On Tuesday, October 18 at 9AM, I'll be moderating a panel at BlogOn in New York. The panel is called "Can Advertising Be Social." On this panel, the panelists, who include Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, Unilever Brand Development Director David Rubin, Jaffe LLC Founder Joe Jaffe and I hope to discuss the relationship between social media and advertising - the ways in which people have entered what has now become a two-way conversation rather than the former one-way, marketer to consumer bullhorn approach.
It should be an interesting and, hopefully, informative discussion. There's blogs, chat rooms, forums, IM, Wikis, podcasting, social networks and innumerable other methods with which consumers can achieve a voice as powerful and widespread as marketers.
As examples of this newfound consumer voice, there's Jeff Jarvis who, following a bad experience with a Dell computer, took on Dell publicly forcing Dell to respond. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a response. There's George Masters, a teacher who created a professional looking iPod commercial which raced around the globe. Smartly, Apple took a hands off approach. There's Converse who asked people to submit films about Chuck Taylors. There's Mercedes who encouraged people to send in photos of themselves with their Mercedes which were ultimately featured in the company's ad campaign. The examples go on. People have become socially active with their brand experiences, good and bad, and the level of activity is forcing marketers to join the conversation and, forever, putting aside old methods of controlling it.
Indeed, marketing is in for the ride of its life.
As if Victoria's Secret hasn't already done enough to maximize a girl's assets, apparently, there's a new, even more uplifting line of bras out highlighted on a UK Victoria's Secret website. It's actually an ingenious site design that depicts real-world scenarios in which people observe a particular woman, comment on her assests from both a male and female perspective, then show the woman modeling one of four bra effects, uplift, rounded, plunging and cleavage. The site even demonstrates how the effect looks with clothes on and with clotrhe off. Very helpful, indeed.
The first of a series of five videos, which will have ads sold in them trough a deal with MSN, Jib Jab has created Big Box Mart, a short that skewers big box retailers poking fun at merchandise created with cheap labor oversees, stores full of crap no one needs, Americans losing manufacturing jobs and the kicker: the same company that eliminated those jobs is scooping up the unemployed it displaced to work for low wages in its own big box stores.
Other videos will be created and sponsored by brands which will be place ads within the video as well as be features, perhaps no always positively, in the video. Jib Jab Co-Founder says it's all in good fun. "If you have a sense of humor about your own brand, and poke a little fun at it, then people appreciate that. It's a more honest approach, maybe." Yes, maybe.
Sort of like the girl that got a snowball facial in a Vodaphone ad, this web ad for the upcoming move, The Fog, doesn't exactly steer clear of sexual innuendo. In fact, it appear to be quite blatant about it. But, then that's just us. Or is it? What do you see in this ad?
To garner attention for its new season of sex talk show Talk Sex, Oxygen has launched an online match game where players must match the name of a fetish with its definitions while show host Sex Grandma Sue Johnson looks on. We have no idea if these are actual fetishes but Eproctophilia, or sexual arousal from farting and Agalmatophilia or sexual arousal from looking at mannequins sound plausible. While we don't think any of these fetishes apply to us, we'll certainly admit to Octogenariophobia or the fear of playing a sexual fetish game while grandma looks on.
In another clear sign contextual advertising and natural disasters don't mix, a Swatch ad above a CNN lead story, yesterday, about the South Asia earthquake read, "Shake the World at," followed by the image of a watch. Oops. Did Swatch predict the time of the earthquake? There really ought to be better controls in place for this sort of thing.
Family site Kaboose and Heinz have teamed to promote a new children's ketchup product Silly Squirt. The agreement provides Kaboose promotional space on Silly Squirt bottle labels and provides Heinz a promotional microsite within the Kaboose site. The deal was put together by Starcom.
Random Culture points to a new MINI website, Roof Studio, where visitors can upload and download roof graphics ready to be printed on vinyl for roof application. Currently, there are hundreds of designs to choose from
For some inexplicable reason, some marketers and their agencies still think it's OK to create a website, in this case, an advergame, that only works with Internet Explorer on a PC. Given the horrid user experience Internet Explorer provides with it's gaping holes through which scumware of all forms permeates to the proliferation of far superior browsers such as Firefox, let alone a cadre of Mac users, it's just plain shortsighted idiocy to create anything limited only to IE.
This time the idiocy comes courtesy of VISA and its agency Wild Tangent who created some kind of promotional advergame for the Torino 2006 Olympic Games. That's all we can tell you about the game because, yes, we gave up IE years ago and have avidly used Firefox ever since. And this time, we aren't even going to fire up our stale copy of IE so we can perform our journalistic duty and describe the game's merits or demerits to you. Suffice to say, based on the marketer's ignorance of a huge audience segment, it's safe to say all the effort is worthy of is a giant pile of demerits.
PuppetVision points out New Zealand charity, CanTeen, an organization supporting young people living with cancer has launched a spot featuring the Muppets singing their famed "Mahna Mahna" song to promote National Bandanna Week and the group's green CanTeen bandanna. FCB created the commercial and got Disney in LA to quickly approved character usage and then shot the spot just two days later with the Muppets cast.