AOL Gets Caught Trying to Badger Customer Into Retaining Account

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Now we know why AOL still has so many users. Try as they might, canceling an AOL account is, apparently, a nightmare, a point proved by one Vincent Ferrari who recorded his exchange with an AOL customer service rep while canceling his account. It took Ferarri a total of 21 minutes to complete the cancellation and the five minute he spent with an actual human being are simply priceless. The CSR berated Ferrari, who is 30, to the point of asking to speak to his father because he thought Ferrari was making wrong decision in canceling the account. While, AOL did reply to the MSNBC report on the incident with an apology and a statement it had fired the CSR in question, there are, according to Ferrari, many others who have had similar experiences with the company. In the world of social media, consumer-generated media and YouTube, there's no hiding shady business practices any longer.

by Steve Hall    Jun-22-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Online, Viral



Advergame Access Annoys, Doesn't Get Played

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We're all for fun little advergame time wasters but when you have to a.) tell the company whether you are male or female, b.) have a password, c.) or don't have the password and enter your email to get it and d.) go open the email they sent you to get the password, the whole thing becomes work. Advergames aren't supposed to be work. They're supposed to be a branded distraction, not a challenge to see how much annoyance you can take before you just say "screw it" and leave which is exactly what we did. So, if any of you actually plays this game, let us know if we should bother looking for that email with the password.

by Steve Hall    Jun-21-06    
Topic: Bad, Games, Online, Opinion



Dow Campaign Creates New Chemical Element

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While watching this :90 spot, part of a new brand campaign from Dow Chemical created by FCB Chicago, we are reminded of the unfortunate mindset that invades large companies which do so many things it becomes impossible even to remotely explain what the company actually does do. We saw this to a certain degree in the latest GE campaign and now we are witnessing it in this latest campaign from Dow Chemical. For an agonizing 89 seconds, we are subjected to meaningless fluffery and puffery, written as if the copywriter was in the midst of an epiphany with God, which somehow ties Dow to a missing chemical element, the Human Element. Then again, what else can you say about a company that does everything?

by Steve Hall    Jun-21-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Commercials, Creative Commentary



Pepsi MyDaDaDa Designers Make Site Too Fat For Most

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You know, all you designers really ought to be testing your Flashtastic creations on a "normal" computer with the cache turned off. After all, most people who will visit your site won't have reloaded the thing a million times thereby having it readily and speedily available for viewing. For example, this site for Pepsi called MyDaDaDa which capiltalizes on the song, took agonizingly long to load. And once it did load, it never worked smoothly. Apparently, you can send the song around to your friends, watch ads, put the song and wallpapers on your phone, send a pre-recorded message to a friend, get screensavers and upload your own videos to the site. None of it worked well. Of course, it could just be our crappy laptop. Oh yea, the whole thing wraps itself around the World Cup Football craze.

by Steve Hall    Jun-14-06    
Topic: Bad, Consumer Created, Desktop, Online, Opinion



Folgers 'Tolerate Mornings' Is Intolerable

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Well, we were going to tell you about this Folgers commercial that FishNChimps thought was way too happy happy but the Folgers site took too damn long to load. Humorously, the load page of the site says, "A website dedicated to making your mornings more tolerable. Not this morning, dudes. Speed up your site and then maybe, just maybe we'll watch your stupid spot.

by Steve Hall    Jun-14-06    
Topic: Bad, Commercials, Online



'Watered-Down' Budweiser Gets Kicked By World Cup Fans

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Anheuser-Busch is getting its ass kicked by World Cup Football fans who are calling the company's sponsorship of the event offensive and overbearing. Yes, $40 million for pouring rights will certainly put the "watered-down beer" as Nuremberg graduate student Heiko Hofrickter called it in front of many who feel the American presence at the World Cup is mostly uncalled for since Americans think football is a game that involves grown men donning giant shoulder pads and crashing into one another while watching a pop star bare her breast during half time. Oh wait, they do that in Europe too. The baring of breasts that is.

While many Europeans are angered over the proliferation of American marketing in their back yards, its the crappy taste of Budweiser that really has people steamed. Hofrichter, while consuming a glass of Weissbier, summed it up saying, "We don't make anything that you can compare it to. We just don't make that kind of beer. Why would we, when you can drink this?"

by Steve Hall    Jun-13-06    
Topic: Bad, Point of Purchase, Sponsorship



Ben Edelman Examines Banner Farms And Other Nasty Online Practices

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Harvard University Pd.D. Candidate and all around spyware expert Ben Edelman has, once again, dug deep into the shady, clandestine side of online marketing. This time, he's examined Hula Direct, which, he claims, serves pops from spyware vendors, practices "banner farming," shows and charges ads without permission and engages in automatic page reloading to increase revenue. Since Ben's a Ph.D and we're not, we'll let you examine his findings first hand here.

As a tidbit of the insanity going on here and who's involved, this bit of Ben's article lends insight. "Hula's Yield Manager relationship provided Hula with the Vonage ad shown in the example above. Hula's Global-Store sent traffic to Yield Manager which sent traffic to Traffic Marketplace, which sent traffic to aQuantive's Atlas DMT, which sent traffic to Vonage. Payments flowed in the opposite direction." Certainly the notion of "you get what you pay for" takes on a whole new meaning here. Suffice to say, there's a whole lot of scamming going on and, to be clear, advertisers like Vonage rarely know it's occurring under their noses. Ben's analysis should be required reading for anyone even remotely involved with online marketing.

by Steve Hall    Jun-12-06    
Topic: Bad, Online



Witty Copy Neglects Reality

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It's seldom you see a really nice piece of witty copy anymore but this Kenneth Cole billboard does the trick. The copy reads, "If Gas Prices Continue to Rise Why Not Switch Pumps." But, as Animal points out, a pair of $196 pumps doesn't exactly help save money.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 9-06    
Topic: Bad, Good, Outdoor



PR Firm Exploits Baby Shiloh For Product Placement

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In a PR coup or just another disgusting manipulation of humanity to further a marketer's end, 5W Public Relations sent baby clothing from Belly Maternity all the way to Africa so Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby Shiloh Jolie-Pitt could wear it thus allowing the brand to appear in just about every publication known to man. With price wars in play over images of Shiloh and New York Magazine writing, in a stretch, "Not since Jesus has a baby been so eagerly anticipated," it may just be a pretty good PR coup. That is, if anyone takes a microscope to the images and tries to find the brand name on the shirt. Be sure to read the ego-infested, chest thumping press release from 5w, reprinted in full over at Gawker.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 9-06    
Topic: Bad, Celebrity, Good, Product Placement



H&M Men's Jeans Tout Sexual Prowess

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We all thought the whole Chevy Novo "No Go" thing was a bad naming gaffe but that doesn't hold a candle to H&M's naming of their new men's jeans Fit Sliq. A harmless name to those of us who regularly speak English but not so harmless and carrying an entirely different meaning in Swedish. In Swedish, it means - brace yourselves - cunnilingus or "cunt licker" in a more exact translation. Yes, according to Adland's dabitch, a women well versed in Swedish, the jeans just might become a hot item as "Swedish men and the occasional lesbian raid the stores for a pair of these naughty naughty jeans."

The kicker to this whole thing is that H&M is a Swedish company. Perhaps it's not a gaffe at all but an inside joke or perhaps it's an English speaking product manager run amok. Either way, it's funny. I mean, unfortunate.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 9-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Strange








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