China Viral Video: Peugeot vs. Alto

This viral video has been viewed 1,038,068 times on Youku [Update: Since I accidently left this post in the draft folder, the view count has gone up to almost 3 million]. It was uploaded just one day ago:

I’m pretty sure this viral is an ad for Peugeot: Why would such an event be caught on camera – and in HD? Why does the driver leave her car roof open? Why do the hushed voices mention the exact model of the car? I could go on.

This is not the first car-related viral to get a huge view count in China: a clip where a woman forces her husband to buy her a Buick now has 3,984,556 views. Similarly, a video of a Chevrolet towing away a tow truck has been viewed 1,384,215 times.

Granted, these ads — if that’s what they are — create buzz; in turn, discussion as to their authenticity creates further buzz. Such ads can also be memorable ways to communicate a car’s features: in this case, it is the Peugeot’s automatic fold-away roof.

Yet the response from viewers is often negative: a large amount of the comments simply say “fake” or “ad”; many give reasons for their suspicion. In my opinion, associating “fake” with a brand in this way is not a good way to build the trust necessary to persuade someone to buy a car.

I’d really like to know what others think about this kind of video? Are they ever a good idea?