Watch the first AppDataWorks YouTube Ad

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Simon and Adrien star in the First AppDataWorks YouTube Ad

So here it is. The first AppDataWorks YouTube ad. The more I watch it, the more hilarious it is. Not just because it’s funny, but because it’s so true.

I’ve known for quite some time that YouTube advertising just may very well be the most important and valuable form of online advertising today. Why? Because it’s perfect for the mobile-centric generation that has very little use for reading and is better adapted to learning by watching. YouTube ads are little movies, and in many cases better than TV commercials. I’ve known this and have been heading down the path of getting to my first ad for a while now, but I’ve finally done it. And I couldn’t be more proud of my son, Jerry Boutot III, who agreed to use his awesome, simple, and extremely humorous cartoon characters to help me with an impactful video.

It all started several weeks ago when I was analyzing the web site of a Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce member business. They had come to me to see if we could work together to build them a new and better site. So, the first thing I did was run the URL through an SEO analysis tool that I use. I always do this to get a benchmark. The score was very low – 27 out of 100 – and I don’t get many that low. So I went and looked for the webmaster link, and followed it to the page of the designer. I was shocked by what I found. Another potential client stopped by and asked me to do an analysis for them as well, and the same thing happened. Very low score, and a site that was OK but not great, with lots and lots of visible and noticeable errors and omissions.

In fact, I had been doing these kinds of analysis for weeks and coming up with the exact same thing: poorly designed sites, no SEO, no Social, no Blog. 1990’s HTML 1.0 basic sites. But these last two were the icing on the cake for me. I decided to go after all of the clients of these terrible web site companies and began making my list. I have about 150 sites on the list I still haven’t analyzed. Over the weeks the list kept growing, as I would find new crappy web sites and even crappier design companies – “web designers”. I thought, this is a gold mine. All I have to do is just keep looking at the existing web sites of known businesses, 99% of which were terrible, and then go look at the portfolios of these web designers. The more I found, the more I thought: my brain is going to explode. And that’s how this ad was born.

So as I was working on the list of crappy sites, finding new crappy web designers and adding their work from their portfolio to my spreadsheet, the idea for the script was formulating.

One of the characters – Simon – is sitting behind a computer desk with his eyes all bloodshot, focused in two different directions, jaw hanging down on the desk. Adam is knocking on his head saying “hey, are you in there”. Adrien walks up, wondering what’s happening, and notices Adam’s crappy web site up on the screen. He yells at Adam “your crappy web site put him into a coma!” I also wanted to have him bring in the idea that crappy web sites will make people bounce (hit the back button).  And somehow put in there that sites should be social – allowing sharing and liking from everywhere, and should also be mobile optimized.

Adrien tells Adam to call a professional to fix his site, and then my logo drops from the sky. All of that was rambling around in my head, so after talking to Jerry III about it and him agreeing to do it, we sat down and wrote the script.

This is the very first Simon and Adrien cartoon where Jerry worked off of a script. Normally, when he creates them, he just draws panels and invents the dialog as he’s going – a 100% pure create process. This time, he had to create panels from a script. I wasn’t sure if he would be OK with it but he did great. Once the panels were made, he roughed out the first video draft, which was a mind numbing 3+ minutes long.  So together, over the course of several hours, we whittled it down and tightened up the dialog so it flows faster and much more naturally. The result is what you have in the above video.

Now, I know that normally an ad should run 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds. But with YouTube ads, I’ve seen them as long as 15 minutes! So I thought, if we make it funny in the first few seconds, then it should get people’s attention. That’s where the idea of the close-up of the eyeball, panning back to the full view in 4 steps using the flugal horn (or whatever it’s called – I call it the “ricola horn” LOL) came into play. Jerry III uses the same effect in his “Rock Paper Scissors” video and I always thought it was extremely funny.

Enjoy the video, and please by all means go check out Jerry III’s awesome cartoons at The Adventures of Simon and Adrien. Jerry III is an adult with Aspergers Syndrome and he is a very special, very talented, humorist. I love him with all my heart and I am so grateful that he honored me with permission to use his characters. Go check him out, you’re going to love him too!!!


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Jerry Boutot is a Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). He owns AppDataWorks, LLC, which develops custom solutions for Desktop Software, Web Applications, Database Systems, and Online Marketing Solutions.

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