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Google must put Fred Armisen in a blimp and drop him from the sky

Jon Phillips | May 15, 2013
If Google is to top the breathtaking spectacle of last year's I/O keynote, it must strap a parachute onto Fred Armisen and drop him from the sky.

Call in the celebrity markers
Some tech enthusiasts balked when Google awarded several celebrities access to its Google Glass Explorer edition via the #ifihadglass contest. But marketing experts nodded in approval, and come Wednesday, Google can begin calling in its celebrity markers. "It couldn't hurt to have famous people who've already used the product discuss their experiences with it," says Adamson of Landor Associates. "Celebrities can go a long way in helping create consumer buy-in."

Imagine, if you will, a procession of Glassy-eyed explorers hitting the I/O stage, and showing off videos of their promised #ifihadglass projects--which they surely completed with the help of Google's finest thinkers (after all, you don't give a 69-year-old history major like Newt Gingrich an augmented-reality headset and expect him to read the manual). The sheer demographic variety of Google's celebrity explorers ticks off all the boxes.

Gingrich can court older users and the political right. Brandy Norwood andSoulja Boy can help penetrate what's cravenly called the "urban" market. MythbusterAdam Savage and filmmaker Kevin Smith can appeal to adolescent boys in that coveted 25-to-45 age range. And Neil Patrick Harris can reach fans of How I Met Your Mother and, um, Broadway musicals.

It's unclear where Alyssa Milano fits in, because she hasn't been a thing since Who's the Boss? But that other TV star of the early '90s, LeVar Burton, makes perfect sense because he can clip his new high-tech specs on top of his old high-tech specs, and just traipse on stage being all kinds of badass.

Scratch everything, cue Armisen
I've submitted four scenarios for topping last year's action-sports extravaganza, and I'll concede that even my most sober prediction might seem over the top given Pichai's effort to lower expectations for this year's event. But for this particular exercise, I'm not concerned about Google's Android strategy, or even the recommendations of world-class branding strategists. I'm much more interested in a world of possibilities, a world of what-if.

The bottom line is that Fred Armisen has become the new face of Google Glass (if only by accident), and Google has so much to gain by drafting the actor to do its bidding. Seriously, how long can it possibly take to teach a man to skydive? Fred Armisen is the linchpin to the greatest high-tech marketing stunt of all time, and Google must put him in a zeppelin and then drop him from the sky.

 

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