Where the hell is Matt? Or how to turn a viral Hit into a Flop!

I think everyone has seen the video from Matt Harding entitled "Where the Hell is Matt?". If you haven't, then you've probably lived under a rock for the past 3 years!

Posted in 2006, the video has been what I would consider a major hit on the web, accumulating over 14 million views so far making it one of the best viral videos of all time.

Original "Where the Hell is Matt?" video

But what is viral content? This usually stands for any type of content (although mostly videos) that spreads naturally amongst web users, just like a virus would between living beings. This led to a new form of advertising several years ago called viral marketing or buzz marketing. However, viral is not as easy to launch as it seems. Sometimes great videos never get the buzz they deserve while others are total hits although not great quality videos.

But one thing is certain: If you want some content to go viral, it needs to appeal to people!

In 2008, Matt Harding posted a second "Where the hell is Matt?" video currently totaling over 23 million views on youtube! Yes, this is close to twice the number of views on his first popular video...

where the hell is mattThis second video was actually financed by Stride, a chewing gum company. But, although there is no obvious relation between Matt's video and bubble gums, Stride probably did benefit from this video.
As you can see on the screenshot (right), only a small thank you message appears at the very end of the video with the Stride logo. It is the same on Matt's travel blog where only a tiny Stride logo appears in the bottom left corner.

"Where the Hell is Matt?" sponsored by Stride

I believe if this second video was successful, it is because Stride hasn't imposed any advertising. The image is not polluted by ads or obvious Stride logos and still focuses on highlighting beautiful places around the world in a good quality video. In summary, the advertising aspect was kept to its minimum.

HOWEVER, if I am writing this post, it is because of the two following ads from Visa card. The first one is a US ad published around 9 months ago while the second one was published just over a month ago. Respectively, they score 53,000 and 800 views, far from the original videos!

Well, I'll let you judge the videos by yourself but I am quite certain they will never go viral.
Why? Firstly because they're pretty bad.
Secondly, because the whole Where the Hell is Matt concept has simply become over-exploited and over-advertised, and that's something people usually flee.

Mastercard should have taught Visa their slogan.
"Sometimes, there are things money can't buy: online popularity"

Visa ad

Japanese Visa ad

PS: I still give a round of applause for Matt for the original videos that are just splendid and also for getting free trips around the world at the advertisers' expenses!

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