It used to be that you saw an ad on TV and if you thought ‘That was pretty awesome’ you’d talk about it the next day to friends etc.
Yet now ads are released on the net before their air on the small screen, so that by the time they are shown there is a real sense of fatigue. One need only to look at the recent Superbowls where about 95% of all advertising was already widely available before the event itself.
The problem with this is the airtime you spent so much money buying has lost its impact so it is greatly wasted.
To me, things are more likely to go viral when they are unexpected and truly market driven rather than marketing driven. But with clients demanding buzz and viral-ity (which you should never do by the way), agencies are succumbing to these demands despite the fact that they are doing their client a disservice.
I remember when Sony Balls first came out (and I know this isn’t the first example of this but it’s the one that sticks out in my mind), it was absolutely unexpected and awesome. And it spread like wildfire. So much so that the week after it ran I remember a DVD of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ was given out in one of the papers. Nowadays you already have the behind the scenes before its aired.
So, clients and agencies, stop giving so much away and bring some of the WOW back!