Well-played, The Guild. Well-played.
This year, the web’s 10th most-watched web series in November, according to Mashable’s Visible Measures chart, has taken a bold approach to the relatively soul-sucking task of plugging the DVD edition of Seasons 1 and 2. How? By creating a series of ads for fake Guild-related merchandise, that of course is buttoned with a “subtle” plug for said DVDs.
It’s a gag that’s easy enough, but the products (most of which, the YouTube descriptions indicate, are not fit for human beings), aren’t just random knickknacks, but cleverly conceived objects that incorporate defining traits of the Guild ensemble cast, including:
- The Codex Answer Orb (Which is just as indecisive and awkward as Codex herself)
- Zaboo’s Fantastic Pheromone Spray (Which comes with bonus technology for wooing the ladies)
- The Vork Unbreakable Bank (They mean it when they say unbreakable)
- The Talking Tinkerballa Doll (Who’s just as hot and crass as Amy Okuda)
- The Clara Mommy and Me Cookie Jar (Which has treats for both kids and adults)
- Bladezz Blade (Pretty self-explanatory)
The ads were written and directed by Greg Aronowitz, who was also responsible for the crafting of the weaponry seen in the Season 3-promoting music video Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? (great, just by typing those words that song is stuck in my head again). And the craftwork of the actual gifts is equal to the solid direction: From the production values to the clever writing, the overall experience is a twisted take on the holiday season that may really, genuinely inspire the desire to acquire.
Bonus points for cameos by James Kyson Lee from Heroes, Alex Albrecht and Brea Grant, as well as the savvy integration of YouTube annotations, which makes navigating among the six ads a breeze. It’s the introductory video that really stands out for me, though, because it showcases one of the less-discussed reasons why Felicia Day has become such an icon of the web video world.
For, sure, she’s got genuine nerd cred, and she’s funny, talented and savvy. But she also has a real knack for self-deprecation and parody that diffuses any criticism, especially when it comes to her tireless efforts to get word about The Guild out there. And while she may not be able to burn real money yet for a sketch, she knows what’s gotten her this far, and she’s laughing all the way to the (unbreakable Vork) bank.