Pants on the Ground and the Macarana Gambit

Here we go again. Mr. Pants on the Ground is this year’s William Hung and a viral sensation! It just shows that viral distribution for marketing and entertainment content is a viable ploy.

But wait a second. Viral has nothing to do Larry Platt’s rise to temporary fame.

In the world of online video and all things viral, we have to remember that Mr. Pants on the Ground (who seems to be a pretty nice guy and has a semblance of a beat) was first introduced to around 30 million people via a huge mass media channel. Now that one off appearance (I’m sure he’ll be back on the show later this season) is a reverberating bubble because of what I call “The Macarana Gambit”.

You remember that little ditty. Perhaps one of the only songs to make me sincerely want to poke out my eardrums with a pencil. Yes that one.

The Macarana Gambit says:

If you expose enough people to something and repeat it a zillion times it will be a sensation.

It doesn’t matter how trite and cheesy it is. It’s just everywhere in a short period of time. Larry Platt was colorful and interesting. But the reason for the “viral” success this time is to get blasted to 30 million people at once.

True viral video success is very unlikely for the majority of campaigns. Growing and midsized businesses should invest scarce marketing dollars in activities that have a high likelihood of paying a return on the marketing spend. Achieving “real” numbers in the video landscape is still difficult as the medium is still in it’s infancy. Television networks are seeing the same trends of lower overall audience numbers – (more typical viewership for other shows is around 6-13 million).

If you aren’t doing the basic blocking and tackling of marketing then don’t bother attempting a viral video. Concentrate on activities that are time tested and within your control. Unless you can get your video featured on network television, very high traffic sites or if your video features your CEO getting hit in the nuts, your money is better spent.

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