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Should Levi’s Disclose Sponsorship of Viral Video?

Can a sponsored video go viral?

Like many things these days, it matters less about who created it, but the emotion/amazement that the video can evoke. That Old Spice dude showed us that and way back in the day, Where the Hell is Matt proved companies could sponsor a concept without hurting the video pass-around

Yesterday introduced us to a whole different area: An incredible video concept that was sponsored but not disclosed. Have a look at the video that I first saw mentioned on Mashable:

Simply brilliant. They even have a “making of” video that’s received over 100k views on its own.

Some people in various comments around the blogs even mentioned that Levi’s missed a great opportunity to sponsor this video, because of the delicious shot of the Levi’s bum tag at the end.

It turns out, Levi’s did sponsor the whole thing.

AdFreak decided to go to the source and ask the people who made the video.

Does this change the video impact to you? Should they have disclosed it at the end? I felt a little skeezy after I found out it was an undisclosed sponsorship. I read about it at my news source (Mashable) and passed it around on facebook and Twitter. The thing is, I would have passed the video around if at the end it said “Thanks Levi’s for making this happen” or something along those lines.

Transparency is huge nowadays, and the fact that they didn’t mention it at all concerns me. You?

What do you think? Comment below!

*UPDATE* I think what bothered me the most is Levi’s isn’t mentioned in the video, in any description, or in the “making of” video which would have been another perfect spot to say it. They left out the sponsorship on purpose through everything.

  • At the end of the day, I will still buy their jeans, will still love the video and will not remember it a week from now. nWhy are corporations so afraid of social marketing?

  • Marx Dudek

    I don’t feel taken advantage of at all. This is art. I would rather see art than I would advertising. And yes, this is advertising in a sense. But it’s also a beautiful and creative work. Does it make me want to buy Levi’s? No, it doesn’t. So I suppose it fails if it’s intent was to persuade my buying habits.

  • Marx Dudek

    I don’t feel taken advantage of at all. This is art. I would rather see art than I would advertising. And yes, this is advertising in a sense. But it’s also a beautiful and creative work. Does it make me want to buy Levi’s? No, it doesn’t. So I suppose it fails if it’s intent was to persuade my buying habits.

  • Marx Dudek

    I don’t feel taken advantage of at all. This is art. I would rather see art than I would advertising. And yes, this is advertising in a sense. But it’s also a beautiful and creative work. Does it make me want to buy Levi’s? No, it doesn’t. So I suppose it fails if it’s intent was to persuade my buying habits.

  • Marx Dudek

    I don’t feel taken advantage of at all. This is art. I would rather see art than I would advertising. And yes, this is advertising in a sense. But it’s also a beautiful and creative work. Does it make me want to buy Levi’s? No, it doesn’t. So I suppose it fails if it’s intent was to persuade my buying habits.

  • Marx Dudek

    I don’t feel taken advantage of at all. This is art. I would rather see art than I would advertising. And yes, this is advertising in a sense. But it’s also a beautiful and creative work. Does it make me want to buy Levi’s? No, it doesn’t. So I suppose it fails if it’s intent was to persuade my buying habits.

  • Donresonate

    The font on the note entering the Levi’s butt pocket at the end was a subtle clue. Anyone who has seen the latest Levi’s posters around town might get the hint. It’s a little too well produced not to be by some big company.nnNot disclosing the truth is a little different than an outright lie. Would have been worse if we thought it was made for some great cause. Although the “making of” video was a little much. They should have revealed the levi’s connection in the “making of”.

  • You don’t have a relationship with a video as you would with a friend. A video doesn’t lie to you, it creates it’s own reality.

  • It’s actually quite brilliant…for all the reasons you don’t like it. The “discovery” that Levi’s was behind the video only fuels the fire of publicity. If Levi’s comes out and discloses that they were behind it, few people will care and no one will talk about it. If people discover that revelation, it becomes news. I’ll officially trademark a useless marketing term: viral discovery. And since this is hardly bad publicity in the canonical sense (e.g. BP’s oil spill), Levi’s is a double winner: they get the subtle endorsement in the video and all of the follow-up chatter.

  • lmpulse

    I don’t care who sponsors a video so long as it’s entertaining. We see movie studio logo’s at the beginning of movies, and ads for future movies and we don’t object. Some people will even pay admission for a movie they don’t care about, to see an ad for one they do.

  • Chris McCarthy

    I don’t think there’s anything particularly sinister or underhanded about what they’ve done. I don’t have a problem with this ‘subliminal’ delivery.

  • If I saw this for the first time I would have just assumed it was a well made Levi’s commercial in the first place. The zoomed-in butt shot at the end makes it obvious.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for introducing me to the vid–amazing. Between the editing and Edward Sharpe I felt my first patriotic buzz in a while.

    After living abroad you realize that America isn’t skeezy (great word choice BTW), but it has always been like Levis. Durable, always pushing the edges of the grid, always commercially adventurous.

    Transparency is good, but this video is great. That said, a little Levis badge at the end would make it feel less like brilliant/subtle propaganda…
    M

  • Madamesoybean

    Honestly, upon first viewing I knew it had to be sponsered by Levi’s…I feel duped that I missed being duped.

  • emre

    this is better way to set image to people’s mind. if people think it’s ad,affect may change. dont say anything,just let them to create relationship between good things and your brand!

  • Imraan999

    It’s a great video; they should disclose. I would like to to the reason for the non Disclosouser.

  • I don’t see any problem with it, though I think they got ripped off in this case as they are hardly given any exposure for their donation.