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23 Mar, 2010 – 2 comments

web video thunderdome: the presentation

If you remember anything from this deck, remember these two things:

  • The web wasn’t built for advertisers. It’s your internet, not theirs. But they, of course, can earn a place on your internet if you choose to let them. And we choose with our clicks. Every click is a vote to let a brand interact with you or not. Thus the whole voting thing – we want people, especially marketers, to be more conscious of the fact that people choose to interact with brands on the internet.
  • Stop saying viral videos. Please. Viral assumes the mechanism for distribution is built right in. It’s not. People choose whether or not to spread your content. Viral puts hype ahead of people. For my full thoughts on the blight that is viral, read this full post.

A hearty thanks to everyone that attended our SXSW Interactive panel and participated in voting. A special thanks to the whole Made By Many crew for their support as well. And of course, a big thanks to Mike Arauz for being such an awesome co-presenter.

When SXSW makes our podcast available, we’ll re-upload this presentation so you get the full effect of being there. It was pretty rowdy for 11am on the rainy final morning of the conference.

Be sure to visit to watch all of the popular videos we collected and visit our Delicious page for more background research.

Oh, and the fonts we used were: Public Gothic (free) and Din (not so free). Din was used for all number values and Public Square for all text.

Here’s a full list of the videos presented:

Best Song Parody
Two kings of candy corn, The Muppets and, mash up their unique sensibilities with a pop music classic.

The Muppets – Bohemian Rhapsody (branded)

vs. – I Gotta Feeling Parody (un-branded)

Best Cute Kid Tricks
Whether they’re computer-animated or not, people around the world can’t tear themselves away from these adorable kids doing amazing things.

Evian Roller Babies (branded)


Ukelele Boy – I’m Yours (un-branded)

Best Web Video Antidepressent (or The Happy Happy Joy Joy Prize)
Which is more stimulating to our brain’s pleasure center: mind-blowing physical computing or kittens!?

Volkswagen’s Piano stairs – (branded)


Surprised Kitty (un-branded)

Best Actor
Two videos with amazing, heart-felt, riveting performances; one wants you to buy soap, the other wants you to treat “gingers” with more respect.

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (branded)


Gingers Do Have Souls (un-branded)

and finally…

Best Web Video of the Year (or The Grampa, You’re Scaring Me! Award)
Two very odd older gentleman go off their rockers, and the internet was there to capture it on video for our LOL-ing and OMG-ing pleasure.

American Idol – Pants On The Ground (branded)



17 Dec, 2009 – one comment

sxsw panel update, save the date

A couple quick updates to my SXSW Interactive Panel (please check em out):

Thanks to everyone again for the support. We need it now more than ever.

09 Nov, 2009 – 2 comments

kittens and porn, you’re the winner!

sxsw2010I ask a lot from my friends on the internet. Read this, vote here, comment there, share that, those sorta things… And a while back, I asked you to vote and comment on a SXSWi Panel that Mike Arauz and I had dreamed up, Kittens and Porn: You Choose the Winner and you actually did, because it was just announced as a panel for the 2010 SXSW Interactive Conference.

Thanks to everyone that rated the page and thanks to these people that left a comment:
– Rick Liebling
Adam Abu-Nab
Blake Robinson
Nora Geiss
Shari Doherty
Heli Rajasalo
Ken Yeung
Carmel Hagen

There are lots of humbling names on the list of announced panels (Hugh MacLeod, Dave Armano, Perry Chen, etc); now Mike and I have to make sure our panel is ten-times more entertaining and interesting than anything they’ve got planned.

I promise it will be a raucous good time and I hope to see you there.

Thanks again!

17 Aug, 2009 – 2 comments

i need your vote!

Mike Arauz and I have a 2010 SXSWi panel that needs your vote.

Now, I won’t ask for your blind devotion here. I think you’ll genuinely dig what we’ve proposed to present.

Well, let’s start with the name… Kittens & Porn: You Choose the Winner


Wanna hear more?

Here’s the description,

Does your branded web video pass the “I’d rather be watching porn/kittens” test? Looking at the most viewed branded and unbranded web videos of the past 6 months, and the key metrics behind them, our audience will vote to decide which web videos reign supreme. Trophies included!

What? Did I say trophies?! Yep. I sure did.

In all seriousness, we’ve set up our panel to be centered around audience participation. Think of it as Mystery Science Theater 3000 meets American Idol. Oh, and we’ll be gathering and presenting a rich data set for some of the most popular videos on the web, not only including how popular they were, but how they spread and became that way.

I really do need your vote.

Do the democratic thing, and go vote now.

25 Mar, 2009 – 3 comments

5 themes from sxsw


SxSW Interactive ended a week ago and I’m still recovering. It was great being back in Austin and it was especially awesome meeting people IRL I only knew from the internet. My panel, on location based mobile advertising, went well. Sam from Loopt is incredibly knowledgeable about the space, and aside from my ‘brands have to relearn how to earn customers’ shtick, I think the attendees got a great dose of knowledge from him. A special thanks to Shari Doherty (of Loopt) for asking me to join the panel, and to Hugh Forrest (of SxSW) for running such a smooth and efficient conference.

In truth, there are two conferences at work at SxSW Interactive – the one with the panels, and the one with the parties. I attended the panels. I’d like to share a few common themes I heard while I was there…

1) Brands court communities, they do not create them. I caught the Henry Jenkins double feature and was toting his eight part series on Spreadable Media during the conference, and this was a powerful message. Even highly successful media properties draw their viewership from an amalgamation of clustered communities. If you really want to be successful, you’ll recognize this and mine those communities to better understand how they operate and the culture that ties them together. While at SxSW, Henry did a quick podcast that’s worth your time.

2) The journey is the thing that matters. Jim Coudal moderated a great panel on how to involve people in your process, not just the end product. (I’m a Coudal superfan – I was taking notes in a Field Notes prototype book I got at their SEED conference) Filmmaker Gary Hustwit of Helvetica fame talked a good deal about opening up the experience of making his films, and telling the story of its creation, to his audience. For example, Gary sells posters for his films before he even begins making them. He sells the idea first and in turn generates the capital to make it. People like to dream about stuff that doesn’t exist yet; and the idea of it is usually the sexiest part.

3) Help people use their brains. Brendan Dawes sat on Coudal’s panel too, and showed off DoodleBuzz, a news powered experience he built. The interface intentionally leaves you hanging until you gather the courage to try something different, in this case doodle. Gary Hustwit also talked about how his editor tries to ensure his films are 15 seconds ahead of the audience. Lost does this. Apple is really good at this, too. Ultimately, you have to juggle the risk for reward; the payoff for participation is critical.

4) Long is the untapped market. Every conversation about advertising and marketing (good or bad) revolved around flashes in the pan. Maybe being the douchebags we are, that’s all we pay close attention to, but it seems like there’s an awesome opportunity for a brand to make waves by being committed to long term, always-on, engagement.

5) Location awareness is in. A day or so before my panel, this post about 4 new or updated location aware mobile apps dropped. Pepsi (a client) built their Zeitgeist twitter visualization with a keen understanding that most people at SxSW use Twitter to broadcast location as much as their actions or feelings. Uwe Hook, the moderator of our panel maybe put it best, (I’m approximating) “it used to be ‘what are you doing?’ now it’s ‘where are doing what?’” All in all, it was a great build for our panel, I heard there was a line out the door, and the super spectacular folks that joined us were engaged and asked some phenomenal questions. (anyone that attended, you are the wind beneath my wings)