Those electrified sheep in Wales

My brother sent me the link to this video. It purports to be about a bunch of artist types and shepherds who herd LED-draped sheep into patterns of exploding fireworks, the old Pong video game and even the Mona Lisa. Pretty funny and creative. Made me laugh and I sent it along to friends.

It was only at the end that I realized this was really a very clever Samsung ad. I wonder how many people watching it understood that? I'm guessing younger viewers got it right away while older viewers might have not realized it was an ad.

Viral videos like this are a great way for advertisers to sneak their message in under the critical radar of viewers. It's like product-placement on steroids. But it's a new level of disingenuousness that even TV ads (which are subject to laws governing their veracity) haven't approached.

I'm trying to decide what I think about it. On the one hand, it made me laugh and I loved it. On the other, I'm appalled at how blurry the line between advertising and the real world is getting. And that I almost fell for it.

I think.

While the sheep really were being herded, there was some computer trickery involved, said Matt Smith, co-founder of the ad agency that made the ad:
"The sheep herding bit is straight up – no trickery but there is a fair amount of computer trickery and post production work. We thought the Mona Lisa was the big wink to people – once they saw that we thought they would realise it was not all real."
Or, maybe not. It reminds me a bit of the New Yorker cartoon where a dog is sitting at a computer and telling another canine: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Or a phony bunch of shepherds.


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