Firefox video campaign storms the Web

Witty promotional videos featuring people's extreme reaction to discovering Firefox are spreading fast online

The Mozilla Foundation's latest advertising campaign is already proving a success, racking up nearly half a million hits in less than a week, according to the organisation on Thursday.

The humorous online video campaign was launched by Mozilla Europe, the European affiliate of the Mozilla Foundation, last week. It is already experiencing "very significant daily growth" despite a low-key launch from the blog of Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe.

"This is just the beginning — I only posted it on my personal blog and it's already spreading nicely," said Nitot. "We wanted to start small as we were concerned that servers wouldn't be able to handle the load."

The videos had registered 300,000 hits by the end of the weekend, and were nearing 500,000 hits by Tuesday — the latest figures that were available on Thursday, according to Nitot. The videos, hosted on the Funnyfox Web site, feature various people who seem to be having extreme reactions when they discover Firefox for the first time.

"The idea is to be funny and get people in interested in what Firefox is," said Nitot.

Mozilla Europe did not have the money to pay for an advert on television, so instead decided to host the video online and encourage Firefox fans to spread the video by email, said Nitot.

This is the latest in a long-line of high-profile marketing efforts initiated by the Mozilla Foundation to promote Firefox. Other marketing campaigns include print ads in The New York Times and a German national newspaper, both of which were paid for by the open source community. It has also encouraged local marketing activities through the spreadfirefox.com.