FYI: 08.16.07

Lonelygirl Is Dead, but the Series Is Alive and Well

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Lonelygirl15, known to millions of web surfers as Bree, is dead. But the innovative online series that featured the character is pushing on without her.

Lonelygirl's popularity has only continued to soar since last fall's revelation that what seemed like a teen girl's innocent -- albeit somewhat mysterious -- online video log was actually a scripted show with young actors, one portraying 15-year-old Bree. But online viewership increased since the curtain was pulled back last fall on the truth behind Bree. The show's creators believe video watchers (and advertisers) are hooked on other members of the ensemble. The program also has become a place where marketers can feature their products. Hershey was able to weave its IceBreakers Sour Gum into the show, and Neutrogena became an integral part of the plot, with a new character, Spencer Gilman, working as a scientist for the company. Neutrogena provided the character with a real Neutrogena e-mail address and an employee-of-the-month page on its website.

While series co-creator Greg Goodfried said he sees this as the model for future advertising, he emphasized that story lines will not be created around a brand. "We just sit down and write a story. Consciously, in the back of our minds, we understand that we will have to go pitch aspects of a story to a brand. If they say no and everyone says no then we still do the story exactly how we planned," he said. -- Kimberly D. Williams
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