BMF 'We be viral before we launch'

This little gem in The Australian on Tuesday.

The site has not even launched and BMF have the balls to call the Meet the Locals site Viral?!?

By the description how could this not be viral? Who wouldnt want to send their friends a video telling them to get a haircut!


Simon Corbett just has an amusing rant on this very topic that is worth reading.
BMF maybe it is time you hire Zac Martin or read his Viral Marketing Blog

Constructive Criticism:
Do not claim to be viral before you launch.


haze said...

That's not just BMF using the term incorrectly, that's the majority of the Ad Industry.

But hey, the industry is built on flaky titles. Above the line. Below the line. Through the line. What's the line again? Ambient - dictionary definition: 'of the surrounding area or environment'. Doesn't that mean that, technically, everything's ambient? I don't want to play apples and oranges though, let's look at the work.

I had a quick tinker with some of these so called 'viral' videos.

First thing I thought of was the Mini Cooper work from a few years ago which did the same thing with the customizable video (way more in depth & personal) to take the piss out of your mates. And damn it was funny. And it was hugely successful (in least in terms of views). And it was 2 years ago.

I made two of these new ones based on myself before I forwarded it to my mates (which I didn't in the end), and both times I just felt sorry for the poor actress. They just fell flat. And the brand message was waayyy too prominent. It feels too much like spam to me. Now what sort of tosser is going to spam his mates?

The video editing technology is cool, but it's not new anymore so I don't see what's compelling enough about the campaign for it to take off.

Can anyone defend it?

Wow, there was way too much negativity there so I'll finish with something positive:

BMF is still one of my favourite agencies in the country.


haze said...

Just did one for a girl, pretty damn funny actually;

'Still single are we? Everyone thinks you're a carpet muncher'

Maybe there's potential...

Zac Martin said...

I believe we should change the definition of viral marketing.

A good idea, spot or concept isn't viral marketing. It's remarkable. And that spreads, if you're lucky it spreads virally.

But the new definition of viral marketing should talk about the ways in which you can encourage and facilitate the spread of a message.

And of course, you can never guarantee viralism.

Anonymous said...

While on the topic, thought you might find this of interest in case you haven't already seen it:



Julian Cole said...

Hey Matt, Do you work for BMF? If so, full disclosure would be great!

Zac I think that you would be in a good spot to come up with a good definition of this. Any chance we might be seeing one on ‘ I like to sneeze’ anytime soon?

Thanks Katie that link is awesome. There were a few I had heard of in that list but some new ones. You are the best.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your comments all. I work at BMF and am very happy to see the piece generating discussion and debate... and of course the traffic that your activity is driving.

Regarding the term 'viral' in the press release, we couldn't agree more. It's an often misunderstood and misused term and we'd have rather not had it in the headline. We actively work against a "digital buzzword that i don't really understand" approach to communications, but sometimes things unfortunately get through. We also try not to loose too much sleep over it however.

About the work itself, yes we know it's not a new approach (I’ve personally built 2 of these sort of tools before), but our strategy isn't to do something new for new's sake (dunno about you guys but I’d personally find it hard to say everything I’ve ever worked on was completely ‘new’). We did want do add a little twist to the idea however which we think we’ve done by allowing punters to record a personal message through their webcam. But this aside, the underlying idea is simply to engage people with new characters and get them passed around (if they like them) and this is an effective way to do it. If someone doesn't happen to like the characters themselves, well we are all entitled to opinions and we'll be judged by the metrics at the end of the day.

Still, if any of you have feedback on improving the work or examples of what we could have done better, we’d love to hear them. It’s meant to be about a conversation after all.



Julian Cole said...

Hey Aaron,

Hats off to you for joining the discussion, just shows that you guys are getting the space. With the whole not doing anything new argument, I don’t think that you can claim to be doing something ‘ viral’ and then in the same breathe claim that you are doing something that has been done before.

In my opinion, I think that in the press release you should of talked about what was so remarkable about the campaign, what was going to make it go viral, rather than calling it viral?

What were your metrics for success for the campaign?

Also, I actually don’t mind the characters they are quite entertaining and I like the way that you have included their search terms as integration however I had a little bit of lag on my computer hopefully that is just cause I have got a slow computer cause that could be a potential turn off.

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