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Mischievious New Online Advertising Method Advocated

Charlie Demerjian writing in The Inquirer (no, not that one) advocates a tactic that could help increase online ad banner viewership. Not that his method would guarantee increased response nor be welcomed by site visitors, Demerjian says playing with page load timing, forcing banners to load first followed by the rest of the page, would leave visitors with nothing to view, for a period of time, but ads until the rest of the page was programmed to load. It's mischievous, it's wrong and while we're sure someone's doing it already, it would require that ad serving companies deliver banners quickly, as some, unfortunately, do not, thereby hanging the entire page until the called ad is finally delivered.

Already we can't cram existing content through the overworked pipes. We don't need anything else effectively slowing things down further. Our current bandwidth troubles are akin to today's fast food-bellied teenaged girls, stuffed unbecomingly into low riders and tight, cropped belly barring tops, their fat bulging outward like a PointRoll FatBoy ad seeking delivery. Not pretty.

by Steve Hall    Dec-11-04    




FMBQ Thinks iPod Ban Will Save Radio Industry

Calling radio "the most effective, least obtrusive and least harmful medium available," industry publication FMBQ thinks a ban on iPods in the workplace will save radio. We'll forgive them for not realizing "effective," "obtrusive" and "harmful" are entirely relative terms to the advertising strategy, and resulting choice of media, at hand. We'll also help say what they really meant which was "a ban on iPods will force people to listen to radio, thereby saving our industry."

So maybe using iPods to steal company secrets as they were last summer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the topic picked to make the article's point, is not such a good thing. Calling this event a dramatic example of what is possible on a smaller scale, FMBQ states an outright ban on the device would be "much simpler and far less costly" than the creation of policies or technical solutions limiting iPod-like device usage in the workplace.

With iPod-like devices and cell phones likely to dramatically infringe on "mainstream" media, it's not surprising FMBQ would support a ban to save radio. We're sure broadcast TV would love cable to go away but that' not going to happen and a ban on iPods certainly won't be met with gleeful acceptance. We love radio but the cure isn't banning competition; it's ridding the medium of Clear Channel-like homogenization.

by Steve Hall    Dec-11-04    




HBO Mirrors Real Life With Unpaid Product Placement

Because it can afford to, product placements on HBO are not paid and are their appearance are left entirely up to the show's writers.

"People are skeptical and just think there's got to be dollars for some of those placements," said Mitch Litvak, president of the entertainment marketing firm the L.A. Office. "I think there have been some really great placements on HBO programming, which makes people think they're too good to be true, but at the same time the placements are all very true to the programming and bring more realism to the show."

HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson explains the network's position. "We're commercial-free. Paid product placement is an equivalent business transaction to a commercial. If someone is paying for our service, they are paying for a commercial-free service, so they shouldn't be getting pitched product."

While many of HBO's product placement may have seem staged such as Nissan Exterra's appearance on The Sporanos or TiVo's appearance on Sex And The City, they are purely organic. HBO Executive Producer Ilene Landress says the placement simply mirror real life saying, "Where all this comes from is real life. This is the way people speak. I know nobody wants to believe it's as pure and simple as it is, but it really is that pure and simple."

If only broadcast networks, who go out of their way to hide natural brand placement to protect their business model, were so lucky.

by Steve Hall    Dec-11-04    




Dennis Publishing Partners With TippingSprung

While it's no surprise the words Maxim ( by Dennis Publishing) and sprung would be far apart, Gawker points to a marketing deal that is bringing them closer together. Dennis Publishing and TippingSprung, a New York-based licensing firm are hooking up so titles Maxim, Stuff and Blender can extend their reach even further. TippingSprung will help Dennis get its name out through multiple product categories, including vitamins, beverages, frozen food, sporting goods, and automotive products.

by Steve Hall    Dec-10-04    




Heineken Launches Its First Podcast

Steve Rubel points out Heineken has jumped on board the latest and the greatest new media channel - the podcast. A podcast is a lo-fi MP3 file created on a computer (or with any audio - video will soon follow - recording device for that matter) that can be subscribed to using RSS and easily and automatically transferred to your iPod or any other MP3 device. For its first podcast (to the right of the site), Heineken interviews Thirst Resident DJ Daniele Davoli.

For advertisers, this is a new and untapped medium. While early adopters are gleeful podcasts are commercial free, when everyone is carrying around their all-in-one digital device, podcasting is how they will receive media content and advertising - though hopefully in a format more interesting than the tired :60. More likely, entire podcast channels will be hosted and sponsored as a "service" to consumers as is this Heineken podcast. Be smart and check this medium out now. Don't be left playing catch up.

by Steve Hall    Dec-10-04    




Claria Gets Clear

Behavioral targeting company Claria plans to cut its end-user agreement from 6,000 words down to 2,500 in an effort to be more concise with the explanation of its services. Claria serves ads to a user base who has, in return for receiving free software, agreed to receive targeted ads.

While this is a step in the right direction, when was the last time you actually read a user-agreement?

by Steve Hall    Dec-10-04    




PlaysSation 2 Spot Spoofs Wildlife Documentary

If you are old enough, you remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom hosted by Marlin Perkins and featuring the crazy Jim Fowler in one of advertising's early sponsorship efforts. The series ran for 27 years - eight in primetime - beginning in 1963. It was campy by today's standards but, all the same, a good show.

Any good show with a long history is ripe for spoofing and there's a PlayStation spot that does just that. Of course, today's wild kingdom features pornstars and a football mascot. Yes. Very weird but worth a look.

by Steve Hall    Dec-10-04    




Victoria's Secret Launches Seductive Christmas Ad

Using a catchy Christmas tune and montage style money-shots, Victoria's Secret has launched its 2004 Christmas commercial complete with models undulating in lingerie begging coyly for the big one. After viewing, men may have to excuse themselves from the room for a few minutes. Upon completion, they may wonder if it was a commercial they just saw or a bootleg porn video that slipped its way into their cable feed. Alright, it's not quite that hot but it's probably not something parents would prefer their children see.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-04    




This Just In: Cat Fight At 'Lucky'

Gawker reports there's trouble over at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine headquaters. A reader reported a staffer ran out of a conference room yelling, "You fuckin selfish bitches!" Hmm. Interesting. We can only assume the Holiday swag was not equitably distributed.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-04    




Agency Creates Rock Star, Mocks Creative Process

Chester, NJ-bad GraficaGoup has created a humorous spoof of the creative development process centered around the creation of a campaign for the fictional Holiday Spirit Improvement Board. Complete with the usual blatherific pontifications full of words we've all heard but mean nothing to the average human, let alone those of us in the industry, GraficaGroup created a birch-log marionette called Log Jam who jams with a band to an original, 80's-style track called "Holiday Tidal Wave." The agency used the creation as a holiday gift to its clients, in-house list and others.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-04    




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