We like the moon's marketing potential

James Taranto of WSJ's Best of the Web Today is just learning about the Spongmonkeys:

"Are Cambodian eating habits the inspiration for the strange new ad campaign promoting the Quiznos Subs fast-food chain? The ads, which you can watch in Flash format at the Quiznos Web site, feature a musical pair of animated creatures--one sings, the other plays guitar--that look for all the world like wild-eyed mutant rodents. Mmmm . . . toasty!"

This reminds me of when "All Your Base" made it onto the front page of the Boston Globe. There's something very satisfying in discovering some silly web cult hit and watching big media editors catch on. Can they appreciate the absurdity? Do they publish it out of a sense of camraderie? The joy of spreading the silliness? That's why I showed the Spongmonkeys to my advisor and so many others. Big, infectious laughs.

But the Moon Song didn't make the leap that the Dancing Baby did. Not yet, at least. But the new Quinzos campaign may insert the Spongemonkeys high in our collective consciousness. Maybe as high as dirigibles or zeppelins or lightbulbs. Or maybe clouds. Or also puffins I think they go quite high too. Maybe not as high as the moon, 'cuz the moon is very high.

But I digress. The Houston Chronicle has a story on the new wave of flash animation (The Moon Song, The End of the World, and Homestar Runner) -- comparing it to the previous generation's Laugh-In and SNL.

The new web cartoons have several advantages over broadcast sketch comedy. It's easier and faster to spread the word about flash animation among peers, and keep the uninitiated, well, uninitiated. Sounds like an advertiser's dream, right? This method of propagation has some disadvantages, too. The ease of producing and transmitting 'flash' animation, the fickleness of the target audience, and the lack of mainstream penetration all suggest faster turnaround time between the latest catchphrases. Even Homestarrunner.com has to keep at it, introducing more absurd characters (eh, Steve?) every week, or risk losing its audience.

Quinzos Subs will win in the short term by capitalizing on the Spongmonkeys... I'll betray my beloved Subway sometime next week to check out their new store on Park Ave. But I suspect that in a year or so, a mainstream Quinzos will have more mainstream ad campaign.