You may have heard of Xtranormal—the website that provides users with tools to create animated videos complete with multiple actors, sets, dialogue and sound effects. Companies such as Geico have used Xtranormal to create TV commercials, and homemade Xtranormal videos are all over the Internet. Known for the comically awkward, stiff dialogue and humorous gestures performed by the programmable players, Xtranormal is more of a novelty than a serious business tool.
Or is it?
The blog Zombie Journalism recently recreated a phone conversation between former Prince George’s County, MD executive Jack Johnson and his wife, who made national news when they were indicted on corruption charges. The video’s effectiveness is debatable, but there’s no doubt that the sound effects (such as the police ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door in the background) breathe additional levity into an already comically tragic story.
Can Xtranormal be used to help market your business, add life to your website, or animate your blog? I think the answer has to be yes, for several reasons. First, people like seeing other people, especially people they believe look, act or think like they do. Xtranormal gives users the tools to create animations tailored to the customers that businesses attract (or want to attract) to their websites. People also like to watch videos. Animation is eye-catching and can provide reinforcement to text messages on the website. And Xtranormal is easy to use. A reasonably creative person can produce an animation of several minutes without a significant investment of time.
Xtranormal may very well become an amusing Internet relic, like the hit counters and guestbooks that populated every website when the World Wide Web exploded in the 1990s. But the technology that it puts at users’ fingertips—the ability to create personalized, unique animations with a huge variety of customizable settings—can’t be underestimated. Like YouTube, Windows Movie Maker and other innovative tools, Xtranormal is a game-changer. Businesses would be smart to tap into this technology and stay on top of it as it evolves.