June 24, 2007

Gaming the Viral Marketing of a Movie [11:07 pm]

A Spurned Parody of ‘Die Hard’ Returns to YouTube, Approved

The story seems familiar to online video users: fans create a parody video using pirated studio content and post it on YouTube, and the studio’s lawyers quickly have it removed for violating copyright law. But this time the studio’s marketing team relented —and even paid the fans to repost their video.

Last August, a New York-based “comic-rock” group named Guyz Nite created an online video for their song “Die Hard,” a rather worshipful three-minute guide to 20th Century Fox’s action-movie franchise starring Bruce Willis. (The song’s refrain says, “We’re gonna die, die, die as hard as we can!”) The video used clips from the first three “Die Hard” movies, and within days Fox’s legal department requested that the video be removed from YouTube.

But in February, with a fourth “Die Hard” movie on the horizon, Fox’s marketing department contacted the band and offered to pay it to repost the video, using additional video clips to promote the new film, “Live Free or Die Hard,” which opens on Wednesday. The new version of the video has been viewed almost 90,000 times on YouTube; the reposted old version has been viewed almost 100,000 times.

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