The Jimmy Fallon Goliath, Toppled by Bobby Miller?

UPDATE 4/30/09: On Tuesday, Jimmy Fallon acknowledged Miller’s campaign on G4’s Attack of the Show, admiring his “hunger.” Miller has posted a response.

[show=indy-mogul]So what I know about the story of David and Goliath I learned from that NBC show where Al Swearengen isn’t allowed to say bad words and is a king or something. But even I can spot a clear underdog when I see one.

April 30 marks the end of People’s Voice voting for The Webbys, and while the pricey entry fee does exclude a fair number of entrants, anyone can vote on the actual awards. There are a few dozen categories honoring all manner of web video, but the category getting the most buzz right now is the Best Variety Show, where the nominees are:

  • Boing Boing tv
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Rocketboom
  • The Best Short Films In The World

That’s quite the list of heavy-hitters… plus NextNewNetworks’ Indy Mogul spin-off Best Short Films, which was launched last fall and thus can’t begin to approach the other nominees in terms of longevity or prestige.

When I was filling out my Webbys ballot, I admit that in categories where I wasn’t familiar with the nominees, I went with the name I knew best. (Face it, you probably did, too.) Hence, you’d expect that with the wide range of people outside the online video community voting on these awards, Jimmy Fallon would be easily winning.

And yet in this case, as of noon on April 28, the current tally on the People’s Voice voting site shows that Best Short Films is beating all of them. How? It’s all down to Best Short Films creator Bobby Miller, who has physically thrown himself into an ingenious marketing campaign focused around one single concept: “Don’t let Jimmy win.”

But Don’t Let Jimmy isn’t just frenzied promotion — it also belies a keen understanding of how to use social media tools to engage with your audience. Over the past week Miller’s been using his Tumblr blog to showcase fan-created art and videos from the Indymogul forums, and soliciting video responses to his YouTube videos mocking Fallon. He’s only gotten two responses so far — but one of them is this one. Which is more than enough.

If Jimmy Fallon does win the Webby, it won’t just be making the most popular girl at school prom queen. The former SNL cast member has put an unprecedented amount of effort into building out his online presence (even eventually winning over critics like me), and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that. But I voted for Best Short Films. NBC viewers might not be fans of underdog stories, but I’m a sucker for them.4/