When brands and advertisers employ viral video to communicate with their audiences, they're starting a dialogue that wasn't possible a few years ago. In some ways, brands today are being thrust into the role of the traffic cop, setting the tone and direction of the conversation. As part of this, as soon as audiences get beyond initial interactions with a campaign, they go their own direction: copying, commenting, mixing, mashing, and re-uploading clips from the campaign.
Microsoft knows this all too well. The technology behemoth recently launched a campaign for Internet Explorer 8 called Browse Better. The campaign is built with a number of assets, including spots for expedited sharing capabilities, easier organization, and faster browsing.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it's the most controversial asset of the campaign that's getting the most attention from online video viewing audiences. The now notorious O.M.G.I.G.P – that is, Oh My God, I'm Gonna Puke! – creative, which showcases impressive regurgitating range, proved too much for some viewers. In a statement, Microsoft explained why it pulled the ad: "While much of the feedback to this particular piece of creative was positive, some of our customers found it offensive, so we have removed it."
Too Hot to Handle? O.M.G.I.G.P
However, before the creative could be removed, fans of the video copied and reposted it. These copies have subsequently driven the majority of the views and media coverage for the campaign, enough even to grab third place in our Ad Age Viral Video Chart last week.
The O.M.G.I.G.P. assets have generated more than 10% of the campaign's footprint, over half of the campaign's views (see the chart above), and nearly 60% of the campaign's commentary.
Given these results, we're left to wonder whether or not this was part of the plan all along: publish a controversial though on-message ad, create some heated dialogue, apologize for offending customers, take it down, and drive big viewership numbers... from online video audiences copying and reposting the spot. Might this be the best result for Microsoft in the end? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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The data used in this post was collected from our Viral Reach Database, a constantly growing video repository of analytic data on 100+ million Internet videos from 150+ video-sharing destinations.