Truth be told, you don't associate the magazine world with breakout digital creativity. From the incredibly misguided Pathfinder online newsstand only for Time Inc. magazines back in the mid-90s to hundreds of magazine brand URLs that laid essentially fallow for a decade, this is not an industry that embraced the Web with both arms. So it is heartening to see the online viral video campaign touting Hearst's first iPad-only magazine effort, Cosmo for Guys. Now making its way into the viral circulatory system of the Web, a video promotion called "iPad Head Girl" is verging on a quarter of a million views this morning on YouTube.
In a you-gotta-see-this video trick, a woman with a cube of iPads on her head walks through a New York park capturing the attention of male passersby. The trick is that each of the four screens gives a different video view of the girl's head as she navigates the park - thus "iPad Head Girl." The head was designed by Clockwork Apple and the video was created by Thinkmodo, the company that seemed to have hacked Times Square billboards several months ago. According to Forbes blogger Caleb Melby, part of the logistical trick was giving the model inside the contraption a view of where her head was actually headed. They used a camera inside her purse to transmit live video to glasses she wore under the iPad helmet.
Of course, there are some nits to pick here, notably that the poor lass's head appears a bit shrunken here. We half expect her to get the Munchkin voice that afflicted Beetlejuice when his head withered. But we're being picky. What works best about the video is that it actually conveys the them of the new Cosmo for Guys iPad app, which helps men get in a woman's head to better understand them. The point is made when the last guy among the gang of curious dudes finally sits down to talk to her. He taps her forward facing screen and gets the CFG mag app to thumb through.So with the help of two of the coolest agencies in New York, Hearst's CFG succeeds in leaning digitally forward and making a deserving viral hit. To their credit, the product actually follows through on some of this promotional promise. CFG is actually a pretty good example of how effective iPad magazines can be when they are no longer handcuffed to the legacy of print and having to reiterate a monthly magazine on newsstands. Much of the content is highly tappable and interactive, with real-time feedback on the many polls of men and women on pressing issues of the day, like "nipple-biting: hot or not?"