A response from the Agency.com camp regarding the Subway video. It’s basically saying: “we did it, we got people talking, that’s the whole point”.
I’m sure the debate will rage on around whether this is just a good piece of post-rationalisation and speedy ass-covering. Or a cunning master-plan that was in place from the start. (As an aside, if it’s the latter I think there’s a much better way of presenting this, a making of the behind the scenes video perhaps? Showing the point at which the decision was made to target the advertising community maybe?).
On their site ‘Jeff’ is quoted as saying:
“They made this for ad people to watch, think about, talk about, and spread. And that’s what we’re doing”.
But did they? I thought the whole point was that it was a video for a Subway client. Or is that all part of the subterfuge as well? Maybe they made a 5 minute boring ‘meet the team video’ and sent that to the client too? Along with a pitch based around:
“See how much noise we can generate with one video clip within the (online) advertising community, imagine how much noise we could make with 5 clips and a decent budget within the food eating community…”
If that’s the case then maybe they come out of this looking like genii…
But, based on the original premise (as we, the audience, were shown it): “we need to create a video for a client” (a private piece of communication), “let’s put it on youtube” (a very public communication channel). I think the naysayers were right to pound this tactic for it’s apparent naivety. (An interesting conversation starting tactic maybe?).
Whether they’re very right, or incredibly wrong I don’t regret being part of the spreading this meme. I called it as I saw it. I made the t-shirt, and I’ve either helped them look smart (or not). If I’ve been ‘duped’ into being part of this whole thing I’m glad, I’ve been a part of an ‘evolving, collaborative, dialogue driven online experiment’ – and that’s the kind of thing that we should all be doing. Whether I have or not, I guess is still the question.
The great thing about the web is that at some point the full story will come out. There will be winners, there will be losers, but as my P.E. teacher used to say “it’s the taking part that counts”.
In case it matters (and it probably doesn’t), the fact that the domain name ‘whenwerollwerollbig.com’ was bought yesterday doesn’t indicate all that much forward planning in terms of the meme ‘going viral’. But that might just all be part of the plot…
Oh, and I’m pretty sure that the line in the video (as pointed out to me by others) is ‘if we roll, we roll big’. So I corrected my t-shirt yesterday. On the site they feature the old shirt, with the erroneous line on the front. But their domain is “when we roll, we roll big”, so maybe my old t-shirt was right after all. Or maybe we’re all as confused as each other?!?
Ultimately whether this works or not depends on how you measure the value of conversations and noise. I’ve seen a few comments where people have said things like “it’s better that people are talking about you than not”, but I don’t buy that. And I can think of a few examples where brands would probably agree. Coke with their Desai water launch ‘conversations’ in the UK. The noise around Hoover and their Free Flights offer. The awareness driven by Mercedes and their rolling cars. These are much more serious examples than a pitch video on YouTube. But you get my point.
I’m going to stop now. This is way too meta for me.