Current TV’s ‘ViC’ Solicits User Videos

NEW YORK Current TV, a new cable and Internet television channel co-founded by Al Gore, said it would kick off a nontraditional ad campaign to encourage consumer content submissions through its Web site.

The Web-centric “Awaiting input” campaign, created by San Francisco independent shop Mekanism, uses nontraditional ads to drive people to www.awaitinginput.com, which features one- to three-minute Webisodes starring ViC, a 3-D animated robot character representing viewer-contributed content. ViC has “Current vision,” which allows him to see the compelling stories and visionaries lurking beneath everyday scenes in seven cities. Each Web video features outtakes of user-submitted documentary footage from the cities, along with vignettes shot by Mekanism. Current will add new videos every two weeks through the end of the year.

“It has a very do-it-yourself message and aesthetic,” said Pete Caban, executive producer at Mekanism. “It’s designed to get people to come to discover the Web site and find out about sub-cultural happenings.”

To drive visitors to the site, Current is relying on word of mouth, wild postings, events and outdoor placements, including a 77-foot billboard in New York’s Times Square. Current’s live events will feature Mos Def, The Roots, Lauren Hill and other performers.

“Awaiting input” is part of Current’s quest to build a participatory TV channel that relies heavily on viewers to submit content and inform the programming. About 30 percent of Current’s programming now is user created, according to the company.

The “Awaiting input” Web site links to current.tv, where users can learn production skills, upload videos and vote on video submissions.