Archive for July, 2009

JUL
30
David After Dentist. Now available in S, M, and L.
Written by Mekanism at 4:42 pm • • 3 Comments

Being a part of the Mekanism syndication team, I tend to watch a lot of videos on the internets. I know, sweet gig, right?

We spend a lot of time researching social media trends (re: watching viral videos…which I can’t stand calling them) and trying to make sense of it all. More often than not, here’s how it goes: a video appears, people crack up, pass it around and then you probably never hear a whimper out of it again. Read this list. I guarantee that 99.8% of those are a distant internet meme memory to you. And hey, guess what? Chris Crocker STILL isn’t interesting! Couldn’t have seen that one coming.

Now let me make the most captain obvious statement ever: virality causes profitability. Maybe not initially, but if you parlay it right, your overnight one-hit-wonder of a video might get you a mortgage payment or two. Hell, possibly even a career. Take Ellie Kemper.

If you watch the show The Office on NBC, she’s the one who took over for Pam as the front desk “hey, she’s really attractive” girl. If you waste time on the internet all day, you’ll remember her from this viral (inappropriate language, be warned) she did in college with some of her comedy troupe friends. Granted, it was featured on College Humor after the fact…but 12 million views and a highly sought after role on a sitcom later, that inappropriate video looks like a pretty awesome career move.

While I think that’s a great story, this one struck me as…well I’ll let you watch.

Remember that little guy? That’s David from the, “Gosh, kids on drugs are HIIIlarious” video…

I know, you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Let me get there.

David After Dentist was quite the phenomenon. It was a strange one, as it was just a Dad posting a funny video of his kid up, I’m sure, for friends and family to see. Silly David, he took drugs for the first time! Nonetheless, it was everywhere for a while.

But that top video of David talking to Christian Bale (which, if you are confused, is him talking about ANOTHER video OF a viral video that had already happened. With me?)… I guess that one felt a little odd to me. And here’s why.

A kid unwillingly became a product. And it’s not just more videos of Dad telling young David what to say to the camera.

The first time? I’ll give you that one, David’s dad. It was funny, and harmless. But then leveraging your kid for a larger profit? Odd, and possibly even a tad creepy. It’s not like David said, “Hey Dad, I’ve got some thoughts on Christian Bale. Hell, even a few on Obama’s health care plan. Can we sit down and vlog about it for profit?” The fact that his dad had him wear the same t-shirt as he did in the first one is enough to kind of quietly bring up my point.

The reason I have an opinion on this, though, isn’t because of just another video. That’s not the tacky part. This is: to the right of each of David’s videos, you will now find a link to a blog (which I’m SURE David is writing, seeing as he’s, I don’t know, a tiny kid), a shop where you can buy t-shirt that say David’s little tag line, and even a TWITTER FEED. Do people just tweet over and over again saying “that video is funny!”…isn’t that why we have a comments section on YouTube?

Point being, when a kid becomes a product for his Dad to market, is that taking viral videos to a whole new level of exploitation? I see that some of the profits of the t-shirt sales go to charity. Which is awesome. Still, we’re not talking about one big charity run. This kid is a cash crop, and his dad is raking. David, get an agent, man. Because you should make sure this means you have the sweetest ride ever in about eight years when you can drive.

I doubt this is the last time we see this. And who knows, maybe i’m just jealous I don’t have an adorable little guy like David to make silly videos of. I have no problem with a person marketing themselves. I mean, that’s a conscious decision you make for yourself. It’s when someone is marketed against their will in the modern era that I feel a little weird. I just don’t quite believe David is sitting there as the CEO of D.A.D. Industries.

Actually, write that company name down kid, before your dad does. It’s not a bad name for your accidental corporation.

JUL
29
Jason Goes To Comic-Con
Written by Jason at 3:48 pm • • 4 Commentsawesomeness

Last weekend I went to Comic-Con in San Diego. The main purpose of my visit was to kidnap Megan Fox (my wife was well aware of the plan, and actually encouraged it). Being a fanboy, comic geek and amateur photographer, I thought…what’s the worst thing that could happen? I get a photo of Megan Fox while dressed up as C-3PO and maybe I come away with a rap sheet? Not a bad way to kill a Saturday.

My wife’s sister works for one of those pop culture magazines that always have “Are They Too Skinny?” headlines on the cover.  So, I got hooked up with a press badge, and with my camera in tow I hit the convention floor. The first thing I noticed was how much time and energy the attendees put into their costumes. Most of them are impressively homemade and creative. It felt like burning man for people that are really really good at Sudoku.

Most of the guys just get into acting and fully dive into character, while the women try to get the fanboys to drool while they pose for pictures. While snapping a few of these Comic Con women, I determined that they fall into four nice and neat categories.

1.    Hot girls in Hot costumes (think Carrie Fischer in the 70’s)

Case In Point.

2.    Hot girls in Not Hot costumes (maybe a character from Battlestar)

3.    Not Hot girls in Hot costumes (Xena or Xmen)

And of course, the dreaded…

4.    Not Hot girls in Not Hot costumes (Alien Vs. Predator)

After all the photo sessions, I attempted to seek out some valuable comics to look at. I found two incredible ones, the first Action Comics (first comic book to have a super hero…valued at close to 300k) and Amazing Fantasy, which introduced Spider Man.

Nerdgasm

After geeking out, I decided to put the press badge to good use and go to a press conference. I thought an appropriate one would be Heroes. It was packed with about 5,000 fans there to meet the cast.  Against my moral compass, I snuck into the hearing impaired section in the front row of the conference (hey, it was almost empty).  I pretended to watch the girl doing sign language (she was wearing a Stargate Atlantis outfit and was a category #3).  I was in awe of the cast; Zach Quinto (Sylar) was hilarious and Hayden Panettiere actually seems like a cheerleader you would want to save.

The Cast of Heroes

Some other highlights: I met Ray Bradbury, talked with a father and son stormtrooper family, saw Michael Jacksons (RIP) glove from the victory tour and grabbed a diet coke with a very convincing toxic avenger.

Storm Trooper Father and Son: See? You ARE normal!

Alas, I was able to keep my ¾ sailing rope and duct tape socked away in my backpack as I never did run into Megan Fox. But I did however manage to bump into my childhood idol, an incredibly fit and partially deaf Lou Ferrigno.  He even let me take a picture with him.  I am not so sure my wife would have been happy if I brought home the Hulk, but hey Megan…there is always Comic Con 2010.

Picture 2

*Editor’s note: Jason wouldn’t have actually done that to Megan Fox. But if she asked nicely, he would have taken her to dinner.

JUL
28
Hey Chris Brown, You Owe Them A Thank You Note
Written by Mekanism at 2:14 pm • • 3 Comments

So a funny phenomenon hit last week. Unless you were living in Narnia (where I’m just presupposing the wifi reception is poor), you probably watched this video. Maybe you even watched it fourteen times in a row.

Oh those crazy kids and their CRAZY antics these days! What will they think of next?

Now here’s an interesting thought that crossed my mind while watching this video.

“Wait. Isn’t that song by Chris Brown? He of the ‘Holy $&*%, I ruined my career by way of being a misogynistic abuser’ fame?”

Yes. Yes it sure is. And for your information, that Chris Brown song debuted about a year ago to this day. It was incredibly popular until a certain incident occurred involving Rihanna. One that entirely derailed his career and caused his sales and radio play to plummet. Keep in mind I realize saying “radio play” is a hilarious statement this day and age presupposing this means anything anymore with the advent of Pandora, Last.fm and the like. But if there is one genre that still places high value on radio play and airtime, it’s R&B. Chris Brown saw his fame disappear entirely, and you may have heard about it on a blog or nineteen.

So fast forward to the JK Wedding video phenomenon. In this last week, the video has spawned over 10 million views on the original posting. That posting alone has about 12 YouTube honors, some of them being “#1 Most Viewed This Month (Entertainment)”, “#2 Most Viewed This Month”, “#1 Most Favorited”…all monumental achievements in the YouTube age. Videos with this “real” virality we marketers all dream about lead to derivative postings once they garner this much attention. You can factor in another 3 million views alone in that category. Oh, and a small show called The Today Show happened to feature the stars of the viral on their morning show. So if you’re wondering why your parents in Florida retirement homes have heard of the sensation, that might just have something to do with it.

And hey, what do you know! Chris Brown’s song that is so prominently featured in the video, “Forever”, is climbing digital download charts like crazy. It got as high as #6 on the iTunes most popular song chart, as well as #3 on a similar chart on AmazonMp3. Basically, by way of freak fortune, the man is profitable (and possibly marketable) again. And you know why? Because he’s one lucky bastard.

Here’s what I find so fascinating about this. This man was done. Trashed. Completely dead to the pop culture world. You just don’t hit a woman, and the public was not about to forget about it (hey Ike Turner, how’d that work out for you?). In the midst of this downward spiral, Chris and his PR people even put together an “I’m Sorry” video.

That video? It has 8 million less views then the video of the kids dancing their way down an aisle to Chris joyfully singing about love (which is in no way ironic). However, by a simple twist of fate, his video appears to have been posted on July 20th, one day after the fateful day YouTube user TheKheinz posted the wedding dance video. Chris Brown may have accidentally caught the perfect storm of accidental positive publicity…even if it’s subliminally thumping away in the back of a viral video.

So how ironic. Chris Brown’s PR “specialist” threw out their big gun gameplan, and wound up getting shown up by a bunch of 20-somethings in the middle of Minnesota. Accidentally, they may very well have revived the career of a much maligned fallen star. All for the price of zero dollars. So Chris, you might want to send a thank you card. Because of social media and viral videos (try and tell me you don’t know someone who hasn’t posted this on twitter or their facebook wall, I dare you), you might be okay after all.

Viral video is a funny thing. Just when you think you understand it, it goes all Jason Bourne on you. At least it’s always interesting trying to keep up with it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to post this and then distribute it, accidentally keeping the viral dance train going. You’re welcome, Chris.