Last month a video posted on YouTube hit the Guitar Hero fan and gaming community. If you're familiar with the video game "Guitar Hero"... this film will appear to be incredibly creative and surprising. The video had over 1.747.000 hits within less than a month. Recently it was unveiled to be a viral video launched by Activision to promote their last version of the game, Guitar Hero Worldtour. So, at the end of the day, the bike hero video was not made by a bunch of talented kids, but developed by independent shop Droga5 (check their client list and work).
And here comes the debate about "authenticity" again. Is it OK to play with your audience and authenticity or is it just not a good idea? After a quick check, it seems that the feedback after the revelation is very much mixed between "fake = lame" and "who cares it's a fake, idea and video are still stunning". I noticed a tendency to get more votes from the "it's OK" side on this specific viral case. As mentioned in interesting AdWeek article "Viral Video Hits Blur the Authenticity Line" it seems that advertisers are clearly exploring the limits of fake vs authenticity.
"To be sure, there continues to be a fine line between fooling with consumers and simply fooling them. Like much in viral marketing, it remains unclear how much an advertiser should reveal during campaigns." - says Brian Morrissey of AdWeek.
"It was awesome only because we thought there were creative kids
doing this in their free time," noted a commenter on game blog
GameCyte. "Now, it's just a good commercial." - [AdWeek article abstract]
"I like Droga's Bike Hero. Who cares if it is fake, it is entertaining. New definition of viral video should be 'ads people actually want to see.' "
There is one important thing to consider, though... the kind of product we're talking about and the related target group. OK for a little authenticity play with Guitar Hero Worldtour is one thing. OK for authenticity play with the New York Times, might be another one.
What's your take on this? Is authenticity an absolute must or can marketers sometimes cautiously play with it?
PS : Thanks to Cedric M. for pointing this video to my eyes. Dude... you simply Rock! : )