Imagine that in today’s tough economy you were forced to sell gizmos to as wide of a population as you can reach. And, all things being equal, your gizmos are not really that unique. Other salesmen are out there trying to sell their similar gizmos to a wide demographic as well. What do you do? Wrap your gizmo inside a shiny wrapper of course! The philosophy also applies to viral marketing that attempts to push a product such as a movie, a video game, or even (in this case) a new album from a music artist to the consumers.
Enter iamamiwhoami, a YouTube user that joined the service and set out to upload music videos of various time lengths under cryptic names and with a content that resembles something between Bjork’s artistic creations and the feature film Pan’s Labyrinth. As time went by, a more coherent message emerged from this viral campaign.
But let’s talk a bit more about the video content. The central figure appears to be a female that quickly sparked the general interest among those following the viral. Speculation abounded with regards to her identity: the popular choice shifted from Christina Aguilera, to Lady GaGa, to a speculation that this is an artist backed by Trent Reznor of NIN/Year Zero fame. Finally a strong possibility has emerged that Swedish singer/songwriter Jonna Lee is the culprit even though her own management denied involvement. The otherworldly themes that appear on the video tend to have a more eco-conscious message, and the music ranges from tribal to electronica. And yes, it even features a male character dancing around in his underwear.
As previously mentioned, the names of the video files also contained a message. That message was quickly decoded and spells out start to finish “educational I am it’s me mandragora officinarum welcome home.” A Facebook user, Becky Germann Crider, posted on the discussion area of the iamamiwhoami group a rather extensive explanation of the mandrake legends and their relation to the story being told by the artist.
Apart from the discussion taking place at the unFiction forums the viral campaign has also received attention from MTV, news media, and a number of pop culture blogs that remain divided as to the identity of the female lead.
The campaign will undoubtedly be marked a success since it allowed this anonymous artist to reach a far wider audience than the core followers of the music genre featured in iamamiwhoami videos. Hopefully, the artist will come out from behind her mask soon to reap the rewards of a viral well done.