I Want to Hit Jennifer Aniston With a Water Bottle

Seven months ago the Glacéau company (don’t be fooled by the French name, it’s just another branch of the Coca-Cola company) proudly announced to the internet that they were presenting Jennifer Aniston in her first ever viral advertisement.

I really, really hate contributing to their hit count, but here it is if you need to see it before I start ranting. You’ll get the gist of it in the article anyway.

Back up a minute – what constitutes a viral advertisement? When an advertisement is noticed by a member of the public and they like it enough, they’ll pass it on to other people (usually via social networking or email). Each of those people will then pass it onto their friends and family and the ad will spread just like a virus being exposed to an increasing number of people with every passing day, like this one. Advertisers like it when this happens because under normal circumstances a larger audience can only be reached by paying more money to distributers whilst this does the job more effectively and for free.

Over the past decade advertisers and major companies have been desperately trying to crack the code of what will make something go viral. The answer is actually quite simple: make a really great ad. Take for example the ‘Old Spice’ guy clip from last year was a massive success and it spread on its own accord because it was entertaining. Advertisers, for some reason, refuse to believe this and make desperate attempts to force something to go viral, such as the far less successful follow-ups to the ‘Old Spice’ guy ads. Often they’ll release a piece of media that pretends it has nothing to do with the company in the hopes that it’ll trick people into liking the company by association – Guy with a Shirt and The Zero Movement – later revealed to be the Coke Zero Movement (by that phoney Todd Sampson) being examples.

So when Glacéau turn up on youtube declaring Jen’s first ‘viral ad’, you know they’re full of shit from the get go. Stamping ‘viral’ on something doesn’t make it so, especially when it’s crap and no-one’s forwarding it on. Forcing something to go viral is like forcing someone to be your friend – it’s best just to let it happen naturally.

Looking at the video itself – it’s terrible. Instead of making a good ad and hoping it goes viral, they cottoned on to the genius idea [/sarcasm] of a viral video…about being a viral video! By the way, writing those words just caused Charlie Kaufman to have a stroke. Perky, sassy Jen declares that they’re making a viral video about Smartwater with the help of ‘these guys from the internet’. Here’s the first problem: your target audience IS people on the internet, representing them as such awkward looking stereotypical nerds is not helping you endear yourself to them. Especially when your depiction of nerds actually pre-dates the internet.

After that Jen, acting too cool for this internet nonsense, then riffs of a bunch of other viral videos that have proven successful in the past. Cute animals, dancing babies, double rainbow guy – instead of coming up with an original advertisement they have literally just thrown a bunch works produced by other people in the hope that standing near the cool kids will make people mistake you for cool. After that the clip descends into Jen flinging water onto herself in slow motion, the assumption that you, as the viewer, just need to see a woman degrading herself in order to make you buy one of the most useless products on the market being the final insult. The thing as a whole isn’t even well put together – the timing in the editing is simply awful.

A final note on the product itself: Smartwater is the follow-up product from Vitamanwater, whose advertising department got slammed by consumer watchdogs when their claims of ‘nutrition’ was in stark contrast to the shovels of sugar put into the drink. Not taking the hint, Glacéau and Coke claim that this is the ‘purest’ and ‘best tasting’ water available.

IT’S WATER. The only way I’m considering one bottled water ‘purer’ than the other is if I have personally watched the Pope forgive it for all its sins. As for the flavour? It tastes like friggin water! This is a first world indulgence if I ever saw one…we’re not choosing between bottled water or a muddy, disease filled pool in the middle of the road, we all have access to functioning taps that dispense clean, refreshing water at less than a 2500th of the cost.

In summary – fuck you Jennifer Aniston, and your bottled water.

And to point out the pointlessness of this feeble attempt at viral advertising: this is a that is video spreading faster…it’s a cheese ad from Egypt.