Commentary

Friday Found Objects: Playboy Cyber-Girl of the Year, Cool Shoes, and Another Hulu Web Original

Bethanie-Badertscher

Like old VHS tapes, things do pile up here in the VidBlog during a week covering the latest news, marketing models and new releases. Here are just a few things we didn't get to this week.

Remember when Playmate of the Year was an annual cultural moment for Playboy magazine and its many brand loyalists? Well, things aren't so hot in the hutch these days as the monthly mag struggles to remain relevant. Not only does the Playmate of the Year generally go unnoticed (name a recent one, I dare you), but imagine the obscurity of the Cyber Girl of the Year? Lest we forget, Playboy was among the first magazine brands to launch a branded destination site back in the mid 1990s, and its premium Cyber Club was once one of the fastest growing subscription services. I recall personally seeing former company head Christy Hefner championing the digital platform long before her fellow print executives. She showed up at Internet events when no other major media C-level exec would touch them. And Playboy pioneered high quality video clips and a range of online premium clubs. And so for old time's sakes let's give this year's newly crowned Cyber Girl of the Year Bethanie Badertscher her due. She did win over the eleven other Cyber Girls of the Month we also missed. The teaser video launched this week.

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In a clever bit of branding, the men's shoe line Rockadelic is trying to extend its presence at this year's SXSW Music Festival into a bit of online video magic. In a deft bit of branding by association, the company had a video made of its experiences at the festival, from the fireworks at the nighttime Austin concerts to all of the quasi-celebs who visited their brand booth. If you want to feel unhip and too old, then watch the video to see all of the cameos of people Rockadelic thinks we should know...but don't. Still it is an interesting exercise in converting these live event promotions into an online video experience that has legs and keeps the company associated with coolness of the festival.

Finally, by way of correction and recognition we call out the recently launched half-hour Season 2 of Workshop on Hulu. In featuring the newly expanded Goodnight Burbank yesterday, I referred to it as "the first Web-only scripted comedy to expand to a full half-hour format." To be more precise, another Webisodic series Workshop beat it to the punch by several weeks. Its first long episodes hit Hulu in late March. This ongoing tale of actors struggling through cattle calls, rejection, silly scripts and show biz snark was picked up for a six-episode run at Hulu. Like Goodnight Burbank, this series' star is also its producer/creator - Nate Golon, a veteran of the soap opera, Passions. People involved in the show tell me that in moving to a standard half-hour (well, 20+ spots) length they are sticking with the legacy media that always proved profitable - keep the production values high and the formats familiar.

Both Workshop and Goodnight Burbank get a shot at many millions more viewers, on TV screens. The Hulu Plus premium service is slated to launch on Xbox 360 machines today. It already runs on the Sony Playstation 3 and via Roku, select Blu-ray players and connected TVs.
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