Remember those videos of the kids popping popcorn with their mobile phones? Well it looked like a hoax and it turned out to be one. The video was meant as a viral marketing campaign to get people to buy more Bluetooth headsets. The logic was fairly simple in that if you can convince people to not put a phone to their ear, they’ll buy a headset.
About 5 months after the video was revealed as fake, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus released a statement saying the following:
“In non-traditional media, to the extent that advertising claims are communicated, advertisers are required to substantiate those claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence,”
This means that you can’t willy-nilly just make up facts to scare people. Although the ad was met with a great community response, and many tried to replicate the ad, advertisers should be warned about the potential harms of making a viral video. If you anger people by misleading them, you’ve possibly done irreparable harm to your company’s image.