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Arcade Fire and Google Chrome. Inspired video or fiendish marketing?

How badass is HTML5? Pretty damn badass. Is it the Flash killer so many people are predicting it to be? Who knows? I really don’t care so long as whatever ends up on top does what I want it to do. I’m selfish that way.

Anywho, Arcade Fire has made an online video that puts HTML5 through its paces and shows just how awesome it can be. The interwebs are a buzz with excitement over this piece. The creativity and technical achievement is staggering and that’s precisely what most of the narrative has been about. I, however, see something much more insidious at work here.

But, before we go on, you need to experience the Arcade Fire video in HTML5. Of course, you first have to download the Google Chrome browser to do so. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It’s worth it, trust me.

1. Download Google Chrome.
2. Using Chrome, go to this site: http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/

If you really don’t want to download Chrome you can watch this video of the above link as it plays out in Chrome. But seriously, you should do the link yourself.

Pretty cool, right? The kind of thing you want to watch again and again and share with all your friends right after screaming out, “Flash is dead! Long live HTML5!”

Here’s where I see shadows. What if this isn’t just a band and a director getting creative with their video making? What if this is a ploy to get you to download Google Chrome?

What would you, as an agency, do if you got the assignment to find a way to get folks to download Chrome? You could make a TV spot that shows off all the bells and whistles of Chrome. Or, you could do something that plays with the name and is all sleek and flashy and futury — that seems to be hot right now. How about some print that shows the handy user interface improvements or the apps that plug into the browser? OR, YOU COULD USE HTML5 TO MAKE SOMETHING SO FRAKING COOL PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TO DOWNLOAD THE ONLY BROWSER (CHROME) THAT IS OPTIMIZED FOR HTML5 JUST SO THEY COULD EXPERIENCE THE THING YOU MADE!

Yeah, that one. Let’s do that.

Fiendishly clever, Google. I have now downloaded Chrome, I may even use it. Well played.

Of course, I have no proof that this is anything more than a bitchin’ video and not a marketing ploy. But, God I hope it’s a marketing ploy because it would be a brilliant one. I’ve searched Google’s agencies (BBH and Glue) and can’t find a hint that they were involved. Too bad because this would be a wonderful coup for digital marketing. I guess it is whether done on purpose or by accident.

Since it’s launch, Chrome has steadily been gaining browser market share. As of August 2010 it has a 7.52% share. Just for comparison, Internet Explorer and Firefox are on top at 60.40% and 22.93% respectively. I’m going to keep an eye on the propagation of Chrome over the next month or so and see if there’s any discernable bump that can be unscientifically attributed to this Arcade Fire video.

Stay tuned.

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