Let me start off by saying that I love Silicon Valley, I think it is a fantastic and funny TV show. They do a wonderful job skewering the startup world that is the SF Bay Area, while still telling a great story. Even still, it seems like the Bay Area is obsessed with the show in ways I’ve seen in few pieces of modern media. It’s starting to feel like Mike Judge has done such a good job capturing the essences of the area, that people have started to make it a mascot of sorts.
I’m used to advertising, especially advertising related to pop-media. Even still, I was really startled when I drove down the street and saw an ad in a MUNI stop that read “Hooli sucks!". It shouldn’t be startling to see an ad for a TV show, except I realized almost immediately it wasn’t for the TV show itself. TubiTV is using the mythical “evil” company of Hooli as draw for their recruiting effort. Their jobs page currently features their team all wearing “Tres Commas” shirts. A few days after I saw that MUNI advert, I came over the Bay Bridge and saw the lovely “Tres Commas” billboard, once again for TubiTVs recruitment effort.
The most jarring piece of these ads is when they get mixed with the “real thing”. A few months ago HBO sponsored a series of “I am Pied Piper” which everyone loved. They are clever advertisements (real and otherwise) and seem to be getting a lot of attention (which is the point, after all).
However, the lynch pin to my theory on “Silicon Valley” as a mascot, is the recent launch of Alphabet, Google’s new umbrella corp. A lot of buzz on the internet believes that it might be some sort of April Fools joke, but that really doesn’t make sense (plus it’s on their official blog). Regardless of Google’s corporate structure, someone hid a link to the Hooli.xyz in the new Abc.xyz homepage of Alphabet. The internet found it almost immediately and Google hasn’t removed the link. So either Alphabet is a hoax, or Silicon Valley is the Bay Area’s TV show mascot… take your pick.