Video effects by Logitech, the digital toolmaker, are receiving a viral marketing boost from YouTube.com and a quirky home movie produced by a 17-year-old.
"Breakup" was the third most-watched clip Wednesday on video-upload site YouTube, one of the Internet's fastest growing Web sites. The 75-second clip, which has generated more than 100,000 page views in two days, is little more than a young girl discussing a recent breakup with her boyfriend.
As "Bowiechick," a YouTube username, frets over the relationship, she alters her on-screen appearance with a click of a button. One minute, she appears to be wearing glasses, the next it looks as if she put on a gas mask. At one point her nose and eyes appear feline.
Of the more than 600 comments posted about "Breakup" on YouTube, dozens were requests for information about the effects. "Wow, what movie maker is that?" asked one of Bowiechick's fans. "Sorry about your break up."
Bowiechick didn't respond to interview requests by CNET News.com. But in her YouTube profile, she writes that she shot her video with Logitech's Quickcam Orbit MP, which retails for about $100.
Nancy Morrison, a Logitech spokeswoman, said software called Logitech Video Effects is behind the nifty cartoon images. The software, which the company launched last August, features animated avatars that can make a user look like a martian, a great white shark, or Santa Claus. The software tracks a user's face and the images stay in position even when the user moves, says Morrison.
"The software maps to about 16 points on your face," Morrison said. "When you turn your head, the effects turn with you."
Logitech offers almost 100 different avatars and all are available for download at Logitech.com . Four of the company's Web cameras: QuickCam Fusion, QuickCam for Notebooks Pro and QuickCam Pro 5000, come equipped with the software.
While it's too early to tell whether Bowiechick has impacted Logitech sales, it's plain that many more people are aware of the company's visual graphics as a result of her video. Though only a teenager, Bowiechick may already be an expert on "viral marketing," the strategy by which companies try to tap online social networks to generate buzz about their products.
"That was really funny," wrote one Bowiechick fan. "I wish I had a webcam cool enough to make me a kitty."