Microsoft Viral Stunt

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Publicity Stunts

Submitted by Paul C. from Yahoo! Finance, by Chris Nichols, August 13, 2009:

Microsoft’s Marketing Stunt Goes Viral

Turns out the official recipe for fun and the way to create an Internet sensation are the same: Start with a megacorporation, add in a group of Germans on a hillside, liberally take advantage of slick editing software and let the power of the Web do its thing.

If you spend any time online, have a TV or know anyone who does, you’ve probably heard about the latest craze blasting its way through cyberspace. In case you haven’t, a recap: A guy in a neoprene suit goes barreling down a waterslide, flies off the end and through the air, traveling a great distance, and splashes down in a tiny pool. It’s the MegaWoosh. See?

Please understand. This is a hoax. It didn’t happen. Ultimately, it’s an ad for Microsoft Germany. Still, it is awfully clever. Heck, some commentators out there on the Net are suggesting it could be one of the greatest fakes in the history of the World Wide Web.

One big question is whether this will help to reposition Microsoft as a force to be reckoned with in the collective mind of the world’s tech-obsessed masses. For the better part of this decade to date, that’s been pretty much dominated by Apple. You know, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, etc. What, you think those “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials just happened one day by accident?

How this excellent production came together can be boiled down to something like this — a stuntman starts down the slide, but a rope keeps him from going too far, the thing that’s airborne isn’t a person, but is instead animation, and the principal character ended up in the pool by dropping off a small ramp. Piece it seamlessly together, and there you go.

According to NewTeeVee, a marketing firm that deals with viral ads was signed up to get the video on to a few dozen Web sites. The agency claimed it was planning for the spot to stay in Germany, but c’mon, this is the Internet we’re talking about here. With social networking having effectively taken over the known universe and serving as our sole means of communication with other humans, there was no chance this thing was seriously going to remain confined to one nation in Western Europe. (Did they really want it to? Really?)

This story is only a few days old, and it’s captivated millions of viewers. News outlets are spreading the word. Type the word “megawoosh” into Yahoo’s search engine and you will get about 270,000 hits. Believers in the stunt are crying foul at those who would insist it’s as phony as the moon landing. Wait, bad example. You know what I mean, though.

Now stop wasting time, and go watch the trick again.

More links:

  • Megawoosh,
  • The Megawoosh Waterslide Viral: How It Was Really Done,
  • Megawoosh Web site