Not burdened by the strings of America's political correctness, Publicis Copenhagen has created a genuinely enjoying Christmas card that has the entire agency singing Jingle Bells. The card let's you listen to the entire agency at once or hear each department sing on its own. We have to admit, the creative department is the most energetic.
If you are so inclined, you can even eliminate staff one by one until you are down to just one lone singer. We just hope the boss isn't using this as some sort of performance evaluation tool.
FedEx, apparently horrified that Jeopardy player Ken Jennings lost his streak by answering the "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year" with FedEx, kicked its agency, BBDO, into pop culture capitalization gear. Not wanting to allow consumers to perceive FedEx employees as a bunch of seasonal slackers, it had BBDO place a gigantic ad in USA Today.
The ad read, "There's only one time FedEx has ever been the wrong answer. Congratulations Ken Jennings on your amazing Jeopardy! winning streak. And thanks for mentioning our name. Even if it was the one time you shouldn't have." Ha ha.
As traditional media channels whither, new ones always rise to take their place. One very promising channel is podcasting. Podcasting is a method to deliver time-shifted audio programming created on a PC which is then distributed via RSS to an iPod or other MP3 device. Podcasts can be subscribed to just as RSS feeds are subscribed to and special software automatically transfers the feed from user's computers to their MP3 device for later listening. It's radio broadcasting for dummies, if you will. It's only a matter of time before video is incorporated into Podcasting as well and delivered to MP3 equipped cell phone screens. Who needs broadcast television, when podcasting will literally allow for the creation of personalized media channels? Writing in iMediaConnection, CooperKatz VP Steve Rubel further defines podcasting and its potential as an ad medium. From the creation of radio-like audio spots, podcast sponsorships, RSS feed-embedded text ads and the development of a marketer's own AvantGo-like podcast channel, podcasting is yet another simple technology that will catapult handheld devices, most likely cell phones, to the primary media consumption device. Podcasting and the "death" of broadcast is not to say the technical device referred to as a TV is going away. Broadcast networks might go away (or, more likely, alter their method of delivery) but there will always be a need for large screen entertainment. Though, in the future, the device referred to as a TV will carry your own personalized podcast that you create and modify to your heart's content. Looks like growing old might not be so bad.
Over at The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz clarifies radio's position as a seller of people versus advertising and how consolidation by the likes of Clear Channel has put the final cap on the medium killing off any hope it will ever return to the place people once went for music whin, in turn, has diminished the effectiveness of the medium for advertisers.
In just two days, word of mouth marketing has gone from highly noted ad medium of the moment, with a New York Times Magazine article, to parody with this little Brokentype piece that imagines the lengths to which the medium could go.
With the likes of Subservient Chicken, Ask Crystal and Virtual Bartender, we need a name for this new form of "tell-it-to-the-website" advertising tactic. Our Miami friends Crispin Porter + Bogusky are at it again with a site called ComeClean for eco-friendly home care product company Method.
ComeClean, which promotes holiday sales for the company's skincare line, allows visitors to type in confessions which then appear on a hand, are commented on by a soothing Indian woman's voice and finally washed off by Method products.
The site includes the requisite send-to-a-friend feature (send to mom in this case) along with the ability to read other people's confessions and, of course, to visit the gift shop and order product. Good holiday fun.
Over at Adland, DMC's Justin Kirby voices his opinion on the recent New York Times Magazine article on word of mouth advertising in which Boston-based BzzAgent is featured. Controversy swirls around the term transparancy and whether or not, as participants in a word of mouth organization, to disclose true motivations: trying to sell product by convincing people to give it a try.
The only reason natural word of mouth and viral distribution of information, which is nothing more than the forwarding of information from one to another - a behaviour which has occured since living beings learned to communicate - has been commercialized is because the advertising techniques of today and yesteryear no longer work.
Marketers are grasping at straws, fighting to keep their heads above water as consumers submerge them in an in a growing effort to shut them up and out of their lives for good. It's all simply an ongoing, multi-billion dollar battle of wills between marketer and consumer.
Marketers want eyeballs. Consumers want to tear marketer's eyeballs from their sockets. The model is broken and it is just getting worse.
We are in the pre-orgasmic throes of the Great Advertising Flame Out - a dynamic period just prior to the next great model which, perhaps - though unlikely, will rescue us from the capitalistic mess we are in right now.
Many websites now publish their content using RSS or Really Simple Syndication which allows readers to "subscribe" to newsfeeds from web sites. The feeds are offered with either the headline, the headline and the first few words of the article or the headline with the full story.
Basically, RSS makes it very easy to get content from many different sources all in one place. If something in the RSS feed is of interest, a quick click takes one to the actual website to which the feed points.
Like any new communication channel, advertising is slowly seeping its way into RSS feeds and while some marketers are jumping aboard, many users are not happy about it.
Jason Kottke sent a query out to several RSS reader developers asking for their stance on RSS advertising and whether or not they have plans to integrate ad blocking into their software. The story is here along with reader comment.
Not that it needs it, but Hooters got some free advertising courtesy of Avril Lavigne during a recent Holloween concert. Pictures (http://www.alavigne.org/thumbnails.php?album=726 - live link removed due to reports of spyware being installed when visting this site) of "punk" hottie Lavigne dressed in a Hooters uniform have been circulating for a while but a video has just surfaced. It might just be us but she looks far better as a Hooters hottie than she does in her grunged-up excuse for punk wardrobe. Of course, if she actually had hooters, it would be even better.
A reader fans the embers of a simmering issue with us and that is company's inability to engage in conversation with its customer base.
We're not saying all communication has to be a conversation because there are certainly times when a little one way shouting is the best way the market. But with the proliferation of online forums and message boards for every conceivable topic, brand and product, it's a mystery why marketers have not jumped on this goldmine of customer contact.
If a company were to spend its entire marketing budget to create a "consumer conversation" department, we'd venture to say the ROI would far exceed that of a traditional marketing campaign. As we've written before:
If a customer were to say, "the hose on my Kenmore vacuum always gets twisted because the connection between the handle and the hose doesn't turn," the correct response is "I'll run over to Jim's (hose designer) office and see what he can do and get back to you" and not "Well, we've designed it that way so that the hose won't lose too much suction."
Give a shit. Basically, that's what this boils down to. Consumers are not a vast collection of numbers on a spreadsheet or a nice collection of 5 categories with silly marketing names like "early, suburban adopter." They are people with real concerns that will, ultimately, lead to a better product. Listen and give a shit. That's good marketing medicine.