Hulu has just released the latest in its series of star-studded ads, this time featuring Dennis Leary in a spot called ‘The Leary Mission’. He plays an alien trying to turn humans’ brains to mush by watching TV online. In the ad he gives the following instructions: “Now I need you to take your stubby little human fingers and hit this button on Hulu. Then you can share those TV shows on your bliggety blogs and your Facey-spaceys and your Tweety pages for all of your bookwormy anti-Boobtubey friends.” How could we resist putting the ad on our own bliggety blog:
As I’ve noted before, while Hulu doesn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously with these ads (how many other brands portray themselves as alien plots?), they may well play a key role in Hulu’s long term success. The TV shows and movies offered by Hulu are already popping up on competitors like TV.com, and more recently YouTube, though the latter is still quite a ways behind.
Hulu dominates in terms of selection for now, especially with Disney’s recent stake in the site (CBS, which owns TV.com, is now the lone major network holdout). But there’s still a good chance that these sites will converge and feature a near-identical library down the line. Hulu continues to refine its user experience, perfecting its search engine and streamlining its player to be as user friendly as popular. But nice design only goes so far, especially when the others can easily copy it.
So Hulu is trying making itself a household name, becoming the de facto leader both in selection and brand recognition while the other guys barely have their foot in the door. So far, it seems to be working – Hulu is the number three video site in the US, and is well on its way to taking second place, just behind Google’s properties.