Marketing Gone Wrong – Don't Go The Ignorant Racist Route

by Mohit Arora on July 7, 2008

I was sent this video that I want to share with you guys.

When you set out to create a viral video using controversial content, you have to be careful with how controversial your content is and how you approach it. You might want to push a few buttons, but don’t blatantly offend people; especially not with racist content.

The guy in this video has a company that produces “controversial” video skits for the web and mobile devices. Funny thing is, in the Press section of his website, he has a cartoon depicting a suited exec-type asking him how to get bloggers to talk about their company, and his reply being “Easy. Create something that doesn’t suck so bad it doesn’t make people want to kill themselves.”

Well buddy, you definitely kept to your word with this video. I don’t think anybody wants to kill themselves after watching this video – but they probably want to kill you.

“But Moe.. controversy sells, plus he got you talking about him, and that’s the whole point of controversial marketing isn’t it?”.

Yeah, controversy sells; for sure. Some people make a career of it including Howard Stern, Wendy Williams and even that other one there.. what’s her name… Ann Coulter.

These people know that by sparking controversy, they will generate a reaction from a mass audience. And when you have the attention of a mass audience – any mass audience – there will be companies kicking down your door to give you money; usually for access to that audience in the form of advertising (gossip, tabloids, etc).

These shock jocks and controversial personalities generally have some sort of plan before they open their mouths. (Well, maybe not Ann Coulter.)

I don’t know about this guy though; he doesn’t seem to quite “get it”. I watched some of his other videos and his “controversial content” is not really what I’d call controversial; it’s more sarcastic criticism than anything else. Seems like he stepped out of his element on this video and wanted to try something that would “take it to the next level”, but unfortunately failed miserably.

Apparently, there are petitions circulating calling on Verizon Wireless to terminate their relationship with this guy and his company.

Seems like he might’ve just Don Imus’ed/Kramer’ed his reputation and career.

Oh yeah.. the Verizon thing? Turns out he recently struck a deal with Verizon Wireless to distribute his “controversial videos” through their VCast & Fios services.

Seems like just yesterday that Verizon cut their ties with Akon for controversy surrounding one of his performances. Let’s see how/if they handle this.

Here’s the video. Let me know what you think in the comments.

UPDATE: Turns out this video/issue is bigger than I thought. The video is actually almost a year old and stirred up quite a controversy when it was first released, but stayed within the tech circles. It’s only recently gained wind due to the contract he signed with Verizon.

As best described on Liz Burr‘s post about the issue, “I guess nobody cares until you try to be somebody.”

{ 12 comments }

bmore diva July 7, 2008 at 10:07 AM

wtf????? this man is stupid. he just lost his career because of this video!

Erika July 7, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Oooooo!!!! Stuff like that just gets my blood boiling!!! That was unnecessary. It was wrong on so many levels. You’re right, this guy just doesn’t get it. You don’t stir up this kind of controversy, especially if you are tied to company liked Verizon. Stupid.

RICHARD July 7, 2008 at 4:48 PM

I am completely disgusted by the ignorance shown in this video. This wannabe shock jock went and completely disrespected an entire race based off stereotype that we thought were eliminated from the mainstream years ago. If he works in tech, then he should know how many black tech professionals there really are. There are MANY! And I assure you, none of them even closely resemble any of the stereotypes this character displayed in his little video. We need to pressure Verizon and their executive board to cut their ties with him as well as boycott his company. We cannot tolerate this type of blasphemy anymore. I urge everybody to pay attention and look at the positive black role models in the world and educate yourself to eliminate these types of stereotypes. By this time next year, the President in office will be a black man who is nothing short of remarkable. Not only will it be a major event in history to have the first black president, but hopefully it will be the change we need to show these poor souls that race is not the issue; ignorance is.

Wootng July 7, 2008 at 5:31 PM

This made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair. And let’s not act like he is the first to do this or that what he is saying isn’t exactly what you see on BET. At least I can understand the words he is saying. If he was black doing an impression of some hillbilly and his cable access hunting show no one would be saying anything. Get over yourself and learn to laugh already. Its not like he is the reason such a large percentage of black men are unemployed or in prison. Or that this video is why I have never seen anything but a blonde girl come out of my black neighbors apartment in the morning. And as for positive role models, black or other wise, STOP LOOKING TO TV AND THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY! Role models start at home and from what I am seeing, that is a much sadder state of affairs than some no name video blogger. He is not the one stereo typing. He is repeating what he sees on the tube every day. I don’t hear anyone saying anything about that. Guys rapping about b**ches and hoes, drugs and pimping. I don’t see anyone picketing Snoop or little Wayne. There message is way worse for our country that this guy could ever be. It’s cool to here Cam’Ron doing “suck it or not” but this guy using GPS to track his hoes is what sends you over the edge…WTF!?! No one wants to hear the truth…it’s the black community that is to blame. Not some white dude on the internet. No one wants to clean up their own yard; they just want to blame someone for pointing out that its ugly.

Eddie Murphy July 8, 2008 at 12:05 AM

Wootng hit the shit.

It’s a comedy skit man. Relax. Other than the fact it’s not very funny, it’s JUST a SKIT.

And Moe, you are talking about him…whether you mentioned his name or not, the video says it all.

Also, if that guy wasn’t a white dude and it was me (the very funny Eddie Murphy) doing the skit, you’d be laughing your ass off.

jamie July 8, 2008 at 12:25 AM

wootng and “eddie murphy” are probably the same person! i’m sorry but that video is not just a skit. it’s highly offensive and if you actually agree with it you are “both” (even though you’re the same person) morons. don’t post your support for this fool. seeing how the internet is, it’s probably the guy in the video who posted both those comments to defend himself. sad. get a life and stop supporting racism!

Eddie Murphy July 9, 2008 at 12:36 AM

well, the thing is that I’m not the same guy and i’m not the nut that did the video.

it wasn’t funny…it wasn’t racist …it was distasteful. I often think that people who believe that videos like this are racist are more racist than others…

someone makes fun of my race (if its in a stupid funny way) I laugh…others say that its stereotyping…racist to assume these things about another race…

it’s all just gotten rediculous in this world.

everyone should really just relax.

the guys a nut, he’s not funny, lets just leave it at that…trust me, he doesn’t need the racist card thrown at him …he’s already losing business by making such a shit-ass video.

Anonymous July 9, 2008 at 12:36 AM

I think that it’s stupid how ignorant some people are. They tend to live on sterotypes especially on black and hispanic people who i may say basically built this country to what it is today.I’m just wondering who the hell found this guy i’ve never seen this guy before until now knowing the way the media is this i probably somebodys nephew or cousin of the owner of a big time producer ect. Verizon just might have killed thereself as a company and watch a bullshit apology is gunna happen where they’re gunna get a black representative for there comercials.

Eddie Murphy July 9, 2008 at 12:38 AM

ridiculous**

Moe Arora | makingthemogul.com July 11, 2008 at 4:19 AM

@ Richard – I agree with you; race is not the issue – ignorance is.

@ jamie – They’re not the same person (I can check the IP of each commenter), but they still have the right to voice their opinions. All of our individual opinions are our own, but just because we disagree with someone, it does not mean we need to run them off. It adds to the problem.

The best way to solve a misunderstanding is to communicate with one another so that we can understand the reasons behind conflicting opinions and therefore come to a common understanding.

I appreciate all the voices being spoken because at least it’s being discussed and put into the open.

@ Wootng & Eddie – Regarding role models; you are absolutely correct. Positive influence begins in the home – absolutely. But we can’t ignore the impact that the media has on influencing the masses. The media doesn’t only influence the youth, but it also influences the parents and others that the youth look to for guidance.

I agree that double-standards do exist. I don’t think anybody is denying that. I understand the point that both of you are making, however the point of my post was not attacking Loren Feldman as a blatant racist, but rather I was saying this is an example of a plan gone wrong.

He was trying to be very edgy and oftentimes when trying to be edgy, people will step outside of their comfort zones. The result either turns out great or fails miserably. This is a gamble many people are willing to take in the hopes of their plan turning out to be a great one.

Unfortunately for him, it failed miserably.

It’s not because he’s white; it because of how he executed it. There are several white comedians who have entire sets full of black content; however they know how to execute it. They pay attention to what is funny and what is offensive.

Anytime you approach a subject as sensitive as race, religion, politics, etc, there will always be that line between acceptable and offensive. This video crossed that line.

So again, this is not a matter of people taking a video too seriously because they have no sense of humour or just because it’s a white guy doing a black parody skit – it’s about how it was executed.

@ Wootng – You don’t see anyone picketing Snoop or Lil Wayne? Turn on any channel at any given moment; hip-hop entertainers are under 24/7 scrutiny. In fact, half the time it’s the very same media outlets that play those videos with the content you described that are the ones who are attacking them.

Dick July 16, 2008 at 9:43 PM

Before you judge this video, you should watch the entire series. The video on its own is taken out of context. Loren was making a statement about how blacks in the media are shown to the public. This video is one small part of a much larger series. Please do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the issue before posting.

best

Moe Arora | makingthemogul.com July 16, 2008 at 9:49 PM

@Dick – Much like your own suggestion; I’d recommend that you read my entire post before you comment. If you did that, you would have read that I have watched the other videos and you would have properly understood the purpose and point of my post. If you still need further clarification, you can read my reply to Wootng & Eddie just above your comment. Please read my post carefully and educate yourself on what my post was all about before you create false impressions.

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