The Viral-mercial

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
— Proverb

Over two years ago, Mitch Joel dropped an idea that has always stuck with me. He called it Viral in Viral Marketing and it’s all about how when something goes viral, it sparks a slew of parodies:

Stage One will be if the original creation takes hold, but the true worth of value will be Stage Two: defined by how many new iterations are created out of the original and how far and wide those spin-offs spread.

Well, I recently came across this parody of the Slap Chop infomercial, a spot hosted by Vince Shlomi of ShamWow fame. What I think is great about is that not only does it spin the original SlapShop spot in a funny and possibly NSFW way, but the content also complements Vince’s colored exploits, AND the host has Vince’s style down pat.

Long story short, this is a case of an infomercial-spot-going-viral-parexcellence. What’s interesting, though, is that despite the viral success, a parody like this is probably not going to drive any sales — it’s just going to build buzz, branding, and exposure… Which is fine, but as any washed-up actor can tell you: Fame is useless if it doesn’t get you paid!

My cynicism aside, I genuinely want a Slap Chop. But the parody had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was Vince, all Vince — partly because he makes the Slap Chop look useful to me, and partly because (as a marketer) I wish I could pitch like him.

But what does that tell you about accidental-viral? Maybe that’s it’s a symptom of success rather than a cause.

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