On Wednesday morning at ad:tech in Chicago, I hit Managing the Search Beast, the first of the several SEM seminars I masochistically slated myself to take.
It was one of those seminars in which a speaker like David Doucette feebly tries pushing product (the Fairmont Hotel and Resorts) while the audience, every member of which thinks it's smarter than he, attacks with questions that, if you've ever worked in SEM, you know nobody knows the answers to.
And they're simple questions: "How did you track that social networking effort?" and "How do you prevent against click fraud?"
The crickets chirp in response. It's not that there aren't any answers; it's that marketing and sales guys rarely have a true sense of what's happening on the back-end when it comes to SEO. They pull the numbers from IT and that's the deepest it gets.
This is one reason why search engine marketing (poetically) highlights the growing tensions between marketing and tech.
You think Boyz n the Hood was scary? You've probably got similar tensions running between creatives and devvies - except without guns, and possibly more animosity.
Perhaps it's because we're squarely East Coast. Perhaps it's because sequels rarely, if ever, surpass the greatness from which they spawn. Perhaps its that we're much more prep at heart than West Coast Whacked. Perhaps it's just that this JWT New York-created Smirnoff Tea Partay sequel, Boyz in the Hillz, simply isn't as good as the original.
Oh sure, it rips West Coast oddities just as the original ripped East Coat preppy life but it doesn't seem to have the wit of the original. Of course, we could be completely wrong and this sequel may go on to garner millions more views than the millions the original achieved. Time will tell. But according to East Coast Tea Partay frontman Prescott, "those West Coast rappers are whacked, yo!"
The bitchy thing about Candystand, which has long exhausted its welcome in the Adrants annals, is their advergames are actually really good.
Take this new one called Fire and Ice. With unique characters and quirky music, the game still manages to bring us back to the Super NES days, jumping over turtles and malicious red owls while trying to sate an endless lust for floating coins. We can't trash something we just blew half an hour playing.
Our only problem with it is it lacks that classic Mario speed-running feature. Do you hear us, advergame gods? We want a speed-running feature.
As we surmised earlier this month, Philips Bodygoom has taken its efforts the the next logical step. The marketer's agency, Tribal, has launched Robot Skin, an episodic series in which grooming robots, otherwise known as "the key that unlocks the version of yourself you always wanted to be," become the most desirable toy men can possess in the future. It's a a nice effort. After all, imagining a fembot stroking your various body parts is a lot more exciting than the mundane reality of an electric grooming device doing the same. And it's far better than that dude in the white bathrobe spewing double entendres about your nuts. But we do wonder if Svedka Vodka's fembot are gonna come knocking.
Change the body and the mind will follow. Or so the copy says.
- If you care, Facebook's heretofore "non-existent" ad rates have been leaked.
- Pepsi's Alan Pottash, the man behind many successful campiagns such as Pepsi Generation, Pepsi Challenge and all those celbu-commercials, died July 27 in LA at the age of 79.
- Toto's Times Square bare asses have been covered - quite creatively - following complaints from Reverend Neil Rhodes of the Times Square Church.
- This is what happens when an ad agency with just ten people and three accounts has too much time on their hands.
We got a promising email dubbed "New web 2.0 art project" and arrived at the Art Initials website, a place where you can buy initials in all the combinations you can think of (about 676) and hope some wealthy sap 20 years down the line will go, "By Gad, I've been looking for that AN all over the place! I'll give you a thousand times what you paid for it."
The pressie soothingly states you are not obliged to buy your own initials, but popular ones do go for more money. Plus there's a nifty feature where, via Wikipedia, the website tells you what your chosen initials mean in contemporary life.
The hope is that by pushing a limited selection of initials, and selling popular ones at a higher rate, a "community" will flourish that outlasts the actual service. We can see that happening. Friendships are made over shared acts of stupidity all the time.
Initial art comes in midnight black, navy blue and Kashmir beige.
Perhaps sick of playing with other people's hands, HP rips a page out of Apple's playbook and tries taking the back door into widespread popularity: by appealing to graphic designers.
Toyrama, created by Arc Worldwide Singapore, is jammed with all the tiresome but stock aspects of an animated world, including theatrical, urban and comical elements, with a Willy Wonka twist: the best animated director to join the Toyrama contest gets to visit Dreamworks.
Don't forget to return your Everlasting Gobstopper on the way out.
We wish we'd noticed this sooner. Jetpacks just celebrated his 365th post, commemorating a year since he began the blog we so enjoy reading.
To keep the seething throng happy, he's promised to add an "Open Mic Night" to his sidebar, through which he'll post homemade recordings open to "ridicule, scorn and derision." We just listened to the first one and felt chills.
Cheers, Jetpacks. And for all the awesome you brought us in the past year, we have decided to pay you in - yes! - groupies.
For client Earthjustice, Human Ideas/Space150, Minneapolis launched a site called Adopt the Sky, which enables the air-quality-conscious to adopt a square mile of the sky for free.
We say "air-quality-conscious" because by adopting part of the sky you sign a petition for better air quality regulation. ("Anything to reduce our capitalistic footprint, right?" quips the press guy.)
The compilation will later be delivered to the EPA, where new ozone limits are currently being tossed across the table.
We had a lot of fun claiming some sky. Our only two regrets were use of the word "fluffly" (which now rings far too sweet and cozy for so sexy an ad site) and inadvertently purchasing space above Virginia. That was a complete oversight.
We liked this would-be viral for Umpqua Bank by Creature, which showcases the travails of the budding entrepreneur from the eyes of a seven-year-old "lemonaire" who hasn't yet learned there are myriad ways in which life can maim and destroy the dreams you hold dear.
Of potential lemonade stand competitors, the little hero ambitiously opines, "I'm gonna crush them and turn them into parking lots."
We also like the tack Umpqua took in not putting together some gritty astroturf viral. They effectively converted an obscure brand we've seen on a couple of drab buildings into a sunshiny, fun place to teach one's kiddies about the value of money ... and interest rates.
It's worth mentioning that Jim Haven served as creative director on this spot. We'd hate on him some more but we're still pleasantly sedated by all the yellow on the Lemonaire site.