Tag Archives: youtube

I couldn’t be more excited! OK, maybe I could be.

YouTube has released its list of most watched videos of 2010.

And guess what’s at number 4?

I remember the first time this idea was parodied/referenced. I was very excited. Less excited the tenth time. And much less so the 219th time.

It’s gotten to the point now where I literally feel nothing. I just smile and pretend i’m excited. A great problem to have, i hasten to add.

Anyway here it is. Annoying Orange Wazzup.

27.5 million views? Really?

Yes, really!


Last Sunday night U2 played the Rose Bowl in California to a crowd of 80,000 fans. The gig was broadcast live in HiDef on YouTube. As you would expect from U2, the production values were impeccable – great camera work and staging. Watching it full screen on my new iMac with Bose speakers it felt like something new. Obviously I’ve seen U2 on screens before but this was special. It elevated the YouTube experience and the brand. U2 will probably sell a lot of records because of this broadcast, which was watched by over 7 million people. But arguably YouTube is the one that will benefit most from this. It was a great showcase for a technology that though hugely popular, is dogged by a somewhat inaccurate rep of just having low-brow, amateurish content. I can now readily imagine the Superbowl being broadcast live on YouTube. Why not?

Increasingly YouTube is forging relationships with movie studios and other producers of high end content.

Orson Welles famously said that the tragedy of film makers is that they are the artists that cannot afford their own tools. And it’s true. Despite technological advances, it still takes a small village to shoot film/video correctly. But equally importantly, it still takes talent and drive and vision to create great content. Look at U2.

The Escape Pod to present Bob Saget at Cannes 2009!


Taking a cue from our colleagues Y&R and DDB, who for reasons known only to themselves, are presenting Roger Daltrey and David Plouffe at this year’s advertising bacchanal, The Escape Pod has decided to add TV’s Bob Saget to the mix.

Star of legendary sitcom Full House, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, friend and confidant of Dave Coulier, we feel Bob Saget is just the guy to hold forth on new media and whatnot to an audience of jetlagged, hungover and disinterested ad folks. Let’s face it, he practically invented youtube (AFHV was Youtube on your TV) and Full House was, undeniably, the template for Facebook.

We predict a “full house” for this exciting event.

Everyone needs to see this now

Israeli musician Kutiman has great fun with youtube. see them all here

This guy has uploaded 6,300 videos of himself smoking pipes to YouTube!

that’s dedication!

Don’t throw away that old VCR!

An instructional YouTube film that shows you clever ways to recycle your VHS friend.


The TV industry, like the advertising industry, is a hard business that has dealt with a lot of change – laser disks. Video rental. Cable. DVDs. Satellite. And it has survived all of them.

So when the internet came along it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it too posed a potential threat to the TV industry.

Whenever a new medium comes along there is a tendency to focus on what makes it different. And the internet was no exception. The internet came to equal “interactive”, since that was its most obvious point of differentiation. And enormous effort went into exploiting this aspect of it initially.

But people are people. And people love stories. Let me rephrase that. People love being told stories. In much the same way that though everyone can tell a joke, but we’d all much rather listen to Chris Rock than the guy from accounting. And video is still the most satisfactory way to tell a story. So video quickly became the currency of the internet. And then YouTube came along. And functioned as a clearing house for all this new video content. But even YouTube has its weaknesses. Principal among those being the lack of professionally produced video.

Because, as anyone who’s ever produced actually funny video content on a consistent basis knows: it’s hard. Every time. Creating great video is a lot like cooking a great meal. In theory we can all do it, but in reality only a comparative handful can do it reliably.

So the surprise success of Hulu perhaps lies in how long it took to get it off the ground. Getting cut-throat competitors to play along would never be easy. And earlier attempts at TV-on-the-internet like Joost failed for technical reasons(download software? NO!) and the fact that the studios and networks didn’t want to let others monetize content that cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. Content may want to be free. But content’s lawyers and accountants clearly feel strongly to the contrary. It will be interesting to see how Hulu evolves.

Unboxing a great ad

Not sure if you’re familiar with the youtube phenomenon of unboxing. it’s where people film themselves opening products they’ve just bought and savoring the contents as they see them for the very first time. it’s a bit odd. It’s usually done with newly arrived electronic items, but i’ve seen unboxing videos of people “unboxing” new candy bars and describing the taste to an imagined audience.

This commercial/video for a Samsung phone is the first (and probably only) ad that references unboxing. And whoever did it, did a great job.

We did a TV show

Actually we did two TV shows. It was called “Schooled”. We created it with client OfficeMax for the back to school season. The thinking was: back to school is as big as Christmas in kids’ lives but there’s no explicit back to school programming. So…let’s do a TV show! Easier said than done.

The Escape Pod’s wunderkind managing director, Norm Bilow, somehow made it happen. That entailed dealing with networks, record labels, google, youtube…me.

The idea was a good one. Prank a whole school into thinking that if they don’t do X, very bad Y will happen to them. And then pay the whole thing off with a private concert, just for those kids, by a major rock star in their school gym. That necessitated getting the agreement of a high school and the parents of all the kids and, most crucially, it entailed all concerned keeping their mouths shut so none of the kids have any clue. otherwise our show is busted and all our production money effectively goes down the drain. in front of our eyes.

the good thing is this only really hit me when it much too late to do anything other than bite into my sleeve in agony and silently scream Ari Gold style.

rather than bore you with the executional details you can simply watch the bite-sized version below. It’s a good laugh. Basically it was PUNK’D set in a high school. and we knew it. hence the name. but remember, hidden camera wasn’t invented by Ashton Kutcher. Or Dom Joly. it was invented by Allen Funt. 50 years ago. it’s a technique not an idea.

Now, if you’ve never done a TV show before, you’re probably thinking “I could have done that!”. And you very well might. But one thing that we only discovered by actually doing it twice is that doing a TV show punifies any TV commercial ever done in terms of sheer scale and audacity and complexity. And we here at the escape pod have done some ambitious things in our time but this was different. Very, very different.

A commercial lasts 30 seconds. A TV show lasts 50 minutes. Or 3000 seconds.

In commercials you control everything. here we controlled maybe 20% of things.

In commercials you overshoot. here we shot what we could in the time.

In commercials you know what you’ll end up with. here we had absolutely no idea.

In commercials you edit for a week with one editor. and that’s a leisurely pace. We edited round the clock for three weeks plus using five editors. Racing all the way.

In commercials you have to get the approval of the the network to run your spot. here we were expected to perform well in the ratings. the weight of the network itself was on our shoulders.

In commercials you get your commercial sandwiched between programming. we actually had commercials for sandwiches sandwiched between our programming.

There’s a 15 minute just-for-youtube version here. Check it out. The prank really worked out well. The kids totally bought it So it’s real good viewin’…

PS: the principal Eric Sheninger has since gone on to have another reality show. Not surprised. He was great. Thanks Eric! I mean, Mr. Sheninger!

YouTube made a YouTube video about us and put it on YouTube because we made YouTube videos that were a big hit on YouTube. You can watch it now. It’s on YouTube.

You can read more about it here on the YouTube blog. Thanks Holly and all our friends at Google-Tube Chicago!

If you have any questions about the machinations of this campaign, please contact NormBilow or MattJohnson AT THE ESCAPE POD AGENCY DOT COM.