We've made the point once or twice before, but not only do we adore innovative travel search engine Hipmunk on its merits, but there's also something about their cute little mascot that seems custom-built for the Internet. We're not sure that the success can be reduced down to a simple formula, except inasmuch as the Internet loves cute animals that are kind of animated, and the Hipmunk mascot is a cute animal that's kind of animated, and so the Internet loves the Hipmunk mascot.
Hmmm. Apparently it can be reduced to a simple formula after all.
So much can viral videos be reduced to formulas, apparently, that the Hipmunk people have gone ahead and done exactly that in their first stab at video advertising. Explaining on their blog that "everything's better with cute animals," the search engine brought together members of sketch comedy show SMBC theater and asked them to dress up like some of the Internet's most famous stars. Then they had the actors recreate those stars' most famous moments, the result being a series of homages to cute animals doing cute things (with some exceptions for annoying animals doing annoying things, because sometimes the Interwebs have a problem distinguishing cute from annoying).
The arguably questionable results were filmed, edited, and delivered to Google TV ads in the hopes of getting a legitimate viral campaign going. See how many Internet memes you can spot in the embedded commercial below. If you give up, the Hipmunk people have also written a kind of cheat sheet into the video. Every time a new reference appears you'll see a link to the original video appear in the top right corner, so you can just click through if you need to.
And if you don't need the cheat sheet because you recognize each and every reference to each and every animal video being recreated, maybe that's a sign that you need to get out a little more. Luckily this is a post about a travel search engine, so that might be a problem that kind of solves itself. Enjoy.