Dial V for Viral

Interesting (half?) thought at the Halfbakery (via).


There was a fully baked version of this idea a couple of years ago.

Virgin Mobile Australia launched a viral campaign using Jason Donovan. Donovan was paparazzo’d in-car with a ‘for sale’ window ad displaying his full phone number.

The pictures got around blogs. 680,000 prank calls and a D&AD Yellow Pencil for interactive viral followed. If I’ve not explained this clearly, the video below should:

Now back to the 555-idea.

It’s different in a few ways, but the difference isn’t insurmountable. Donavon (an actor) was snapped in real life. So people could assume the number was real.

Phone numbers in films are generally assumed to be false – I don’t think that would change overnight, even without the 555 prefix.

You’d need some word-of-mouth that the fictional characters have a life beyond the film/ TV show. Maybe throw in some sham PR.

And that’s been done before, too – with websites, at least.

Arrested Development frequently referenced “fictional” websites that, if the viewer checked, turned out to be real. (Sadly, as far as I can see, they’ve been taken down now.)

So what do you think? Getting warm yet?

2 comments so far

  1. JRSM on

    I know that ‘Doctor Who’ does this a lot: for every website or phone number mentioned in the show, the BBC sets up said site with various in-jokes, hints about upcoming episodes, etc. Viewers got so used to this that the one time they forgot to do it for a phone number used in the most recent series’ climax, vast numbers of people rang a dead number.

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