Those Viral Campaign Videos? Here's a Few Diagnoses

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Those Viral Campaign Videos? Here's a Few Diagnoses

Is 2008 the presidential race that will be decided by . . . celebrity-studded viral videos? Two new ones were unleashed this weekend: Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am mustered a VIP cast ( Jessica Alba, Ryan Phillippe, Macy Gray, George Lopez) to sing the praises of Barack Obama (a sequel to last month's "Yes We Can" tribute). Then Jack Nicholson responded with a jokey montage of his film roles ("The Shining," "Batman") in homage to Hillary Clinton ("There is nothing on this earth sexier . . . than a woman you have to salute in the morning.") We're guessing the real purpose here is to rally the faithful, to assure partisans that their beloved-by-Hollywood candidate is cool. But how cool are these videos? We asked experts who know from cool.

Jessica Morgan, Los Angeles, editor of the withering celebrity-snark blog

On the Will.I.Am videos: "Remember when you were in junior high and you'd have an assembly, and it would feature a traveling group of 20-something college theater majors who sang touching songs about safe sex and the evils of racism and homophobia? And you, the junior high student, were just totally mortified by the whole thing? I just wanted to turn it off and go to recess." On the Jack video: "It feels quite dated."

Arash Shirazi, D.C., agent for Grammy-winning DJ/producers Deep Dish ("My mantra is 'be very cool' "):

On the Will.I.Am videos: "I like the energy, I like the look, the feel. The black-and-white cuts through a lot of clutter. It's short, it's dynamic. Also, I'm partial to Jessica Alba."

Liz Glover, D.C., yoga instructor, celebrity stalker/videorazza for and all-round It Girl:

On the Will.I.Am videos: "It's a little bit like a musical. I get uncomfortable in musicals. I was once dragged to 'Cats' and wanted to claw my own eyes out." On the Jack video: "I mean . . . it's cute.. . . But, eh, it didn't feature much original content."

Choire Sicha, N.Y.C., columnist for the New York Observer:

On the Jack video: "Creepy, wrong and weird. It scared me." On the Will.I.Am videos: "I did feel there was something there. It kind of makes me feel soft inside. But that doesn't last. It's like the . . . 'We Are the World' video, which you look at now and it's the most uncool thing ever."

Alison Lukes Teer, D.C., fashion stylist: "Both are uncool. Americans don't need Hollywood helping them decide how to vote."

This Just In . . .

  • By order of Congress, Eunice Kennedy Shriver now has a federal research center at NIH named after her. In a ceremony yesterday with her brother Sen. Ted Kennedy and the entire Shriver clan (including husband Sargent, daughter Maria and son-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger) the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was renamed in her honor. It was Shriver who convinced President John F. Kennedy to establish the institute, which opened in 1963.

Surreal Estate

Buyer: Mark Brunell

Price:$3.6 million

Details: Football is so fickle! The former Redskins quarterback, now an unrestricted free agent, thought he was going to be playing for the Skins this fall. In November, he sold his six-bedroom, six-bath Great Falls home for $3.5 million and -- as it turns out -- bought another just down the road. That was about the time he lost his starting job to Jason Campbell and later Todd Collins. Brunell is reportedly looking to land a backup job somewhere in the NFL, so the house may be back on the market soon.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

  • Dave Chappelle chain-smoking through an impromptu late-night set Friday at DC Improv. The comedian dropped in during the last set and told jokes for two hours while customers gave him smokes. "It shouldn't be that easy -- give me a cigarette and I do 10 more minutes -- but it is," he cracked. One fan shouted, "How come you get to smoke in here, and I don't?" Chappelle: "Sir, do you really want me to enumerate all of the reasons?"
  • Christian Siriano visiting former co-workers Saturday at David Alexander's salon in Annapolis. The "Project Runway" finalist (yup, the one who worked at the local Bubbles salon as a teen) dropped in to catch up with hometown pals.
  • Kelly Rowland buying jeans yesterday at the National Jean Company in Bethesda. The former Destiny's Child singer dropped in and browsed uninterrupted (the manager shut down the store for her); left with a pair of Sevens and a pair of Citizens

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