People in glass houses

Think you understand the rules of viral marketing? You may need to think again.

A six-minute corporate video from a glass manufacturer - intended only to inspire big investors during a company presentation  in Chicago - has managed to net in excess of 9 million views on YouTube.  And there’s not a roller skating baby in sight.

The video, entitled ‘A Day Made of Glass’, comes courtesy of specialist glass and ceramics company Corning Incorporated and is now ranked as the most successful corporate video of all time.

So what is so special about this particular video? Well, in terms of content it depicts a family of the near future as they go about their everyday tasks, at home, work and at the shops. Except  in this version of the atypical family unit every thing they interact with is facilitated by touch screens built into glass surfaces, from kitchen worktops to in-car displays.

John Mannion, director of client relations for Corning agency Doremus, highlights just how much the video strays from the traditional viral video path: "It's six minutes long; it's not funny, it doesn't have celebrities in it, it's not intended to be sent around to your friends”.

So why is it so successful? It could be the fact that it encapsulates some of the technology that geeks across the world are eagerly awaiting so they can live the lifestyle depicted in Steven Spielberg’s movie Minority Report. However, there is something far simpler at its heart, and that is that it tells a story, and not just any story, but the most basic family story with a simple yet immediately accessible narrative of a seemingly brighter future .

That said, the reality is that this connected utopia is probably going to be riddled with grimy fingerprint smudges. Expect a smart household cleaning brand to knock up a quick parody viral any day now.

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