What type of content works well on the web? Something short, funny and engaging. Now, what makes for a memorable TV commercial? Generally something short, funny and engaging. Heck, the web is where TV commercials catch viral wildfire, so it’s no wonder commercial production companies like Hungry Man are moving into the web content business.
Chances are good that you’re familiar with the work of Hungry Man. It has a stable of 20 directors that have produced commercials for the likes of Pepsi (PEP), Monster (MNST), and Mastercard (MA). One of its directors, Bryan Buckley, just won an Emmy for his American Express (AXP) commercial featuring Ellen DeGeneres.
So they have a roster of professional talent. But like many creative outfits, some of their directors had ideas that just wouldn’t work for clients. To showcase these extracurricular activities, the company launched the web channel Hungry Man TV.
HMTV features four original web series:
- Undercover Cheerleaders follows a quartet of perky blondes as they go on silly missions that right wrongs and educate people.
- Phistophicles sits you down with a lesser-known Greek philosopher.
- Danimal’s Late Night Cartoons is an animated skewering of pop culture.
- Mouthpieces is a series of lurid skits told through close-ups of people’s mouths (it’s better than it sounds).
HMTV will launch two more series this month, The Biggs and Strange Detective Tales, and is developing a show with Epic Records where two disparate bands (think: Good Charlotte and Duran Duran) hang out, play bar games and chat about…whatever it is that bands chat about.
In addition to being a creative outlet for its directors, HMTV is intended to be a platform to showcase content to traditional network and studio execs. Hungry Man is in talks with a cable network to move Undercover Cheerleader to television.
Hungry Man isn’t the only commercial shop getting in on the sweet online action. Curious Pictures did the viral sensation Battle of the Album Covers and the Dick Cheney spoof Chicks with Dick for AtomFilms (full disclosure: I used to work at Atom). And the group Charged, out of Brooklyn, moves between online content and TV commercials as well.
Eventually more TV commercial houses will be hungry for a piece of the action — just as soon online content starts making real money.