Tide Rocks Social Media, Creates “Awesome New Web Video” In Response To Onion Joke

By Megan O'Neill 

Tide should win some kind of award for social media savviness for a sweet, unplanned online video campaign that they launched earlier this month in a response to a joke The Onion made about them.

On May 29, a post went up on The Onion written by Fred Hammond, fictional “Director of Digital Video and Social Media Ad Integration” at Tide Detergent.  The post, called, ‘Hey, Everybody! This Cool New Tide Detergent Video Is Blowing Up All Over The Internet!’ was all about an “awesome new web video from Tide detergent.”

Hammond writes, “Everybody in my office has been going crazy for this video.  It’s practically all we’ve been talking about.  People just can’t seem to get enough of how awesome it is—men, women, everyone.  Little kids think it’s hilarious.  Adults love it.  It’s just a great video across the board.  The first thing I did after watching this Tide clip was go onto Facebook to ‘like’ it, just like everybody else is going!”  The catch?  The video didn’t actually exist.  It was more of a commentary on brands that do ridiculous things in order to “go viral” (read: Jennifer Aniston goes viral for Smartwater and, more recently, Ryan Seacrest’s Ultimate Viral Video).

The totally awesome and amazing nonexistent Tide video was described by The Onion as follows:

“For those of you who haven’t seen it yet—and trust me, your friends are going to email this Tide detergent clip to you, like, a thousand times in the next few days—it’s got these cute, funny talking animals, a cool indie-rock song, and it’s just so hilariously random.  And it’s got this amazing cameo by Bret Michaels, which is so funny because Bret Michaels is hilarious and from the ‘80s.”

So what did Tide do?  Well…they ran with it!  Days later, on June 1, they uploaded almost the very same video described in The Onion article to their Facebook page (sans Bret Michaels).  They write, “A humor newspaper made a joke about us this week so we thought we’d join in the fun and make the video.  What do you think?”

While the real Tide video hasn’t had the same massive viral response as the video in The Onion article (it’s currently got 169 likes and 21 shares on Facebook and just under 10,000 views on YouTube), it’s still a pretty awesome example of social media done right.  It’s pretty impressive how Tide took The Onion’s joke and made it into a reality in a couple of days—Tide, I tip my hat to you!

Melissa Hoffmann of Adweek points out that, “This actually isn’t Tide’s first foray into response marketing.  Earlier this year, during the Daytona 500, a crash saw nearly 200 gallons of jet fuel spill from a dryer onto the surface of the Daytona International Speedway, igniting intense fire.  Safety workers rushing to the scene to extinguish and clean up the mess did so with Tide.”  Tide responded with a press release and commercial about the 2012 Daytona 500 cleanup.

What do you think about Tide’s quick response to The Onion article?  How do you like their “awesome new web video?”  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.