Most Epic Corporate Holiday Video Greeting

Last year we celebrated the worst corporate Christmas and Holiday greetings. This year we’re celebrating the good ones. Got one? We’ve found one by Klick Health, and it deserves recognition. The sheer number of edits and costumes shows effort that is uncommon with end-of-year throw aways.

This one is interactive so you can win some loot for naming the characters.

Why My Meetings Are So Boring

Corporate meetings can be such a drag. I recently stumbled via the World Wide Web into the Corporate Entertainer Jeff Civillico, who bungees on a tricycle. Candidly I’m less surprised at this feat as disappointed that all meeting entertainers don’t do this. The next time you’re at a corporate event and they bring in some watered-down softball comedian, scream “bungee on a unicycle, limp d*ck!”

Oh wow… while writing this post I discovered the dude’s performing just miles from me November 3. Anyone want to sneak in and yell aforementioned statement? I want some funny and visceral entertainment. I want that.

 

What Happens in 60 Seconds on the Internet

Hats off to infographicguy’s visual and exciting explanation about what happens in 60 seconds on the Internet. Imagine if more companies used video and infographics to communicate otherwise complicated ideas. They can hire their agencies, or ask the infographics guy for help for what would likely amount to 1/10th the cost.

 

Crappiest Corporate Holiday eMail Contest: Holiday Spam

Holiday spam time! I’m holding a contest to see who can identify the crappiest holiday e-mail greeting! Can you top these three? It shouldn’t be hard. And you get extra points if you uncover a really bad corporate eGreeting that’s trying to mimic a viral video and does so awkwardly. After all, we’re a video blog here… which means occasionally we talk about video.

Some winning criteria for the WillVideoForFood “Crappiest Corporate eMail Greeting of 2010” award:  a) use the online medium for form over function, b) lack taste and humor, especially if it tries anyway, c) is unpersonalized, d) is self serving, e) it accidentally politically incorrect, f) is obviously providing the least effort possible.

Here are my the three leaders so far. Please put yours in the link, or e-mail me if that’s better. NOTE: remove any codes after & or specific numbers/letters… thus the penny-pinching gifter won’t know who “outed” them. Except in my case I guess.

1) CLIP FART: The anonymous company that sent an e-mail with this ass-face clipart picture. I asked the sales rep if his retarded son drew it, and he said yes… and the son aspired to be a viral video maker. I told him to turn up the retardometer. I’m convinced Tommy (not his real name) just didn’t know how to turn off the auto-greeter via his sales force automation software.

2) MIDI-OGRE This InVivo website a corporate friend sent me because a) you have to download software, and b) while you’re downloading (what is probably spyware) an annoying midi loops. I somehow have two sessions open, and the song is in a weird infinite echo that’s like Santa on acid. I can’t even find the open browser windows and it’s making me insane.

3) CHARIT-INABILITY Thirdly (and I won’t share this for obvious reasons) was the corporate eGreeting that invited me to click on one of three charities. I clicked on one, refreshed and clicked another. So maybe they’re not even tracking (or donating), or else I just tripled their donation and tomorrow may decide to bankrupt them.

What do you have? Special points if it’s a horrible viral-video holiday eGreeting… but it has to be from a company. And go for a stupid-ass pun name like my three to cheese it up even more.

Cheesy Gif I Just Got Reminding Us" Jesus Is the Reason for the Season."

THIS JUST IN 12/21: TheDoctorsChannel’s Sonny and Cher pet parody.

Best Buy’s Social-Media Image Collapse

Until today, WillVideoForFood didn’t have a “Greatest Corporate Social-Media CollapseAward, but it’s now going to the uncontested “winner.”

Best Buy, a company once known for its savvy social-media presence spearheaded by Barry Judge (seen below, searching Monster.com for jobs at Circuit City), has gone from great to mediocre to embarrassing… in just a few months.

Barry Judge, Best Buy's Chief Marketing Officer Napping

Perhaps someone with the time and patience to run some social-media monitoring analysis can use a quantitative tool to validate Best Buy/Geek Squad’s sentiment decline (a free one, Radian6 or some others listed here). But here are three recent and vivid examples of a company whose arrogance — demonstrated by aggressive attorneys, PR apathy, and poor employee relations — has made it the undisputed 2010 winner (or loser). I’m sure someone else can better document numerous other episodes that precede and follow these, but here is what WVFF judges used to base their decision:

1) Geek Squad Driver Calls Cops on YouTuber: A Geek Squad (Best Buy’s beloved repair team) van driver spotted this blogger and video creator shooting some b-roll of a van. My intent? To make a parody of a technical repair superhero responding to absurd computer requests (can you fix my cup holder? Oh that’s a CD-ROM drive?). The video, which might have been a humorous and free consumer-generated advertisement for Geek Squad, instead resulted in this… seen by a quarter of a million viewers. The driver called the police and “Nalts” got a fine for reckless driving.

Hey I’m biased here, but you know that. I’m part of the story, and wasn’t thrilled to get pulled over and fined because a Geek Squad driver got paranoid (perhaps he feared I was doing a video expose on his wicked speeding). Sensing his unease, at a red light I handed him my business card, smiled, and explained my video concept. The NJ police officer said the driver interpreted that as threatening gesture and dangerous. Really? But we can forgive a company for a freaky driver, but it was poor form for Best Buy to ignore me. I wrote the company’s PR group, and a simple apology would have probably brought me right back. Did I mention I captured that driver again two weeks ago? I think he was selling ice-cream and crack cocaine this time, but don’t quote me on that.

2) Best Buy Intimidates Employee for Parody Video With No Mention of Creator’s Employer: Then there was poor Brian Maupin, a Best Buy employee who was fired (or as Best Buy would prefer you conclude: was suspended, rehired, and quit under duress) for this funny “iPhone vs HTC Evo” video seen by 7 million. The video didn’t mention the creator worked for Best Buy, and there’s this whole “freedom of speech” thing that Best Buy’s social-media policy seems to have forgotten. But Maupin knew the event undermined his chances to ascend to Assistant to the Regional Store Manager.

3) Geek Squad Sues Catholic Priest. Now the Geek Squad is protecting its rapidly-depreciating Geek Squad trademark (see undercover expose) by suing a priest who created a God Squad logo (readers of The National Catholic Register will no doubt boycott the store). While we understand trademark vigilance, we believe this Wisconsin Priest (Father Luke Strand) might have been handled with a bit more diplomacy, and Geek.com agrees… calling it a “PR nightmare.” Yeah, when a corporation sues a priest… Catholics (and there are a few of us) aren’t going to be thinking about trademarks when we go elsewhere for our electronics.

Please comment below… and I invite anyone to defend each of Best Buy’s actions. It’s hard to give up on a company you love, and I’ve seen some interesting debates on various articles and blogs. I’d also like to invite anyone to join me on a 2010 boycott of Best Buy. There’s even a Facebook page to boycott Best Buy (apparently they fund anti-gay politics). I haven’t walked into the store since the po-po pulled me over, and the Maupin story gave me more resolve. But now they’re messing with a Priest? I read the Best Buy circular weekly, and never went more than 10 days without shopping there. But I’m done with the store for 2010. We’ll see if Barry or a well-meaning public-relations firm can turn this around, and revisit them in 2011.

Hey at least I have a great case study for the sequel to Beyond Viral (now available for pre-order on Amazon). Did I mention Amazon also sells electronics?

Geek Squad Driver Goes Ape

Yesterday I was driving home and spotted a Geek Squad van (Geek Squad is a computer repair division of retailer Best Buy). I thought it would be fun to create a video where I play a fictional Geek Squad hero responding to farcical “help calls,” so I shot some footage of the Geek Squad van. Later, I decided, I would videotape myself in our van, and edit it so it appeared I was the driver.

As I began to videotape the van, the Geek Squad driver became suspicious and concerned. He was speeding, so maybe he thought I was going to report him… and that intimidation would redirect the situation. He began to take photos of my car, write down the license plate number and give me odd looks. So at a stop light, I handed him my business card and explained my intent in hopes that it would diffuse the situation. I told him I was making a video parody for YouTube — not at his expense — but in a parody of people who call tech support for erroneous reasons. He replied, “good now I can sue you.” I thought that was an antagonistic response to my gesture, but I just smiled and drove away when the light turned green.

Minutes later I saw police lights in my rear-view mirror, and posted a video real-time on my Unclenalts account. I also Tweeted pictures of the event, and alerts. Seems the Geek Squad driver called 911 and reported me, saying I got out of the car at a red light.

The video documenting my experience is now among the most highly-rated videos of the week on YouTube, and the comment cloud below summarizes the reactions. Twitter exploded with @bestbuy and @geeksquad alerts, propelled by fellow YouTuber CharlesTrippy. Nearly 700 people “thumbed up” the video versus 16 “thumbs down.”

YouTube comment cloud on the "Geek Squad Calls Police" video show reactions from viewers

I’m still not quite sure why the driver became so defensive, or the rationale for the “reckless driver” citation I received for $85. I do plan to contest it, if only to keep my nearly perfect driving record stable.

Meanwhile it’s unfortunate for BestBuy (who I regard as one of the better companies in social media, as well as one of my favorite stores… until yesterday). Here’s a blog post I wrote about BestBuy’s Barry Judge, and my “man crush” on him.

No official response from BestBuy or GeekSquad, although I did get a positive tweet response from http://twitter.com/AgentEAN. I did alert BestBuy’s corporate PR to the situation via e-mail on Friday. No response yet.

I’m really no fan of drama like this, much less when it reflects negatively on a corporation I like (BestBuy) and involves the police. But I do feel obliged to surface this via social media… the driver’s defensive and confrontational reaction reflects poorly on Geek Squad. And it not only got me a police citation but ruined a rare date night with my wife last night. Hard not to look at the Geek Squad logo without getting a viscerally negative feeling… like when you smell burnt hair or hear a chalkboard scratch.

BestBuy, known for its heroic approach to social media, didn’t acknowledge the Twitter tornado on Friday (almost all searches for BestBuy and GeekSquad were about this situation).

Here’s the video on my Nalts channel that shows the blow-by-blow. I thought the police officer handled it well, even though I would have appreciated him not giving me a citation given that it was based on a report from the Geek Squad driver (rather than anything he witnessed). I can’t envision that holding up in court, since the “eye witness account” was clearly not objective. I would have also appreciated him allowing me to talk with the driver, which he refused.

Parenthetically, it’s not illegal to videotape a van or a policeman in public, despite many myths. I’ve only heard of people getting in trouble when videotaping in a private place and refusing to stop or leave…. or for obstructing justice or demonstrating disorderly conduct in public while videotaping.

Worst Corporate eCard of Holidays

Let’s work together here, people, and see if we can find the worst-ever eCards from corporations. Agencies are especially gifted at providing cheesy holiday eGreetings that damage their brand. Now this one gets some credit for the script and cast, but the awkward direction, editing, and B-grade acting help land itself on the “WVFF Worst Holiday eCard” list.

Anyone else care to nominate one?