For many adults, there are few things in life scarier than their high school yearbook photos: the depressingly dated clothes, the goofy expression and especially the what-was-I-thinking hair. For others, those snapshots reflect "glory days."
So it's hard to decide whether most of the 28 million visitors to the popular website Yearbook Yourself (www.yearbookyourself.com) are reliving or revising the past. But it's easy to understand why the site -- recently relaunched as a year-round distraction, not just for back to school -- has won several Webbys, the Internet's version of the Oscars.
The brainchild of Minneapolis-based marketing agency Colle+McVoy, the site allows users to place a photo of their face (past or present) inside a shot from days of yore and then share the hilarious results. Besides the basic mugs featuring mullets, Afros and bouffant 'dos, there are now "Student Life" snapshots from the chemistry lab, marching band, the prom and more.
But those aren't real people in the originals.
"Those essentially are compositions of many photos, so that we could make sure that we weren't representing any individual's face," said Eric Husband, Colle+McVoy's creative director. Whew.
This summer, another Minneapolis-based company, Jostens, took over Yearbook Yourself. It added a "Most Likely To ..." category, with superlatives ranging from the oh-so-'60s "super-duper cutest couple" to '90s country line dancers, bringing the site's total number of photo options to 58.
More than 16 million Yearbook Yourself photos have been shared via e-mail or posted to Facebook this year, said Rich Stoebe, Jostens' director of communications. Among the biggest fans: cyclist Lance Armstrong, "Sopranos" actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Pee-wee Herman. "Pee-wee's actually talked to us about doing something," Husband said.
Can we suggest melding our faces with "Pee-wee's Playhouse" characters?