Best Cartoon About Viral Video

Meet Tom Fishburne. He’s a former marketer that got wise and is pursuing his passion. Much like someone we know, who eventually sold out to corporate America again. I met Tom when he spoke at J&J and he looks like the kid in Sixth Sense.

This cartoon is brilliant because it reflects the naive hope that a viral-intended video will certainly go viral… and drive sales. If you haven’t heard this blather you may not find it as funny as me.

I wish I had it to include in Beyond Viral.



I’m Gonna Kick Your Ass on the Cartoon Caption Contest, Peter

Hey, Peter. Yeah- Peter Justason. The guy I used to work with at Johnson & Johnson. I’m gonna kick your ass on Meskimen’s new cartoon-caption contest. Instead of semi-annual, he’s going for WEEKLY. I will destroy you.

See his announcement here.

For the rest of you… about 5 years ago before your fancy moving pictures, this was my favorite thing to do on the Internet when The Onion wasn’t fresh. See more at

Best Cartoon Voice in History: TreeTrunks on Adventure Time

I hope you know by now I’m rather infatuated with voice characterizations (Jim Meskimen as new Mel Blanc). Meet the best new voice impressionist ever: Polly Lou Livinston, tapped by animator Pen Ward, 27.

Ward, who created the recently launched CartoonNetwork show, “Adventure Time With Finn and Jake” (a bland name for a quirky, unique and delightful cartoon series, fueled by the proven success of Producer Fred Seibert). Wait! (4/23 update): Correction: Polly Lou is not Pen Ward’s mom, but an artist from his San Antonio origin: “Pen, no doubt, has fond memories of hearing Polly Lou’s definitive drawl while growing up in San Antonio. And who can blame him? Somewhere between a hinge in quest of lubricant and Blanche Dubois as channeled by Olive Oyl, there’s no other tonality quite like it.”

"Adventure Time" creator Pen Ward with his Polly Lou Livingston (not his mother, Bettie). Livingston, an artist, does the voice of TreeTrunks the yellow elephant.

“Adventure Time” creator, Ward, also does the voice of “Lumpy Princess,” a manly valleygirl princess who looks like Chowder’s pet fart. But his mom steals the show with her characterization of TreeTrunks, and you can read more about her in this San Antonio article. The tender voice, gentle whispers and Southern draw were just the beginning. The tiny unexpected speech pragmatics (for instance, oddly timed pauses) is what brings her characters new dimension. Check out this wonderful clip (depicting “old and bonkers” TreeTrunks loving a wall-of-flesh creature). Seriously- a unicorn sticker with a unicorn that doesn’t have a horn? Ward and his Southern Mama bring out the 14 year old in me. Thanks, Seibert. I read you weren’t first impressed with Ward, but thank GOD you had faith.

Tree trunk adventure time elephant yellow
Tree Trunks for The Win

By way of background, my 7-year-old son Grant has always had a keen eye for quirky funny… and this goes back to his watching Baby Mozart as an infant (I think it was the frog that created a euphoric giggle). Grant can watch 20 minutes of television, and detect and replicate the single, isolated moment that is at the DNA core of hysterical. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s now our family’s comedy compass. When he cracks up and replays a moment of a cartoon or television show, the six of us are laughing simultaneously. Here’s Grant giggling from years ago that will help you understand that he’s is to comedy what a metal detector is for quarters on a beach. Who says “boring” about Goodnight Moon at that age? Seriously.

Grant’s favorite shows have one thing in common. They’re all born by Seibert (with the exception of Spongebob, a show I hated until Grant hooked me). Well this week Grant literally grabbed me and said “Dad you’re going to LOVE Adventure Time with Finn and Jake!” Then he started rolling with some quotes that I now get… “yogurt chip, yeah man (in soft, cool voice).”

He was soooo right. Yeah man. I’ve become rather obsessed with “Adventure Time” in the past week (check out a great backgrounder here, which details how BigTime Cartoon Producer Fred Seibert’s discovery of Ward is the best thing to happen to parent/kid television viewing in years). And Seibert, I’ll be sending you Grant’s resume in about 10 or 15 years, and volunteer him to act as a “litmus test” of any prospective shows.

It’s a rare show that amuses dad & kids this well (Modern Family is a recent new one but a bit blue for the kiddies). My fascination with this distinct Masterpiece called “Adventure Time” prompted me to dig and dig through YouTube, stumbling into this wonderful episode called Bravest Warriors. Wowzer is this a cross between the 60s and 10s!? Read a nice POV on this one-episode series. Sounds to me like Livingston is the alien voice, no?

Five words for Seibert, CartoonNetwork and Pen Ward:

Tree Trunks is voiced by Polly Lou Livingston, the Mother of Animator Pen Ward (the inspiration behind Adventure Time With Finn and Jake)

We need more TreeTrunk, baby.

WTF? It’s Jan. 3? JibJab.

Woah. How’d it get to be January 3? I haven’t done my 2010 predictions for online video, and I’ve got a crap load of writing to do before my first draft manuscript is due for “Beyond Viral Video.”

Well here’s JibJab’s 2009 best-of musical animated video parody thingy, and JibJab’s blog posts some “behind the scenes” information about the writing (including a pdf draft of all the versions).

A modern Mel Blanc, Jim Meskimen (see his site), does most of the JibJab voices (see out-takes video below), and here’s a blog post about the recording session. Bring back the caption contests, Jim!

The bar has been set so high on these that it’s nearly impossible for the good JibJab people to leap previous annual tunes. How do you top the Kerry/Bush “This Land” in 2004?). But if you put aside the others you’ll enjoy this… It definitely tops 2007 if not 2008.

But not 2002’s farting elves of course. Not 2002’s farting elves.

Jim Sings! from JibJab on Vimeo.

Video Persuasion Proved: Socialized Medicine Looks Brilliant!

I’ve spent the past dozen years or so working primarily in the pharmaceutical industry. So when I hear “government-run healthcare” or “socialized medicine,” here are some of my spontaneous thoughts:

  • Medicare pinches profit and incentive out of system: the end of medical and pharmaceutical research & development.
  • A visit to the doctor becomes like waiting in a line like the department-of-motor-vehicles.
  • Poorly trained healthcare providers, and underpaid paper-pushers… instead of passionate, educated healthcare professionals. 
  • Having to fly to another country to get the best medical treatment if I’m willing to pay for it myself and believe my child needs help sooner than the government decides it’s time.

Then I watch this video cartoon, and suddenly I’m thinking… yeah, if the government can handle fire, police, mail and medicare… why can’t it be a substitute for the horribly run managed care and pharmacy benefit managers? That’s the power of video persuasion. 

I wouldn’t have read an article by this cartoon’s creator (Andy Lubershane) or listened to this debate on Sunday morning talk shows. And I certainly wouldn’t have paid attention to a commercial that supported this cause. But this is a cartoon, and it’s informative and funny… look- two-headed people and blood shooting out of arms! Wait a minute. You just persuaded me!