Sometimes, a clever promotion can backfire. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched a neat campaign to promote its Gmail email service two weeks ago. A YouTube clip features folks at the Googleplex transporting the Gmail logo from person to person in artistically creative ways as "The Flight of the Bumblebee" plays on.

The hook? You're supposed to keep it going. If you're up to the challenge, print out the Gmail logo and submit a 10-second clip, making sure that you transfer the logo from the left side of the screen to the right. It's a great way to promote two services -- the freshly acquired YouTube and the yes-it's-still-in-beta Gmail -- at once.

So far, so good. More than 350 responses have been uploaded to YouTube. Several more are likely to come over these last seven days. Google will compile the best ones and release a final version of the video in two weeks.

So what's the problem? Well, the promotion may be a victim of YouTube's own power of democratization. The video comments are sharp, but some of the viewer text responses have been brutal.

Some have chimed in to wonder whether all of the faux handling of the mail means that Google employees are looking through their email. Another person quips that all of the human handling explains why it takes Gmail so long to deliver emails. Then you have viewers claiming that rival providers like Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Hotmail, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL Mail, and Yahoo! (NYSE:YHOO) are better than Gmail in the realm of free email. Some of the jabs are clearly sarcastic, though it's often hard to convey that in brief, textual snippets.

Obviously, Google has plenty of fans on its home turf, too. Some YouTube users are praising Gmail and wondering how cool it must be to work at Big G. At the end of the day, Google will have a nice community-generated video. However, that finished video will likely bring a mixed bag of viewer responses too.

So give Google points for going out on a limb and not censoring its critics. As long as that limb goes from left to right, maybe it, too, will make the final cut.   

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Google, and it would be his homepage if weren't taking up that piece of real estate. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy welcomes everyone's opinions.