Making Shapes: Viral Video


I came across this the other day and thought it was awesome! Except for the end. It’s a video of this guy, JayFunk who does a sitting-down-bodypop-breakdance known as finger tutting but with added visual effects thrown into the mix. The video itself looks well produced, with high quality definition in the picture and well constructed lighting, not to mention the onscreen graphics as well. But, as I said, the ending spoils it for me. Watch the video and I’ll explain why.

It’s made by Samsung?

This style of advertising really annoys me for two reasons. Firstly, when you’re watching the video, the whole way through you are thinking “wow this is really awesome” I’ve got to show this to someone later. But when the corporate logo or voiceover kicks in at the end, you feel like you’ve been tricked (I do anyway). You feel as though, the video isn’t quite as independent to the user as you originally thought, almost as though it should be awesome because there’s probably been a massive budget to work with. Because it’s on YouTube you automatically assume that it should be coming from a user who edited something in their bedroom and just uploaded it. Not from a global company. I feel as though it’s a cheap but very clever way of advertising products. No one enjoys to watch a TV show and have it interrupted by adverts, they want to carry on watching what they chose. People enjoy watching videos on YouTube and making the choice on what video to watch, so why not turn the adverts into videos that people want to see over and over again? It’s a clever solution that works incredibly if it’s done right with a good video. People will chose to watch it and will actively take the time to share it out with other people. It annoys me because that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. It’s like going to the arcade and being enticed by the machines to win money, but most of the time you never win. You have your fun. They get their plays and subsequently, money. You walk away feeling slightly less of yourself. Yet, we do this to ourselves over and over again because the enjoyment supersedes the loss that we feel afterwards. That’s why it’s clever advertising.

It’s cheap – still big budgets but in terms of advertising, it’s cheap – because once the video has been made and a few relevant companies have been paid to promote it, it’s set. The company doesn’t have to pay for every time the ad is shown like they would on TV, they’re not limited in a timeframe of let’s say 30 seconds and once the views start rolling in, they don’t have to worry too much about promoting the brand. People will just recognise it from last night’s session on YouTube.

The second reason that these viral adverts annoy me, is the way in which people recognise them. Take for instance, Jay Funk. Not many people will know that the guy in the ad is called JayFunk and that he has many videos of himself in the bedroom-edit style that we are so familiar with on YouTube. In fact, this was probably how he was found by Samsung. Great! He get’s a big pay cheque. Samsung get their awesome video and sell loads of products. However, JayFunk will probably never make anything else for Samsung as they don’t want to repeat the same campaign. He won’t be able to make something for any other company because that idea has already been used. Furthermore, he won’t be able to make anything in the same style for his own personal YouTube account because it will never look as good as the one Samsung made for him and people will probably say that “he is just copying the Samsung advert”.

Personally, I feel sorry for JayFunk and all the other people who were making these sorts of videos before Samsung came and bought the idea.

I’ve been on YouTube and found an old video from JayFunk dated October 2009 with just over one million views (almost three million short of the Samsung one, uploaded in June this year) which does indeed show him, in his bedroom making a video of his Finger Tutting. I feel as though, anyone who comes across this video will probably look down on it and say it’s nowhere near as good as the Samsung one. Which is true. But without this, there wouldn’t be a Samsung one.

T-Mobile are another company that use this viral video strategy to advertise themselves. Their videos have the idea of people using their mobile phones to document the now. But do many people ever think that their “ads” are just a ripoff of Improv Everywhere‘s videos who popularised the whole flashmob ‘missions’ back in 2001?

T-Mobile made this in October 2010.

And Improv Everywhere made this almost a whole year earlier in November 2009

But which video is remembered more? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the videos, I’m just pointing out what a large budget can do for all aspects of it.

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