Nov 10

Streak video: good hoax or bad ad?

Help. I’m losing touch with reality. This YouTube video for the Dell Streak is horrifying on so many levels, I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or not.

Adding to my confusion is the fact that this video was pulled from YouTube by the original poster, only to be posted again by another.* Dell’s site contains no mention of it.

The video is about as awkward as it gets. It stars Chicago hockey players Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who use the features of the Dell Streak to help them pick up women. A narrator calls the action, sports-style. For two grueling minutes, we watch bad actors performing a script that would be deadly even for good actors.

So is it real or not? Well, watch it for yourself, then consider the evidence.

It’s fake.

1. No corporation with adult supervision could possibly think this is funny or in good taste.
2. Pro hockey players have managers who normally advise them against doing stupid things.
3. Production quality (titling, voiceover, music, writing) is below professional standards, including even Dell’s.
4. No company would be so insensitive to women when women represent half its audience.
5. There is no Dell logo or theme line, nor does the typography match any current Dell effort.

It’s real.

1. Dell is eminently capable of creating a dud. Certainly they have a rich history in this department.
2. Hockey players don’t make videos like this on a lark. Someone has to pay them.
3. Dell has already exhibited an ability to offend women. Heck, why not do it again. (Despite #4 above.)
4. Many hockey blogs have reported on this video, mostly slamming it for bad acting and bad taste. Dell has remained silent in the face of criticism.

Considering all of the above, I have a theory. Maybe this ad was produced internally at Dell to fire up the troops. Maybe an enterprising up-and-comer thought it was funny enough to share on YouTube. Maybe he was quickly slapped and forced to remove it.

Of course that doesn’t let anyone off the hook for creating and approving the video in the first place. It’s not easy to create a really good ad. But it’s really, really easy to have some standards when you’re doing so.

[Thanks to Bill McGuire for the tip.]

*Update 11/24: The YouTube video to which I originally linked has been removed “due to a copyright claim by Dell, Inc.” (Draw your own conclusions about that.) Unfortunately for the perpetrator, these tracks aren’t so easy to cover up. You may still see the video here.

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  • Either way, the Dell fails s a product, as it’s just an oversized phone.

    I guess they are targeting the clueless Microsheep IT departments that might think this is funny.

  • Marian

    I wish I could say that it’s so bad it is good. But in reality it is so bad it is very very bad!

  • Stephen Sonnenfeld

    Possible explanation. For it’s derivation, not it’s quality.

    I believe much of the product development team for Dell’s mobile devices is based out of Chicago. Ex-Motorola guys, either Dell employees or sub-contracted out. I suspect this product group concocted the idea, developed (I use the term loosely) it locally (you can hear the Chicago accent on the voiceover) and thought it might be a nifty way to promote it virally.

    So now you have an unnecessary product promoted by bad advertising and even worse viral marketing. A true formula for success.

  • Stephen Sonnenfeld

    Apologies, I just noticed that my “it’s” have incorrect punctuation.

    I know you like to keep your blog to higher standards of conduct.

  • Bill

    haha! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I could help contribute to your blog ken! :)

    Definitely mind-boggling!

  • Wow. Porn without sex.

    You can tell it’s a Dell!

  • iBozz

    Perhaps they are being clever? Produce a video which will, as you have proved, generate discussion and views they would otherwise not have had?

    No publicity is bad publicity.

    I think that you have fallen into a clever marketing ploy!

  • Cory

    I think YouTube / Google should tell them to go to hell if they posted or leaked it themselves…. If you’re going to play the viral video game… you have to accept the ups and downs that come with it – Dell shouldn’t be allowed to cherry pick here.

  • Callinitlikeitis

    oh come on. the idea that any publicity is good publicity is always pondered in the wake of something truly awful. ‘you’re talking about it so it’s a clever marketing ploy’.

    but maybe, just maybe, the thing is just what it appears to be – a huge turd. there is no excuse for such a sexist, ignorant, and monumentally stupid ad. a cabbage could do a better job. a mentally retarded cabbage.