Possessed Baby Stroller Prank: Screamingly Good Viral Marketing

viral, marketing, horror, movie, prank, youtube

Hear a baby crying in a stroller in NYC? May want to let that pass. Could be a devil baby that contorts itself and pukes. In this particular case, it may be a robot designed by the folks at Thinkmodo for another horror film promotion (remember the Carrie telekinetic prank in a NYC coffee shop?). This one is to promote “Devil’s Due,” and in about 24 hours it’s past 15 million views (1/16 update: 26 million views in 2 days). That, friends, is viral.

It’s “Devil Baby Attack” and it’s taking YouTube by storm. I’m probably most impressed by the way I learned about this. On a phone call with my mom this evening. I guess I’ll have to call her more often.

Some feedback/thoughts:

  • The prank is beautifully executed from beginning to end. We’re shocked. Then we see behind-scenes. No wasted shot.
  • Excellent job on “seeding” it. There’s no way it would have been seen this many times — so quickly — without a smart promotion of the clip itself (bloggers, journalists, etc).
  • Given the 22K comments, I’d say the majority of the views are real views. When videos are “gamed,” you see a really low number of comments. Rough math: 22K comments divided by 15 million views is .0015 percent of viewers commented. With more programatic  stuff, you see a slightly better ratio. For instance a recent RWJ video got 200K views and 1,700 comments (.0085 percent).
  • I would love to see a bit more of the off camera laughs and the team behind it — It helps when the viewer has a chance to connect more with the creators. But it’s a horror film promo so I suppose you have to keep it somewhat dark and mysterious.
  • I’m glad we’re no longer concerned about making these appear non sponsored. The video’s end reveals it’s a promo. And if you’re gonna have a logo at the end, there’s no shame in providing a link to the movie site for Devil’s Due (www.devilsduemovie.com). This would drive traffic to the film site’s real trailers and almost invariably help convert more of these 15 million views into ticket-paying customers. Even better: give us a reason to hit the horror site. As long at the viral stunt is this good, we’ll forgive the plug at the end.

Finally, a note to Thinkmodo team: for the love of God people, I missed my invite to these productions. I’ll consult for free to see you guys pull the next one off. I’m one of YouTube’s most-viewed pranksters, an author of a book on viral video marketing, an advertising executive and a horror fan. And I can keep a secret. What else do you need? 

Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film "Devil's Due."
Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film “Devil’s Due.” Who’s missing from this shot, friends?

Footage of Mark Zuckerberg When He Was Too Poor for a Gold Mug

Huffington Post shows us a YouTube video that shows Jesse Eisenberg (played here by Mark Zuckerberg) in a rare pre-fame and wealth interview.

Zuckerberg once had his morning Bud Light right out of a red plastic cup, friends. So there’s hope for us.

The clip, writes TechCrunch, shows Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s Palo Alto office in June 2005… (and is) apparently part of a longer 40-minute-interview from a documentary about millennials shot by Ray Hafner and Derek Franzese.

It tells the 2004 story of starting at Facebook, Harvard (where 2/3 signed up), Columbia, Yale and Stanford… then about 29 schools. “Now we’ll go to parties on campus, and we’ll be in someone’s room and there’s The Facebook on the screen,” he’d say.

And that’s “The Facebook” co-founder Dustin Moskovitz doing a keg stand.

Dustin Moskovitz, co founder, who doesn't appear on "The Social Network" sadly.

Helicam: Epic Footage Using RC Helicopter & Canon 7D Camera

Here's the camera, courtesy of Joe Simon Visuals Flickr account. The camera is nearly 2 pounds out of the box.

Eat your hearts out dollys, pushes, tracks and follows. Check out this beautiful footage taken from a Canon 7D attached to a remote-controlled helicopter. The footage is so still and majestic, and the song and subject bring this to life… thanks for CBS News’ Viral Video post for alerting us to this. See the full-sized clip by selecting the Vimeo logo, or visiting this link to Mutiny Bikes, Heli Test #1. 

Heli Test #1 from Mutiny Bikes on Vimeo.



Exclusive Snookie “Boob Grab” from Set of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (July 2011)

snooki in july 2011

So we’re visiting the shore yesterday. And I used to refer to the Jersey Shore as the beach covered with needles, based on a news story from years ago.

But yesterday I couldn’t help mistake many girls at Point Pleasant, NJ, as “Snookie.” In fact I kept half-jokingly telling my wife I spotted Snookie, when anyone robust and tan passed me. Little did I suspect that while fetching hotdogs for the kids, I’d overhear someone saying “Snookie’s in there.” I resisted the temptation to walk into the bar, but later felt obliged to determine if it was real or not. It was real. Snookie was in the house.

Indeed I stumbled upon a taping of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and was able to capture some highlights. A couple times, because the cast moves about the bar, I’d end up in the right/wrong place and have to quickly move. I first shot about a minute of some other cast member (dancing on the bar) I mistook for Snookie.

Only after shooting and editing the footage did I realize (while looking for a thumbnail image) that I had footage of Snookie grabbing some blonde girl’s boobs. So, yeah. That’s a fourth of July video for you.

Anyone recognize the other people? Who’s the guy who shoed me away?


“Just Give Me a Damned Cigarette” : JibJab Goes Puppets for Year-End-Review

"Just Give Me A Damned Cigarette," sings Obama Puppet in the 2010 JibJab Review

One of the things that gets me through the holidays is the anticipation and enjoyment of JibJab’s annual year-end song parody. When Twitter rumors about CNN’s announcing Morgan Freeman’s death this week, I called JibJab’s Voice Jim Meskimen (website/on YouTube) to see if he’d do his classic Freeman impersonation. He did in this “Morgan Freeman is Alive” video, and it fooled many.

I’m a raving fan of Jim, who does virtually every voice you’ve heard on JibJab. (Go subscribe to him and you’ll see his Knestor learn ya about gift giving), and he tipped me off to the fact that the 2010 JibJab review is now out! You can also add your face to the first-ever JibJab stop action in “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”

Check it out below, and notice it’s all puppets instead of the typical flash animation. JibJab took us behind the curtain with a step-by-step “behind scenes” blog. I can’t find what I’d hoped to see: Jim singing in the studio (there is a scratch music page that’s currently sparse).

Hard Being on “Gay Leprechaun” Video

It’s hard being in a gay leprechaun video. Oh- not that hard. The “difficult” hard. Not the seedy part: shooting your part in a SanFran hotel room with filmmaker and actor Greg Benson (Mediocrefilms). Sure it felt like we were shooting a porn, but again- that wasn’t the hard part.

Here’s what’s hard. NOT meeting Matt Sloan and watching him shoot his part. Greg was on the phone with Matt to discuss various lines and shots, but I had no communication with him. Presumably he was reading up on stem cell research in Madison or Wisconsin or a similar state. And I’m a big Sloan fan — from his standup comedy (stewardess: that guy’s not going to use our first-class bathroom is he?) to his better known work as creator and voice of Chad Vader (see series here).

It’s friggin’ hard to co-star in “Gay Leprechaun” (the new “Retarded Policeman”) with a funny bastard like Sloan, especially he’s your BFF and doesn’t know it. You see, Sloan and I developed a parasocial relationship when I watched Sloan’s “Tomato mouth video.” He doesn’t know me, and perhaps has never seen me in a video until this one. But we’re virtual BFFs, damnit.

I wonder if I’ll ever get to squeeze him in person while he’s singing Cher.

Meet Evan Spiridellis of Jibjab Media (Via Knestor, the Smart Borat)

Knestor, the smart-man’s Borat, is the awkwardly intelligent alter ego of Jim Meskimen. Jim is that voice you’ve heard as just about every political figure on JibJab’s celebrated animations, and he’s been the subject of countless blog posts here.

Professor Knestor Jackdaws Is Not Just an Awkward British Historian and Curator of Creativity. He's the Alter Ego of Jim Meskimen, The Voice of JibJab.

So it’s a delight to see the bow-tie, tweed jacket wearing faux Brit interviewing the very real Evan Spiridellis of JibJab media. See more of Knestor at Jim Meskimen’s top-secret YouTube account. Knestor sees the flower in the box. Do you?

My four favorite moments:

  1. Spiridellis acknowledges his Ethopian doll is in poor taste. One of those brilliant moments you’re so glad wasn’t chopped out in a dastardly moment of politically correct editing, because you can see he really feels it.
  2. Meskimen is mentioned as the voice of JibJab like he’s not in the room. You can just hear Evan instinctively honoring that his pal is in character.
  3. Knestor thinks the dynamite figures on a birthday cake are, in fact, wieners. That moment may go unnoticed by most, but it had this 14-year-old 40-something guy giggling.
  4. In a wonderful example of Meskimen’s improv abilities, Knestor reminds us that uploading your head to JibJab permits you to keep your head when you’re done. We don’t care if he’s used this bit before, because it seems to glide out his brain like a child from a water slide.

I saw a live webcast of JibJab by FallofAutumnDistro in July 2008, and remember thinking, “wow these guys aren’t just talented, but really likeable.” The company was born in a manger by a frustrated investor banker with a Wharton MBA (Gregg Spiridellis) and Evan, his award-winning animator and brother. In a parallel universe, I was their third brother who was often picked on, never amounted to much, but helped turn some of their bulletin-board notecards green.

This Wright-Brothers Like Logo Celebrates the Brothers Who Gave Flight to Something No Less Important Than Airplanes.

This interview with Evan, a fellow Jim Henson fan, reminds me that the dudes in this Santa Monica, California creative nerve center may not wear tattoos but may sport some of the coolest jobs of our generation.