Viral Marketing Becomes Self-Conscious, Ruins Internet

07/21/2009 3:01 PM |

T-Mobile brought viral advertising to new heights with their spontaneous dancing, Improv Everywhere-aping series (followed, eventually, by MC Hammer), but a new style of ads is quickly adding another layer to the slippery film between fact and fiction in web advertising. And who better to lead the charge than another cell phone company, Samsung:

Calling a publicity stunt that never happened a publicity stunt as you’re advertising the company that financed/created/recorded said fictional publicity stunt blows my mind. But wait, there’s more (after the jump, of course).

Film companies are getting in on the viral advertising, too. Like this supposedly random clip of someone who just happens to be skateboarding in one of the exoskeleton-suits from the upcoming G.I. Joe movie:

And then of course there’s the whole series of viral ads released anonymously on YouTube for Transformers, like this one:

So a genre of ad premised entirely on its candid lack of self-consciousness has become completely fictional and over-produced in the space of a few months. What’s next? Videos of cute cats fighting printers that are actually ads for Canon or something? It’s times like these I wish Jean Baudrillard were still around to make sense of the world for me.