VIA Group, the same people who brought you the spilt-milk crying fiasco, orchestrate a strange little gimmick for Kick Start, a campaign to keep kids straight about school.
Because we all know how well that Mr. Ed concept flew, Kick Start introduces Norm the donkey, which magically appears in the bedroom of a boy playing video games, gives him a pep-talk and hind-kicks him when he refuses to do his homework. The boy is then convinced he really should do his homework and is even fascinated by it.
We tried to visit the Kick Start website but confused the actual one with another Kick Start organization for kids that's run by Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris, helping kids build character? Now that would really kick ass. We heard he does all his grocery shopping at Home Depot.
We love it when companies "discover" social networking, hop on board late in the game, rip off all existing social networking ideas out there, pick a colour template, and then issue a press release saying it's not your average social networking scene.
This is exactly what Conde Nast has done with its on-the-fringe teen site Flip. The only difference is we're not used to seeing so much advertising for Conde Nast merch concentrated in one space. It's a little like a magazine-toting make-up-wearing fifteen-year-old diva tripped over the internet and threw up, resulting in an explosion of purple hearts, stars, flowers, swirls and Lucky ads.
Flip also includes snazzy but deceptive new terminology. Contrary to popular ideas about flip books, creating a flip book on Flip results in what we typically call a photo album or slideshow. But the population, mainly teenage artists and revolutionaries, doesn't seem to mind. And that's what's really important, right? So here's to yet another completely unique social networking website.
If you are involved in email marketing as a brand, as an agency on behalf of a brand, as a list owner or as a provider, you have certainly hit your head against the wall trying to process all the myriad details that go along with the practice; CanSpam issues, deliverability, response rates, affiliate relationships, effect of Subject line, proper frequency, spam filters, competitive activity, offer effectiveness and email design to name a few. A company we've been following for some time but have never written about is Email data Source, a company that answers all these questions. Each time we see a demo, we are amazed at what this thing can do.
Can't the French think of anything besides sex? Probably not, and that's why we love them so much. Bikini's College is the self-proclaimed first interactive guide to international flirting.
Alt-Buzz is stoked about this Bikini's College thing but we're pretty confused, particularly after seeing promo video My Teacher is Sexy which could be a very effective ad for encouraging adolescent boys to stay in school. (More effective than this, anyway.) Still, we're liking this growing trend of finding universal ways to hook up. Who says globalization is a bad thing?
For pseudo-scientists still toting the efficacy of subliminal advertising, we bring you Hypno Marketing, an Australia-born method for turning even the most cynical of purchasers into brand evangelists for life. All they need is a few hours with said consumer.
"Hypno-marketing is not dangerous nor is it evil," says general manager Gavin Hawke. "Hypnosis and marketing use similar techniques to motivate people into a particular behavioural pattern. We cannot remove the free will from people but through our re-programming we believe we can control the individuals' decision making process."
Well, if hypnosis can get people to stop smoking, why wouldn't it work for marketing? And we're sure consumer-wannabes will be breaking the doors down at marketing evangelist hypnosis seminars. Who wouldn't want to be further cannibalized by every ad they see?
Make the Logo Bigger points us to Dump Cupid, an Herbal Essences promotion that departs from middle-aged moaning women in favour of a younger set, just in time for Valentine's Day.
The website features a depressing pole-dancing Cupid and, perhaps still more depressing, a series of supposedly user-generated hook-up stories that, despite carefully administered typos, ring false. We have trouble believing a woman who nearly drowned was saved by a lifeguard she later married. That's way too Nicholas Sparks. Users can also send Dump Cupid e-cards to each other with a running "We don't need him!" girl power theme. Uh ... yeah. Can we bring back the moaning women?
Update: as of 2/16, over 1.1 million people have seen the campaign thus far. And we're not surprised - across the Youtube and MySpace channels we've seen Cupid's red face peering gamely out all over the place. Is this a testament to the efficacy of viral marketing, female distaste for Cupid or a sick sense of epicaricacy? We don't know, maybe all 3 make the grade. Whether they convert into brand loyalty over the long-term is a fable for another day.
If for nothing more than to waste a few minutes during your lunch hour or during the excruciating boring weekly traffic meeting, have a little fun with this Virgin Money game, Lose Your Lunch Hour, in which you get to wreak havoc and physical damage to a bank branch of your choice because they closed the window right when you got to it. We like getting our virtual anger out and this game made it easy for us to do which is a very good thing becasue we suck at online gaming.
Tax preparation firms aren't known for giving their own money away, but that's what H&R Block is doing with Toss Out Your Bills, a contest where entrants can win up to $10,000 toward everyday expenses.
In tangent with that campaign is the Super Sweet Refund contest, where users can send in videos in the hopes of winning $5,000. One video features a girl prepping herself for plastic surgery and another features a boy who collects paper clips. Other entries are also really strange - and here we were, thinking everybody uses their super sweet refunds to pay off credit card debt. Maybe this year we'll use our refund to have a tail surgically implanted. We always thought we'd look nice with a tail.
- Cynopsis Reports, "CBS Sports had a super night Sunday with Super Bowl XLI averaging a fast national household rating/share of 42.6/64 from 627p-1004p. The 9-930p time period earned the highest rating/share of 45.0/65. Super Bowl XLI was the second most-watched Super Bowl ever, averaging 93.15 million viewers. Sunday's NFL championship telecast also ranks third overall as the most watched program in television history after the series finale of M*A*S*H and Super Bowl 30."
- MediaPost reports, "A total of 58% of Super Bowl advertisers, some of whom paid as much as $2.6 million for a 30-second spot, also purchased pay-per-click search ads on their brand names--up from 42% last year, according to Reprise."
- Adland has the story on a Swedish teaser poster campaign that was hijacked by a porn company who took all the glory for it leaving the originator of the advertising, SJ Train, up the creek.
Looks like Northwestern Mutual realized that marketing is about engaging customers, not just setting impersonal messages out to sail and hoping that small nudge into the big ocean will yield die-hard customers.
Per their own words, the brand "no longer desires to remain reserved and
unassuming." This year they'll be bold and assertive in their communications efforts.
Wreck Your Worries, a calming space where you can characterize your concerns and choose a weapon to destroy them (we picked the golf club), heralds the intro for the new Northwestern. The campaign reminds us that we do take our problems to the office space, and now instead of stewing over them in passive aggressive silence we can blow holes through them with a mase on an insurance website.
A little silly, but we like it.