Thursday, 11 June 2009

Random Bandits: A Kicker To Sponsorship Naysayers

One question that has dogged Podcasters since the medium's inception is how to monetize their efforts.  The results are as varied as the Podcasts themselves; whilst some people manage to rake in beer money for their wares, some have managed to turn the show into a full-time occupation.

A common method of making some pennies from your Podcast is to get the backing of a well-established sponsor, but that opens a whole can of worms on how "The Man" will control the direction of your production, thus destroying the whole ethos behind you doing "exactly what you like for money".  Despite these concerns, this is what Modern Toss creators Mick Bunnage and Jon Link have done in their latest project Random Bandits.

Sponsored heavily by shoe company Kickers, Bunnage and Link haven't pushed their sponsor into the bookends of the show like many others, and have instead embraced it in a big, virtual hug.  The short, three-minute Vidcasts look and feel like the Modern Toss productions that made the writing duo famous with sketchy graphics, loud and abusive characters, distinctive music stabs and slow-to-fast bursts of comedy.  Random Bandits places focus on three main characters; Shoe Horn (we'll get to him in a second); David Beeline, an abrasive and loud truck driver; and Fly Talk, the only characters taken from the original Modern Toss series, that follows two of nature’s favourite insects discussing celebrity run-ins they had that day.

Random Bandits, as mentioned earlier, is very vocal about its connections with the sponsor and have birthed the Shoe Horn character from this relationship.  The sketches follow a man who invests in a pair of shoes (very obviously of the Kicker brand) that are a hundred sizes too big and how his life seems to improve because of it.  Suddenly, he has respect and admiration for his ridiculously oversized footwear, and ends up in a series of bizarre situations with them.  Whilst it’s obvious the character has been created to get the sponsors across, Bunnage and Link have done such a marvelous job that Shoe Horn would not seem out of place on a new series Modern Toss…I actively encourage it, as a matter of fact.

The result of the Bunnage/Link/Kickers connection is a dose of Modern Toss comedy that you can keep on the move.  Whilst there is only currently five episodes of this series, it’s a great example of how anybody that says that sponsorship destroys the product should probably, to quote Dave Beeline, “just forget it, yeah?”

Subscribe via iTunes - Random Bandits Official Website