A new marketing stunt by Hearst wants desperately to go viral, but people seem a little unsure what to think about it. Bluntly named "iPad Head Girl," a video posted to YouTube on Monday shows a woman walking around Bryant Park in New York City while wearing an iPad-covered helmet. The video is supposed to promote a new iPad-only Cosmo for Guys magazine and comes from the same viral video guru that produced last year's fake Times Square iPhone hacking video, Michael Krivicka of Thinkmodo.
Last week, Krivicka explained to NBC that Heart wanted to portray how reading Cosmo for Guys, a men's magazine written by women, was like "getting into a girl's head" or "reading a girl's mind." That concept along with Thinkmodo's SEO-savvy approach to naming projects that are easily Googled led to the iPad Head Girl project. The execution was pretty simple and filming only took a day. After recording an actress visage from four different angles, the producers streamed the videos on the iPad, while the woman walked around with park. A camera and pair of video glasses inside of the box helped her see where she was going.
Some people think this stunt is awesome. In a brief review flanked by advertising industry reports such as "10 Sexist Ads Made by Total Pigs" and "The Most Raunchy Skittles Commercial You'll Ever See," Adweek's Rebecca Cullers says, "Written by women for men, with articles like 'Would She Cheat?' and '3D Sexual Positions,' Cosmo for Guys seems prepared to prey on the same fears of sexual inadequacy and relationship failure that regular Cosmo has made its bread and butter for years. Well done, Cosmo, well done."
Others are less sure. Jennifer Pozner, the founder and director of New York-based advocacy group Women in Media and News, responded to the "getting into a girl's head" strategy, "Wait, I have a crazy idea: how about we just ASK women what they think?" Industry blog Minyanville says the ad "ensures you'll never, ever read [Cosmo for Guys]." Max Eddy at Geekosystem remarks "how Cosmo content translated for men appears to come off as creepy and misogynist" but concedes that the ad itself is "a pretty clever campaign." Gizmodo's Kwame Opam sums up the vague sexism of the whole affair pretty well:
The whole idea is, if you're a guy brave enough to touch her iPad head, you'll be able to get inside it. To read articles on how to tell if she cheats. Right. Is anyone else uncomfortable about that?