In a pre-April Fool's media stunt, Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys released a music video that appears to have been shot from a Google Street View car's camera. It's a nicely done video that has already fueled a solid round of media coverage. It's also a reminder that a smart stunt well played can be good marketing leading to incredibly valuable earned media.
Redneck Country Band Ambushes Google Street View Car!
The video was released March 29th and has received coverage and engagement on a variety of websites including:
As you can see, it's basically a group of pickup trucks that seem to be riding in front of a Google Maps Street View car that they claim was operated by a friend and Google employee in a clandestine act of music video creation. Employing a look similar to what one sees when working one's way down a street using Street View, one of the performers also holds up a sign with lyrics from the song "Could Be Me" off Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys' "North Country E.P."
There's just enough of a story and visual evidence to give writers and Reddit commenters something to debunk without crossing the line into cold-hearted fakery. My only quibble with this project is that the signs need darker lettering in order to be read.
The video appears on a YouTube account for Rob Bliss Creative with consulting by Whiskey Neat. You can see more of this down home, folksy approach to earning media, rather than buying it, in the Rob Bliss Creative Portfolio and on his About page.
Bliss got his start in Grand Rapids, Michigan and now he's also making moves in Chicago. He's already accomplished quite a bit with his good natured work that taps into popular phenomenon. Nice to see somebody in the game with a sense of humor that doesn't come across as a jaded cynic for a change.
While searching for media related to "google street view music video" I came across "The Wilderness Downtown" by Chris Milk featuring Arcade Fire's music. I was reminded of what a powerful, sophisticated and original work it is. Definitely a different aesthetic world than "Redneck Country Band Ambushes Google Street View Car!" but both can coexist on the web without conflict and that's a good thing.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.