The winner of the Best Video Oriented 404 Error Message on the Internet Award used to go to Hulu. When you stumble upon a nonexistent URL on the on demand streaming video service for premium entertainment programming – like http://www.hulu.com/a-fox-program-the-day-after-it-airs (zing!) – you’re redirected to an error message and a montage of Homer Simpson D’oh!s.
Pretty neat-o, right? What could possibly make the unpleasant experience of incorrectly typing in a web address more pleasant than a clip from one of the best television shows of all time? How about an Army special ops scene about a covert operation to track down a missing web page conceived by the creators of an Android/iPhone app that’s more or less a food-centric Instagram that’ll tell you what to order?
Alex Cornell, Philip Mills, Dan Clegg, Josh Vekhter, and Michael Chang all played a part in making the above 404 message for the Firespotter Labs’ startup Nosh come to life. They shot the footage with a Canon 7D and edited it all together in one day on July 23. By July 27 they uploaded it online. By today, the clip is up to nearly 400,000 views on Vimeo.
For the uninitiated into the world of mobile food suggestion applications, Nosh is cooking in the same kitchen as Foodspotting. The company taps your social circle for reviews and suggestions on where and what to eat and accompanies those suggestions with pictures of the food taken by users. Here’s a single-take Old Spice ad-inspired online commercial that explains:
Pretty good overview, right? It’s also a great example of how the startup is using online video and creative marketing tactics to spread the word about its product. But where the above spot centers around Nosh, the 404 message has nothing to do with eating and/or iPhone applications. It’s simply very cool. And oftentimes very cool makes for the best kinds of commercials (whether viewers realize it or not).