The Dangers Of Viral Marketing: Penn Jillette Edition

0110penn.jpgMagician and pop culture icon Penn Jillette is trying a different angle to promote his new internet television show. Namely, having his publicist offer interviews to bloggers.

Gabriel Delahaye, who writes blog Corporate Casual and Gawker’s “The Unethicist” column, recently got an unsolicited email offer to interview Penn Jillette. So, naturally, he blogged about the email:

I got an email offering me the opportunity to interview Penn Jillette about his new web video series. […] What’s the easiest way to say this? Oh right. No.

Not that I don’t have some questions for Mr. Jillette.

1. At what point would you say that you gave up on being a human being, and would you say that that moment coincided exactly with your decision to keep a pony tail and goatee well into your 40s, or sometime shortly thereafter?
2. When you discovered that in fact, no, all the people who mocked you in high school wouldn’t actually be impressed into shame and envy by your abilities as a conjurer and performer, what did you drink yourself to sleep with that night?
3. What’s with the yelling?
4. Is it frustrating to know that David Blaine, who is by all accounts a total cumrag, and whose idea of magic is flipping through the Guinness Book of World Records blindfolded, is still the guy that most people would rather have a tophat of milk with?
5. Seriously, with the yelling all the time? We know you’re gigantic. We have eyes.

Good luck on your new series, sir. Maybe you can use your huckster bully pro-nerd magic to make it not suck, that would be a trick.

But, hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

(And, for the record, we found Penn & Teller‘s Showtime series to be some damn fine watching even if it was a bit too conspicuously left-wing libertarian.)

The original e-mail sent to Delahaye and Crackle.com/Sony Television’s press release about the show, after the jump.
0110penn.jpgMagician and pop culture icon Penn Jillette is trying a different angle to promote his new internet television show. Namely, having his publicist offer interviews to bloggers.

Gabriel Delahaye, who writes blog Corporate Casual and Gawker’s “The Unethicist” column, recently got an unsolicited email offer to interview Penn Jillette. So, naturally, he blogged about the email:

I got an email offering me the opportunity to interview Penn Jillette about his new web video series. […] What’s the easiest way to say this? Oh right. No.

Not that I don’t have some questions for Mr. Jillette.

1. At what point would you say that you gave up on being a human being, and would you say that that moment coincided exactly with your decision to keep a pony tail and goatee well into your 40s, or sometime shortly thereafter?
2. When you discovered that in fact, no, all the people who mocked you in high school wouldn’t actually be impressed into shame and envy by your abilities as a conjurer and performer, what did you drink yourself to sleep with that night?
3. What’s with the yelling?
4. Is it frustrating to know that David Blaine, who is by all accounts a total cumrag, and whose idea of magic is flipping through the Guinness Book of World Records blindfolded, is still the guy that most people would rather have a tophat of milk with?
5. Seriously, with the yelling all the time? We know you’re gigantic. We have eyes.

Good luck on your new series, sir. Maybe you can use your huckster bully pro-nerd magic to make it not suck, that would be a trick.

But, hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

(And, for the record, we found Penn & Teller‘s Showtime series to be some damn fine watching even if it was a bit too conspicuously left-wing libertarian.)

The original e-mail sent to Delahaye and Crackle.com/Sony Television’s press release about the show, after the jump.


———- Forwarded message ———-
CONVERT BREAKS: __default__

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Shannon Chang
Date: Jan 9, 2008 6:37 PM
Subject: INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY WITH PENN JILLETTE ABOUT NEW SERIES
To: Shannon Chang

We’re excited to announce that Penn Jillette, the larger louder half of comedy magic team Penn & Teller has created a new series for Crackle.com, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. In this totally irreverent show, Penn will turn the camera on himself at least four times a week to rant and rave about whatever gets under his skin that day. No topic/celebrity/politician is safe as he unleashes his views about current events. Whether he films from a famous friend’s living room, backstage at the Rio, or any other location, this new series is sure to be candid, spontaneous and totally off the hook.

This also marks an evolution in online communities. While most video sites like YouTube or MySpace or Revver allow users to post comments to video, Crackle will give audiences the opportunity to post video comments to which Penn will actually respond. And as we’re sure Penn will get viewers riled up with his opinions, audiences will be relieved to have their say and potentially shape the series by giving him additional fodder for comment.

Unlike traditional television, where audiences have to wait a week for Bill Maher or a whole day for Jon Stewart in order to get their fill of political commentary, the Internet lends immediacy to Penn’s postings, making them relevant and timely.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Shannon

Shannon Chang
Group SJR
919 Third Avenue | 39th Floor
New York, NY 10022
212-XXX-XXXX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“PENN SAYS”

EXCLUSIVE NEW UNSCRIPTED WEB SERIES FROM PENN JILLETTE TO DEBUT ON SONY PICTURES’ CRACKLE JANUARY 9th

Outspoken Comic’s Videos Showcase Unique Point of View on Issues from Politics to Celebrities to Religion

SAUSALITO , Calif. , January 9, 2008 – Crackle, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, announces the premiere of Penn Says, the first unscripted series created specifically for the Internet by outspoken comic, magician and pundit, Penn Jillette. Emblematic of Crackle’s cutting-edge style, Penn Says takes a raw look inside Penn’s life as he records daily rants on subjects ranging from politics to celebrities to the hottest news events of the day. No topic is safe as the larger loquacious half of the comedy-magic team Penn & Teller opens up to audiences with a mic and video camera in hand.

“Big badass Crackle has given me the chance to talk directly to you about anything I want, anytime I want. I mean anything. I mean any time. When something gets my goat, or I want to get someone else’s goat or other farm animal, I’ll flip on my camera and rave about it. Half-cocked, from inside my head, electronically to inside your head in minutes. No script, no thinking, so I might be wrong. I’m counting on you to keep me honest with videos right back to me,” said Jillette.

Beginning January 9, 2008, Penn will deliver his distinctive riffs and rants at least four times each week in new one-to-three minute videos on Crackle. Viewers have the opportunity to respond and to receive Penn’s feedback by posting their video reactions or comments on the site. This series marks the first truly interactive experience Crackle is creating for its audience.

In full cinema verite, Penn will turn on his camera whenever and wherever the inspiration hits him — whether it’s backstage at the Rio in Las Vegas, in a famous friend’s living room, or out on the road. The immediacy of his posts will allow Penn to tackle events as they happen, giving viewers a regular supply of current observations to which to respond.

“Penn Jillette has exactly the type of raw, edgy and honest voice we want to present on Crackle,” said Tony Liano, vice president of content and programming at Crackle. “Crackle is about giving audiences content that pushes the envelope and entertainment they can’t find from other sites or traditional media. Penn will shepherd in a new form of entertainment for our audiences, one that is active and engaged and challenges our audience to respond.”

Penn Says was created by Penn Jillette and is a 10-in-1 Production, distributed by Sony Pictures Television.

For examples of some never-before-seen episodes check out:

http://crackle.com/c/Penn_Says/Penn_Says-Magic_Underpants/2140385#ml=fi%3D%26fpl%3D264078%26o%3D12
http://crackle.com/c/Penn_Says/Penn_Says-Weather_Opportunists/2140387/#ml=fi%3D%26fpl%3D264078%26o%3D12
http://crackle.com/c/Penn_Says/Penn_Says-I_Agree_With_the_Pope/2140388/#ml=fi%3D%26fpl%3D264078%26o%3D12

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Crackle, Inc.,

Crackle, Inc., a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, is a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio that distributes work from the hottest emerging talent on the web and beyond. Crackle’s addictive channels and shows reach a global audience across the Internet, in the living room, and on devices including a broad range of Sony electronics. Crackle, in on-going collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment and other leading partners, discovers and promotes the stars of today and tomorrow. Visit Crackle’s site at www.crackle.com