Some people believe YouTube and similar content-sharing websites are havens for free-spirited youths rebelling against the corporate message spewed out by mainstream media. Such people may be interested in the sad story of the giant Reykjavik puppet.

Back in September last year, clips started to appear on YouTube that seemed to show a vast marionette shuffling through the streets of Iceland's capital, with spectators reacting with appropriate surprise and, well, terror. It wasn't easy to make out, but it looked like the puppet was being controlled by three helicopters attached to its strings. The footage was evidently shot on a variety of devices, and was generally of a low quality, with camera wobble a frequent problem.

Lots of people got excited about the Rekjavik giant. We didn't; we didn't know what the fuss was about. But other people got excited.

So anyway, the whole thing has been predictably revealed as a marketing project for some tiresome products. Our sister website Digital Arts has the full skinny on how the marketing wonks generated the imagery, and it's quite interesting from a technical point of view. And, in truth, it didn't take a genius to work out that the giant puppet wasn't all it seemed. But neither of these things are the point.

Last year a member of PC Advisor's editorial staff was lucky enough to witness the giant elephant and giant little girl when they visited London town. Going by the number of times he has subsequently told us about that day, it was a memorable experience. But the (distinctly similar) marionette 'viral' has soured that happy shared memory with its villainous marketorial cynicism.

Visit Digital Arts Online for the full story, including links to the clips.