Not Being a Douchebag Helps the Bottom Line

by Elisa Kreisinger 

This year, Hello Flo and GlodieBlox answered the perennial SXSW question, ‘how do you go viral?’ and not in a gross way, either. Their honest and to-the-point videos raised the bar for what it means to be a viral ad (for start ups, no less!).

A few things I’ve been thinking about re: their popularity:

  • Don’t insult women and girls.  It’s worth noting that both viral ads are for women-run start ups and while neither made it on to TV as a typical on-air spot they received lots of (free) media attention for their originality and ability to tell a good, quirky story (more on that below). That means there was no media budget. The only costs were production-related. Which is awesome. See, not being a douchebag is good for your bottom line. 
  • Let the story lead – the product isn’t the focus in either videos. It’s the story led by a female protagonist featuring other girls…and the story isn’t a tired version of girls vs. boys.
  • Make it look good. It’s not that these ads couldn’t run on TV; they look good enough to (except maybe they’re a bit long). But the point is they look like they could. They look professional. They look like a web video worthy of sharing. They aren’t too highly produced and aren’t too low-budget.
  • Even if you don’t like the product, you liked the ad. I remember being really disappointed that Hello Flo didn’t use organic tampons (Who wants to put chorine up there? A tampon is literally the closest thing to you, nay, IN you. Why WOULDN’T you want that to be organic?! /rant) but they are working on it. Either way, I shared the video despite my ethical quandary. And I did because I rarely see smart, kick-ass girls, except in my real life. So when I see media that reflects my interests and beliefs, I have a greater affinity towards my community and it begins to deepen my self of self within that community.

 GoldieBlox is in the running for a Superbowl ad. You can vote here.  After being suded by Beastie Boys for copyright violation, the company has removed the original music--a parody of "Girls" from the video.



Elisa Kreisinger, a Brooklyn-based video artist whose website is Pop Culture Pirate.  Her latest work includes remixing Mad Men into feminists and The Real Housewives into lesbians. She is an artist in Residence at Public Knowledge and Eyebeam. Elisa speaks around the world on the power of remix and remaking pop culture. She is a contributor to "The Book of Jezebel" and "The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies" both due out this year.