Aug. 20, 2014 at 8:25 AM ET
No one can really predict what videos will go viral. But when producer Chris Fleck got an assignment to create an ad for the East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Missouri, he knew exactly how to elevate his production above the rest and get tons of views. He had to make a terrible, terrible ad.
"The whole time we pitched this idea, we said, 'Maybe it would go viral.' Boy, it did," Fleck told KNPN.
And he's right: The ad, which features employees singing the mall's merits (Boots and pants! Haircut!) to a beat-box tune, has racked up more than 1.4 million views on YouTube since it went live on Aug. 17.
The ad is brilliant in its low-fi, amateur way, with a homespun sense of genuine earnestness that trumps typically slick, cynical ads. The little girl is a little off-key, the employees are chirpily enthusiastic, and the whole thing's sort of out of focus.
Fleck doesn't mind if people think it's terrible. The point is, people are watching, and remembering. After all, he's the guy behind another awkward, amateur-looking ad that boosted sales in 2007 — one for Cecil Meyers Mitsubishi.
"Whether you liked it or not, people can't stop saying, 'boots and pants,'" a mall rep told KNPN. Case closed.