$100 Bill

In another example of the government using online video to educate Americans, The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in cooperation with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve Board, and the U.S. Secret Service, has released $100 Note Podcast, an informative six-part web series about the $100 bill found on the U.S. Currency’s YouTube Channel and on the NewMoney.gov website. The series, which launched back in July, was recently covered in MediaPost’s VidBlog.

The series of short infomercial-esque videos (you must listen to the music) covers topics such as how to detect a counterfeit note, the art of banknote design, and how new notes enter circulation. The $100 bill’s new design made its debut at a ceremony on April 21, 2010, the first step in a global multi-government agency public education program to educate those who use the $100 note about its changes before it begins circulating on February 10, 2011.

Episodes feature spokespeople from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve Board and the United States Secret Service. But the host, who wears a dark suit and tie with and a wedding ring, introduces himself as simply “David”—and that is all we learn about him.

I have to say I get a kick out this series. It is simultaneously slick and campy— for example, despite the bizarre set involving complicated graphics of the bills floating over curved semitransparent walls, all the guests (like Dawn Haley, Spokesperson for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing) know and greet “David” and exchange salutations like “thanks for coming by” and “thanks for having me” as if the show were taking place his own living room.

The mystery of the host is captivating, but the range of genre is the kicker. As each episode progresses, it goes from feeling like 60 Minutes to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood to a Public Access interview to QVC to finally a game show (with soundtrack of children cheering). Dynamite!

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