Flash Animation & Viral KidVid? Give Pause

heartgardNov. 3, 2009 Here’s a marketing campaign kids LOVE (me too!)

No secret I’m a huge Fido fan…Flash animation? Not so much.

It often freezes my Firefox and fouls up the works more often than not on a business site but here in this ‘oldie but goodie’ (’06-’07ish?) this viral video making the rounds again proves to be pure gold.

Give that ad agency a biscuit for its viral ‘legs’ designing “I Do Dog Tricks.’ Here’s more about ‘viral video done right’ with more animalia (gorillas & chocolate) via MediaPost and here are some of the top ten viral faves, which we still use often in our work with kids, particularly the timeless (and time-lapsed!) Dove Evolution which gets more pertinent by the day. So what makes some flash animation ‘go viral’ and others fall flat?

heartgard2Keep it simple is the order of the day…If you don’t remember this viral video pooch or it’s new to you, give it a go, it’s cute!

Type in a command under the dog in the photo and see what happens. Sit, roll over, down, stand, sing, dance, shake, fetch, play dead beg, etc. and check out the clever default phrases when you try a command that’s not recognized.

I tried ‘run’ and the lil’ fella said, “You’ve got the wrong dog for that…”I typed ‘speak’ and my own dogs went ballistic. And yes, I tried some grossology, as kids will surely do. (other ideas here)

At one point the yorkie says not to use ‘fancy words’ because he was an ‘obedience school dropout.’ Reminds me of the digital dogs, virtual pets, & avatar Nintendogs I wrote about awhile back…Fun and very kid-friendly.

It’s a brilliant blend of marketing (on behalf of HeartGard) complete with a ‘Protect Me’ button that interacts with the dog on the screen to deliver the core message of healthy prevention for your pet, a discount coupon graphic and a ‘forward to a friend’ to keep it circulating.

Smart, simple fun for all creatures great and small…

The main site has helpful veterinarian locators, education videos, and a solid tagline, “Easy to give, protection to live.” (Which reminds me, I’m outta the stuff, so I’d better call my vet now…)

But first…the flip side of flash, and my first ‘huh?’ moment of hip-hop branding trying a wee bit toooooo hard this time.

Mind you, the concept is worthwhile…The script makes some good points on greenwashing, ecobandwagons, dating dupes and such, and their  NEW viral video just launched so it may still be getting the kinks out…


After all, our friends at Free Range Studios are known for ‘flash activism’ and helping to ‘crush’ global warming and engage youth is a worthy branding cause…but I have to say…it was ‘crash city’ here. (Literally and figuratively for me, but then, I’m clearly not the ‘target market!)

I had NO problem trying out the preview (here’s mine so you can see how it looks) but when I tried their ‘tricked out’ version to forward/choose the max of ‘eight’ Facebook friends to try it out it tanked.

Totally froze. Three times.

Now that could be my lousy Comcast ‘triple play’ service which I’ve been battling for (ironically) 3 weeks now…but I really wanted to put it through the paces, dangit!

aceIt’s boldly billed as the “first personalized hip-hop video in the history of the world” to supposedly get young people to declare their independence from fossil fuels. (The FIRST? Really? I think not…a bit brazen there.  What about JibJab sendables?)

Still, the viral is supported by the Alliance for Climate Education and the declaration was written by a 15 year old, so I was totally jazzed about giving it a go.


I guess I’ll try it again in a jiff and attempt a different browser. Or system. Or pass it along to our youth advisors to test out. Maybe they won’t think it’s quite so contrived in ‘dance party redux’ style. They’re expecting “millions of views & signatures”  and I’m hoping they’ll get them…I’m a huge fan of both the issue and the creators. Oh…

But when I went to the source site, you have to be ’25 & under’ to sign the declaration.

Sigh. I’m crushed. Again.


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