Friday, August 7, 2009


Guest Piece compiled by Ed Lee
Like millions of people around the world this week, I sat at my computer enthralled as a wedding party surprised and delighted me with their hilarious and unconventional walk down the aisle to Chris Brown’s song, “Forever.” As I watched the video for the umpteenth time, I wondered whether the unfortunate choice of artist, considering Brown’s conviction for domestic violence, would affect the video’s popularity. But then I saw that the makers of the video were asking for donations for the Sheila Wellstone Institute, a charity dedicated to ending domestic violence. Definite Touchdown for thinking through the potential landmines surrounding the song in the video. But as I did some more digging, I saw some blog posts suggesting that this overnight viral sensation may not be as viral as we first thought. Had Sony, Brown’s record label fanned the flames of this amazing video? Digital forensics are inconclusiveat best – while there was not a huge amount of online chatter, this video seems to me to be the sort of content that could well be shared via email as much as openly in the social media space. If we presume Sony was in on the act, I can only give its team a Touchdown – for seeing the opportunity in this video, for not issuing a take-down/cease and desist order, for seemingly promoting the heck out of it online and offline (Today Show anyone?!) and for ensuring that the video, which is up to 17m views as of going to press, was quickly linked to iTunes and Amazon for viewers to purchase. Touchdown indeed – but to who? I would like to retain my wide-eyed naïveté and believe this is a genuine home grown viral hit which Sony managed to capitalize on. I don’t want to be the cynic that cries foul on every Internet meme as being staged or faked. Like this. If it is indeed a fake, propogated and promoted by the record label to boost an ailing stars popularity, I have to give them kudos (and a Touchdown) for being creative, playful and intelligent with their fake.

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