How do you get men to put down their girlfriend's Cosmo and pick up one designed for them? By making it available as a discreet iPad app.
But how do you get the word out that it's okay for men to download a Cosmo written by women but for them? If you're Hearst Communications, the publisher of CFG, the new Cosmo for Guys, you hire Michael Krivicka of Thinkmodo to create a viral video for you.
Krivicka is infamous for several viral videos, most famously the iPhone Times Square hack video that had people questioning whether a smartphone could really take over a jumbotron with a simple homemade enhancement.
Thinkmodo is the master of illusion and making viewers question reality. But working with its latest client, a company as established as Hearst, offered some challenges.
Instead of hiding the client or product it is promoting, as Krivicka often does, the video created for Hearst, which went live Monday morning at 6:30 a.m., introduces the product right away.
The video features an attractive woman walking through Bryant Park in New York City with an iPad for a head. The thought being, if you touch the iPad, you can get into the woman's head.
Onlookers stare as she walks by but instead of focusing on the attractiveness of the women, their eyes are fixed on her odd head.
"What makes CFG unique is the fact that it is a men's magazine written by women," Krivicka said. "In other words: CFG lets men know 'what women want.' It was important for Cosmo that this message comes across in our video.
"So we needed to come up with a concept that illustrates a guy 'getting into a girl's head' or a guy 'reading a girl's mind." At the same time we wanted to communicate the iPad app idea too. And so 'iPad Head Girl' was born."
But unknown to passerbys, the woman behind the iPads couldn't see her surroundings during filming. A hidden camera in her purse fed images onto a screen built into the back end of the iPad head, just so she could see ahead of her.
Central to Thinkmodo's approach to creating a viral video is creating a concept that has a simple but unique catch phrase that users walk away with and talk about at the office cooler.
For one of his most popular video, Krivicka had people searching Times Square iPhone hack and because of the uniqueness of the phrase, only finding his video.
For Hearst, Thinkmodo hopes people will remember "iPad Head Girl."
"Creating a viral hoax is one of many ways to create buzz," Krivicka said. "'iPad Head
Girl' is a conversation starter because it is cool, unique and has a wow factor. The CFG branding at the end of the video is subtle enough so the viewer doesn't feel like he/she is watching a commercial. It is the perfect mix of those elements to make the campaign effective and to create a lot of buzz for CFG."
But creating the iPad head, the central part of the entire campaign, was a challenge.
"One of the challenges was to figure out how the actress would see once the iPad head was on her head," Krivicka said. "Inside it, she was blind. Since she had to walk around the park, we had to find a solution to making her see where she was going. So we placed a video camera inside her purse that was wired to a pair of video glasses which the actress would wear inside the iPad Head. The camera would basically send a live video feed into the video glasses which enabled the actress to see where she was walking."
The shoot only took a day but the team made preparations and ran tests for a couple of weeks. The iPad head was made engineered by Clockwork Apple and on the day of the shoot, Thinkmodo first filmed all four iPad faces individually and then built the head and synched the faces for filming.
The end result is a cool video that has the feel of something organic, almost like a group performing an on the spot low brow stunt to get public reaction. Exactly what Hearst wanted.
"Cosmo didn't want a hoax," Krivicka said. "They also didn't want to use celebrities. They wanted something original and innovative that has a strong coolness factor to grab everyone's attention. Cosmo called us because they have seen our work and wanted to do something different and edgy
to make a big impact."
The monthly app is available for download today in Apple's App Store for $3.99. The video went up on YouTube earl Monday morning. Check it out for yourself below.