Sad false start for Firefox viral marketing campaign

Mozilla is planning a marketing campaign labeled Fight Against Boredom based on a viral video apparently featuring actors playing stereotypes and real Firefox users. This seems to be the video filmed a few weeks ago Mozilla called fans to participate on.

The video follows the aid video format (think We are the world) with several singers alternating on a microphone in a recording studio and shows several funny real facts like Firefox users are 14% less likely to have sleep disorders or 16% less likely to have fungal infections than Internet Explorer users. The numbers are based on recent Nielsen Online surveys according to Mozilla Marketing VP, Paul Kim.

At the end, the video prompts to visit fightagainstboredom.org which wasn’t supposed to go live yet but due to an error in the content development process it was accessible today. Technology news site, TechCrunch reported that among other contents some not so funny statistics were published like “38% less likely to live with others suffering from breast cancer.” and “24% less likely to live with others suffering from heart disease”.

Reactions didn’t take long labeling the mishap as offensive and of very bad taste at the very minimum.

In a comment to the post and a blog post later, Paul Kim apologized: “I want to sincerely apologize for this oversight. We hadn’t reviewed the stats before they were accidentally published and some of them are clearly in poor taste and humor. This does not reflect the views of Mozilla and we are working to fix this immediately.”

As of this writing, fightagainstboredom.org is not accessible and requires user authentication.

As for the video, which features Tay Zonday (or a look/voice alike), of Chocolate Rain (a viral video) fame, it has driven a broad range of reactions from “brilliant” to “I love Firefox, but this video sucked on a whole new level”and “OK, this has actually made me switch to IE for the time being. Anyone else embarrassed to use Firefox now ?”

I think a video can become viral because of being too beautiful or too funny not to pass along and I don’t see Rise Up falling on any of those categories. If the unfortunate mishap turns to ruin the viral marketing campaign I am not sure if there’d be much to be sorry about.

Watch the Firefox Rise Up video on YouTube.

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