It’s always interesting to find out what happened online and/or in the blogosphere when I come back from vacation. One of the first things I noticed was the commotion around the agency.com Subway pitch.
As part of a Request For Information from Subway, agency.com created a video and tried to demonstrate their online marketing abilities by demonstrating their viral marketing by posting the video and outtakes on YouTube. The blogosphere exploded immediately. In particular advertising related blogs. And the opinions weren’t pretty. Other advertising professionals are mostly commenting on the quality of creative, whether or not it is considered viral marketing, the looks and behaviour of the people included in the video and the language they use. “When we roll, we roll big” will probably become part of (at least agency) vocabulary and agency.com smartly put more oil on the fire by starting a blog called whenwerollwerollbig.com.
I happen to be somebody who works client-side so I’m going to weight in from my perspective. No, I didn’t like the video either when I saw it. It wasn’t funny, full of buzz words and some of the “big ideas” and meetings reminded me of bad episodes of “the Apprentice”. The comment about the salary of subway employees was offensive and should have been edited out. But beside the salary comment, none of all this matters. Results matter.
And I recognize the results. The video has been watched over 80,000 times so far and everybody is talking about it. So they’ve successfully proven that they understand online marketing, viral or not. When I talk to my peers outside Tourism BC, the frustration I hear the most is “our agency doesn’t understand online marketing“, right before “our marketing department doesn’t understand the User Experience“. The two are related because the latter select the former. And for the record, I consider myself more fortunate then most of my peers. If Agency.com can produce this kind of reaction for this purpose, they might just be able do it for a consumer campaign as well. At least I would give them the benefit of the doubt for whatever the next step in the process is.
Here’s the video:
Update 8/25: Just found out Agency.com pulled out of the running. My guess is that a higher-up pulled the plug because of the negative backlash. We’ll never know what Subway thought of the whole thing.