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Anti-Smoking PSA Hits Hard

To illustrates the fact that one third of all smokers will die from smoking, this PSA uses a powerful analogy involving cars and pedestrians. It hits home.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 8-05    
Topic: Commercials

GM to Pull Ads From LA Times Over Reviews

Autoblog reports GM will pull its advertising from the LA Times because of "factual errors and misrepresentation" in the paper's reviews of GM's vehicles. A recent LA Times review of Pontiac's G6 called the car a "sales flop" and called for the impeachment of Bob Lutz. Lutz has not yet mentioned the issue on his weblog.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 8-05    
Topic: Newspaper

McDonald's Rapper Deal Yields Backlash

It would appear McDonald's efforts to get rapper's to mention their brand in songs has paid off, or backfired depending on one's opinion, in the form of a Gatbustaz song, entitled McGangsta, dedicated solely to all things McDonald's. With the usual intestine busting beat and profanity-laden lyrics, the song certainly mentions McDonald's but, likely, not in a manner of which McDonald's would approve. In one of the song's verses, after telling the window attendant to "shut the fuck up," the rapper proceeds with:

I tell you what I want
Beef patties' what I want
Big bum's' what I want
Great bitch is what I want

Big mac, fuckin big macs
I like big macs like a ho likes big dicks
shove one in their move, they damn are lovin it

As if to call attention to the idiocy of McDonald's paying rappers to mention their name, this song ends with the artist calling McDonald's, we think, motherfuckers. If this is, in fact backlash, McDonald's may wish they'd never considered this program.

UPDATE: Commenter are suggesting we've all been had and that is was an April Fool's joke. Not a big surprise.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 8-05    
Topic: Brands

Taco Bell Promotes New Drink With Wood Chipper

Combine a bucket full of fruit, a wood chipper and bunch of bored guys in the backyard of suburbia and what do you get? A quirky online promotion from Taco Bell for their new Mountain Dew Baja Blast drink. After viewing a video of the backyard stunt, which doesn't go quite as planned, the viewer is taken to a promotional site for the drink. At the site, which carries a surfing motif, visitors can get surf board construction tips, view actual surf via links to surfline.com, search for the perfect wave which delivers a list of the nearest Taco Bell restaurants, call a number and listen to a voice mail message and enter the ubiquitous, but cheap in this case, sweepstakes to win one million...Pesos, that is...not dollars. One million Pesos is $88,000.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 8-05    
Topic: Viral

'Apprentice' Product Placements Wreak Havoc For Brands

We can just envision the heated conversations between Domino's Pizza and the producers of The Apprentice leading up to last night's episode in which an obvious, Trump-delivered voice over was dubbed in after the fact in deference to Domino's who was slammed the week before by both the contestants and Papa John's Meatball Pizza stealth commercial placement.

Domino's was put in an awkward position in last week's episode in which The Apprentice contestants both made meatball pizza which were rejected by Domino's only to have Papa John's Pizza capitalize on that rejection by placing a meatball pizza ad in 60 markets, ultimately, making Domino's look pretty dumb.

Last night, NBC ate crow with a voice over to appease Domino's. Delivered by Trump and edited oddly so as to account for the fact he wasn't actually saying the words when the episode was filmed, the voice over was, "And speaking of last week's task, here's something you didn't know. Both teams created meatball pizza. But if you'd done your market research like Domino's did, you would have discovered that customers don't want meatball pizza. What they want is cheeseburger pizza. The lesson: Always pay attention to your customer." Obviously, it was a direct slap in the face at Papa John's for their brilliant antics last week.

As Andy Dehnart, writing on MSNBC points out, these product placements on steroids don't come without danger. Last night, American Eagle, for which the contestants design ridiculously impractical "Wearable technology clothing" and failed miserably, was slighted immediately following the task by the reward - a shopping spree at, as Trump called it, "one of the great stores anywhere in the world," Bergdorf Goodman. Not paying sponsor American Eagle. Bergdorf Goodman.

In one sense, as a viewer, and as a marketer associating itself with the show, it sort of makes one pine for the simpler, more realistic days of old when contestants sold unbranded, as memory serves, lemonade. Now the show's an hour long commercial.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 8-05    
Topic: Product Placement

OurColony Viral Rumored to Promote Microsoft Xbox 2

GamesRadar surmises OurColony to be another ilovebees-like viral campaign. ilovebees, created by 4orty 2wo, an agency created by former Microsoft employees, promoted Halo 2 with an extended and elaborate campaign. GamesRadar believes Microsoft is employing the same tactic to promote Xbox 2. Site visitors are encouraged to recruit five friends who then compete in challenges to win gifts. GamesRader reports some of the gifts contain pictures hinting at Xbox 2. Additionally, flyers have been spotted attached to billboards, lampposts and on the walls and windows of game shops. As always, time will tell.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 7-05    
Topic: Viral

Stacked Pamela Anderson Gets Friendster Bog Treatment For 'Stacked'

MarketingVOX reports FOX will promote its Pamela Anderson comedy series, aptly named with an overly obvious double entendre, Stacked, with Friendster weblogs written by cast members similar to blog/Friendster promotions for Anchorman and The Apprentice.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 7-05    
Topic: Celebrity

Junior Creative Ignored By CD in Pitch, Ends Up In Winning Agency's Ad

Adland publisher Åsk Wäppling has posted an old commercial on her site in which she appears. She ended up in the commercial through a strange turn of events ten years ago while working on a new business pitch for Expressen Fredag for which she was charged target audience research. Unfortunately, her agency did not win the account due, apparently, to her "fool" of a creative director.

"I had spent days researching the target group (even though I was just 22, I thought I'd interview the target kids between 16-25 to understand them better) to figure out what would appeal to them/how to talk to them," Åsk said. "When I presented that and my conclusions and my ideas, he CD self confidently stated that he "knew" what kids liked, saying, 'I know what the young kids like, I have a VIP card to [name of hip club],' and proceeded to ignore my advice."

Oddly, while not winning the account, she ended up in the commercial anyway. Upon her insights being dissed, Åsk said, "I went out and vented my frustrations by playing pinball all night (there is a machine behind me [in the ad]), and a photographer came up and asked to shoot me for some 'Hip kids reportage'. Turns out the photographer was working for the competing agency, they won the account, and a few weeks later my face was all over MTV."

Gloating happily, she adds, "I was pretty damn chuffed to end up in the competing agencies winning campaign. It was like really rubbing that guys nose in it." The commercial can be viewed here. And yes, you have to subscribe to view.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 7-05    
Topic: Agencies

Cover Up: Online Publishing Success Cannibalizing Offline Operations

Long time New York PR professional Lois Whitman, who started her career in 1966 as a "copy girl" for Fairchild Publications and followed the activities of Jackie O, Lana Turner, Kim Novak and Liz Taylor, lends experiential insight to the notion more and more publishers are deriving revenue from their online properties than their print properties. Eluding to the notion publisher's offline efforts are increasingly being supported by their online efforts, Whitman posits this trend is being buried by the media for fear of accelerating the death of their many print publications.

It's not an entirely radical, nor new notion but when it comes from the lips (fingers?) of one so steeped in the pre-Internet world, it's a bit more alarming. More so than when it comes from a dot com wannabe.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 7-05    
Topic: Online

BovineUnited Makes Clandestine Viral Debut

OK, let's make this a group effort because we are getting tired of trying to find out who's behind these elaborate stunt marketing schemes. This one's called BovineUnite and it's all about cows uniting in a clandestine, Nazi-esque manner. It's promoting something that will launch May 5 and tells visitors to "tune into the networks between 8:45 and 9PM for further instructions." It's got everything: videos, a blog, wallpaper, IM icons, games and lots of moo sounds.

Because we can't help ourselves, there are some findings we can share. Whois info points to domain registrant William Davis residing in Bel Air, Maryland which Google Satellite reveals to be what looks like a residential neighborhood. Upon calling the phone number provided in Whois, a woman provided the work phone number for Davis which, when called, led to a company called Eisner Interactive. Davis is listed as VP, Director of Operations. None of the clients listed on the companies site jump out as obvious choices for this effort but, then again, what smart agency would list a client for whom they were doing a stealth effort such as this? We placed a call to the provided number but, of course, got voice mail. We did, however, confirm that Davis is a real human being working at a real agency.

Someone in Ask MetaFilter says the marketing firm RedPeg Marketing, which lists some very major brands as clients, is behind it. Another Ask MetaFilter poster claims to have seen a truck in Bethesda, Maryland with the words "Bovine United" on it and the poster later saw four people dressed in cow suits waving in front of a Barnes & Noble.

As always, more to follow...

UPDATE: In comment, two people suggest it could be Chik-Fil-A. We're not quite sure what cows have to do with chicken, though, other than there being used to illustrate some sort of "uprising" against humans eating meat...like their current ad campaign as pointed out in comments.

UPDATE II: Since old comments are gone due to the redesign, I'll state here. It's been confirmed this is the Maryland State Lottery. This was previously stated in the old comments.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 7-05    
Topic: Viral

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