You may have noticed over the weekend a video being tweeted of strange ships or something hovering over LA. You may have also not noticed this considering the YouTube of this supposed footage only has 79,110 views. This four second clip is Sony’s follow up to their previously horrendous attempt at viral marketing for Battle: Los Angeles that you can find here. We, along with plenty of other blogs and sites, were sent this clip by Sony in the hopes that we’d do something with it. You know, something viral.
There’s just so much wrong with Sony’s attempt to go viral here that it’s hard to know where to start. One can easily point out that this video is blatantly the antitheses of something that would go viral. It looks professionally done, it’s not weird or quirky at all and with the blast of information on Battle: Los Angeles it is blatantly for that movie. Good virals either leave you with the want to explore more and figure out what it is or thinking how totally awesome the viral was. This does neither, it simply looks like an actual ad for Battle: Lost Angeles and looking like an ad is the worst sin for viral marketing.
Still, this isn’t the really bad part about how Sony went about this.
On top of this pathetic attempt at making a viral video, Sony and its PR companies had the gall to try to make it go viral by prompting the press to promote it. I know from experience that this isn’t the first time this tactic has occurred, but because of the craptacular quality of this video it was obvious that this had no chance of actually going viral on its own. In this light the lame attempts to push this through the press seem even dirtier and less honest.
Isn’t the point of a viral video something that grows naturally and through the shared experience of people online, not something that a PR company wants to force everyone into seeing. We’ll post viral videos on Flixist, but they have to actually be viral before we do it. We’re not here to make something go viral (unless we made it ourselves), we’re here to tell you about awesome things that have gone viral and that should be the goal of all news sites. Yes, simply by writing this I’m helping this video I suppose, but I’m also confident that Sony has done such a terrible job of making something viral that it’s really not going to do any good here. You just really have to wonder what they were thinking.
Does Sony (or the PR company behind this) have no idea what would work on the web? This video isn’t slightly off base, it’s in the exact opposite direction that a viral video should go. Even if they’re trying to go all alternate reality like some terrible J.J. Abrahams copycat they’ve missed the mark entirely because the video doesn’t draw you into a fake reality, but instead attempts to come crashing into our world in an entirely unbelievable way. No one would even for a second think that this overproduced clip was anything but a terrible gimmick. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this exact shot in the movie when it comes out.It’s hard to imagine an attempt at viral missing the mark by so much, but here we have it.
So all PR firms and move companies please take note: this is exactly how to not do your viral marketing.