Ben Deily, senior copywriter for Digitas, has had his fair share of late night gigs, as a founding member of the 1980s-born alt-rock band The Lemonheads. Deily drew on that experience last week, as he and his agency colleagues worked into the wee hours of June 1 creating one of the more meta branded videos that most folks have seen - for client Tide.
"Editing started around 1 a.m. Friday morning," Sarah Pasquinucci, spokesperson for Tide parent Procter & Gamble, told ClickZ. "With situations like this one, relevancy has a timeline, so speed was of the essence."
A couple days earlier, The Onion, a 24-year-old satirical newspaper, published a fictional article with the headline "Hey, Everybody! This Cool New Tide Detergent Video Is Blowing Up All Over The Internet!" The fake author was "Fred Hammond, Director of Digital Video and Social Media Ad Integration, Tide Detergent." The piece describes a branded content video in which Bret Michaels, singer for the 1980s hair metal band Poison, appears with "these cute, funny talking animals, a cool indie-rock song, and it's just so hilariously random." The article continues, "And it's got this amazing cameo by Bret Michaels, which is so funny because Bret Michaels is hilarious and from the '80s."
Tide's marketing team then decided to own the joke. Digitas led the effort, Pasquinucci said, with assists from creative agency Saatchi and PR firm Devries.
"And quite quickly we all agreed that it would be fun to make it exactly what The Onion had described," she explained. "We only had a couple versions of a script before it was approved and shot."
On Thursday evening of last week, Deily and other Boston-based Digitas staffers headed to the suburban home of John Robinson, SVP of creative for the agency. Deily, the rocker-turned-ad-man, dressed up in a Poison-inspired wig and tee shirt and crooned an acoustic ditty about how Tide gets stains out, singing "chocolate, grass stains, strawberry jelly…ketchup spots…get off of my belly!" Hours later, as Pasquinucci mentioned, a 1-minute 9-second video was cut and went live on YouTube, pushing P&G's Tide Boost brand.
While the vid hasn't exactly gone viral so far (3,500 YouTube views), Pasquinucci said, "We have put it out there and will see how it goes. The main goal was to have a little fun and laugh at ourselves. If it gets a lot of views in the process, even better."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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