The Boy Who Cried Fake!

Someday soon, a brand or company is going to accomplish something incredible. It could be a cure for some nasty disease, or a generous donation to a cause or charity… or the next great invention. That company will film it to help prove and commemorate the occasion, but it won't matter. We won't believe it. Soon enough, as brands flock to hoax marketing and CGI comes even closer to accurately mimicking reality… we may no longer believe anything we see on film.

And that'll be a sad day–when real-life awesome actions and feats no longer move the needle, because we're trained to believe everything is fake. It's coming.

GForm Drops iPad From Space, YouTubers Don Tin Foil Hats

GForm is a company that makes an impact-resistant iPad case. Considering today's fast-paced world, and the cost of replacing broken iPads, that's a product that could fill a need. Especially if it works.

But does it work?

GForm has tried to prove their product's effectiveness a number of times–once by dropping a bowling ball on it. But they are usually met with skepticism. Some folks think the entire video is staged, while most just think they didn't drop the bowling ball from a high enough perch to really simulate a damaging event.

The next logical step for GForm is to drop the case (with an iPad) from space… right?

And of course, the skeptics are out in force–even TechCrunch's Matt Burns speculates it's fake. Why? Because he thinks he hears footsteps instead of a parachute near the end of the video.

So is it a fake? How should I know? That's not even my point. My point is that I can't tell the fakes from the real thing anymore, and neither can you. Modern digital effects make it possible for faked videos to fool most viewers, and the cynicism among YouTube users is at an all time high.

Entertainment & Sharing Are The Only Goals With Online Video Ads

I humbly suggest that the debate over real or fake is completely meaningless anyway, since the purpose is just to get people talking about the company or the product–in fact, the people who are crying "fake," while trying to damage the video's reputation, are actually only helping the brand succeed in generating buzz. It's a textbook example of the "Streisand Effect."

Viewers get so caught up in the debate over real or fake, but you know who doesn't? The brand. Do you think the brand cares whether you came to the video with a bias thinking it was fake? Because they don't. What they care about is that you A) watched it, and B) forwarded it to someone. You could have forwarded it because you believed it was a real and amazing stunt. Or you could have sent it to friends because you're convinced it's an obvious fake and you want their support. Either way… the video is shared like crazy.

It's also incredibly difficult to "prove" these things one way or another, which will allow the conspiracy theory to live on almost indefinitely. So if they're smart, GForm isn't getting caught up in trying to prove their video is real, but are merely basking in the glow of the tech journalism's spotlight.

Meanwhile, I weep for daredevils and stuntmen. They'll still be risking their actual lives to entertain us for years, but the audience will no longer believe it's real.


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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1533402055 Ralph Bagnall

    THIS is why customer reviews are so vital as part of your marketing campaign.

    • Jeremy Scott

      Very good point.

  • Mary Planding

    (Reminds of Timex watch's old ads — takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Just goes to show that everything old is new again.) The reaction around faking video is no different than when digital photography made the scene. How many times have we seen controversy arise over faked photos? In the end, it does create buzz (any kind of buzz being "good" buzz). Despite all the fake photos out there, that hasn't seemed to instill us with tremendous suspicion over every photograph being a fake. I can't imagine it will be any different with video.

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