When it comes to viral marketing, outrageous is the only acceptable form of humor. This week, outrage includes Super Bowl heroes trying to mate a football with a phone, same-sex band members making out, and jars of distasteful food being rescued like neglected kittens.
Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride on YouTube.
First, the football campaign. DirecTV has released "F.O.Y.P.", which stands for "Football on Your Phone," promoting it with a rap video starring Peyton and Eli Manning.
Peyton appears in a Bieber-like wig and outfit. Eli walks a finer line with slightly darker makeup and a curly brown wig. "It's football on your phone, so now's your chance," the two brothers rap, "to have football on your phone, and football in your pants." Archie Manning even makes a cameo.
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Will this convince people to buy DirecTV to get football on their phones? Will people even remember this is a DirecTV ad? I find Eli's makeup and rap style more memorable. USA Today first reported about the new ad in its "For The Win" column, though Business Insider calls the video "ridiculous." The core audience DirecTV is aiming for probably will love the commercial because THEY'RE PEYTON AND ELI MANNING. They have three Super Bowl wins between them.
Humor is also being used by Mumford & Sons. The often serious UK folk rock band has released its new music video for "Hopeless Wanderer." Go about a minute into the video and you'll see the bandmembers are not portraying themselves. Instead, they've been replaced by some of the funniest men in American entertainment today: Ed Helms, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Will Forte. The video gets hilariously weird as we learn how the musicians really feel about each other. (Caution: if men making out with each other bothers you, don't watch, and don't visit several major metropolitan areas of the U.S.).
Will this help downloads of the Mumford & Sons album? Maybe. I just keep playing the video on Youtube for free.
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Finally, I wonder if the real Mumford & Sons have ever eaten Marmite. Marmite is a yeasty, salty, dark brown "food paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour" made by Unilever and sold in the UK. Its marketing slogan is "Love it or hate it." Which, by the way, would be a good slogan for Los Angeles, but I digress.
Does Marmite need to be rescued from neglect? Unilever claims one in 10 Brits "admit they haven't opened a jar in over three months." So in a new commercial, the company's launched "End Marmite Neglect," showing teams of law enforcement officials rescuing neglected, unopened jars. The rescued Marmite is then adopted out to loving families. "Oh no," says a new recruit rescuing a jar that's wasting away inside a cupboard, "It's a baby one." After another jar ends up in a happy new home, it turns out not everyone is thrilled—the son grimaces as he tastes Marmite for the first time.
As for the ad, much like Marmite, people either love it or hate it. Some British TV viewers filed complaints saying the ad mocks animal cruelty. However, the UK Mirror reports that PETA, showing a sense of humor for once, likes the ad, "saying it reminds viewers of the hard job that animal welfare officers do."
Shouldn't we be focusing our wrath on the product itself? Look at that kid's face! That's abuse.
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells