LEWISTON – A pair of Buckfield guys in lab coats are up against a German carmaker, “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane and the Whopper for the Internet’s biggest award, the Webby.

“We’re two guys in the woods versus behemoths,” said Stephen Voltz, half of the team known simply as Eepybird.

Voltz and lab partner Fritz Grobe are best-known as the Diet Coke and Mentos guys, creators of fizzy, Vegas-style fountains. The performers’ Internet videos drew millions of hits and took the guys all over the world.

It also earned them their first Webby in the word-of-mouth category of viral video. That was in 2007.

Last fall, they unveiled a new experiment, creating waterfalls out of sticky notes. Capitalizing on their growing fame, they partnered with retailer Office Max on the project and shot the video in Hollywood.

Playing the same deadpan characters of previous videos, Eepybird showered an office in cascades of note-paper.

The video debuted on the ABC Family cable network and on the Web.

On TV, the video drew 13 million views. On the Internet, a longer version garnered 4 million hits.

“That’s more time with Eepybird than a 30-second commercial receives during the finale of American Idol,” Grobe said.

It also meant stiffer competition.

Since the video was an ad, at least in part, it fell into the interactive advertising category, specifically under “branded content.”

Grobe and Voltz found themselves matched against some of the biggest ad agencies in the world and some of the most well-known recent ads, including Burger King’s “Whopper Virgins” campaign.

It doesn’t scare Eepybird.

“This is a whole new level of progress for us,” Grobe said.

Sponsorships pay their bills.

The two hope to continue to make art while helping companies, through what Grobe called “corporate-sponsored art.”

After all, both Diet Coke and Mentos saw a boost in sales after Grobe and Voltz began making fountains. The pair have performed at both companies’ headquarters.

There is no data yet on whether Office Max saw its sales jump, Grobe said.

The Webby winners will be chosen via the Internet at: pv.webbyawards.com.

So far, Grobe and Voltz are leading, but the lead is narrowing. Online voting continues through April 30.

Meanwhile, the pair are planning their summer performances. Among the possibilities is a 20-city tour through Poland and Germany.

The guys also plan to attend the Webbys on June 8. They hope to again make an acceptance speech, something that’s taken seriously at the awards. Everyone’s speech is limited to five words.

In 2007, theirs was, “10-million views, still no dates.”

“I’m still looking,” Grobe said. “With all our travel, it’s tough.”


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