The partnership begins with the release of several videos, but more groundbreaking interactive work may be in the offing.
JibJab Media, the creative studio that came to the world's attention with the satiric "This Land" animation, will be working its viral mojo on Anheuser Busch's Budweiser brand.
The two have agreed for JibJab to produce "multiple pieces over an extended period of time" for Budweiser, according to JibJab co-founder Gregg Spiridellis. He couldn't provide any more details about the length and scope of the deal and was mum about its financial terms.
"It was the creative sensibility of JibJab and our storytelling sense that really attracted them," Spiridellis told ClickZ News. "They wanted to see if we could create some buzz for their brand."
Budweiser is no stranger to viral video. Its most high-profile foray came with the online proliferation of its popular "Whassup" creative series, and parodies thereof. The company's Super Bowl spots have also gotten plenty of Internet play.
JibJab kicked off the partnership with the release a brief "teaser" video on its Web site and on Budweiser.com. That animation features Budweiser lizard mascots Frankie and Louie dancing and singing a version of "Roll out the Barrel" that disparages everything from Miller to martinis, to wine, to imported beer.
Over the course of the relationship, JibJab will create two videos, each of 1.5 to 2 minutes in length, with the first being released this summer and the second planned for fall. The videos will be distributed via the JibJab and Budweiser sites, and the companies are considering other methods of spreading the word. Additionally, links to the content go out to JibJab's mailing list of 550,000 people.
After the two videos, the companies are considering expanding to what Spiridellis called interactive and community-based marketing programs.
"The great thing about the Web is the fact that it's a two way communication channel," he added. "Most of our entertainment to date has been short-form animated comedy and staring in the fall we'll be launching some initiatives that involve the audience in the creation of the productions."
Spiridellis couldn't elaborate, or say specifically whether such techniques would be employed on behalf of Anheuser Busch. The company is currently seeking patent protection for some of the technologies it has developed for the new initiatives.
Some of the Budweiser video content may also make its way to television, eventually, after Anheuser Busch has an opportunity to see how it's received online.
"The Web is great because it lets us put creative content out there and get a response," explained Spiridellis. "You have literally a worldwide focus group, often of thousands of people."
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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