FunCalculator.com: A Brilliantly Wacky Idea
The FunCalculator.com Web site offers free downloadable calculators in exchange for your email address. At this point, you're probably asking yourself, what's so special about a calculator? I've got one that came with my computer. Why on earth would I want to waste my time downloading the Fun Calculator?
The answer is simple: We took an item that was boring and unexciting, and we added some innovation and created the now world-famous Orgasmic and Farting Calculators. That's right—when you push the buttons, they make either sexy or farting sounds. This may sound silly or crazy to you, but I wanted to create something that would cause people to laugh, download the product, and then pass along the URL to a friend. All of these seemed to have worked. In just over one week, the site had more than 20,000 downloads and is spreading like wildfire.
Here's how it all came to be. A year ago, I launched a Web site called http://www.spazco.com. This site was meant to be silly and spazzy, so I created in Flash a calculator that farts. This wasn't hard to do; all I did was find some farting noises and embed them in the down state when the button is pushed. In Flash, this is no big deal—in fact, it's a very basic function for the novice Flash user. What made this so powerful was that it had never been done before. When I realized that, I instantly jumped all over it to get the calculator created.
I first launched the Farting Calculator. Before you know it, I was getting lots of downloads, winning awards, and getting interviewed on Tech TV. It was amazing—I created something totally ridiculous, and everyone began to take notice.
Now back to the present: I've created a new company called Rocket 15 whose main goal is to launch wacky and silly viral Web sites that get lots of great press and traffic. I instantly thought of incorporating the Farting Calculator into a new Web site that would be called http://www.funcalculator.com.
Sex and Farts
I knew that I could take this idea to a higher level and make it viral, so I developed another calculator that was even more original than the original Farting Calculator. Then it hit me—why not use a man and a woman's voice (caught in the moment) when you push the buttons. Needless to say, I knew that I had a big winner.
The following Monday, I and a woman who requests to remain anonymous went into the recording studio and did the voice-over for the Orgasmic Calculator. Yeah, that's right—the male voice is yours truly. In fact, recording the voice-overs was an absolute riot. I never knew that faking sex could be so much fun.
When the audio clips were completed, I returned to the office and added the audio clips to the buttons. After this simple process, I got to work on how the calculators should actually look. I felt as though they should look campy, fun, and somewhat cheesy. I wanted it to look as though we didn't put a lot of time or effort into the project, but, in reality, many hours were spent trying to perfect the look and feel of the calculators.
It was fairly easily to find the correct image for the Farting Calculator: Heck, I figured that it only made sense to use the pork-and-beans theme. When it came to the Orgasmic Calculator, though, I new that I had to find an image that set a sexy mood—romantic, but not trashy. My brain was spinning with lots of ideas, but the one idea that stuck the most was the Rodin statue called "The Kiss." It was perfect. It's a piece of art that everyone knows about, yet it also has campy and cheesy appeal to it. I struck gold. The artwork for both calculators was in place, and all that needed to be done was to take the completed calculators in Flash and then begin incorporating them in the design of the FunCalculator.com Web site.