#Karen26 as she was known on Twitter, the "Danish mother desperately seeking..." the father of her son August which created quite the viral splash last year is going to Cannes.
Grey, the ad agency that created the ad and was fired later, stand behind the campaign which never actually ran in full. Yes, there was to be another ad with this one. One that tied the whole shebang together. Perhaps even a hilarious punchline. I don't know, I haven't seen it.
Judging half a campaign might be hard, but Grey does have digits to show off. In one week “Danish Mother Seeking” was Googled over 83,000 times. Within 48-hours of the film being uploaded to YouTube in September 2009, the video of the young mother looking for the father of her child reached YouTube’s ‘top-ten most viewed’ list. Let's not forget that #Karen26 trended on Twitter that weekend. Will it bring home an award for "Best Use of Social Media"? Who knows - but it is undeniable that she went viral.
Tim Mellors, Vice Chairman and Worldwide Creative Director, Grey Group, says: “The public responded in their thousands, offering messages of support to the young mother. The documentary style proved incredibly convincing and peaked people’s curiosity about life in Denmark. It led to more than 20 user-generated video responses and spoofs with over 400,000 views.” After just five days, despite its impact, the film was pulled from YouTube by Visit Denmark; the website was shut down in a wave of controversy. In this short time frame, the film resulted in 2,578,961 video views on 466 websites in 216 countries.
Now, I wasn't a fan of #Karen26, I wrote this is what you did wrong Grey and GoViral, but I'm even less of a fan of the journalists that seemed hellbent on getting Ms Kiilerich, the CEO of VisitDenmark to resign because they mistook Youtube's recent film feed for TT so I had a quick chat at the kitchen table: Bambusing about Karen26 & Extrabladets need to shift blame.
Even ad agencies spoke out against Karen, ad agencies who should defend new ideas, because we don't want scared clients too afraid to try new things (and new media).
What really went wrong here wasn't the virality of it all, but how the client handled its sudden spotlight. Since Karen was meant to be a teaser, VisitDenmark should have stonewalled the press with "no comment" until they were blue in the face. Let's see if she can get as much attention in Cannes as she did when she appeared on youtube.
Previous Karen news:
"Karen" the Danish mother seeking is actually Ditte Arnth
Karen26 on The O'Reilly Factor FOX News last night
Karen26 gets second wind as she reaches BoingBoing
The Onion weighs in on Danish tourism ads.
Karen even stars in: Adland's 10 by 10 - Top Ten Marketing Mishaps in the past ten years.