Okay - so with a name like Spectrum, I feel we would be remiss if we didn't comment on this news story.
For those who haven't seen it - one of the most viral videos on YouTube the past several months has been Hungrybear9562's (aka Paul Vasquez) joyous video of a - you guessed it - double rainbow that goes all the way across the sky.
The video has had over 14 Million views, COUNTLESS videos posted that lovingly satirize it and has even captured the attention of TV celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel. Recently, Paul also received some corporate attention from Microsoft, who capitalized on Paul's YouTube viral virility to shoot a commercial for their new Windows Live Photo Gallery.
If you can watch the original all the way through - you'll not only hear the man behind the rainbow earnestly go through every conceivable human emotion, but at one point he laments that he can't capture ALL the beauty of the moment in the frame. Microsoft decided that 14,000,000 people felt Paul's pain and used the moment to promote the new Photo Stitch feature that allows you to combine adjacent photos into one image.
Microsoft's ad has raised an interesting question - where does the line get drawn when it comes to corporate use of content found in Social Media? In this case, it's a commercial inspired by a video on YouTube. Opponents say that Microsoft has sullied the innocence portrayed by the man we hear in the video. Proponents state that the attention is only getting more people to watch Paul's original video. For the record - I'd never seen Paul's video until the hub-bub around this debate made me hunt it down on YouTube. AND - in the 3-4 days while I was typing up this post, the number of views went from 13 Million to over 14 million.
So, what do you think? Is Paul a sell-out? Or is he lucky to have captured the attention of a viewing audience and using that opportunity to his benefit? Did Microsoft spoil Paul's innocent, natural video with their commercial? Or was it a genius way to tie the YouTubers’ attention to a product they make? Let me phrase it another way – is this a creative way for a company to stay tied into 'what’s hot' or is it a lazy way to avoid coming up with creative ideas for promoting your company’s products? How would you react if a corporation 'discovered' a picture or video you posted? I for one think the link between Microsoft's product and Paul's video is a little weak and I also think the innocence is awfully 'staged' in the commercial. That said, I love the concept that Microsoft's advertising campaign is bringing more attention to Paul and his video.
Have a Double Rainbow Day!!!