Online community Stardoll unrolls a virtual red carpet for the Academy Awards. For the teeny bopper demo (or girls at heart like Mariah), Stardoll is a candy-sweet space for creating Oscars-themed scenes with - wait for it - virtual paparazzi and Joan Rivers avatars. It ain't the Oscars without invasive camera angles and loud blondes straddling perpetual midlife crises so we smile upon the stab at authenticity.
"We hope to usher in a new generation of kids who want to try their hand at fashion in a way that is fun, creative and a bit friendlier than an internship at Vogue," says CEO Mattias Miksche. After seeing The Devil Wears Prada, we find this noble indeed.
In addition to playing with Oscar nominee avatars and making adamant suggestions about who should win (most favor Kate over Penelope!), girls make their own avatars and craft campaigns to become the next Stardoll cover girl, an honour doled out by the community.
Stardoll stikes us as an awesome resource. While we'd like to suggest it as such, the imagined execution (admen trolling the Pretty in Pink section) is not cute. Resist the urge to channel dormant XX chromosomes. We're sure you know a little girl you can foist this job upon.
While there are probably quite a few ads that make us go, "How do they do that?" the question isn't answered often enough to be worth pursuing very far.
Adland, however, posed the question about an ad for Orange entitled Belonging. Oddly enough, it was answered. Sam Akesson of Fallon London confesses, "[Belonging] took A LOT of takes, and we spent about 2 months of rehearsing to get all the choreography and movement right. Basically it involves a lot of people running and jumping into holes..."
We were like WTF until Fallon elaborated with its own version of Making the Video. Way more interesting than anything P. Diddy does behind the scenes of his hitmakers, it probably could still have used a catfight or two. But how often do you get to see people jumping into holes? Not nearly enough.
Ask at Ad-Rag confides, "Belonging doesn't use any CGI. Instead they rely on running away, jumping into holes and the camera's blind spot. I think it's neat." We do too.
In fact, we think behind-the-scenes efforts like this are a great way of building intimacy between brands, audiences and even - yes - agencies. If it worked for Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, it can work for us too. Creative endeavours make fertile ground for screaming, crying and potential taboo trysts, yeah?
It was only a matter of time before Wrigley's Candystand, whose candy-tagged games get progressively better, would start testing waters in real gamer territory.
Candystand and Wii just joined forces in a bizarre cross-branding where Wii web games are peddled on Candystand and Candystand is totally accessible through the Wii browser.
The relationship isn't exactly low-key - within 24 hours of launching on Wii's Internet Channel, Wii.Candystand.com drew 6000 visitors and a ton of positive reviews. That is, according to Scott Tannen, Wrigley's director of global digital marketing.
This is the first branded site to link to the Wii browser, which will definitely get competitors sniffing at the door to be next in line. Candystand's content offerings are also formatted for television instead of computer monitors.
Kudos to Wrigley for creating a series of branded offerings that seem able to stand alone in gaming world. It hasn't been an easy trek, considering Candystand was first introduced in '97 - building this kind of recognition takes time. Just ask Target.
We still harbor doubts that our Socom buddies would be deeply impressed to hear we destroy the competition on Altoids Sheep, though.
We thought the Microsoft Butterfly was kind of nifty. The guy in the BlackBerry suit? Not so much. Giant plush costumes are so deceptive in their frozen state of cheer and rarely work outside Chuck E Cheese and college football fields, where they can be ridiculed at leisure by their own peers.
The requisite BlackBerry Mascot MySpace, as if we care.
A cross between a collaborative rubber band ball and a chain letter, this piece of "potential art" has been bouncing through the webosphere, inviting collective creative design for an ever-growing montage.
Drawball zooms into a spot about 1/4096th its size, which is where users can leave their mark. The result isn't just a mishmash of arbitrary graffiti; it includes americana logos like Coca-Cola, new pop culture icons like Digg and representations of various subcultures.
Like Wikipedia.org, the Drawball project proves surprising to some: people left virtually unregulated will work together to build something meaningful, even if the meaning can only be seen in the aggregate.
To witness the evolution of Drawball from beginning to end, check out Drawball Playback, where a year's work of collaborative art unfolds. It's a little like watching the progression of mankind in hyperspeed, as various image colonizations and social eclipses take place over the life of the project.
We wonder if human colonizations are this provocative from a distance. Maybe that's why God never intervenes.
Adhurl brings our attention to Ruby, The Body Shop's attempt to cash in on the real beauty hype. In addition to the pear-shaped doll, the website purveys tips on self-esteem and being an all-around better person instead of just a skinnier one. Because we all know where that path leads.
We dig the idea of perpetuating an equal-opportunity beauty myth. We just don't think chubbier dolls are the answer. When we were kids, this isn't stuff we thought about.
We played with dolls because dolls were awesome. We didn't care if they were Amazonian like the short-lived Maxi or small as Polly Pocket. We didn't even care that most were blonde; once we hit a certain age we cut all the hair off anyway. And forget Barbie for a minute - is anybody checking up on the psychological repurcussions of Glo Worms or Teletubbies?
We grow ever nearer to the elusive notion of gender equality. Don't believe us? Now men aren't the only ones breaking a sweat over the measuring tape.
Start your conditioning on the merits of the designer vagina right here. And to think! Just a few years ago the makers of Gattaca thought perfection paranoia would end in pursuit of good health, pretty eyes and sharp minds. The devil is always in the details.
MySpace, True.com's banner whoring stomping-ground, is running an ad that's made us double-take at least six times thus far.
Are they saying men are like dogs? That men should seek out dogs instead of women? That either one of the sexes should go canine and not carnal?
They also appear to be addressing us in pup language. Sit. Stay. Date. Bark? Jump? How high? It didn't occur to us how condescending True can be, not merely in language but in branding, until just now. Is this what we've come to? Docile men, interchangeable sex kittens and one-word commands?
Well, maybe. Despite the lackluster appearance of its website, True destroys competition in the dating world right now. So tonight we've decided to hit a bar and ask members of the opposite sex to wag tails and play dead and see if it gets us laid. There's a whole fetish industry that revolves around collars and commands, so we're feeling optimistic. Thanks, True.
We suspect Levi's puts its design cash toward licensing fees for the awesome songs they use in ads that keep us trying, year after year, to find a cool pair of Levi's jeans, even if history tells us this will never happen. Lame denim fits aside, the ads are sensory pop art.
We love -- love -- the Dangerous Liaisons ad for their 2007 line. At first we thought it was the usual booty-call striptease bit, because we've seen that gimmick a thousand times, but as the spot wore on we realized something more interesting happening.
In the Bartle Bogle Hegarty masterpiece, a couple undresses to reveal layers of decades suggested in clothing, demeanour, style and even background noise. It moves fluidly from the rough-and-tumble 19th century workjean years to 2007's waifish verge-of-tears emo period. All to the haunting and playful tune of "Strange Love" by Little Annie Bandez.
Time for another futile trip to the flagship store.
TJ "I Told You So" Swafford dropped a link to this interesting Audible.de ad in our Soflow group forum this morning. It's a cross-promotion with Eragon in which words flow out of some suspiciously iPod-looking earbuds and smash together, giving phoenix-like birth to a dragon.
The copy reads "Lebendige Worte" or "living words." We're not sure what the narrator is saying but dragon visuals and German-speak have a way of demanding one's strictest attention. We also like the gobbledygook mash-up of disconnected letters that turn into a fire-breathing monster. We shoot for the same type of effect when we throw together scathing diction.
Do we now want to watch Eragon? No, but that's because we were burned by Dragonheart, which ruined live-action dragon films for us forever.