Et tu, YouTube?

There’s no surer sign that a potent underground artifact of pop culture has run its course in the arena of public currency than when corporate America catches wind of it and turns it into an advertisement.

Well, perhaps the only surer sign is when Google pays $1.65 billion for it.

Ever since YouTube exploded into the public consciousness earlier this year, corporate marketeers hoping to capitalize on the site’s viral superpowers have been brainstorming themselves silly with ideas on how to repurpose the video site – and its millions of users – as an ad machine. The latest such effort comes from the minds behind the very corporate (800 franchise units in 38 states) Moe’s Southwest Grill. From now through the end of the year, Moe’s is encouraging creative burrito connoisseurs to create 30-second videos with the theme “A Moe’s Burrito in Every Hand” as part of a YouTube-powered contest called Moe’s Video Nation. At the Moe’s website, www.moes.com, those so inclined can create and upload their own 30-second Moe’s videos and watch and vote for other videos. One clever filmmaker will win Moe’s burritos for life – in the form of 2,860 burrito vouchers, enough for one burrito a week, 52 weeks a year, for 55 years.

The Moe’s Video Nation contest runs through Dec. 31. Burrito and film enthusiasts can visit the website for graphics, backgrounds, and sound effects to use in creating their videos. Auteurs are discouraged from using “questionable or adult content” in their films. No word on whether that includes scatological humor. After all, we’re talking burritos here. –Patrick Sharbaugh

Us and Them

Speaking of GoogleTube, it was bound to happen, eventually: someone finally posted a version of the urban-legendary film/music mashup known to some as The Dark Side of the Rainbow, to others as The Wizard of Floyd. It is, of course, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz set to the strains of Pink Floyd‘s 1973 concept album Dark Side of the Moon. By starting the album at the MGM lion’s third roar, fans with way too much time on their hands have compiled more than 100 instances of perceived interplay between the film and album. Members of Pink Floyd have denied any deliberate effort to sync the album to the film, but they also don’t remember much about the ’70s. Judge for yourself: just do a search for The Wizard of Floyd on YouTube. And don’t forget to “Breathe.” –PS