Posts Tagged ‘Katharine Herrup’

Viral Bullying

April 6, 2008

Out of Home Bullying


Katharine Herrup, an engaging young writer with The New York Sun, has an interesting piece on an overbearing viral marketing campaign. The focus of Herrup’s piece are a series of mysterious ads that have popped up all over New York City saying things like “My mom always hated you Sarah Marshall.” They are adds for a new film called Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

“They are supposed to depict Peter’s revenge, a public smear campaign of his ex. But they sound like catty adolescent girls talking about an ostracized classmate — not an infrequent occurrence in reality.

If you are confused, you are supposed to be. The ‘Sarah Marshall’ ads are a new chapter in the viral marketing trend, which generates curiosity through vague messages. The recent film ‘Cloverfield’ rode its own clever viral marketing campaign — which included ambiguous TV commercials, cheeky product placement, and artificially-generated fan sites — to a huge opening weekend at the box office.

But the ‘Sarah Marshall’ ads eschew that clever spirit for blunt, easy impudence. These ads are toxic — not the direction viral marketing should go.”