Yahoo Enlists Film Students to Announce Its Redesign

Yahoo’s new home page went live in the U.S. today, and the company has enlisted several film school students to spread the word.

The new, dynamic site has been in a preview phase since May. It is more customizable and interactive than the previous version, utilizing technologies like AJAX to refresh content on the fly, which Yahoo hopes will keep users on the page longer.

To spread the word about the site’s redesign, Yahoo and its agency, Soho Square/OgilvyOne, invited students from several renowned film schools to create humorous videos. Students from the London Film Academy, Parsons, the San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University created films that develop scenarios in which a person directly or indirectly reveals that his or her “Yahoo has changed.”

One submission shows an animated lemon and apple sitting on a therapist’s couch, lamenting how one’s Yahoo has changed. Another, shot in black and white, shows a fifties-era schoolteacher explaining how the seasons change, when a young boy raises his hand to ask “Is that kind of like our Yahoos?”, and is greeted by giggles from his classmates.

Yahoo is also inviting others to submit their own videos through Yahoo Video, which will be shown alongside the film school submissions in a new Yahoo Video category.

“This campaign is a great way to harness our users’ passion for Yahoo, and their creativity,” Allen Olivio, Yahoo’s VP of global brand marketing, told ClickZ. “And hopefully, it will drive some interest in visiting the home page.”

To help users create these videos, Yahoo for the first time is providing users with creative assets, including the Yahoo logo, yodel and 8 sample scripts for :15 clips, which users will be allowed to include in their videos. Yahoo feature some of the best submissions in its ongoing advertising on the Yahoo network.

Other ads touting the new home page will run on sites liek The Onion, MTV and E Online.

Previews of the new Yahoo home page are now available in 17 countries, with plans to roll out the pages to all Yahoo.com visitors in coming weeks.

The company today also unveiled new additions to its Yahoo Finance site, including new dynamic pages, syndication tools for publishers, and the addition of several video news providers. Yahoo has been under the gun to bring its finance offering up to speed since Google unveiled its finance portal in March.

The new site offers better tools, including advanced charts and analysis features, improved community features and tighter integration with Yahoo’s news and video offerings. Its new Yahoo Finance Badges allow publishers to syndicate its financial tools and data without extensive paperwork or distribution fees.

The site will begin aggregating business news clips from video providers ABC.com, CNN.com, Forbes.com and SmartMoney, with additional outlets to be added in coming weeks.

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