24. Caution: contagious crap

You know when there’s a major catastrophe, or traumatic experience that happens, you always remember where you were and what you were doing? Think about what you were doing when you first heard Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song, and I bet you’ll be able to conjure up specific details about the moment you were subjected to this nation wide epidemic.

My first viewing of the monstrosity was at home with a friend, but I was more shocked to walk into one of my ad classes last year and hear the contagious beat playing while we took our seats. My teacher played the video, and while shaking his head in disgust asked how many of us had already seen it. Unfortunately, over half the class of 150 students raised their hands.

His message: Bad advertising will get seen just as much, if not more, than good advertising.

My professor made an interesting comment while talking about the viral video, that is similar to when someone smells something gross. You want to share it. Rebecca Black produced a song that was dubbed “worst song ever” by many music critics and yet after you saw it, you called someone to show them first hand just how bad it was.

The “Friday” song was viewed over 167 millions times with thousands of parodies made about it. She then later made another song that hit the million view mark within the first few hours after launch.

All. Because. It. Was. That. Bad.

Months later and people are still doing renditions of it, including a new version I heard on the radio less than 24 hours ago. Now, it’s on a national ad for Kohl’s black friday sale.

This is very discouraging. It makes me think that in order to be successful, you just have to produce a complete train wreck so that everyone wants to see it, upload it, share it and talk about it. It’s moments like these that I remind myself of my favorite quote from author Augusten Burroughs,  “you’re only as good as your last ad” which inspires me to only produce the best I can is. Rebecca may have received millions of views, but that doesn’t mean that anything positive came out of it.

The worst part about all of this, is that this song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day, damn it.


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