BB Video: Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, pt. 2 of 6 / Cheetos Boredom Busters. (This is an ad)


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First things first: The Boing Boing Video episode above is a paid ad for Cheetos. This is the second in a six-part series of security bulletins from the long-lost Communist enclave of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.

Background on the series is here. This sponsorship allows us to run all of the other BBV episodes we're producing this month ad-free, without commercial interruption.

Neither Cheetos nor Federated Media (the agency that sells our video sponsorships) has seen what we're doing before we air it, and gave us pretty much zero editorial restrictions. With effectively no creative oversight from responsible adults, we went for the most irreverent and ridiculous option we had. That meant monochrom.

IN THIS EPISODE: A suspicious package has arrived in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf via parachute. Matter of national security. S.U.Z.A.K., the Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Academy of Sciences, investigates. The box contains a substance that resembles packing material, but emits a cheesily pleasing odor. Snack, or biological weapon? ENJOYING THE CAPITALIST VIDEO PLEASE, COMRADES.

(Snapshot, inset: This was an iphone pic I took of the two boxes full of Cheetos I shipped to Soviet Unterzoegersdorf earlier this month. FedEx charged me $140 to overnight $10 worth of cheesy snack foods. They were held up in customs for days, because authorities thought we were smuggling drugs. Seriously. We loosely based the ad content around the actual process of getting Cheetos to the monochrom guys.)

Previously: BB Video: (This is an ad) Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, pt. 1 of 6 / Cheetos Boredom Busters.


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  1. Not a fan of Cheetos themselves (they make me want to vomit after eating them, and thus i cannot eat cheese for 2 weeks), BUT…i love their commercials…So evil :D

  2. @FreakCitySF, This is precisely the enigma that our partners in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf wish to unravel. In the next episode, you will witness heretofore unattempted attempts to… um… to reverse-engineer the snack food, and demystify its secrets. With communist science.

    IANACS (I am not a Communist Scientist), but I believe Cheetos are not chips. They are poofs, puffs, or crunchlets. But that is just me.

  3. @freakcitysf: well, as far as i know: blame the mighty magic extruder. the dough is forced through a disk with several small holes. when pushed at high speed, they puff on the other side and are sliced off the machine.

  4. *pk*

    thght th d-whrng gng n fr Dsny nd thr prdcts hr ws jst prdct nd dsgn ftshztn.

    Nw s tht bngbng s jst trnng ts cltrl ccht n t d rvn.

    Thnk ‘ll sgn ff fr fw dys, cn’t stmch ths crp.

  5. MIDNIGHTSIMON @7, Ad whoring? Please. Any sponsorship on Boing Boing is clearly identified as such. Unless something is marked as an ad or sponsorship, it isn’t. Boing Boing is ad revenue supported. That’s not news. Ads and sponsorships are how we keep doing what we do.

  6. WTF? Ths whl rrngmnt s s cnvltd tht t tk m whl t ndrstnd wht ths pst vn <>ws. N ‘m nt ndgnnt vr yr sllng t (yr bndwdth bll s mnstrs nd t nds t b pd), jst tk whl t fgr t wht th hck ws hppnng.

  7. Being as I regularly bug the shit out of people by talking in a ridiculous cod-Russian accent, it gets my seal of approval.

  8. I haven’t been a fan of these video spots so far (there are funny parts).

    But I REALLY enjoy reading the holier-than-thou comments a few minutes after these have been posted.

    (and I can enjoy Cheetos in small quantities)

    (and Cheetos are puffed corn covered with a cheese powder)

  9. It’s not about advertising per se, but what is being advertised. This product might do better on a blog called ‘the 14year old gamer’. I notice ralph’s grocery store and 7-11 have new cheetos displays so they must be doing a big blitz. Again, just surprising to find it here.

    The commie schtick really isn’t funny. Is the overzealous editing part of the theme of the ads?

  10. Strange feeling of deja vu. Same commenters as last week. Almost the same comments. Ceci, ce n’est past une re-run.

  11. “FedEx charged me $140 to overnight $10 worth of cheesy snack foods.”

    Heh I work in a Fedex Office location and just wanted to make a note on this comment.

    It doesn’t matter what the value of the item you are shipping is – it will cost a certain amount for the a.) weight, b.) dimensions, and c.) delivery speed.

    If you thought $140 was too much to pay for $10 worth of … Cheetos. Then you could a.) not ship Cheetos, b.) Not OVERNIGHT them (Our most expensive service)… or c.) plan ahead and use a cheaper delivery time.

    For whatever reason, people think our prices are going to go down, or become cheaper over time…

    We use fuel to deliver boxes to pretty much anywhere in the world. This service is not going to get cheaper and certainly not with an economic recession.

    I’m at work and it feels good to rant. Whew.

    /rantoff

    1. Hey FedEX guy! That’s an interesting rant. Yeah, all of my bitching aside, it’s pretty amazing that you *can* ship $10 worth of cheetos to someone and have it arrive over night. In our case, the plan to do all of this with monochrom came together literally at the last minute, so there was no time, and then we had this dumb idea of not totally telling the easiest truth on the customs form (“there are cheetos inside this box”) because someone thought that would delay the shipment (food quarantine or something). I don’t think FedEx screwed us over, I was just bitter because I had to pay the $140, and it was funny in the end.

  12. advertising you participate in, as opposed to advertising that is done to you.

    First principle: the second law of thermodynamics applies. You can choose to be entropy or enthalpy(and love).
    But mommy and daddy still have to bring the bacon-paycheck-kill home, or the rats eat you.

    This is an interesting place. It is organized enough for almost anyone to inhabit, but it has a view from a high place, of what went before and what may come.

    Did anyone in the 1930’s have ANY idea of a modern television commercial? Of the ice-berg depths of the applied science of persuasion?

    The web is still a New Thing. An Indispensable Thing. Soon to be enshrined in citizen/human rights charters everywhere. Like Food, or Water.

    Selling stuff will be with us for the foreseeable future. How it will be sold is being worked out before your very eyes. Right here. Now. You have as much actual understanding as the aboriginal Indians that carried the sacks of uranium ore on their backs for the Hiroshima bomb. The difference here and now is you are invited to participate in the expression it might take. Observe, think, express.

    I can promise you you will probably not be asked elsewhere – well say outside tightly managed “focus groups” with pre-determined outcomes.

    The scientist carefully locked the lab door and left the chimpanzee alone with the puzzle. Taking out his notebook, he crouched by the doorknob to spy on his subject though the keyhole, to learn what he might about simian intelligence. Screwing up his eye to peer through,he found himself looking into the depths of the large, soft, brown eye of the curious “subject”.

  13. WooHoo! Ms. Xeni Jardin got written up in AdAge, with Part 1 of this video series embedded in the article.

    In her blog, Ms. Jardin summarized the editorial direction she got from Cheetos: “It was pretty much: Don’t be mean (don’t do anything involving Cheetos that would make someone cry, particularly with kittens), and avoid anything having to do with sex, violence and drugs.”

    Frito-Lay Puts Cheetos Brand in Bloggers’ Hands

    Mazel tov, and cue the orange finger jokes.

  14. @Takuan

    How do I participate in this? I choose whether or not to watch the video and read the post, which is the same as turning off tv during ad breaks, or looking the other way to a billboard.

    I may observe, I may well think, I express at the risk of my vwls.

    It’s an ‘edgy’ ad but even more – it’s an edgy experiment in advertising practice! Conducted on a chimp, no less.

    If it were MY sustainably maker’d homegrown climate-neutral steampunk ice-cream, I wouldn’t stick extruded crunchlet in it. At least I know there are poofs in my ice cream.

  15. I am almost certain I left a comment here earlier, which appears to have not merely disemvoweled but completely censored. I did not use any foul or offensive language nor make ad hominem attacks (no pun intended). I simply said that these commercials were dumb, which I think is undeniable at this point.

    What is this place turning in to? For all the talk of tearing down the chinese firewall and creative commons this and that, this is really an awful way to treat readers. I’m very disappointed, boing.

  16. gimme a break Mr.ParanoiaMan! If you say something flat out dumb like “Dis iz STOOPID!”, ya want sympathy? Ya got ANY idea how many “Dis iz STOOPID”s roll by? If yer crack got lost, cry me a river.

  17. “For all the talk of tearing down the chinese firewall and creative commons this and that, this is really an awful way to treat readers. I’m very disappointed, boing.”

    An anti-copyright, and anti-censorship stance does not, by any means, imply an anti-advertising stance. If anything, an anti-copyright stance encourages advertising-based business models. The idea isn’t that people should give their work away for free, it’s that they shouldn’t count on increasingly draconian copyright legislation to protect business models that just don’t make sense in the digital age.

    Boingboing’s gotta pay the bills somehow. As long as the site stays free, that pretty much means advertising.

    As long as it doesn’t seriously interfere with my consumption of content, I’m not going to make a stink over an ad placement here and there.

  18. no one is saying BB should be ad free.

    some have questioned BB’s desire to start authoring ads.

    many have called attention to the excessive moderation in this thread.

    don’t blame the weatherman for the weather!

  19. Uh, this is just a viral video with a blog as a production company. Just another way into the 18-25 consciousness and only as good as the idea, writing and production which, so far, is minimalist. Smart on Cheetos part. Will be interesting to see how the money steers BB into future projects. I’m a big fan of making a buck, so good on ya. Hope further episodes find the Russkies, somehow, in a cave in northern Pakistan introducing Cheetos’ unique taste of Western culture to the hearts and minds of our bitterest foes.

  20. Okay, I can’t take it any longer, I had to chime in.

    I hate to break it to everyone, but BoingBoing has been creating ads for quite some time- when companies offer to sponsor us, that’s often an unfortunate part of the deal. So the ads you see embedded within the BoingBoing videos- we had to create almost every one of those and believe me, no one is less happy about that then us.

    We were all very hesitant about this campaign as well, realizing that it could potentially walk a very hazardous moral line.

    So the challenge was, could we somehow create an ad that would be acceptable to us? As someone who despises advertising as much, if not more, then all of you, I’m actually pretty happy with how these pieces are going. If you’re still unsure, keep watching them. There is a point to all this- we’re not trying to get you to buy Cheetos- if you think that is the case, then I’d submit to you that you should know better.

    1. I think that the Cheetos KGB are a fine change from Michael Bay, but then I don’t find ads bothersome if they’re clever. I see that Jim Beam is using Gabe and Max. Woof.

      1. @Antinous, you might be on to something there. I wish I’d kept a copy of those Michael Bay BBTV ads we ran a year ago or whatever that was. I DEMAND THINGS TO BE AWESOME. [EXPLOSION]. AWESOME TEE VEE SET. [BEWM]. AWESOME GAME. [BEWM]. AWESOME HOUSE. [BEWM]. AWESOME KITTY KAT. [BEWM]. AWESOME INNERNET.

        If we could merge Michael Bay FIOS ad with Soviet Underwearzegendorf Cheetos, WE WOULD HAVE A HIT.

  21. And actually, to add to my last comment. The other reason we did it this way was b/c this allows us to run a month’s content without any embedded ads. So we’re actually giving you the choice whether or not you ever need to watch an ad on BoingBoing.

  22. #32 Bledsoefilms. Look, you’re doing ads for revenue or for the greater good of BB or whatever. Just own it, okay? Stop with the I-hate-ads-but-I’m-doing-em crap. Just do a good job at it. Why would anyone begrudge BB for making a living?

    1. @Teller, FWIW I’m proud of the way these ads came out. I think Derek, Wes, and the monochrom team did an absolutely sick-ass job. And I think it’s cool that anyone who wants to watch our original video episodes this month can do so without commercial interruption, AND they can choose to watch a funny, original ad that our friends made with us which helps support this project and keep everyone fed, with a roof over their heads. I think this is pretty frickin’ great.

  23. “This sponsorship allows us to run all of the other BBV episodes we’re producing this month ad-free, without commercial interruption.”

    It’s one thing to sell out, and it’s a little different thing if we get something from it, too. I get to skip these posts _and_ get my BBV pre-decommercialed! Win-win!

    If this nugget had been disclosed in the first post, a lot could have been smoothed over. If it was disclosed in that post’s comments, I didn’t read them because I skipped the post entirely.

    I still have the Bill Hicks stand on advertisers, though. You can take the gun barrels out of your mouths for now, so long as this one shot of Cheetos spares us from a dozen shots of crap in every BBV.

  24. @merreborn;

    I don’t have a problem with ads at all, nor (as my first comment said) do I have a problem with ads in the blogstream with hundreds of words of justification about why we should all think it’s brilliant. What I have a problem with, and what I am contrasting against BB’s usual political stance on free speech and the like, is the censorship of dissenting opinions from the community.

  25. @weatherman – agreed. they tossed away a legitimate comment I posted here yesterday too. “this is my ball and I’m going home” is not a pattern that will continue to work for you folks. as I said, you are blogging ads as though they were ‘content’, but you were paid to make them, and make money from them, and then post/boast about them? a new low in advertising and blogging, whether you post critiques or not. If the ads actually WERE brilliant, you wouldn’t need to explain it all to us, or offer it as a post, you could simply – wait for it – run it as an ad!
    BB needs to realize that not ALL things they do are correct, nor necessarily that cool, and other people out there whom you allow into your world have differing opinions. nobody’s perfect, nor expected to be

  26. “The Crusades were a series of religion-driven military campaigns waged by much of Christian Europe…” – hardly a “crusade” to make a comment on BB… get a grip.

  27. Personally, I heartily approve of cheetos, because of this ad. Not because of the *content* of an ad they did nothing about but fund. but the fact they are willing to throw money at BB and just *trust* that good will come of it.

    And I think BB’s handling of it (no mere subtle ‘[Advertisement]’ on what looks like regular editorial, here!) is perfect: clear warning given.

    I use adblock. I don’t read the papers. I don’t have a TV. This is the only ad I have knowingly viewed in full this week. This is the first ad that I have *willingly and of my own volition chosen to watch*, for… I don’t know how long.

    And that’s the kind of eyes money can’t (normally) buy. Despite what Google’s success suggests, web eyes don’t tend to look at ads. Eye heatmaps on web pages show that viewers tend to become web-savvy within a few weeks, and after that, they never willingly look directly at ad banners, or anything else that looks like an ad. Ads are “dead areas” on those heatmaps.

  28. @ GTRON

    Re: comment censorship

    All comments, be them criticisms or praise, are welcomed.

    However, I wouldn’t go up to your place of work and leave little post-it notes all over your cubicle saying “I personally think your work has reached an all time low, you suck”…

    and if I did, wouldn’t you take them down too?

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