Archive for the ‘youtube’ Tag

Fred the YouTube celeb gets a pretty sweet deal

ZipIt has given us the skinny on their love for Fred, the YouTube internet sensation. After polling various teen and pre-teen focus groups, the company was led to Lucas Cruikshank, the 14-year-old behind the videos, to promote its ZipIt Wireless text and instant messaging device. By that time, Fred was already raking in more than a million views on YouTube, so getting in touch with him was the first obstacle.

Cruikshank, who attends a small Nebraska middle school resembling a barn, started the videos as a fun project, but quickly found himself inundated with more eager fans than he could accommodate. He was getting so many e-mails that he just gave up on reading him, and when Valerie Moizel, creative director of WOO Agency, tried to reach him, it was an uphill battle. “I kept every day sending an email, trying to change the headline to something that would cut through the clutter,” she said.

When they finally touched bases, Cruikshank reacted to the offer like he had just won American Idol, Moizel said. The small town boy had never seen the ocean or been on an airplane, and now he was being asked to fly to Los Angeles and shoot TV commercials. “We compensated him very well for the work he’s done for us,” she said.

It started as a viral marketing campaign. Fred would discretely incorporate the ZipIt gadget into a few episodes, showing himself texting friends, and fans were none the wiser to the sponsorship. Just recently, they launched FredOnZipIt.com, which includes video greetings customized for most common names (for which Cruikshank recorded thousand of lines), and their TV ad campaign, shot in the style of the Fred videos. The teenage Internet star made sure the professionally produced commercials maintained the amateurish feel of his Web show by giving pointers to video editors. “These big deal editors looked at us like we were crazy,” Moizel said.

Since connecting with ZipIt, Fred’s number of hits has grown immensely, with some topping four million views. The company has also benefited from the deal, with traffic to FredOnZipIt doubling when each new video is posted. Cruikshank still maintains creative control over his content, though ZipIt gives him criteria for videos promoting their product (like showing texting features or mentioning price reductions) and must sign off on the clips before they’re posted. He even got a brand new camera out of the deal.

Fred proves you don’t have to be an all-star athlete or a supermodel to get a corporate sponsorship these days. All you need is a video camera and film editing software – because apparently a high-pitched voice is “in” this month. More and more companies are taking a financial interest in Internet video stars, like Waterfall Mobile’s ringtone deal with Chocolate Rain‘s Tay Zonday, and Microsoft and GoDaddy’s advertising on Web-only shows like Diggnation and Rocketboom. The trend could give YouTube celebs like the Numa Numa guy a loftier goal than a cameo in a Weezer music video.

Check out David Sarno’s post for the LA Times in which I contributed.

The Web Doesn’t Belong in the Living Room

Computers and the Web are very personal entities. A PC is normally found in a computer room or bedroom. They haven’t really broken into the social realm that the TV currently holds. But does the Web belong in the living room?

Fred Wilson thinks so. He writes on his AVC blog that he installed a Mac mini in the living room of his new home, and is loving the benefits. He can access music and videos stored on computers throughout the house over his wireless network. He watches DVDs on the computer, and can surf the Web from his couch.

Personally I don’t think the Web really belongs in the living room. Aside from sites like YouTube, it’s not really a social activity. Apple TV finds a happy medium, allowing you to stream media from your computers, and also providing access to YouTube.

I have a Nintendo Wii in my living room, which also happens to provide Internet browsing, but I almost never use that feature. If I need to look something up on the Web, I’ll grab my laptop. I just don’t see the benefits.

‘Across the Universe’ Trailer

Dear Beatles fans (which should be just about everyone),

There’s a new movie coming out in a couple weeks that could be the best Beatle-centric since I Am Sam. (For the record: the U.S. vs. John Lennon sucked.)

Check out the high-def trailer for Across the Universe, or watch the YouTube version below.

Come on! The movie has Bono. How can you go wrong?

‘iMac with MultiTouch’ Mockup

I caught this mockup on YouTube for an iMac that packs the MultiTouch technology of the iPhone into a kick-ass desktop computer.

It’s really a great idea: In the same vein as the iPhone, forgo the mouse on computers for simply touching what you want to manipulate onscreen. With rumors of Apple updating its iMac computer line on Tuesday, this is just about as cool a concept as they get.

Introducing Sketchcasting

A new concept called “sketchcasting” is like writing on a whiteboard during a boardroom presentation, but the entire Internet world can see it at any time, says Richard Ziade, introducing the technology on his blog Basement.org.

“It’s sort of a new way of blogging, and it kind of combines the concepts behind podcasting with blogging,” says Ziade. “Sometimes I want to get across a concept or idea that’s kind of tricky with writing.”

The process of creating a sketchcast involves the presenter drawing on a white canvas, through illustration software, with the ability to narrate through the computer microphone as he draws. It records everything live, and that video can then be uploaded to YouTube.

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Mobile YouTube Citizen News Network

Verizon Wireless has launched a service for its customers allowing instant, wireless, video uploads from your mobile phone to YouTube, Mashable reports.

Such an ability would allow customers to record video anywhere, like at concerts or political rallies, and have that clip reach millions of YouTube.com users (not only on computers but also from Apple TVs or iPhones) in the span of a few minutes.

Aside from what I alluded to earlier (watching on YouTube my favorite band play their new song would be sweet), there is another great use for this technology.

A group of citizen journalists should assemble and do some live reporting from around a city. People should be able to submit their videos to one channel that residents of the city can subscribe to. Imagine a bystander at a crime scene records a video and that clip is posted a few minutes after the event occurs.