Using Viral Video: What Do You Want to Accomplish?

My colleague Adam Orth recently handed me Ken Wheaton’s Advertising Age column about Extended Stay Hotels. The column concerns a video, allegedly authorized by the client, in which an attractive woman licks pretty much everything in a hotel room — including the toilet. This apparently is intended to demonstrate that Extended Stay Hotel rooms are clean.

The video’s since been taken down by YouTube, but as of this writing can still be seen here.

Assuming that the video is a legitimate viral video attempt, it’s worth asking what the client was hoping to accomplish. They certainly raised awareness — Wheaton says the video received over 300,000 views, and it’s likely that many, if not most, of the viewers had never heard of Extended Stay Hotels before. Count me among them.

If “awareness” was the goal, then mission accomplished.

But will that awareness result in higher occupancy or improved profits? My brain now “knows” something about Extended Stay Hotels. But it’s not “Boy, are their rooms clean!”

It’s “She licked the toilet! She licked the toilet!”

Given the choice between booking a room at Extended Stay or making a reservation just about anywhere else, I’m going for Anywhere Else.

But I’m a sample size of one. What do you think? Leave a comment below.


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4 thoughts on “Using Viral Video: What Do You Want to Accomplish?

  1. Certainly attention-getting and does impart the message that the toilets are (hopefully) germ-free. Why does anyone stay at a particular hotel is more the question. It comes down to at least two qualifiers–price and location. I am sure Phil, if the price were right and it was near where you wanted to stay, you would stay at an Extended Stay.

  2. I don’t know, Deborah. Intellectually, I recognize that that Extended Stay is probably a perfectly good hotel, and that nobody actually licks the appliances in every room.

    But every time I think of them, I get a little queasy — that’s the effect that the video had on me. My reflex would be to stay somewhere else, even if it were cheap and convenient.