Because Microsoft can't drive users to its search engine by merit (recall the Ms. Dewey effort), it's been dangling bait over internet users with various mind games and search-oriented word puzzles.
One such game is Chicktionary, where you try to build as many words as you can with a given set of scrambled letters. Once you engage an ad banner, you're driven to Live Search Club, where your engagement with the game is counted as ongoing use of Live Search.
This is how: each time you use the scrambled letters to make a word, successful words are counted as queries in the search engine, which then brings you its definition.
This and similar games have brought inordinately good tidings to the Microsoft search camp.
We do love a game with a snappy title like Avenue of Death. Put together by UK-based TAMBA, the object of the game is to guide Young Bond through a series of death traps. The game is a promotion for Hurricane Gold, a Young Bond book that's just recently come out.
Enter your score on the leaderboard and you could win "an exclusive piece of original Young Bond artwork, signed by Charlie Higson and Kev Walker."
After a quick run-through, we decided there's really nothing Bondian about the game at all. If anything, it brings Prince of Persia to mind. And when we fed our little hero to the big snake, he just stood there until the snake woke up and ate him. Then he screamed like a girl.
We're a little confused about this new game, dubbed Hunger Strike, for KFC. At first we thought it was like Pac-Man, but there don't appear to be any enemies to either run from or eat. Then we thought maybe it might be more esoteric, like this game, but no; the graphics don't really do anything, and the music is frozen in a hellish loop.
We just know we keep losing, and we don't understand why, so now we feel resentful toward chicken.
We'd have thought there were only a handful of ways you could manipulate a high school yearbook photo (color? grayscale? mustache?), but Classmates.com is remarkably good at coming up with new ones.
First it tickled our love of schoolyard gossip by replacing its bespectacled standby with a Farrah look-alike, then it gave us a puzzle to play with, and now you can mess around with the actual features of the photos.
Word on the street is Classmates.com is headed toward an IPO soon. What took so long? At this point the company's business model is about as vintage as its ads. Doesn't Facebook fully satisfy our compulsive need to gawk at, and shit-talk about, our former peers?
This is almost too engaging. To promote the premiere of Bionic Woman, take your BAT.
The BAT-test is where you can have a bionic assessment made on your super-extremities. The examinations are simple but actually pretty hard, and they can all be solved via keyboard.
Apparently Adrants is only 39 percent bionic. We're bummed.
Well, even if you can't be all powerful, you can at least watch Jaime Sommers try balancing life and paramilitary affairs on NBC's series premiere, which hits TVs on September 26th at 9/8c.
Sometimes we wonder if this ongoing effort by brands to throw together CGM contests is actually part of a large-scale game of industry Hot Potato we just don't know about. Like "How Many Cheap Videos Can We Leach Out of Consumers Before We Start Getting More Backlashes than Exhibitionist Pillow-Fights?"
Anyway, Apartments.com is launching a contest called Possession Obsession. If you send them a video of stuff you collect, you could win (drumroll, please) $20,000.
We're not crazy about comedians, though every once in awhile we find a winner like ad cock-snapping Charlie Brooker, and Hardaway-rubbing George Takei.
This Dan Fielding character is unimpressive at outset. And even with a little more exposure, he's little more than an arrogant SOB who happens to want his own show called The Domestic God.
But in his efforts to self-promote, he's done something interesting: turned himself into a contest.
- Glossed Over live blogs the reading of Vogue's 840 page September issue.
- Apple catches wrath from popular YouTubers misfortune with the company's bad customer service.
- Christina Ricci is the new face of Samsonite's Fashionaire accessory line.
- This is how they sell Volvos in Korea.
- Yup. MySpace is over. Now, it's all about creating Facebook applications as Hyper Happen and W3Haus just did to promote the movie Knocked Up in the UK.
- Darren Stevens is dead. Oh wait, he was never alive. Oh wait, it's a new blog to promote a new marketing book. Oh wait, and even another YouTube book video.
- OMG! It's another book! But this one's not about marketing. It's about ghosts, monsters and UFOs. But it counts because a former creative director wrote and took the photos.
Here's a distraction that's sure to derail your workday. In the interest of going simpler, Candystand gives us Jetboost, a game where all you have to do is make the little jetpack-wearing man jump as high as he can.
Each level lasts just a few seconds, which strangely makes you want to do a bunch. Oh, the marketing magic of bite-size.
Addictive. But then again, shiny objects usually are when you have something more important to do.
Keep the volume down if you're in your cubby hole -- er, cubicle. To note, we've long since stopped noticing what candy is advertised - but, foreseeing this, Candystand since began forcing users to sit through a short ad while the game loads. Those clever candy peddling rogues.
Selling underwear is usually a no-brainer for some companies. You make it sexy, you make it provocative, you dress it all up and get some pretty people to trounce around in it, or - worst comes to worst - you find really fruity mascots, like Fruit of the Loom.
We can't think of a major underwear brand that fails to be interesting in the same way that Hanes does.
And this isn't a recent thing. They've always kind of sucked.