The Reason It’s Called “Viral” Marketing

April 4th, 2006 by Alex

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always enjoyed watching companies trying to be “hip” only to fall flat on their collective asses. There’ve already been plenty of examples of user-generated content gone awry — the Los Angeles Times‘ “Wikitorial” experiment comes to mind — and yet some bold (misguided?) souls still try their hand at it.

The latest example is General Motors, which as part of a contest co-sponsored by the Apprentice asked users to create their own commercials for the Chevy Tahoe SUV. Seemed like a good idea to someone, I guess – look hip, get people to your website and avoid paying an advertising company all at the same time.

Didn’t quite work that way. Instead of creating ads to make the SUV and company look good, some users turned the ads into a forum on GM’s part in causing global warming, while others protested the war in Iraq and some just made their negative feelings on the SUV plain. Oh, the irony.

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