The new face of viral video

In the last week I have seen two really good examples of viral video as advertising. This concept has been around for a long time–remember Burger King’s Subservient Chicken campaign–but these two videos really struck me as taking the genre up a notch–not your standard YouTube fare.

The first one started a few of weeks ago. Plot Device is about a kid who pushes a button and changes movie genres in his life. It is very clever and really well filmed. The guy who directed it grew up with my kids so the home town crowd is really proud. The real interest for me though is the Behind the Scenes of Plot Device. Red Giant is a software company that develops visual effects plugins for Adobe After Effects, Premiere, Avid, Final Cut Pro and more. They hired Seth to make a movie that highlighted these visual effects and then had him explain how he used each one. When I first saw the film I didn’t think, “Oh that’s an ad for a software company.” Their name was at the front but it looked more like a backer or a production company. I just thought that this young filmmaker just got backers to support is art. It is really hard for a client to not want to let their branding overshadow everything else and I think Red Giant did that.

The second video I saw today. My daughter posted it on her Facebook status. She saw it on This video, Splitscreen: A Love Story, again was really well filmed and very well edited. The crazy thing is it was shot entirely on the Nokia N8 mobile phone and won the 2011 Nokia Shorts competition. Contributors had to make a pitch. Eight finalists were selected and each was given $5000 and two Nokia N8 mobile phones. Nokia paid $40K and gave away some product and got 8 ads that are worth far more that $5000 a piece, but they gave away some control. Yes, they selected the final choices but they didn’t micromanage every detail and send back countless times for revisions. They allowed artists to have artistic freedom. This young filmmaker is helping Nokia cut through the iPhone/Android clutter by positioning Nokia as a high end camera that, by the way, you can also use to make calls and text.

Two very young directors hired to make movies not ads. Two clients stepping back and letting their products sell themselves and trusting directors to tell their story. This is the new face of internet advertising and I like it. What online ads have you seen that are worth sharing?

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