Activision admits Bike Hero is viral marketing

Written by Harry Butler

November 21, 2008 | 11:30

Tags: #fake #guitar-hero #world-tour

Companies: #activision #activision-blizzard

No doubt in last few days many of you will have marvelled over the awesome "amateur video" recently posted onto Youtube of a film maker playing Guitar Hero with a bike. The footage is fantastically well choreographed, with the rider cycling over the familiar guitar hero note patterns painted onto the ground in with correspondingly flashing LEDs fitted to the handlebars that are perfect time to the music.

While the level of skill required to create the general awesomeness of the video had many cry foul of viral marketing, others were willing to give the makers the benefit of the doubt simply because it was cool. Although it’s now been revealed by MTV (makers of competing plastic instrument-athon Rock Band) that the whole thing is indeed a PR stunt by Activision, makers of the Guitar Hero franchise.

Rather than a product of the “Brierwood Vandals,” and shot in one take, the video is actually the result of an all night location shoot in North Hollywood by viral marketing company Droga5, who you might also remember from such classic internet hoaxes as spray painting Air Force One.

In an interview with MTV, Brad Jakeman, chief Creative Officer for Activision defended the video, although did admit that there had been “some filmic magic,” used to create the handlebar LED effects. Jakeman also said that Activision “Wanted people to first figure out it was something in the marketing realm and then dig in and have more of the conversation that we’re having about how it was done,” – as you would when you’ve spent all that money on making the video in the first place.

Were you taken in by Bike Hero or did you know it was fake all along? Do you feel cheated when companies use viral marketing to promote their products or has is just become part of the way products are sold on internet? Whatever your take, let us know in the forums.
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