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Ashlee Simpson Croaks On Live TV

It's usually forgivable when a musical artist makes a mistake or two while performing live but when the mistake is due to a technical malfunction of the pre-programmed music and voice track used because no musical group today seems capable of actually performing without a crutch, forgiveness is just not in the vocabulary. This was the unfortunate position Ashlee Simpson found herself in last night during her "musical performance" on Saturday Night Live. The music and voice track started before she was ready leaving Simpson and the band looking like fools onstage while engineers turned the vocal track down rather than have Simpson try to synch up with it again. What's worse was the song that started playing was the song she had already sung earlier in the show.

In an extremely awkward situation, Simpson, dumbfounded, gyrated in a lame, lanky manner while her musicians switched tunes and began playing to cover the still audible vocals (as corrected in comments. In what is sure to be the most embarrassing moment of her life, Simpson, after pondering for a bit, walked meekly, and likely horrified, off stage as the band continued to play. Finally, a merciful engineer cut to commercial. It's a priceless television moment and one that is, unfortunately, sure to haunt her for the rest of her life.

One wonders what is so wrong with singing live. Do artists and producers feel the public is too stupid to realize a live performance will sound different than a studio performance? That the public expects this pre-produced fakery? Have pop stars become so produced that they are helpless outside the studio? We have nothing against the girl but it's well know she's no singer without the help of a thirty track sound board. Media Drop has more including the fact Simpson is blames the screw up on her band whom she claims played the wrong song. This spoof is funny and, at the same time, very sad.

UPDATE: Father Joe makes excuses.

by Steve Hall    Oct-24-04    




Movie Promoted With Theater Simulcast

Teachers and elementary school students across the country will "climb on board" at 97 Regal Entertainment Group movie theatres across the country for a live, interactive workshop with Chris Van Allsburg, award-winning author and illustrator of 15 children's books including The Polar Express and Jumanji.

Hosted by Regal CineMediaSM entertainment services, Warner Brothers Pictures and Houghton Mifflin Company, All Aboard With Chris Van Allsburg will be simulcast to 97 Regal, United Artists and Edwards movie theatres nationwide beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT / 12:30 p.m. ET. In a virtual classroom setting enabled by Regal CineMedia's satellite and digital video technology, Van Allsburg will share stories about his writing and inspiration, as well as answer pre-selected questions live from students in the theatres. Allsburg will also talk about how his book, The Polar Express, was transformed into the new movie The Polar Express, from Warner Bros. Pictures, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, about a doubting young boy who takes a train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. To help illustrate the discussion, students will get an exclusive preview of select segments from the film, which opens nationwide on November 10th.

by Steve Hall    Oct-23-04    




Discovery Promotes Series With Hitler Wrap

To promote its new Virtual History: The Secret Plot to Kill Hitler airing November 25, Discovery Channel has placed a wrap with the image of Hitler on the London newspaper Metro.

The image superimposes Hitler's head atop a models body. Future Virtual History series will feature Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill surrounding the failed attempts to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

by Steve Hall    Oct-23-04    




T-Shirt Speaks Truth About Ad Industry

There's no hiding it. In the advertising industry, we make our livelihood by influencing the hearts and minds of consumers to open their wallets and buy our client's products. Urban Advertising doesn't try to conceal that truth and wants people to celebrate it with a T-shirt that proudly proclaims, "I'm being exploited by an ad agency." Now, when asked by our friends what we do all day, we don't have to go into a long-winded explanation - we can just buy them a shirt and they'll get the message.

by Steve Hall    Oct-22-04    




New Contextual and Behavioral Ad Product Begs Another

Contextual ad firm Adrelief has introduced a new product that combines the benefits of behavioral marketing's demographic database/site behavior targeting capabilities with contextual marketing's content focused targeting. Even though part of Adrelief's offering is creative services to develop the many versions of creative needed to make this approach effective, some believe the industry isn't ready because of its partial reliance on static and rich media banners - creative that is not easily changed on the fly.

The introduction of this technology begs for another. One which would, in effect, develop static and rich media creative on the fly using a templated approach. Optimally, an approach whereby several graphic and text variables for the same unit of creative are developed, then cobbled together on the fly based on Adrelief's - or any other's - targeted delivery system.

Recently launched Dotomi offers Direct Messaging which provides a step towards the templated approach by delivering database targeted ads to consumers by name and self-expressed interests. It's not clear whether behavioral targeting capabilities are part of the offering. While Dotomi does not provide behavioral targeting (and has no plans to) and is purely opt-in, it's not inconceivable that such an on-the-fly ad building technology would see the light of day or be in development already by other vendors. It's always easier said than done but it really boils down to one served ad unit simply "calling" for multiple creative elements rather than a single element to build the ad.

by Steve Hall    Oct-22-04    




Mazda Launches Blog to 'Viralize' Video

As a follow up to a couple of viral videos, one of which shows a car crashing, which made their way around the web a while back, Mazda has launched a weblog, HolloweenM3, that includes yet another video purportered by the blogger to have been found on public access TV. In the video, called Phantasmagoria, a bunch of 20-somethings ride with ghouls doing the usual Holloween mischief while bangin' their heads to some metal. Not so oddly, the Mazda logo finds its way prominently into most shots. Next.

Thanks to Jon Hurwitz for the tip.

by Steve Hall    Oct-21-04    




Photo Assistant Promotes Art Project Using Crate And Barrel Catalog

Hopping on the anti-555 number trend and in need of promotion for an upcoming art project, Marc Horowitz, while working as a photo assistant during the creation of the latest Crate and Barrel catalog, wrote his cell-phone number on a white board in a shot that made its way into the catalog to solicit calls for his project, The National Dinner Tour whereby he travels the country and has dinner dates with strangers to create a "social sculpture. Page 89 of the catalog features the "Hideaway Home Office" armoire whose open doors displayed the white board on which Horowitz's number appears. In an interview with New York Observer's Gabriel Sherman, Horowitz explained, "It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. When I was on the shoot, I saw that I could post my number and thought, 'Hey, this is free advertising!' So I jumped on it. The day the catalog came out, my phone started ringing.

It hasn't stopped since. I have more than 75 dinners set up on this tour; last time, I only did 15."

Crate and Barrel Director of Marketing and Advertising Kathy Paddor had not heard of the stunt until told by The New York Observer. "This was the first time we heard about this," she said. "Are we going forward with this kind of marketing initiative? No. This is not something we would go forward with."

by Steve Hall    Oct-21-04    




Lindsay Lohan Spills Milk For 'Got Milk' Campaign

Steering clear of Lohan breast-obsession and breast milk jokes, starlet of the minute Lindsay Lohan has achieved another rite of passage and joined the milk mustache ad campaign.

Lohan is the latest in a long line of celebrities who have lent their support to the award-winning campaign, which was launched in 1995 by the nation's milk processors to help educate Americans about the health benefits of milk and increase milk consumption. Over the past decade, the milk mustache has become a part of pop culture and has helped slow the country's calcium deficit and raise awareness of the many reasons to drink milk.

Of her appearance in the campaign, Lohan says, "I've always loved milk so it's really fun for me to be a part of the campaign. It's not only an honor, but I feel like it's such an important message to be getting out to other teenagers. I want my fans to know that I drink milk and they should too!" Perhaps this is just a PR ploy to pull attention from that other sort of drinking she does that isn't so wholesome.

by Steve Hall    Oct-21-04    




Women's 'Broad' Ad Campaign Causes Complaints

An ad campaign for the St, John's International Film Festival in Canada has caused several complaints for its use of a woman and her "set of boobs" accompanied with the headline, "films with broad appeal." High school student and festival goer Joanne Harris says the ad objectifies women and has no place at the festival. Mary Lewis, award-winning Newfoundland-raised short film director and the woman featured in the ads sees no problem. "The term 'broad' refers to a woman with smarts and chutzpah and personality," she said. "I'm just surprised because it strikes me as such first-wave feminism...that an image is too sensual to represent the Women's Film Festival seems to me to be very backward and prudish." I guess we can't really complain if the objectified doesn't object. Thanks to Adrants reader Charley Brough for the tip.

by Steve Hall    Oct-21-04    




Pregnancy Test Suspense Sells Harlequin Book

Pregnant? Who Cares.

Writing in the New York Observer, Gabriel Sherman points out an ad in the current issue of Glamour for Ontario based publisher Harlequin who is promoting the new Vicki Hinze Silhouette Bombshell book Body Double. The ad shows a woman from the back sitting on a toilet with a pregnancy test in her right hand and the book Body Double in her left. The ad's tagline reads, "Silhouette Bombshell. No suspense like it." The woman is so entranced by the book she finds the results of her pregnancy unimportant. This is certainly a unique approach to selling a book as most publisher ads feature boring, angled cover shots of the book along with a collection of adoring quotes.

Harliquin Marketing Director Anita Sultmanis explains the strategy. "We wanted to launch a new line of books and, as we were doing that, we wanted to leverage the most appealing aspects of the series, which is suspense. That's what the ads do. The [pregnancy-test] ads tap into the most suspenseful moment of women's life. To show Silhouette Bombshell is suspenseful, we stacked it up to a suspenseful moment women can identify with."

Other ads in the campaign depict equally suspensful moments such as a woman sitting in front of her television holding a lottery ticket in one hand, the book in the other as the results display on the screen.

As in the toilet ad, she can't take her eys off the book to see if she has won the $26 million prize. The campaign was created by Toronto based Zig and will include a $2 million media spend in magazines such as Lucky, Cosmopolitan and People. Click the image to see the full sized ad.

by Steve Hall    Oct-21-04    




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