Refreshingly casting aside the holier than thou attitude most marketers spew forth when dealing with less than family-friendly topics, Virgin Mobile, after every other marketer dumped her, has decided to hire Kate Moss, place her in a TV spot and poke fun at celebrity's public images. Unfortunately for those of you hoping to have a cocaine snorting contest when the ad airs December 20, you're out of luck unless you live in the United Kingdom, the only place the ad is planned to air. Here's the spot.
Basically ramming a dagger in the back of buzz marketing firm BuzzAgent, word of mouth marketing firm BoldMouth has launched with a ferociously negative view of buzz marketing practices. Mincing no words, the companies press release reads, in part, "Real word-of-mouth marketing is about sharing advice as well as product and service recommendations. These informal and typically person-to-person dialogs should not to be confused with 'buzz marketing' that is nothing more than an attempt to artificially engineer a referral by offering incentives so that "agents" make recommendations on behalf of an organization." Ouch. Dave Balter might have a bit to say about that back stab.
As if gleeful in his attack, BoldMouth Founder Todd Tweedy said, "Word of mouth is an operational principle that organizations can pursue and model to increase loyalty and ultimately revenue that creates a customer-centric approach to marketing. Disguising a commercial as a person and having these 'agents' share commercial messages on an unsuspecting audience with misleading 'buzz' tactics simply creates more ad clutter and puts brands in unnecessary danger. It's time to put an end to buzz marketing."
Somehow this all seems very counter productive to the growth of a nascent advertising practice but the verbal warfare that will undoubtedly follow this release will be charmingly amusing to watch.
Bud Light, perhaps in a nod to what we can expect from them during the Super Bow, has launched Ted Ferguson: Under the Helmet, a website featuring a slice of life look at Ted Ferguson, Bud Light daredevil, an every-man's stunt man. You never know where these things are going to go but, well, this doesn't seem that interesting. That said, it is pretty comical watching the guy treat listening to his girlfriend as an excruciatingly difficult stunt to accomplish. Perhaps this is one of those campaigns that needs to be "given legs" upon which to "blossom."
Always everywhere Bucky Turco reports Microsoft has made a Union Station station domination buy for XBOX 360. Turco reports the ads have a "Jurgen Teller-ish for Marc Jacobs" look and that some of the ads carry the "Jump In" Tagline.
Having been relentless pummeled with "seriously, our approach is different" press releases, I guess we're just going to resign ourselves to riding this million dollar homepage trend-let to the bitter end. In yet another version of the I-can't-believe-I'm even-writing-about this topic, Will Barden has launched a company called Pixel Banner Ads which move the million dollar homepage concept from website to web banners. Yup, we're now going to see pixel banners all over the web. Pixel Banner Ads act as an intermediary between publishers and advertisers just like any other ad network by providing publishers connection with advertisers and an eighty percent share of ad revenue. Currently pixel ads are selling for $10 which gets an advertiser exposure across seven websites no one's ever heard of.
If, perhaps, you've wondered where Robin Williams has gone following his Hollywood heyday, Tian has learned he's lent his mug to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center by appearing on the hospital's transit posters in Scottsdale Arizona. The posters are eerily similar to William's One Hour Photo movie poster. OK, so it's no really William's on the posters but, all the same, it's always fun to jab at those who's lifestyle you can only dream of achieving.
Jeffrey Hedquist, President and Creative Director of Hedquist Productions, Inc. in Fairfield, IA, who runs the Sow's Ear Award for the worst radio commercials is challenging industry copywriters to turn the worst radio commercials in North America, winners of the Sow's Ear Award, into effective radio commercials.
Rather than simply point of the problem, Hedquist, a CLIO, Andy, One Show, Effie winner, plans to solve the problem, "Now that the worst radio commercials have been chosen by popular vote, let's show how these Sows' Ears can be turned into Silk Purses." Further explaining the contest and turning the whole thing into a self-promotional bonanza for his company, Hedquist said, "If your rewrite is chosen as the best, we'll cast, direct, record and produce your creation for free. You'll win a free 1/4-hour consulting teleseminar with me. We'll give you a Free Jeffrey Hedquist radio commercial voice-over for the client of your choice. We'll publicize your work, give you credit in live seminars, in our newsletter and on our web site. That's more than $2,000 in value."
If you're up for the challenge, re-writes are due by January 15, 2006. Get the details at Sows Ears Awards.
Media culture group Stay Free has created a spoof drug site calling attention to the idiocy most drug companies place or are required to place on their sites and in their ads. The site is for a fictitious drug called Panexa by MERD which is "a prescription drug that should only be taken by patients experiencing one of the following disorders: metabolism, binocular vision, digestion (solid and liquid), circulation, menstruation, cognition, osculation, extremes of emotion." That covers just about everyone.
And in a nod to either people's idiocy, drug company's idiocy or everyone's propensity to sue the asses off one another, the site lists several situations in which Panexa should not be used:
PANEXA should not be used as a physical aid to set a broken bone, as in the case of a splint;
PANEXA should not be used as a substitute for real human relationships; the tablets (and gel-coated caplets) are incapable of displaying any real emotion, and would prove to be dissatisfying friends or mates;
PANEXA should not be used to soak up spills or remove stains. This is disrespectful to PANEXA;
PANEXA should not be resold with the intent of generating a personal profit;
PANEXA should not be used a form of motive transport, as it lacks the government regulated (US DOT 1445/88-4557) safety lights and reflectors;
Women with uteruses should consider avoiding PANEXAor moving to a state or province where the concentration of PANEXA is lesser;
In Japan, Northewest Airlines is running a billboard campaign which contains QR codes, small image tags on the billboards which contain an embedded URL. When a camera phone user takes a picture of the board, they are directed to a website that features a game where airline coupons can be won. A company called Semacode makes the technology behind the QR codes. Many phone manufacturers are adopting the technology which may make billboards finally serve a purpose other that simple brand awareness or physical directionals.
Toronto-based iStudio has created a Holiday card that offers far more than a bit of humor and wit. iStudio has developed a "card" with 12 parts following the 12 days of Christmas advent calendar tradition. Each business day, a new part is revealed. Each part contains indepth information on particular topics which range from shopping to travel to Christmas cocktails to music to baking and more. The "card" also has an RSS feed to subscribers can be notified when each new day's topic has been posted. It's a nice idea and had we not seen it, we'd never know about the Candy Cane Martini.