Remember that film which spread like wildfire across the net in 1998-1999 nicknamed "Bad Day at the Office", the clip that showed an angry office worker bashing his computer? It was one of the first major viral films that ended up in everyones inbox and is still in heavy circulation on the filesharing networks. The clip was part of an advertising campaign for surveillance computers from Loronix Information Systems in Colorado originally launched back in 1995. In its original 5 MB form, it was distributed on a CD, but it was only when the computer-bashing clip was edited into a more manageable 416 KB file in 1998 that it began making its way around the world as an e-mail attachment. It captured a cult following and the actor even ended up in Wall Street Journal and CNBC.
Now there is the homage, an updated version if you will, a new movie that promotes a Firewall product is recapturing the universal theme of man versus machine and the fact that most of us occasionally feel like punching our computers in frustration. (read more to view). You can also download the movie as Quicktime here.
I've seen self-referential advertising, but this has got to be a first, self-referential viral advertising.....
"Bad Day is one of those legendary pieces communication that most people got exposed to, talked about and therefore remember today. But it is probably also the clip that actually opened the eyes of the marketing community’s for the huge potential of using the Internet and viral marketing as a way of getting in contact with a lot of consumers. One could say it paved the way for a new marketing tool and campaigns like Budweisers WassUp, John West Salmon and more recent ones like Burger Kings Subservient Chicken",says Claus Moseholm, GoViral.
Note: John West Salmon is an accidental viral, a TV ad that leaked out on the web. (See our article Three Bears Attack! John West Salmon spawns stateside offspring 4 QTs at once from 2001 here). Budweisers Wassup is even a superbowl ad, aired on TV and then spoofed on the web much like the Mastercard "Priceless" campaign is. Neither are planned virals, but great examples of famous ads that went viral as soon as they hit the web.