Dear Casale Media,
Please stop serving insanity-inducing, seizure-causing pop unders. Please stop usurping people's decision to block pops by circumventing their browser's pop blocking mechanisms. Please stop foisting crap on us like a pointless Coke versus Pepsi taste test. And Coke, Pepsi, do you really want your brand portrayed in an ad unit that is more maligned than a telemarketer call? Casale, you are huge. You have the biggest booth at every ad:tech show. Surely you have revenue streams other than those that cause people to want to convert themselves into digital 1's and 0's, climb inside their computers, travel through the Internet until they find your ad servers and kick the shit out of them until the words "pop under" and "pop up" are now longer in their vocabulary.
Perhaps there really is some sort of cultural brick wall between New York City and Canada or at least between Montreal's National Bank marketing team and the rest of the entire world. In a laughably out of touch press release, the bank claims it is "once again on the cutting edge of advertising with a colourful new event: a flash mob, used to promote the Bank's role as the presenting sponsor of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament." Colorful new event? Hello? Flash Mobs came and went three years ago, my Canadian friends. It's 2006 this year, not 2003. If calling a three year old trendlet cutting edge weren't bad enough, the bank isn't even conducting a flash mob. All it's doing is unleashing 40 young women dressed in tennis apparel who will roam the streets of Montreal during rush hour August 9 passing out tickets to a tennis match at the Rogers Cup August 12 to 20. Idiots. That's not a flash mob. That's street marketing.
Continuing their idiotic approach to anti-smoking, the TRUTH campaign is out with yet another off the wall commercial featuring the hairstyle-challenged Derek. In this spot, Derek tries to sell cigarette "flavors" to kids basing the whole shtick on the most ancient cigarette company document they've used to date, a 1972 internal document that stated "it's a well known fact that teenagers like sweet products" as if that statement were some sort of revelation. Can we please retire Derek and this idiocy and get back to some of the better stuff we know this campaign is capable of?
Attention ad agencies. Don't DON'T. DO NOT DO THIS. Do not create a video where you publicly masturbate, backslap and attempt to hipify yourself with viral goodness in front of the industry all in the name of cool factor and winning new business. Watch this video so you'll never do this to yourselves. Agency.com created a video of themselves pitching the Subway business as the pitch itself and uploaded it to YouTube. Everyone in the industry needs to watch this. Not because it's good but because it makes ad agency people look dumb and sound really stupid. It's filled with mindless business blather, self-important ad speak, fist bumps, fashionably un-tucked shirts and way too many utterances of the word "dude." It's painful to watch.
UPDATE: This work is for a sanctioned agency pitch. Agency.com Communications Manager Dan Cordella tells us, "SUBWAY Restaurants SFAFT Group is currently conducting a search for a new interactive agency. They gave all participants, including Agency.com, the option to submit a short video of the team/company, which is a fairly standard procedure in an agency review process. Agency.com wanted to show how viral could work instead of just telling them about it in a video or written response."
UPDATE II: And the blog.
Perhaps it's just us but this morning we have been attacked by one of those porn-style redirect ads. We were checking out the cast of the upcoming James Bond flick, Casino Royale on IMDB when, after about five seconds, we were whisked away to a promotional sweepstakes eprize page for the movie V. No amount of reloading on use of the back button would stop the fucking ad page from forcing itself upon us. Someone over at Warner Brothers or IMBD better get their shit together or start kicking the shit out of whatever spammer is foisting this crap upon us.
NOTE: In comments, an IMDB representative explains the problem was a coding error on their part which occurred for a short period of time and they fixed it as soon as it was brought to their attention. Warner Brothers had nothing to do with the error.
Normally, we'd never be one to side with a tobacco company on anything, but this new spot from the American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign is giving us cause. In this second spot in the campaign, a dude walks into a store to buy a mattress and strikes up a conversation with the sales person. He tells the guy that back in 1985, a tobacco company VP wondered if sleep should be banned because the majority of people die in their sleep. So the basis of this spot come from a comment that was likely a joke and is trying to twist it into some sort of "Oh my God, can you believe a cancer stick maker would actually suggest sleep be banned to fend off accusations smoking kills" thing. It's ridiculous.
Last night before the performance of "Stomp" at the Orpheum Theater in New York, the New York Times reports a live commercial, performed by actors, took place for tourist organization Visit London. Visit London, which claims to be first to do a live theatrical commercial, has done the ad in Dublin and Hamburg and will do it in Pittsburgh on Friday night. In the ad, a cell phone rang in the middle of the audience and a conversation took place between the "mother" who answered the phone and the "daughter" who placed the call from the stage. The daughter recommended London attractions to her mother. There was also a "scene" with a couple on stage talking about a visit to London's West End. Please. Stop. Now.
We were going to ignore this one because it's just so stupid but we keep seeing everyone talking about that Philips patent that would make it possible for broadcasters to somehow disable the ability of people to skip through commercials. However, we just can't leave it alone and we left a comment over at AdFreak which we'll share with you here.
"It's bad enough now that some DVDs force you to endure move previews...and that DVD manufacturers go along with the ploy. I have mixed feeling about where this will go. After all, if this thing actually took hold, people, as they use to do, would just get up during the commercial break and go to the kitchen or to the bathroom. And, to boot, since research is getting better at knowing when people actually see a commercial versus knowing it was simply broadcast to an empty room, marketers will bail out on this before it goes anywhere."
What do you think?
UPDATE: In an Advertising Age article today, Philips has clarified its patent claiming it meant to offer choice, not force viewership of ads, "We developed a system where the viewer can choose, at the beginning of a movie, to either watch the movie without ads, or watch the movie with ads. It is up to the viewer to take this decision, and up to the broadcaster to offer the various services."
Adrants reader John Brock sends us this precious example of how not to use slang in advertsing. Massachusetts discount chain Building 19 ran an ad in a flyer promoting wife-beater t-shirts. Oops. Out came the cause groups on that one with Jane Do Inc. spokewoman telling Boston's WCVB, ""I can't say what I thought. I know what I thought, but I can't say out loud what I thought." We know what she thought: "You chauvinistic asswipes! How the fuck could you degrade women so harshly glamorizing low life, trailer park scum who beat the shit out of their wives on a daily basis?"
Building 19 apologies came fast from spokesman Jerry Ellis who said, "They were right. It was awful and I am sorry it happened. It's a slang expression, a street expression, but we should have known better not to use it. I am supposed to read every word. Sometimes it's busy or I am lazy. We are working on a retraction." Refreshingly, that comment definitely didn't go through the press release filter.
Just because the United States of America has a few perception problems in other parts of the world, doesn't mean the country should go and change it's name to something that exudes a friendlier perception. Just because everyone refers to Australia and "down under" doesn't mean the country should adopt that name. Just because Iraq caught some crap from the rest of the world, the country isn't running out to change it's name so we all think differently about it.
A county's name is steeped in history and isn't something to be toyed with like a brand name but that's what Al Ries would have us believe. Because Guatemala seems to be suffering some perception problems among the rest of the world's populace who don't realize it's the center of Mayan culture as opposed to Belize, El Salvador and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula who've co-opted the culture, Ries, aside from disliking the country's new slogan, "Soul of the Earth," thinks the country should change its name to Guatamaya. Yea, you heard that right, Guatemaya. That's like calling Australia Kangaroo. Or Brazil Bootyville.