Cheesy 80's Music, Endearing Nerds and Yahoo Yodels
Advertisers still don't seem to be breaking any boundaries with their use of video online, for the most part. I keep hoping for something fabulously innovative and being disappointed, but it's a big web world out there, and maybe I'm just missing the really good ones.
Below, though, are two campaigns that advertisers are allowing consumers to play around with. Perhaps they're hoping their consumers will find the golden goose for them. There's also a quirky, sitcom-like video making the rounds that I included below, as well.
Jeep Compass has launched a video campaign, using Eidoserve's talking "avatar" platform, which allows users to create their own karaoke video with a (singing) talking head.
Here's how it works: you visit a site called JeepCompassKaraoke.com where you can create a "character" from a variety of faces, hair styles and colors, sunglasses, and other accessories. Your character is shown driving a car (a Jeep Compass, presumably) and you can choose one of seven backgrounds that can be shown through the rear window.
Then, you record yourself singing along to one of three songs (Hey Mickey, I Ran or Borderline) via a computer microphone or the telephone, and save it. Finally, watch as your character drives the Jeep and lip synchs, with your voice, to the song.
It's really a rather random campaign.
Why lip synching? (I suppose because the Jeep makes you feel so good you just want to belt along with the radio.)
Why those three really bad eighties songs? (Guess what demographic Jeep must be going after?)
So, I admit it: I couldn't help but create a character, call the number, and try my hand at singing one of the goofy songs. The most fun was playing around the options when creating the character: you can change makeup color, lip size and shape, eye color, nose size and more… the idea being, I suppose, to make the character look like you.
Overall, it's an interesting campaign to play with, but watching the other videos in the gallery was, unfortunately, rather dull. As with many things, it's much more fun to play than to watch. (And no, I won't tell you which one is mine.)
Apparently, this is a pilot that wasn't picked up by The WB (which is now, by the way, just about defunct, having been rolled into The CW along with UPN) but it's taking on a life of its own online.
There are three episodes of Nobody's Watching on YouTube. The first, at least, is a crack-up. It features two high-energy teens from Ohio (take off the first and last "O" and you have "hi!") who love television sitcoms. It begins with the two making a home video geared directly toward TV execs, asking them why sitcoms suck today.
The two geek-ish guys are then, predictably, brought to Hollywood for their own reality show, in which they are tasked with creating a hit sitcom. That's about as far as I got (it's a little long for viewing at the desk in between projects) but there were a few genuine laughs, and the two teens have an endearingly puppy dog-like dynamic going on that brought out the mother in me.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if another network snapped it up and the show gets to live out its fantasy as a prime time hit.
Yahoo has asked film school students to create "ads" for its newly redesigned webpage, for the "Yahoo has changed" campaign.
The videos exist on a microsite featuring the 15-second ads. These four feature idiosyncratic, cartoon-ish snapshots of oddball characters talking about Yahoo, and each ends with the trademark logo and yodel.
The first, and my favorite, stars a pirate talking to a shrink. The pirate is strangely reminiscent of the Santa Claus from the kids' classic holiday show, Year Without a Santa Claus -- except his beard has grown wildly out of control, he wears a pirate hat instead of a red hood and pom-pom, and he says "Yar" instead of "Ho, ho, ho."
The last one, which features a mother and daughter talking in serious tones about how "My Yahoo is changing" is pretty hilarious, too. The line drawings that depict mother and daughter, and the saccharine tones in which the mother speaks, are perfect. Substitute the word "body" for Yahoo and it could be a video shown to seventh grade girls during health class.