One thing I love about Benetton: it never knows when to leave well enough alone. "Victims," the current issue of its company magazine Colors, uses the tragedy of the SouthWest China earthquake to try mending the China/Tibetan conflict.
The issue includes 30 shots of quake victims integrated with 30 prayers written for them by Tibetan monks. An accompanying Benetton ad displays a Tibetan monk and a Chinese soldier bowing toward each other, possibly in greeting, apology or shared grief. Readers can send their own prayers over for inclusion in a campaign exhibition.
Provocative as always, but I generally have trouble hating on Benetton (except when they fired Toscani). The "Victims" ad campaign is running in Italian newspapers and in French daily Le Monde.
- A Wired journalist attributes the success of Weight Watchers to its RPG format. (You know, like EverQuest or Final Fantasy.)
- The pretty little girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" for the Olympics opening ceremony was a pretty little mime. Reps said they wanted a flawless girl with a flawless voice; but one had the looks and another had the pipes so they mashed them up. "We must put our country's interests first." Riiiight.
- Seven in 10 companies on the FTSE 100 have unclaimed handles on Twitter. Companies are advised to lock that down before a hater (or an impersonator) does. (Via @benkunz.)
- It may not really be cannibal sushi, but the psychological effect can be just as fucked-up. (Via @TJCNYC.)
- Got more than a handful up top? Pull your shirt off and join the Wonderbra mosaic.
In "Peanuts thrown at Shaun White," Shaun's stay-at-home buddies print out copies of his face and tape them to their own, then spend the afternoon calling each other Shaun and tossing peanuts into each other's mouths -- a creepy sight for the real Shaun White, whose first reaction is, "Is that what I look like?"
This is part of Feed Company's ongoing back-to-school online campaign for HP, carrying on from "Shaun White and Friends Fight to Help Shower Hottie."
The lesson in this one: It's Good to Get Out Once in Awhile.
Like a teen burning high school paraphernalia in (futile) hope of evolving as a human being, Ruby Tuesday decided to blow up one of its old restaurants "to mark our departure from the sea of sameness within the casual dining industry."
But oops, it blew Cheeky's up instead. Har har. See apology.
All this to tell you Ruby Tuesday's changed its decor and menu. From the BooneOakley pressie: "Makeover was designed by Pentagram, and driven by the fact that the various competing casual dining chains, including Ruby Tuesday--had all become indistinguishable, whether to diners or to demolition experts."
What a relief that at least one establishment is picking up the slack for the menagerie of demented, '50s-inspired, totally flammable monotony. All this time I thought it was my fault for thinking Molotov cocktails were racy aperitifs! There's an order I won't make a third time.
- It's another raging Hitler appropriation. This one's called "The Rise and Fall of Twitter." Given that we've had similar spittle-fits over Twitter's goddamn down time, it's pretty funny, actually.
- Some nights you just need to pop a Kanye into your glass.
- Lack of bear at Black Bear Diner.
- So I guess the Montauk Monster is a guerrilla effort for an indie movie called Splinterheads.
- British carrier TalkTalk is trying to help fight autism with a campaign called The Forever Story. Alongside the common man, authors like Nick Hornby will contribute to a story that's supposed to go on forever. For every contribution, TalkTalk will donate 1 pound (the currency) to a charity called Treehouse.
While ad:tech Chicago's "The Role of Email in a Web 3.0 World" was mostly theory, I liked its feel-good flow. Moderator Christopher Marriott of Acxiom Digital got panelists comfortable without making viewers feel like they were sitting on the outside of an inside joke. It's a rare and beautiful skill.
Marriott acknowledged it was late in the day and told us up-front that the panelists were debriefed on his questions beforehand. As a result, he said, they came laden with slides to answer three major questions:
1. How might the nature of email change as it goes more completely cross-platform?
2. Can email coexist with the semantic web (web 3.0) ... or co-opt it?
3. What role will The Consumer play in creating web 3.0 email?
Before we get too deep down the rabbit hole, let's define web 3.0.
For its back-to-school campaign "New School of Thought," Adidas Originals went all hipster and whatnot. The company partnered with trueAnthem to create a widget that gives away free music by Ultraviolet Sound and 30 percent discounts on Adidas Originals gear. The widget also includes short Adidas audio ads mixed by the band.
The street-sassy shoe brand joins Converse, Gap, Cartier and even Vanity Fair in disseminating free MP3s to the masses.
Why this might be smart marketing: if iTunes listeners switch Coverflow on, listening to your track will expose them to your marketing message, along with the album art. And if the campaign music's been uploaded onto last.fm, then last.fm users expose their friends to your brand when they listen to your track. So go stimulate those white earbuds, you go-getters, you.
Tuesday night at ad:tech Chicago wrapped up with a keynote by author Clay Shirky, "Here Comes Every Customer: The Former Audience is Talking Around You."
The Big Idea, if intro speaker Drew Ianni is any authority: "The internet is the most important thing to happen to the human species."
That's a pretty high and mighty manifesto. Upon taking the stage, Shirky tried conveying the same idea with more precision -- and a much higher word count.
Widgets are the rage! Widgets are the new, new thing! The new, new must-have! Widgets are web 7.0! Widgets! Widget! Widgets! The Chicago ad:tech panel, Widgets and Applications - The New Media Network, covered what's going on in the world of widgets. Panelists included Omniture Senior Director of Product marketing Chris Duskin, Slide GM Advertising Sonya Chawla, Gigya VP of Sales Ben Pashman, Avenue A Director of Emerging Media and Video Innovation Jeremy Lockhorn and Sprout Co-Founder and CEO Carnet Williams.
Lockhorn described the "old" ad world as Ad 1.0 or a world in which advertising was all about interruption and intrusion. He described the "new" ad world as Ad 2.0, a world in which people are not interrupted and that exists where the people are in an unobtrusive way. This, according to Lockhorn, is the world in which widgets live. So what are widgets?
Just when you think there couldn't possibly be yet another flavorized Doritos line extension, the funny bunch over at Frito-Lay come up with even more. But this time, rather than creating new flavors, because, like, they've already done them all, they mix two flavors together and call it something new.
To promote this flavorific fusion, Doritos (in the UK) has launched the Doritos Collision campaign, a series of videos that pit flavor mascots against one another wrestling ring-style. There's Feathered Fury, The Griller, Tenacious T and El Zesto.
In addition to the videos, the brand has teamed with Bebo and Endamol's The Gap Year, a web series. Oh, and there's all kinds of social media goodness as well.