So last night, we're three quarters through yet another now shitty episode of the once-brilliant Heroes and what do we see a few minutes after a commercial break? No, not one of those banners that promotes some new show that will likely suck or some news tease that will make it impossible for us not to "stay tuned for more" at 11. No, we see a big black banner fill the bottom fourth of the screen touting the new Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe movie American Gangster. WTF?
So this is what it's come to, people. The nets aren't going to take any more of our ad skipping shit and they're now going to bombard us not only with annoying in-program promotions but with ,annoying, unskippable in-program ad banners. Apparently taking a cue from YouTube's video advertising efforts, NBC is going to get is ad revenue no matter what it takes.
While we can't fault a media company for protecting its revenue stream, it's beginning to reach the point of insanity. Watching a show recorded on a DVR is now going to be just as annoying as watching one live with commercials. Maybe worse. With old-school commercials, at least you could miss the ads by getting up to take a piss or grabbing something out of the fridge. No longer. And this isn't the last (and likely it's not the first) we'll see of these DVR-fighting tactics. Protecting that revenue stream is a very powerful motivator.
Sorry, we didn't get an actual screenshot of the banner.
Last week a group of federal employees served as proxy reporters for a press conference regarding the California wildfires with the deputy chief of FEMA.
Why would FEMA want to stage a fake conference about the California wildfires? It's not only unethical; it's ... lame. It's like something you'd get in trouble for in elementary school ("Sorry, Mrs. Jewls, I couldn't actually find a famous person to interview, so I made one up.")
FEMA's excuse: it had no time to wait for real reporters.
Check out Crescent Heights, an effort by P&G to promote Tide through the lives of twenty-somethings (Quarterlife, anybody?) with painfully bright clothes.
Endless product promotion aside, we admire the series' capacity to remind us so vividly of Saved by the Bell: The New Class -- except without the charm of the previous class' success to leech off of.
And the fake messages on the discussion board (generously mocked by the seven or so watchers of the series)? Nice touch.
This is really, really, REALLY bad. We'll say it again, REALLY bad. If you're going to go and spoof the Budweiser Wassup commercial, the least you could do is put a little effort into it. Apparently, Greenpeace, who claims Anheuser-Busch uses genetically altered rice to make Budweiser, thinks shitty dialog and bad actors can somehow call attention to the horror that is genetically enhanced rice. At least use phones made this century?? This critique is, of course, irrelevant because Greenpeace is getting the publicity they want anyway.
Apparently pleading with drug-addled starlet Lindsay Lohan to save herself, New Jersey-based Canterbury Institute has introduced ads with the headline, "Don't Die Lindsay!" Funny ha ha. Trouble is, they really don't care about Lindsay. They're just exploiting her to promote their own drug and alcohol addiction services. Lame.
The cats over at the US Food Policy blog have shot us some compelling information about the McRib.
To start with, they introduced us to the McRib's ingredients, which are fairly unsavory (blame the bun and the sauce). Then, they dropped the microsite on our heads.
We really hate seeing chicks that appear to be affiliated with a subculture (pop rock much?) introduce a product, then stand around pouting while waiting for us to make a move with our mouse. It is indescribably tacky.
But that's a digression. The real reason why US Food Policy sent us over to McRibland was because the National Pork Board, backed by the federal government, claims to have created the McRib (per its '06 annual report).
Anybody who's seen Thank You for Smoking may not find this odd. We certainly don't. And we continue to maintain that parents need to educate their children about the dangers awaiting them in this big deceptive world - including tricky marketing. At the very least, it would be nice to think that the government doesn't collude in our market intrigues.
Maybe that's wishful thinking. So while we're on this moving train, way to take one for Team Obesity, guys.
We love a good hoodia ad. Here's one in which a woman goes from fat to skinny, then gets fat again before your eyes. Guess it can't be pegged false advertising if she balloons back to original size, and if the company shrouds a very clear promise under the guise of a study, rather than overtly promoting "the new magic bullet" of weight loss.
Did we ever work out what the old magic bullet was?
So there's this Mystery Meat macrophotography thing floating around. It consists of people taking close up pictures of processed meat products. Next to one of the images, courtesy of contextual advertising fuckery, we have a text ad for KFC talking about their nutrition guide. Mmm, mmm, good.
Yesterday, seven soldiers died in Iraq. Not that this is the sort of news Adrants reports but it's nice to step outside our mostly meaningless business from time to time and digest something that actually has meaning and truly affects people in ways that make advertising comparably irrelevant. Oh, and if seven soldiers dying in Iraq weren't bad enough, courtesy of contextual advertising's unfailing fuckery, this CNN news story was accompanied by an ad for life insurance with the headline, "If you died today, who would fund your family's future?" Well, for the families of the seven who died, it's a bit late to buy life insurance but hey, there's plenty of time for the rest of the military to bulk up on insurance. So I guess it's a perfectly placed ad after all.
There's one sure thing that can be said about Britney Spears' performance at last night's MTV Video Music Awards. She delivered exactly what everyone expected; a horrifically embarrassing performance that had to have Kevin Federline rolling on the floor laughing uncontrollably. Practically tripping over herself throughout the limp, lifeless, lip-synced performance, Spears began the performance looking as if she'd just stumbled out of a bar drunk searching for something to hold on to so she wouldn't fall over.
From there, it didn't get any better. Several years ago - before Federline, before kids, before physical and emotional meltdown - Spears would have been all over that stage exploding with high energy dance moves. But at least twice last night, she had to be hoisted up and down from a riser like an overweight kid trying to climb out of a swimming pool.