While this site, fuh2.com, been around since 2003, it's yet another indicator of how social media has allowed people to very publicly say whatever they want about a brand. This site's sole purpose is to crucify the Hummer brand by encouraging people to send in images of them giving the finger to a Hummer. GM can't be too happy. Though they can't be too sad either. The thing still sells well.
Last week, Miller Brewing Company launched an online game, Miller Beer Runner, which mirrors an ad campaign that kicked off this past weekend. The game has players face the usual problems when on a beer run from running through the streets and avoiding obstacles, to dodging ongoing football games and resisting bar temptations to avoiding hard objects like fire hydrants - all with the goal of getting to the store, making a Miller beer purchase and returning home before the halftime clock runs out. Given all the money Miller spends on TV commercials, the video introduction to the game is quite humorous as one of the guys tells his friend he has plenty of time to get the beer because "Hey, it's a commercial. Don't worry about it." In the first four days of the game's release, 360,000 games were played by 165,000 unique users.
FMBQ is reporting Infinity Broadcasting may be readying the launch of a network of "Free FM" talk radio stations. Infinity has registered several variations of the freefm.com domain. FMBQ posits the rumored Howard Stern replacements David Lee Roth, Adam Carrola and Mancow may become reality. Of course, when asked by FMBQ to confirm speculation, Infinity spokesperson Karen Mateo said, "We decline to comment on rumor and speculation." That said, look for the new Free FM format to appear on your dial soon just as that Jack format did a while back.
Promoting its new street racing game, LA Rush, Midway Games has launched a viral, called Pimp My PushChair, created by Maverick, which has a couple of "punk-ass motherfucking" street-wise babies bustin' on each other's bling in their tricked-out strollers. Enough said.
Sort of defeating the purpose of highlighting Jeep's new seven seat, 2006 Commander, Chrysler has launched an online promotion, called The Mudds featuring a family if five. Yup. Five, Not seven. OK, maybe that's splitting hairs but if you're going to highlight seven seats, you better have seven people to fill them. Hopefully, the kids have some friends.
The promotion will have all the usuals: bi-weekly webisodes - also available on Dish TV), biography pages, screensavers, wallpapers, text message notification of site updates, AvantGo PDA notification and online scavenger hunts using Google Maps. Oh wait, the Google Maps thing is new. Visitors can use Google maps to find virtual "geocaches" the Mudds have hidden and get a chance to win one of the new 2006 Commander's. Get your mud on.
Talent Zoo announced the launch of Radio Talent Zoo, a network of podcasts concentrating on the communications industry. The first show on this new network will be "The Naked Career," a weekly show hosted by Sally Hogshead, a creative director and author of Radical Careering: 100 Truths to Jumpstart Your Job, Your Career, and Your Life. (whay are business book titles so long?) The first show will be available Wednesday, October 19, on TalentZoo.
Sally will be interviewing some of the industry's "influential and powerful" executives. They tells us this isn't your typical, lame question-and-answer session, but a much more "naked" look at the career of each of these industry leaders. Lance Jensen, world class creative and founder of Modernista!, is Sally's first guest. Each show will be approximately 15 minutes in length, and a new interview will be available every Wednesday via podcast.
You can also catch Sally on the fantastic American Copywriter podcast. Give it a listen as John January and Tug McTighe marvel over Sally's beauty and aspiring creative career.
After recently being released from a prison sentence for her involvement in the ImClone scandal, Martha Stewart has proved that with the right attitude and business sense, a comeback is possible for America's favorite homemaker and her company. According to Hitwise, the share of U.S Internet searches for "martha stewart" increased by 145 percent during the week ending Sept. 17, 2005, and visits to MarthaStewart.com have increased, reportedly, sending visitors to advertiser sites as well as her own newly re-opened online retail store. While inquisitiveness does not guarantee love, it's a pretty good indicator there's renewed interest in ankle-bracleted celeb.
Yesterday, Commercial Alert's Gary Ruskin said his organization sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate buzz marketers, whom he claims "are perpetrating large-scale deception upon consumers by deploying buzz marketers who fail to disclose that they have been enlisted to promote products. This failure to disclose is fundamentally fraudulent and misleading." He specifically named P&G's 250,000-strong Tremor, a group made up of teenagers who talk up products to their friends.
As pointed out by Word of Mouth Marketing Association President Andy Sernovitz, Ruskin incorrectly lumps together buzz marketing with guerrilla and stealth marketing. Following the Commercial Alert release, WOMMA quickly responded with a clarification of the difference between buzz, stealth, guerilla and word of mouth methods and procided a statement of its position on word of mouth and buzz marketing which, in a nutshell, requires open, honest and full disclosure in all marketing efforts.
Not that you didn't notice the plunge in content yesterday on Adrants but, call me stupid, one would assume going to a conference attended by a cadre of bloggers who can't live without WiFi would have guaranteed Adrants the ability to provide you with our usual level of useless commentary but no. While valiant efforts were made to insure the existence of WiFi access at New York's Copacobana nightclub, not exactly the type venue one would expect to find WiFi, the two day conference, profoundly informative content aside, was filled with intermittent 5 second periods of Internet access just long enough to see that hundreds of emails and news stories were calling our attention causing, because of the inability to do anything, our blood pressure to rise and our head to explode in frustration.
OK. Bitching, aside, the Blog On conference focused on social media, which, among other things, consists of people's dramatically increased ability to produce their own content and say whatever they want about a brand. The primary message to marketers during the two day event was, number one, LISTEN to the ongoing conversation, enabled by blogs, chat rooms, forums, IM, Wikis, podcasting, social networks and innumerable other methods with which consumers can achieve a voice as powerful and widespread as marketers, number two, JOIN the conversation by participating in these new media and three, do not attempt to CONTROL the conversation with bullhorn marketing communications methods of old. That's over. That's so over. Deal with it and move one. Oh, and number four, leave the LAWYERS out of this. If a marketer has an issue with a person denigrating the brand, speak with that person like a normal human being and find out why that person is saying what he is saying. Don't slap a ceases and desist on his ass because all he'll do is post that cease and desist on his blog making the brand look even more stupid, idiotic and out of touch with reality.
In the UK, Pepsi is said to be in talks with former child opera star and current tabloid queen, Charlotte Church along with Oasis band member Liam Gallagher to appear in a Pepsi commercial promoting the drinks' use as a cocktail mixer. In the ad, it is said, Gallagher will teach Church how to smash up a hotel room while sucking down drinks mixed with Pepsi. Now there's a brand image worth fighting for. A Pepsi source explains, "We've always got safe, family friendly stars to endorse Pepsi in the past, like Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Cindy Crawford and Blue. But Pepsi is becoming more and more popular as a cocktail mixer at parties, so we want a wilder, more controversial image to go with that, and Liam and Charlotte are ideal. They both love their booze and between them they cover the gender demographics we're trying to target. Charlotte is young, sexy and fun-loving, while Liam is an older, cool rock star." Now there's a brand manager that doesn't gloss over the truth of his company's marketing goals.
Almost three years ago, we proudly predicted Charlotte Church would rise to a level of celebrity on par with Britney Spears. While she might not quite have reached Spears' level, if Spears continues to head in her current direction, it won't be too difficult for Church to overtake.