While waiting to be flushed from my home by the now-annual turbostorm of the megacentury, I pondered my options for the time I had left. Viewing stock video footage farted out by the local electric company would only prompt me to think dark, socialist thoughts about nationalization of our utilities and railroads. Sharing my soulful weather photography with the local TV station would only encourage lazy, remote-sourced journalism. Running the family through emergency drills would be needlessly alarmist, especially when our storm strategy rarely deviates from "avoid windows and eat cake."
So I decided to spend my remaining non-damp hours the only way I know how: by watching overproduced videos showcasing personal electronic gadgetry. And when LG crammed a sponsored bit about one of its shiny new toys into my evacuation-minded Twitter feed, it felt a little like destiny.
"First Look: LG Optimus G - AT&T" is a shining example of everything the genre has always been -- and yet so much more. Host who looks just enough like Kate from “Lost” to get horndog tails a-waggin'? Check. Close-ups of the phone itself, not to mention of the exquisitely manicured nails on the fingers swiping its screen to and fro? Sure. Hyperexcited expression of super-psyched-to-be-here enthusiasm? Yup.
That last one, actually, might be what distinguishes the clip from the phone vids that came before: the host appears to have ingested a fistful of amphetamines before the cameras rolled. How else can we explain the speed with which she whips through the phone's myriad features, or the rousing "hey, guys!" call to arms, or the peace-out hand gesture with which she concludes her spiel? That doesn't even get into the odd first-person interjections ("I am kind of obsessed, actually!").
When the host avows that "the nerd in [her] is in love with" the phone's advanced processor, I don't doubt it. When she stresses that its gorilla-glass case provides "damage-resistance" for dropsie-prone users who "are anything like [her]," I'm willing to play along. But ultimately, a NASCAR race through a list of technical specs -- some quite technical, like the info about the independent phone core something or other -- doesn't do anything for LG or especially the viewer. I come away knowing almost nothing about the phone, other than that the overcaffeinated pretty lady really, really likes it a whole bunch and would totally recommend it to her friends and hey have you heard about this processor and dude she is STOKED.
Separately, why would LG (or Samsung, Motorola or anyone else) bother producing clips of this sort? The iPhone-tethered moms likely to be swayed by an easy-listening version of the LG marketing spiel generally avoid everything that doesn't include the words "app store" or "Facebook," while tech junkies likely to seek out such advance previews naturally gravitate to the savvier, more credible ones produced by Gizmodo, TechCrunch or Consumer Reports. It's not as if LG pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the production of this clip, but it's hard to understand what kind of return they expect on this investment.
The LG Optimus G could well be pretty darn neat, if you're into that kind of thing. The clip touting its techno-virtues, however, is not. LG, and its toy-making brethren oughta leave the video test-drives to the pros.
Speaking of lazy, remote-sourced journalism: I'm writing a story for the year-end issue of MediaPost's OMMA magazine on the worst online brand/marketing videos of the past 12 months. While I certainly have my own anti-favorites, I'd like to hear yours. Send any/all nominees to LDobrow@gmail.com, with a link to the relevant clip if possible. Submissions motivated by personal and/or professional malice are heartily encouraged.