If Google is to top the breathtaking spectacle of last year's I/O keynote, it must strap a parachute onto Fred Armisen and drop him from the sky.
Google must grab the comedian who so deliciously savaged the Glass headset on Saturday Night Live two weeks ago, put him in a blimp, and toss him out of the dirigible as it hovers above Moscone Center. From there, Armisen's alter ego--"tech correspondent Randall Meeks"--would use Google Glass in free fall. He would stream video of his descent, delight the I/O crowd with comedy gold, and prove to the world that the high-tech headset isn't just a portal for on-demand porn.
Why? Because all that would be awesome. Literally awesome, and not just awesome in the colloquial sense. Because tapping into the unique, of-the-moment celebrity of Fred Armisen at Wednesday's keynote would be one of the few stunts that could possibly top the theatrics of I/O 2012.
In case you missed it, last year Google used skydivers, bike jumpers, and building rappellers to deliver a single copy of Google Glass from 4000 feet above the event venue to Sergey Brin, who was evangelizing the headset on stage.
In a Wired Q&A Monday, Android boss Sundar Pichai said we shouldn't expect so much from I/O this year. "It's not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system," Pichai cautioned.
But Pichai was speaking about new product releases. Google Glass is an existing product, and it has reached a level of pop-culture transcendence. The world is waiting breathlessly to see how Google will advance the Glass narrative. For Google, reminding everyone how it won the Internet at last year's keynote--while simultaneously attaching itself to a viral comedy video that's still very much right now--would be a masterstroke.
Of course, my Fred Armisen egg-drop concept isn't the only path for Google to explore this Wednesday. Allen Adamson is the managing director at the New York office of Landor Associates, one of the world's premier branding firms, as well as the author of The Edge: 50 Tips from Brands That Lead. He cautions that Google shouldn't overreach.
"Dropping people from the sky is a great way to get attention for an already amazing product, but not every product introduction requires a spectacle of that caliber," Adamson told TechHive. "The key is to authentically reflect the product in the level of spectacle. If this year's product isn't as edgy and revolutionary as Google Glass, they shouldn't feel like they have to outdo themselves."
With Adamson's advice as a backdrop, let's look at three alternative scenarios--before returning to my preferred recommendation that Google shove Fred Armisen out of a blimp.
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