Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Online Advertising without Douchebaggery

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the sad case of the Bike Hero video which turned out to be a fake, created by an ad agency to promote the already insanely popular Guitar Hero game. When the video was outed as an ad, it resulted in the expected unhappiness, as well as a few moments of righteous payback.

Now here’s a another example with a much happier ending. Say you’re EA sports, makers of the Tiger Woods videogame franchise. And you see a video on YouTube, where some kid is mocking you for a bug in the game that lets Tiger walk on water.

Here’s exactly what you do.

EA’s response is smart and funny, as you’d expect. But it’s also human. And it made no attempt to hide who made it. They could have tried to dress it up as “user generated content” but why bother? They’re EA. They know Tiger Woods. And the ad is funnier for it.

Major props to Wieden+Kennedy who made the video. I hear that the kid who posted the original clip even got a few bucks for letting them use his video in their response.

This is just one of many examples that show you can participate in online community without having to pretend to be something you’re not. In fact, participating with authenticity is not just morally good, it’s measurably more effective.

The “view” is YouTube’s only real measure of currency. Bike Hero’s fake ad has chalked up 1.6 million views. The EA Tiger Woods video scored 2.5 million. Maybe honesty really is the best policy.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.