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One more reason to hate preppy white rappers – and Smirnoff

Posted by: Burth Helm on August 16, 2006

While viral videos can draw in an audience for next to nothing, marketing execs shouldn’t take the medium lightly. Despite the tiny production costs, marketers are actually doubling-down their bet with viewers when they employ viral vids. See, you’ve finally gotten us to pay close attention to your ad. We’re “engaged,” to use the buzz word. So release a lame video, and we’ll be thoroughly engaged in noting how much it stinks, and how lame you and your brand are for producing it.


Case in point is “Tea Partay,” the online video spirits maker Diageo produced to generate buzz for its new Smirnoff Raw Tea beverage. A friend of mine sent it to me a couple of weeks ago for a laugh. But I found the video, a rip-off of the famous SNL “Lazy Sunday,” so painfully corny and awful that I shut it off halfway. At the time I didn’t even realize it was hawking Smirnoff. But when I read on the way in this morning about Smirnoff’s marketing plan behind the video, I remembered it instantly, and I found myself attributing all the negative associations I had with it to Smirnoff and its new Raw Tea. The video was tacky, derivative, and lame. So yes, Smirnoff got its product in front of me. But because it came to me as entertainment, not a commercial, I’ll judge them all the more harshly. That, and I’ll be sticking with beer.

Reader Comments


August 17, 2006 1:51 PM


You're talking about it so the message spread - that part works. Until I read your blog I had no idea there was a Smirnoff Tea.

You missed the humor because you're not a 21 year old living in an off-campus apartment, but who do you think are the people who would by an alco-pop like Smirnoff tea? Who might think it's funny and share it? That's why it will have some success in raising awareness.

You read about the video in the Wall Street Journal, young people will have it sent to them by friends or left in their myspace comments.

Clyde Smith

August 17, 2006 10:50 PM

I actually like this more than a lot of folks because I think they do a good job of parodying certain hip hop video cliches that Lazy Sunday didn't really address.

But I'm more surprised at everyone describing this as a Lazy Sunday ripoff when there have been so many things like this out there for years including white comedy rapper type musical acts.

I can imagine that Lazy Sunday's success inspired this video but this kind of thing was a well established genre long ago, whether or not we were seeing it in high profile viral videos.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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