Ben Relles, creator of Obama Girl and Barely Political, spoke on a panel today about viral video at Streaming Media East. When we met, Relles noted my tendency to trash BarelyPolitical, a website which, I maintain, was once a waste of my time. I did not mean to disparage Mr. Relles, however, who is indeed a marketing genius with an intuitive instinct for creating videos with zeitgeist potential, and someone with a very creative style.
Remember the MeowMix theme song created by Shelley Palmer? It’s probably the last thing I’d ever put in my Ipod. (S#^%, now it is stuck in my head.) Even though I find the song annoying and generally worthless (I never liked cats), I admire it. I visit Palmer’s blog, MediaBytes, almost daily; I even listen to the podcast.
And Barely Political, which launched with a killer name and URL and a brilliant marketing campaign, but not a shred of enduring entertainment value, has indeed found its bearings. It was haphazard and confused early on, but the brand has become a tangible entertainment property with legs. This is due largely, as Mr. Relles readily acknowledges, to his partnership with people who truly understand the process of building entertainment brands, NextNewNetworks. Smart partnership.
A new Barely Political video, Bill O’Reilly’s Producer (Unseen Footage), screened by Relles during the panel, exemplifies what Barely Political does best and should be: a satirical response to our collective conversation with a wink to its absurdity… not a series of videos devoted to a vacuous chick lip-syncing catchy songs. The latter is marketing, I think.