Remember Airtime? The peer-to-peer video chat startup, founded by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, launched to a ridiculous amount of fanfare at the beginning of June. Now it's advertising, with some help from San Francisco creative studio Portal A.
The company's new video is called "The Best Internet You Ever Had." It stars Airtime's fictional spokesman, Buckley Rivington, a man who poses for Napoleonic-like portraits, enjoys a good pinot grigio with his friend Kurt Russell, and takes investment advice from MC Hammer. (Recall Messrs. Parker and Fanning took the celebrity thing to an almost comic extreme, tapping Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Jim Carrey, Joel McHale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jimmy Fallon for their launch event.)
While infusing the video with a hefty dose of his own personality, he also demonstrated how Airtime leverages Facebook to connect users via video chat with friends and strangers based on shared interests.
"There is a certain voice that works on the internet," said Kai Hasson, Portal A's creative director. He referred to characters like the Old Spice Guy and the Dollar Shave Club Man who are likable, but a little crazy, as the kind of humorous character they were looking to create with Buckley Rivington who is played by Ian Pfaff, a full-time member of the creative team at Portal A.
Mr. Kasson also said that there were a number of inspirations for the video. Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which he saw the day before the shoot, is one. But the team also wanted to infuse the video with a unique personality while making sure that there was clear emphasis on the product in the way that a company like Apple does.
Portal A specializes in viral content, almost exclusively in the form of YouTube videos. Founded by three childhood friends -- Mr. Hasson, Zach Blume and Nate Houghteling -- it has produced videos for the San Francisco Giants, LiveStrong, Banana Republic, YouTube, Benefit Cosmetics and Bonobos.
The creative studio was introduced to Airtime by one of its investors, Ron Conway. Mr. Conway, along with Mr. Parker, had worked with the Portal A on a video for the campaign of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. The video, "Ed Lee is 2 LEGIT 2 QUIT", features Giants' pitcher Brian Wilson, MC Hammer, Biz Stone and new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, among others. It was recognized by Time Magazine, the Atlantic and the Washington Post as the best political ad of 2011.
"The Best Internet You Ever Had" is the first and only video that Portal A has produced for Airtime. Depending on the success of the video, however, it may produce another that is more female-targeted, according to the studio.