While Katrina Victims Die, eBay Sells T-Shirts

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Leveraging the misery of others, eBay has, according to Animax, purchased hurricane relief-related keywords on Google to hawk hurricane Katrine t-shirts. Like the stereotypically crass car salesmen of old, eBay, in the midst of a search results page full of Katrina hurricane relief fund listings, eBay is shamelessly selling t-shirts.

UPDATE: In comments, it is clarified that this is an affiliate ad placed by a party other than eBay itself. Still, the average consumer would never know that and would clearly see this as an eBay ad thereby placing the company in a less than respectable light. If eBay, or any other company, can't control how their brand is referenced in online advertising, it's clearly indicative something's very wrong with the system.

by Steve Hall    Aug-30-05    
Topic: Online



Consumers Speak Out Against Website Registration

With the increase in websites that require registration to fill their databases with valuable demographic information which is used to properly target advertising, privacy advocates have increasingly spoken out against the practice and fake registration credentials web service, BugMeNot, continues to grow. Now, a site called Internet Advertiser Wakeup Day has launched a petition which vows to, on November 13th, have all signers register fakes details on sites the have deemed the top ten offending sites: nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, latimes.com, ajc.com, chicagotribune.com, dallasnews.com, nypost.com, philly.com and mercurynews.com.

While no one likes to be interrupted with registration when all one is trying to do is read a simple article arrived at through another link, there is value to the registration process. In it's current state, though, it's a mess. Much work needs to be done and much explanation of the value of registration to the consumer needs to be done as well along with making the entire process far simpler. Shedding insight on the issues and suggesting a speedier, aggregated process, Underscore Marketing President Tom Hespos offers his opinion on MediaPost.

by Steve Hall    Aug-30-05    
Topic: Online



Court TV Series Promoted With Online Game

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To promote a new Court TV show, Parco PI, NightAgency has created an engaging, online game, called "Parco's Watching," where visitors can dive into the underbelly of Manhattan and collect clues. To collect clues, players engage a person and either flirt, bribe, or muscle them into giving up the desired clue. Making the right choice progresses the player closer to solving the crime. There's also a chance to win $10,000. We didn't make it all the way to the end so we leave it to you enterprising readers to tell us how it ends.

by Steve Hall    Aug-29-05    
Topic: Cable, Online



Playboy to Go Digital

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Placing jokes about digits aside for a moment, lad-mag granddaddy Playboy will launch a digital addition of the magazine with its October issue on September 13th. The digital addition will be powered by Zinio Systems. As with the print edition, the digital version will be available for subscription and single copy sale. While Playboy does have a website with some of the magazine's content, Zinio systems will reproduce the magazine online exactly as it appears in print. Playboy's Lingerie is already produced digitally by Zinio.

Hoping for further worldwide reach, the move is more likely in reaction to the publication's declining numbers. Year-to-date ad pages are down 15 percent, the magazine missed its 3.15 million rate base by 35,002 and newsstand sales are down 23.2 percent. Zino says circulation of digital editions, on average, amount to five percent of print circulation. All other variable being equal, that brings an additional 157,500 readers though, likely, a considerable percentage of digital subscribers will come from canceled print subscriptions lessening the increase.

by Steve Hall    Aug-26-05    
Topic: Magazine, Online, Publishing



Yahoo: Oops, You Can't Advertise Today

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Following a weekend overhaul to its search engine ad system, Yahoo has been having difficulty allowing marketers to make changes to their ad campaigns and, worse, some ad campaigns have stopped running. Yahoo search spokesperson Gaude Paez told MarketingVOX Wednesday evening that the upgrade caused "unexpected issues," and that their engineers were working around the clock to fix the problem.

MarketingVOX reports the problem seems to be affecting advertisers of all sizes and, when attempting to open an account Wednesday night, was presented with the error message shown in the image.

by Steve Hall    Aug-25-05    
Topic: Online



Adrants Readers Invited to VMAs. Ad Age, AdWeek Not

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Here's a fun promotion by NightAgency for the upcoming, Diddy-hosted Video Music Awards airing Sunday, August 28:

"Diddy and Adrants invite you to the biggest party ever. The dress code must be respected! You must wear your finest gear. You must get your hair done! So, Adrants readers, please do not invite the rest of your friends like AdAge & Adweek, this invite is for you only. You have been selected. It's an honor to be part of history in the making. This will go down as the greatest party of all time! So please respect and adhere to all above said rules."

Part of the promotional website allows yo to create a customized invite, indicating who you'd like to invite as well as who not to invite, to send to your friends. All in good fun.

by Steve Hall    Aug-25-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Online, Promotions, Television



Charades Games Eases Highway Construction Project Stress

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To call attention to Upgrade 74, downstate Illinois' large road reconstruction project, Ross Creative + Strategy has created an online charades game, Upgrade 74 StayCool, which offers prizes to those who guess the correct movie title construction worker Jack Hammer is acting out. Prizes range from round trip tickets to Orlando to a large Papa John pizza each month for a year to tanning packages, free CDs and movie passes.

Having lived through the last 15 years of Boston's still unfinished Big Dig project, we can certainly identify with the need to portray the construction worker as a friendly, humorous character rather than one who conjures up images of the devil as you try to squeeze your way through a maze of detours on your way to work.

by Steve Hall    Aug-24-05    
Topic: Online



Hotties Promoted With Google Maps

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925M points to a little project by San Francisco-based software firm Frozen Bear which has combined the recent Google mapping capabilities with the find-a-hottie site Hot or Not. Just imagine if an enterprising marketer or brand fan put this sort of thing to good use. For example, a national map of Verizon wireless towers which actually showed where the towers where rather than where those fact marketing maps show them to be. Or an outdoor company like Clear Channel using it to allow outdoor board buyers to drill down to exact board locations. Oh well. For now, finding hotties appears to be a lot more fun.

by Steve Hall    Aug-23-05    
Topic: Online



HBO Promotes 'Rome' With Firefox Skin

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At last, a marketer has acknowledged the existence of the Firefox browser. To promote it's upcoming series, Rome, HBO has created a "skin" which Firefox users can download. A skin makes the Firefox browser take on a particular look and feel. The show and the skin are being promoted via banner appearing on The New York Times, Salon, Yahoo Movies and History channel websites.

by Steve Hall    Aug-16-05    
Topic: Online



Dish Network: TV Doesn't Have to Suck

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Dish Network has launched a microsite called TV Doesn't have to Suck with the nifty URL suckfreetv.com. With a couple of spots, a section which sadly demonstrates how detrimental sucky TV can be and a game that lets you suck grandma out of her chair into the TV, the microsite does a good job making fun of bad TV all in the name of promoting Dish Network. The problem is, TV doesn't suck. The argument that satellite TV is better than cable is no longer appropriate if it ever was in the first place. In fact, cable may be better than satellite in some respects when it comes to features like HBO On Demand which, we're told, isn't available via satellite; speedy internet access and the ability to use cheap phone service like Vonage over the cable connection.

That said, the microsite is funny enough except for one major design peeve of ours. We simply do not understand why designers feel the need to un-necessarily alter the size of the browser window, in this case, maximizing it to full screen. Leave that shit alone. Your creative isn't the only thing happening on a person's desktop. The tactic is almost as bad as a pop up.

by Steve Hall    Aug-16-05    
Topic: Campaigns, Creative Commentary, Online










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