Are you ready for your close-up? In early June, the dynamic, disrupting duo of Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning launched their new video chat and sharing network, called Airtime. As a matter of course, the founders built Airtime on top of Facebook, with a cool $33.5 million in funding to get the operation off the ground — and more. A Chatroulette that you can bring home to mom, Airtime puts you on camera for impromptu conversations, matching you with friends and strangers alike for a little fun, one-on-one interaction.
Today, the startup released a polished new video that aims to demonstrate the power of the service and attract those elusive mainstream consumers. The entertaining spot naturally leverages a little star power to grab your attention, with cameos from the likes of MC Hammer, Kurt Russell, Ronnie Lott and Gary Vaynerchuk.
The narration and leading role come to you courtesy of Ian Pfaff, a resident, creative, “jack-of-all-trades” type at Portal A, the company behind the Airtime video as well as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s 2 Legit 2 Quit campaign video. Pfaff plays a character that is reminiscent of the Old Spice Guy, describing Airtime as “The Best Internet You’ve Ever Had” and “Video Chat Revolutionized.”
The production company tells us that video was shot in a mansion in Malibu and all over the country, from New Jersey for Gary Vaynerchuk to Los Angeles in the home of Kurt Russell to Founders Den in San Francisco to capture MC Hammer at work. Portal A said they wanted to create a character who seems like he has it all, an impressive home, famous friends, but still lacks a great way to connect with others and meet people.
In an era in which video games, movies and TV shows are all advertising their stuff on the tube and all over the Web, Airtime is competing with big budgets and short attention spans. As a result, it’s as if the startup couldn’t just go with some run-of-the-mill demo video, they needed to go bigger. We’re entering a time when big, well-funded, consumer-facing startups will be pitched like any other consumer product or media, with polished videos and big names. Hey, even Ed Lee got on the train.
It’s great to see more startups (Dollar Shave Club, anyone?) using humor to break through to a big audience, rather than getting serious (and potentially boring) with technical details and features.
You can check out Josh’s coverage of Airtime’s launch here.
What do you think? Will you Airtime?