When videos go viral

by Stephen Tall on February 4, 2008

It was YouTube’s top video for the weekend, and has been the talk of the political blogosphere today: a musical remix of Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech from New Hampshire, featuring will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Scarlett Johansson, rapper Common, Kareem Abdul Jabar, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, and a host of other celebrity supporters.

Obama-inclined as I am, I’m afraid it does nothing for me. Perhaps it’s the overtones of Bob the Builder’s theme-song; or perhaps it’s that I want to listen to Obama’s rhetoric not will.i.am’s rhyme. You’re far better off watching the speech on which it riffs. Anyway, you can judge for yourself by watching it here:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY[/youtube]
Far better for my money, and perhaps his, was this 30-second spot that Obama’s campaign showed during last night’s US Superbowl (the most expensive advertising slot in the word).

How long before such ads are allowed in the UK? And what effect will they have on political discourse when they are shown? Will they cause folk to switch on, or to turn off?