Likening airport terminals to marketing microcosms, Ad Age has paid Greg Lindsay to spend three weeks traveling the globe to report on the inner workings of airport terminals. Called "Airworld," the project aims to examine airport's "vast media and retail ecosystem" and dig into the "largest coherent stand-alone marketing venues on earth." It's not exactly a glamorous assignment but it just might lend a bit more insight into the inner commerce of airports than the Tom Hanks movie Terminal.
Whether a veiled agency promotion or just two kooks on bikes, 86 the Onions design intern and UCLA student Steve Ounanian and bike messenger Chris Jahn left Los Angeles on bikes September 5 and north on a 100 mile-per-day, 14 day ride to Starbucks headquarters in Seattle. The purpose of the pair's trip, in a nod to the morning coffee quest, is to examine people's daily rituals - their's and the rituals of others - and understand why routine is so important. The two are documenting the trip with a blog and video clips.
Ounanian says, "The hypothesis is, ritual equals comfort, but it also equals, ironically, both freedom and confinement. There is something about the repetitive task of riding my bike, the machine aspect of it that is alluring. When everything is uncertain, stressful, or even wonderful—you can have control over it by just executing your daily ritual." Ounanian and Jahn are stopping in 14 cities on the way and interviewing people about their daily rituals hoping to understand it's core. Somehow, this is all related to marketing. Or research. Or agency promotion. Or weight loss. Or. Or. Or not.
To promote its new Motorola ROKR phone which adds 100 song 1Tunes capability, Cingular has launched a microsite, called Make Me Dance, which allows visitors to select a character, select a song, make it dance, then send it to a friend. It's a weak version of the Wedding Crasher's Trailer Crashers promotion which allowed visitors to place their their own image and images of their friends on the faces of characters in the movie trailer which could then be sent to friends. With Cingular's Make Me Dance, visitors can upload their own images but the resulting dance can not be sent to a friend. Odd. The whole thing's designed to convince people a cell phone that can hold a whopping 100 songs is somehow a viable option to the usual 3-5,000 song MP3 player. Hitachi, where are we when we need you?
In early August, we told you Coke had embarked on an "experiential" marketing concept that would, as Ad Age wrote, "interpret what the marketer calls the brand's 'optimism' through a series of short films and breakthrough bottle designs." The project, called M5, involved five design shops which each created "iconic" designs that would affect packaging and other branding elements and were designed to increase appeal to younger generations. Well, the marketing masturbation is complete and the "experiential" designs have launched. Without dispute, the work is great but we're not much for phoofy, frilly, flashy fluff. When we're thirsty and want a Coke, we don't really care what container it comes in. That's just us though. The hipster crowd...that's another story.
Especially enjoyable is the sultry blather that, upon clicking the bottle in the lower right corner of the site, coos gushingly from within and explains the genesis behind the endeavor, oozing, "An icon is transformed..." Oh don't listen to us. The whole thing's pretty cool. The project was created by The Ebeling Group, Hybrid, and the Rock and Roll Agency. Armchair Media created the Website.
Adrants reader Ted Karlen thought we'd be interested in an example of yet another unfortunate ad/context placement. And he was right. He tells us, "Starting on page 72 of the October issue of Stuff magazine, there's an ad for Southern Comfort liquor. The first part offers a chance to win a free trip to the company's "Voodoo Music Fest," in, um, New Orleans on October 29-30. Worse, the next page introduces Southern Comfort's now-incredibly inappropriate slogan: "Born in New Orleans (where anything can happen)." Oops.
Jossip gossipist David Hauslaib informs us Parker Posey and Jimmy Fallon were spotted, Saturday afternoon, filming a Pepsi commercial in New York City. One of our informants tells us, "Jimmy Fallon was jumping around, dancing with a Pepsi can, jumping up and down, flailing his arms around, kinda being stupid. Parker was just standing across the street from him. Jimmy was wearing junkie t-shirt and shitty looking sweatpant khakis."
John Brock points us to a billboard for AutoTrader in Auckland that was pulled. It seems several had a problem with the copy which read, "We've Got Rides For Dirty Bitches." Without seeing the accompanying image of two dogs (commonly referred to as bitches in Auckland) looking out the window, one might understand how it might offend but no. The whole thing's been depicted as some kind of woman-bashing campaign and the Advertising Standards Authority has requested the billboard be taken down. AutoTrader has complied with the request.
Amy Corr of MediaPost has rounded up several recent campaigns for her weekly Out to Launch column. First, Tom Brady appears in a Visa commercial, created by BBDO, called Metaphors in which he educates consumers about credit card security. Desperate Housewive's Marcia Cross and Nicollette race through a grocery store in a commercial, created by Y&R SF, to see who can fill their carts with the most 7UP Plus. La Agencia de Ocri & Associates has created a Hispanic campaign for Verizon to promote broadband services. Draft New York has created another Verizon campaign promoting DSL. The Minnesota State Lottery is running a horror-themed Powerball campaign created by Coll + McVoy. MDB Communications has launched an outdoor campaign for DC Lottery's game, DC Daily 6. And GSD&M worked with the Advertising Council and the American Red Cross to quickly create a PSA for Katrina victims.
While trawling for his daily feed tube of crucial gossip, Bucky Turco spotted a banner for HBO which promotes comedian Ali G's show. The banner, which only expands if you have Internet Explorer (what's up with you designers" Have you heard half the world uses Firefox now?), allows you to begin a live chat. Unfortunately, there seems to be no responses from Ali G. Perhaps he's too busy making foreign politicians look dumb but you'd think there'd at least be some sort of automated response. Bucky points out Ali G's vocabulary is like no others and the designers, at least, could programmed in some automated verbal gems for our amusement. Let's hope the banner's just broken, will be fixed soon and the agency doesn't get fired.
UPDATE: Apparently, it's been fixed.
In a hilarious use of Asian characters - pointed out by Tian, one of the contestants, J.D., on CBS' Rockstar INXS wore a shirt that, when viewed normally, appeared to say something in an Asian language but, when viewed sideways, clearly reads "Go Fuck Your Self." Censors did not catch the trick and images of the contestant are all over the Rockstar INXS website (as we figured, CBS has removed the images) and, presumably, were broadcast as well. Screenshots of the website are captured here and here for posterity's sake.