Basketball Cheerleader - Viral Marketing at its Best(buy)

I love a great example of viral marketing -- something that is clearly a marketing ploy, but you just cannot help but pass it on to your friends.

The most recent item that caught my attention is the video clip of four guys tossing a small young woman up in the air and seemingly through a basketball net, feet first, after a flip. The guys size up the approach, trajectory, height and let 'er rip...nothin' but net! (Actually, it looks like she may have caught a bit of rim. ouch.)

If you haven't seen the clip, check it out at is interesting in it's own right. It's a marketing campaign by BestBuy and Nokia. In addition to the website, and perhaps the primary advertising vehicle, is a spot at the beginning of movies in the movie theater. It masquerades as a movie trailer for a ridiculous but strangely believable movie about a guy who aspires to be a college cheerleader. Alas, his concentration and chances for success are thwarted by a poorly timed cell phone ring. The trailer then takes a twist into it's true identity, a reminder to mute your cell phones for the movie and a BestBuy/Nokia advertisement.

But back to the video. The clip is very well done and looks very amateurish and therefore realistic. But after my initial awe (and my own contribution to spreading the message, one point BestBuy), common sense kicked in. Impossible.

I admit, I got obsessed for an hour or so, determined to figure out how they did it, my initial thinking that they simply filmed her in front of the basketball net and it all happened so fast that it just looked real.

As if common sense wasn't enough. Come on, there are some crazy and stupid people out there. So, I set of to catch a few frames of the video...

Basketball Cheerleader Frames

Click to view the larger image.

The video shows her clearly going through the net! But look at a few things:

  1. Her hands are pointed outward as she comes through the net. There's no way they would have made it through.

  2. The back of her head is dangerously close, too close, to the rim. I couldn't catch a frame that showed her head outside the boundary of the rim, but the fourth image shows that she would have taken quite a whack. Much worse than what would inspire her little act at the end.

  3. The audio. A woman sounds remarkably similar to a basketball going through a net. Who knew?

Conclusion: Faked (one point, Scott). ...Pause for grateful applause...
But that's some excellent video editing work by whoever did that. Brilliant!

My favorite part is the guys celebrating at the end, almost oblivious to the woman's certain broken wrists and fractured skull. The ass-slapping cowboy ride takes the cake.

You may find yourself asking why Scott doesn't have better things to do with his time. The thing is, he does. Two points, BestBuy, and a win. Enough "viral marketing research"...

Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 08:54:32 AM in Fun
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