The Internet sometimes gets a bad rap. There are still some quarters that find it little more than a rough-and-tumble amalgamation of porn, kittens and various time-wasters. That’s, of course, mostly untrue. But don’t look to HarryBalls.com as a counterpoint.
The mostly tongue-in-cheek site for video game news and reviews, interviews with game characters, and downloads of casual games recently started its first Web series, “The Doofuses Smoke & Mirrors,” an originally scripted animation parody of the media and venture investing businesses. The premise is solid — what better time to make fun of self-important venture capitalists who do bonehead things like plow $30 million into Color? — but the execution leaves much to be desired, even from a site by the name of HarryBalls.com.
The series creator and writer, John Busher, spent 16 years in the online marketing-technology business and witnessed firsthand the situations he’s spoofing. However, disappointment wasn’t far behind hitting the play button.
First, the plot. The main character, Dean, pitches his business, Smoke and Mirrors (get it?), to Mr. DooFuse, a venture capitalist who sits on the board of a leading search engine. The elevator pitch is a string of jargon about identifying forms of media that resonate with users, converting them to smoke, and delivering them in a clear plastic bag. “A no-brainer,” as Dean claims. Revenue is generated by wrapping the bags in advertising or by purchasing one of three subscription plans. This is less of a plot than a series of one-off gags that would make for a pretty funny skit in more capable hands. In fact, College Humor already did this with “Hardly Working Startup Guys.”
The animation comes courtesy of Xtranormal, the text-to-speech animation software behind such classics as “The Social Media Guru.” Xtranormal can be fun, but in the case of “The Doofuses,” it gets in the way of the script. The oddly paced dialog, a staple of Xtranormal videos, makes it difficult to digest the conversation between characters. Xtranormal doesn’t translate monetary references properly, so the astronomical revenue figures are spoken as, “Four dollars and fifty cents quadrillion,” killing the potential for even a half-hearted chuckle.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t make up for the odd presentation and dialog. Additionally, Xtranormal is already home to thousands of well-written shorts poking fun at everyday situations, with no shortage of them being about the tech world, vaporware, and an overabundance of acronyms that people don’t understand.
Poking fun at the advertising industry has also been a popular pastime among video creators. Thom Woodley, creator of the popular Web series “The Burg,” created this spoof of a pitch for Dallas BBQ, proving that taking a low-tech, low-production approach doesn’t need to water down the humor.
There’s simply no shortage of content created for and by gamers, making it a challenge to stand out no matter how good it is. For “The Doofuses,” there’s a difficult road ahead for the series to build an audience and maintain a following.
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the Fifa World Cup
Soccer media business Footballco has spent most of 2022 trying to make hay while the sun is shining.
Publishers continue to evaluate cost-cutting in Q4, with economic and budgetary pressures mounting
The wave of cost-cutting measures in Q3 is still flowing into Q4, with publishers under pressure to keep expenses down at a time of continuing economic uncertainty and budget planning.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ Q3 earnings reports show promise, but not without sacrifice
Publishers' third quarter earning reports are in.
A new entrant in the data-driven linear TV measurement space aims to fill a gap left by Microsoft’s Xandr
As Xandr shuts down its Clypd platform, datafuelX's M3 SaaS product aims to solve some of the multi-currency, multi-platform problems with investing in convergent TV today.