I started my career as a journalist. Warren Rogers, my editor and a well-known Washington D.C reporter, created a literal wall between the Georgetown Courier’s editorial department and the advertising team… it was wooden and about 4 feet tall. He taught me the importance of not having editorial pander to the needs of advertising. No lofty reviews of restaurants that took full-page ads out in our newspaper.
Sure the newspaper folded in about 6 months. And sure I now work in advertising. I still have a pet peeve about “native advertising,” which is basically advertisements that masquerade as content. You’ve seen them:
An apparent news story on a website that’s actually an ad for some diet product
A section of a magazine that, on closer inspection, is actually “advertorial” content (sponsored)
A tweet or Facebook post that’s paid content even though it’s designed to look like a post from a friend
We need to know when a commercial interest is impacting our news or entertainment. And it’s not often obvious. I don’t like search-engine results that are ads pretending to be organic. I don’t like product placement without credit/transparency. And I don’t like hitting a news website expecting to read an article, but it’s a poorly veiled attempt to pitch some crap.
Ads can do their job even when we know they’re ads. But news and entertainment cannot do their jobs when we have to worry about whether they’re ads or not.
I was searching recently for the cost of making a reality show. It seems per episode, the cost can range from $100,000 to a million dollars. Then I wondered if that model needs some desperate “belt tightening.”
Heck even Annoying Orange can be created for less than $100,000. In the satire I did with my kids, you’ll see it can be done for less than $1. Below is the script in case you’d like to read along…
AO: Hey. Hey. Hey Apple.
AO: What’s wrong with your mouth?
Apple: It’s green screen, dude. We’re on a budget.
AO: Bean jeans? Is it casual Friday?
Apple: Green screen! We can’t afford Adobe Final Premier Cut, so your mouth is green screened.
AO: Oh green. Well Your mama’s so fat when she wears green she looks like a pool table.
Apple: Your mama’s so fat her scale says “to be continued.”
Pineapple: Yo mama’s so fat she wakes up in sections.
AO: Woah- check out your fake mouth Pain Apple. Or should I say poser-Apple?
Pineapple: PINEapple. And Your mama’s so stupid I caught her sticking food stamps in a Coke machine.
Avocado: Hahahaha. Fakest mouth in the kitchen. Fakest mouth in the kitchen. Hey Calvin Kleinapple. Spongebob called. He wants his house back.
AO: Ewww. Half-eaten avocado smells. Sniff. Stinky! What happened to our kitchen? Are we really poor?
Apple: Yes. Your mama’s so poor I saw a pigeon toss her a piece of bread.
AO: Your mama’s so poor people rob her house to practice.
Mini Marshmellow: Well your mama’s so fat she can’t fit in her pants.
AO: Your mama’s so poor, the rainbows in her backyard are black and white.
Cabbage: Black? Why can’t you racists do a poor skit without a black reference? I’m going go back to the food shelter with my shawty and-commodities.
AO: Don’t be a sauerkraut, Cabbage. Hahahaha.
Cabbage: Sauer? Your mama’s so nasty her breast milk is sour.
Leftover Pizza (Laughs with chattered teeth)
Apple: Check it. leftover pizza and chicken wing liked that one.
Cabbage: Hey- You like that pizza and wing boy? I’m a talking cabbage. You’ve seen a red-cabbage. And a winter cabbage. But I bet you aint never seen a talking cabbage.
Apple: Dreamworks called. It wants its lines from Shrek back.
Jalapeno: Did you call me a wet back? Yo mama’s so old when she farted dust came out.
Apple: Oh, Senior Jalapeño. That’s gross and mean.
Jalapeño: Beaner? You call me beaner again and I’ll shiv you.
Mini Marshmellow: What’s a shiv?
Rotton Banana: Hahahaha. Senior Jalapeno’s getting hot.
Jalapeno: Hey Rotton Banana- don’t
Rotton Banana: How do you starve a Mexican? Put their food stamps in their work boots. Ha ha ha ha.
AO: Hey Rotten Banana. Knife!
Jalapeno: Pincho pinto pendadas. Ahhhh!
AO: You hurt his peelings, Jalapeno. Now he’s split.
Mini Marshmellow: What did the banana say to the elephent? Nothing. Elephants can’t talk!
Leftover Pizza (Laughs with chattered teeth)
AO: Look- smelly half eaten avocado’s seed fell out. Let’s plant it and grow a smelly half of an avacado plant!
The next time I speak at a conference and I ask “who’s heard of Fred?” and “who’s heard of Annoying Orange?” you’d better raise your hand. Happy Birthday to Annoying Orange, who was created by Daneboe a year ago.
In its first year of life the orange with a human mouth and face is the 10th most-subscribed YouTuber with nearly 300 million views. Can you name anyone else who was more famous at the age of one? The Lindbergh baby doesn’t count… he was 20 months when he was kidnapped.
Oh, and yeah that’s me playing the knife in my second cameo; see first knife cameo, or see my behind-the-scenes PSA about knife safety… Of course I’m not as cute as the wee wii pony or a flaming baby marshmallow with helium voice.
Honestly I find it more rewarding appearing in a video by someone I admire, than making my own videos. Dane sent me the script last weekend, and I spent the better part of Saturday trying to “sharpen” my acting skills for this “cut up.” My four children adore the show, and I’ve missed two e-mails from Dane inviting me for a guest spot. Thanks to everyone who ensured I didn’t miss this shot- stalkerofnalts, wifeofnalts.
I think that’s going to be my new mission… see how many cameos I can snag in my favorite shows. If iJustine can be a corpse on Criminal Minds, I can be a dead guy on College Humor or The Onion, right?
Be sure to check out Annoying Orange if you haven’t seen the web series. Dane is featured in my book, and has in just a year taken this character to the 11th most-subscribed of all time on YouTube with nearly 300 million views. I was also psyched to see two other folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting… BobJenz (Punchy) as ginger and Peter Coffin as the song writer of Mr. Knife Guy. It rocks.
Meet Daneboe of Gagfilms, creator of the extremely popular “Annoying Orange” series. I interviewed him remotely in late 2007 for Metacafe Unfiltered, a short-lived “behind the scenes of popular creators.” Since he was in Florida, Freddy Nager suggested we do a homage to his popular “screaming eggs” video.
So when I saw his recent Superbowl video surging on YouTube, I went on a binge. Imagine me and my four kids laughing hysterically at the wonderfully sophomoric and simple concept: An orange annoys fellow fruits and vegetables, but always gets the last laugh when their rudeness is followed by their demise.