Agency.com ‘viral’ pitch video

OK, I’m going to give credit where it’s due: hats off to Agency.com for nailing their colours to the mast (in a very public way) and for using web stuff to talk about web stuff. Credit over.

Maybe it’s just a cultural thing. But this video really hurts me. I’m not quite sure why, I think it’s just because it feels really staged and makes people who work at online agencies look like a bunch of chumps. As I was watching it, the voiceover felt like it could, at any minute, morph into moments from ‘The Truth About Advertising‘ (version 2.0). Videos of the inside of agencies always end up being self-referential to the point of embarassment (at least the ones I’ve seen do). This is no exception.

And, furthermore…

What are Subway supposed to do? Give their feedback via YouTube? If that happened I’d forgive the whole thing and give everyone a massive pat on the back (almost).

Whether Agency.com win or lose the pitch, the result will be public, and scrutinised. Which is the bit I gave them credit for earlier.

But this whole thing leaves me with loads of questions:

  • Now they’ve put their clip out there are they getting behind the monster they’ve created?
  • In a way that demonstrates that they get the world of web 2.0?
  • Or is it just a cheap gimmick?
  • And most importantly: if something gets passed around because people dislike it, does that mean that it’s still viral? I’m guessing it does…?

YouTube – Going to Work for SUBWAY: Part 1

By the way, I think Agency.com do some really good work. For me this just isn’t, at all. But I’ll be interested to see if there’s a different set of reactions to it from other parts of the world. Or other industries.

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15 thoughts on “Agency.com ‘viral’ pitch video”

  1. I want it to work, it’s genuinely ballsy and I’d expect Agency to be smart enough to understand where this could end up…but the execution makes me want to hurl. Basically, it’s cringe. Maybe it’s just because it’s so American and so unlike British agencies.

    Favourite quote: “You know Dave, if we do this, we do it big”,”Roll on”.

    I’m using that.

  2. I agree with what has been said. There is really not a lot I could add apart from a Web 2.0 styled emoticon of yellow man shaking his head.

    “like, I really think we can pull it off, like, no matter what”

    “We take risks, we do kind of crazy things”

    They have put themselves on the line, which is admirable. I think it could have been done with more perspective and quite possibly some planning time.

    Things that are bad can go viral.

  3. of all the blogs (many), of all the posts (more than many), of all the naysayers, i am finally reading something that doesn’t discount the absolute veracity of this feat. i say feat because regardless of whether you like it or not ad snobs–myself included, and admit it, we’re the WORST–it’s creating something. in my opinion, its naivete is precisely why it may not only get somewhere with a client (don’t forget rule no. one ad snobs, know your audience), but hurt so much. it’s obvious they didn’t have oodles of prep time for this (have you ever worked on a pitch?), but the production value alone says it warrants this much criticism. and yeah, if it’s corny at times and not slick-wit-ad-hyperbole-award-show-cool, i’d watch life happen around you. unscripted.

  4. “They want a five minute video on the team.”

    So why does it run for 9 minutes 22 seconds then?

  5. I too really wanted to like that.

    But it’s not great, is it? It’s like an American version of The Office.

    I would have loved it, if it was real. Web 2.0, open source, less production more reality, real. But it’s so staged it’s embarrassing. From when he takes the first call through all that “corner office, now” stuff, to getting a job in Subway, right up to the constant Subway lunches in the boardroom. It’s bollocks.

    I wanted to like it, but unfortunately it feels like a web 1.0 agency bludgeoning a web 2.0 idea. And I wouldn’t have expected that from Agency.com.

    Did Subway ask for a video from everyone? If they did, then where are the others? If they didn’t, then at least Agency.com are doing stuff that no-one else is doing. Bonus points for effort.

  6. I think Subway will love this. It is even more hack than the crap they already put on TV. Thus why it will work so well.

    Hopefully we all remain mindful that success is rarely a good measure of taste or quality. This applies to advertising, TV shows, ‘viral films’, fast food, and a growing number of things in society. Yeah for Agency.com!

  7. Its a very American video, and some of the language made me gag “We want to show them (Subway) our spirit” springs to mind. It’s obviously staged and there is an interesting recursive ending where they are watching the video on YouTube in the office.

    However its no more wrong than WPP dressing their offices up like a HSBC branch to win that company’s business.

  8. So… the clumsy staging aside (the “Daz Doorstep Challenge” is lighter on its feet), and ignoring the complete lack of authenticity betrayed by the videography; *what happened to the spycam?* (4:47). Because there’s no way the footage in Subway was shot on spycam. Oh, forgive me – there’s a couple of cutaways to ugly b&w footage shot from an awkward angle.

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