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.
We're going to venture a guess and say Pepsi is fast losing the identity contest between itself and Coke, which reminded everyone in its series of Super Bowl spots of its place in feel-good Americana. That's the only explanation we have for this invitation to design Pepsi's next billboard, a campaign that falls in line with their new series of customized can designs. Very Jones Soda.
Well, here's to hoping Pepsi finds what it's looking for (a salute to the spirit of youth and discovery, according to their site intro). If nothing else, the Super Bowl showed us consumers can outdo marketers on their own territory. And we have yet to see a really good consumer-generated print ad.
To promote Tourgasm, Dane Cook launches a prank site where you can send customized dean letters and expulsion notices to friends. The prank letters are somewhat convincing but anybody who's been on the net long enough knows to check the e-mail address first. And it looks pretty spammy. Additionally, inches from the letter text you're told that Dane Cook has pranked you. That really destroys any possibility of shock and dismay.
One reader mentioned being pranked into thinking he got his ex preggers. We figure that, like people who still fall for voice mails that start with, "Hello ... hello...?" There remains a market out there for those who fall for prank e-mails. Plus it's Dane Cook and nothing he does could possibly be unfunny.
We were ready to pan this new campaign by Old Spice but after exploring it we realized there was no way that we could. Experience Old Spice reaches for a younger demographic, but instead of trying to make itself young and cool like other brands, Old Spice positions itself as the brand of choice for men of culture and experience.
And who better to tell you what manliness is than Bruce Campbell, the kitsch king who demolishes zombies with chainsaws and boomsticks?
The campaign includes a 50-question test gauging whether you're man or boy. And instead of asking beer-oriented questions while a chick undresses, these are actually pretty tough. Can most 20-something guys tell the difference between a Monet and a Van Gogh? We're sure they'll be able to after this.
Also check out the section where worldly men their pass life experience on. Learn critical skills like how to shake hands like a Siberian and how to read aircraft gauges. And get advice from Bruce Campbell himself.
We love this campaign. We just love it. And we hope they expand on the effort, because it's the perfect way to reinvigorate an aging brand.
So, Pizza Hut's removed most everything we found unliveable about their Pizza Hut delivery guy effort on MySpace. This time around they're shooting for something innocuous and mild, changing their protagonist from a ridiculously self-absorbed tool to a fairly average gamer and HD lover.
The updated MySpace also includes Youtube videos that pretty much demonstrate how irresistible the guy is when he's got a box of pizza in his hands. Judging from the jump in friends (it's nearly doubled), the revamped MySpace is apparently slightly more palatable than the previous effort, but unless Pizza Hut plans on using the guy outside of MySpace in long-term ad campaigns or other guerilla efforts, we don't see it working much in their favour.
According to this Craig's List job posting, a New York agency wants to hire a writer to post comments on blogs and message board as part of a "viral marketing campaign." If we are understanding the ad correctly, it appears the agency wants this person to seed blogs and message boards with comments as part of a marketing campaign. While these "planted" comments happen all the time, acceptance of or retaliation against depends entirely on how the efforts are conducted. If it's seen as schilling something in an inappropriate environment or using verbiage that's overly salesy, it'll be shot down the minute it starts.
One could argue this sort of effort is clandestine and should never occur. Others might argue it's simply another form of public relations playing its part to sway opinion. We'd hope this effort would consist of more than just panted commentary and include a blog or its own. Perhaps it will. The ad isn't clear on that point. Either way, the devil is clearly in the details on this one.
Here's where Michelin's Super Bowl spot will point you on game day. Perhaps it's because we just returned from the place, but this site makes us feel like we're in the middle of a combination of Disney World rides. While the swirling camera animation is very cool, we're not quite sure what the site's trying to tell us. But don't listen to us. We're squarely in the "don't waste time fucking around with distracting, cool shit. Just tell us what you're fucking selling" category.
UPDATE: OK, now we get it. The site's just video from the commercial (which ran pre-game Super Bowl 2007). The commercial makes sense because there's voiceover. Maybe the website needs a voiceover too.
A tipster tells us the hair care brand Sunsilk was behind the creation of the strange "bridezilla" video which was posted on YouTube January 18 and received 9 million views before it was pulled. It's back up now and in the video, a bride enters a hotel room full of bride's maids, proceeds to flip out and cut her hair off because it looks so bad. Initially thought to be an innocently created farce, it's now been revealed the four women in the video are actresses and were paid to appear in it. What wasn't known until now, according to our source, is that Sunsilk, working with Toronto-based Capital C Communications, was initially involved but backed out at the last minute. It's unclear why Sunsilk separated itself from the project.
While the four women are getting all the glory right now, we've spoken to the director of the video who has graciously promised us more details as soon as he makes sure all his legal "I's" and "T's" are properly crossed. As soon as we have more information, we will gleefully pass it along to you.
UPDATE: Sunsilk, perhaps jealous of all the media attention the four actors are receiving, is now acknowledging their involvement with the creation of the video.