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Electopedia 2012

Most Amusing YouTube Video

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Obama: “Vote Different”
Before Will.I.Am’s celebrity-studded “Yes We Can” video, before Obama Girl shared her crush, one Obama supporter’s video captured the Web’s fascination. The 74-second March 2007 clip is a twist on the classic “1984” Apple ad aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. The original, directed by Ridley Scott, showed an athlete bursting from a mass of marching drones to destroy the big-screen image of their Big Brother–esque leader. In “Vote Different,” Hillary Clinton—at the time, the seemingly inevitable Democratic nominee—takes on the role of the dystopian overlord and an Obama supporter is the one rebelling against her. It ends with this onscreen message: “On January 14th the Democratic primary will begin. And you'll see why 2008 isn't going to be like '1984.’” Democratic media consultant Bob Shrum told the Washington Post that the ad was “extremely clever.” Ana Marie Cox wrote on Time’s Swampland blog that the video “way too good to be produced by a campaign.” And looking back on the ad in November 2007, the Washington Post called it “the best example of a successful viral attack” that year. The ad signaled “the emergence of a new era in political advertising” in which an individual can cheaply and easily make an impact on the political discussion, as Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, told ABC News. “Vote Different” was the work of Phil De Vellis, an Obama supporter who had actually been employed by an Internet consulting firm with ties to the Obama campaign. But neither the company, Blue State Digital, nor the Obama campaign were involved in its creation. “I made the ad on a Sunday afternoon in my apartment using my personal equipment (a Mac and some software), uploaded it to YouTube, and sent links around to blogs,” De Vellis wrote on the Huffington Post after his identity had been revealed. “This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last,” he predicted. “The game has changed.”

McCain: “Raining McCain”
The McCain Girls' viral video debut might not have left the Internet speechless, but they sure left it confused. Their “musical” tribute reconfigures the 1983 Weather Girls hit “It’s Raining Men,” well known to bar-mitzvah and wedding revelers the world over. What made the video so puzzling—and intriguing—was the nebulous motivation of the Girls, the three generously proportioned sirens who chose to declare their affection for the septuagenarian Republican candidate through the majesty of low-budget video production. Were they serious? Spoofing Obama Girl? Spoofing themselves? Did they know just how terrible they sound? Or that one of the women has her outfit disappear against the green screen at points throughout the video? “I believe the YouTube era begins the age when it is impossible to tell parody/irony/performance art from completely sincere product,” the Washington Post quoted Duncan Black as writing on his blog Eschaton. NPR's Alison Stewart, among others, thought the video might be a Democratic ploy. “Is this really by McCain supporters? Or is this some DNC plant?” she wondered. “I can't decide!” The mystery was solved when satirical news Website 23/6 admitted in the New York Times to authoring the clip. 23/6 president Sarah Bernard explained that they “wanted to parody the campaign-song phenomenon,” but didn’t expect the subsequent meta-confusion. One mystery remains: Does McCain know the video is a fake? On Fox News in April, McCain told Megyn Kelly, “I think [the McCain Girls] are wonderful, and I have watched that video several times. And I’m very grateful.”


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