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June 7, 2006

Fan-Generated Promotion for Snakes on a Plane

The newest craze in fan-created content circulating on YouTube goes even further the the pieces I've noted over the past several days, in that this involves a parody performance of Bono from U2 that makes the piece even more amazing.

The video editing that transforms this fairly accurate impersonation of Bono singing a tribute to actor Samuel L. Jackson makes what looks very much like a legitimate music video, aside from its obviously comedic aspect.

The video is entitled "Someone Tell Sam Jackson He's My Bro" and features tributes, both in lyric and in visual flashbacks, to Jackson's performances and particularly to his upcoming role in Snakes on a Plane.

Jackie Huba at the Church of the Customer blog calls the piece "citizen marketing." Indeed, with such ardent fan support, the producers should realize the powerful marketing opportunities that fans present at no cost. Sure, creator David Coyne has broken some substantial copyright laws with his parody performance of Bono because of all the images of Jackson in the background. However, the producers of Snakes on a Plane and Jackson himself should celebrate such marketing. Even though the piece is clearly parody, it also draws attention to and celebrates Jackson and the upcoming film.

More than almost any other film in recent memory, Snakes on a Plane has a lot of cult buzz behind it. The show's producers capitalized on this through the very title, adopting what became an underground title for the project as the film's public name as well. Further, check out the film's site, particularly the "Fan Site of the Week" option, to see how well the show has integrated the grassroots marketing of the fan community with official marketing.

How much profit will all this cult grassroots marketing have on the film? Time will tell, but the even harder question is how long we have to wait with a cult film to determine its success--will audiences turn out to see it in droves on theatrical release, will DVD sales be substantially higher, or will the film's potential cult status lead to its continued success in DVD sales for years to come?

Thanks to Siddiq Bello with Turner for bringing this piece of fan promotion to my attention.


I found myself confused - what song is this? Is it a parody of another song? I couldn't get catch any specific parodic elements of the song, and just couldn't really see what was going on.

And who let these m-f snakes on this m-f plane?


The song's style and the mannerisms of the Bono impersonator appear to be the main spoofs and not the actual tune in particular. For those who follow Bono closely, they say that the mannerisms, video style and vocal patterns of Bono were so closely mimicked with such a ludicrous song.

Of course, not being a big enough U2 fan that I would catch those nuances, much of the Bono part of the parody was lost on me. On the other hand, I am a little more familiar with Samuel L. Jackson.

Posted by: Sam Ford | June 7, 2006 4:10 PM

Well, I think that's still confusing...seems like the video and the song should have some connection. They went to a lot of trouble to do this, I wonder what went into the song choice. It's not clear to me, that's for sure.

Well, for someone to sit down and write a song about Sam Jackson being their bro is odd enough. :) But, isn't the Samuel L. Jackson link between video and lyrics enough? And the singing snake...

Posted by: Sam Ford | June 8, 2006 9:46 AM

The song being spoofed is "Sometimes you can't make it on your own" The real joke here is that Bono would never sing about such a silly topic in such a hearfelt manner.


Well, it's hard to debate it if it comes straight from the horse's mouth...not that you're a horse, but you get my point. Thanks for shedding some light on it. Since I don't follow Bono closely enough, I didn't catch this, but, as I stated earlier, I figured that there would be many more embedded jokes for those who knew more about Bono. I did catch the triviality aspect of it but am glad you can pass it along. Great job!

Posted by: Sam Ford | June 14, 2006 11:50 AM

This video is more of a hit with U2 fans (or haters) than with Sam Jackson fans.

It's obviosly primarily aimed at spoofing Bono, and as a previous poster mentioned - mocking his usual over-the-top delivery by adding ridiculous lyrics.

I love/hate U2 and Bono, and this video really strikes a chord with me. Maybe it's okay to love them and hate them at the same time?

Posted by: Bonaparte | September 2, 2006 11:54 AM

And that's a good point about any parody that crosses the topic of one thing into the style or topic of brings together two different fan (or hater) communities. While I was looking at the YouTube video from the Snakes on a Plane promotion side of things, you bring up a relevant "other side" to it...Bono fans/haters.

That's the complicated things about fan-generated content and understanding the context of any piece of media from a fan standpoint--there is far from just one way of looking at a piece but myriad fan communities and perspectives that go into any particular video or text or photograph.

Posted by: Sam Ford | September 2, 2006 11:56 AM
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