Support Online Video: Spread Rhett & Link

Peoples of online video: we are entering the 5th or 6th year of the online-video, but we’ve seen precious few online-video peeps move to television. Sure there was LisaNova and Fred’s movie. And there have been a few shows that failed, and a few more in the works (Annoying Orange)

But this we know. Most YouTube stars shouldn’t and don’t need to move to television to grow their audience or further legitimize themselves. Michael Buckley’s “What The Buck” show would be a lovely segment of some of the otherwise horrendous shows (Web Soup), but YouTube is Buckley’s more natural and independent vehicle.

That being said, there are at least a dozen or so YouTube stars or channels that lend themselves to 22 minute broadcast model, and certainly a bolder and yet safer approach for fledging networks popping out faux reality shows like Wipplewood crap during Huckleberry season (Google it).

Now could Rhett and Link, a duo I’ve long seen as having mainstream appeal, lend their talents to plenty of broadcast shows? Certainly. Is a series about local commercials a good start? Yes. Is it sustainable or fully leveraging their talents? Who knows.

But here’s the key. We need a win. We in the online-video community need to demonstrate a) that our loyalty to the trailblazers transcends the medium, and b) that an independent video creator (or creators) can indeed succeed on TV, which is not going away anymore than radio when TV arrived.

So check out Rhett and Link’s new show, and spread the word! I haven’t seen it enough to know if Entertainment Weekly’s snubby review has any merit. But I’m eager to see this prove to studios and networks that this new medium is a fertile testing ground for the next generation of television (I think it’s hard to argue that some fresh approaches are needed to counteract the absurd pile-on of sameness).

Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings is
on Hulu now:
http://bit.ly/rhettlinkhulu

What do you think?! I’d tell you what to think if I was on a computer not an iPhone.

Watch it this Friday 10/9c on IFC (and every Friday all summer), or at least turn it on your cable box so the ratings justify further interest in this approach to programming.

Rhett and Link tell me that Unfortunately none of the other episodes will be on Hulu–but they will be on iTunes, Amazon, and XboxLive. So get the damned Roku and let’s mobilize our army! If even 5% of Rhett and Link’s fans (and online-video viewers) engage with the content via TV and iTunes and Amazon, here’s what will happen…

The network folks will take notice. The tech companies will communicate to them that webTV is viable, and that studios can get out of their typical formula because we “trend setters” want and demand more.

Who’s with me?! Can 20 people join me in spreading the word and showing our support by watching, rating, sharing this content? Most TV viewers are too passive, so a very small army of us can wake up the new TV/web hybrid model if we’re loyal and loud.

Thanks for the Book Plug, Rhett & Link, Shaycarl and Others

While I’m blogging about people who read my Beyond Viral book, I’d like to thank Rhett & Link for the product placement. Aren’t they cute? They called it an “insightful tome,” and not just because they’re in this fancy hardback book. They also mentioned Daisy Whitney’s “Mockingbirds.”

Rhett and Link With "Beyond Viral," by Kevin Nalts Nalty

So did the SweetestVegan (see video on Dailymotion). And Shaycarl showed himself purchasing the book at Barnes & Noble, although I can’t find the video. Oh and here’s one by Kiddsock. And BuddhaCharlie. Oh and here’s one of me with a cheesy mustache.

I made a YouTube playlist for all books discussing Beyond Viral… even negative reviews are welcome! ūüôā

Hire Rhett and Link Or I’ll Punch You in the Neck

I’m a big fan of Rhett and Link, the singing duo on YouTube who make sponsored videos that are so damned entertaining they hurt. It’s like watching MGM’s latest videos… I am both thrilled for them and ready to hang up my hat.

Rhett and Link Make Advertising More Interesting Than Life

I’ve blogged about them dozens of times, featured them in my book, and recently noticed that their views for sponsored videos rivals their views of “normal” videos on YouTube. Could you have guessed years ago that a fairly unknown duo doing mostly musical commercials would garner a regular following that exceeds many non-sponsored performers?

So how do these two turn promotions into candy coated, juicy filled delights?¬†There are many correct answers, but I believe there’s one best answer.

It’s not their talent, creativity, music, comedy or filmmaking skills. It’s because they have earned the right to convince a client to give them creative freedom. I’ve NEVER seen a Rhett & Link advertainment musical that wouldn’t delight me as a client. Damn this blog post sounds like a friggin’ advertisement for them, and I’ll admit I consider them friends (or at least I’ve got a fellow creator… with a fan crush). But I’m not on commission.

This new pillow spot brings visual intrigue surpassed by few videos since “Mentos and Coke,” and combines it with a song that’s great on its own.¬†300K plus views just one day after launch, and nearly 10% of the viewers “liked” the video. These little hicks are modern day Mad Men who don’t have to buy their way to eyeballs, and they make it look effortless like an olympic gymnast. Want to know the real pisser? They’re laid back and cool. Combine these guys with MysteryGuitarMan and you’ve got a never-ending gobstopper of viral video fun… without a lick of pretension.

Some gents enjoy their fine wine. Others a cigar or brandy. But this girl wants to savor the sweet symphony of music, creativity, amateur videography and blissful promotion. The Awl writes about the best songs written for commercials, and I propose that blog post redirect to Rhett and Link.com.

What’s even more magical about this SleepBetter.org campaign is that it’s like entering Disney World. You just keep getting sucked deeper into the experience. My kids discovered it, and ran to my office insisting I search “2 guys, 600 pillows.” We watched it several times, and then gazed upon the “behind the scenes,” which was brilliantly placed back at SleepBetter.org. I was spellbound as I was reminded that a few of my 20 plus pillows are perhaps older than some of my children. And I will absolutely 100% purchase a pillow from SleepBetter.org, and this company — nameless to me 30 minutes ago — has now the reflected glory of this North Carolina duo. I’m beginning to wonder if Rhett and Link could sing a song that would make me want to eat dog food cooked from 7 owls. And frankly I think they could.

“Dad can we buy the song on iTunes?” said daughter Katie from the other room. Did she really need to ask? Now my kids are discussing the lyrics… Julie McKnight.

One of my favorites to play at conferences remains Taco Bell Drive Thru Folk Song, but Pillow rivals it and the AlkaSeltzer campaign. While shooting that¬†AlkaSeltzer Cheesesteak video (in which I cameod)¬†Rhett and Link sang a new version of the Nalts song written by MysteryGuitarMan.¬†It’s quite beautiful (footage courtesy of Edbassmaster). Give it a listen and singalong.

Betty White on SNL FTW

Well the nation’s talking about one thing. I mean besides the natural disasters and wars and stuff… And Nancy Grace, who is still covering Caylee and baby Jessica being stuck in a well.

Betty White on Saturday Night Live! Selected by a Facebook mob for the high honor, and propelling the show to its highest rating in 1.5 years. It’s okay to celebrate that even if you’re not a gay “Golden Girls” watcher.

Here’s DCLuigi doing his Betty White and his classic Christopher Walken (monotone voice, eyes staring at cue cards). This link takes you directly to the middle mark since it’s a slow build.

You Suddenly Want a Mobile Home

I didn’t think I wanted or needed a mobile home until I saw this. But I might just drive a few days to get one of these used, Cullman liquidation mobile homes… because of this absolutely candid, brilliant and real advertisement. Sure there’s a shot that looks like potential blood stains on a floor that are “covered up,”¬† but the hot chick, whip¬†& vulture sounds, badass dialogue, and the chainsaw made up for that.

Brought to you by the brillianty talented Rhett and Link, who keep raising the bar and jumping over it. And sponsored by Microbilt in what might be the most effective online-video campaign for a small business ever. Why? It’s entertaining. What other possible way could Microbilt reach people so broadly? Sure, only a small portion of them will be qualified Microbilt candidates, but with a net this size, you can have lots of holes in it… and still bring home some tuna.

Put that on your brag book, Microbilt and Rhett & Link. You’re still bringing home some tuna. See more at ilovelocalcommercials.com, which is bound to catch some media attention buy (with Rhett and Link’s rapidly growing fan base) doesn’t need it. There’s a whole suite of them, and they’re sweet.

Farting Santa and eGuiders Gentleman’s Competition

Check out Edbassmaster’s Farting Santa below… we even get to watch Bob Saget’s reaction.

What’s your favorite video of the week?

I just started to volunteer identify videos for eGuiders (see my profile). My 3 picks:

  • I found Mediocrefilm’s Greg Benson‘s picks and I’ll watch anything he favorites EVER based on these. Cried laughing at one of my favorite videos ever (a French journalist who can’t hold back his laughter in a wonderfully awkward moment with some sex-change peeps).
  • Obama Girl’s Ben Relles picks? Not as good. Sorry Ben.
  • Rhett and Link found a nice duo.
  • Director John Landis had a Michael Jackson pick and a nice remix-movie-trailer site.
  • Shira Lazar chose a Twitter parody, but I didn’t click it. There’s nothing I haven’t heard.
  • Chris Pirillo picked his own video, which is TOTALY cheating.
  • I appear occasionally on “This Week in Media” with Tim Street, so I wasn’t surprised to see he had two good picks.
  • And where the heck is Daisy Whitney?

So I’m thinking eGuiders will work better if people update their picks, and if there’s an incentive to find really good stuff. So I’d like to publicly encourage eGuiders to determine a way for us to compete. Let the viewers decide if our picks suck or if we become a Ninja eGuider. Just figure out a way (beyond me) to not have it become a popularity contest, because then Relles will kick my ass no matter how dull his picks are.

P.S. How come a “Nalts” search on Google doesn’t produce real-time Twitter results like some other people?

Most Unusual Commercials: Cuban Gynecologist & AutoSalesman

I’d buy a bag full o’ shit if Rhett and Link were promoting it. They are probably the best creative duo for online-video promotions, and I’ve written about many of their promotions, from Butterfinger to Alka Seltzer.

Perhaps their weirdest campaign, “I Love Local Commercials,” has the comedic pair bringing life to an otherwise boring company called Microbilt, which serves small companies.

Rhett and Link will be traveling America again, and making local commercials for lucky folks like… the cuban gynecologist and American autosalesman. Here’s the video introducing the campaign, and below is the charming¬† “making of.”

And to applaud Microbilt’s willingness to not overly whore itself in the videos (even its company site is 2 clicks from the campaign landing page), I will now list a series of things Microbilt can do for you.

microbilt

And yes I’ve already nominated Nalts Consulting. I can’t think of something that would make me more proud than to hear the lovely voices of Rhett and Link espouse the power of online-video and social media. What rhymes with social media?

Alka Seltzer Viral Campaign Taps YouTube Weblebrities, Cewebrities

Rhett and Link’s Alka Seltzer road show (see previous post)¬†hit Philadelphia recently, and it didn’t take them asking more than once to convince me and a bunch of YouTube Cewebrities to hit Pat and Gino’s to appear in this video. I picked up CharlesTrippy, ShayCarl, TheMightyThor1212¬†and those gals to stop by before the YoTube events. We did it for fun not profit, but Rhett and Link were classy enough to feed us, and even send us off with beer money for that night (thanks, guys).

Favorite moment? The nervous look on the face of the agency account manager as she reluctantly handed me a Speedy statue. Don’t worry, agency lady. I’ll behave with him.

Admitting my bias, I’m still putting this promotion down as one of the top three smartest viral video campaigns of 2008. It joins the ranks of¬†BMW’s Rampenfest and Diet Dr. Pepper’s Cherry Coke promotion of TayZonday.

It’s funny, entertaining, balanced well (promotion is subtle), it’s leveraging the charasmatic appeal of two video stars who have been provided creative control of the series. Rhett and Link give us a perfect example of advertising content that is first entertaining. And the branding finds a happy medium between, on one extreme, dominating the video, and on the other relegating itself to ignored¬†pop-ups or lost entirely. The topics are related to food, the tone revitalizes an otherwise stale brand, and Alka Seltzer’s differentiator (the plop, fizz) is not lost. Bringing back Speedy was brilliant too.

The only thing I’d say about all three of these campaigns is that they probably could have been done more cost effectively. Diet Dr. Pepper got TayZonday for a song, but had some production overhead (it was also hampered by the reality that the drink tastes like the smell of¬†a chocolate scratch and sniff, and that’s coming from a hardcore Diet Dr. Pepper guy).

The Alka Seltzer road show was fairly shoestring for television and advertising rackets, but still could be leaner (do you need 5 or more people beyond Rhett and Link¬†at the shoot?). I don’t know about Rampenfest, but it looks very, very expensive (guessing $500-$1,000 MM).

 

 

Sponsored Fun or Selling Out? Comedy Duo On Road Trip for Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz.

rhett and link buffet songRhett and Link, comedic¬†video amateurs, are mountaineering above the overhang of “The Great Cliff of New-Media Sponsored Advertising.” They’re harnessed to each other with a¬†taut rope, knotted with creativity. The friends swing effortlessly to the next hold in a pendulum traverse.¬†Rhett knows the objective danger as he¬†firmly grabs his¬†nub,¬†and Link’s total attention is committed to spotting him. Their eyes¬†lock, then gaze¬†slowly down¬†upon the¬†falling spree at the mountain’s base. It would be a perilous drop to their death (is that ZeFrank’s skeleton?). But they both smile, knowing¬†full well that they’ll live to see another climb.

[Editorial addition 6/20 9 pm EST: Rhett and Link have an insightful comment below] In their latest celebration of corporate sponsorship, the singing and acting duo present this hysterical video called “The Buffet Song.” It’s a song parody about all-you-can-eat buffets. Now there’s *every reason* I should have known this was a sponsored video:

  1. It was clear on the video’s description and it was a reply to a video about the Alka Seltza tour.
  2. I received this from them via e-mail, and it was explained as a video¬†that it’s part of their¬†of “Great American Road Trip Series” sponsored by Alka Seltzer.
  3. Heck I even last week agreed via e-mail to meet them in Philly (Pat and Gino’s Cheesesteaks) for a video that they said was part of¬†some Alka Seltzer series.¬†They wrote, “It’s part of our Alka Seltzer road trip gig…. We’re still developing the angle so if you’re interested, you can¬†weigh in as we develop it.” I took that as a fun challenge, and began soliciting others to¬†collaborate. See-¬†sometimes¬†it’s not all about the money. Maybe they’ll have free samples.

But then, like, Yipes, Scoob… I opened this video above, and all of that awareness vanished — just like those pain pangs¬†of overindulgence when met by¬†a¬†delciously effervescent¬†glass of¬†heartburn and indigestion medication.

In fact, I’d like to take you sequentially through my experience, which is something I can’t stand in a conversation. I’m always telling my wife, “you’re burying the lead again, Jo… I don’t need to know about how much change the post office gave you before the freak you saw on the way out. Just tell me about the freak.” But now I digress…

To read about my sequential experience wrapping my small brain around this video campaign, click MORE (bottom left corner of this blog – right above the “share” link”). Trust me, it’s worth it.

alka seltzer

Continue reading “Sponsored Fun or Selling Out? Comedy Duo On Road Trip for Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz.”