Radar online has an article called: VIRAL STRAIN 2008 is shaping up to be a bad year for guerrilla advertising and even that headline bothers me. Viral and Guerilla is not even close the same thing, leave it to the ad-amateurs to get these two confused. Then the article starts with "2007 was the year when so-called "guerrilla advertising," or "viral marketing," made its national debut. " Oh puh-lease, was the writer born in 2007? Neither guerilla advertising nor viral advertising is that young, the first exposed viral campaign here is from 2000, though offline virals have been created since 1987 (for Apple mac - look it up), and guerilla advertising goes way back to the days when I was still preoccupied with learning how to walk. That's a long time ago, folks.
Number ten on their list of "crappiest viral advertising campaigns in 2008 thus far" is... Guinness good times! Yes, the fake "Orgy" advert, or should I call it "user generated"? Either way that ad is so fake fake fake that Diageo has demanded that the group sex Guinness viral should be pulled from YouTube - but as usual, users fight back and that video will never die as fans of it keep posting hundreds of copies (ignoring that useless youtube TOS - here's a tip youtube enforce your terms of service or forget about having any kthxbye).
I knew that this day would come, when ads, fake ads, and stealthy virals muddled the water so much we no longer know which is which. I even said so in Viral marketings worst nightmare - Hoaxes back in feb 2005 - related is Justin's rant The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders debate in December 2004. What is a brand to do when the brand is clearly owned by the consumer and not themselves these days? Will our jobs as advertisers switch over to pure PR, the panic kind that puts out fires from bad user generated ads and pushes the good ones further? I feel like screaming "kids, get off my lawn!". Brands are usergenerated, and if you think about it - they always were. Advertisers have only ever played with an illusion of control over a brand - like surfers on waves, it's the ocean that calls the shots not you. The sooner brands wise up to this, the better. You'll still need one mean surfer to manage to stay afloat in rough waves. Call us.