Advertising meets Mockumentary

26 09 2007

From a friend of mine over at Civil Rights Theory.

Activist Parody Beats Reality to the Punch: Social Media Strategy

September 26th, 2007 | by jcibarra |

I was flying back from California yesterday, and on the little television on plane I watched a strange advertisement for Frontier airlines.

The show was a “parody of a parody,” a “documentary” about how Flip – a dolphin painted onto the back of a Frontier airliner – was able to “get to Mexico.” You have to see it to believe it, but the as the story goes: Frontier airlines created a fake ad campaign in which they “organized” to send Flip, a dolphin whose plane never flew to Mexico, an opportunity to enjoy warmer skies. The documentary examines the political and media strategy around Flip’s eventual success.

What struck me was the special blend of tactics used by “Flip Advocates” which included:

– A catchy tag line: “Send Flip to Mexico”
– Interesting commercial spots
– Video footage of local protesters and community activists
– Video footage of primary players
– A “Send Flip to Mexico Blog”
– Social networking community outreach
– Vlogs (video blogs) and podcasting
– And even interactive elements such as web forums and petitions

Whether these items are real or not matters less to me than the fact that the parody of activism gets it better than true-life activism. The fact is that few civil rights organizations have invested in media campaigns that organize online media as well Frontier airlines can play “pretend activist.”

Food for thought.

If you don’t believe, see for yourself:




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