At this point in media history it may be overstating the obvious, but sometimes the briefest Internet videos can be just as entertaining as the most elaborate movie or television productions. That's the case with "Devil Baby Attack," a new promotional video released this week to generate awareness for the 20th Century Fox theatrical film " Devil's Due" which will be released in theaters on Friday January 17.
Overnight, this riotous little production has become one of the most talked about videos in months. The media has gone wild over it – and for good reason. It has that crazy lightning in a bottle quality that makes it more entertaining with perpetual repeat viewing.
Significantly, this is actually an advertisement for something. It isn't the first video to serve as a new kind of commercial in the digital age, but it is already one of the best. The coverage and the conversation it has generated during the last two days should be the envy of advertising executives everywhere.
As one might expect from the somewhat self-explanatory title, "Devil's Due" is a horror story about a sudden pregnancy of questionable origin that plunges a newlywed couple into a nightmare. It doesn't look to be the kind of movie that is review dependent, but there is no telling if it will be a box office dud or something special. Regardless, there's no way it is going to be more entertaining than this crazy video.
Of course, one has to consider the possibility that the video may prove more popular than the movie, and one has to decide whether or not that is a bad thing. Could its sudden outsize popularity actually work against the very thing it is intended to support? We'll find out this weekend.
The talented folks at the viral video marketing company Thinkmodo (who crafted and orchestrated the clever " Zombie Experiment" video for AMC last year when the DISH satellite service dropped that basic cable network) built a ghastly looking animatronic baby – one that squirms and growls and vomits – and a remote controlled baby carriage for it to travel around in, and then set the contraption in motion on the streets of New York City, all the while recording the responses of curious passers-by who, remarkably, must have signed releases allowing footage of themselves to be used as part of the promotional campaign for "Devil's Due."
As I write this I'm mid-way through the annual Winter Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, which I am covering for MediaBizBloggers. The quality of the programming content that has been presented here, most of it on pay and basic cable networks, has been extraordinary. So I can't help but be amused when a promotional video with a running time of less than two minutes jumps out at me amid all of the amazing shows that I have been surrounded by during the last week.
TCA tours are giant press events, but there is no reason why they cannot serve marketing and promotional needs as well. Toward that end, a stunt like the Devil Baby here would instantly explode over hundreds of media outlets. It might not be wise to plan for something like this to happen during an actual press conference, because even though it would delight the manic bloggers and tweeters who now make up much of the TCA membership it would probably offend the old-school fuddy-duddy journalists who remain. But if it happened just outside a press session – say, in the lobby of the Langdon Huntington Hotel, or out in the front drive – it could result in major media coverage.
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