Viral Marketing: Have You Caught the Bug?

I watched Yogi Bear cartoons when I was a kid. And I laughed. Really, I did. But then I saw it was being made into a live-action-mixed-with-animation movie. In 3-D. And I sighed. Ah, that my childhood should come to this.

Today I saw animator Edmund Earle’s parody. And I realized, I’m grown now. I can appreciate Yogi and Boo Boo in a clip styled after the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It made me smile. But I wouldn’t let the kids see this. They’re probably not ready.

Now, this isn’t the kind of viral marketing you necessarily want for your company. According to an article in the New York Times, Warner Brothers, which is producing the 3-D movie but doesn’t have anything to do with the parody, is “monitoring the situation.” That said, it is a way to get the word out, even to adults who are sad to see real people acting like cartoons and cartoons trying to look like real bears.

“Going viral” was something that used to happen via e-mail, but now you find out about these things on Facebook and Twitter and probably still via e-mail if you don’t have a Facebook account. Before it was something marketers didn’t expect, now they hope … and call it “buzz” when it happens. Find out the brands with the year’s top ads, which all owe their places because people spread the word electronically. But what makes one video more likely to go viral than another? They’re often funny, usually “edgy” by someone’s standards, often there’s innuendo.

But here’s my personal favorite. It’s been around for a while, but I laugh whenever I see it. And it proves that two negatives (Walmart and clowns) do make a positive. What’s your favorite?

One response to “Viral Marketing: Have You Caught the Bug?

  • NeoSquirrel

    While there is something to be said of parody, I’m more of the opinion that childhood memories should be left alone for such dark subject matter…or for that matter out of the hands of a certain Michael Bay when it comes to movies based on toy lines.

    There’s a fine line when one decides to take a known property and the relationships of the characters in it. It’s funny that Boo Boo wants to collect the bounty, but if you know the characters, the little guy’s always been more of a conscience to Yogi, a trusted confidant. Blowing a hole in the back of his head just betrays not only the character, but everything the two portray in their 40 years together. I understand the Jesse James reference, but good golly, Midnight Run would have been better suited given the character’s behaviors.

    The thing is, Hanna-Barbera’s not so far beneath themselves they won’t parody– Cartoon Network’s Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is nothing but, even so far as to portray Boo Boo as a sort of Fatal Attraction sexual partner for Harvey in a few episodes. But there was still a relationship shown between the little bear and his pic-a-nic-stealing cohort.

    Regardless, the parody here was well-crafted, and still made me jump when the climactic moment came. So if it was done for shock value, success. Though a part of me still found the parting shot a sort of animated comic ending.

    Finally, the Wal-Mart ad was indeed terribly hilarious–but the actress that plays the mother seems to be making a habit of playing the same part–she was also part of this fall’s series of commercials for the Toyota Sienna mini-van, taking “time-outs” inside to watch The OC (what, Arrested Development’s too highbrow?) and leaving diaper bags on the car roof in intersections thinking cops are flirting with her.

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