“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” goes the infamous Peter Steiner cartoon from The New Yorker. It’s an adage that with time—the cartoon was originally published in 1993—came to be illustrative of the anonymity of the Internet. And through its history, The Webby Awards has honored many sites, apps, videos and platforms created by an army of one* which are among the most intriguing, unique, funny and offbeat spots on the Internet.
*No, not that army of one.
2016 Webby Winner in the Weird category, National Corndog Day, is the brainchild of Zach Ogaard. The Webbys spoke with Zach recently about the process of making the site, the excitement of attending the 20th Annual Webby Awards and how he stays creative.
You wouldn’t think the corn dog deserves its own day, but, thankfully, it does. Enter corndog enthusiast, Zach Ogaard, who took this quirky summer snack to a whole new place: GIFs. Upon entering Ogaard’s site, pinkandgold.party, you’re prompted to press keys (any of the alphas work) and turn up your speakers (headphone warning for an original rap song about, well, what else?) Hit ‘A' to see Big Papi crush a homer with a giant corndog and press ’N' and see Rafiki raise a tiny corndog circa “The Lion King.” Of course, you’re looking for the Drake x corn dog mashup, but we’ll let you search for that gem. So, if you’re not already excited for National Corn Dog Day (it’s always the first Saturday of March Madness) now, you should be.
“It feels one in a million.” An interactive designer by trade, Ogaard is an unabashed corn dog enthusiast, and what began as informal National Corn Dog Day parties at his home in Minneapolis, grew to an Internet sensation.
Made in his free time—just one of many creative side projects—Ogaard posted pinkandgold.party to his Facebook page, hoping to get clicks and laughs from friends and the local corn dog scene. A self-described “analytics dork,” Ogaard remembers “watching the analytics and see it go from 4 clicks to 400 to, well, I was nearly sh*tting myself.” His site was becoming viral in real-time.
So much so that agencies around the country began tapping him for interviews, asking him about his process; marking Ogaard a sort of viral guru a la corndog GIF. He remembers the surreal experience of hearing the corn dog rap playing across the office; but, for him, one of the most memorable moments happened on social media. “Literally, a girl asked me to marry her on Twitter.”
Ogaard and his friend Jeffrey Isham, who developed the site, went to the 20th Annual Webbys, and “for a guy who made something about corn dogs, to be sitting at a table with Creative Directors at Wieden + Kennedy was pretty incredible,” he said. It instilled in Ogaard a sense of confidence to continue to explore his passion projects. “If you have an idea, I’d say don’t be afraid to follow it through.”
For more corn dog awesomeness, check out corndog.party, Ogaard’s newest (and loudest) mesmerizing corn dog-based adventure. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter and visit his personal site to see his latest projects.
Whether an independent venture, a commissioned project or niche side-hustle, continue reading about other notable army of one Webby Award Winners below.
2016 Webby and Webby People’s Voice Winner
Natalie Sun, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, has received successful treatment and survived her ordeal. She chronicled the experience in Texting With Cancer, a rolling scroll of "text messages” from herself (in pink) in conversation with Pessimism (grey) and Optimism (white). Sun takes agency over her situation, and renders it into a narrative that many of us would recognize: text bubbles, pictures, emojis, Internet slang. While Sun’s story is hopeful, it’s stream of consciousness format makes it a distinctly digital illustration of how we cope, live and eventually, overcome certain adversity.
2016 Webby People’s Voice Winner
“Goats just wanna have fun,” chimed Leanne Lauricella for her 5-Word Acceptance Speech on behalf of Goats of Anarchy. This inspiring social media account of a sanctuary for farm animals and pets where goats are the star, isn’t kidding (sorry) around when it comes to chronicling the lives of these lively caprine and co. Lauricella is as intrepid in her cause as she is caring of the animals who populate her Instagram posts, capturing their distinct personalities and stories along the way. For the Goats of Anarchy and their squad, life on the farm looks #blessed.