Beware of The Clownvertising Virus

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As I read in Dagens Nyheter about “virals” being the advertising trend of the decade, I feel a slight jolt of motion sickness as I sit on the train from Stockholm to Gothenburg. I can’t tell if it’s the tilting of the high speed X2000 train or if it’s actually a jolt of worry for our future recruitment to Honesty and the reputation of our business.

The clownvertising virus has truly spread like the swineflu across the board now that viral marketing has reached the radar of the mainstream advertising agencies and creatives are celebrated across the board for creating highly irrelevant YouTube hits instead of boosting their client’s bottom line. This in turn creates “heroes” among young creatives for precisely the wrong reasons, and has them filling their portfolios with “fun”. I don’t want to get a bunch of people here banging on my door wanting to create films with the sole purpose of grabbing YouTube-views by use of humor, and where every strategic positioning is going to be the “fun”-position to excuse the use of humor as a shortcut to major traffic. This is wrong.

The challenge is not in creating the maximum number of views on YouTube. It’s to build brands and move goods out the door, while ALSO creating real value (can in some cases be humor) that can be the vehicle for these goals. It’s a non-zero-sum-game where everybody wins, where value is created and where efficiency is increased. Much like the evolutionary origins of social psychology and trade. Some of these creatives would really need to get a book on business and one on evolutionary psychology for christmas. Maybe we can do a viral fund raiser on Facebook?

About the Blog

This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.
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