When it come to gullibility, I’m right up there with Gomer Pyle — with the rest of the world being my Sgt. Carter. The first time I saw this video of an amazing catch at a baseball stadium, I thought, “Gollee, will you look at that?”
That knowledge, though, perversely left me feeling like a 20th century guy trying to make sense of 21st century marketing. If you watch the video again, you’ll see that a bottle of Gatorade is visible for only the last three seconds. Furthermore, I’ll bet you didn’t notice it the first time around; you surely had to be told to look for it. I understand about subliminal suggestion, but the Gatorade video strikes me as sub-subliminal suggestion — it drills right through your subconsciousness and lodges itself so deep in your gray matter that you’d need a hundred sessions with a Freudian analyst to find it.
How’s that help more Gatorade to get sold?
Still, the video succeeds as a pass-around item. It was forwarded to me last week by two people within days of each other. There’s a difference, though, between a message and the spreading of a message. Some viral marketers are much better at the second than the first. It sometimes seems that the cleverness of a viral video is the first consideration of its creators, rather than its effectiveness.
I’ve seen two examples in the past year of viral videos done well, in the sense that they compelled me to both want to forward them to my pals, and made no mystery of what they were selling. What they have in common is a blatant political incorrectness, which ensures that you’ll only see them on the Web because mainstream television likely would never clear them to air. This one requires you to have some knowledge of biker culture, and the shirt-lifting that comes with it. This one requires a healthy appetite for black humor.
Best of all, I’m spared the embarrassment of admitting to my pals that I thought those things actually happened.