But Enough About Me. What Do You Think About Office Pirates?

Posted by: Jon Fine on March 8, 2006

I am currently mulling a column about the new Time Inc. launch Office Pirates, and I want to know what you think about it.

Office Pirates is bizarre and freakish and entirely un-Time Inc. All of which are conceptually very good things, given what it’s trying to do. It’s Time Inc.’s lad magazine, although it’s not a lad magazine at all. It’s a destination site for the young male office worker in need of time to kill, and has a bunch of viral videos, places for the disgruntled and seething to sound off and other very male goof-off fare.

Here’s what I want to know:

What do you think of it? Is it funny or is it just trying-to-be-funny?

Can something dreamed up and created specifically to be a viral video—the short-take stuff like “Lazy Sunday” that become online phenomena—work as well as the stuff that becomes viral organically?

Can a big media company make a real business around viral videos and bizarre only-on-the-Web jokes?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Note that I may quote you in BusinessWeek unless you specify otherwise, and that quoting you would require an email address where I can contact you.

Reader Comments

Robert Sax

March 8, 2006 6:39 PM

Dear Jon,

At age 49 I suppose I'm outside the "lad" demographic but Office Pirates seems too calculating and too slick to be the real thing. It's missing the edge of "JibJab" or "Saturday Night Live." The very prominent ads and the overly clever copy (particularly the "about us" section)scream "corporate marketing" in a way that might only be overcome by some very funny content. If the dinner date clip or the worker nailing ties to the wall are an example of what "Office Pirates" thinks is funny, however, this site isn't ready for prime time. Here's hoping some goofy males with time on their hands put up a spoof site that's funnier.

Don

March 9, 2006 9:47 AM

The "market leader" in office virals is definitely the older female "feel good" emails, followed closely by the depressed and complainy "what's wrong with this country" emails sent by the Rush Limbaugh crowd. It's obvious to the thinking half of the country that this laddy endeavor is contrived, phony and not going to work. But who ever went broke underestimating the public? This certainly operates on a "Dodgeball" level. If they add some pieces for disgruntled retail and food service personnel- essentially the demographic they've written for- they've got a winner that we're going to shrug our shoulders at.

Kerry

March 9, 2006 9:53 AM

They are certainly not early adopters, are they... this market is already flooded with sites filled with "Office Humor" (Kontraband and a few other sites come to mind) and this site has nothing that those don't already provide. In my opinion, they are jumping on the bandwagon a little too late. That being said, I'd bookmark it -- if only because sometimes I am so bored at work I even check the blogs of my high school friends that I haven't seen in 10 years -- things can get desperate around here.

superfancy88

March 9, 2006 10:02 AM

So -- are the white hot markets of China and India slated next for OfficePirates.com? Oh, that's right, their workers don't seem to have "time on their hands..." At least the TOTH Market niche helps exlain the recent drop in U.S. worker productivity...(kiddin' around, but SOMEONE had to say it!) Chrs

I.M. Da Demo

March 9, 2006 1:28 PM

Well, Robert Sax is right about two things:
1. Office Pirates is *not* Jib-Jab or Saturday Night Live. And thank god for it. Can you remember the last time you laughed at either of those things? And exactly what about OP makes it "contrived," or at the very least more contrived than SNL? Sheesh.
2. Yes, he is too old to be in the demo. By about 20 years. While I don't know Mr. Sax personally, I'd wager that if he were handed the reins of a humor site aimed at twentysomethings, it would implode almost instantaneously in a blinding flash of irrelevance.

For a thoughtful second opinion from someone who has clearly spent a fair amount of time browsing around the site, check out Virginia Heffernan's review in today's NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/09/arts/09heff.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

mediadavid

March 9, 2006 1:51 PM

I have to agree that the site feels very corporate and staid.
that's not to say there aren't some chuckles, but I'd really like to point out that anyone could rate the not funny and very obvious video clip about the internet and the dinner date a 9.7 needs to get out of the house more often

I.M. Da Demo

March 9, 2006 2:06 PM

Robert Sax is right about two things: 1. Office Pirates certainly is *not* JibJab or Saturday Night Live. (And thank god for it. Can you remember the last time you laughed at either of these? And how, exactly, is OP more "calculating" - whatever that means - than SNL is?) 2. He is indeed too old to be judging. (Or, as he more delicately put it, he is "outside the...demo.") I'm sure Mr. Sax is a fine person, but if he were handed the reins of a humor site aimed at twentysomethings, I have a very strong hunch it would implode instantaneously in a blinding flash of awkward irrelevance. For a thoughtful second opinion from someone who has clearly spent some time examining the site, see Virginia Heffernan's review of Office Pirates in today's NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/09/arts/09heff.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

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