At last, a marketer has acknowledged the existence of the Firefox browser. To promote it's upcoming series, Rome, HBO has created a "skin" which Firefox users can download. A skin makes the Firefox browser take on a particular look and feel. The show and the skin are being promoted via banner appearing on The New York Times, Salon, Yahoo Movies and History channel websites.
Dish Network has launched a microsite called TV Doesn't have to Suck with the nifty URL suckfreetv.com. With a couple of spots, a section which sadly demonstrates how detrimental sucky TV can be and a game that lets you suck grandma out of her chair into the TV, the microsite does a good job making fun of bad TV all in the name of promoting Dish Network. The problem is, TV doesn't suck. The argument that satellite TV is better than cable is no longer appropriate if it ever was in the first place. In fact, cable may be better than satellite in some respects when it comes to features like HBO On Demand which, we're told, isn't available via satellite; speedy internet access and the ability to use cheap phone service like Vonage over the cable connection.
That said, the microsite is funny enough except for one major design peeve of ours. We simply do not understand why designers feel the need to un-necessarily alter the size of the browser window, in this case, maximizing it to full screen. Leave that shit alone. Your creative isn't the only thing happening on a person's desktop. The tactic is almost as bad as a pop up.
Sears is moving its account from one WPP Group company to another, After 43 years handling the account, Ogilvy & Mather will relinquish the account to sister agency Young & Rubicam, which has worked on portions of the account since 1993. In a twist that questions the point of the review in the first place given today's agency conglomerates, O % M employees who will be left behind after the October 1 hand off, may end up moving to Y & R to handle the account.
Following criticism by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his Office of City Affairs revoked a permit granted to Marc Ecko to host an August 24 "block party" to promote a new Atari game called, "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure." The game features characters who graffiti a city in defiance of corrupt government officials. The event was to center around graffiti artists tagging models of old New York City blue-bird subway cars. When Bloomberg caught wind of the promotion, he said, "Look, there is a fine line here between freedom of expression and going out and encouraging people to hurt this city. Defacing subway cars is hardly a joke. Encouraging people, kids in particular, to do that after all the money we've spent, all the time we've spent removing graffiti."
Certainly, the city does not want to be bombarded with un-approved graffiti but here we have an event created specifically for the artistic expression of graffiti where nothing other than sponsor-paid props are being used as canvas for the artists. Not one bit of city landscape is involved. Sure, it's all about marketing a promoting a game that involves encouraging graffiti. But it's a game. Not real life. There's a difference. Atari and Mark Ecko have provided talented artists with a legal, sanctioned channel through which to create and celebrate graffiti as an art form. Is it really any different that Time Magazine's hiring of COPE2 to paint a sponsor-paid billboard? We think not.
Art seems to express itself whether it is given a canvas or not. In this case, the smart thing for Bloomberg to do, in the long run, is provide that canvas.
UPDATE: Marc Ecko has written an open letter explaining his position in the Comment section.