Last week, the Internet was abuzz with news of the Hey Girl plug-in, an extension for your Google Chrome browser that instantly turns every picture on every website into a picture of Ryan Gosling, the most handsome man of all the handsome men who ever lived.
When Annie Liao Jones, principal and founder of Rock Candy Media, an Austin-based PR and marketing firm, saw a Ryan Gosling-laden New York Times homepage, she laughed along with the rest of us. But then she did something you probably didn't do. With a bevy of creatives at her disposal, Jones decided to see how fast her firm could create something similar.
The result, Puggin.it, is a free Chrome plug-in that, instead of Gosling, replaces every picture on a website with photos of pugs.
Yes, says Jones, even porn sites. She's checked.
"It was his second day of work," laughs Jones who tasked Rock Candy's newest programmer Joe Wanko with the assignment. With no parameters given, Wanko and team took just four hours to create, code and put the "pug-in" up for download on the Google Chrome app website.
This is just the latest in a long line of creative "passion projects" for the firm which bills itself as a modern PR firm that runs marketing campaigns using social channels. "My Life in Black & White by Mr. Sam" is a fake Facebook profile created by Rock Candy parodying "limousine liberals." "Mr. Sam represents the kind of people we all know," explains Jones. With status messages about his love of helping African orphans, his obsession with Bono and photos from his trips to third world countries, it's a hilarious take on the kind of braggadocious bleeding heart that populates many Facebook feeds.
An example of a Mr. Sam status update:
It saddens me when I hear "foodie" friends say hot dogs from a street vendor may possibly be 'the lowest they'll go.' I tell Mother I'd fly to Africa any day to have a morsel of rice on a sidewalk with my good friends in Malawi. #nowthatsstreetfood #frequentflyer
But Rock Candy isn't just in the business of parody, they're also in the business of finding innovative and creative ways to use social channels for their clients. "Nothing that we do isn't a creative exercise," explains Jones. "Part of this [job] is that you gotta love what's new."
Well, if pugged out websites and Mr. Sam are an indication, we can't wait to see what the next big Internet meme will be. Just to see what Rock Candy does with it.