Brenner Thomas has identified a seemingly new trend in advertising - the inanimate spokesobject. Quaker Oats has its Quaker gentleman, Travelocity has its Roaming Gnome and Burger King has its smiling, plastic King. Any more of this and we'll start hearing from the unions.
If you read Adrants via RSS, we've changed the URL of the feed. The new URL for our feed is http://feeds.feedburner.com/adrants. The old one, http://www.adrants.com/rss.xml, still works and forwards to the new one but it would be best to change the URL in your newsreader to the new one, http://feeds.feedburner.com/adrants, just so there's no risk of missing anything in the future.
Joining the Popeye "I Am What I Am" campaign are...oh...that would be the Reebok "I Am What I Am" campaign...sorry...we just can't get those childhood images of the spinach man out of our head...are Christina Ricci and John Leguizamo. The campaign, which launched last month, also features 50 Cent in that controversial gunshot countdown commercial. No doubt, Ricci and Leguizamo will lighten the campaign up a bit.
Realizing that advertising isn't brain surgery and with the drollest of droll voices, visitors to ADD Marketing are introduced to what is certainly one of oddest agency websites seen in recent memory. Droning on, an announcer says, "You've reached ADD Marketing and Advertising, Inc. You're call is very important to us. So important we've put you on hold. Your estimated hold time is...long. So while you're waiting, let's talk about ADD. ADD stands for attention deficit disorder. If you think you have this illness and are seeking treatment, please call a professional. Not that we're not professionals, it's just different. ADD is a Los Angeles-based advertising agency strategically located in the low rent part of Hollywood. We're cheap but out rates are not." Refreshing, to say the least, compared to most other agency websites.
The attention deficit disorder shtick is a dead on reference to the mental state caused by the continual onslaught of media attacking people in every corner of their life, every second of the day. The agency has done work for P & G's Tremor, Mazda and all kinds of movie distributors.
It's Not Porn. It's Charity
Assuring high attendance, Crunch Fitness is launching its most recent ad campaign with several Panty Party/workout sessions held at various locations. The first is Wednesday, May 11 at 1PM in Union Square Park. Crunch is encouraging people to show up wearing only panties or underwear. Those who do, or at least those who bring a clean pair of panties to donate to non-profit, UnderShare, will have their initiation fee waived if they choose to join the center.
While the allure of this event might seem tantalizing, the unfortunate reality is 99 percent of those who show up, if any do, will, most certainly, not be of supermodel caliber and will be far less appealing to the eye than, say Brad Pitt or Jessica Alba.
RSS? What's That About?
As newspapers flail about for survival, many are placing more emphasis on their online properties as the LA Times has just done with a reworking of its website. The new site has a wider layout as practically no one lives within the constraints of 800 X 600 screen size any longer, better access to service features, more access points on the homepage and a "most emailed story" feature. But, as if responding to a defining, "Hello, is anyone home?", the site still does not supply RSS feeds. Granted, everyone doesn't consume media through an RSS reader but the ones that do are the ones that can dramatically influence traffic, hence, salable page views for the paper.
Assuming the LA Times wants its site read, one might assume it would employ all methods at their disposal to drive traffic to the site. RSS is an extremely simple method of attracting readership or, at least, providing content in a format that an increasing number of readers prefer. It's inexcusable that any online news site not provide RSS feeds.
ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell, author of soon-to-be-published The First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon, has launched a weblog called Darren Rovell's Gatorade Blog. He's obviously a Gatorade fan but when we asked if Gatorade is behind the blog, Rovell said, "The book and the blog are completely unauthorized. I have their cooperation, but I report on the good and the bad and they know that. They have no editorial control over anything."
Assuming Gatorade truly has no influence over Rovell's blog, like the That Pepsi Girl blog, we can add this to the list of consumer brand advocate initiatives that have proliferated since the advent of "citizen's media." There's really no reason why a person couldn't or shouldn't write about a brand they love and, in doing so, become popular and aid the brand in spreading the it's message. The trick, though is proper disclosure and a clear delineation of the line between official brand messaging and unofficial.
After our conversation and to make clear the non-association with Gatorade, Rovell added the word "unauthorized" to the tagline of the blog which now reads, "An Unauthorized Look One of America's Most Dominant Brands."
While we think Google might have some trademark name concerns over this new advertising platform, Penn Media has announced Vidsense, a program, similar to Google's AdSense for text ads, that delivers video from Penn Media's EVTV1 video portal to websites based on a site's content. To use the product, website publisher place a chunk of code on their site and Vidsense will deliver contextual video clips, each preceded with 15 to 30 second commercials. Penn Media will share ad revenue with publishers just as Google does with its AdSense advertisers. Nifty idea. There's more info on Vidsense here.
UPDATE: Penn Media CEO Jaffer Ali contacted us to clarify that Vidsense is a contextual video content network, not a contextual video ad network. Ali clarifies, "The advertising that will soon precede the content clips will be national brand advertisers. The advertising may or may not have anything to do with the website content."
While we are highly doubtful Burger King or Crispin Porter + Bogusky officially had anything to do with this, the prominent display of Burger King in this white boy rapper video, called F'ing Yo Mom's in the Ass, is certainly worth noting. Burger King gets considerable screen time in this video which is just weird enough to get passed around virally as it already has having shown up on CollegeHumor. The Whois site registration info is not hidden leading one to perhaps believe the site is legit, then again, we're talking about CP+B here who would never register a site blindly - a telltale sign of marketer involvement.
Given the subject matter of the video and the rest of the CD's content, it would be very surprising if Burger King actually had any involvement with its creation. Then again, stranger things have happened and marketing isn't what it used to be. Perhaps it really is just a couple of dudes having fun. Perhaps not.
Low Tech Interactivity
Over 100 years ago, Henry Van Hovenbergh invented and patented the flip book. The first flip books consisted of simple drawings stacked in sequential stages of movement with a single staple binding. When the pages were flipped, they would create the optical illusion of motion. Flip books were then popularized in the early 1900's by the Cracker Jack Company who gave them away as free in-pack prizes. Other marketers soon followed suit, including manufacturers of breakfast cereals, bubble gum, cigarettes, automobiles and snack foods.
A company called Flippies has re-engineered (although it looks the same to us) the original concept a bit resulting in a perfect bound book that plays back, according to the company, crystal clear clips of full motion video with one thumb flip. Flippies has also created a process to easily convert video footage to flip book format. The company intends to promote its services to marketers who might be interested in off beat media through which to advertise.