Sort of along the lines of logic (or complete and purposeful lack there of) that resulted in Robert Goulet appearing in an Emerald Nuts Super Bowl commercial, Intuit has tapped Vanilla Ice (where the hell has he been all these years?) to front a Tax Wrap promotion for Turbo Tax. The promotion offers $25,000 to the person who makes the best homemade rap demo about taxes. So far, there aren't too many submissions and they are all embarrassingly horrible. We really don't know what to do with this one. Trash it for its use of a has-been to get all jiggy with one of the most financially serious periods in a person's life or praise it for its brilliant quirkiness and kitschy badness.
It's not the first time a political candidate will have used social networking as part of a campaign strategy, but it's probably the first time a political candidate has ever created his or her own social networking site.
Enter My Barack Obama, a social networking space dedicated to users who'd like to help Obama get into the White House in '08. He also has a MySpace that's of course not made or endorsed by him but by some very serious fan out there who happens to have little to do but make thousands of friends on his behalf.
There's not too much you can say to trash a guy who acknowledges his own lack of qualifications and admits to doing drugs in college. But we've all seen how internet influence can make or break you. A word of warning, Obama: remember Howard Dean.
While Joe Jaffe is all excited about having been present yesterday during Coke's Experiment #214 at which the famed EepyBird did their Diet Coke/Mentos thing, we're gleefully snickering at the mammoth company's 180 on the whole thing from its "craziness with Mentos doesn't fit our brand personality" stance to its eight-months-too-late embrace of the stunt. We'd be as excited as Joe too if we were there witnessing the event but we can't forget that Coke is doing this because their ass was taunted and dragged into it. I'd be curious if the word Mentos was even allowed to be mentioned at the event. Joe makes no mention of it in his review of the event.
Mentos Loves Diet Coke. Coke Could Care Less
Mentos to Launch Geyser Video Contest
Coke Copies Mentos, Launches Own Video Contest
Coke Wakes Up, Smells Social Media
Lynette Web points us to a study that finds most teens are in a social network (duh) but also finds that the prevalence of social networks may devalue longtime humiliating (or triumphant) traditions like reunions for those way past teenhood.
"For instance, we recently talked about having our five-year class reunion, and I found that most of the people I asked said they really had no reason to get together in five years because they used sites like MySpace and Facebook to stay in touch with anyone they really wanted to keep up with, anyway," says Sam Ford of Convergence Culture.
That's disappointing. What have we been working so hard for if in the next five years we can't show our former nemeses how awesome we still look, then act really sweet and invite them (and their six screaming babies) to sit next to us? We have officially lost our will to go on. MySpace, you destroy everything you touch.
In a twist on the usual interpretation of "friends with benefits," currently getting play on Boston Legal and because Pontiac says it's on the forefront of social networking (their words, not ours), the company is launching a Leo Burnett Detroit-created Friends With Benefits MySpace site which promises to offer awards to friends of those who buy Pontiac G5s. Pontiac tells us the promotion works as follows:
- MySpace users buy a Pontiac G5.
- They register their purchase on the "Friends With Benefits" profile page.
- They start getting cash benefits through their "Friends With Benefits" debit card, all the way up to $1,000.
Umm, buying an entire car just to join a promotion? Oh sure, we can understand the post-purchase, down-the-line benefits but, whoa, that's some price of entry. Getting a free. Oh but hey, if your gonna buy a G5 anyway and get up to $1,000, what's to complain about? Oh but wait. You have to bribe your friends to get a G5 too in order to earn the dough.
Child TEMA enlists Istanbul-based Alaaddin Adworks to raise awareness among children about its program, a smaller division of TEMA, The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats. (We can't believe all those words managed to fit in that little acronym.) The result is a series of posters made of playdoh, which will appear in primary schools and magazines so young planeteers in the make know where to pledge their allegiance.
The copy on this ad reads, "If there is no soil there is no tree. If there is no tree there is no life. If there is no life there is no game. Soil is life. Come and join to Child TEMA and let life and game continue."
The English could use some work but it's commendable that Turkey gets kids started early on complex global concerns. We're still trying to get our kids to stop littering.
We love it when companies "discover" social networking, hop on board late in the game, rip off all existing social networking ideas out there, pick a colour template, and then issue a press release saying it's not your average social networking scene.
This is exactly what Conde Nast has done with its on-the-fringe teen site Flip. The only difference is we're not used to seeing so much advertising for Conde Nast merch concentrated in one space. It's a little like a magazine-toting make-up-wearing fifteen-year-old diva tripped over the internet and threw up, resulting in an explosion of purple hearts, stars, flowers, swirls and Lucky ads.
Flip also includes snazzy but deceptive new terminology. Contrary to popular ideas about flip books, creating a flip book on Flip results in what we typically call a photo album or slideshow. But the population, mainly teenage artists and revolutionaries, doesn't seem to mind. And that's what's really important, right? So here's to yet another completely unique social networking website.
The LAist, now written by the legendary Tony Pierce, tells the story of a Brentwood, Callifornia woman, Sarah, who created an eBay auction to sell herself to the highest Super Bowl ticket holding bidder. The winner would take Sarah, a Chicago Bears fan, to the game and Sarah would be the perfect date for the day. Well, eBay doesn't like people auctioning themselves off so they closed the bid but Axe heard of it and turned it into a promotion.
The company that prides itself in functioning as a woman magnet for men gave Sarah four end zone tickets to the Super Bowl. She's bringing two of her female friends and the fourth ticket is being given away to the man (or woman, we guess) who crafts the most convincing email and sends it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Way to latch on, Axe!
Either Kevin Bacon has a great sense of humor or he finally got sick of the whole "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" and decided to cash in. Adland received a promotional email from "Kevin Bacon" promoting a program called Six Degrees which "makes it easy for you to raise awareness and support for a charity that's important to you." The email urges recipients to make their own Six Degrees AIM page to highlight charity an individual is interested in and promises to help the individual raise money for that charity. It's a social networking play that's a nod to the "six degrees of separation" thing that was, itself, social networking before it was called social networking.
As Adland properly states, the choice of Kevin Bacon is the "best choice of celebrity spokesperson for 2007." We'd have to agree.
Beer takes the internet dive with Here's to Beer, an Anheuser-Busch/MingleNow collabo intended to bring beer's social merits to social networking.
Here's to Beer includes blurbs on which celebrities you'd have a pint with, as well as some beer trivia and brewing history. We thought it was a fairly coherent idea but upon mentioning it to a twenty-something beer aficionado he scoffed, "Beer trivia and brewing history? All you need to know is Anheuser-Busch makes shit beers."
For A-B and MingleNow's sake, we hope that doesn't speak for the whole demographic. Actually, that's a lie. Bud's fine for drinking in secret at home when you're all depressed about your life, but we can't remember the last time we ordered one on tap.