David Jones from Fleishman-Hillard, who blogs at PR Works, has an interesting post up about the “Bridezilla” video clip, the one that popped up on YouTube and became a viral hit, leading to stories in major newspapers across North America, appearances by the actresses involved on talk shows, and so on. As it turned out, of course, the video wasn’t put together by some struggling actors as a lark, or a resume-enhancer — it was created by Sunsilk, a hair-care subsidiary of consumer products giant Unilever.
Great PR, right? Everyone’s talking about it, Unilever gets its name in the paper and on TV, everybody goes home happy. Except that I kind of feel a little like David seems to (in addition to his post, he commented on a post at Capital C’s blog, since the Toronto shop was involved in creating the ad). Not taken advantage of necessarily — nothing quite so dramatic. This is no Edelman/Wal-Mart situation, at least not as far as I’m concerned. But I still feel that the whole thing was kind of sneaky. In fact, I would have been much happier with the video, oddly enough, if it had come right out at the end and said it was sponsored by Sunsilk, or by Unilever.
At least that would have been authentic, in an inauthentic kind of way (if you follow me). Instead, I was sucked in by the video, then watched as actresses took credit for it — and thought “way to go, that’s the spirit” — until all of a sudden Unilever turned up in stories, and then Sunsilk, and then the real story finally dribbled out. It sounds like there was some confusion as to who was going to claim credit for it, Sunsilk may or may not have tried to distance itself from the video. In any case, by that time I was kind of sick of the whole thing.
Is that a great “word of mouth” or viral marketing experience? I wouldn’t say so. What do you think? Comments are open.