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September 14, 2008


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Hi David,

You are right. I went to the Great American Roadtrip site and at first I thought it was going to be a lot like Roadside America (http://www.RoadsideAmerica.com) but it quickly got way to slick. With Alka-Seltzer plastered all over the site, putting it in the site's videos was overkill.

You are also right that it is the homemade quality that makes YouTube videos work. Here's one of mine:



So obvious it is a "Madison Ave does Social Media" site. Check out the Privacy Policy at the bottom of the roadtrip site. Not sure that Rhett and Link wrote this one without some help from the lawyers!

General Conditions of Use
Access to and use of this website are subject to the following conditions. Please do not use this website unless you agree with these conditions. This website has been developed by Bayer Corporation (hereinafter to be referred to as BAYER) and is administrated by the same. We reserve the right to discontinue or to make partial or complete modifications to this website or to the General Conditions of Use, to our General Terms and Conditions, and to our Conditions of Sale and Delivery. Please note that we may make such changes at our own discretion and without prior announcement. We must therefore ask you, next time you visit this website, to view the conditions again and to note any changes or amendments that may have been made.

Surrender of use and benefit
All details, documents and illustrations published on this website are the sole property of BAYER. Any permission to use the same is granted on the proviso that the relevant copyright note is displayed on all copies, that such details are only used for personal purposes, that they are not exploited commercially, that the details are not modified in any way and that all illustrations gained from the website are only used in conjunction with the accompanying text.

All product names in upper-case letters or marked in some other way on this website are trademarks of BAYER, its subsidiaries, affiliates, licensors or joint venture partners. Any unauthorized use or abuse of these trademarks or other materials is expressly prohibited and constitutes a violation of copyright, trademark law or other industrial property rights.

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Bayer AG has compiled the detailed information provided on this website from internal and external sources to the best of its knowledge and belief, using professional diligence. We endeavor to expand and update this range of information on an ongoing basis. The information on this website is purely for the purpose of presenting BAYER and its products and services. However, no representation is made or warranty given, either expressly or tacitly, for the completeness or correctness of the information on this website. In particular, we must ask you to be aware that this information may no longer be up to date. We therefore recommend that you check any information you obtain from this website prior to using it in whatever form. Advice given on this website does not exempt you from conducting your own checks on our latest advice - particularly our safety datasheets and technical specifications - and on our products, with a view to their suitability for the intended processes and purposes. Should you require any advice or instructions concerning our products or services, please contact us directly. Users of this website declare that they agree to access the website and its content at their own risk. Neither BAYER nor third parties involved in the writing, production or transmission of this website can be held liable for damage or injury resulting from access or the impossibility of access or from the use or impossibility of use of this website or from the fact that you have relied on information given on this website.

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Sanford Dickert

Completely agree - the video is quite funny/amusing - and the site is just a little too slick.

You hit the points which makes it fun and viral - the challenge I would ask you: what is the social imperative that would make you forward the video?


The video is really funny and like the others agree the site is way to fancy. But how much more of a home-made look and feel to the website would you like? How do you think they should redesign it to down play it from being a straight advertisement to a more fun offering for users?


Leo Wurschmidt

Great video and in my opinion, vinegar-based is the best. Go North Carolina!

David - My question to you is why does it have to be homemade to be spread? A video can be successful if it hits a right cord with people. I know my friends and I talk a lot about funny commercials we have seen and heard (professionally made or not). Some examples might be the Apple commercials, Sonic commercials or the Bud Light commercials. All were funny and I have heard many people talking about them.

Sanford - You sound a lot like a sociologist. :) Why does there have to be a social imperative to desire to tell a friend? Sure, I feel compelled to tell people about injustices in Darfur, but with regards to funny videos I just want to make someone else laugh along with me. It is not imperative to want to retell a funny joke or story I just heard. I merely want to.

Tim Washer

I've been a big fan of Rhett & Link for a while. Video is funny but the fun experience crashes when we get to the corporate banner on the website. Wow! I like the design of the site, but I agree the slick Flash takes you out of the experience a bit. Maybe a simple travel blog would work better.

David Meerman Scott

I think Tim is right. The reason I don't like this is it is from the ADVERTISING playbook which assumes that you have to coerce people into doing something.

As Tim says, a simple travel blog would have been cool.

We're all advertised to thousands of times each and every day. The reason that the homemade feel works is that people crave authenticity. They don't like that over produced thing.

Even the Apple vs. Mac or the iPod "dancing to music" TV commercials don't overtly "sell" and only have on camera angle for the entire thing -- hallmarks of "homemade"

Good discussions. Thanks all.


Mike Lefebvre

Love the video! Love that they use an outline of California when talking about (and subsequently dissing) Florida.

Thank you for this post David. It gives me great justification for the "kitschy", "homemade" feel of my videos as well. What I once chalked up to amateur ability and less-than-professional equipment now has, in the words of Steve Martin, a special purpose!

Here's my latest. Very little corporate slickness here. All intended! Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEpn5wW_mdA


I don't really see what the problem is. If they didn't make it obvious they were shilling for Alka-Seltzer in these vids, people would be up in arms about how advertising 'lies and deceives'. If the site didn't look a little glossy and offer bumper stickers and other goodies, there'd be untold snark about how lame their site is.

These are hilarious videos that are part of a larger campaign, which is why the blurb on their car is made to look like an old magazine ad, and their stickers are like billboards. I applaud them their honesty and the ingenious way in which they provided branded content.

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