Honk If You Like Honkworms

Seattle-based Honkworm International is offering streaming cartoon-like promotional animations for Web sites as an alternative to banner advertising.

Honkworm said it is trying to stake out a new industry for Web content and sponsorships: corporate entertainment.

“We offer webisodes to help corporate Web sites differentiate themselves and attract new viewers”, said former Microsoft executive Johan Liedgren. “No matter how many products you have, it will not be enough new information to have customers come back week after week — that’s what we help with. And when the customer is there you can up-sell, upgrade, cross-promote and all that good stuff — but it’s not a party till guests have arrived.”

The animations — talking and walking characters that don’t require anything fancier than a 28.8k modem — stream with RealPlayer5.0 from Real Networks or with Macromedia’s Shockwaveflash .

“When you have a choice between five different web-sites that offer stock- quotes, I would pick the one that also offered daily spoofs of CNN’s MoneyLine in addition to the hard-core news,” Liedgren said in a statement. “You can offer games and pictures and all that but at the end of the day it is good storytelling that will have viewers coming back for more.”

Honkworm has already found a style of its own. Instead of vector-based drawings that are common among flash animators, they have been experimenting with photo bitmaps in a collage-style. Among the examples to be found on its Web page are two dead fish debating the existence of “evil babies” in Colorado and sleazy CEOs re-incarnated as coffee beans. Yes, coffee beans – one of which has a Ross Perot accent.

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