Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

More Fake Videos As "Viral" Web Advertising–Where Is the Old Spice Guy When You Need Him?

Ugh, yet another attempt to pass off “authentic” online videos as real ones, in order to hawk something.

This time, it’s a video of a geeky man using a little transmitter, a red balloon and an Apple iPhone to change screens in New York’s Times Square.

Except not.

The effort is a fake for an upcoming movie called “Limitless,” according to an article in the New York Times.

That has not stopped it from getting more than one million views on YouTube, created by a viral marketing company called Thinkmodo.

“We represent the new age in advertising,” Thinkmodo’s James Percelay told the Times. “Virtual offices and the ‘YouTube aesthetic’ are ushering in a sea change enabling creatives with minuscule overhead to go head to head with those with massive ones.”

I am not sure when rank fakery qualified as a new age or even creative, but whatev.

Because besides the media attention the movie gets once the jig was declared up, which seems silly, the only time you see “Limitless” is in a video trailer on the big screen that is displaced by the balloon nerd’s one.

I hardly noticed it.

Oddly, the Times compares the lame stunt to the wonderful Old Spice online advertising campaign, which I thought was genius in its innovative use of social media combined with a clever professional effort.

Not so this one from a pair of guys who also did another faux video for a product called HeadBlade, by making a pretend video titled “The Shaving Helmet.”

You can see that, as well as the “Limitless” video below, along with a much more clever fake promotion for NZT, a pill that the main character takes in the film to become supersmart.

I wish some viral marketing types would take one of those more often.


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo