A round-up of what's online and on our minds

Published on .

  • Move over SNL and Human Giant, YouTube is now trying its hand at semi-scripted funny with "YouTube Sketchies," the online video powerhouse's first sketch comedy competition. With an exclusive sponsor in Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze, YouTube is urging its users to upload their own digital shorts beginning May 24th to entertain the site's mass viewership. Contestants will be judged (by some Hollywood elite no less) over a nine-week, three-round elimination period, with winners receiving everything from new gear to a production budget from Sierra Mist to create an exclusive comedy short for the brand's site and even a trip for two to meet sketch troupe Lonely Island and VIP tix to the screening of LI's movie, "Hot Rod." Andy Samberg cameo, though, is not included.
  • Giving Winamp visualizers a run for their freeware is this pretty batch of iTunes-friendly digital psychedelia from Barbarian Group dubbed "Magnetosphere." Using A and S keys at a slow, steady pace, eye candy-seekers can trigger gravitational pulls and magnetic impulses of the vivid abstract patterns...or just let the music do the handiwork. Either way, it probably works just as well without the drugs.
  • FedEx is taking a stab at viral branding with "Launch a Package," an Atmosphere BBDO-created email effortthat lets customers send a virtual FedEx box that recipients can ply open with a click and drag of a mouse. Of course, the box isn't empty, but filled with a personal message as well as photos and other documents shall the sender decide to attach. Heck, even the email form is structured like a real FedEx mailer. Though it won't likely replace your Gmail account anytime soon, the email promo works for both corporate office colleagues and the MySpace set while alleviating the excruciating waiting time for the delivery guy.
  • We're hit or miss with Aussie humor. Sometimes both at once. Which is where this site for Sumo Salad comes in. Go on a tour with wild man Chopper Read to his gym/health spa and get the full treatment. [via TheNews.com.au]
  • It's not quite up to Aqua Teen Hunger Force Takes Beantown proportions, but it seems a promotion for the new Audi TT in Toronto has ruffled a few feathers north of the border. Apparently Audi obtained a city permit to put 50 big "TT" installations throughout the city and surrounding area for a few days while shooting a TV commercial, but the folks at IllegalSigns.ca humorlessly assert the promotion isn't for TV and therefore illegal. No word yet on whether the signs are actually breaking any laws, but it seems like another shining example of public unrest over the use of public space for advertising. The site also features maps of other "illegal" outdoor advertising throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
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