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Maybe the Cringiest Marketing I Ever Did
And how I repressed it for 15 years despite the fact it probably helped make me millions
In 2006 I got a brilliant idea to go viral. I was still a rapper then, just starting to dabble in digital marketing. It was around halloween. The internet hadn’t hit puberty yet and nobody used the word MEME. Chain emails were all the rage. And a popular chain email was…
The Ghost Under the Bed.
Imagine checking your inbox and seeing the subject line: The Hospital Bed - Read before opening picture.
Yes pictures were attachments back then that have to click on to open.
The email talked about how a photo was taken in a hospital of a patient laying in bed recovering from a car accident which caused a young woman to die. It goes on that if you receive the image and don’t forward it to five people, the woman will come from you and collect your soul.
My brilliant idea was to turn this into a song, launch it near halloween, and get people to forward my song to five friends and became a smash hit!
I registered the domain ghostunderthebed.com and created a landing page with some copy, the image, a link to an mp3 of my song and a form where people could put in 5 email addresses to forward the page.
I then launched it, pushed it out to my small email list of fans and waited for it to go viral.
As an afterthought, I also put it on YouTube. I don’t know why I didn’t start with YouTube. Maybe you couldn’t embed videos into pages back then.
Sad to say the page did not go viral. Soon after, I gave up on music, launched myself into marketing and the rest is history. I had forgotten all about this failed viral stunt until last night. My business partner called me up desperate to recover a webinar we did years ago that he couldn’t find anywhere.
Turns out we did the webinar through Google Hangouts. So we hunted through all our YouTube accounts, one of which was my old Jason Fladlien YouTube account where I found this gem:
32k views by accident! Back in 2006, that was a lot of views.
The video had been set to private for 16 years! I had no copies of the song anywhere, and hadn’t heard the song once in at least 15 years. So I pressed play last night and listened to it.
Oh God. It was terrible. ha. I can see why I failed as a rapper. I cringed listening to it. But I was also grateful. These failed attempts helped shape me for my true calling in marketing. Each try allowed me to smooth out the edges and refine my skills.
The cliche of each failure brings you one step closer to success rings true.
However bad you may be right now - yeah, I was that bad. Maybe worse. But I was also stubborn. I got better because I ran out of ways to stay bad. I failed in public and no one cared - hell, I didn’t even remember it after a while. Yet the lessons and experience stay with you. Most of my successes came when I was trying to do other things and by accident stumbled onto something better.
It’s way messier than we think. That’s what makes it scary. That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes is VALUABLE.