Nine pieces of fake video content that brands pretended were real

heidi jacketSo let’s just be clear. I’m aware that ads aren’t real. But at the same time, there’s a grammar behind them. A main point being the principle of truth in advertising – the idea that you can’t make claims that aren’t real. If you can’t prove that your product is 25% better at something than it’s rival, you can’t say so.

Yet when it comes to online video, the principle often goes out of the window. Instead, the joke’s on the consumer. Most documentary-style video doesn’t show what it purports to. Which eventually hurts the whole industry, because consumers become ever more cynical.

And it also almost never results in a good marketing result either.

At which point let’s take a look at nine videos that Look Pretty Fake To Me.

Reverse Robberies – Oak

Anyone really believe that the brand signed off on masked raiders unexpectedly bursting into a convenience store? Anyone think it was convenient that the fridge was already empty? Anyone think they really were solving a channel distribution issue?

As it happens, this particular “raid” took place in the shop opposite my office. The shopkeeper tells me it took them about two hours to film. He had to give away most of the drink afterwards because it was nearing the best-by date. Their distribution people didn’t follow up afterwards, so he doesn’t stock it.

The Most Outrageous Way To Share A Coke – Coca Cola

I hate two things about this. First, it’s general fakeness, as if to suggest that a group of college kids threw this device together before inviting a couple of hundred of their friends who turned up and freaked out because they got a free Coke.

And second, because it’s a complete rip-off of the Mythbusters style.

Of Course, Coke has previous

The 28 Day Persecution of Rommy Gulla – Panasonic

We wrote about this one extensively at the time. The brand claimed that each day they’d be playing a particular prank – for instance, filling the victim’s bedroom with helium as he slept. It was a fake featuring an actor. And a badly done fake at that. The ad agency is no longer in business.

McDonald’s Playground

Imagine how much better (and more PR-able) this 2010 ad – purporting to be delighting commuters at Sydney’s Circular Quay – would have been if the people trying out the playground weren’t actors.

Levi’s Rear View Girls

Featuring two Kiwi girls on the streets of LA, the giveaway is the glimpse of the Levi’s logo at the end. Perhaps they were staring at the camera stuck to the woman’s arse, rather than her arse. Still, at least the idea was original.

Witchery – Heidi and the jacket

Remember “Heidi”? She wasn’t the greatest actress in the world, was she?


Remember Motorola’s man in need of a friend “Rob Multo”? No, me neither. If he’d been real he might not have been quite so lame.

NAB – Barbecue of freedom

NAB’s had some great ads over the last couple of years. This one purporting to feature a helicopter hovering above a cramped Aussie barbie is not one of them.

Savages Crossing – John Jarratt’s “meltdown”

It’s sad to see a great Assie actor reduced to this to promote a movie. With a budget of a reported $3.5m, it took less than $5000 on its opening weekend. This didn’t help.

Tim Burrowes



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