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D’oh! The Plot to Simpsonize America

I confess, I was a little sad that I was out of the office the day the Fast Company class photo that appeared in the June issue was taken. One crummy reporting trip and I missed my chance to finally get my mug in the magazine! But fortunately, I now have a chance to show you just what I look like….or would, if I had a yellow face, bug eyes, and lips that look like they were drawn on with a crayon. Which, I guess, they were. Now, if only I could get a bit part in the movie….

I confess, I was a little sad that I was out of the office the day the Fast Company class photo that appeared in the June issue was taken. One crummy reporting trip and I missed my chance to finally get my mug in the magazine! But fortunately, I now have a chance to show you just what I look like….or would, if I had a yellow face, bug eyes, and lips that look like they were drawn on with a crayon. Which, I guess, they were. Now, if only I could get a bit part in the movie….

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By July 27, when The Simpsons Movie debuts, the range of product promotions, tie-ins, and spin-offs is likely to make even the marketing of Harry Potter seem wimpy. But for the next week or so, the idea still is fresh enough to enchant. Which is why I couldn’t resist going to Simpsonizeme.com and seeing what I would look like if I had commissioned Matt Groening do my portrait. A striking resemblance, don’t you think?

The site, which is a Burger King tie-in, launched quietly last Monday. Or at least it was supposed to. By mid-afternoon the site was overwhelmed by the crush of folks pining for that hip jaundiced hue. All this, without any visible promotion. What’s up with that? Do Simpsons fanatics all have RSS feeds alerting them to every news bulletin from Springfield? Remind me to check out Salary.com’s newest “Wasting Time at Work” survey. Somewhere, there should be stats on web slacking.

This past Sunday night, the first ads promoting the site, by Crispin Porter + Bogusky (full disclosure: my kid works for the agency, so I got a sneak preview of the site during a pre-launch debugging exercise) aired during “The Simpsons.” Since then, according to Burger King, traffic has really gone through the roof. As of 3 p.m. today, the site had had 153,300,000 hits, and 4,067,378 folks had managed to upload their pictures for a full Simpsonesque make-over. Many more were left pining for that marigold glow, as the site’s traffic still outstripped the capacity to keep up with it. Burger King says it’s upped the number of servers from 18 to 38. A few dozen more wouldn’t hurt.

And that’s the trick with the viral beast: make sure you can feed what you unleash. Frustrated Simpsonizers can be crankier than Mr. Burns if courted…then thwarted.

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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