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JibJab Caters to New Crowd: 'High School Musical' Fans
Disney Sponsors Interactive Feature at Site Renowned for Political Satire

Beth Snyder Bulik

Advertising Age

September 18, 2008

YORK, Pa. ( -- "High School Musical" fans already excited for the upcoming "HSM3" in theaters next month now have something else to be excited about -- starring in a video with main characters Troy and Gabriella!

JibJab and Disney have teamed to offer free customizable web videos of the 'HSM3' musical number 'Now or Never,' where pre-teen girls can upload photos of themselves and paste their heads onto Gabriella and Troy's bodies.

Well, not really. But through the magic of online videos with cut-and-paste capabilities -- perfected by online entertainment company JibJab -- and a Walt Disney sponsorship, it's as close as they'll probably get without entering a reality contest.

Disney foots the bill
JibJab and Disney have teamed to offer free customizable web videos of the "HSM3" musical number "Now or Never," already shown on Disney TV properties. Consumers or, let's face it, pre-teen girls can upload photos of themselves and friends, then cut and paste their heads onto Gabriella and Troy's bodies. Most of the videos, which can be e-mailed, on JibJab require a subscription account ($13.99 per year, or $4.99 a month), but the well-branded Disney videos are free.

"The value to Disney is the ability to create a fun interactive experience in advance of the movie," said JibJab's co-founder and CEO, Gregg Spiridellis. "For us, it's the ability to partner the JibJab brand with the 'High School Musical' franchise. ... 'HSM' has six of the top 100 YouTube videos of all time."

JibJab is best known for its political satire composite videos, such as "This Land," from the 2004 presidential election, and "Time for Some Campaignin'" from this year's primaries. But Mr. Spiridellis maintains that the more commercial and teen appeal of 'HSM' is not too much of a stretch for JibJab political fans.

"We're all about silly fun. It's not straight -- it's 'High School Musical' with a JibJab twist. It's really fun or funny based on who you put in," he said. "The political videos have a sophisticated theme, but it's also very silly and goofy on the surface."

Characters welcome
He also pointed out while half of JibJab's 2 million members joined during its political-satire-only days, the other half have joined since it added "Starring You," a feature that allows personalized characters, in August 2007.

JibJab has done a few other sponsored videos, one for Pepsi than ran last holiday season and pre-Super Bowl, and another last year for rapper Snoop Dogg to promote an album.





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