Windorphins Viral Buzz, Brought To You By…

windo-aj.JPGIs it a NeoPet? A Puffle? A goofy avatar? A virtual world icon or some sort of currency to buy virtual goods in a tween space? Animal, vegetable or mineral? Windows promo maybe? Nope. They’re not even for kiddies.

Those colorful mutant blobs of cartoon playfulness dotting billboards and bus signs are Windorphins (win+endorphins, get it?) brought to you by…eBay. The cryptic, whimsical ad blitz smacks of Verb Yellowball tactics in the marketing gimmick arena, so I was hopeful it was a similarly cool viral campaign for healthier kids.

It’s eye-candy for tweens, with build your own Windorph appeal, and the lil’ critters have been popping up everywhere: Boston subways, Bay area transit, and the marketing blogosphere with conjecture coast to coast. It’s really just an e-commerce adrenalin jumpstart for eBayers, based on the notion that winning stuff gives you a rush. (Podango podcast on the phenom here)

Windorphins lab-coat laugh-fest of video clips hails the ‘scientific breakthrough’ of what happens to your body when you emerge victorious. Apparently, this applies to any ‘win’ circumstance…a sleep deprivation contest, a “Simon says” game, or pummeling a costumed walrus picking a fight. (yeah, I know, lame messaging for kids unless you’re into bloodlust for fuzzy grey objects.) Personally, I think “wins” in daily life would’ve been much funnier than fist-pumping nannie-boo-boo taunting and strangulation of mascot mammals.

As a creative director, I’m thinking simple pleasures like the meter maid running out of chalk, finding yourself one cent over the ‘gift with purchase’ requirement, a cash register opening just as you step into line, could’ve been hilarious on the Windorphin glee front…

Seems even the silliest, campy promos seem to skew negative lately with gladiator-style losers and humilation at the core, springing from reality show media messaging.

No big deconstruction here, just casual observation of how a clever viral concept and smart online integration devolved a bit in execution…

OH! And parents? Heads up…

You might want to secure your eBay account in case junior lands on the viral promo and starts playing games, so to speak.

Otherwise you could find yourself the high bidder on some coveted kid stuff that may NOT make your ‘windorphins’ light up with glee. 😉

Here’s more on the Windorphins viral scoop, for people who’ve been goin’ bonkers trying to figure out ‘what the bleep’ they are, as ads multiply like rabbits all over mass transit:

Windorphins were announced at eBay Live: June 18, 2007

eBay CEO Meg Whitman replaced “the power of three” media from last year (eBay, PayPal, Skype) with “social commerce” as the big buzz d’jour)

The quirky Windorphins moniker kept some of us in the children’s media arena and blogosphere guessing…At Shaping Youth we were speculating that it might be a new game or Windows Vista promo.

In fact, when I started spying the outdoor media hither and yon in the Bay Area mid-June and left a voice transcription for my own memory recall, “Windorphin” became “Windows-End.”

All of the ads I spotted were colorful, kid-cartoony, and only carried the URL, Classic viral guessing game, but seems like a short-lived sales spike strategy. After all, forum buzz and eBay insta-win run through July 1 according to their official site.

Maybe that’s an eBay strategy in itself…A ‘dang I missed the $1K’ woulda-coulda-shoulda mode, to bump up awareness without paying out a ton of cash since it’s on and off the circuit so fast?

Tawdry tidbit:

I’m not the only one who wished for more positive ‘win-wins’ in Windorphin style, evidently, this campaign had some “lose-dorphins” in play from the get-go…

Here’s a domain war detailed from the financial advisory site, The Motley Fool, in an article called, “eBay Stole My Windorphins” by Rick Artistotle Munarriz.

And for the Windomorphin-ophiles out there, here’s more than anyone should care to know:

Citation for Windorphin: (from the Double-Tongued Dictionary, a lexicon of fringe English, focusing on slang, jargon, and new words)

Catchword: windorphin
Subjects: English, Factitious
Part of Speech: n.
Windorphins is the latest buzzword in eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman’s vernacular. It’s the contraction of winning and endorphins, and it’s what the world’s leading online marketplace is hoping to stir up as it improves the auction user experience at eBay.
Article or Document Title:

“Fool on the Street: eBay Hunts Windorphins”
Rick Aristotle Munarriz
Article, Document, Publication, Web Site:
The Motley Fool

Date Recorded Here: June 16, 2007

Date of Publication: Mar. 8, 2007

Videos tagged Windorphin:



  1. MMM. My yellow flags go flappin’ madly in the wind with stuff like this…

    It just drips with tween-adoration (ooo more avatar fun), and I realize that the world can’t kowtow to avoiding tweens… but seriously.

    Like the cartoon camel peddling cigarettes, here we go with someone else peddling something to the youngin’s that isn’t for the youngin’s.

    Dear, dear, dear

    Thanks for the eagle eye review, Amy!!!

  2. Well, they’ll be on eBay soon enough, I s’pose…might as well have the “media literacy” talk before rather than AFTER the credit card comes into play, n’est ce pas? 😉

  3. bill daul says

    I have seen that billboard on 101 and kept meaning to research it…but thanks Amy for the insight!


  4. save to my Bookmarks 🙂

  5. Это было и со мной. Можем пообщаться на эту тему. Здесь или в PM.

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