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Liquid Mountaineering Video - Walking on Water

Outline
Viral video supposedly shows young men participating in a "new sport" in which they apparently run on water with the aid of special water proof footwear.



Brief Analysis
The video is a viral ad for footwear company Hi-Tec. The company's products are featured prominently throughout the video.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 4th June 2010
First published: 21st May 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: New type of sport - Walking on water

Can you check this video? Is it true?




Detailed Analysis
A "viral" video is circulating that supposedly depicts a new sport - dubbed "Liquid Mountaineering " - in which participants apparently run across the top of water with the aid of special waterproof shoes. The video has been posted to a great many blogs, forums and social networking websites where it has generated considerable debate. Many commentators quickly realized that the video was in fact a clever viral advertisement for footwear outlet, Hi-Tec. Hi-Tec products are featured prominently throughout the video.

Such viral video advertising has become quite the trend in recent years. The companies doing the advertising have often initially remained close-lipped about their involvement in such campaigns, before finally "owning up" after their video has "gone viral", thereby gaining a great deal of valuable exposure for the products they are pushing.

Hi-Tec took this policy even further by publicly denying any involvement in the "new sport" other than an indirect "sponsorship" in which the company supplied shoes and other items to some of the sport's participants. Before finally "owning up" to the involvement, Hi-Tec featured the following disclaimer on its US and UK websites::
Dear All
We have recently been made aware of a viral film which is sweeping the internet worldwide, under the name Liquid Mountaineering

After some investigation we have found out that Hi-Tec Poland was contacted by these guys and has supplied a few pairs of shoes and some apparel as “sponsorship” for their crazy new sport.

Whilst we believe Hi-Tec ion-masked footwear is the perfect choice when it comes to solid ground. We do not recommend anyone to try walking on a liquid surface for him or herself.

For further information on this incredible new sport you can visit their blog page

Kind Regards,

Simon Bonham
Group Head of Marketing
However, these denials were perceived as unconvincing by many commentators. They suggested that the denial was all part of the ongoing campaign. As it turned out, these suspicions were correct. After around a fortnight, the company finally came clean, noting on its website:
So... is it real or not?

After two weeks of worldwide buzz, we have decided to come clean and reveal that Hi-Tec were behind the 'Liquid Mountaineering' viral.
Hi-Tec also published the following official press release:
Global Sport and Outdoor brand Hi-Tec behind ‘Liquid Mountaineering” viral. After two weeks of worldwide buzz, Hi-Tec, the Global Outdoor and Sports brand has revealed they were the team behind the ‘Liquid Mountaineering’ viral which has taken the Web by storm.

The viral has now reached the top 100 favourite all time viewed global sports clips on YouTube with viewing figures reaching well over 4 million! The documentary-type film features three guys who run across a lake thanks to the water repellent qualities of their Hi-Tec shoes.

Simon Bonham, Hi-Tec Group Head of Marketing comments, “We wanted to create a piece of entertainment around our hydrophobic footwear and get people talking and thinking about the brand differently.” He added, “The idea was to take a traditional form of marketing and totally turn it around on its head, in the process capturing the fun spirited side of our brand. The reaction to the viral has surpassed all expectations; with people all over the world debating whether this could indeed be possible or not and even trying to do their own Liquid Mountaineering. We’ve even seen a number of entertaining attempts appear on YouTube and other places on the Web”

To create the viral Hi-Tec worked with CCCP, an independent ad agency in Amsterdam known for their award winning work for Dutch retailer HEMA. Liquid Mountaineering has become one of the most viewed and discussed phenomenon’s on YouTube in the past month. It has now featured on thousands of blogs. TV coverage of the film has included Japan, Brazil, Germany, the US, Australia, Korea, Spain, France and Georgia.

Simon Bonham continues, “After the initial buzz and well over 4 million views on YouTube to date, we thought it was finally time to come clean and unveil to the world that Hi-Tec were behind the viral. Whilst our shoes have some amazing liquid repellency features, even we still can’t walk on water… it was all a well intended hoax”.
A follow-up "reveal" video shows how the viral video was created:



More videos and information about the "sport" is available for viewing on the Liquid Mountaineering Blog and on the Hi-Tec Website.

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References
Hi-Tec - Liquid Mountaineering
Liquid Mountaineering Blog

Last updated: 4th June 2010
First published: 21st May 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


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