Every State Tax Department Needs a Mouse Puppet

January 24, 2009

Virginia policymakers seem to think that Virginians need a bit of encouragement to file their income taxes online, and that encouragement has finally arrived—in the form of a stuffed, animated mouse wearing a cape and starring in his very own YouTube video. (No, we’re not making this up.)

From CBS News:

Talk about cheesy. Virginia’s Tax Department debuted a video on YouTube on Friday intended to promote online filing of state income taxes.

The video opens like a trailer for a film featuring a superhero. Enter Phil Mousepower, a blue-caped and masked hand puppet—the arm controlling it clearly visible.

Onscreen, an excited Phil cavorts around a wedge of cheddar.

The sponsor and intent of the video becomes clear at the end of the 47-second video when the words “Use Mouse Power, File Online” and the Tax Department’s Web address appear onscreen.

Here’s an excerpt from the text that accompanies the video:

Phil Mousepower makes his little-screen debut with this, his phirst YouTube video. After screening dozens of actors, Phil won the coveted spot of the Virginia Department of Taxation’s spokesmodel.

. . .

“The role of hero has actually come pretty naturally to me”, Phil told us in a recent interview, “though the swordplay took some getting used to. Opposable thumbs would really help.”

Watch the video here, and if you’re a Virginia taxpayer, try not to think too hard about the fact that your hard-earned tax dollars were used to create a YouTube video of a superhero mouse puppet.

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