In early April we wrote about Bob's Cube, a promotional microsite for hosting company Hostway. The microsite presented the virtual world of an office cubicle which allowed visitors to click into the cube and explore. It was engaging enough to grab attention for a few minutes. Well, it seems the idea has been stolen by ailing Netscape to promote its browser. Called "The Cubicle," Netscape's microsite is a near identical copy of the Hostway's concept. Hostway's "Bob's Cube" was launched April 1 (oh no, is the whole thing a joke?). Netscape's "The Cubicle" was launched May 27.
Unfortunately for Netscape and fortunately for Hostway, not many people will see "The Cubicle" because it is delivered as a blockable pop up. They call it a "daughter window" to somehow make it sound less nefarious. Not very smart on Netscape's part when they could have simply launched the rip off in a separate, regular window.
UPDATE: Hugh, in comments, rightly points out this cubicle thing has been going on for quite some time.
While we had to fire up dusty old Internet Explorer for it to actually work, IBM, as part of its Rolland Garros sponsorship, is running in interesting Flash expand-o-banner which opens to reveal a customizable tennis player which you can pit against other online players. The scores of the actual tournament are displayed at the lower left of the banner. It was engaging enough to catch out attention which is a rarity. View here. You may have to reload a few times.
That's Hot! Too Hot
Maximizing publicity like Tom Cruise trotting out Katie Holmes, Carl's Jr. reports the website, which hosts its new ad in which Paris Hilton appears washing a Bentley and chomping on Carl's Jr.'s Spicy BBQ Burger in a stringy black swimsuit, crashed for four hours today due to the hormonal onslaught of male eyeballs ogling the soap covered heiress as she has virtual sex with the Bentley.
Commenting on the crash, Carl's Jr. EVP of Marketing Brad Haley said, "It was a mixed blessing. It turned out that Paris was too hot for our servers." well put, Brad, but are you sure you didn't just ask your IT guys to turn off the servers for a while to...oh...create this publicity stunt?
Working with Crispin Porter + Bogusky on its Mantropy Control Center project for Maxim Magazine, J.J. Sedelmaier, co-creator of The Ambiguously Gay Duo with Robert Smigel for Saturday Night Live, has developed three cartoons for Mantropy which feature the Maxim Ranger and aim to help men protect their masculinity.
Riffing on the Metrosexual thing, the three cartoons, "Nowhere Fast," "Threatened Hairitage" and "Walk Like a Man," hope to protect men from partaking in activities thought to maintain one's youth but, in reality, just make a man look stupid.
Taking advantage of the FCC-free Podcast medium, condom maker Durex has made a deal with popular podcast show, Dawn and Drew, a Wisconsin husband and wife podcast team. The deal with the PodcastAlley number 2 ranked podcast involves "unscripted X-rated banter" as reported by Ad Age. Omnicom Group's Fitzgerald & Co. SVP and Chief Media Officer (how's that for a fancy title?) explained approach to the buy to Ad Age, saying, "Nobody wants to get slapped with an FCC fine. ... The thing about condoms is that young adults look at them and are kind of concerned about how they’re going to feel, and they’re a little embarrassed to spend a lot of time in front of the store display. By showing people interacting with the brand makes it seem like something you don’t need to be embarrassed about."
A podcast is an audio file that is automatically downloaded to any MP3 player via subscription. Even though one of the first statements on the Dawn and Drew website (and many other podcast related sites) makes clear podcasts are not only for iPods but for any MP3 players, many, including Ad Age, still classify Podcasts as something you download to your iPod.
Adland points (with pics) to a Virtual Bartender knock off Bavaria beer has put together. This chic dances longer then the Virtual Bartender girls and teases quite nicely in her whit bikini. Go ahead, waste a few more minutes of your day on this one. You have to enter your birthdate, name, email and select location from the list (doesn't matter which one) to get in. She doesn't understand much English but she does understand "strip."
While we think Google might have some trademark name concerns over this new advertising platform, Penn Media has announced Vidsense, a program, similar to Google's AdSense for text ads, that delivers video from Penn Media's EVTV1 video portal to websites based on a site's content. To use the product, website publisher place a chunk of code on their site and Vidsense will deliver contextual video clips, each preceded with 15 to 30 second commercials. Penn Media will share ad revenue with publishers just as Google does with its AdSense advertisers. Nifty idea. There's more info on Vidsense here.
UPDATE: Penn Media CEO Jaffer Ali contacted us to clarify that Vidsense is a contextual video content network, not a contextual video ad network. Ali clarifies, "The advertising that will soon precede the content clips will be national brand advertisers. The advertising may or may not have anything to do with the website content."
Nationwide Insurance has launched humorous website, Life Comes At You Fast, which challenges visitors to view 30 videos in 30 days, spot a hidden Nationwide frame, then be entered into a drawing for a Sony Handycam and G5 Mac. The videos, some of which you have, undoubtedly seen before, are amateur clips "America's Funniest Video" style such as the cheerleader who gets tossed too far, the fat woman who falls off the trampoline and the wedding attendees who collapse a dock. It's an intriguing tie in of life's unsuspected moments with an insurance company's ability to help you get back on your feet.
A Salt Lake City teaser billboard campaign for, it is assumed, a children's orthodontist containing the URL www.uglykids.info was taken down by Reagan Outdoor after many people, who typed in www.uglykids.com by mistake, were whisked to a page full of porn links. Sexually frustrated Utah resident jokes aside, the campaign, while pulled by Reagan, is still running on competing billboard company boards. The proper link leads to a site containing a video of children, filmed in shadows, confessing to the distress experience because of their ugly teeth.
We Want You On Top
While we had great fun highlighting the SEO Inc. booth babes at the San Francisco AD:TECH conference this week, a recent press release reminds us that, wait, SEO Inc. doesn't just hire hot booth babes wearing tight t-shirts emblazoned with "Wanna Be On Top?", they actually provide the tools to help climb right on up. The company has introduced the Medallion Partner Program, a search engine optimization service agencies can resell to their clients so they, too, can enjoy the fruits of top search engine placement.
According to the press release, the program offers ad agencies, web developers and marketing firms search engine optimization services which can be resold to their clients. CEO CEO explained, "Unlike other programs, which simply provide referrals or loose affiliations, the Medallion Partner Program is designed to be a significant and reoccurring revenue stream for our partners (the agencies, developers and marketing firms)and exceptional SEO services for their customers (the clients). Meanwhile, it will allow us as a company to create alliances with qualified and effective partners to market our services to their top clients."
While we wrote earlier upon seeing the booth babe "Wanna Be On Top" slogan and, dutifully, resisted the urge to reply, "Well, of course we do," we don't feel so bad saying that now that what SEO has to offer appears to be a nice way for agencies to get their clients on top (of search engines, silly) and make a little money while doing so.