Well on its way to racking up a million views before it's even a week old, the latest YouTube viral - "Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit" - has become a bit of a phenomenon. In the clip (assuming you're too lazy or prudish to just check it out yourself), a guy secretly records 60 glorious seconds of his girlfriend playing the hula hoop segment of Wii Fit in her panties - then quietly signs off by turning the cam on himself and flashing a look of depraved triumph.
I studied this video carefully. Very carefully. I watched it repeatedly, many times a day and in many different lighting conditions, and two thoughts occurred to me after this intensive review:
1) Where am I? What day is this? Am I in the future?
and then, shortly after:
2) This has got to be a marketing stunt.
It was just a little too perfect. Considering the timing, reading the reactions, seeing how other outlets were beginning to talk about it... it all seemed a bit convenient. Then there was the video's poster, "tinsleyadvertising" - an ad agency?
Had Nintendo made a foray into viral marketing?
The circumstantial evidence was damning; now I just needed someone to try on the bloody glove. For that I went straight to the man behind the behind (I'm sorry, I couldn't help it), Giovanny Gutierrez...
So you’re the guy in the video?
That's me in the video. I work at Tinsley Advertising, a full service ad agency here in Miami (check out tinsley.com). I’m their director of interactive media.
Now even though the president of the company told me this is just a private video you posted with your Tinsley account, I’m not fooled. Admit it: you’re a part of a clandestine, Nintendo-sponsored viral marketing campaign!
The whole thing was just an idea I had for a spec viral video. I came up with the idea because that really is my girlfriend (not my sister like many have assumed), she loves Wii Fit and even more, looks hot doing it. It's just crazy how it's blown up. It was on Digg, then national TV (G4's Attack of the Show), there's already spoofs online (HERE and HERE), and now you are inquiring about it.
So you deny this video was commissioned by Nintendo?
Yes I do.
What about Nintendo of Japan?
iie. (That's no in Japanese.)
These denials aren’t surprising – Nintendo wouldn’t risk dirtying their own hands with such sneakery. The video was commissioned by a PR firm at the behest of Nintendo, wasn’t it?
What about a marketing agency?
Again I am sorry to disappoint you but the answer is no. However, if they were clever enough, they would have. Especially since they are now trying to claim the product is for adults (check out that article about that young girl crying to her parents that Wii Fit told her she was overweight). I can't tell you how many blog posts and comments I've read that this video convinced them to buy Wii Fit.
If we've learned anything from this, it’s that viral YouTube marketing strategies are still extremely effective and powerful.
So… you’re saying nobody paid anything for this?
I did, when my girlfriend found out. I was in the doghouse for a while. Though in the end I feel like I made a million theoretical dollars on YouTube.
My elaborate conspiracy theory is totally worthless?
Oh. Um… so who’s the girl?
Her name’s Lauren.
She’s pretty cute.
Tell me about it. And that video did her no justice. Had she known she would have put on makeup, removed the glasses, let her hair down and maybe even worn something cuter.
Now you’re just bragging. So she knows you posted the video?
How did she react?
She was FURIOUS - called me on the phone screaming her head off and then hung up on me - but now finds herself actually laughing about it and enjoying her 15 minutes of fame as “the Wii Fit Girl”.
What does she do?
You’re not going to believe this (after all the NOs) but she works in advertising.
What?! Are you 100% certain she doesn’t work for Nintendo?
I guess you can say she works it alright.
Oh brother. So do you read Joystick Division?
I'm a hardcore gamer and subscribe to some game feeds, and Joystick is one of them.
Now you’re my hero for two reasons.
Special thanks to Giovanny and his lovely girlfriend Lauren, for being such good sports.