R.I.P. Lonelygirl15

UPDATE: Okay, just to give an idea on some of the strange hints left in these videos, a photo on the wall in Bree’s room seems to depict famed English black magician Aleister “The Great Beast” Crowley (“The Wickedest Man In The World,” etc. etc). Besides starting the Thelemic religion, Crowley also had the good sense to spend his honeymoon inside a pyramid. Seems a little weird to spend your wedding night with your mummy, but whatever.

Anyway, during a recent Lonelygirl15 video in which Bree and Daniel bake cookies and rate them, some fans noticed that the first cookie got a rating of “10,” the second cookie got a rating of “12,” and the third cookie got a rating of “6.” The date 10/12/06 also happens to be Aleister Crowley’s birthday.

Am I the only one who would get a perversive pleasure in having this sweet teen quasidrama quickly devolve into horror movie?

Original Post: So, according to the L.A. Times, the dream has died. Well, okay, I’ve over exaggerating, but I am a little blue now it has been revealed that the YouTube-phenomenon around Lonelygirl15 is just a clever storytelling campaign by members of the Creative Artists Agency.

For those that missed the hype, Lonelygirl15 was a supposed home-schooled teenage girl named Bree who had been posting video diaries on YouTube about her problems with her parents, her friend/admirer/prospective love interest Daniel (who also posted some videos on YouTube) and other random teenage things. It sounds trite when I describe it, but, really, it was oddly hypnotic to watch and I fully encourage everyone to go back and watch the thing. It is by far the best example of viral marketing ever. And that’s not an exaggeration

And, of course, we all knew it was fake and that these were two characters. The list of reasons to be suspicious is long: the “unofficial” lonelygirl15.com domain name was registered a month before the videos began to be posted; it seemed odd that Bree and Daniel had nothing else happen in their lives and talked only about each other in their videos. But, still, it was a compelling story. Each of Bree’s videos attracted hundreds of thousands of views and it even received a mention in the New York Times.

The whole thing kinda smacked of William Gibson’s “Pattern Recognition,” in which a “cool hunter” is hired by the head of a cutting-edge marketing agency to track down the anonymous authors of “The Footage,” a series of video clips released on the Internet that became hugely popular and the best use of viral marketing ever because of the mystery surrounding them. Internet communities were formed whose sole purpose was to apply collective intelligence to solving the mystery of the clips and the saga of Lonelygirl15 was no different.

So, anyway, let me just issue a rousing “Bravo!” to everyone involved both in producing the Lonelygirl15 videos and to those folks involved in solving the mystery. This was by far the best example of viral marketing to come out of modern technology. Congratulations, folks!