PBS's Robert Cringley recounts the story of a friend who experimented with Google AdWords and found paying four times more per word to promote essentially that same service (original site was duplicated under a different domain as a test) actually lowered daily click-throughs from 15,000 to 1,200. It's an odd occurrence and one which Cringley's friend simply explains away by likening Google to a Las Vegas casino where, no matter what, the house always wins. Though Cringley posits that, all thing being equal with his friends endeavor, Google must have done something on it's end to make the ad buy more profitable for itself. We'll let the SEO experts sort this one out.
As part of still-under-construction affiliate marketing site Empire Design Online, Microsoft's Xbox is being promoted with a set of banners that encourages shooting black gangsters. Whether most gangsters are black or not, we think Microsoft is going to have a little problem with this. The much-sued Scott Richter is said to be behind this.
Jumping on the consumer-generated media trendlet, Geico has launched Golden Gecko, a contest in which people can submit 15 second movie trailers featuring the Geico Gecko. Geico isn't calling them commercials but the rules state all submissions become the property of Geico so it wouldn't be surprising if a winning entry did become a commercial. Prizes range from a $5,000 grand prize which includes lots of electronic gadgetry an a 7-day stay in Hawaii to $2,000 first prize which includes a stay at the winners choice of four lesser locations to second and third prizes which involve wide screen TVs and portable DVD players.
We know there's a few restless creative in our midst who could used a nice trip to Hawaii so dig out those precious, brilliant concepts that were horrifically killed by the client and re-tool them for Geico. And win.
Using the stereotypical motivational speaker, McDonald's, with this viral, is encouraging people to improve lunchtime blandness by helping them shatter boring lunchtime thoughts and replacing them with, of course, thoughts of McDonald's Toasted Deli Sandwiches.
Created by Swivel Media, Wells Fargo has launched a pilot multi-player, online role-playing game, called Stagecoach Island, designed to educate young adults about the importance of knowing your finances. Currently the game is being deployed in San Diego and Austin and will role out nationally later this year. We have a video preview here.
The game allows players to select a virtual character and participate in an "island adventure." Participants can choose to explore the virtual island -- lush parks, hip cafes, dance clubs, trendy shops, amusement parks, hair salons and more. They can also interact in dozens of virtual, social situations -- like skydiving, riding jets-skis, or playing games like paintball with other participants. Many activities on the island are "free," but participants gain access to other experiences, such as dancing in a club or purchasing new clothes, by spending, saving and earning virtual money. Players can earn money by visiting the Virtual Learning Lounge and answering trivia questions about banking basics such as budgeting, saving and managing money. The Learning Lounge content is derived from Wells Fargo's signature financial literacy program, Hands on Banking.
Having fun with the whole metrosexual trendlet, Virgin Atlantic Airways announced that nominations for its ongoing Jetrosexual Awards will close this Friday, September 16. Apparently, hundreds of people have nominated their metro/jetrosexual friends since the program launched in June. The program seeks the ultimate Boston and Washington D.C. area entrepreneur and will award the Bostonian and DCist that best personifies the Jetrosexual spirit. Virgin Atlantis says the awards celebrate a "new emerging business culture lead by a growing group of Jetrosexuals, those high fliers who move business and culture forward each and every day."
The nomination site includes a list of 11 Jetrosexual Commandments including "Thou shalt be able to order a beer in at least six different languages" and "Thou shalt respect the five minute rule when using the lavatory." Local semi-finalists will be announced on September 30, 2005, be reviewed by a selection committee with final awards announced October 17, 2005. The winner will enjoy a high flying, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience to London.
The Web Marketing Association has announced the winners of its ninth annual WebAward Competition for website development. Out of 2,100 site submitted from 33 countries, Atlanta-based IQinteractive won Best of Show for its work on the National Geographic Inside the Mafia site which was also awarded the Best Entertainment WebAward. LA-based Zugara was named Top Agency, taking home 20 awards, the most any single organization has won in the nine years of the awards. The agency won Best Music site for Red Bull Music Labs, 11 Outstanding and eight Standard of Excellence WebAwards.
To promote the upcoming Tim Burton movie, The Corpse Bride, Boston-based Pod Design has created not one but three online microsites. Adverblog points to Post Mortem where you can ask the dead questions Ouigi board-style; Bonymail where you can create messages from the dead to send to your friends; and Sept23 where you can view a scary video of a graveyard and a quick trailer for the movie. It's all nice, quick and simple - just the way we like our virals.
We think we've just stumbled upon one of the most enjoyable, most addictive and most entrancing online games in a very long time. Random Culture notes Saab UK has launched Race Against Time, an online "choose your own adventure" game, similar to the recently launched Choose Your Sauce KFC game, in which players take a Saab for a timed drive having to make multiple decisions upon the way. From deciding to stop for gas or not, ask directions or guess, give a stranger a ride or not, and more, the game sucks the player in and keeps the interest high. Very nice work created by Draft London which designed, shot, wrote and produced the site.
Following the launch of Curious and timed, perhaps, to refocus attention away from tawdry, marriage/pregnancy news coverage, Britney Spears will launch a new Elizabeth Arden fragrance called Fantasy Britney Spears. Which, intriguingly, is exactly what the girl needs right now to whisk her away from the less than glamorous aspects of real life. Adrants reader Chris Peterson points us to the launch site which doesn't contain much more than Flash-y imagery and a form to sign up and receive messages about the product.