T-Shirt Wars: The story behind the viral video

The comedy duo from I Love Local Commercials cranked out another goofy video, T-Shirt Wars.

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    T-Shirt Wars mixes a flipbook style with lots and lots of T-shirts.
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Jokesters Rhett and Link found an excellent recipe for viral-video gold: 222 T-shirts, two days of filming, countless home-made sound effects, and one very clever premise.

T-Shirt Wars turns the hipster pastime of novelty shirt designs into a kind of stop-motion art. In the video, which was posted to YouTube earlier this week, printed T-shirts flicker to life – flipbook style – and wage a thread vs. thread tit-for-tat.

Like most good YouTube spots, the video is brief, quirky, and simple enough to make viewers wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"

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Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal's healthy balance of amateur spirit and professional polish has pulled in about half-a-million views for T-shirt Wars. In case you haven't seen it, here's the clip:

The comedy team has appeared in several recent YouTube hits, but not as overtly as in this video. Through a sponsorship with corporate services firm MicroBilt, Rhett and Link have produced advertisements for small businesses free of charge. The campaign, called I Love Local Commercials, lets fans nominate shops to get the R&L treatment. Current winners include a mobile-home dealership, a tattoo parlor, and a community cosmetology school.

As McLaughlin and Neal gain an online following, bigger companies have approached them. "Alka-Seltzer’s ad agency hired Rhett & Link to shoot 21 videos over the course of a summer road trip," reports Wired. "They have also resumed television work, shooting musical segments for Science Channel show Brink as well as online content for NBC Universal and TV Guide Broadband."

To keep their viral empire going, Rhett and Link dive pretty deep into social media. Their YouTube channel, websites, and Twitter feeds all point to back to the team's online store, where you can buy the warring T-shirts. And multiple behind-the-scene videos reveal exactly how they pulled off the new video.

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Have you heard of Rhett and Link before? If so, which of their videos is our favorite? Let us know in the comments and follow us on Twitter for more tech culture.

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