Thursday, August 03, 2006 :::
This morning's Wall Street Journal has an item about the origins of this short video on YouTube that pokes fun at Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." Their question? Who's really behind it?
They discover that, most likely, it's the lobbying firm DCI Group, whose clients include ExxonMobile (cue the sinister music).
This, of course, leads to a discussion of how platforms like YouTube are becoming the newest, bestest, raddest outlets for evil marketers and even eviler political consultants to peddle their wares.
Naturally, life-long scold Fred Wertheimer is concerned:
Mr. Wertheimer thinks videos like the Gore spoof, whose sponsorship is vague, can be disingenuous. "They're coming in under false pretenses -- under the guise of being a clever video you might be interested in," he says.
False pretenses are the bedrock upon which all great marketing campaigns are built. How else can one explain that creepy Madge, dunking unsuspecting women's hands in dish washing liquid? She was just a step away from becoming the next Sweeney Todd, if you ask me. Or what about that extra-creepy Mr. Whipple and his Charmin-squeezing fetish? Well, at least he wasn't squeezing something that could sue for harassment (yet...the law is still evolving here).
Yes, yes, I've dated myself. But you can toss in modern examples and get the same result -- like Jerry's favorite ad icon, the Burger King. And let us not forget to include any ad campaign that includes Cockney lizards. Or Burt Bacharach. Or Carmen Electra. Or Bob Dole.
And on and on.
The point, and I think I have one, is that YouTube ventures like the one supposedly from DCI Group are nothing new. Oh yes, the delivery platform is different. But the methods are the same: Use images that might gain interest (Al Gore dolled-up as the "Penguin" from Batman...Toy Story II penguins, without the Robert Goulet song sheet) and wrap them all up in a knee-slapping cartoon format that pokes fun, buckets of iceberg melting fun, at "An Inconvenient Truth."
Given a light touch, it just might work. Sadly, "Al Gore's Penguin Army" is just plain BORING.
Hmm. Then again, so is Al Gore. So maybe the touch was just right after all.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 8/03/2006