- Cops in Scottsdale, Arizona use Twitter to keep the community abreast of what's happening in the city: closed roads, active crime scenes and the like.
- Google cozies up to agencies with evangelism missions and SWAG. Don't be fooled by all those friendly faces! John Battelle isn't.
- Ramadan's got brands in a tizzy. Coke released special packaging; Starbucks is showcasing Arabian blends and Ramadan-inspired pastries at its stores in the Middle East. Observers of Ramadan, which fast! until! sunset!, will undoubtedly be thrilled. (I love SBUX, but after a food-free day it's the last place I'd go. Who says "I'm starving! A tart and some coffee would do me good"?!)
It's not often online banners excite. Gone are the days a banner would evoke anything other than "Will that friggin' thing stop flashing?!" But Pittsburgh agency Brunner has created an ingeniously inventive banner campaign for Zippo which makes humorous use of the product's primary function.
In three version, a skyscraper banner is cut in two. The top half is a fake ad. The bottom is the actual ad for Zippo. The top reacts to the bottom and then the two come together to deliver more information about the lighter. You can see the three versions here, here and here.
New York Times journalist Matt Richtel has invented a storytelling format called the Twiller. The idea is for Twitter users to follow fictional characters -- which some already do anyway -- as they progress though a plot.
It's not the worst idea ever, and when my friend Atif first explained it to me I thought, "Hey, that sounds sort of like Memento."
Except Twillers are a long-term commitment. Richtel's been developing his plot for the last two months. Follow @mrichtel, tweet by grueling tweet, as he works out the narrative kinks.
Some people have been known to buy the cheese endorsed by happy cows. Considering cheese is, like, the fruit of their loins, I guess that makes sense. But can cows also be trusted to select your next car?
Fiat thinks so. In the Dutch spot above, a cow moos off a VW Golf and a Ford Focus, but desperately bellows "Bravooo!" (listen closely!) when one happens to idle by. Tagline: "Uitgesproken," which means something like "distinct" or "pronounced."
Adverblog says the spot hasn't yet hit TVs; it's currently only circulating the 'net. I think it's goofy, and not in a good way. But once it hits TVs, maybe it'll prove a success by merit of its lean-in factor. (You know, when listeners lean in and go, "Wait, what?")
The tireless MoveOn.org is giving free Obama buttons away to anybody willing to part with their email, mobile number and address data. (What a tradeoff!) Packages include:
o One free Obama button.
o Three Obama buttons for a $2 donation. Just think how spiffy your tatty old backpack will look this September.
o 45 BUTTONS for a $20 donation, which, stylewise, would put you in direct in competition with this here little lady.
A moving ticker on MoveOn's site reports over 1,776,804 buttons have been ordered so far. I smell a trend afoot. Don't get left behind!
At left: featured ad on my MySpace today. I like how, after scaring the warmth out of your cockles, it takes the ultra-subtle "click here for tips!" approach.
Click-thru brings you here. I'm guessing the ad is for Celebrity Sexy Teeth, because it's the only product on the list I've never actually heard of, and it happens to be number one, and there's even a handy-dandy illustration on how you (yes, YOU!) can access a hidden discount link on the site.
Suspicions are confirmed upon scrolling to the bottom of the site, where Celebrity Sexy Teeth is promoted once more for good measure alongside this subtle arm-twister: "For women wanting to enhance their appearance, a good teeth whitener is a must!"
But I thought Mr. Right, and my ass-pinching boss, would love me no matter what I looked like?
Toyota wants to be your friend. It wants to lavish you with gifts, invite you into its inner circle, suckle from your ideas. From now until September 10, members of its social network HEYA can pitch the company their :30 ad ideas.
And no, the HEYA thing has nothing to do with Andre3000's frequently mashed-up hit. "Heya" is Japanese for "room," and Toyota thought it would be a good name for an intimate, join-the-round-table! kinda social network.
Sign up here. (Damn, that's a lot of questions. Toyota's not fuckin' around!) Once IN!, you're free to submit write-ups or storyboards for a :30 ad concept. The top five will be chosen, and members vote for the best one.
Finalists are announced September 16; the winner is named September 22. In addition to airtime, the grand prize includes a Flickr Pro account membership. (Diggin' how it knows what people want.) Runners-up get a 1GB iPod shuffle.
Still others can be used as weapons for the defenseless. That's the impression we got from this ad by Amnesty International, which is admittedly about a year old and maybe 1:30 too long. The animation and the idea are good though, and I like the sound of the scribble over the music.
Walking in the footsteps of Jay-Z and Nelly, Justin Timberlake is backing a line of expensive but delightfully ass-perking denim wear: William Rast, launched in partnership with Trace Ayala. (The brand is a combination of their grandfathers' first names.)
I haven't seen any TV ads, but the site's hosting trailers about the life of fictional character William Rast, played by Justin Timberlake. Mostly he's seizing the opportunity to forget shaving, play with make-up and explore self-fellating videocam angles. Oddly (or not so much), they made me think of Tila Tequila's video blog.
It's always a little irksome when a film boasts an "all-star cast," because if THAT'S the card it's playing, there's probably not much else going on.
The Women, a remake of a movie from 1939, has just such a cast. Think Candace Bergen! Annette Benning! Jada Pinkett-Smith! Meg Ryan! Bette Midler! Eva Mendes! It's a walking, talking line-up for the cover of next month's Vanity Fair.