SALISBURY— Consider Randy Gregory’s professional life.
The small town dreamer with a knack for the creative — and the nerve to take a leap — shaped a career as a marketing guru and film production and promotions manager, working his magic for a diverse portfolio of clients such as Walt Disney World, Oprah and the Washington Redskins.
So it’s no surprise the Salisbury-based strategic marketer, promoter and graphic designer would set his sights next on an advertising venture that exposes other dreamers to a world of opportunity.
Million Pixel Mosaic, or MPM, is an Internet billboard of sorts that promotes people or products to the world. What’s unique about it is that participants pay a one-time fee per image and text string known as a “uniform resource locator,” or URL, but the participant’s promotion is a permanent mosaic fixture.
Gregory calls it “Internet art.”
It’s also functional, affordable art. In an era of high unemployment and a crowded Internet, Gregory’s Million Pixel Mosaic frames a lasting impression of the participant and contact information. The mosaic allows the browser to link to the participant’s website.
And with the computer mouse, a browser also can scan other pixels in the web window and meet other participants that pop up, a function known as “crowd sourced imagery.”
“The unemployed — from former CEOs and corporate employees to small business owners and self-employed individuals — are getting tired of waiting for an opportunity to come knocking,” he said. “This is not Google, not Facebook. I’m not trying to create the next great social media. Everyone is looking for traffic to their website, and this is a unique way for them to find it.”
For a one-time, $150 fee, a participant’s image or product is embedded into a 10,000 mosaic and spreads to a near full page with a click of the mouse. For $750, the participant can “stand out from the crowd” and occupy a 2,500 mosaic that is four times the space as the smaller one.
A near full-page portrait of sweaty Salisbury-based professional boxer Fernando Guerrero emerges from a tiny pixel with a mouse click. Another click links the browser to the boxer’s Facebook page.
Along the way, the browser can meet Bobbi Lane, a professional photographer in Bridgewater, Mass. Or businessman and blogger Zac Johnson, whose website will tell the visitor, “I’ve been making money online for over 15 years now.”
Gregory conceived the idea for an Internet mosaic several years ago, but a demanding work schedule pushed the idea from his list of priorities. Then “the Great Recession hit” and his pool of clients shrunk, as Gregory struggled to raise two young boys and pay the mortgage on the family home.
Suddenly, the Million Pixel Mosaic was a realistic business venture.
“We live in a marketplace where a lot of people don’t take marketing seriously, so trying to find clients in this marketplace was a bit of a challenge,” he said. “Projects are on hold indefinitely and companies are waiting for a sign.”
The stressed economy is becoming a blessing in disguise for Gregory, approaching middle age and with fewer clients for his marketing consulting business. The Million Pixel Mosaic also is a gem of a marketing tool for struggling personalities or products yet to be discovered or advanced, he said.
“In the end, if history has taught us anything, it’s that new advances, new technologies or new approaches to tried and true business models will emerge from the pain and despair,” he said. “They say that necessity is the mother of invention.”