Is Martin G spoof video brilliant content marketing?

In its simplest form content marketing should be about producing a message that will be read, viewed and consumed. But with so much noise out there, half the battle is finding a way to cut through.

One interesting method comes from the German Bar Association’s (DAR) online magazine, Deutsche Anwaltauskunft. Recently it published a video on YouTube highlighting the need for couples to take divorce into consideration before committing to marriage.

The video featured a man chopping up half of the couple’s  belongings to put up for sale on eBay. In accompanying text it explained it was done as an act of revenge against his soon-to-be former wife.

Titled “For Laura”, its opening messages were: “Thank you for 12 ‘beautiful’ years Laura!!!!! You’ve really earned half, greetings to my successor.”

Footage included the man, named only as Martin G, sawing up items including an iPhone, chairs, teddy bear and a bed.

The video has over six million views on YouTube. Perhaps more importantly, it was shared by media outlets around the world including Mashable and Fox News.

So far so good. Except the video is a spoof.

Despite the questionable use of Photoshop on belongings such as the car, it was passed off as genuine by the news organisations and, presumably, the people sharing it.

Is the Martin G YouTube video a brilliant content marketing strategy? There are many people who bought into this story. Some may have thought chopping their spouse’s mobile was preferable to a premarital contract, though that is surely their look-out.

One possible issue with this approach is that as brands become publishers, there is a danger of hurting the trustworthiness of their own platform. This is especially true if the company is involved in a ‘serious’ sector such as marital law.

This is probably the reason why the Deutsche Anwaltauskunft published it on YouTube, keeping the spoof away from contaminating its own site.

But while there are gains to be made with a spoof like this, it is easy to imagine the public getting tired of the approach.

Clearly, the DAR is happy. It said: “We are very pleased and would have never expected that our message could reach millions of people worldwide in such a short period of time. No one here expected the many interview requests about the fake story and fake divorced husband Martin G. from all parts of the world.”

Who can blame them? Six million-plus views and worldwide coverage mean this slice of content marketing has been a definite success.

And with the products for sale on eBay, they might make some money for charity as well.

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