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.
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.
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.
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.
Professional services firm Aquent, today, announces the launch of Aquent Inside Marketing, a series of video tutorials designed to address issues facing marketing and creative professionals. The videos will feature expertise and commentary from in-house and outside consultants, analysts, and marketing executives. Aquent promises each will offer" practical, real-world advice and solutions to anyone involved in the marketing and creative services disciplines." The first of four tutorials begins today on the Inside Marketing site. Other videos will be released each month thereafter.
To promote a book, called Dead Pets, about pet cemataries, cruel animal death in movies, the stunt doubles that make that happen, pet afterlife and its religious implications and, yes, recipes for cooking pets, book publisher Canon Gate has launched a microsite, with ghoulish music, where you can play "whack a pet with a bat." We're sure it's all done humorously. We hope. It was created by Small Oranges.
Like young lovers finding out how much fun it is to kiss each other, book publishers can't seem to get enough of these kooky promotions for their books. But, with this execution, is the trend dead before it even began?
Dolby, those folks who bring all that quality sound to music, television and movies, has launched an online advertising effort designed to illustrate sound as in integral part of the entertainment experience. The first execution features a landscape with ominous storm clouds looming on the horizon. Users can create lightning and thunder by clicking on the storm clouds. Distant clouds create low pitched rumbling thunder while those nearby create a dramatic high pitched crackle.
The second execution begins with a scene in the jungle. Users hear birds chirping and the low growl of an unseen tiger. A sliding selector transforms the jungle trees into kelp and the user is transported to a tranquil underwater scene. Individuals who mouse over the jungle scene will release flying flocks of birds, while those that play with the underwater portion will scare schools of fish away from their pointer.
While our tiny laptop speakers are no match for a big ass home theater system, the execution does a nice job moving sound around and demonstrating how sound can add to the experience. No doubt, their in-theater demos are far better.
To relate specific in-flight problems such as discomfort, boredom, ill-fitting seatbelts and inability to sleep yielding phobias such as "Blankophobia," "Brunchaphobia," "Chitchatphobia" and "Clamberphobia," with Virgin Atlantic in-flight features such as a stand up bar, seats that turn into beds an in-flight massages, Australian interactive agency NetX created a microsite which clearly and humorously explains Virgin Atlantic benefits. It's one of the better online efforts adding a bit of fun into the experience yet without forgetting to concisely convey product benefit.
Humorously asking whether or not email marketing company OptinRealBig should change its name to DoubleOptinConfirmedRealBig, New Media Report says company founder Scott Richter has settled a lawsuit filed against him by Microsoft for $7 million.Reportedly, Richter is "sorry for spamming" and the lawsuit has caused him to re-think how he does business. As part of the settlement, that re-thinking will be heavily monitored over a three year period by an independent party who will oversee OptinRealBig's business practices.
Adriana Cronin-Lukas points to the Blowing Smoke weblog where the movie, Blowing Smoke, is being promoted and distributed sans studio participation. Half experiment, half frustration with Hollywood studios, movie producer Kamal Aboukhater has decided to promote and release the film exclusively through the weblog. The movie, starring Planet of the Apes hottie, Estella Warren, examines, unflinchingly, how men view women and how, ultimately, women turn men into blithering idiots.She is the third high-profile departure from MSLO in a reorganization that began while the company founder and namesake was serving a prison term for lying to government investigators.
While this may or may not be a first, it will certainly be a great experiment to determine whether intermediaries are needed or whether consumer generated media can is up to the task of movie promotion and distribution.