Viral Video

Apr 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

TelevisionWeek is trawling cyberspace to find the hottest video clips spreading on the Web.

The setup: Last month NBC’s “The Apprentice” integrated the 2007 Chevy Tahoe into the show, a tie-in that was extended online into a contest that allowed users to create their own ads for the new car. The car maker may have let the genie too far out of the bottle. Many users responded by creating ads mocking the big gas guzzler, with copy such as “Larger than any normal mortal needs … and sized to intimidate other drivers and damage others cars more than your own.”

The source: General Motors began the contest March 13 at ChevyApprentice.com and invited contestants to create online commercials for the Tahoe. Soon the mock clips, along with positive ones, appeared on that site and spread to YouTube.com, Break.com, News.com and several auto blogs. “This is a perfect example of what not to do,” said T.S. Kelly, VP and director of research and insight for Media Contacts, the interactive arm of media agency MPG. “You may want to give some type of editorial control to the user, but it has to be in a controlled environment.” Chevy spokeswoman Melisa Tezanos said the car maker expected a mixed reaction. She added that the contest had received more than 22,000 submissions to date and nearly 85 percent were positive.

The hits: In less than two days the videos generated about 300,000 views on Break.com and several thousand on YouTube.com. ChevyApprentice.com has generated more than 3.8 million page views since March 13, with the average visit time at more than nine minutes.