March 23, 2005

Calvin Klein Brings Back CK One With New Ad Campaign

Ten tears after its grunge-like CK One campaign, Calvin Klein is relaunching the brand in April with a new television, outdoor and print ad campaign. The campaign will feature 40 mostly unknown models in a hip party scene in a building shaped like the CK One bottle. The campaign, designed by Fabien Baron and shot by David Sims, will continue with the "You're the One" tagline.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Amazon Lists Viewsonic Monitor As World's Fastest Computer

Either a joke or a simple error, Amazon has listed a Viewsonic monitor as a computer having a 10GB chip, 2,000 DIMM, a 30,000 GB hard drive and weighing 14 hundredths-pounds. All for $2,312.95. Certainly, there will be computers that powerful someday soon but not right now. One reviewer raved about the "product," writing, "This laptop is the bargain of the decade. 10.00GHZ of power.

I use one to currently calculate the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I even caught it calculating on how to make the perfect cup of tea. The speed that this laptop can move at is nothing short of outstanding. Shame it doesn't have legs though."

Sure to be removed from the site at some point, here's a screenshot for posterity's sake.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Dad Places Ad Claiming School Filled With Drugs

Park Ridge, Illinois resident and father to two grammer school children, Dominic Vecchio, placed an ad in last Thursday's Park Ridge Herald-Advocate claiming the his Maine Township High School District is a regular trading ground to heroin and crystal meth. Unsurprisingly, the ad has caused a stir and raised the ire of school district officials who deny Vecchio's claims.

"We've never had any incident that suggests that heroin or meth is being sold or distributed in our hallways," said Principal David Claypool. "It's just an unfair accusation." The kids thinks Vecchio is stretching it a bit too. Senior John Mallory said,"It was irresponsible. About 99 percent of the school doesn't do heroin or crystal meth; it's a tiny pocket, and the deans and administration are doing a good job trying to combat it."

Vecchio said he met with children in the town who told him drugs were on sale at school and, perhaps in reaction to a friend's 15 year old son dying of a heroin overdose last fall, Vecchio decided to spend $900 of his own money to place the ad and raise awareness of the issue.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

Lost's Evangeline Lilly Fronts Online Dating Service

Not new, as AdJab points out but since we go weak in the knees for Lost's Evangeline Lilly, we just thought we'd dream a little dream for a minute or two as we write and tell you she's the face of telephone chat service LiveLinks.

Great score for LiveLinks. We do wonder though if, with her new found fame, she regrets associating herself with a service for shut ins with no social life. OK, that's harsh. Everyone lives a different lifestyle but still. Alright, we're done with our Evangeline Lilly moment.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

Church Group Uses Halo 2 to Promote Religion

Acknowledging the forgone conclusion that, just like sexual abstinence, there's not much a parent or minister can do to stop kids from playing Halo 2, several churches are embracing the games as a channel through which to teach gospel. Director of Equipping of Dare 2 Share Ministries International Lane Palmer explains, "The point is that almost everyone already has run out and played it, so we think this is an awesome opportunity to take something hugely popular in our culture and turn it into a way to share the most important message. What we need are people who approach their Christianity with the same passion and concentration as they do with video games."

Palmer likens the story line of Halo 2 to that of the Bible, "Don't you just hate it when a bunch of outer space freaks get together and decide it's their mission to torch humanity? ...the Halo storyline is remarkably like a major theme of the Bible."

"God created people in a perfect world in a perfect relationship with Him, which made Satan and his angels very jealous. So since the beginning of time, they have been on a mission to destroy all humans.

Here's what Jesus said - 'A thief (Satan) is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of' (John 10:10). Jesus came to this planet to save the planet from a group much worse than the Covenant and from a fate much worse than physical death."

Halo 2, the new church. Hmm.

Posted by Steve Hall at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

Greyhound Targets Urban And Hispanic Markets With Radio Campaign

Comedians Wanda Sykes and Adal Ramones are featured in a new, national radio campaign for Greyhound Lines, Inc. aimed at urban and Hispanic markets. Already running in the Pacific Northwest area, the campaign is slated to launch in the Southwest in April.

Posted by Steve Hall at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Website Ad Clutter Study Launched

Factor TG today announced the launch of an advertising clutter comparative study for online publishers which will measures the effect of advertising to editorial ratios and the effect they have on reader's perception of the site and the advertised brand. The study will be fielded over the next three months with results available in June.

Posted by Steve Hall at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

Burger King Hootie Commercial Spawns Taco Bell Spoof

Adrants reader John Brock points us to a spoof Taco Bell commercial created in response to a Fark thread which comments Burger King (CP+B) has gone insane with its new Hootie commercial and asks Farkers to submit their own screwed up commercial for another fast food chain. Jason, from Monolithcreative took on the challenge and created this oddity for Taco Bell. Part Starship Troopers, part Saturday morning cartoon, the ad has a bunch of tacos marching toward their enemy ending Iwo Jima-style with the tacos holding the Taco Bell flag gloriously.

With its war-like overtones and copy that reads, "We fought to protect the value of freedom. And the right to be full," the spot seems to comment on the current state of affairs over fast food, its health issues, whether it needs regulation and perhaps why it might not be anybodies business if we are fat or not.

Jason explains his creation to us, writing, "The Taco Bell commercial was really just made for fun (and the Fark thread) but animation and video is something that I really enjoy doing. I saw an opportunity to create a video that would be viewed by a large audience so I took advantage of it." Add this one to the growing list of consumer created commercials.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

Movie Critics Don't Lie. Movie Ads Do

Not that we ever really believed all those praise-worthy quotes heaped on top of all movie ads to make even the most pitiful movie seem like it will be great but we never really took the time to dissect the racket behind movie blurb abuse. Thankfully, someone has. Gelf Magazine has collected some favorable quotes for recent movies and put them back into the context of the original articles from which they were ripped. One great example is for 16 Years of Alcohol. A quote from the Daily Star in the movies ad says, Trainspotting meets A Clockwork Orange making the movie sound pretty good. The actual quote is not so positive. It reads, "This glum, violent drama about a Scottish thug ruined by drink is written and pretentiously directed by Richard Jobson whose approach—Trainspotting meets A Clockwork Orange—is bad enough to drive you to drink in no time."

That's why we like Ebert and Roper's Thumb method of recommending a movie. It's not so easy to take a thumb out of context.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

TTR2 Launches Marketing and Tracking SMS Service

UK viral seeding service TTR2 has launched Sendus, an SMS service marketers can use to provide additional information via email to people who respond to their ads using an SMS code. The service, free to set up, enables marketers to track consumer response to promotions and to lengthen the period of contact between marketer and consumer.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Creativity, Mistakes And Low Cost Make Great Viral Ads

While we may, quite possibly, be the last human being in the world to see the viral clip of Gary Brolsma lip-synching to some Romanian bubble gum song, we can't help ourselves. We have to share. Watch. See? You did laugh. After mentioning the clip has received attention from the likes of VH1 and MSNBC, Tessa Wegert asks why more business aren't using viral marketing. Sadly, the answer is, bluntly, marketers can't help but fuck it up. Slapping a logo on a funny TV commercial does not pass as a viral ad. Sticking a "Send to a Friend" button on a website doesn't really cut it either.

Successful viral advertising falls squarely into the "I know it when I see it" category. Sort of like the definition of pornography. Which, of course, makes it highly difficult to create successful virals in the first place - unless you know how to time travel. There are many components of a successful viral campaign from seeding to tracking to product tie-in to GUI to file size to...the list goes on. However, nothing. We repeat, nothing, is more important than creativity. While distribution strategies can certainly aid the spread of a viral, unlike paid ad placements, nothing is guaranteed. The only thing that will compel further distribution of a viral ad is its entertainment value, hence, it's creativity. Nothing else really matters. This is the one medium in which creativity should be given full reign and full appreciation without boundaries.

There's not much a marketer can lose using the viral medium. The stakes are low. The potential return, very high. The worst thing that can happen is no one will see it. No problem. Try again. It's cheap. Sure, there are creative, hosting and distribution costs associated with virals but they pale in comparison to typical media budgets required to support most ad campaigns. For the most part, the viral distribution channel is free. With viral advertising, fucking it up just might be the safest fuck up a marketer could make.

Posted by Steve Hall at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

ABC Sports, ESPN Debut Split Screen Commercial Non-Breaks

Perhaps permanently fending off TiVo's ad skipping abilities, ABC and ESPN debuted split screen commercial breaks during their coverage of the 2005 IndyCar Series races. During the telecast, commercial breaks (except for local breaks) did not interrupt race coverage. Using split screen technology, ESPN on March 6, and ABC on March 19, delivered ads in a larger screen while continuing to show race coverage in a smaller screen. The entire screen was branded by race sponsor Toyota. During the commercials, the audio feed from the race was silenced.

In truth, this commercial non-break approach would not work so well for episodic television but can work great for sports broadcasts as sound is not always needed to follow the game.

Posted by Steve Hall at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Hayden Panettiere New Face of Neutrogena

Actress Hayden Panettiere, 15, recently seen on an episode of NBC's Law & Order: SVU and starring in the upcoming Disney movie Ice Princess, will become the newest face for Neutrogena this Spring. The deal, signed last Fall, adds Panettiere to a long line of Neutrogena faces including Mischa Barton, Gabrielle Union, Hayden Panettiere, Kristin Kreuk, Jennifer Freeman, Julie Bowen, Paola Rey and Jason Taylor. They get younger every year. Check her out further in an interview on Dennis Miller's CNBC show. Predictably, she's also signed with a record label.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

Website Publisher Scoffs At Adult Friend Finder Tactics

Not that we're really all that surprised about this but because the trashing is so well written, we're going to tell you about it. Ryan Perry, publisher of the esteemed GorillaMask, was considering accepting ads from Adult Friend Finder who had told Perry about their new geo-targeting capabilites which deliver up geographically specific ads displaying people desperate to hook up. As Perry got closer to deciding whether to accept the ads or not, he realized the same faces were being shown in the ads all across the country - hardly a truthful "girl next door" experience for his readers. So he dug deeper and had fun doing so.

Not a exactly a shocker a porn purveyor is being less than honest but Perry's unique verbal lashing of Adult Friend Finder is well worth a read. Sampling Perry's lashing, he writes, "Now, I don't consider myself a marketing expert (oh wait, yes I do), and AFF is obviously doing just fine without my advice, but sometimes "doing just fine" and "shooting yourself in the dickhole by inefficiently executing a brilliant concept" can have fun as running mates. For the life of me I can't understand why they're representing a region full of beautiful women with a bunch of chicks I wouldn't screw with my dead uncle's dick (although I'm not sure what I would screw with my dead uncle's dick).

If my region is repped by chicks with more clap than an auditorium, I don't even want to know what someone operating one of the eight computers in Arkansas sees when these ads come up. (Roadkill, maybe?)"

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

King Kong Beats Crap Out of Ford Ranger, Ranger Wins

In an engaging commercial, Ford in Thailand uses the King Kong motif to effectively convey the strength of its Ranger truck. Also making their debut in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week, are commercials from DaimlerChrysler which is promoting its Jeep through a tie in with the Paramount Pictures movie Sahara; J.C. Penny which imitates Victoria's Secret to sell lingerie; McDonald's engages the Aztec game of Tlachtli in a Hispanic "I'm Lovin' it" spot; Community Choice Credit Union gets a bunch of Bills together to promote its debt consolidation; Coke dresses a guy up in a dog costume to sell Dasani water including the very cool copy, "it'll take the taste of tennis ball right out of your yap"; Sprint engages a Dad and his son in some sort of weird phone game to, well, sell its phone service; and Volkswagen gets inky in a Hispanic spot to promote the Toureg.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Virgin Mobile Promotes Text Messaging With Spring Break Thumb Wrestle

Capitalizing on the concentrated hoards of prime cut cell phone target audience, Virgin Mobile will host, as part of its month-long text messaging celebration Text Fest 2005, a Thumb Wrestling Championship in Miami March 22-25. At the beach near the Shelbourne Hotel, a regulation-sized boxing match will be set up where contextants will go at it. It's a great move on Virgin Mobile's part to both create an event so closely aligned with the service being sold and to do it in a place where likely 100 percent of the people are text massaging fanatics, not to mention drunk and up for any sort of foolish activity such as this. We, of course, wish we were there. Please send pictures.

Posted by Steve Hall at 04:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Windowsdvantages to Serve Ads At Xtreme Cybermania 2005

Gamers who attend the Xtreme Cybermania games held May 27-29 at Chicago's Navy Pier will, while watching playing and watching video games, will be served ads on the sides of gaming video displays. The ads will be served by Windowsadvantages's ADSN Player & Scheduler Solution. Likely to be as effective as ads in chat rooms where chatters are far more interested in important info like asl rather than ads, the ADSN-served ads will appear in 15 second intervals.

UPDATE: Allan Olbur from Windowadvantages notes we neglected to realize it's not necessarily the gamers playing the games who will see tha ads but the thousands of speactators in the arena watching the games on the large monitors. We apologize for our temporary lapse in intelligence.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

DJs to Become Pepsi Shills

Capitalizing on the hip hop lifestyle, now more popular in white suburbia than within urban settings (come on, let's be honest), former record executive Rene McLean, now CEO of marketing agency RPM, will, for Pepsi this Summer, recruit top urban DJs to serve as "soda Ambassadors" promoting Pepsi products with on air mentions, club mentions, block parties, photo shoots, specialty mix tapes and other intertwined co-branded cross promotions. Somehow, "Yo, mah twixter hommies, let's crunk out with Fiddy's off the hook Candy Shop brung on by da phat cracker Pepsi posse," just doesn't seem like it will go over very well. But we'll keep our fingers crossed for Rene.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Reebok Set to Launch 50 Cent Commercial Tonight in Europe

Controversy has been swirling about rapper 50 Cent's appearance in Reebok's mcgarrybowen-created global ad campaign. Some say it glorifies gun violence. Reebok says the spot, debuting tonight in European cities, is just "edgy." The purpose of the campaign is said to celebrate authenticity and individuality. While the spot might not glorify violence, it most certainly does nothing to suggest it's a bad thing.

View it here and decide for yourself.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

'God Speaks' Ad Campaign Returns

Baby Got Book

The anonymous "messages from God' billboard campaign that appeared six years ago is making a return. This time, it's not anonymous.

The DeMoss Group and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America are behind a new outdoor campaign they call, "God Speak." The billboard campaign will include the headlines, "The real Supreme Court meets up here," "As my apprentice, you're never fired," and "It's a small world ... I know ... I made it." Even in this day of pop culture, celebu-insanity, God and religion seem to be making a comeback. Though it was banned by many stations for its reference to the church's acceptance of the gay lifestyle, The United Church of Christ has been running a television campaign. There's even Dan "Southpaw" Smith who's promoting his church with the wildly entertaining "Baby Got Book" video.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

Gap Retires Sarah Jessica Parker, Joss Stone Debuts in Spring Campaign

The New Gap Girl

Though it seems like it was just yesterday that Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker joined the Gap ad campaign, she's now been cast aside in favor of the younger, supposedly closer-to-Gap-demo, singer Joss Stone.

We know everyone has a serious case of ADD these days but a little consistency in ad campaigns wouldn't be a bad thing. After all, it worked quite well for Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger and for Maytag with those Maytag guys. Oh but wait, we're talking about the psychotically multitasking, ferociously fickle, OMG GTG crowd. Expect Joanna Levesque to appear in the Gap's Fall campaign.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

American Airline's Leg Room Promise Comes Back to Bite

Four years ago when American Airlines decided it would remove seats from all the planes in its fleet to make more legroom, it launched a big "More Room Throughout Couch" ad campaign touting it to the world.

Now, years later, the revenue strapped airline has been forced to put all the seats back in thus reducing legroom. Not a very smart decision once it made that initial promise. Competitor United Airlines is jumping on this opportunity launching a $20 million campaign poking fun at American Airline's reneging on its earlier promise of more legroom.

One of United Airlines ads says, "Fly American and you could kick yourself. Literally." United launched the campaign to make sure the public understands American no longer has more legroom than United.

Posted by Steve Hall at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

American Apparel Ad Campaigns Dance With Porn

With its underaged, porn-like amateur models, America Apparel makes Abercrombie and Fitch seem like a G rated Disney movie. Since its inception, the "sweatshop-free" apparel designer has used nubile young girls with pouting faces, come-hither looks and "do me" spread legs in its ads and catalogs.

In a lengthy article sent to us by Adrants reader, Sanj, in Now Toronto by Adria Vasil, the pros and cons of this racy approach are examined. From those who feel the company degrades women to those who feel the presence of porn is simply part of every day life, Vasil speaks with American Apparel Founder and photographer Dov Charney who responds to his detractors, saying, "They're old-thinking conservatives who are repeating false arguments or arguments that may have been true 30 years ago based on a context of social, cultural and political dynamics of another era. But right now, the women in the photographs and young adult women today I think celebrate the aesthetic of our advertising." American Apparel seems to ask a big question. Is there anything really wrong with celebrating sex and the sex appeal of women? Opinions on sex range from it being purely for procreation to it being an enjoyable recreational activity. Advertisers have danced across that spectrum since the first ad was invented and there seems to be no firm answer. Society seems to accept violence as entertainment but shys away from sex as a form of entertainment. We don't think the question will ever be answered but we do know that sex is more about life and violence is more about death. You choose.

Posted by Steve Hall at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

'Life Aquatic' Director Directs Coke's Dasani Commercial

For those who loved the quirky Bill Murray film, The Life Aquatic, directed by Wes Anderson, they will be able to see the director's work again in a new commercial, directed by Anderson, for Coke's Dasani bottled water debuting next week.

The ad, budgeted at $1 million and created by New York agency Anomaly which won the $20 million account last August, will air in prime time and in CBS's NCAA basketball playoffs. Gabriel Sherman, writing in New York Observer has the whole story here.

Posted by Steve Hall at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

BITE TV to Unleash Amateur Interactive TV On Canada

Launching April 1 (not a good day to be taken seriously guys) Canada's BITE TV promises something special in the realm in interactive television: to actually be interactive rather than the poor excuse for interactivity seen to date from other television and cable companies.

BITE will feature wireless downloading and PC or mobile chat-to-screen.

It offers viewers the opportunity to submit their own video content including make-your-own television ads. Advertisers can showcase their brands in formats from 5-second spots to, short form, branded blocks that enable the viewer to personalize the spots with their own content.

Short form content can also focus entirely on a brand.

BITE will also launch BITE ME, its live interactive program in coming weeks. At that time, viewers will be given the opportunity to interact live with the hosts and amongst themselves.

"BITE will discover, air and stream thousands of individual creative masterpieces that are currently being produced and those that have perhaps lacked visibility due to a shortage of distribution opportunities," Elliott says. "Thousands of producers, directors, actors, animators and college and university students aspiring to be filmmakers now have a short form channel in BITE."

In a way, it's taking the Citizen's Media/Blogging approach to television. Acknowledging that, there will be plenty of crap content but there will also be a few gems in the mix and, because of that, some bright, new talent may be discovered.

Posted by Steve Hall at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

Mondavi To Sponsor 'Sideways' DVD

Fox Searchlight's Sideways may have intoxicated moviegoers and helped sales of pinot noir soar, but the Oscar-nominated film didn't do it with the help of any promotional partners. That's changing with the release of the DVD which will be sponsored by Mondavi. The tie in will promote ten different Mondavi wines.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

DISH Network to Air Interactive Mercedes Benz Commercial

Mercedes Benz is promoting its new M-Class car to 10 million DISH Network satellite subscribers with an interactive ad unit that begins with a :30 which then links, using the remote control, to longer form videos, photo galleries are car specifications. The ad will air on the shopping channel, Catalog TV

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Fan Blog Advances Career of Pepsi/iTunes Girl

This morning Mandy Fujiko Amano a.k.a., That Pepsi Girl was interviewed during the KROQ Kevin and Bean show. She's the half-Asian hottie who appeared in the Pepsi/iTunes Super Bowl commercial and is slated to appear in the May issue of Maxim. This sudden popularity is due, in no small part to a weblog launched by Michigan college student Justin who also runs the f.u.b.a.r. weblog The blog, That Pepsi Girl, was launched on the eve of the Super Bowl after Justin saw her in the commercial. We covered it here.

Since that time, he dug up her real name, set her up with Maxim for the interview and photo shoot and continues to report on her activities.

During the interview (listen here), Amano discusses her work leading up to the Super Bowl commercial, her experience seeing the spot air during a Super Bowl party at which she received all kinds of double takes from guys at the party and her discovery of the blog that helped shoot her to fame.

At the end of the interview, Kevin and Bean surprised her by getting Justin on the phone. She giggled and said, "I don't know whether to hug you or slap you." She thanked him for his help and joked she'd credit him if she ever received and Oscar. Never underestimate the power of the weblog.

Posted by Steve Hall at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Ashanti Cool With Herbal Essence Product Placement In Video

In her new video for the single, Only U, 24 year old Ashanti appears in a shower scene with Herbal Essence hair products in the background. It's a paid product placement and the Grammy-winning singer has no problem with the merging of art and commerce.

"It made sense. It was a shower scene. You know, you have shampoo and conditioner in the shower . . . It's the best of both worlds," she said during rounds of promotional interviews. Tying it together, she also appears is commercials for Herbal Essence which feature her Only U song. We, of course, have no problem appearing anywhere she likes.

Posted by Steve Hall at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Fifties Style Marmite Commercial Terrifies Kids, Gets Banned

There's an uproar in the U.K. today over a 50's style sci-fi style commercial for the deliciously gooey Marmite because the ad has apparently caused some over sensitive kids to have nightmares. Oh, the horror! It's been banned from children's television by the Advertising Standards Authority. It shows a large n lob-like creature oozing out of a grocery store and onto the street and people run from it, screaming, until they realize they'd rather jump into it because it tastes so good. And we thought America was the only over sensitive, coddling, self-esteem preserving nation in the world. View the nightmare here.

Posted by Steve Hall at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

ABC Promotes 'Jake In Progress' With NYC Flower Handout

A reader reports having been randomly handed a flower on her way to work today in New York. For a minute, she thought she might just be the victim of yet another sidewalk kook, she was informed it's a promotion for ABC's new John Stamos show, Jake In Progress, which premieres tomorrow night at 8PM. By deploying the smart programming strategy of airing two episodes against FOX's The O.C. and two repeats of those episodes against NBC's The Apprentice, ABC just might stand a chance of garnering some viewers for the new show.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

USB Thumb Drives New Advertising Delivery Device

Engadget reports it's seen a rise in use of USB thumb drives by marketers as delivery devises for promotional material. Smaller than a CD but not as easily inserted in magazines as promotional CDs are, the device is reusable and will sit there, plugged into a person's computer used over and over again while that branded log stares the user in the face. Hmm.

Marketers providing something useful. Now, that's refreshing.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Pespi Personifies Pepsi One With TV-Less 'Oneify' Campaign

An upcoming reintroduction campaign for Pepsi One will, intriguingly and smartly, not rely on television but rather on a website called Oneify; print ads in Blender, Details, Giant, Stuff and Sync; billboards, trading cards and promotional events. The website introduces a set of characters such as "The Loud One," "The Poetic One," "The Illest One," "The Weightless One," The Bleepy One" and more - all of whom include their own elements of "personification" in the form of wallpaper, IM icon and trading card downloads. Unfortunately for the ADD, quick cut target audience, the trading cards are big, fat PDF downloads rather than simple, faster image files.

Quoted in the New York Time, Pepsi agency TBWA Worldwide Chairman and CEO Lee Clow explains the campaign. "Kids are so smart, they'll call you out on overt marketing in a minute. So telling them a 'one-calorie, great taste' story is so ho-hum to them. If you engage them in unorthodox ways, with a bit of grace, charm, whimsy, fun and discovery you can actually ask them to buy something."

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Bayer's Aleve Gets Movie (Mis) Quote Treatment In Ads

Freelance Wall Street Journal Online Columnist Carl Bialik, writing on his Gelf Magazine site, points out ads for Bayer's Aleve have gone a bit overboard taking supportive FDA quotes out of context to make Aleve sound better than it really is. Granted, the FDA has no problem with Aleve but Bialik examines how a current Aleve ad campaign has "massaged" and mis-attributed certain quotes, much like movie marketers do, to glean positive endorsement. While Bayer and Aleve are above board products, it's an interesting look at the length to which marketers go to insure their products are perceived in the most positive light.

UPDATE: Because of Bialik's article, Bayer, at the request of Dow Jones, has changed the wording in its ads to more accurately attribute the quote.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

Rabble Enhances Mobile Blogging

Mobile device content enabler Intercasting Corporation has introduced Rabble, a mobile blogging application for Qualcomm's BREW handsets. Rabble will enable users to create and distribute content via mobile devices. It's all part of a newly created category called Location-aware Media Networking Operators.

The application bolsters web-based blogging by adding location awareness, proximity and camera phone integration to create a mobile-specific tool to help create user-generated content and community. With Rabble, mobile content is tagged with location information and other descriptive data that helps users find each other based on the media they create and where they create it. Users can create their own channels, where they collect and store content to inform, entertain, interact and connect with the surrounding environment.

Harnessed properly, marketers could piggyback on this tag based method of identifying relevant content and delivered finite, personalized messaging. Everyday, we get closer to Minority Report.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

Denmark Recruits Spies With Ad Campaign

Not usually the sort of thing openly discussed in public media, Denmark's Danish Defense Intelligence Service has decided the best way to recruit spies is through advertising.

The 8 million dollar campaign, running nationally in newspapers, hopes to decrease Denmark's reliance on foreign intelligence regarding the situation in Iraq.

UPDATE: Åsk Wäppling of Adland reports: "Hey I found out where the ad ran by the way, I read in this afternoons tabloid that the ads ran on Sunday in "the morning papers", and the initial report about the ads (which Reuter then picked up) came from Berlinske Tiderna newspaper. Our morning paper is Politiken, one of the top three, and there is no ad from FE (the national defense information) in that paper."

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

AdWeek to Launch Non-Traditional Advertising Focused Magazine

Debuting Monday, March 21, AdWeek will introduce a new magazine called Other Advertising which will cover non-traditionl advertising categories it defines as mass transit, sports stadiums, in-store, product placement, cinemas, elevators, cell phones, guerrilla marketing. Content will include business news, case studies, profiles and guest editorials.

Editorial Director Adam Remsen said, "Other Advertising's purpose is to help media buyers make the best decisions by bringing new advertising media to their attention, highlight the companies doing the best work and act as a central hub where ideas and pertinent issues are discussed and investigated."

Other Advertising will be packaged with 30,000 hand-delivered copies of Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek reaching media buyers, corporate brand marketers and advertising agency executives.

Posted by Steve Hall at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Heineken Europe Launches H.E.L.L.O. Launch Mission

Perhaps the strangest beer promotions to date, Heineken Europe has launched the Heineken European Life Long Observatory or H.E.L.L.O. The site consists of an interplanetary mission complete with launch sequences, confusing geek speak and videos of futuristic brewing methods. The site, launched sometime in February, is counting down to arrival - currently 16 days away. Take a look.

Posted by Steve Hall at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Report: Starcom Predicts Future of Consumer Contact

In a new report called NEXT, Starcom Mediavest has put forth 11 prognostications regarding the future of consumer contact. In the report, Starcom highlights the following:

Here is a PDF overview of the findings.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

MTV Promotes Spring Break With Hot Eskimos

If life as an Eskimo causes a woman to fantasize she's tongue kissing a hunk - but in reality is tongue kissing her dog - while watching MTV in her igloo all in the name of promoting MTV's Spring Break 2005 in Cancun, well, we guess we'll go along with it.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Match.com Launches Online Magazine

Perhaps to offer its female member more than simply pictures and vitals of men on the prowl, Match.com has launched the online magazine Happen Magazine, an advice filled excuse to grow its membership base and "extend its brand." As proof this is a site most women might want to steer clear of, one of the featured articles is entitled "Dating Tips From reality TV."

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Mazda Traps Brats With Mazda 6 Commercial

Rick Bruner sent us a link to a British commercial for the Mazda 6 station wagon. For parents, it's an all too familiar situation. A delightful ride in the country in ruined by the incessant bickering between the kids in the back seat. In this commercial, Mazda has the solution in the form of a spring loaded, fold down rear seat.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

Louisville Launches Grass Roots 'Weird' Campaign

A grass roots campaign that grew out of discussions amongst small retailers facing larger chains such as WalMart yielded an advertising campaign to support local businesses. The campaign, developed by Boulder Colorado based Boulder Book Store owner David Bolduc and others, is funded by an alliance of local businesses who have an interest in co-existing with larger chain stores. The campaign has appeared in Boulder, Raleigh and now Louisville. Beginning late last year, the Loiusville campaign carries the headline, "Keep Louisville Weird."

The ad appears on billboards and on busses.

The campaign hopes to stave off community homogenization. Whether campaigns such as this will win out over consumer's desire for the lowest possible price is unclear. Quite clear, though, is the dehumanization of local culture and the increasing inability to think in un-homogenize ways.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

Dogvertising Makes eBay Debut

While the idea is over two years old, all those eBay ads selling forehead space, pregnant belly space and cleavage have motivated "hipchewy" to sell his/her dog as ad space. The dog, Peanut, is a Wiener dog and the ad claims Peanut will wear branded clothing anywhere its owner takes her. Starting bid is $1,500. Hello, GoldenPalace?

Posted by Steve Hall at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Viral Advertising Association Launched

On the heels of the recent launch of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the recent shutdown of the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association's Soflow Network, Asa Bailey, UK-based viral advertising practitioner, has launched the Viral Advertising Association.

The Association's mission is "to promote viral advertising to the wider marketing industry. Through working with other individuals and organisations to provide a better understanding of how viral advertising works, and to demonstrate why it should be a part of every modern media plan."

The association hopes to provide support and research to marketers and advertisers interesting in viral advertising. The Association's founder, Asa Bailey, is also founder of the Viral Awards and was behind the Ogilvy & Mather domain name highjacking.

Posted by Steve Hall at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

DJ Offers Sneak Peek At Range Rover Photo Shoot

Writing on his weblog (see, everyone has one now), KFOG DJ Big Rick Stuart explains how he peered out his window Saturday morning and got a peek at a photo shoot in progress for the 2006 Range Rover Sport. Check out his observations and see a bigger picture of the shoot here.

Posted by Steve Hall at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

Kid-Focused Channel One Business Model Questioned

In an apparent state of dis-repair, failing equipment, heightened criticism and exiting advertisers, Chris Whittle's Channel One, the in school network that turns kids in 12,000 schools into advertiser controlled consumer zombies, is suffering badly. Consumer advocate Gary Ruskin holds nothing back in his contempt for the business model.

"Channel One’s repugnant business model of forcing children to watch ads in school is failing." said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization that opposes the commercialization of education. "This is just the latest instance of the rejection of the commercial culture and its spread into the schools."

"Parents are fed up with corporations interfering with their relationship with their own children,” Ruskin said. "Across the country, people are finally coming to realize that pushing advertising at school children is intolerable, outrageous and wrong." A press release from Ruskin's group sites some examples hinting towards a rebellion against kid targeted advertising. The disintegration of the ZapMe! Corp, the defeat of Time-Warner’s plans to put ads on CNN Student News, and the removal of soda pop or other junk food marketers in California, Texas, Maine, Arkansas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle, among other places are reasons the group thinks Channel One is headed for trouble.

Oddly, Channel One was founded in 1990, long before the current advertising landscape become so overwhelming that, short of sitting in a prison's solitary confinement cell, avoiding advertising is now near impossible. Perhaps properly crafted and vetted commercials aimed at kids were, at one time, acceptable. Today, that seems to be an impossibility as marketers fight for a slot in the increasing tidal wave of messaging crashing down on people. That fight has caused the inevitable backlash against all kinds of advertising amplifying the focus on the low hanging fruit of kid-focused advertising. When a six year old daughter says she doesn't want to eat a piece of bacon because it will make her fat, there's concern. Even responsible parents have difficulty contending with the onslaught of messaging that really has no place finding its way to children's ears.

Posted by Steve Hall at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Weblogs Are The New Spam

In a horrifically depressing statement, blog monitoring firm Technorati CEO David Sifry points to the growing number of fake blogs launched simply to take advantage of a weblog's ability to trick search engines into ranking web pages higher than they normally would be in search results. Steve Rubel points out it's simple human nature. Once some idiot realizes he can hack something to his benefit, he will do so. Rubel suggests it will mostly be up to search engines themselves to find a way to eradicate this problem.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

For Those Who Haven't Heard, Blogging Is Good For Marketing

iMediaConnection contributor Robert Moskowitz offers up the standard reasons why marketers should consider adding a weblog to their marketing plans. Pardon us for yawning as we've heard it all before but with respect to those who still haven't, Moskowitz says blogs put a human face on a company, can be useful in obtaining free research, can tie people closer to a company by involving them with the comment section of the blog, provide a platform to leverage industry opinion leaders and can increase the awareness of a company through weblog's ability to climb high on Google's search results for the company.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

YSL Fragrance Ad Gets Parody Treatment

A recent ad for the YvesSaintLaurent women's fragrance Cinema which features a woman surrounded by a bunch of tuxedo-clad men ogling her has received the parody treatment. b3ta member "JimVin" has altered the ad a bit to perhaps point out the less than intentional notion brought to mind by this ad. See a larger version here and the original ad here. As an added bit of humor, note the fragrance's name change on the bottle.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Adidas Launches Transfixing Intelligent Shoe Spot

Rick Bruner points out a new ad for Adidas. With music composed by Squeak E. Clean featuring Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and directed by Spike Jones, TBWA/Chiat/Day San Francisco has come up with an entrancing new spot for Adidas's new intelligent shoe.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

Ad Age Columnists Debate Methods of Advertising

Ad Age Editor Scott Donaton and Ad Age Editor in Chief, this week, write dueling columns on where advertising is headed. Crain claims the expansion of advertising into channels beyond the traditional and the expected is a dangerous path for marketers to take. Following that is Donaton's excited embrace of new marketing platforms such as VOD, Podcasting (that's one word, Scott), video games and IM and acknowledged decline of mass media.

While it might be fun to tear each of these viewpoints apart, it's not warranted because they are both right. Traditional media isn't going away, it's just changing. New media isn't the answer to everything, it's just mirroring people's changing media consumption habits. They are both right because they acknowledge that great creative (the art part and the thinking part) is the glue that holds together successful advertising. Without it, no delivery channel, old or new, matters.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

Marketers Take Notice: Forbes Ranks Top Corporate Hate Sites

Rick Bruner tipped us to this story about corporate hate sites. Forbes has published an article on the top corporate hate sites - those sites published by, in some cases, raving lunatics, who have a serious axe to grind with a particular company. While it's easy to brush off these sites assuming few will see, with the advent of weblogs, combined with the already ubiquitous power of forums, chat and email, it would behoove any marketer who appears on this list to give serious consideration toward remedying the reasons behind the launch of the site.

Forbes ranked the sites on "ease of use, frequency of updates, number of posts, hostility level (angrier is better), relevance, and entertainment value." Tops on the list are KB Homes for KBhomesucks, PayPal for Paypalsucks, Allstate Insurance for Allstateinsurancesucks, Microsoft for MS-Eradication, American Express for Amexsux, Wal-Mart for Walmart-Blows, Verizon for Verizonpathetic, United Airlines for Untied and UPS for UnitedPackageSmashers.

Of great importance to marketers, Forbes asked the creators of each of these site what each marketer would have to do to get the creator to take down the site. Predictably, the requirements are stiffer than most marketers would be willing to adhere to. As people are empowered with increasingly more wide reaching platforms on which to air their gripes, marketers should actively join these conversations rather than react to them with standard measures such as simply ignoring the complaints or engaging in tired, lame law suits. If a site like Subservient Chicken can become as popular as it did, there's no reason a hate site like McDonaldsMakesYouMassive couldn't become equally popular.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

Weblogs Inc. Launches 'Focus Ads'

On its Engadget gadget weblog, Weblogs Inc. has launched "focus-ads," which, in a nutshell, add the blogging Comment feature to the bottom of a display ad allowing readers to comment on and discuss the advertiser.

It's a welcome move toward establishing more of a conversational relationship between advertiser and consumer as long as both parties participate. The weblog platform enables this beautifully. The advertiser can glean insight into people's reaction and perception of their offering as well as offer feedback to people's queries.

Posted by Steve Hall at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

Saatchi Goes On Legal Rampage Following 'Saatchi 17' Exodus

The big kahunas at Saatchi & Saatchi have decided to go on the legal warpath following the exodus of Vice Chairman Creative Director Mike Burns along with 16 others and their subsequent hire by Interpublic. The group worked on the General Mills account while at Saatchi.

In a statement, Saatchi said, "Saatchi & Saatchi has today commenced a lawsuit against Michael Burns in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York. The lawsuit seeks damages and other relief against Mr. Burns. Upon advice of counsel, we will have no further comment."

It's unclear what sort of damages Saatchi expects to recoup. So far, General Mills is still on the agency's client roster. Granted, the account is a bit understaffed right now but with 17 fewer people to pay, it sure seems like Saatchi is temporarily ahead of the game, at least financially.

Posted by Steve Hall at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Internet A Treasure Trove Of Information For Marketers

Because of the pervasiveness of the Internet, the use of chat rooms, IM, forums, email and weblogs, the level of "consumer conversation" has risen dramatically. The beauty of this, for marketers, is that it's all digitized, right there on servers across the globe, to be examined and analyzed for future product development and marketing. Research firm BuzzMetrics has taken advantage of these vast resources and made a business out of culling data and analyzing it for marketers. It's most recent report takes a look at artificial sweeteners.

If something doesn't change soon, it seems all food is going to come out of a machine and contain nothing but hard to categorize, unpronounceable. man-made ingredients. It's already happening, and has been for some time now, with artificial sweeteners. A recent study by BuzzMetrics indicates people are wising up to all this fakery and marketers may need to take note. According to BuzzMetrics, 45 percent of all artificial-sweetener discussions among over 200,000 monitored trend-setting consumers in online health and nutrition forums were negative in the fourth quarter of 2004. Specifically, 14 percent of discussions recommended using natural sweeteners instead; 13 percent warned of side effects; 11 percent advocated for limited intake; and seven percent complained of unpleasant taste.

Conversely, 42 percent of artificial-sweetener discussions were in favor of them in some way. Specifically, 19 percent discussed regular usage; 17 percent advocated their use in cooking; and six percent recommended them over natural sweeteners.

This is just a tiny snapshot of the "conversations" that are out there for companies to look at when they consider the development of a product or the marketing of an existing product. It's not an easy task but there's never before been a time when so much information has been available about people preferences, opinions and habits.

Posted by Steve Hall at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Google's AdSense Makes Money For Publishers

A lengthy article in today's USA Today discusses Google's AdSense program, an automated advertising system that matches advertiser's text ads with website content, and how it is making money for publisher with little effort by publisher. Some publishers are content to bring in $300-$500 per month.

Chris Pirillo, publisher of gadget site Lockernome and former TechTV host, says he makes $10,000 per month. We can say from experience, as a small publisher, it's the easiest, most painless way to make money.

Posted by Steve Hall at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Tara Reid's Boob Verbally Exposed In Ad

Tara Reid can't seem to keep her boobs out of the press. First, they're protruding ponderously following a dramatic breast enlargement. Second, the boob job is displayed for all to see as the strap of her dress falls off at a press conference revealing one of her now mammoth, yet freakish looking breasts. And third, that event spawned a reference in an ad for the luxury high rise Sky Las Vegas. Copy in the ad reads, "Dear Tara Reid. Come let it all hang out."

Unsurprisingly, she has filed a lawsuit. Perhaps a bit of advice is needed here: Tara, if you're gonna increase the size of your breasts three to four cup sizes, people are gonna notice. I know it doesn't make sense. After all, they are just bags of flesh. Well, in your case, saline or something. But anyway, people like to look at big breasts and talk about them. And take pictures of them. Sure, you didn't know you bared your boob for all to see while looking like a mindless bimbo and I suppose we can forgive you for that. Afterall, fake boobs don't move much, do they? How could you have known one of them had fallen out? Tara, If you didn't want all the attention, you shouldn't have strapped on fake fun bags. Oh wait. I'm sorry. You do want the attention! After all, your acting isn't getting you any.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

Study: Blogs Reach High Income, Educated Audience

BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland has published the firm's second blog readership study. The results align closely with last years. Highlights include:

It's an actively involved, upscale, intelligent audience. Readers of blogs also read Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, The New Yorker, National Geographic, The Nation and The Wall Street journal. Clearly, not the People magazine audience. The entire study results are here.

Posted by Steve Hall at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Copywriter Publishes Nigerian Email Scam Novel

Former copywriter and creative director Rich Siegel has written a book, Tuesdays with Mantu: My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist, recounting his 7 week "experience" with a Nigerian email scam operation. It's a mix of fiction and non-fiction with the "experience" part being fiction and the scam background and scam emails being the non-fiction part. We haven't read it but it does sound interesting.

Oddly, it has Hollywood movie written all over it in our opinion.

Posted by Steve Hall at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

WeatherBug Blogger Calls For Adware/Spyware Standards

Writing on the WeatherBug weblog, Chief Privacy Officer Dan O'Connell discusses the varying definitions of adware, spyware and ad supported software and calls for clearer definitions. O'Connell points out the terms are thrown about almost interchangeably which, he claims, can be hurtful to legitimate companies.

Hoping to clarify the confusion, O'Connell writes, "A year ago, I said in a Comment to the FTC, 'An important distinction should be drawn, however, between Adware ("any software that serves or facilitates advertising.") and 'advertising-supported software.' Unlike Adware, whose sole functionality is to display advertisements, advertising-supported software presents a core value proposition and functionality that is of benefit to the consumer, and separate and apart from its ability to serve advertisements. The CDT, in its Comment of March 4, 2004, highlighted the Eudora email application as a 'successful and user-friendly example of ad-supported software.' Advertising support is a legitimate revenue model that allows software developers a means to offer beneficial software at little or no cost to consumers. Other examples of successful ad-supported software products include AOL Instant Messenger, eFax, The Weather Channel’s Desktop Weather, and WeatherBug."

It's clear that concise definitions are needed. It's also clear the definitions will continue to be twisted to the benefit of the less than reputable companies doing business in this area. But the effort must be made in spite of continued abuse by scumware purveyors.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

Service Provides Marketers PDF Distribution Tracking

Harkening back to the glory days of document management, Remote Approach has launched a new service that enables companies to track and manage Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents through multiple distribution channels.

The online service allows users to easily tag their PDF documents so that when distributed, perhaps as part of a viral campaign, the PDF automatically interacts with a reporting system. The company says this allows companies to see whether their documents are being read, not just downloaded, and if they are being forwarded and distributed through channels like email and peer to peer.

"A lot of clients don't measure their full audience, relying only on their web site statistics," said John Bielby, President of Remote Approach. "Using this service will allow them to realize how widespread their PDF documents are being distributed. From a dollars and sense perspective, it's particularly important to companies trying to establish return on investment metrics for their online distribution channels."

Using a graphical reporting interface, Remote Approach clients can view and analyze reports in real time. Several pre-built reports provide access to high level analysis and functionality to export raw logs into the reporting or analysis tool of a company's choice.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

WhizSpark Launches Local Advertising Events

Event planning company WhizSpark, located in Massachusetts is launching a series of social networking events for those in the advertising, entertainment and media industries. Called, appropriately, the Entertainment, Advertising and Media Industry Mixer, the events bring together entertainers, advertisers, radio station personalities, ad agency people, photographers, designers and brand managers for business networking. Out of these networking events, WhizSpark hopes to initiate collaboration on existing and new projects among industry practioners. The next event is March 29.

Posted by Steve Hall at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

Automotive Web Promotion Brings Customers to Dealerships

Pontiac has launched "Catch A G6," a website where visitors can submit pictures of Pontiac G6's they have taken, get a free ringtone and be entered into a drawing to win a million dollars.

Smartly, the site provides dealer listing info so those in search of the million dollar prize will, if that can't find a G6 on the road, walk into dealerships to take the picture. You can be sure the sales force will be ready to pounce. Simple but smart promo.

Posted by Steve Hall at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

ADBUMb Newsletter Bans Spam, Choose Your Headline

When we received this press release, we responded to the sender there'd be two ways to go with this story. Neither complimentary to the company in question. Still, we were urged to provide coverage. Obligingly, we are happy to do so. Here's the two headlines we came up with. You can choose which one suits your take on the story.

  • AdBumb to Ban Spam, Spyware, Adware Ads From Newsletter, Lays Off Staff As Ad Revenue Plummets. [Ed. Well, not yet, at least]
  • And now , the release:
    ADBUMb, Inc., (http://www.adbumb.com) the #1 Online Advertising newsletter, today announces its decision to ban from its pages advertisements that promote spam, spyware or adware installed without user permission. In so doing, ADBUMb, the industry leader, becomes the first publication in online advertising to adopt a formal policy prohibiting such advertisements.

    "The editorial team at ADBUMb came out long ago as being strongly opposed to the prevalence of spam and spyware in this industry," explained Elizabeth Hines, the Editor-in-Chief of ADBUMb. "We consider ourselves a watchdog publication, protecting the community from precisely these kinds of bad faith initiatives. Formally adjusting our advertising policy to reflect our beliefs is simply a natural progression, and we hope to see other publications take a similar stance in their own policies."

    According to Arthur Barbato, Director of Advertising at ADBUMb, "It’s important to remember that the vast majority of online advertisers do not support the use of this kind of technology. Our advertisers are professional businesspeople who do not care to be associated with unsolicited email and other illegal operations, and this move will go a long way in helping advertisers feel comfortable with the company they are keeping when they advertise in ADBUMb."

    The proliferation of spam, spyware and non-permission based adware has of late become a central challenge to the integrity of online advertising. To assist in cultivating a law abiding industry that refuses to condone non-consensual actions taken against consumers, ADBUMb has made the choice to take a firm stand on what kind of products it will promote in its ad space.

    In adopting this new policy, ADBUMb hopes to encourage fellow industry members to move toward a prosperous future in legal, permission based usages.

    Well, which headline is better?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

    March 09, 2005

    McDonald's Campaign Translated: Don't Eat Our Food

    While it would be so much fun to jab McDonald's for its recently launched, duplicitous eat healthy ad campaign, we're going to restrain ourselves.

    We're not going to call it a veiled effort at heading off lawsuits or a double-talk marketing strategy similar to tobacco company funded anti-smoking campaigns. We're not going to call attention to the fact that maybe, just maybe, the millions spent on this campaign are simply being spent to further increase McDonald's market share. We're not going to point out the ludicrous analogy of showing animated fast food paraphernalia demonstrate proper exercise in the ads. We're not going to suggest a great headline for this campaign would be, "Don't Eat At McDonald's." And, we're not going to point out that it's parents, not McDonald's, that need to be hit over the head with a nutritionally balanced 2 X 4. No, we're just going to sit back, smile, and enjoy one of the most expensive, grasp at survival, PR campaigns launched in recent history.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Campaign: Don't Tell Your Kid About Your Big Butt

    As we go through our day wondering aloud if we should lose some wait and exercise or whether or butt or boobs are too big, we often forget what sort of messages that sends to kids, or so goes the thinking behind a new ad campaign from Toronto Public Health. The currently running campaign, called "Your Kids Are Listening," shows pictures of kids beneath commonly utter adult phrases such as, I never seem to find time to exercise," Does my butt look too fat in these jeans," and I could stand to lose a few pounds."

    While well intended, it's unlikely parents are going to start saying, "Damn, baby. I love your fat, floppy ass!" or "Honey, don't go workout today, I love that your beer gut crushes me when you're on top of me."

    or "Babe, you don't need a reduction. I love that your boobs hang to your waist." The campaign includes brochures that explain how to live a healthy lifestyle by example so parents don't have to worry about comenting on their thunder thighs within earshot along with some beneficially squishy copy on self esteem.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

    Wrigley's Brings Back the Doublemint Twins

    In what could be a turning point for marketers yearning to re-connect with jaded consumers, Wrigley's has brought back the Doublemint Twins of yester-year when all that mattered was whether or not you went to the prom or if you had The Preppy Handbook. Rather than take the lowbrow Coor's hottie twins approach, Wringley's and its agency, BBDO Chicago, chose, smartly, to go with nostalgic kitsch factor. The television commercial shows two impossibly innocent looking - by today's standards - twins dressed in cutsey 60's dresses anachronistically riding their bicycle through vignettes of today singing, "You didn't double your pleasure, you just doubled your pain" and, in a nod to today's oddities, "Deodorant's extreme, water's got caffeine, even the news is mean."

    As part of the campaign, Wrigley's is holding an online and physical casting call in search of other pairs of twins for future campaigns.

    UPDATE: Footage from the old campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Wrigley's Brings Back the Doublemint Twins

    In what could be a turning point for marketers yearning to re-connect with jaded consumers, Wrigley's has brought back the Doublemint Twins of yester-year when all that mattered was whether or not you went to the prom or if you had The Preppy Handbook. Rather than take the lowbrow Coor's hottie twins approach, Wringley's and its agency, BBDO Chicago, chose, smartly, to go with nostalgic kitsch factor. The television commercial shows two impossibly innocent looking - by today's standards - twins dressed in cutsey 60's dresses anachronistically riding their bicycle through vignettes of today singing, "You didn't double your pleasure, you just doubled your pain" and, in a nod to today's oddities, "Deodorant's extreme, water's got caffeine, even the news is mean."

    As part of the campaign, Wrigley's is holding an online and physical casting call in search of other pairs of twins for future campaigns.

    UPDATE: Footage from the old campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

    March 08, 2005

    Family Group Warns Parents And Marketers About Marketing to Children

    Insuring it is part of the growing conversation on viral and buzz marketing, particularly as it applies to children, the National Institute on Media and Family has launched an offline and online ad campaign targeting marketing and parent-related websites. The campaign appears on ClickZ, Ad Age.com, AdWeek.com, MediaWeek.com, Child.com and Parents.com and directs people to a recently launched weblog calling attention to a viral and buzz marketing code of ethics just launched by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

    A full page print ad appeared in the print version of Ad Age as an open letter to execs at agencies that have been involved with viral marketing.

    As we've said before, we don't think viral and buzz marketers are shoving dangerous messages down kids throats anymore than other marketers have done for years. Kids are smart. They are not duped easily. Viral and buzz marketers are not pedophiles. NIMF isn't John Hathorne during the Salem Witch Trials. All parties just need to go have a drink together and get over this overblown animosity.

    In fact, WOMMA should, if it hasn't already, extend an invitation to members of NIMF to attend its upcoming Word of Mouth Marketing Summit in Chicago March 29-30.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

    Style Network Launches 'Craft Corner Deathmatch'

    The knitting needles and glue guns come out tonight for the debut of the Style Network's Craft Corner Deathmatch, a show in which dueling crafters are pit againts each other in a battle of stitch and bitch. What's next? "Bolt Tightening Brawl?"

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

    NBC's 'The Contender' Pulls Strings, Not Ratings

    We're a sucker for repetitive Jerry Bruckheimer theme music and the blatant use of kids for manipulative emotional appeal. We admit we're a fan of all things Mark Burnett and Sylvester Stallone. And we can appreciate a good, kick ass face pounding from time to time. NBC's The Contender, the latest Mark Burnett reality show, delivered all that last night leading us to believe another hit may be in the making. Unfortunately, according to overnight ratings as published in Marc Berman's MediaWeek Programming Insider, that's unlikely to happen."The Contender debuted with a disappointing 5.3/ 8 in households (#2), 8.40 million viewers (#2) and a 4.1/10 among adults 18-49 (#2) from 9:30-11 p.m."

    So much for Bruckheimer's swelling French horns.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

    Volunteer Organization Promotes With Job Rejection Viral Site

    To promote itself, do-it, a UK-based volunteer organization created a website called the National Job rejection Database, a site where those who recently interviewed for work but were not hired can search for reasons why they weren't hired. Of course, it's all a joke and after you've entered your name, job applied for, company and date, you are taken to a page with a humorous description as to why you were not hired. That is, until the page automatically progresses to another with the gigantic headline, "Just Kidding!" and the sub-head, "We made up the NJRD. But volunteer work really is a great way to improve your CV."

    This is an intriguing viral. (There's a send-to-a-friend form) It's engaging enough but doesn't keep you guessing too long before it reveals its true self and takes you to a site where you can sign up for volunteer work. While funny, it might not be all that funny to someone who has been unsuccessful at finding a job only to be presented with an unpaid opportunity but we think everyone will see the humor.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Race Horse Center of Drunk Driving Ad Campaign

    It's not that the name of this particular race horse sounds odd - they all do. It's that the name of this horse is central to a New Zealand-based, anti drunk driving campaign. The Land Transport Safety Authority plans to use the name, Dontdrinkanddrive, for a race horse bred by Sir Patrick Hogan. No, not that one. That was Paul Hogan.

    The apparent strategy of race fans hearing the name, Dontdrinkanddrive, over and over and over again before, during and after horse races, might cause that sixth beer not to be consumed before heading home.

    Clemenger BBDO is behind the naming strategy.

    Not everyone thinks it's a good move. National MP (some sort of high ranking government official, we guess) said, "I haven't come across anyone who has heard this story and hasn't fallen about laughing. I'm not sure that's how they want road safety messages taken." What do you think?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

    RV Ad Targets Gays

    In creating a commercial for Go RVing, The Richards Group of Dallas has tossed stereotypes to the wind.

    Instead of featuring the usual grey haired, twilight of life retired couple enjoying some god forsaken nightmare of a trailer park in Florida, the agency created an ad targeting young, hot gays. At least according to CG, an openly gay man writing on Appreciate the Cheese. We tend to trust the gaydar of those living the lifestyle rather than our limited, married with two kids lifestyle.

    Recent research by Harris Interactive pointed to three new prospects for RV marketing: families with children, weekend recreation and sports buffs and outdoor escapists. Though there seemed to be nary a mention of gay men who have female friends and like to look longingly at each other.

    Intriguingly, the spot is done well. It's not one of those spots that screams, "Look! See! we're targeting some different people here! We're trying real hard to be cool about it! Bear with us until we return to the usual bland, boring, watered down, please all demographic, ethnic and psychographic group commercials." It's subtle - sure to fly high over the head of those who might take issue with this sort of thing.

    It's a fairly dramatic shift in traditional RV marketing. There's no reason only retired folk should enjoy the open road from a box on wheels. Read CG's commentary here. See the spot here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

    March 07, 2005

    Product Placement Firm Sued By Mark Burnett Productions

    Purveyor of reality TV series and product placements galore, Mark Burnett Productions has sued product placement firm Madison Road claiming it charged its clients, Crest, Levi's and Mars 2.5 times Burnett's normal product placement asking price. Even in an industry where everything is marked up, 250 percent oversteps things just a bit. No one's commenting, of course, beyond bland, say nothing statements.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Hot Girl On Car Action! Some Beer Ads Never Change

    While we're sure there's plenty of other eye popping television commercials in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week, we never quite got past the first one for James Boag, an Australian brewer. Shot in black and white, the commercial is yet another depiction of the typical male fantasy in which all women are hot and all they want to do is have sex - especially on top of a car. Visually, the spot is beautiful. Whether it sells beer really doesn't matter because, after all, beer ads are selling a lifestyle, not beer, right? Oh, and the other spots? Quickly. Nascar, Pepsi Sierra Mist, Embassy Suites, GM, UPS, EA Sports and Gatorade.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Columnist Slams PR Management of ANA President's TV Slam

    Oh, the feathers have been ruffled in media land today. Last week, ANA President Bob Liodice wrote a post in his blog, ANA Marketing Musings. It was an insightful look at some of the elements hurting the television medium such as ad clutter, high cost and lack of measurement. Reacting to that, MediaPost satirist George Simpson wrote a fake letter to Bob as if written by Meredith Topalanchik, who works for PR firm CooperKatz - the PR firm for the ANA - poking fun at Bob for not running his post by his PR folks before dumping on a medium of which the ANA has many members.

    Still with us? We didn't think so. Anyway, in response to all of that, Steve Rubel, also with CooperKatz, bit back on his weblog Micro Persuasion in defense of his co-worker and in support of the open and free voice central to the characteristics of weblogs.

    We don't know if George was having a bit of fun by lighting a snarky fire under the ANA and the plight of old fashioned public relations in the face of weblog proliferation or whether he truly believes blog posts should be edited by PR folks. We hope it's the former. We also hope he doesn't think an association should never say anything bad about itself or its members. We also hope he thinks insightful conversation about the issues facing the advertising industry are also a good thing. In fact, we know he does. George love to stir things up like this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Star Wars III Trailer to Debut on FOX's 'The O.C.'

    Smack in the middle of teen angst and Mischa Barton's horrific acting, viewers will be treated to the world premiere of the Star Wars III trailer during this week's episode of FOX's shark-jumping 'The O.C.' The trailer will then be widely released to, assuredly, a point of saturation at which actually going to see the movie will become unnecessary.

    Oh, and for those fans of Beck - five songs from his upcoming album, Guero, will premiere as will. Set your TiVo now!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

    FCC Tech Chief To Advertisers: Stop Annoying Or Face Regulation

    Aligning nicely with an earlier nod we made regarding advertising industry regulation, FCC Chief of Technology Edmund J, Thomas, speaking last Friday at the AAAA's Conference said advertisers need to stop being so annoying and which he sees as a plea for regulation. He challenged the industry to find methods, and fast, of becoming less annoying especially in the face of new "smart" technology which has the potential to eradicate most forms of current advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

    AOL's Advertising.com Dumps Adware

    MediaPost reports it has learned AOL's Advertising.com, last fall, stopped doing business with Claria, WhenU and 180Solutions citing a statement from AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein, who said, "From that review [conducted in Fall 2004], we decided to make clear that we would not do business with companies that distribute adware or spyware that intereferes with or damages our members' online experience."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    March 06, 2005

    Viral Marketing Discussed on American Public Media's Weekend America

    Rex Sorgatz, who publishes Fimoculous, appeared this weekend on American Public Media's Weekend America and discussed viral marketing and its increasing use as a marketing tactic. From Burger King's Subservient Chicken to Raging Cow and other's Sorgatz discusses the pros, cons and considerations of viral marketing. The mp3 file is here. He's also compiled a detailed list of recent viral campaigns on his blog here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

    March 05, 2005

    KFC And JC Penny Commercial Music Choices Baffling

    Tian aims our sights to The Indepundit, where some logic-challenged commercial song choices are discussed.

    Kentucky Fried Chicken...sorry...KFC makes the geographically-challenged decision to uses part of Lynard Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" - a fairly angry song - in their television spots.

    JC Penny used the 80's tune "99 Red Balloons" - a song about nuclear war - for a Valentine's promotion. While both marketers use just pieces of each song in their commercials, one must wonder what sort of "strategic thinking" led to choices like these. Perhaps no one reads or even hears song lyrics anymore. Perhaps no one wants to bother with the real meaning of the song as long as it has a catchy riff. Perhaps it's all irrelevant.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

    March 04, 2005

    Court TV Promotes Series With Bawdy Campaign

    Contestant T.J. Meyers

    Court TV ups the anti in its efforts to shed its prior, staid image with a double-entendre filled ad campaign for the new crime reality show Impossible Heist.

    The series pits two teams of ripped six packs and big boobs against each other re-enacting famous crimes for real while attempting to elude capture.

    The ad campaign features Catherine Zeta Jones Entrapment cat suit style imagery with the tagline, "Likes to work on all fours;" a woman scaling a building below the headline, "She'd Rather Be Tied Up Than Down" and others with equally sex-laden tags like "It's not the size of the tool, It's how you use it" and "Well hung." The creative will appear on buses, posters, boards, kiosks and other outdoor media.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Starbucks Murders Starship With Promotional Song

    Gawker reports a Starbucks Licensed Store Awards event in Seattle featured a bastardized version of Jefferon Starship's "We Built This City" created, apparently, to celebrate, with employees, the chain's success.

    Listen at your peril.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Talent Zoo Launches 'After Hours' Networking Events

    Talent Zoo has announced After Hours, a series of offline networking events for advertising industry folks to gather socially. Talent Zoo says these events are not typical networking parties, but simply a reason to go out, have fun, meet friends and make new ones.

    The After Hours events are free but an RSVP is required. In the coming months, After Hours will be in New York, Miami, D.C., Detroit, San Fran, Vegas, Boston, and Chicago, among others. The next event is in New York at the Pink Elephant March 9 at 6:30PM.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

    Conference to Illustrate Benefits of Video Game Advertising

    The Advertising in Games Forum, April 14, 2005 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, in New York City, plans to explore the creative and audience targeting potential of video games as an advertising medium. The Forum will feature a keynote presentation by Mitch Davis, CEO of Massive Inc, the creator of one of the first video game advertising networks, as well as executives at industry leading game companies, technology companies and agencies.

    Attendees will hear how brands can make use of the rapid expansion in new video game formats and technology platforms to reach target demographics and achieve ROI and tracking objectives. Attendees will learn how to address the increasingly fragmented gaming audience through a variety of alternate creative treatments; how the unique format of on-line ads affects creative and overall campaign costs; how to manage long development cycles for games; how ads can add realism to games, and how the relationship between the ad agency and the developer/publisher can be managed to mutual advantage.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

    Gillette Campaign Bathes Singapore Subway Station in Matrix Green

    To promote its M3Power razor, Gillette and its media agency MindShare, cast a green glow on one of Singapore's busiest subway stops, City Hall MRT, by placing green transparency over most of the station's lighting. The station domination campaign also included the placement of station poster featuring spokesman David Beckham. If anyone from Gillette or MindShare have images, please share.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Martha Stewart to Benefit From Jail Time

    Writing in Business Week, Diane Brady examines the market's reaction to Martha Stewart's time in jail and her release today. Brady says Stewart's company stock is up, Stewart stand to collect a big paycheck upon release, TV appearances and series abound (The Apprentice: Martha Stewart) and book deals are in the making.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

    Video On Demand Boggles Some, Not Adrants

    At the AAAA's Conference in New Orleans this week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts discussed his company's adoption and rollout of video on demand and how that will enable both Comcast and advertisers to serve the specific needs of individuals. During his speech, Roberts announced a partnership with Rentrak Corp. which will yeild monthly VOD metrics including counts for VOD-enabled boxes per market, views per month, unique box views per month and total monthly minutes viewed.

    Discussion from the panel netted little additional insight into the understanding of VOD's potential for sustaining an advertising model.

    To us, it's simple. VOD will simply be a video version of the Internet's point and click navigation scheme. Watch a program, see something of interest, click on it, show pauses, shifts to video of item of interest and so on. Product placement won't have to be so blatant. If a viewer likes what an actor is wearing, driving, eating, touching, etc., click on it and get more info about it. In fact, marketers won't pay for the actual product placement but, rather, pay for the link to the screen/video that contains more info on the item.

    Of course, marketers will still engage in product placement efforts so that their product appears and can be clicked on. It's not a perfect model and we know you'll shoot holes right through it but we think it has potential.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Man Stands Out With Pot Noodle Horn

    Assuredly among many, one of the advantages women have over men is their ability to become "interested" in someone without visibly "announcing" it for all to see. In this video for Pot Noodles, this poor chap, walking into a bar, has a very large public "announcement" in the form of The Pot Noodle Horn. At first, he denies to his friends he has The Pot Noodle Horn but then proudly displays it for all to see, embraces it and blows it loudly. He then scurries off, returns, disheveled but relieved, though with a bit of Pot Noodle "evidence" spilt on his clothes. Despite the description, this is perfectly safe to view at work.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

    March 03, 2005

    Pop Up Purveyors Disrespectful of People's Preferences

    One of the major reasons people use pop up blockers or switch to browsers like Firefox which have built in pop up blockers is to, no doubt, block pop ups. Serving pop ups is one thing. Ignoring people's preference to avoid them as a whole different animal. Companies that circumvent a consumer's choice to block pops by deploying anti-pop up/under blocking software are scum in our book. We use Firefox. Until recently, the past year and a half or so have been blissfully pop-free. A month or so ago, we have seen the resurgence of the pop while using Firefox. We don't like it.

    Today, while visiting Dictionary.com, we were presented with a pop under. We forget the advertiser but we do know Advertising.com serves on-page banners to Dictionary.com. It's known that pop ups and unders do not always emanate from specific sites but from behavioral profiles built up over time so we aren't sure Dictionary.com or Advertising.com had anything to do with the pop.

    Later today, while loathe to do so, we found it necessary to visit DrudgeReport. Sure enough, two pop unders appeared. This time, we paid more attention and saw that Tribal Fusion served the pop for Emode's Tickle. The other pop was one of those obnoxious flashing banners, this time, for travel site Travasaurus. We can't confirm who served that one but we sure like Drudge a lot less now that we did before.

    Respect for peoples choice to opt out of seeing pop ads seems like a no brainer. It's sort of like answering "yes" to a waiter after he's asked if you're finished with your meal only to have him scrape what food might be left on the plate and jam it down your throat. It's just not a nice thing to do. Why is it so difficult for companies to grasp that concept? And we're not buying that whole argument that pops, like telemarketing work so they must be a OK. Times are changing. People aren't going to stand for this shit. Advertisers and sites should not stand for it either.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Virgin Mobile Launches 'Pee Strip' Insert

    one of our Canadian readers sent us this magazine insert for Virgin mobile which asks readers to cut out a strip of paper from the insert and pee on in like a pregnancy test. As if anyone would actually do this is of no matter to Virgin Mobile. On the back of the insert, Virgin Mobile assumes the test was taken and asks, "Did you test positive for the Catch?" The "Catch," apparently, refers to competing cell phone provider's practice of tying discounts and promotions to loopholes or catches. The back of the insert lists symptoms of the "Catch" as "monthly billing discomfort, "unsightly hidden fees," irregular growth in rates" and "paralyzing contractual obligations." Of course, the offer close with Virgin Mobile's catch-free cell phone plan. We'll give it notice for being different. Larger images are here and here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

    WeatherBug Launches Weblog

    Leading the next great corporate marketing trend, desktop weather company WeatherBug has launched a weblog.

    The goal of the weblog, it seems, is to address customer concerns and to offer insight into the weather gathering and weather reporting process. Since weather is high on everyone's daily news troll, a blog about the process might make sense.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Vegas Red Casino Launches Second Viral

    Yesterday, we pointed to a video for Vegas Red Casino which showed a guy going to the doctor's office for his oversized right arm due to playing too many slots. Today, the second video, created by Keta Keta, illustrates playing the odds at Vegas Red Casino is much safer than playing the odds with a fan

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Saatchi Picks Ups Pieces After Mass Exodus

    Following the exit of General Mills Account Director Mike Burns and the 16 others who followed, Saatchi Worldwide has begun to rebuild naming Pete Johnson senior VP and creative director. In an unlikely scenario, General Mills is encouraging the group that left to at least speak with Saatchi about returning.

    Obviously, there's deep secrets afoot here. Seventeen people don't up and leave without good reason. Not that anyone will do so, but we'd sure appreciate hearing little truth from anyone of those 17 former Saatchi staffers or others who have real facts surrounding the event.

    If you are so inclined, we're happy to grant anonimity. Find us here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    CMP Announces Dogear Peelback Ad Unit

    In a move that might actually make rich media acceptable, CMP Media's TechWeb Network, yesterday, announced the launch of a new ad unit - the Dogear Peelback. The Dogear Peelback is an animated graphic that resembles a folded over page corner, or dogear. The ad unit, which sits quietly in the corner of the page until activated by mouseover, can be customized to include the client's logo or other creative. When a user 'mouses' over the dogear, the entire page peels back to reveal the advertiser's landing page behind the TechWeb Network news page. The effect gives advertisers a about half of the page real estate. View the demo here.

    Once opened, the unit has the obligatory "Close" button on the outer most flap of the unit. Clicking "Close" or simply mousing off that area of the page, closed the unit. Making the unit more dynamic might call for the addition of an "Open" button which would continue to peel back that page until it opens entirely to the advertisers page. Currently, it seems, clicking on the uncovered page is the only method of navigating to the advertiser's page. Minor picks aside, the ad unit makes great use of rich media while maintaining sensibility to flashy, rich media crazy overload like those ads that crawl across the page while you fight to fund their "close" button. So far, it seems, this unit has great promise.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

    Atlanta Subways to Get TV And Radio

    In a move likely to be sold as beneficial to commuters but, in reality, made to increase transit revenue, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority will pipe programming and advertising into each of its 230 rail cars. The cars will be outfitted with 15 inch flat screen monitors offering local news from ABC affiliate WSB and an FM transmitter providing top 40, jazz and R&B.

    The system, provided by The Rail Network, is the first of its kind and is destined to cause both praise and consternation. The Rail Network CEO David Lane says Atlanta stands to take in $20 million in advertising revenue over the next decade and is in talks with all other major metro transit systems to spread the system across the country.

    Lane expects Washington, D.C. and Vancouver, Canada to sign on soon.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

    March 02, 2005

    42 BELOW Vodka Promotes And Serves

    42 BELOW Vodka took an appropriate approach to street marketing during the recent East Coast snow storm. From the 42nd parallel in New Zealand, to 42nd street in New York, 42 BELOW was out in the blizzard of Manhattan clearing snow from their favorite bars. Ten inches of fresh powder did not deter the 42 BELOW snow patrol team Monday night as they cleared a path from the curb to the door of Butter, Table 50, Hiro, Quo, 203 Spring, Caviar and Banana's, Snitch and Bungalow 8.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Frito-Lay Introduces Black Pepper Jack Doritos With inNw Campaign

    Writing on ClickZ, Pamela Parker explains a campaign Frito-Lat launched to promote its new Doritos Black Pepper Jack flavor. The campaign began with teaser billboards containing the message "inNw" which then expanded to TV, text messaging and a website peppered with hip-speak unveiling the tagline, "If not now when?"

    The campaign was targeted to 16-24 year olds and was created by BBDO, Tribal DDB Dallas and Hip Cricket.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Ads Are Not Always As Dirty As They Seem

    When visiting the doctor's office, the waiting room is often filled with oddball characters which creates the need to play internal guessing games as to their ailment. This fellow, with a bulked up right arm, is mocked for engaging in a certain repetitive activity usually reserved for private spaces. As it turns out, he's simply a slot machine junky and it's an ad for Vegas Red Casino.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

    Head Hugging And Silly Singing Promote Pocky Candy

    Here's a very weird Japanese commercial for a very weird Japanese chocolate product. If we knew Japanese French, maybe it would be more fun but watching these two girls hold each other's heads and place sticks of candy in their mouths is oddly transfixing. See some other weird ones here. The more you watch them, the more you'll like them.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

    New Emoticon Language Offers Therapy For Designers

    Designer Ze Frank provides frustrated designers with a collection of substitute emoticons to use in response to emails from clueless account managers who think they know what they are talking about in terms of creative. If you've been berated one time too many by creative wannabes for work you think is great, check out Ze's instructional video on how to incorporate his emoticon "Punctuation Substitutions" into your next response to that puff bag loser.

    If this takes off (or if it already has and we're the clueless loser), agency emails are destined to become a lot more interesting.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

    Yahoo Celebrates Tenth Anniversary With Netrospective

    Highlighting 100 important moments of the web, Yahoo, today, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a Netrospective.

    The site includes a review of interesting events occurring along the ten year lifespan of Yahoo.

    From Mahir, the first, though odd, web celebrity to the birth of Netscape and Google to the dancing baby to the hey days of Napster, the Yahoo Netrospective is a fascinating trip down memory lane. Well done, Yahoo.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

    March 01, 2005

    State Bill Would Require Both Ad And Movie Start Times Advertised

    A bill before Connecticut lawmakers would require theaters to advertise two start times - one for the time the actual movie start and another for the time the ads and previews begin. State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann claims consumers are being manipulated and that his bill has received the most attention of any bill he's proposed.

    We wonder what's worse though. Sitting through ads and previews or enduring the noise and confusion of movie goers entering the theater just as the actual movie begins to roll. Not an easy choice. The only real answer to this, and all other ad clutter issue is for the American Association for Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and perhaps others to get together and draft industry guidelines which would limit advertising placement in all media relative to the content in which the advertising appears. Not likely to happen though.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

    MasterCard,Regal Launch Co-Branded Cinema Campaign

    In early February, it was announced Regal CineMedia Corporation , the media subsidiary of the Regal Entertainment Group and MasterCard would launch a co-branded card, Regal Entertainment Group Platinum MasterCard card, and pre-movie ad campaign. Launching this Friday, March 4, the campaign includes three cinema spots created by LA-based Johnson & Murphy.

    The terms of the marketing agreement with MasterCard include a variety of on-screen and in-lobby promotional opportunities for Regal Entertainment Group's 560 theatres nationwide, reaching nearly 6,300 screens in 40 states.

    Creatively, the three ads track the interaction between a guy doing movie character impersonations and a retail store check out girl who, first, wigs at the guy's propensity to take on Brando and the like, then warms to him and begins spouting characterizations of her own such as, "Dude, Where's My Card." Get it?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

    ANA CEO Says TV Is Getting Killed

    Writing on his weblog, ANA Marketing Musings, Association of National Advertisers CEO Bob Liodice says TV, as an advertising medium, is being killed.

    While we all know, TV is in trouble, Bob points to four major contributors to its struggle: clutter, high cost, lack of measurement and poor creative. We tend to agree. Is Bob right? Is TV getting killed? Who/what is killing it?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Overstock Ad Mesmerizes

    Seth Stevenson, writing on Slate, analyzes why there's been so much discussion about a recent Overstock.com TV commercial featuring a woman talking about the "O." Seth clarifies, for us, it's not really about that O but about the O in Overstock. He then proceeds to list the reasons why some think this commercial is so engaging to the point of transfixtion. We don't see it but Seth says it's about the double entendre, the woman's accent (we don't hear one), the music, the white background and the "mesmerizing babe." Still, we don't see it. Do you? Read Seth's commentary here and watch the ad here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

    JWT Gets Makeover, Time Becomes Central Focus

    Yesterday, it was the birth of a new religion for JWT, formerly known as J. Walter Thompson, America's largest ad agency. In a day long, worldwide celebration, J. Walter Thompson officially transformed itself into the hip, new JWT, an agency which will "stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in," according to the agency's new Creative Partnership Contract which all 8,500 employees signed yesterday.

    Placing time as the agencies key focus, JWT will treat time as the new currency and endeavor to respect people's growing lack of time to process advertising messages. As a symbolic nod to this new thinking, JWT is auctioning off the company's time for a charity on...where else...eBay. Rather than placing a gigantic tattoo on all 8,500 JWT employees, the agency will provide something more meaningful - free work. The winner of the bid will donate the time to a charity organization.

    In a move which may have Thompson either rolling in his grave or gleefully celebrating the shedding of his tired, old nautical persona, the legendary Commodore portrayed in portraits displayed in JWT offices around the world into a young, vigorous figure ready to compete in today's environment.

    Bob Jeffrey, Chief Executive Officer of JWT Worldwide, said the rationale for the reinvention of the agency is rooted in consumer behavior and demands. "We are now living in a world where the consumer is savvy, time-conscious, easily distracted and in control. Today's consumer is totally at odds with dumbed-down, formulaic, repetitive, voluminous messaging. Our greatest value to clients is our ability to recognize a changing world in which the customer is king, the currency is time and the rewards are measured in the length and strength of relationships. This understanding defines our role, purpose and belief."

    It sounds great in theory. Without jaded, snarky commentary, here's hoping the effort becomes reality.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Sony Launches New Gran Turismo 4 Site

    We're really not much of a gamer so we don't know whether to be excited or not about the life like visuals in the new Gran Turismo 4 game. Looks like a movie to our innocent eyes. We're sure gamers will have their comments. The new site which supports the launch of the game, designed by Zugara, features info on all the cars in the game (over 700+ actual models), track views, video and an interactive quiz to try that queries players ability to discern between on real-life photos versus in-game footage.

    We sure wouldn't know the difference. Gamers?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

    February 28, 2005

    Burger King Germany to Launch 'Pimp My Burger' TV Show

    As we snooped last week, Burger King is officially behind the PimpMyBurger promotion. Modeled after the MTV tuning show Pimp My Ride, Burger King Germany will launch Pimp My Burger, a show on which grilled meat, fresh salad and tomatoes will be discussed with the same enthusiasm tuners have for chrome rims, spoilers and paint. The show supports the launch of Burger King's Tender Crisp, a jacked up, supersized fried chicken sandwich. We're not sure for how long a "show" like this will keep interest but will give points for trying something a little different. The details will be released March 1 at PimpMyBurger.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

    Double Speak of Drug Ads to Change

    Following concerns around Vioxx and Celebrex, happy go lucky drug commercials are likely to end.

    According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, just 18 percent of people believe the ads most of the time and an Ipsos-Insight study found 19 percent were prompted by an ad to call a doctor, down from 25 percent in 2002. The new direction drug ads take is unclear but some sense they will become more factual in terms of describing the disease and referring people to doctors as brands take the back seat.

    Our sense is drug advertising is ridiculous in the first place. No one, other than a doctor, is in the position to make decisions on which drug is right for them. Promoting drugs to non-doctor consumers is pointless and just raises undue concern and questions. Other than aspirin and cold remedies, drug companies should limit their marketing to doctors - those able to make an informed decision of the appropriateness of the drug. The current explosion of drug ads is simply breeding a whole new generation of hypochondriacs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Accountability Ranked Number One Among Advertisers

    An annual survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) conducted to help shape its Annual Conference in October 2005, ranked accountability as senior marketers' top priority. The survey asked senior marketers to choose their top three issues from a comprehensive list and then rank them in order of importance, from one to three. Of the 111 respondents, more marketers indicated a greater concern about ccountability (61 total responses) than any other issues. Building strong brand franchises and integrated marketing communications ranked closely in the second and third positions with 48 and 45 total responses respectively. While last year the same top three issues emerged from the survey, this year building strong brand franchises switched with accountability for the top issue on marketers' minds.

    The following is the list of issues ranked in order of importance according to the total responses: -- Accountability -- Building strong brand franchises -- Integrated Marketing Communications -- Media fragmentation -- Structuring a marketing organization -- Consumer control over how they view advertising -- Innovation in a marketing organization -- Globalization of marketing efforts -- Growth of multicultural consumer segments -- Advertising creative that achieves business results -- Impact of technology on marketing -- Regulatory/legislative issues

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Newspapers Face Tough Battle

    A sweeping look at the long, slow decline of traditional newspapers, challenges facing publishers and new directions of the newspaper industry are covered in this piece.

    The gist? A shift to "readership" instead of "circulation as a metric, migration to online properties, easier navigation and the unsolved debate over free versus paid.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

    FOX Sports, Mobil Content Provider Launch Copa Libertadores Promo

    Fox Sports en Español, Fox Sports Latin America and Proteus, a developer and publisher of mobile entertainment content, have launched Fox Sports Copa Móvil, a suite of mobile products and services allowing fans to get in on the action of the Copa Libertadores, a prestigious club soccer tournament in the Americas. Fox Sports Copa Móvil initially will be available in the United States and Brazil, and soon to subscribers in Mexico and throughout Latin America. The service will include personalized score alerts, exclusive ringtones, mobile wallpapers, on-air polling, and mobile video services. Copa Móvil will be promoted throughout the tournament with in-game broadcast messaging and 30-second promotional spots on the Fox Sports en Español and Fox Sports Latin America networks. According to Forrester Research, U.S. Hispanics are far more inclined than the general population to adopt and pay for new wireless services such as photo messaging and ringtones, spending an average of $54.65 on wireless service per month, approximately $10 more than any other U.S. ethnic group.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

    Gamer Angered Over In-Game Ads

    Steve Parsons, writing on Weblogs, Inc. website, Joystiq, is angered over gaming maker Funcom's insertion of ads into its MMORPG Anarchy Online. Granting the ad-supported game is free and a subscription version is ad-free, Parsons claims the company responsible for the advertising is "delusional" quoting Massive, "Through our own research we know that most gamers want in-game advertisement to heighten the sense of realism." To which, Parsons chimes, "Yes, ram advertising down our throats. Make sure we have no avenue of escape. After all, nothing quite adds to the realism of an RPG set in a futuristic world like an advert for an online casino."

    It's true that ad creep has pervaded every corner of life and is showing no signs of slowing. It's all over people's bodies now, in urinals, at ski areas. It won't be long before a crafty marketer implants a targeted message inside the bowels of a surgical patient simply to sell the latest cancer drug to the surgeons performing the operation.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Public Breast Massage Stunt Not Well Received

    They say Bangkok is a place where people are pretty open about sex.

    With a city name like that, it's not surprising. However, a promotion for St. Herb Company's breast beautifying cream, which had three models receiving a topless breast massage at a press event to demonstrate the product's breast growth qualities, didn't go over so well. St. Herb says they launched the stunt to prove its "breast beautifying" advertising claims which is simply a veiled term for "breast enlarging," a term which faces greater scrutiny. Apparently the stuff works as one of the models reports her breasts had become firmer and the gap between them smaller.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Rance Crain: Mass Market Not Dead

    Writing in Ad Age, Rance Crain claims, contrary to popular belief, the mass market is alive and well. It's creative that's dead. Crain feels advertising simply isn't creative enough anymore to move product. While creative does seem to be, well, creatively challenged these days, last we looked, there seem to be more than three TV networks, not to mention all these other things called cable channels through which one must psychotically surf to make sure the latest groundbreaking episode of The Ashlee Simpson Show isn't missed. Oh, and there's this thing called the Internet too. It has tons of these places called "websites." Not sure what they are but it everyone seems to have one. Oh, duh, we get Rance's point now.

    There's still a mass market because the market is so massive. Phew. We felt stupid there for a minute.

    Oh, and speaking of massive. There's such a massive amount of magazines now too. That helps the massive market too. Back in the day, there used to be this really big magazine called National Geographic that, like, everybody read. It was so cool. The pictures were neat too. But now there's so many other important magazines like, oh, Star and Radar that everyone has to read to know the really cool stuff like whether their number is in Paris Hilton's Sidekick.

    Oops. We digress. Crain was talking about creative sucking too and the need for yet another CxO title - the Chief Creative Officer. Better go read his article to see what that's all about.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

    February 25, 2005

    Martin Williams Agency Launches Intern Campaign

    To promote its paid, post-graduate, 18 week intern program, Velocity, the Martin Williams agency has launched a website and corresponding offline poster campaign. The posters have been placed on the walls of student unions, career centers and dormitories on campuses across the country. View a larger image of the poster here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Burger King Chicken Burger Gets Pimped With Viral

    Apparently, Burger King is going viral again with PimpMyBurger, a site which contains a video featuring some dudes rapping about a chicken burger getting pimped. Some Whois research revealed the site is registered to Munchen, Germany-based Omnicom agency start-munich which list as one of its clients Burger King. At the end of the video, the date of March 1 is mentioned indicating, perhaps, the date all will be revealed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

    Portfolios Launches Virtual Schmooze Fest

    Portfolios.com, a clearing house for creative people's portfolios and the companies looking to hire creatives, has launched "Work The Room," a virtual advertising schmooze fest where you can interact with stuffy ad types. It's all part of the company's upcoming 2nd Annual Awards Show a show for killer portfolio work.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

    Blogger Founder to Launch Podcasting Service

    Today, Blogger Founder Evan Williams will unveil his newest venture: Odeo.

    Odeo is an all-in-one podcasting application which is said to make the creation, finding, organizing and listening to digital audio files as easy as Blogger made blogging. The application is said to be advertiser friendly following a model similar to radio. Williams predicts the adoption rate of podcasting will mirror that of blogging which grew from nothing in 1999 to 7.3 million today.

    Acknowledging it's a lot easier to listen to something than to read something, the podcasting model is destined to experience rapid growth.

    Already, there are close to 4,000 podcast available. Evan tells the story of how he came up with the idea for Odeo on his blog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

    February 24, 2005

    Walmart Poem Makes Good Ad

    Adrants reader Sue Graham sent us this Wal-Mart love poem. Perhaps Walmart should consider hiring her as a copywriter.

    Hurry, Hurry .....Dont delay, rush to Walmart buy today.

    Have a baby? Need a crib? THEY have blue to match the bib.

    Change the oil in the Car. Dont forget the roofing tar.

    Take the battery for exchange, buy that handy outdoor range.

    Give the gift that lasts forever! Diamond rings, aren't they clever? Milk, Bread and for a treat, sample turkey deli meat.

    Get your pills and your meds, dont forget the full sized bed.

    Shampoo, sheets, carrots, beets, cozy footies for those feets.

    Cut your hair, buy a bear, visit at their summer fair. Dont forget that sappy movie, Isn't walmart just so groovy?

    They have SOMETHING that you need, grab some handy garden seed. Fill the tank with walmart gas. Dont forget the frozen bass.

    Check your eyes, buy a cake, do you need a garden rake? Charge it on your Walmart card, it's slighty used.. not badly mared.

    Hurry ..Hurry...they have more..Visit at their online store..

    Super Center Shoping Store?....Walmart's at the very core.

    By Sue Graham....proud Walmart shopper!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

    Apple Rumored to Buy TiVo

    Adrants reader John Brock points us to a CBS MarketWatch story in which rumors abound and are, of course, denied that Apple may be mulling a takeover of TiVo. Adding TiVo's capabilities to Apple's digital offerings would certainly advance Apple's capability in the digital delivery space. The company has done it to great success with iTunes. TiVo could be a great delivery device for Apple's iMovie. A move like this would not be all that surprising given Apple's success with the iPod and iTunes. Perhaps another success story similar to iPod/iTunes will make the fact that Apple computers are, unfortunately, never going to achieve wide adoption irrelevant.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Golden Palace Graces More Boobs

    GoldenPalace.com, the online casino which simply can not keep its hands off other people's body parts, has found it way onto the chest/cleavage of LA actress and model Shaune Bagwell. She will wear "GoldenPalace.com" on her body for 30 days. Why is it that hot models always have names with double meaning?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

    MSN Search Launches Viral Campaign

    Microsoft has launched an online viral campaign called MSN Found to aid in promoting its new search engine, MSN Search. The viral collects together six characters with their own weblogs which link together and out to MSN Search via odd search terms...which then link back to the viral.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

    Cereal Cartoon Characters Turn Parents Into Helpless Idiots

    Referring to a study his company, Which, completed finding 77 percent of people say cereal packaging that uses cartoon characters like Shrek and Scooby Doo, Nick Stace said, "Too many characters loved by children are being used to promote foods high in fat, sugar and salt, leaving parents feeling powerless to say no."

    While the proliferation of cereal promotions might drive anyone mad, as far as we know, the boxes do not contain a device which prevents parent's mouths from forming the word "no."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

    New York Post Text Link Ads A Mistake

    The text link ads that appeared in the body of a New York Post article yesterday appeared in error. According to New York Post Spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein, as quoted in The New York Times today, the ads were not supposed to appear publicly. "That was a test of new technology that was not intended to be live. They have not debated or discussed it internally. They are not making any prediction whether they are going to use it."

    Oops. Amusing that the mistake appeared in major, yet late, story on the launch of a $40 million, three year ad campaign by the Magazine Publishers of America - sure to be read by everyone in the advertising industry. The Post does not now how the ads appeared publicly and they were removed by 6PM yesterday.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

    Body Billboardz Launches Exchange For Human Ad Space

    Aligning itself nicely with the explosion of eBay-sold body ad placement is Body Billboardz, a network bringing together those who are willing to sell space on their body with advertisers interested in buying that space. Body billboards, or human ad space, has become a, some say, unique way for advertisers to promote their product or service. BodyBillboardz.com is a brand new classified ad-style website. The website launched on February 2 and is especially popular with money hungry, carefree college students trying to pay off debts and earn a little extra cash.

    And look stupid in the process. Profiles are created by those willing to be "branded" and matched the corporate sponsors, who can review each participant's demographic and psychographic profile and align it with their advertising plans. Members are from the United States, Canada, and Germany in the age range of 19-35 years and are allowed to upload photos so the advertisers can view the potential image of their 'walking billboard'. OK, GoldenPalace, here's your goldmine.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Pepsi Formally Announces Star-Studded Global Ad Campaign

    Reported earlier, Pepsi has officially introduced it new, global ad campaign featuring Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham at a marketing event in Madrid. The campaign, which includes a spot in which Beyonce and Beckham do battle Kill Bill-style, will focus on music and soccer themes. The campaign will not air in North America.

    Screenshots of a Lopez version of the commercial are here. The ad can be seen here. She is seen in the ad with Amr Diab, a popular Arabic musician. Reportedly, the Beckham and Beyonce commercial will mirror this one closely.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

    Calacanis And Copeland: Weblog Advertising Outlook

    Network Landscape's Jason Clarke interviewed two entrepreneurs who have carved out successful business models centered on weblogs. Clarke spoke with Weblogs, Inc. Founder Jason Calacanis and BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland.

    Weblogs, Inc. publishes 70 niche-focused weblogs. BlogAds in an ad network offering advertisers reach to weblog readership. Both companies have seen tremendous growth in the last year and it's very likely that growth will continue.

    In the interview, Clarke asked Calacanis, perhaps referring to Adrants, Adland or the many other advertising weblogs, if he was concerned about launching his advertising focused weblog, AdJab, into a crowded space.

    Without missing a beat, Calacanis responded, "I never worry about competition."

    In what could be construed as either a validation of the weblog business model or a backhanded slap, Calacanis referred to competing Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton thusly, "When Nick Denton launched knock-offs of Autoblog, Joystiq, Gadling and HackADay three or four months after we launched them I was thrilled. Not just because it establishes us as a leader in the space and Nick as the follower, but because advertisers could look at each of the blogs and say "do I want Coke and/or Pepsi" as opposed to "do I want to drink that strange dark fizzing liquid?!?!"

    When Clarke ask BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland about how advertisers should understand weblogs, Copeland responded, in part, "blogs are about "you and me" but big media is about "us and them" (journalists versus audiences versus sources) or "it and it" (corporations versus consumers.) Advertising that smells like anything not created by a human for a human doesn’t fit in the blogosphere." Copeland also believes most successful weblogs will come from individuals and not corporations which are tied down by shareholder and legal obligations.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

    Kiley: Airline Ad Budgets Wasted

    Writing on his Business Week Brand New Day weblog, David Kirby is flumoxed by the money airlines spend on their ad campaigns citing personal evidence that most people select an airline based on frequent flyer miles and price. Price has become an even more important decision driver with the plethora of online travel cites placing airlines side by side in pricing charts. Given that deregulation has made airlines commodities, he also wonders whether the $30 million Delta spends on its advertising might be put to better use in reducing fares.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

    'Truth' Campaign Said to Stop 300,000 From Smoking, Campaign Funds in Jeopardy

    While the American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign has been found, through a recent study, to have prevented 300,000 kids from smoking, the money that funds the campaign may dry up. The fund comes as part of a $206 billion settlement between 46 states and the tobacco companies.

    As part of the settlement, large tobacco companies can cease funding the campaign is their market share drops below 99 percent which may soon happened as small tobacco manufacturers grow.

    Even if the fund stays solvent, it's an unequal war. Last year, the American Legacy Foundation spent $58.9 million on the Truth campaign while, in 2002, the tobacco companies spent $12.5 billion.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

    February 23, 2005

    Online Ad Points to Product Commentary Rather Than Homepage

    In an interesting and refreshing twist, an online ad for a new book by Murakami Haruki, Kafka on the Shore, does not link directly to the author's or the publisher's website.

    Rather, the ad, running on weblogs via the BlogAds network, links to other weblogs which have commented on the book.

    Publisher Knopf Books has hit on a unique form of paid, word of mouth advertising. Knopf is relying on the comments of others to talk up the book and to, ultimately, link to the book's website. In essence, Knopf is paying to point people to comments about the book.

    Quite ingeniously, Knopf has bought their way into the word of mouth space and is, smartly, using the words of others, rather than its own, to promote the book. This approach works well on weblogs as linking to other sources is common practice. However, there's no reason why, say, opt-in banner ad company, Dotomi, couldn't promote itself through its own online ad campaign by linking to case studies by marketers who have successfully used Dotomi rather than directly linking to its own promotional site. While Dotomi is a fine, upstanding company, as an advertiser, it's likely more trust will be placed on those who have had experience with Dotomi rather than what Dotomi has to say about itself.

    While this approach is not unlike typical endorsement advertising which has been around forever, a campaign geared towards driving people to commentary about a company rather than to the company itself is a new and novel approach to combining and capitalizing on both traditional one to many and word of mouth style advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Industry Looks Inward Following Early Seifert Convictions

    Upon yesterday's ruling that former Ogilvy & Mather execs Thomas Early and Shona Seifert were convicted for overbilling their Office of National Drug Control Policy client in 1999 and 2000, one can almost here the papers ruffling and the keyboards tapping as agency employees fly through billing records in a flurry, hoping to insure no wrong doing has been done on their watch. While the public already has a somewhat disdainful view of the advertising profession, yesterday's high profile ruling is doing nothing to change that unfortunate impression. While we can't recall the exact source, it was once found in a survey that advertising professionals were viewed by respondents with as much trust as afforded a car dealer. Writing in The New York Times, advertising columnist Stuart Elliot reviews all the sordid details and garners Ogilvy & Mather's position on the outcome.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

    Online Media Buyers Needed For Survey

    Web Ad.vantage is currently conducting a survey of online media buyers regarding their satisfaction, expectations, and experience with online media buying reps. The company is reaching out to as many online media buyers as possible for participation. If you are involved with online media buying and like taking surveys, Web Ad.vantage would appreciate your participation. The survey is accessible here.

    The results of the survey will be published by Clickz via Hollis Thomases, Web Ad.vantage President, and Clickz columnist.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Editorial Text Link Ads Raise Ethical Debate

    While making our daily visit to the New York Post, we saw a story announcing the Magazine Publishers of America launch of a $40 million, three year campaign to promote the magazine medium. The fact that this news is four months old is irrelevant, though comical in its own right. What is relevant is the New York Post's adoption of Vibrant Media's IntelliTXT service which links words in article to ads. Rolling the mouse over the word pops up a window with a Google-like text ad which can be clicked on.

    Forbes used Vibrant Media's product for a while but editors and others rebelled against it. The line of thinking is edit should be edit and ads should be ads and never shall the two intertwine. While we've had advertorials and other forms of paid edit for years, this move, combined with the intense proliferation of advertising in general have caused some to question the ethics of this form of advertising. One could debate these ads devalue the editorial content. Alternatively, one could argue they are simply non-intrusive, context-relevant ads readers can choose to view or not. That choice is not a possibility with many other forms on online and offline advertising. The questions as to which method of advertising is better will not be answered by advertising pundits but my the market. Just as pop up blockers rose to fend off aggravating popups, so might a technology that blocks or hides editorially linked text ads. The fact that ads are linked from within an article does not necessarily devalue the content of the article itself. The links are easy to ignore and don't alter the content. Sure, they are just another thing to process while reading but they are far easier to ignore than all over forms on online advertising. Given the choice between an Internet full of flashing graphic ads or only passive text ad links, which would you choose? Let us know.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

    CBS Markets 'Survivor' With Pretty People

    We all know reality TV has nothing to do with reality and CBS has, again, confirmed that for us. Just as Survivor losers begin the leave the island, dirty truths rear their ugly head.

    Not that we're very surprised but one of the first people voted off, Wanda, that weird singing lady, has revealed seven of the Survivors are professional models placed on the show by their casting agencies to "pretty up" the show.

    Wanda tells TV Guide, "Out of the 20 people that were originally cast, they cut seven and put pretty people from modeling agencies in instead, so that they would have the eye candy. We found that out while we were there [in Palau]. When we asked [each other], 'What did you do for your audition tape?' some of the people would say, 'Oh, well, I didn't really do an audition tape.'" So there you have it. Seven worthy human beings were cast off in favor of bimbo factor. Perhaps the next Survivor should take a page from The Apprentice playbook and pit tribes against each other based on certain attributes.

    Perhaps, planted modeling agency pretty people could be pit against regular humans. Then, we'd finally know whether or not looks really have anything to do with survival.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Tahoe Gets A Hoe

    Writing on Mutually Exclusive, Eric Eggerston points out the hidden dangers of choosing a URL. In a campaign to promote Tahoe, the Nevada destination has used the URL www.GoTahoe.com.

    Of course, when capitalization is removed as it commonly is when entering into a browser, www.gotahoe.com takes on a whole new meaning.

    For those not inclined to notice that sort of thing, Tahoe, apparently wants to know if you've got a hoe. Now hopefully, they are referring to the garden tool and not the ever prevalent, in Nevada, prostitute.

    Perhaps this was simple oversight, ingenious marketing or just a sneaky trick from the Tahoe marketing folks to get press. In any event, we're happy to help promote the world's oldest profession.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

    General Mills to Keep Marketing Food to Children

    Taking the line of thinking that it's more a parent's responsibility than a marketer's to monitor a child's food intake and eschewing the thinking marketers cause obesity in children, General Mills, in light of a recent announcement by Kraft it would reduce advertising to children, stated it plans to keep marketing to children. General Mills EVP Ken Powell said, "We think that advertising cereal is a healthy thing to do." Powell claims cereal is the primary focus of the company's marketing and, because of its whole grain content, aligns with U.S.

    Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines. However, the company will also continue to market its less than healthy foods as well.

    Facing heat from consumer groups, Kraft, Kellogg and General Mills have banded together and formed the lofty sounding Alliance for American Advertising, a pro kid marketing lobbying group. Kraft Chief Executive Roger Deromedi told Reuters, "To be sure that you maintain self regulation, the company believes it is important to take steps to show that you can self regulate."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

    February 22, 2005

    Apprentice Runner Up to Host TV Show

    Kwame Jackson, runner-up on the first The Apprentice is said to be finalizing a deal with CNN to host a weekend business show. The show is described as a "Inside the Actor's Studio" for CEO's. Whether this will be any good or not is irrelevant. Jackson has found yet another way to put himself in front of CEO's. You can believe he'll be hitting them up for work if this show tanks.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Comcast Expands Ads-On-Demand Service

    Following its launch in Philadelphia, Comcast has expanded its Ads-On Demand service to Baltimore. The service provides subscribers the same features of its content On-Demand service but provides consumers the ability to select commercial to view just as they might select a movie.

    The trend towards consumer control over media consumption and the increasing ability to skip ads, forces this model. Of course, the time will come when a person can insulate themselves completely from all advertising messages. But, at the same time, people will still need stuff. One place to get info on stuff is ads. In a sense, this service is a benefit to people as they will now be able to seek out and view new product information and offers just as they do now on the web.

    With this move to everything-on-demand, one hopes, marketers won't stop with :30's. In fact, everything should be on demand. Entire websites and ecommerce capabilities should be readily available through the TV remote control. Besides, shopping from the couch is a lot more comfortable then when hunched over a keyboard.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

    Viral Ad Experiment to Feature Victoria Beckham Look-A-Like

    Most, if not all viral advertising is created to be just that - an ad that, hopefully, is engaging enough to be passed around like wildfire. Viral marketer Asa Bailey wants to try something a little different. He wants to create viral content for content's sake with sponsorship as an afterthought. Of course, sponsoring content is nothing new. It's been done in all media since advertising was invented. And certainly there has been viral content online that has been loosely tied to sponsorship before.This is a bit different.

    Bailey wants to see if there is a new online viral advertising model.

    One, in which sponsorship is secondary. To test his theory, he has placed an ad on eBay (where else?) soliciting sponsorship of a viral video he plans to create. The video, called Knocking Down Victoria Beckham, will feature a Victoria Beckham look-a-like prancing about a store, incognito, shoplifting items from the baby section, escaping, seeing hubby David across the street then running to him only to be smacked down by a bus. We do love whacking our celebrities, don't we? The sponsorship of the viral includes opening and closing logos as well as the pervasive presence of a URL along the bottom of the film. The bid and details can be viewed here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

    NHL Dies A $230 Million Death

    The IEG Sponsorship Reports estimates the NHL stands to lose $230 million in sponsorship dollars due to the season being officially called off last week.

    "Assuming the league resumes play at some point, whether (the NHL) will again appear on those lists depends on whether the fans come back to the game," said IEG VP Jim Andrews. If they don't, then the league will have to win the fans back before it can even think of winning sponsors back." Things are not looking good for the sport or its sponsors these days.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Designer Gives Oscar Acceptance Speech

    UK Designer Stuart Wilson, who's done some great work and is currently lending his expertise to TBWA in London has created his own acceptance speech.

    While it's likely the sort of thinking that goes through a designer's mind when accepting an award for work that's been dumbed down by committee, it's also a great example of what you won't hear during acceptance speeches at this year's Oscar ceremony.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

    Yahoo Gets Phat With 'Fat Actress' Webcast

    .

    Perhaps because no one is actually going to watch Kirstie Alley's Fat Actress, Showtime has signed a deal with Yahoo to have the entire first episode of the series webcast on Yahoo. The episode will be made available in it's entirety, including commercials, March 7 through March 12. Maybe the air valve in our head is loose this morning, but we wonder why people would go out of their way to watch the episode online with commercials when they could view it offline on commercial-free Showtime. Check that valve for us, would you? Chiding aside, we think it's a great idea to take TV programming to the web. With audience segmentation growing, TV viewing down, multitasking up and personal video player usage growing, it makes perfect sense to "broadcast" programming from the web where it can be viewed at a time of people's choosing just as the TiVo and On Demand services provide offline. Additionally, actual viewership can be tracked more effectively online than off and advertisers will love that.

    Yahoo Media and Entertainment honcho Lloyd Braun tells Ad Age he has plans for a "big signature event" that he likens to the sea changing qualities of I love Lucy and The Sopranos. We hope it's not all talk.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

    February 21, 2005

    Abercrombie Legal Slap Down Gets Company More Unwanted Press

    Sadly, it's predictable. A company reacting to the defacement of its brand almost always goes down the wrong road. Rather than enter into a conversation (or better yet, simply ignore these small stunts) with those defacing its brand, it calls in the lawyers. That's what Abercrombie & Fitch did after we called their attention to the existence of some Nazi-esque posters branded with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo but, in reality, were just social commentary. Now, like PUMA, Abercrombie & Fitch would like this to all go away but all they've done is fan the flames.

    sfist has a lengthy interview with Chris, the creator of the A&F parody and, much to A&F's chagrin, even more Nazi-esque images from the parody. In the interview, Chris, while having nothing against Abercrombie & Fitch, says he is irked by "groupthink" which he likens to a "mindless conformity - that people are willing to adopt a logo." Going further, he adds, "the mechanics of wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt are identical to wearing a Nazi armband."

    While we're positive Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing teens have not joined a cult in preparation for world war III, the parody does raise intriguing questions about the power of a brand and how much importance it should have in one's life. It's not over for A&B either. Chris has plans to post A&B parody poster in the future.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Red Meat Rocks In Australian Ad

    The Meat and Livestock group in Australia is running a campaign, called The Feel Good Campaign, promoting the benefits of red meat. In one commercial, the rock group is reveled to be something other than one might expect. Their performance, apparently, powered by the consumption of meat. Thanks to Rick.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

    Momints Calls Ice Breakers Campaign Bubble-Headed

    No sooner do Hailey and Hilary Duff (what's with parent's obsessive need to make their kid's names rhyme or begin with the same letter?) become the new talking heads for Hersey's Ice Breakers mint do we receive some anti-PR from competing mint company, Momints. Positioning themselves as the intelligent choice to the bobble-headed Ice Breakers, the press release reads, "Not every company wants bubble-headed celebrity siblings who feign disputes over whether a product is liquid or ice a la Hershey's Ice breakers with the Simpson sisters, and now Hilary and Haylie Duff. Momints, America's original and boldest liquid filled breath mint, has just announced a search for a brainy spokesperson who's able to identify the contents of Momints. Momints' manufacturer, Westfield, NJ-based Yosha! Enterprises, invites these intellectually gifted consumers to apply at www.momints.com The release goes on to skewer its larger competitor and clarify its position as the company that started this whole liquid filled breath mint thing. "Siblings worldwide are in unanimous agreement that Momints is liquid, according to e-mails and letters received by Yosha! Enterprises, the manufacturer of Momints, the original liquid filled breath mint that was introduced to the American market in March 2003.

    While a Johnny-come-lately Goliath liquid mint brand features a series of confused celebrity siblings who are unable to discern liquid from ice, Momints, the original liquid mint - and strongest on the market - has continually attracted intellectually gifted and sophisticated consumers who can differentiate solid bodies from liquid ones. The winning spokesperson, who will receive a lifetime supply of Momints, will embody the bold innovation and sophistication of the Momints brand."

    We love a good underdog story.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

    Blockbuster Ads Amount to Big Fat Lie

    In another example of a company attempting to compete with a competitors superior business model, Blockbuster has been caught with its pants down regarding its new "No More Late Fees" ad campaign. Unbeknownst to most, the video rental company's largest campaign to date amounts to a lie. New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey filed a lawsuit last Friday claiming Blockbuster did not disclose the reality of its new program.

    While it's all in the fine print, Blockbuster's program does not do away with late fees. It simply recategorizes them into a "sale" on the eighth day. If, after 30 days, the video is returned, the charge is credited but then the company imposes the well known, "we'll do anything for a buck" trick and charges a restocking fee. Even if all is disclosed, this has to be one of the sleeziest marketing stunts in recent memory. "Blockbuster boldly announced its 'No More Late Fees' policy, but has not told customers about the big fees they are charged if they keep videos or games for more than a week after they are due," Harvey said. "Blockbuster's ads are fraudulent and deceptive. They lead people to believe that an overdue rental will cost them absolutely nothing when, in fact, customers are being ambushed with (a) late fees in some stores, (b) so-called 'restock fees,' and (c) credit card or membership account charges equal to the purchase price of the video."

    Blockbuster, of course, in a desperate attempt to cover its ass, issued a statement claiming they were very thorough in explaining to customers how the program works. Even if Blockbuster bought all the time on the Super Bowl to announce this service, it's still a lie. The company not done away with late fees. It's just converted them into something else using deception and creative accounting. NetFlix all the way, baby.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Clooney Clarifies Crowe Commercial Comment

    Last week, actor Russell Crowe struck out against George Clooney, Robert DiNiro and Harrison Ford who have used their fame to sell products in commercials. Crowe crowed, "It’s kind of sacrilegious, a contradiction of the contract with your audience. DeNiro advertising American Express — gee whiz." This week, Clooney shot back at Crowe saying, jokingly, referring to Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, "I’m glad he set us straight. Because Harrison, Bob and I were putting a band together called Grunting for 30 Feet, and that would also fall under the heading of 'bad use of celebrity.' Thanks for the heads up." Glad we've cleared that mess up.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Attention Deficit the Norm For In-Store Wal-Mart Ads

    Wal-mart TV Network operator Premiere Retail Networks EVP Mark Mitchell says, "Attention deficit used to be a disorder. Now, I think it's the new order for consumers." His company works with agencies to create fact-filled ten second spots and urges agencies to steer clear of the usual tease and reveal format of most :30's. His company has worked with CoverGirl, Doritos and Kellog's to create informative spots that actually contain information a consumer can act on. Perhaps he should consider advising clients and agencies on :30's as well.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Duff Sisters Join Hersey Ice Breakers Campaign

    Hilary Duff and her sister Haylie are the latest duo in the Hersey's Ice Breakers Liquid Ice campaign. The pair, who claim never to disagree in real life and who replace Jessica and Ashlee Simpson in the campaign, can't seem to agree on the product's liquid versus ice qualities. The campaign includes a website where visitors can answer stupid questions like, "What weighs more - a pound of ice or a pound of water?" and other noggin stretching gems.

    "We agree on absolutely everything, especially the importance of fresh breath," said Hilary. "So when she thought that Ice Breakers Liquid Ice was liquid and I thought it was ice, well I knew she had to be right ... and she knew I had to be right!" Haylie said, "One thing we're both right about: Ice Breakers Liquid Ice totally rocks!" Like, OMG!!!!!!!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Rainier Brewing Wins Inagural Battle of the Brands

    At last week's ANA/AICP Battle of the Brands, an Amercan Idol-esque style competition, Seattle's Rainier Brewing Company bested larger opponents and took home the Grand Prize for its Remember Rainier campaign for Rainier Beer. The first-ever collaboration between the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), the Battle of the Brands was designed to reward marketers and their creative colleagues for the successful use of entertainment properties in their brand marketing programs. The audience of national marketers and entertainment executives used hand-held devices to vote for the winners. Facing off against teams from Burger King, Sega, and ESPN, Rainier Brewing, a division of Pabst Brewing Company, took home not only the grand prize but top honors in three of the four categories: Strategy, Production Ingenuity, and Business Performance. The fourth category, Creativity, was won by Burger King for its Subservient Chicken campaign.

    The four brand contestants were the finalists culled from all the entries to the Battle of the Brands competition, sponsored by ANA and AICP. Each of the finalists was invited to field a team to present its campaign and demonstrate how brand and entertainment are integrated within it. A panel of judges commented on the presentations and the winner was the team that accumulated the most points.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Viral Advertising Gains Ground With Consumer Packaged Goods Companies

    Sounding a bit like a voice mail you might find on Paris Hilton's hacked Sidekick, the new Brawny man, cooing longingly into the camera, is featured in a new series of online viral videos on the Georgia-Pacific paper towel maker's Innocent Escapes.

    Clad in his signature lumberjack plaid shirt, the hunky Brawny man has invented a new form of sociopathic humor with his gooey cam love which, we suppose, in some way, is enticing to the female gender. We don't see it.

    Apart from the oddity most viral campaigns must clothe themselves in to cut through the millions of other online distractions, it's encouraging to see consumer packaged goods companies endorse the medium. The New York Times explores the trend highlighting other online involvement campaigns from Frito-Lay, which promoted Doritos with a text messaging campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Maine to Market Prison Made Children's Clothing

    With what some might call questionable moral alignment, the state of Maine is planning to market prison-made children's clothing under the tentative name, Harbor Blues.

    Modeled after the Oregon-based prison-made jeans company Prison Blues, inmates at the Downeast Correctional Facility have been busy making 4,000 jackets with plans to make 2,000 more. Moral issues aside, the program puts inmates to work for pay, gives them something to pass the time and provides valuable, real-world skills which can be used upon release. Doubtless, they will sell out immediately.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

    February 18, 2005

    Mini Cooper Promoted With 'Counterfeit' Site

    For its client, Mini, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, it seems, has created a site for a ficticious group called Counter Counterfeit Commission, an organization whose apparent mission is to rid the world of counterfeit products. The site has a photo collection of tricked out vehicles purported to be fake Minis. It also has video footage of a police dogs sniffing out fake Minis trying to make their way into the country, a $19.99 consumer alert DVD detailing the apparent underworld of counterfeit Minis and even a phone number answered with a message machine by a guy code named "Bosco" claiming to be doing undercover work in Brazil and Copacabana.

    The site is engaging enough with tips on how to detect a fake, an area to upload photos of fakes and rate their fakeness quotient and a victim support area where those who've been had can get support materials.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

    GoldenPalace.com Pays $75,100 For Lincoln Fry

    While $75,100 isn't quite enough to offset the money McDonald's spent on a Super Bowl ad for its strange Lincoln Fry promotion, that's what GoldenPalace.com paid the company for the odd shaped, and ficticious, fry on an eBay auction.

    It's all part of GoldenPalace'com's kooky eBay marketing scheme which involved buying space on pregnant bellies and foreheads all in the name of press. The online casino will be taking the fry, along with the Virgin Mary cheese sandwich it also bought on eBay, on a national tour just to get us to write even more about them. We're not sure whether to commend GoldenPalace.com on a brilliant marketing scheme or to wish them a slow, painful death for forcing us to continually write about them.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Microsoft's Xbox 360 Launch Gets Scooped

    Gawker Media site Kotaku takes the winds out of Microsoft's sail by releasing details surrounding the upcoming launch of the company's second generation Xbox, the Xbox 360. For those who can't wait, the details are here.

    The device is said to be available in late October or early November.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Saatchi Exodus Raises Questions

    Following the resignation of 25 year Saatchi & Saatchi vetran Mike Burns who was head of the General Mills account and the subsequent resignation of 17 Saatchi senior staffers two days later, Ad Age reports Burns is in talks with Interpublic and, perhaps, other holding companies about a mass hiring of him and his former staffers.

    While a General Mills spokesman insists they are pleased with Saatchi's work and have no plans to end the relationship because of this sudden "staff change," major upsets like this in the agency business always have major consequences. After all, while clients may hire agencies to do their work, they're really hiring the faces handling their account.

    It doesn't take the organization of a traffic manager to realize Saatchi CEO Mary Baglivo and ECD Tony Granger are dripping salt profusely.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

    'Survivor' Debut Gets Big Numbers

    Last night's debut of Survivor: Palau grabbed 23.6 million viewers according to Nielsen overnights. It garnered a 9.0 rating 18-49. Conversely, NBC's Joey and Will & Grace turned in low ratings of 4.0 and 4.3 respectively.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

    SEGA Puts Boy in Bubble For Game Launch

    To promote its new PlayStation2 and Xbox Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, SEGA has launched a quirky "boy in a bubble" online serial campaign called My Big Ball. The campaign, created by San Francisco-based Mekanism, offers a peak into the trials and tribulations of the life of a boy so obsessed with the game, he's decided to live in a large, inflatable ball.

    The campaign includes a Web site, a series of story driven Web shorts, and banner ads. The website features a series of short films entitled “The True Adventures of Chad, the Boy Who Was So Into Super Monkey Ball Deluxe That He Decided To Live In A Ball.” Apparently, Chad's obsession has led him to live life in a seven-foot rubber ball. The first episode follows Chad beginning his day and confronting the mundane challenges of personal hygiene. It gets messy. In the second episode, Chad struggles to find his place in academia. New episodes will debut every week leading up to the March 15, 2005 launch.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    3M Proves Product Benefit With Money Filled Structures

    In Vancouver, 3M is promoting its Security Glass with unique out of home structures which encase what appears to be real money in plain view of the public. News reports show people hitting and kicking the structures but, to date, the glass has held up to the test. While we wonder the sort or outdoor riots this could cause, we also think it's an ingenious method to explain the benefits of the product in a truly effective manner. View additional images here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

    Maxim Radio In Search of Sexiest Voice

    Maxim wants to offer fame to the man or woman with the sexiest voice.

    The company, along with sponsor Bud Light is offering a Maxim Radio promotional gig and $1,000 to the man or woman with the sexiest voice.

    Casting calls will be held in New York an LA Wednesday March 2.

    Maxim Radio celebrity hosts will comment on the entries in terms of sexiness, uniqueness, delivery, tone and suitability for use. Beginning March 7, 2005, visitors to Maxim Online for one week will be able to hear audio clips of the finalists' entries and click their votes. The winner will be announced on Maxim Radio on Monday, March 21, 2005.

    Those interested should bring 30 seconds of their own material to read at the auditions. The New York audition will be held at the SIRIUS Satellite Radio offices at 1221 Avenue of the Americas beginning at 9 AM. The LA audition will be held at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip beginning at 11 AM.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

    RAZOR Names Eric Simon Publisher

    yesterday, RAZOR magazine founder Richard Botto announced the addition of Eric L.

    Simon as publisher. In his new position, Simon will manage the magazine’s advertising and business operations. Previously, these had been overseen by Botto, who will now focus on directing RAZOR’s editorial operations as editor-in-chief, while also maintaining his role as the magazine’s CEO. Simon brings tens years of magazine industry expertise to his new post at RAZOR. He spent the last five years at laddie book publisher Dennis Publishing, most recently as associate publisher of music magazine Blender, where he helped manage sales and marketing and grew the book’s rate base from 525,000 to 630,000. While at Dennis, Simon also served as the company’s director of business development and licensing, established its custom publishing division and, as the founding advertising director for hottie magazine Stuff, helped that book quickly grow. Simon’s arrival at RAZOR marks the latest in a series of appointments expanding the magazine’s business team. Earlier this month, Botto announced the appointment of Nadine Weiss as RAZOR’s first West Coast advertising director, and also added two key sales leaders to the magazine’s New York office: Nicholas Pastula was named as fashion, grooming and fragrance director, while Peter Weinstock signed on as account director, entertainment, technology and finance.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    February 17, 2005

    Reality is For Losers

    "I wish my life was a beer commercial." That statement has been said and heard many times. While said in jest, it alludes to the desire for a better life. Life would certainly be grand if it mirrored life as portrayed in advertising but, unfortunately, it does not.

    Life gets a twist when it stars in commercials. Because marketers need to associate their products with positive thoughts, many paint an unrealistic picture of life and it's racial make up.

    Georgia State University Sociologist Charles Gallagher calls advertising's growing need to show all races living harmoniously together a "carefully manufactured racial utopia, a narrative of colorblindness."

    While that may be a welcome direction to travel, it does not reflect the realities of life in the real world. Census data states just seven percent of all marriages are interracial and 80 percent of whites live in neighborhoods in which 95 percent of their neighbors are white.

    Gallagher says this paints a very slanted picture. "The lens through which people learn about other races is absolutely through TV, not through human interaction and contact. Here, we're getting a lens of racial interaction that is far a field from reality."

    Of course, this isn't some underhanded, big brother-like attempt marketers have engaged in to change society. It's just positive thinking says Stanford University Professor Sonya Grier. "Often, advertising doesn't reflect reality - everyone is beautiful and pretty and thin, so a lot of advertising is very unrealistic. It's always been something that reflects our aspirations, what we can be."

    It really begs the age old chicken or egg question. Advertisers and media organizations, for the most part, promote utopian perfection rather than gritty reality. Whether advertisers and media should promote perfection or reflect reality is not an easy question to answer. In essence, both directions are well intended. Promoting perfection and cultural ideals is simply a wish for something better.

    Reflecting reality brings the hard truths of life to light.

    Unfortunately, many of the efforts by advertisers and media in the direction of utopian perfection often seem forced and fake.

    Perhaps it's all born out of human nature's natural tendency to move forward, to do better, to improve things. Perhaps the desire for perfection can not be held back. Maybe satisfaction with one's current place in life is not natural. Or, maybe, through media and advertising, the human race has been brainwashed into thinking reality is for losers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Expedia, Ask Jeeves Launch New Campaigns

    In this week's MediaPost Out to Launch column, Amy Corr reports on recent campaign launched from Expedia, Texas Tourism, Nautica, Suave, Ask Jeeves, TAG Heuer, Carlson Hotels, Homeland Security and Tivo.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

    February 16, 2005

    Abercrombie & Fitch Deny Involvement With Nazi-esque Outdoor Posters

    Previously, we reported the existence of outdoor posters in the window of an abondoned store in San Francisco for Abercrombie & Fitch which incorporate Nazi imagery.

    Adrants has contacted Abercrombie & Fitch and the company has clearly denied any involvement with these postings or the imagery.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Online Political Ads May Face Regulation

    Political advertising on the Internet has, to date, been a free for all. The money to pay for online campaigns can come from anywhere and candidates to not have to appear in the ads endorsing them. Currently, online advertising does not have to adhere to the stricter offline rules which are regulated by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. That may soon change as the Federal Election Commission begins to review whether the Internet should continue to be exempt from campaign finance law.

    The FEC is revisiting the law after U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled in September, the FEC's special treatment of the Internet flys in the face of the law's intent.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Pirillo: RSS to Replace Email Marketing

    At a recent Blog Business Summit, industry consultant Chris Pirillo said, "Email marketing is dead."

    He claims spam and filters have killed the channel as a viable advertising medium. A former fan of email marketing, Pirillo, and other industry luminaries have switched gears and are now proponents of RSS as the new method of content delivery and advertising.

    Weblogs are the biggest users of RSS allowing readers to be notified through a newsreader when new content has been added to the weblog.

    News organizations have also started using RSS to publish their news stories. So far, RSS is spam free and, as long as advertisers don't clutter feeds with ads, RSS will likely overtake email as the preferred method for receiving content.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

    ISP Blocks Body Parts to Promote Parental Controls

    An Adrants reader points to today's edition of Metro newspaper in Toronto carries a four page cover wrap ad for ISP Bell promoting their Bell Sympatico online service which includes parental and viral controls. On one panel, using an image of a school text book showing a woman's body with breasts and pelvic region blurred, the headline reads, "You'll do anything to protect your kids from inappropriate content."

    Apparently, we are to believe that sex education is a bad thing and kids should be protected from it. That's twisted logic. Now if Bell had used an image of, say, Jenna Jameson with appropriate body parts blurred, the message would make far more sense. This ad basically says Bell will shield your kids from beneficially educational content which wreaks of over protectionism.

    View a larger version of the ad here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

    Vibrating Couch Confuses Mum, Embarrasses Daughter

    Oh those Brits and their humor. Here's a spot from Durex that has Mum stymied by the vibrating device she finds under the cushion of her daughters couch during a visit. Needless to say, the daughter is a bit embarrassed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

    Brian Adams Valentine Viral Vomit Follow Up

    OK, so Valentine's day was two days ago and on that day, aside from Hallmark's website crashing, Bryan Adams revealed he was behind the disgusting Who Ordered Room Service viral video in which a waiter enters a hotel room and pukes all over a knecking couple enjoying some love on the bed. Yup, Adams' new album is called Room Service and somehow he thought the relationship between puking and promoting an album was a good thing. Usually puking is associated more with having a great distaste for something rather than having a great love for it.

    Perhaps, for some odd reason, we're all suppose to hate his new album.

    Experience the power puking here.

    UPDATE: It's all a hoax. We've been had. Adland discusses the fake viral trend and how it is ruining any semblance of trust that might have, at one time, existed between marketer and consumer.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

    Abercrombie & Fitch Spoofed By Nazi-esque Outdoor Campaign

    Photopia reports seeing outdoor posters in the window of an abondoned store in San Francisco for Abercrombie & Fitch which incorporate Nazi imagery.

    Other than grabbing attention, we wonder what A & F were thinking.

    Nothing, of course. They had nothing to do with it. As others have pointed out, seemingly unable to grasp our sense of humor, this is, clearly, a spoof. The work of someone with a great distaste for AF. Now we've spelled it out for you. It really does takes the fun out of it, doesn't it? View more images here.

    To be clear, Adrants has contacted Abercrombie & Fitch and they have clearly denied any involvement with this imagery.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

    Napster Wastes $2.4 Million on Super Bowl Ad, Music Stolen

    Just a few days after Napster spent $2.4 million to promote it's new, $15 per month, music rental service, Napster To Go, enterprising souls have already cracked the code allowing people to get up to 20,160 minutes worth of free music during the service's 14 day free trial period. That amounts to 252, 80 minute CDs. The site reports the hack works with Napster's standard service as well. Seems Napster is destined to be a free music service after all.

    While it takes some work and some time, the process is not complicated and is described here.

    Napster has responded with "A note from Napster's CTO" on their website claiming, as if to deflect focus from Napster, the hack will work on any music service. We're wondering how other music services feel about Napster's CTO making that statement publicly. It seems, though, Napster's CTO statement is referring to a process other than the one described on the "marv on record" site. We'll leave that technical debate to the geeks.

    While we don't entirely condone the stealing of music, we do get a rise from "power of the people" responses to large corporation's stifling business practices. Music executives everywhere are wishing the computer was never invented.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)

    February 15, 2005

    Reebok Launches New Site For The Pump

    To promote its new shoe, The Pump, Reebok has launched a new website that incorporates the "pump" aspects of the shoe into the website. Just as the shoe is pumped for proper fit, the site can be "pumped" to access the various sections of the site. On the site, there are links to television spots, wallpapers, shoe details, a store locater and a boxing game. It's simple and straight to the point. LA-based Zugara created the site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

    Hotel Ad Blocked By Competition

    Hotel Chatter reports Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn's commercial for his new Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, originally intended to air nationally during the Super Bowl, was blocked by competing Las Vegas hotels when it aired locally during the game. The Bellagio and the Mirage hotels blocked the Wynn ad ny placing their own company logos on television screens when the ad was scheduled to air. While the ad mentions nothing about gambling, FOX and the NFL declined to accept it, apparently, because the hotel's location in Las Vegas insinuates the activity of gambling in the hotel. The ad can be viewed on the Wynn Las Vagas website.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

    Hispanic Branded Entertainment Firm Launches

    Former Promofilm US VP Manageing Director Pablo Trench whose company produces shows for Telemundo and former Zubi Advertising Creative Director Hector Prado have teamed to create The Lab, a branded entertainment company concentrating on developing band integration programs for the growing Hispanic market.

    Like in the general market, the Hispanic media landscape is mushrooming and fragmenting into better defined niches. From only two big networks a few years ago (Univison and Telemundo), now audiences have two other networks to choose from (Telefutura y Azteca America), multiple Spanish cable channels (Galavision, ESPN Deportes FOX Sports, Gol TV, Discovery en Español. The History Channel en Español, HBO Latino, CNN en Español, etc.); new emerging English cable networks (mun2, SiTV, LATV and VOY); and numerous international channels from their home country in satellite TV. This is in addition to the hundreds of radio stations, print and websites targeting the Hispanic population.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Mr. Peanut Hits Windshields With Registration Sticker

    The image of Planters Peanut's Mr Peanut will appear on 75,000 automotive registration stickers in Suffolk, Virginia, home since 1913 of Planters Peanuts. The deal appears to be a simple acknowledgement to the good deeds the company has done for the town over the years and not a paid placement. The image on the decals will be that of the Mr. Peanuts city-owned statue.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Eats Deep Fried Crow

    For delaying its promise to cut trans fat from the oil used to cook its French fries in 2002, McDonald's will pay $8.5 million in damages. The suit was filed by consumer advocacy group bantransfat which claim McDonald's failed to inform customers trans fat was still being used five months after it claimed it had ceased its use. Seven million of that sum will go to the American Heart Association to be used in educational campaigns. Also, McDonalds's was instructed to spend $1.5 million on an ad campaign admitting its fault.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

    Cindy Crawford Super Bowl Pepsi Ad Most Viewed on AOL

    America Online reports Pepsi's Cindy Crawford commercial was the most viewed 2005 Super Bowl ad on AOL. Not suprisingly, GoDaddy's "Hearing" ad placed close second. The ads, which were available through Saturday on the Web at AOL.com and on the AOL service, were viewed 18.6 million times, more than double the 9.2 million views recorded last year for the 2004 Super Bowl ads. AOL also announced that ads from its Classic Commercials package, which featured popular spots from previous Super Bowls, were viewed 3.8 million times, bringing the total number views for all Super Bowl commercials to more than 22 million. AOL ranked viewership as follows: 1. Diet Pepsi - Cindy Crawford -- 899,773 views 2. GoDaddy.com - Hearing -- 894,983 3. Bud Light - Skydiving -- 803,999 4. Bud Light - Cedric -- 648,430 5. Ford Mustang - Winter -- 605,585 6. Ameriquest - Store Trip -- 600,599 7. Diet Pepsi - P. Diddy -- 596,986 8. Bud Light - Sharing -- 573,280 9. FedEx - Ten Things -- 553,023 10. Ciba Vision - Bubbles -- 526,338 11. Bubblicious - Lebron -- 472,534 12. Visa - Super Heroes -- 459,337 While Pepsi took top viewership honors it was Budweiser's salute to the troops that garnered the most votes among AOL users as the best spot.

    Commercials receiving the most votes among AOL users are ranked as follows:

    Rank     Company            Spot                     Percentage 

    1 Anheuser Busch Tribute to US Troops 15% 2 Bud Light Skydiving 11% 3 Ameriquest Romantic Dinner 8% 4 Ameriquest Store Trip 7% 5 Diet Pepsi P. Diddy 7% 6 GoDaddy.com Hearing 6% 7 Ford Mustang Winter 5% 8 Bud Light Sharing 5% 9 FedEx Ten Things 5% 10 Diet Pepsi Cindy Crawford 4%

    All the spots can be viewed here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

    February 14, 2005

    Aquent Launches Business Manners Tutorial Site

    Aquent today announced the launch of a new Web site, The Business of Touch, designed to help business professionals create good first impressions with people from other cultures. The site demonstrates, through animated characters, the proper etiquette for successful greetings in nine languages and fifteen countries, including the United States - which is good since we Americans don't even know how to properly greet.

    And no, "Hey, Dude" isn't quite right.

    With a tongue-in-cheek style, the humorous animation, by internationally recognized American illustrator and graphic designer Paul Davis, Business of Touch gives site visitors practical tutorials on the very serious business of how to greet and take leave of associates from other cultures. Behaviors such as eye contact, when a kiss is appropriate, whether or not to offer a handshake to women, general body language, and personal space distances are several of the topics covered for each country. The site was created by Heller Communications.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Old Ad Guys Reminisce At VCU Adcenter Event

    We are loathe to do this but we have to. Last week, VCU Adcenter hosted it's "Annual Event of the Century," a toast and roast to the accomplishments of ad greats Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, Dan Wieden, David Kennedy, Andy Berlin and Steve Hayden. While, no doubt, these gentlemen are some of the finest in the advertising business and have led agencies and advertisers to tremendous success, the event seemed to portray them as a bunch of hairy old ad guys trying to cling to their youth and be cool by saying fuck and shit a lot. Oh don't listen to us. We're just bitter we're not on stage with them.

    Have a look for yourselves.

    View video clips at ihaveanidea's website.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

    Canadian Spoofs Cool American Coke Campaign

    A while back, we reported on an ad-hoc campaign created for Coke by industry vet Harry Webber with the idea, Coke needed something bigger than its current campaign.

    Coke didn't bite. In an interesting twist there's now a spoof of the campaign. That's right. A spoof of a campaign that never appeared anywhere. While the ad-hoc campaign endeavored to portray Americans as fine, upstanding citizens, the spoof, called A Real American, is more sadistically honest in its snarky portrayal. The spoof, created by Trevor Thomas, a Canadian, interestingly, is a must-see.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

    Tabasco Maker Sues Restaurant For Trademark Infringement

    McIhenny Company, makers of Tabasco Sauce is suing a restaurant in Marion Iowa, Tabasco's Restaurant and Patio, for using its name. The restaurant says the use of an apostrophe eliminates brand confusion. Uh huh. The restaurant also states they named the establishment after the state in southeastern Mexico and not the hot sauce maker's product.

    McIhenny Company "see you in court."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Volvo First Major Sponsor of Podcast, Medium to Grow

    Volvo has signed a deal with Weblog, Inc.'s Autoblog as launch sponsor of the automotive weblog's podcast. A podcast is an MP3 broadcast delivered via RSS making it easy and automatic for people to receive.

    The sponsorship consists of an announcer-read :60 at the top of the podcast, other mentions throughout and logo signage on Autoblog's Podcast page.

    iPodder.org, which tracks podcasts now reports there are over 3,000 podcasts. Podcasts are an extremely low cost method of publishing audio over the web allowing small sites to produce radio-like broadcasts for download and later listening on people's computers or MP3 devices. As citizen-produced media and MP3 player usage proliferate, this channel is well positioned for exponential growth and offers advertisers yet another niche targeted medium though which to advertise. Just as blog advertising network and rss feed ad networks have sprouted so, no doubt, shall podcast advertising networks providing advertisers efficient means by which to tap this channel.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Academy Fearful of Chris Rock

    Drudge reports the Academy is concerned about their choice of Chris Rock for host of this year's Academy Awards show because of some recent comments he made. Reportedly, Rock said, "I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it's a fashion show. What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one! Awards for art are fucking idiotic." Looks like this year's broadcast could be a juicy one.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Insurance Company Re-Creates Famous Movie Car Crashes For Campaign

    21st Century is taking an intriguing approach to promoting its car insurance services. It is painstakingly re-creating famous car crash scenes from Hollywood movies such as The French Connection and Speed.

    Assuring the ads will mirror the movie scenes as closely as possible, Interpublic's Dailey & Associates worked with the original cinematographer for The French Connection spot and have hired Jan du Bont, director of Speed to film the Speed commercial.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

    February 13, 2005

    Dove Milks Apprentice Debacle, Educates Candidates

    Because each of the teams on The Apprentice created such horrible commercials during last week's challenge, Dove is extending its 15 minutes of fame by offering a Marketing Boot Camp to all Apprentice candidates, beginning with Kristen, who led the failing team. The Boot Camp will include training at Dove headquarters with sessions on advertising and brand marketing, as well as a critique on why the ads were so bad. We'd pay to be a fly on that wall. Particularly if one of the candidates asked Dove why there so-called professional commercial was so bad.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Russell Crowe Craps On Celebrities in Foreign Ads

    Always one to cause a stir, actor Russell Crowe, in a GQ interview said actors who go overseas to do commercials are a bunch of money hungry losers.

    Crowe told GQ, "I don't use my celebrity to make a living. I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford. And on one level, people go: 'Well, more fault to you, mate, because there's free money to be handed out.'" Take that you Hollywood sell outs.

    He further snipped, "...to me it's kind of sacrilegious. It's a complete contradiction of the fucking social contract you have with your audience. I mean, Robert de Niro's advertising American Express.

    Gee whiz, it's not the first time he's disappointed me. It's been happening for a while now." In today's over popified culture, he does have a point.

    If you want to see more of what Crowe speaks, visit Japander.

    There, you will see an enormous collection of Hollywood stars who do commercials in Japan to make more money thinking visibility there won't over expose them here. Perhaps they haven't heard of the Internet.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

    February 12, 2005

    Valentine Vomit Viral Vexes

    Here we go again with one of those mystery virals created by who knows who for who knows what. This site, called Who Ordered Room Service shows us a loving couple getting all misty eyed for each other in a hotel room when a room service waiter rolls in and proceeds to spews the contents of his stomach all over the pair. His reason? "I did it for you," says the waiter to the girl as the Brian Adams tune "Everything I Do" crescendos in the background.

    The site was registered anonymously using Domains by Proxy on February 6 through, humorously, GoDaddy. We're not sure that has anything to do with GoDaddy's Super Bowl brand boost or why a puking waiter would have anything to do with a strap-challenged, court room hottie but stranger things have happened. The viral is being spread, it seems by an army of emailers, 15 of whom sent it to Internet oddity collector Screenhead. All is promised to be revealed Valentine's Day.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

    February 11, 2005

    Campaign Reveals Women's Favorite Things

    Now here's an ad that speaks the truth about what women love: IRN BRU and dick. Visit Hidden Persuader for the full sized image.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Neopets Teams With Limited Too For In-Store, Online Promotion

    Online youth entertainment company Neopets, Inc. has partnered with specialty 'tween retailer Limited Too to offer a selection of exclusive Neopets themed CD/DVD cases at 568 Limited Too stores beginning February 11. The plush-covered, padded CD cases, which hold 8 compact discs each, come in three different colors with images of popular Neopets characters - a Uni, a Gelert and an Aisha. The CD cases are priced at $2.90.

    In addition to the in-store promotion, Neopets is launching a Limited Too themed Immersive Advertising activity on the Neopets website. Site members can play the new Limited Too Mix 'n' Match game to earn the website's virtual currency - Neopoints. Neopets players can then use their Neopoints to "shop" for their virtual Neopets, with odd names like Shoyrus, Kacheeks, and Kougras. Other site activities include trading virtual items with friends online, playing online games, writing for the online newspaper (The Neopian Times) and exploring the expanding world of Neopia.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

    The Apprentice Dove Ads A Horror Show

    Writing on MSNBC, RealityBlurred's Andy Dehnart reviews the horror show that was last night's The Apprentice.

    In the episode the two teams were to create television ads for Dove Cool Moisture body wash. While Dehnart thinks one teams ad was no more horrible than both ads, we think they both just sucked. But, the contestants on The Apprentice are not advertising professionals. It really should not have been a surprise to Donnie Deutsch and Trump the ads might not end up so good. Deutsch informed both teams they were losers on the task forcing both teams to face Trump in the boardroom. We are so tired of writing about The Apprentice but can't seem to stop watching the train wreck product placement orgasm. If anyone cares, the leader of the marathon team that created the marathon ad was fired. View the two excuses for commercials here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

    Brits Freak Over IKEA Brand

    The combination of effective promotion and Brits apparently never having seen furniture before caused hundreds of people to be injured as 6,000 people crushed through the doors at the grand opening of the IKEA store in Edmonton, North London. Being fanatical about a brand is one thing but we certainly can't imaging the desire for a couch to be quite this powerful. Freaky.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Dogs Mug For Kennel Show

    The 129th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show airs February 14 on USA.

    Promoting the event like it was a professional wrestling match, is a :30 set to the tune of Europe's "The Final Countdown" which features images of dogs mugging for the camera. With simple copy, "Destiny Awaits, Fetch It," and "tv announcer" voiceover, the spot is, in our opinion, effective in keeping your attention long enough to see the pay off at the end. The ad was created by 72andSunny. View it here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    FTC Says Product Placement Need Not Be Disclosed

    Advertisers jumped gleefully into the air yesterday when the FTC decided not to require the disclosure of product placements on television. While the decision is not an indication of endorsement of the practice one way or the other by the FTC, it felt issuing one broad rule for all product placement was not the best way to go. The FTC, later, plans to examine celebrity endorsements on talk shows, entertainment and news programming.

    Without surprise, Commercial Alert, the Ralph Nader group that proposed the rule requiring all product placements to be disclosed at the start of the show and during the placement, with the word "advertisement" on the screen, is pissed. Commercial Alert Executive Director Gary Ruskin said the FTC's position is out of date and "based on a totally antiquated notion that advertising persuades only through objective claims, and not imagery."

    While this may be a coup for the advertising industry, we hope it doesn't open up a free for all product placement explosion. We also hope marketers allow the writers of shows in which products will be placed more creative control so placements don't look forced

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Turmoil Surrounds Introduction of WOMMA Standards

    Following the introduction of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's Code of Conduct, a heated discussion surrounding the association's statement against including children under 13 in word of mouth campaigns and it's apparent neglect in establishing guidelines for children 13-17. While we hope WOMMA's intentions are honorable, both the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association and the National Institute on Media and the Family have taken issue with some current word of mouth marketing efforts. Last fall at the New York AD:TECH show, a conference about online marketing, VBMA founder Justin Kirby and a NIMF audience member questioned the practices of Boston-based BzzAgent, a company which recruits people to join the company as buzz agents who "talk up" the products of paying marketers. The NIMF audience member challenged BzzAgent to change its policy which urges its buzz agents to be "discreet" when talking about the products they have agreed to buzz about. While BzzAgent said they would revisit their policy to perhaps urge agents to be more forthright with the reason they are talking up a product, NIMF claims no policies have been changed.

    BzzAgent Founder Dave Balter counters NIMF's claim the company's code has not changed saying, "We changed this code over two months ago because we realized that our code was out of date."

    Balter also claims NIMF was premature in its attack on the WOMMA Code of Ethics saying, "We appreciate the Institute's feedback. However, we (WOMMA) were concerned about the glaring inaccuracies in the Institute's press release, beginning with their failure to note that this was not an established code, but a starting point and request for input."

    Balter further lays blame on NIMF for not responding to WOMMA's requests for input during the establishment of the Code. "We did in fact contact them back in December, asking them to help us draft a more effective code. They never responded, choosing to attack instead of contribute."

    As heated as this issue may have become, Balter simply wants to move forward and work with interested parties to establish effective and mutually acceptable guidelines. "we are in complete agreement that the need to protect minors is a critical issue. And we look forward to working with leading educational, consumer, and children's advocacy organizations in making sure that the bar is set properly high."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

    February 10, 2005

    Fairchild Yanks YM Your Prom After Porn URL Found in Ad

    MediaWeek reports Fairchild Publications has pulled 680,000 copies of YM Your Prom because an ad mistakenly carried the URL for a child-porn website. Two of the six ad pages prom dress maker Studio 17 placed in the issue contained the URL. While Fairchild is pulling as many issues as it can, Hearst, which publishes Teen Prom, in which the ad also appeared, has decided not to pull copies.

    A Hearst spokesperson explained the decision telling MediaWeek, "This was a mistake on the advertiser's behalf - in fact, the error also appeared in their own catalogue. This is a very unfortunate situation and, quite simply, the result of human error. We've received very few complaints and have handled them immediately."

    While no one's talking, we're guessing the URL may have been studio17.com (a redirect to http://www.clubseventeen.com/index-int.html) which is, most assuredly, a teen porn site. Very not safe for work.

    Porn, of course, is everywhere and most likely no surprise to most teens but we think it might have been a wise move if Hearst had , at least, made some sort of effort rather than simply saying, hey, they made the mistake so why should we care.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

    Careerbuilder Extends Yeknom Promotion to Competing Job Sites

    Careerebuilder's Super Bowl spots promoted their job service using a guy stuck in a company run by a bunch of monkeys called Yeknom Industries. The campaign also included a website for the Yeknom company complete with fake job listing. In a coup, those job listing have found there way to competing job sites and have been listed on Yahoo HotJobs as well as Monster.

    That's a truly stunning promotional tactic.

    While GoDaddy is getting all the press, Careerbuilder is shaping up to be the best, most smartly integrated, stealth-like campaign we've seen in a while.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Britney Spears Curious Ad Restricted Britain

    With so much artsy-fartsy quick cut, double-entendre imagery going on in the Britney Spears Curious commercial, it's hard to imagine how anyone could see anything long enough to be concerned there might be some risque elements to the spot but the chaps over in Britain seems to have good eyes and have restricted the airing of the spot to after 7:30 PM when, presumably, untainted minds have gone to sleep.

    The spot captures Britney in the throes of a fantasy with a guy in the next hotel room, complete with all the sexual imagery you'd expect; lips, fingers, blooming flowers, fingernails clawing skin, fingers against a rain soaked window, a pair of dolls kissing, clenched hands, bulls in a ring, crashing waves, writhing bodies and, finally, open mouth glee. It's 30 second of visual orgasmic bliss. Hmm, perhaps that's why it was restricted.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

    Yet Another Star Launches Fragrance Brand

    Another actress is joining the stench parade. Sarah Jessica Parker has signed a global licensing deal with Coty's Lancaster Group to co-market and develop a line of fragrances, slated to launch this fall in department stores in the U.S. and U.K. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    This partnership is a first for Parker in the fragrance market.

    Although marketing was not detailed, it is expected that she will support the line with her appearance, following J. Lo, Celine Dion and Britney Spears, who have their own fragrances. Parker currently stars in a marketing campaign for The Gap.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Alexander Gelman Publishes New York Design Book

    Famed designer Alexander Gelman, known in the advertising industry for his work with Absolut, MTV, Pepsi and Shiseido, has, along with Mic Musolino and Helen Walters have published Infiltrate - The Front Lines of the New York Design Scene, a collection of today's cutting edge New York design. The book features 304 pages of work from 23 studios and individuals. Each of 23 groundbreaking New York studios and individuals is introduced by an interview, work examples and captions.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

    POPstick CEO Danny Kastner Is A Nice Guy

    We wrote a couple of scathing articles about The Apprentice contestant and POPstick CEO Danny Kastner commenting on his performance during the show. Kastner, like many creative people in any industry portrayed on television, was "produced" as a bit "out of the Trump mold" in the show where success is usually attained through suit-wearing, cut throat, ass-kissing behavior. In fairness, we thought we'd better check out the un-produced version of Danny Kastner so we called him up to discuss his experience on The Apprentice.

    The first thing we can say about Danny is he's a nice guy. He's assuredly a creative sole soul (we always get that one wrong) and while that might not be a fit for a stuffy Trump job, it seems to work just fine for his Boston-based company POPstick. When we asked about that "sidewalk show" during the first episode where contestants had to introduce a new Burger King product, Danny admitted it was "a bit gimmicky but it did work." He's right. While his team didn't win, his team's Burger King was packed with customers. They failed because they didn't have enough trained order takers.

    Kastner also admitted his strategy of bringing the "immune" Michael into the boardroom with him was a bit of a counter-strategy - which led to a very heated exchange - but reports he has since had beers with Michael and things are cool. While Kastner may have been shown to be out there on The Apprentice, we can assure you, in real life, Danny Kastner is just cool, successful, creative guy.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

    Heidi Klum Face of Colon Cancer PSA

    AdFreak reports the launch of a new colon cancer awareness campaign from the Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Olympus. The print PSA will feature Heidi Klum and includes the headline, "Help us make it fashionable to talk about colon cancer" and the tagline, "Be seen, be screened." While we're not sure it will ever be fashionable to talk about colon cancer, personally, it sure can be humorous.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

    Mandy Moore Launches Fashion Label

    Mandy Moore says she's "a pretty modest girl so I’m not into anything too risque." That's one of the reasons behind the star's launch of her on fashion label, Mblem, a line of "functional, casual and sexy" T's Moore explains. "It all evolved from the fact that I’m totally the jeans and T-shirt girl. If I can get away with wearing jeans and a T-shirt somewhere, I’ll do it," Moore said in an Associated Press interview.

    The other reason is her height. More says, "I’m a tall girl (5-foot-10), so I’m always searching for the perfect jeans and T-shirt," which would likely make most crop t's fall well above her belly button. Heaven forefend. The t shirts will be priced around $50 and be printed with the lyrics of her favorite rock songs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Online Discussion Group Plans For Growth

    Founded in 1999, the Oldtimers Discussion Group has been home to the brilliant minds behind companies responsible for enabling and nurturing the growth of online marketing and advertising. Because the field of online marketing has become an integral component of most current marketing and advertising programs, the group seeks to expand its membership to include additional industry influencers and thought leaders actively driving the online and interactive elements of those programs. The group is looking for senior level agency executives and brand marketers who are actively involved in creating, managing and analyzing online, interactive and e-business programs that might include elements such as viral, word of mouth, advergaming, product placement, SMS, IM and affiliate marketing and willing to pro-actively contribute to the discussion.

    If you feel you are qualified and have value to add to this group or you are acquainted with someone who is, please send an email to membership@oldtimersexchange.com (that's "exchange," not "sex change") stating what you, or the person you are recommending, has achieved and can offer the Oldtimers Discussion Group. Be sure to include your resume. Membership is free but subject to application approval.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Reebok Launches Global Popeye Ad Campaign

    Later this month, Reebok will launch a new global campaign it says will celebrate individuality and authenticity and will include the tagline, "I Am What I Am." While we wonder what Popeye and King Features will think of this, we also wonder if a better tagline might have been, "Fuck It. Why Should I Bother To Be Anything More Than I Am."

    Created by New York advertising agency mcgarrybowen, "I Am What I Am" launches globally this month on TV, cinema, print and on billboards in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, London and Tokyo. The television spots debut during the NBA All-Star Game on February 20, 2005, and the print ads hit in March publications.

    The campaign encourages young people to embrace their own individuality by celebrating their contemporary heroes including: music icons Jay-Z and 50 Cent; top athletes Allen Iverson, Andy Roddick, Kelly Holmes, and Yao Ming; screen star Lucy Liu, skateboarder Stevie Williams, and soccer star Iker Casillas. Or perhaps it just says, hey, it's ok if you're fat, ugly, lazy, dumb, unlucky, divorced, fired, a loser, have cancer, sterile, poor and stuck in suburbia driving kids to soccer games every thirteen seconds.

    This spring, to further support the movement to celebrate authenticity, Reebok will launch an online forum on their website where consumers will have the opportunity to create their own "I Am What I Am" ads or nominate someone who they feel truly embodies the campaign message. That ought to be fun.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Gets Free Promotion From Miss McDonald

    While fan sites for celebrities are expected, fan sites for brands usually fall into one of three categories. They are either poor stealth marketing efforts by brands trying to look cool, they are the actual new cool created by brand aficionados or they are the creation of wackos with too much time on their hands.

    We're not sure what category this LiveJournal site falls into but Random Culture points to A Day In The Like of Miss McDonald which contains image after image of a teenage, Asian (?) looking girl dressed in a less McHottie version of the Ronald McDonald ensemble. There are pictures of her with Ronald McDonald statues at various McDonald's restaurants, pictures of her hanging out with her family and even pictures of her doing laundry.

    The site appears to have been launched last November and it's background is made up of the McDonald's logo. Along with the expected "You're hot!" and "I'd bang you" comments, one ingenious sole posted, as there comment, the McDonald's "I'd Hit It" banner. Never a lack of horny humor on LiveJournal.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

    February 09, 2005

    See All The Super Bowl Ads Here

    iFilm is hosting all the Super Bowl commercials here for your viewing pleasure.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Levis Posts Casting Call For Bloggers to Appear in New Ad Campaign

    Gossip dripping Gawker received a tip Levis has made a casting call for bloggers to appear in an upcoming Levi's ad campaign called "A Style for Every Story." Gawker appropriately comments this would clearly be a shark jumping event for the blogoshpere.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Cheerleader Slam Dunked In AMC Pre-Movie Promo

    We saw this a day or two ago and then again on AdJab which made us realize we'd seen, a month ago, images of one the actors in it on SportsbyBrooks where she's been modeling for almosta year. All of which promoted us to share it here. So what the hell are we talking about? AMC, Nokia and Best Buy have teamed to created an amazing, pre-movie, turn-your-cell-phone-off promo invloving cheerleaders (and the above mentioned actor) and a distracting cell phone. Consequences are hilarious but even more hilarious is an offshoot of the promo called Cheerleader Toss in which a cheerleader is successfully tossed, by stunt men, through a basketball hoop. While successful, it looks like the poor girl ended up with quite a headache. All very amusing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

    UN Mine Action Service Launches Powerful PSA

    The United Nations' Mine Action Service has launched a campaign which brings the dangers of landmines close to home in hopes awareness of the worldwide dilemma will increase. The campaign includes a website and shocking PSA that will likely never appear on TV but should. It opens with a scene of idyllic suburban tranquility. A young family cheers on their daughter who has just scored a goal in her soccer match when she suddenly, violently explodes. Chaos consumes the scene while the mother of the victim shrieks hysterically and her father cradles her lifeless body. A simple graphic reads: "If there were landmines here would you stand for landmines anywhere." It deserves to be seen by as many people as have seen the, in comparison, ridiculous, GoDaddy commercials.

    The video was created by New York agency The Brooklyn Brothers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Cabs to Get Wireless Multimedia Systems

    Interactive Taxi, a subsidiary of Targeted Media Partners, based in New York, plans to install wireless touchscreen interactive devices in the back seats of more than 600 cabs in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.

    The company used to offer screens that required large hard drives, mounted in the trunk of the taxi, which were hampered by bumps and the inability to remotely update. The new system will be powered by a 2GB flash drive wiith wireless connectivity for updates. The service will provide passengers new, movie trailers, restaurant listings and, yes, ads.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

    WOMMA Code of Conduct Released

    The Word of Mouth Marketing Association released its code of conduct today, an industrywide effort to tackle the issue of ethics in word of mouth marketing. The WOMMA Code establishes guidelines and best practices so marketers have a framework with which to plan and execute ethical word of mouth marketing campaigns. At the heart of the Code is what WOMMA calls its Honesty ROI - honest disclosure of relationship, opinion, and identity. This demands that those who are spreading a marketer's message by "word of mouth" disclose their relationship with marketers in their conversations with other consumers; that they be allowed to form their own honest opinions and let those with whom they're communicating form their own opinions; and that everyone be transparent and reveal their identity to anyone with whom they're communicating. Another key provision deals specifically with the issue of marketing to children. In it, WOMMA states that they stand against any word of mouth marketing to children under 13. The code further emphasizes the important responsibilities, sensitivity, and ethical obligations of working with minors. The Code is being released as a draft for public comment as part of WOMMA's commitment to open, transparent communications. All interested parties are invited to voice their views and contribute to improving this ethical standard. WOMMA has previously emailed more than 1,100 people who expressed interest, inviting them to participate in the discussion. The comment period will remain open for one month, after which a final code will be adopted.

    Comments can be submitted at the WOMMA website.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Pepsi Girl Blog Not Pepsi Marketing Ploy

    A fan blog called That Pepsi Girl was launched Super Bowl Sunday in honor of the half-Asian model, Mandy Fujiko Amano, who appeared in the Pepsi/iTunes "Pop the Music" commercial. Beginning yesterday, bloggers speculated the site was another lame, fake blog marketing trick similar to the one McDonald's launched in support of its Lincoln Fry. The mystery and speculation can be put to rest. We know the creator of the blog and he emailed us Monday to tell us about it. Pepsi has nothing to do with this blog. It's simply a joke. Next.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

    PR Blogger Launches Blog Monitoring Service

    CooperKatz & Company, Inc., a mid-sized New York City public relations firm, today launched a new service to help corporations monitor, analyze, plan for and respond to issues that might bubble up from blogs and other emerging online channels.

    The service is the first in a series of planned introductions under a new agency practice called Micro Persuasion that will be led by Steve Rubel, VP, Client Services. Micro Persuasion capabilities will not only help companies address corporate issues and concerns but also capitalize on the vast opportunities that blogs and other new channels afford to engage key audiences in a transparent dialogue. Micro Persuasion counsel will be infused into the agency’s existing PR services, but can also be purchased as a stand-alone service. "Thanks to weblogs and other inexpensive online publishing tools, individual voices are more influential than ever in the marketplace," said Andy Cooper, an agency principal. "Corporations need to pay attention to this online commentary as well as engage in a one-to-one dialogue with its 'authors.' We see an opportunity to create a new kind of service that helps companies listen, prepare and manage issues – as well as their overall reputation – in this emerging era of citizen’s media.

    When you couple our experience with online privacy, product recalls, litigation, strikes, mergers and acquisitions and controversial marketing categories with our knowledge of blogs and consumer-generated media, we feel we have a unique expertise that will be quite compelling."

    Knowing Steve, this new offering will focus on joining the the conversation rather than controlling it as others have, wrongly, done. Steve details the offering further on his blog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Super Bowl Sex Peaks Internet Traffic

    While the game, itself, was good, Super Bowl XXXIX will also be remembered for its prudishness and skittish advertisers, largely the result of a stricter FCC following last year's halftime "wardrobe malfunction." Not surprisingly, new Internet data now show advertisers with the most sexually-nuanced commercials were the top drivers of Internet traffic on Super Bowl Sunday.

    According to Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service, GoDaddy, the most provocative advertiser, led the pack. Its total market share of U.S. Internet visits increased 260 percent on Super Bowl Sunday versus the prior day.

    Meanwhile, traffic to the Web site for the male impotence drug Cialis increased 155 percent. Visits to the Tabasco Web site increased 118 percent, driven by an ad featuring a bikini-clad actress.

    Whether GoDaddy's ad will sell domain names is another story, as Hitwise clickstream data reveal that 23 percent of visitors to GoDaddy went to company founder Bob Parson's blog. which revealed the story behind the ad as well as why the second showing of the ad was cancelled.

    The chart below, from Hitwise, reflects Super Bowl-induced changes in Internet traffic:

    Super Bowl advertiser web sites with largest change in Market Share of Internet Visits

    Period - February 6, 2005 compared to February 5, 2005

    Site

    Change 2/5 -2/6

    www.godaddy.com

    260.21%

    www.cialis.com

    155.41%

    www.tabasco.com

    118.57%

    www.dietpepsi.com

    94.32%

    www.nfl.com

    90.95%

    www.cadillac.com

    74.82%

    www.olympus-global.com

    73.69%

    www.lincolnvehicles.com

    57.86%

    www.frito-lay.com

    57.28%

    www.tacobell.com

    48.74%

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Now Corporation to Host Viral Awards

    On February 15 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the now corporation will host The Viral Awards 2004 benefiting The Food Bank for New York City. Awards will be given for "the most infectious North American viral." Finalists for Most Infectious North American viral include Burger King for Subservient Chicken by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, MTV for Instructoart by Matt Vescovo, Scienceworld for Boardroom by Rethink Advertising, Napster for Venables by Bell and Virgin Atlantic for Haircut by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. More info and tickets here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

    February 08, 2005

    Career Builder Expands Super Bowl Monkey Business With Website

    To accompany it's round of Super Bowl commercials which feature bunch of monkeys working for a company called Yeknom Inc., Career Builder has launched a purposefully poorly designed spoof site based on the Yeknom (yes, that's monkey spelled backwards) company and all the monkeys that work for it. The site includes a history section detailing the company's inventing of the first tool, a stick, an About section with employee photos, a section highlighting the less than stellar accomplishments of employees and, of course, an employment section which leads to phony job listings on Careerbuilder. There's even an 800 number offering even more monkey business.

    The ads and the site nicely wrap together the theme of working for monkeys as in impetus to using Careerbuilder to find a new job. The site is humorous and, hands down, far better integrated into its campaign than the McDonald's Lincoln Fry site an its fake weblog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Late to Party, GoDaddy Ad Production Company Gloms Publicity

    We just received a press release touting the involvement of a company in the production of the GoDaddy Strapless Super Bowl commercial.

    Hello? The Super Bowl was two days ago. If the production company was after awareness by association, there was plenty of controversy surrounding the GoDaddy ad prior to its airing into which the production company could have inserted itself without having to resort to this post-event, oh wait, me too, plea for inclusion. It's like Joe Simpson using Jessica's populartity to sell Ashlee. We all know how that turned out. We're not mentioning the PR agency which sent the release because we hope they tried to talk the production company out of it but were ultimately bullied into this desperate attempt to milk every last drop of GoDaddy publicity.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Jane Magazine Needs to Move Out

    Writing in mediaPost's Magazine Rack, Larry Dobrow comments on girly-mag Jane has gone downhill resorting to Paris Hilton covers, out of date Gwyneth references and non-sensical Jude Law references. Dobrow thinks Jane needs to move on writing, "... it doesn't take someone in the mag's demographic crosshairs to notice that lethargy seems to have set in.

    This magazine once thrived owing to its cool-older-sister persona, yet the February issue suggests that this cool older sister hasn't found her way out of the bedroom above mom and dad's garage."

    We can't really comment as we don't routinely read Jane but we'll take Dobrow's word for it. We here the new teen cool can be found in old standby Seventeen.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Oxygen Promotes Reality Series With 'Select A Hunk' Valentine

    With a "Select A Hunk" site, Oxygen Network is promoting Mr. Romance, Oxygen's new reality series that culminates in America's First Annual Man-pageant hosted by Fred Willard and uber-hunk Fabio. Visitors to the valentine video/egreeting site can view and listen to the schmaltzy come-on lines the Mr. Romance hunks utter into the camera. The best line comes from the guy dressed in a police uniform who says, "I know how to make you spread 'em." The series premieres on the Oxygen Network March 14th at 10pm.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Online Dinner Date Promotes KY Lubricant

    KY is capitalizing on Valentines Day to promote their KY Warming Ultragel with a kooky "Warm Up Date" online dating skills test. Visitors first choose their date, then experience a dinner date sprinkled with dilemmas. Navigating through the dilemmas properly shoots the dating thermometer upwards and gets you into bed - with KY Warming Ultragel, of course.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Kathleen Turner Provides Voice For Citymeals 'Silence' Ad

    In a new commercial, entitled, "Silence," Kathleen Turner lent her distinctive voice to New York's Citymeals-on-Wheels. Indicating the loneliness some homebound seniors face, the spot shows an elederly woman sitting alone at her table in silence. Half way through, Turner's voice is heard saying, "There are 86,400 seconds in her day. These are only 30 of them."

    The pro-bono work was created by New York based Urban Advertising.

    Urban Advertising President Bernard Urban explained the creative process. "Having Kathleen Turner's voice adds another layer of depth and urgency to the spot", he said. "Not only did she do an incredible job, but she also waived her fee, which is what makes PSA's like this possible. She was amazing, actually the whole team that made this happen was amazing. Everyone donated their time and talent, the producers Sherri Hollander and Hillary Cutter, the sound people at Tonic, editor Rich Rosenbaum at Convergence, they were all moved by the cause and wanted to help out."

    Citymeals is currently negotiating with local outlets for airtime and also investigating the option of having thespot shown in movie theaters.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Pepsi Girl Spawns Fan Site

    Another commercial model fan site has reared its freaky head. Just as the Old Navy Girl did a month or so ago, so has the Pepsi Girl who appeared in the Pepsi/iTunes "Pop the Music" spot aired during the Super Bowl. It's the same spot in which Gwen Stefani appeared wearing a skirt smaller than a bandana. Justin, creator of That Pepsi Girl, writes, "Oh Pepsi Girl. I wish i knew your name. Because i'm in love with you Pepsi Girl. Your eyes, that smile, they way you unscrew that bottle of Pepsi... you're so hot. I love you. Please marry me. I'll buy you all the Pepsi in the world. And maybe an iPod too. I'll try to score one for you by doing that free iPods thing." OK, now that's obsessive.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Fury Anti-Fur Ad Blankets Chicago

    In an less celebu-focused ad campaign than Dennis Rodman's recent nude appearance in a PETA anti-fur ad, this month In Defense of Animals and the Humane Society have teamed to blanket Chicago's red line with a Valentine’s Day message for Chicago cupids. The oh-so-cuddly-but-looks-like-it-was-created-by-fifth-graders ad reads "Beavers and foxes have as much right to live as cats and dogs" aims to remind Chicago residents to treat all animals with the same kindness they would there on dog or cat. The campaign, by artist Peter Max, was originally launched last September.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Dennis Rodman Gets Nude For PETA

    Dennis Rodman was in New York City for Fashion Week yesterday to unveil his a new PETA ad, part of the anti-everything group's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear" campaign. In the ad, Rodman appears nude, except for his tattoos, alongside the caption, "Think Ink, Not Mink," and urges: "Be comfortable in your own skin and let animals keep theirs."

    Rodman is the first man and the first sports star to pose for PETA's anti-fur campaign, which has featured Pamela Anderson, Kim Basinger, and Christy Turlington. When the basketball oddity, whose own Dennis Rodman Foundation helps the homeless, heard about PETA's program that donates thousands of castoff fur coats to homeless shelters across the country, he agreed to pose for the cause, explaining that furriers have pushed free furs on him over the years and he’s always refused to take them. He claims he has only worn fake fur.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

    February 07, 2005

    GoDaddy Crushes Adrants

    GoDaddy's oversized, unrestrained breasts unleashed upon Adrants a torrent of visitors and crushed our servers this morning as the entire world just had to see what all the fuss was about. Being listed the second result for search term "GoDaddy" on Google Search and Google News for the headline, "See the Banned GoDaddy Super Bowl Commercial," pummeled our operation and we've had to move to a more industrial strength server. We can't imaging a worse moment for an advertising site to be down. Oh well. The price of popularity. Or maybe it was just a well written headline.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Second Airing of GoDaddy Spot Pulled During Super Bowl

    GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons explains on his blog why the second airing of the company's busty-babe-in-the-courtroom spot was pulled. Apparently, uptight NFL officials saw it, confered with FOX and said "Uh, uh, that ain't running again." The company's closing billboard was pulled as well. Oddly, this spot that did air struck us as more "racy" than the one that was banned prior to the game. In all, it's just a stunt marketing strategy that worked. Everyone is talking about it and will be for a long time.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Anheuser-Busch Tops USA Today Ad Meter

    As we suspected, Anheuser-Busch and Ameriquest scored highly in USA Today's Annual Super Bowl Ad Meter ranking.

    The brewer took the number one slot for is Bud Light commercial in which a hesitant sky diver jumps out after a six pack. Also placing in the top ten were AB's "American Troop Thanks You" spot (3rd) and it's cell phone ad in which a guy sees a pic of his girlfriend with another guy. As we also expected, the Ameriquest spot in which a babbling cell phone user is misinterpreted to be a robber placed number two on the list. The mortgage company also placed i8th for its spot in which a guy, after struggling with his cat and a pot of tomato sauce is seen by his girlfriend holding the cat in one hand and a knife in the other.

    Napters placed last on the list for its commercial promoting it dead-on-arrival Napster To Go music rental program.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Rap With Bob Garfield Monday Afternoon

    If you're already overloaded with Super Bowl commercial commentary, here's more. USA Today, at 2 PM EST, is hosting a live conversation with Ad Age ad critic Bob Garfield. Here's your chance to ask him when he last changed his hair style and other important things like why one GoDaddy spot was banned and the other wasn't.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Copywriter Reviews Super Bowl 2005 Commercials

    Freelance copywriter Kimberly Freeman offers her own personal take on Super Bowl 2005 commercials. Her top pick: the FedEx Kinko's spot.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's 'Lincoln Fry' Promo Includes Fake Blog

    Far too busy to visit every detail of last nights Super Bowl extravaganza, Strategic Public Relations points out the McDonald's Lincoln Fry promotion, along with it's odd website detailing a couple's experiences after finding a French fry that has the profile of Abe Lincoln, also has a weblog as a component. But after spending a few minutes with the blog, it's clear it's fake. Just another manufactured part of a campaign. We can't understand why marketers feel the need to do this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

    February 06, 2005

    Mastercard 'Priceless' Commercial a Brand Orgasm

    Continuing its "Priceless" theme, Mastercard gathered every major grocery brand around a table for dinner including the Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Vlasic pickle pelican. For a minute there, we didn't know what brand we were supposed to be taking in. Sometimes these brand mix things work. Sometimes they don't. Not sure this one did.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

    FOX Thinks It Paid $2.4 Million to Promote '24'

    FOX wants us to believe it actually paid itself $2.4 million for the promotional spot it ran for its series "24" by claiming, in the ad, it was worth it. Wait until the accountants see this one.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Anheuser-Busch Thanks Military in Emotional Spot

    We admit it. We're a sucker for emotional commercials and we're especially moved by emotional military commercials. During the Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch ran a minute long commercial, set in an airport, showing troops returning while travelers in the terminal stood and applauded their efforts. Very moving. It reminds us of the 2002 Anheuser-Bush spot in which Clydesdales kneel to New York City following 911. We give high marks to this one. View the commercial here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

    Ford Clubs Viewers Over Head With New Mustang Spot

    OK so frequency can be a good thing in a media buy but three spots in the Super Bowl that are exactly the same? Waste of money. At $2.4 million per :30, it likely costs less to produce a spot than to air it so Ford could have easily ponied up more money rather than bore us with three identical spots - two within five minutes of each other.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

    McCartney Rocks Half Time With 'Live And Let Die'

    To the classic James Bond movie Live And Let Die accompanied by a massive display of fireworks. He also performed 4-5 more of his classics from the Beatles days delivering one of the best half time shows in memory. Janet who?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

    AdJab Ad Blog Launches And Blogs Super Bowl Commercials

    The latest weblog from Weblogs, Inc., AdJab, has launched and is blogging, with an apparent army of bloggers, what appears to be every Super Bowl commercial. Doesn't anyone just watch the game anymore?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

    Cell Phone Habits, Lincoln Fries, Handjobs and Cadillac

    Ameriquest, in a spot that really calls attention to how idiotic people look when they use an earpice/microphone device while talking on their cell phones, gives one cell phone user his due as he talks to his friend about being robbed in front of a convenience store clerk. Funny.

    McDonald's creates and promotes a website whose sole purpose is to feature a French fry that is shaped with the profile of President Lincoln. There's a long form commercial and even an auction.

    A very odd looking spot for Degree deodorant goes through this elaborate plot which even contains visuals of a wife giving a handjob to her husband the Mama's Boy In-Action Figure and his mother giving him what looks like a handjob while pushing him in a shopping cart. Very weird. Why that didn't get banned, we'll never know.

    And here's the Cadillac spot we got a glimpse of earlier today.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

    Fedx Provides Ten Tips For Great Super Bowl Commercial

    Diet Pepsi ran a spot that reminded us of the dueling, tricked out FedX/UPS truck commercials. It featured P Diddy, Carson Daly and Eva Longoria. We liked it. During the same break was an iPod imitator style spot promoting an iPod-like device - the Olympus Mrobe personal video player. It had some funny Asian middle aged dancers. UPDATE: A different version of this spot ran in the second half and was a bit better including some better dance freakiness.

    The best commercial so far comes from FedX whose commercial centered on the ten thing which make a successful Super Bowl commercial. From celebrity (Burt Reynolds) to hot chics to animals to cute kids, it was quite humorous in an insiderish way.

    This just in: GoDaddy runs "toned down" spot. It was just as racy as the banned spot so we don't know what the big deal was about except for the fact that it was all just a publicity stunt.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)

    DirecTV Travels TV Generations in Super Bowl Spot

    DirecTV ran a spot during the pre-game show, called "Rethink," which followed an man through the early days of TV with Lucille Ball all the way up through current day when the man sits down to watch TV with his grandson. Sure it's the saccharine, emotional approach but it conjures DirecTV's understanding of television's place in life. See it here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Cadillac Super Bowl Ad Sneak Peek

    It's not much but here's some footage from one of the Cadillac spots to air in tonight's Super Bowl game.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

    Many Sites Post Super Bowl Commercials

    There are many sites hosting this year's Super Bowl commercials. Ad-Awards is one of them. Adland is another where you can also find 32 years worth of commercials. SuperBowlAds is another perennial collector which actually uses iFilm to host. These sites will add spots as they air.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

    February 05, 2005

    Alternative Marketing Brings Trust to the Forefront

    Oh we can't help but gloat a bit when we get a little press so bear with us as we point you to an article in the Hartford Courant about the decline of the :30, the rise of guerrilla, buzz, viral and word of mouth advertising and how that has effected people's trust of marketers.

    Referring to the Super Bowl, Hartford Courant reporter John Jurgensen writes, "...operating under the surface of that ad extravaganza will be the mechanics of an industry trying to reinvent itself in order to reach a fragmented and indifferent population of potential customers."

    He's right and we're just at the tip of that sea change. As the vicious circle of people's increasing avoidance of advertising collides with advertiser's attempts to circumvent that avoidance, establishing trust will become and ever important consideration when planning a campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Jerry Orbach's Wife Miffed Hubby's Ads Not Pulled After Death

    Elaine Orbach, wife of the late Law and Order star Jerry Orbach, who died December 28, is upset the ads for Senior Lending Network featuring her husband are still running. SLN President David Peskin said, "Yes, it's true that one or two ran as many as 10 more days (after Orbach's death). But we asked the stations to pull them, and they told us they couldn't be pulled out of rotation."

    Somehow we think every broadcast traffic manager in the country has heard of Jerry Orbach and would have had no problem slotting another advertiser or station promo. For SNL's sake, let's just hope it was human oversight and not one last morbid grasp at capitalizing on the star.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

    See The Banned GoDaddy Super Bowl Commercial

    In case you haven't already seen the banned GoDaddy SuperBowl spot, you can view it here.

    There was no way it was going to run and GoDaddy new it. They played up the PR for all it was worth and still ended up running a spot as racy as the banned spot. GoDaddy will be one of the most talked about companies following this year's Super Bowl.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Blog Ad Network Founder Profiled

    Jim Kukral, founder and BlogKits BlogMatch Network is profiled in this Internet Week article. The company plans to match bloggers with marketers and has also proposed banner ad size standards specific to blogs. BlogKits joins more established BlogAds as a means to harness blogs as an advertising medium. While blogs have already become valuable channels for marketers to tap, it's unclear whether a new set of standards will help. BlogKits argues their proposed standards cater to common blog layouts but many IAB standard banner sizes work equally well. Having been involved in the creation of multiple ad sizes for online campaigns, we can safely say standards that require campaigns to be resized more than they already are will not be met with a smile.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Super Bowl Advertising Facts And Figures

    Ad Age has put together a comprehensive chart containing data for 38 years of Super Bowl broadcasts. Included in the chart are prices paid for spots, broadcast network, game ratings, and cost per thousand figures which indicate the rising cost of the Super Bowl as an advertising channel. In 2004 dollars, the CPM in 1970 was $8.88. In 2004, the figure was $25.06.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Ask Jeeves to Buy Bloglines

    Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion points to a report by Mary Hodder that reveals Ask Jeeves will announce its purchase of blog search engine and content management company Bloglines on Monday.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

    February 04, 2005

    Marketers Turn to Web During Super Bowl For Feedback

    Now that everyone is multitasking, blogging and posting to forums, Marketers have come to realize, the best feedback on their Super Bowl marketing efforts will not come from formal research but from monitoring and joining the worldwide discussion racing around the Internet in real time.

    Intelliseek and New Media Strategies are two of the companies who have taken on the challenge of measuring and monitoring conversation for marketers during and after this tear's Super Bowl. The will do it by monitoring blogs, forums, industry analyst commentary and, in the case of Intelliseek, their own panel of bloggers. No doubt, there will be a flurry of activity and commentary for marketers to dig through. All this heightened communal conversation makes us want to simply close the laptop and actually watch the game.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Conde Nast to Launch $3.5 Million Pro Magazine Ad Campaign

    On the heels of the Magazine Publishers of America's launch of a trade pro-magazine ad campaign, Conde Nast is launching their own $3.5 million campaign aimed at consumers. The campaign, which will appear in outdoor media as well as trade, will carry the tagline "The point of passion" and show readers having a love fest with their favorite Conde Nast magazine. San Francisco based Heat created the campaign which will also play up the high "time spent reading" figures magazines can claim.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Late Night Question Mark Man Starts Blog

    Thank God we don't watch late night TV and subject ourselves to the oddity of Matthew Lesko, the question mark-wearing, Free Money, infomercial screamer. Anyway, he's started a blog. Why we're telling you this, we don't know.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Marketer Fails Again in 'The Apprentice'

    Doofy Danny did it again. Apprentice candidate and CEO of Boston-based POPstick Danny Kastner, who had a less than stellar performance in the first episode, led this his team to dismal failure on this week's The Apprentice.

    Supposedly a creative genius, Kastner received poor marks from Nestle on some promotional work done for Taster's Choice. Displaying zero leadership skills (again, producers love to edit people into idiocy), Kastner, apparently, couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it. Losing valuable time, he waited until the absolute last minute to choose a partner company capable of pulling off the promotional idea his team came up with. How Kastner has built a successful company remains a mystery.

    Kastner was not entirely alone in the episode display of less than smart behavior. His entire team displayed some serious idiocy as well by banding together on a plan to suggest to Trump that Michael, a team member who received exemption last week, be fired. Granted, Michael came off as a sexist, Neanderthal loser-slacker but there was no way he could go down for this week's task. In a cluster fuck of the boardroom, the team turned on Kastner as he tried to blame Michael for the failure and Trump lambasted both Kastner and Michael, both from Massachusetts which might have some hidden reason why they nearly came to blows during the episode. And in the ultimate display of bubble headed logic, Kastner selected the un-fireable Michael as one of the two teammates he brought back into the boardroom to face Trump. We suppose in this day of crazy-ass stunt marketing, that's just par for the course.

    And if that display of brilliance didn't make it a very good thing Kastner already runs his own company, his guitar playing, folksy send off in the cab pretty much eliminated the likelihood anyone else would be knocking at his door to offer him a job. Unless of course it's in the ad business. We love that kooky stuff, don't we?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

    February 03, 2005

    I-Mockery Spoofs 'I'd Hit It' McDonald's Banner

    Last week, we reported on McDonald's apparent lack of street smarts or its odd juxtaposition of sex and its Double Cheeseburger when it ran an ad banner containing the phrase "I'd Hit It." Now, of course, the spoofers have had there fun with it and have created new takes on "hitting" a burger. Actually, McDonald's is probably fooling all of us knowing this would race around the net like the Suicide Bomber ad. View the banners here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

    Nielsen to Launch Ethnic Focused Ad Campaign

    Nielsen Media Research will launch a branding advertising campaign in February to heighten awareness about who Nielsen is and how its TV reports accurately reflect the viewing habits of all different kinds of people.

    Nielsen has partnered with Burrell, one of the nation's largest African American full-service communications agencies, to create and execute the campaign. It includes print, radio, online and cinema advertising, targeting Asian, African-American, Arabic, and Hispanic consumers and opinion leaders. The informational advertising campaign is also designed to inform multicultural audiences about Nielsen's role in television ratings. One wonders why "whites" don't need this information as well.

    As part of the campaign, Nielsen will roll out print ads featuring the faces of adults of various ages and ethnicities merged together, to illustrate the company's inclusive research methods. The print ad copy is translated in Chinese, Spanish and English for respective audiences and will run in ethnic weeklies in and national publications that reach ethnic opinion leaders. The radio ads will run on top-rated African American and Hispanic (Spanish and English language) stations. The campaign also includes on-screen advertising in multicultural movie theaters.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

    Pregnant Women Gets $4,050 For Ad On Pregnant Belly

    The woman who offered her pregnant belly as ad space on eBay has found a buyer.

    Not surprisingly, The Golden Palace, famous for placing logos on nude people at widely attended events, has paid Amber Rainey, 22, $4,050 to place its logo on her protruding stomach.

    UPDATE: Truly disgusting: eBay Colon Advertising Auction

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Super Bowl Commercial Foreplay

    MediaPost's Amy Corr has compiled a comprehensive, quarter by quarter preview of this Sunday's main event: The Super Bowl Commercials. If you want to know what you'll see before you see it, her column is the place to visit.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

    YWCA Debuts Anti-Racism Campaign

    With the tagline "Eliminating Racism. Empowering Woman," the YWCA launched a national advertising campaign January 31 that points out the subtle and not so subtle existence of racism in society and how it affects people.

    The campaign will include national television, online, radio and print.

    Created by Bozell & Jacobs and directed by Bronwen Hughes, two spots kick off the campaign. The first, "Unspoken," illustrates the many subtle ways that racism occurs in everyday situations, from a man shunning another of a different race as they enter their identical apartments to a Native American child sitting alone as an outcast while other children play around him on a playground. The second, "Little Girls," demonstrates the blatant ways that women and girls are routinely devalued in today's society. This spot uses harsh music lyrics as a metaphor for the underlying opinions and attitudes that are still commonly accepted. Visually, the spot celebrates the enthusiasm, innocence and spontaneity of little girls, while the soundtrack emits jarringly derogatory rock, hip hop, pop and country music lyrics. It's quite stunningly effective.

    Through a media partnership with Viacom Plus, Viacom's cross-platform sales and marketing group, the YWCA will target young adults ages 18-34 with the campaign on MTV, MTV2 and BET as well as MTV.com and BET.com.

    The components of the campaign can be viewed here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Ford Pulls Lincoln 'Lust' Super Bowl Commercial

    Yesterday, Ford joined Budweiser as another marketer getting cold feet prior to this year's Super Bowl and has cancelled a planned commercial for its new Lincoln Mark LT pick up truck. The spot, created by Young & Rubicam Dearborn, shows a clergyman finding a key to the Lincoln truck in the collection plate. Following the service, the clergyman is seen lusting after the vehicle in the parking lot only to find out from a church member it was a joke played by his daughter. He is then seen placing the word "Lust" on sign outside the church indicating the topic of his next sermon.

    Once again, we have become a bunch of humorless, PC-controlled bores with no backbone. It seems Janet Jackson's right breast has become the most powerful cultural anomaly now guiding our lives.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

    February 02, 2005

    Nurses Fight Schwarzenegger With Ad Campaign

    Angered by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's comments on the nursing profession and his plan to freeze nurse-patient staffing levels, the California Nurses Association has launched a $100,00 national (that won't go far) cable campaign in support of the nursing profession. The campaign takes aim at Schwarzenegger's calling nurses "special interests" and that he said, "I kick their butt." The campaign also takes shots at hospitals which ran a campaign thanking Schwarzenegger for putting a stop to lowering patient to staff ratios previously approved by former Governor Gray Davis. In other news, Schwarzenegger will appear in Terminator 4 only if it is shot in California.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Model Gets $15.6 Million For Photo Shoot 19 Years Later

    Indicating we all might want to look at packaging more closely the next time we shop, Russell Christoff, whom, in 1986, was photographed by Nestle for possible use on company packaging was surprised, in 2002, to see his image on a Taster's Choice package because he was never told his image would be used. In 1986 a Nestle employee believed permission had been obtained and the company started using his image on Taster's Choice packaging and from 1997 to 2003, his image was used on packaging in the U.S. Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Israel and Kuwait. For Nestle's transgression, an LA County Superior Court jury awarded Christoff $15.6 million form profiting from his image without his permission, The award was based on 5 percent of Taster's Choice sales from 1997 to 2003.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Goodyear Advertises on Basketball Player's Head

    Seems there's no end to the use of the human body as a walking billboard.

    Just a few days ago, Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton wore the pattern of Goodyear's Assurance TripleTred tire pattern as a hairstyle during the game against the Knicks in Detroit. Hamilton plans to keep the style for a week or so. Neither Hamilton's management nor Goodyear would comment on what, if anything, was paid to Hamilton.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

    Yogi Berra Upset Over TBS 'Yogasms'

    Baseball legend Yogi Berra has sued TBS for referring to him in a billboard campaign for Sex and the City. One of the boards asks for a definition of "Yogasm" and one of the answers in "sex with Yogi Berra. There is no comment from TBS but the lawsuit ways the ads "damaged his otherwise spotless reputation, is hurtful to his personal sensibilities and has created a false image."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:32 AM | Comments (0)

    February 01, 2005

    Group Says Too Much Sex on MTV

    The Parents Television Council has released a report condemning MTV for peddling sex to kids. The report, titled MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids With Sex, Drugs And Alcohol, claims MTV consistently goes over the line. PTC President L. Brent Bozell said, "MTV is blatantly selling raunchy sex to kids. Compared to broadcast television programs aimed at adults, MTV's programming contains substantially more sex, foul language and violence and MTV's shows are aimed at children as young as 12. There’s no question that TV influences the attitudes and perceptions of young viewers, and MTV is deliberately marketing its raunch to millions of innocent children."

    Upon viewing 171 hours of programming, the group found MTV reality programming to contain 13 sexual scenes per hour and its music videos to contain 32 utterances of foul language per hour.

    And so goes the argument. Some say parents should just turn the TV off.

    Others say MTV, because it is part of basic cable, does not allow parents to decide whether or not it comes into the home. Bozell asks, "Given a choice, how many parents now being forced to take and pay for MTV as part of a basic cable package, would continue to do so?"

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

    Zodiac Vodka Launches 'Everything' Campaign

    In this world of sports stadiums named after brands, product placements intruding upon content and logos affixed to everything including foreheads, Zodiac Vodka has decided not to up the anti. In a series of print ads, the distiller has positioned itself as the official sponsor of everything. The ads contains headlines such as, "Life is always half full" paid off with the tagline, "Zodiac Vodka. Official Sponsor of Optimism." Others include "If opposites attract, how come positive wants nothing to do with negative"? paid off by, "Zodiac Vodka.

    Official Sponsor of Physics.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Swedish Woman Overreacts to L'Oreal Ad

    The insanity of advertising complaints isn't exclusive to America as witnessed by a recent complaint lodged by a Swedish woman about an L'Oreal ad showing a man's hand on a woman's body. Sending her complaint to the Ethical Advertising watchdog of Sweden, the woman, Sara, claims the ad is pedophile-like because the woman in the ad looks like a small girl. Adland has the entire story including the fact that the woman in the ad is, in fact, a woman and that the ad was retouched to remove her breasts thereby, perhaps, causing the woman's complaints. If you ask us, we don't know what the big deal is. It's one of the most innocuous ads we've seen.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Universal Orlando Launches 'I Want My Vacation!' Campaign

    As part of an ongoing TV campaign which thanks corporate America for not taking too much vacation, Universal Orlando Resort has launched a website focusing on the negatives of not taking a vacation but gives you the tools to improve your vacation going skills. It provides the chance to fight back with some statistics (Americans take the least amount of vacation days), calculate your Vacation Deficiency Quotient and beat your boss up in an online game. All this leads to another site complete with motivational techno music and means to explore what Universal Orlando has to offer.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

    MSN to Launch Google Killing Advertising Orgasm

    MSN Search is pumping itself up with an expansive ad campaign which, at it's final girth, will cover 90 percent of U.S. households 40 times over the next eight weeks. We have to admit, that's some serious stamina but, then again, this is Microsoft. Further explaining how the campaign will penetrate the market, MSN Director of Global Campaigns Chris Cocks (we don't make this stuff up!) said, "This will be our biggest campaign since the introduction of the MSN Butterfly in 2000."

    If you're happy with Google, get your protective gear on because MSN will soon be knocking, ever so urgently, at your doorway.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Lee And Dan Apologize For VW Suicide Ad

    Lee and Dan now have last names. They are Brooks and Ford respectively and they have formally apologized to VW for the creation of the Suicide Bomber ad in which a Middle Eastern looking man blows himself up inside a VW Polo. VW received sworn statements from the two acknowledging their involvement in the creation of the ad along with this statement, "The creators regret the distribution of the film, will not publicize it further and apologize unreservedly for the damage caused to Volkswagen." VW has dropped legal action toward the two.

    OK, good. Next?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

    Tommy Hilfiger Signs Enrique Iglesias For New Fragrance Campaign

    While we haven't seen much of Enrique Iglesias recently ion the American music scene, he is, apparently, still popular the world over and Tommy Hilfiger is tapping that popularity. Tommy Hilfiger Tioletries has signed a deal with the singer to be the face of its new True Star Men fragrance line planned for a fall 2005 launch. Beyonce recently signed on as spokesperson for True Star Women. Somehow, we think True Star Women will fare better.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

    Adholes Launches Super Bowl Ad Commentary Site

    Adholes.com, a 1,500 member social networking site for the advertising industry started last November, has made a special blog available for members of the ad industry to offer real-time Super Bowl critique to this year's newly launched commercials. The blog, available at superbowl.adholes.com (registration required) allows Adhole members to log their opinions on the blog and for others to comment on those opinions.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:50 AM | Comments (0)

    January 31, 2005

    Nike Launches Lance France Ad

    A new campaign for Nike, originating from Melbourne agency, Publicis Mojo, is designed to pay tribute to the larger-than-life heroics of Nike personality, Lance Armstrong. The press and poster work, entitled, "Conqueror," features a close-up glimpse of a classic-style map of Europe,­ only if we look carefully, France has become Lance.

    The creative team of writer, Paul Bootlis and art director, Tim Forte used an actual cartographer (from Philips Maps in the UK) to make the ad look more authentic and un-ad-like ­ in the tradition of elementary school Atlases. The ad will be featured in cycling magazines, outdoor and point-of-sale.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

    Nike Launches New Soccer Site

    To promote its soccer gear, Nike has launched a new website created by Odopod and ourcommon.

    The site asks, "What do the Brazilians know that allows them to win world championships?" The site then digs deep into the Brazilian culture all while selling Nike stuff. The site also lets visitors register to receive information about soccer all over the world, enter contests and to be notified when new content is added to the site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

    Clothing Store Campaign Hangs, Shoots, Burns to Sell Clothes

    A Chinese looking ad campaign which ran in the December issue of Next Magazine for clothing store Bauhaus shows a man being hanged "for not giving up his HIV+ friend," a woman being shot "for voicing money is not everything to 53 people," and a couple being burned "for having each other as the only partner for the past five years." This odd societal flip on norms is, apparently, the latest twist on selling jeans. It makes those old Diesel Jeans ad campaigns look downright tame. View the ads here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Freakish Woolly Mammoth Truck-Like Thing Explains Proper SUV Driving

    As a result of all those yahoos who think they can step into an SUV and become instantly impregnable, comes this website and campaign from states attorneys general and consumer protection agencies explaining otherwise. Along the lines of coffee is hot and too much food makes you fat, this site explains the steps which should be taken when getting behind the wheel on an SUV. We have to admit, the beast is very interesting looking and the spot hosted at Ad Age is quite amusing in that "we're trying really hard not to laugh, dry humor, fake serious, you're an idiot" sort of tone. On the site, the creature is really the only thing of interest. Once you get past watching him a few times growl like he hasn't visited the bathroom in a few days, there's just the usual common sense for idiots content such as, "SUV's are not cars. They are typically bigger and heavier."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Carat Brings Organization to Ad Council PSA Campaigns

    After realizing its campaigns were being scheduled based on the whims of broadcast traffic managers, Time-Warner Chairman/CEO and Ad Council Board Member Philip Kent decided to bring some order to the millions of dollars of free inventory granted to Ad Council campaigns. The Ad Council hired Carat to handle the account on a pro bono basis. Carat is approaching the placement of Ad Council campaigns as it does paid campaigns attempting to procure fairer placement.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

    Highschool Kid Gets Off On Starburst Girlfriend

    With geek-like highschool doofiness, a boy, hot for a girl, makes a sculpture of her out of Starburst candies then proceeds to molest the statue in front of the poor, freaked out girl. That's how we sell candy these days.

    This weeks's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week is also chock full of long, tease and reveal style spots. First, Renault gives us "paper man," a cartoon character who's left his strip to illustrate the wide open spaces of the car maker's minivan. Then, Fat Tire beer forces us to sit through an agonizingly long commercial just to realize we're watching a beer commercial. Pedigree pours on the man's best friend "ah, gee" cuteness only to reveal it's just a dog food commercial. It almost makes one wish for more of those car dealer ads that just can't seem to mention their name enough in thirty seconds. Either way, this squishy, feel good tease and reveal thing just doesn't work in today's ADD society.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Match.com Launches National Print Campaign

    A new national print campaign, created by Hanft Raboy, introduces the theme line "Love is complicated. Match.com is simple."

    The work, which launches today, uses photographic images from Elliot Erwitt and others to "capture love's mystery and complexity" as the releases explains. The ads will appear in People, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and other publications. Soon to follow is a multi-million dollar national television campaign that is slated to break in March. Larger images of the campaign can be seen here and here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Hong Kong Sprite Campaign Reminiscent of Proposed Coke Campaign

    A current Sprite campaign running in Hong Kong gleefully aligns itself with individual lifestyles in a campaign that is oddly similar to a campaign proposed a few months ago to Coke called " A Cool American."

    Both campaigns celebrate individual traits and lifestyles and align that with the choice to drink a particular beverage. Sprite, of course, is a Coke company and we wonder if the "A Cool American" layouts somehow found their way to Sprite's Hong Kong ad agency. The "A Cool American" campaign can be seen here. The Sprite campaign can be seen here. You decide.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

    Sony Endorses Weblogs With Site Integration Sponsorship

    Indicating increased validation of the weblog medium by major marketers, Sony Electronics has signed a deal with Gawker Media to become the exclusive launch sponsor of Lifehacker, a software version of Gizmodo, Gawker Media's gadget review weblog. It is the electronic giant's first foray into weblog sponsorship and, to date, the largest consumer electronics company to make a weblog media buy. Audi, Nike, GE, AT&T, Disney, Viacom and Hewlett Packard have all, previously, used the weblog medium.

    Sony's site integration sponsorship of Lifehacker will include the integration of the Sony logo with the Lifehacker masthead, as well as standard IAB ad units. The buy also includes Gizmodo, Gawker Media's gadget title. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Edited by Gina Trapani, a blogger best known for Scribbling.net, a personal journal with the occasional foray into technology, Lifehacker reviews software downloads, spam filters, virus killers, spyware, cleaners, search engines, email applications, internet phones and general productivity tips.

    In addition to the launch of Lifehacker, Gawker Media, today, also launches urban chic travel weblog, Gridskipper, with Cheaptickets as its site integration launch sponsor. Gridskipper is edited by Andrew Krucoff, a former guest writer on both Gawker and Fleshbot, two other Gawker Media titles. Both deals were put together by interactive business development agency BlackInc Ventures.

    Gawker Media consists of Gawker, Gizmodo, Wonkette, Defamer, Fleshbot, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Screenhead and weblog aggregator Kinja.

    With the addition of Lifehacker and Gridskipper, the group now has 11 titles which, according to Gawker Media, serve up more than 30 million page impressions per month. Published by Nick Denton, the group last week received seven nominations for Bloggies, a sort of weblog equivalent of the Oscars, including two for best weblog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:11 AM | Comments (0)

    January 30, 2005

    Golf Club Maker Spoofs Erectile Dysfunction Ads

    Adland points to a website called TracjectileDysfunction containing a hilarious spoof of those ridiculous drug company commercials from Viagra and Levitra. Promising "longer, stronger drives that go all day" and using every possible double entendre, the spot, for Cleveland Golf, works. It's funny and, at the same time, explains product benefit.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Florida Couple Auctions Super Bowl Stealth Marketing Program

    A Jacksonville couple has placed an ad on eBay promising they will promote the winning bidders brand at the Super Bowl. The two will attend the game at meander around AllTell Stadium in Jacksonville as well as attend pre and post-game event. They promise to wear and had out any supplied marketing material. While we're not quite sure how they plan to get past the brand police at the entrance carrying a duffle bag full of non-paid brand paraphernalia, we'll be anxious to see how it turns out game day.

    UPDATE: We asked the couple how they planned to get all that non-official brand stuff past the AllTel "brand police," and they have clarified the won't actually be inside the stadium but nearby. The couple writes, "We will not be in the stadium. We will be walking around the stadium all day long and we will be at all of the events all of the other days. We will carry bags with product samples if someone has them for us to distribute. There will be 400,000 to 500,000 people walking around downtown Jacksonville at any given time and that's where we will be. We will be in front of the cameras."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Apple Favorite Brand Among BrandChannel Readers

    A recent poll of BrandChannel readers found Apple to be their favorite brand.

    While it's more of a popularity contest than a test of the brand's effectiveness, popularity is a big part of any brand effort. Also at the top of the list are Google, Starbucks, eBay, Target, Ikea, Virgin, H&M and Nokia.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

    January 28, 2005

    Bush Tells Parents to Pay Attention to Kid's Media Habits

    In a refreshing bit of common sense, President Bush, in C-SPAN interview Sunday, lauded free speech and said parents who complain about television content, music lyrics and movies need to "pay attention to what their children listen to." He added, "They put an off button on the TV for a reason."

    As much as we're all for free speech, we, somehow, get an icky feeling imagining Bush seeing Janet Jackson's breast last year and saying, "Hey, I like that!"

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Honda UK Launches Unique FR-V Campaign

    John from Random Culture points to a new UK campaign for the Honda's FR-V and how its agency, Wieden & Kennedy, zeroed in on one of the car's attributes and drove it home in three very engaging, very different spots. The spots highlight the vehicle's front seat three-across seating capacity by aligning that with common activities families do together. They are so dramatically different from standard car commercials, that, alone, makes them interesting and a brilliant break from the plethora of car ad boredom the industry can't divorce itself from.

    Way back when, Boston-based Hill Holiday attempted a break with tradition and created a campaign for the launch of Infinity which incorporated nature visuals geared to emote the feeling the care showered upon its owner. It was a valiant attempt but, ultimately, did not work and was replaced with standard fare. Perhaps Honda will have more success as it recently did with "groovy" spot for the launch of its new diesel engine.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Growth is Painful, Adrants to Re-Launch

    As many have noted, Adrants has been sick. Ill from popularity.

    Strangled by those maddeningly eager to see what will be the next greatest advertising move. As a result, we are causing a server to stress out and exploded under the load. Hosts don't like when that happens and they turn you off. Well, if you're reading this, we've successfully moved off the coughing, gagging, suffocating server to a new, Hulk-strength server capable of serving the advertising industry's salivating need for Adrants-style advertising news. Welcome back.

    Aside from getting our head above water, we'll be debuting a new site design along with the addition of contributed feature articles from practitioners in the field. They'll share with you their expertise on various areas of marketing and advertising. The features will appear on a semi-regular basis.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Carlsberg Launches Lost Passport Campaign

    Finding a "lost" passport in the back of a cab or at the end of a bar may become a trend in cities across the countries if New York-based communications agency Cossette Post has their way. The company will litter cabs, bars, libraries, malls and other popular locations around the country with fake branded passports. Upon finding the passports, people will find in place of a photo of a fellow American, information on Carlsberg beer. For its first major targeted consumer effort in the US, New York based advertising agency Cossette Post has created the Carlsberg Passport, inviting consumers to "Drink with a world of friends." The guerilla marketing "passport" campaign will commence across the U.S. on February 1, 2005 in key cities in 35 states across the country including Chicago, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Philadelphia. The passports will be distributed through April of 2005 by local Carlsberg affiliates. A national television campaign will follow.

    The faux passports, which look and feel like the real thing, feature textured covers in Carlsberg Green and include 12-pages of company facts and worldly information presented in a fun and attention getting fashion. Designed to appeal to the worldly consumer, the inside pages include the requisite “stamps” from countries around the world along with information on how to toast in 34 different languages and how to ask "May I please have a Carlsberg beer" in everything from French to Romanian. There is also a two-page outline on "The Carlsberg Way of Making A World of Friends," which includes international do’s and don'ts for world travelers. For example, in China, "spitting, staring and drinking Carlsberg are acceptable. However, wearing shorts isn’t," and in the Netherlands, "if you split the bill, never say your ‘going Dutch.' It’s really an insult."

    We wonder how our security conscious, over-reactive society will take to this. We're sure it will be much fun to watch.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Wants People to Fornicate With Burgers

    Adrants reader Andrew points us to a campaign McDonald's is running on ESPN which has a guy lewdly thinking about a Double Cheeseburger followed by "I'd Hit It." No matter how many mood-altering chemicals they put in their burgers, we just don't think they are quite that hot.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

    Beyonce Launches Clothing Line

    We knew this was coming. Beyonce Knowles has signed a license agreement with the Tarrant Apparel Group to produce the House of Dereon line of clothing she named after her grandmother, Agnes Dereon. The line will be targeted to 18-28 year old women - which means 13 year olds will buy it. Beyonce says, "There will be a lot of sexy tops, sweaters and party dresses, things that I would wear either on or off the red carpet."

    Hmm. Middle school goes Hollywood. Parents are gonna love this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Bob Brennan Moves to Miller

    Former Leo Burnett President Bob Brennan has been named director of marketing foe SABMiller's Miller Brewing Company. He takes over for Steve Buerger who left for Time Warner. After Brennan's exit from Leo Burnett, we all wondered where he'd end up and speculation abounded he would head up a media group at Interpublic or launch an uber-media shop of his own. Some say Brennan could be tough to get along with and was referred to as "Chainsaw Al." I never saw that.

    I spent a year at Starcom under Brennan and Jack Klues as a media director hired to start a media division to handle the media needs of recent Leo Burnett acquisition, TFA, a Chicago-based high technology agency with offices in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Austin. I spent another 1.5 years working at TFA in association with Starcom. To say the least, it was excrutiatingly difficult and I ultimately left.

    It was the dot com era and there were new business pitches every other day it seemed. Couple that with the day to day media needs of clients across the four offices, the work, with no support staff, quickly turned into a recipe for burnout. This was during the birth of StarcomWorldwide, StarLink and the growth of a high tech agency from nothing to over $200 million in a year and there were, to say the least, some juicy management issues to deal with.

    While it was a difficult time and there were those that made life miserable, Bob Brennan was not one of them. As a newcomer to the Starcom "media director's club," Brennan was supportive and, on several occasions, personally made sure I was aware, and invited to, important agency functions and social events. It was a dynamic time full of positives and negative and, in a sense, the whole thing begs for a book to be written on the experience. Someday, perhaps.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

    eBay Ad Bid Insanity Continues

    Foreheads, skulls, arms, chests. Body parts auctioned off on eBay as human ad placements have become the most annoying trend we are forced to cover recently. This time, 22 year old Amber Rainey is auctioning off her very large, very pregnant stomach. "I got the idea from the guy who put his forehead up for bid and he got $37,000 doing it. I was like joking around. I'll put my face up. I said, wait a minute. I have a really big stomach, you know. Hey, and you can't help but to look at."

    Hopefully, there's an upside to all this eBay oddity. Perhaps, this is just the messy start of what could be a billion dollar business for eBay when serious ad dollars and ad placement are auctioned on the site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Man Sells Body Ad Tattoos on eBay, Industry Yawns

    In the so over category, Joe Tamargo has joined the legions of odd soles selling off their bodies on eBay as moving billboards. We're not even going to bother summing up recent stories on the trend. There everywhere and easy to find. Wait til you hear the one about the pregnant woman who is selling her tummy to advertisers on eBay.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

    January 27, 2005

    Mister Softee Brand Gets Partially Silenced

    The Mister Softee brand has, forever, been identified by its truck's trademark jingle. Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a ban to eliminate the jingle as part of the city's noise code but Mister Softee execs claim that would put the company out of business. However, a compromise has been reached that allows the company to play its jingle while its trucks are moving but not when they are parked. While the reduction of the, to some, annoying, Mister Softee jingle may help reduce city noise a bit, the physical removal of horns from every New York City cab would certainly make greater headway toward a quieter city.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

    Director of VW Suicide Bomber Ad Revealed

    MediaGuardian reports commercial director Stuart Fryer directed the hotly debated Volkswagen Polo viral ad in which a suicide bomber detonates his bombs within the vehicle. The spot has been linked to a London-based creative partnership called Lee and Dan who are currently being sued by Volkswagen for their part in the creating of the ad.

    Fryer claims the spot was created and shot for use on a show reel and was never intended to be seen by the public. Fryer explains saying, "I just wanted it for show reel purposes, not seen by millions of people around the world. I don't want to offend people, I just want to make advertisements. I wanted to show it to the Saatchis and BBHs of this world. Little did I know that the advert that I made would be sent out on the internet and create such a fuss - it's shocked me."

    Volkswagen is approaching the legal aspects of this a bit better than PUMA did when it was caught off guard a couple years ago by an unsanctioned ad. PUMA decided to sue all the bloggers who wrote about the story and posted images of the ads rather than trying to figure out who created the ads and sue them.

    We're thankful times have changed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Eighties Hair Band Sells Hair Transplant Surgery

    Why no hair transplant company hasn't tried this approach before is beyond us but we can now thank (or hate) Medical Hair Restoration for riffing on eighties hair bands to promote their hair restoration service. The campaign includes three :30's featuring the ficticious band, The Hair Dudes, which poke fun at other self-improvement products hawked to hair-challenged men and suggest a full head of hair is the only path to well being. The spots can be viewed here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

    eBay Forehead Ad Sale Rumored to be PR Stunt

    A comment under our story on the Omaha man who sold his forehead to California-based SnoreStop through an eBay auction for $37,375 is rumored to be a well organized public relations stunt. The rumor states the daughter of SnoreStop CEO Melody de Rival actually went to college with the Omaha man, Andrew Fischer, and the two set the entire thing up together. In the comment section, David Hume writes, "Do you believe everything you read in the papers? Watch this story unfold. When is the guy getting paid? In one payment or in 12 monthly installments, as agreed upon. And who is going to see his forehead? This entire thing was very iffy and scammy and media savvy, they even had a PR firm ready to give out photos in a jiffy. Who arranged all this to happen with such magic speed? Again, don't believe everything you read in the papers. And stop snoring!" We must admit, it has been one of the more well organized, better covered eBay stunts in recent memory. We've placed clarification calls to Crier Communications, which wrote the original press release on the news and to SnoreStop.

    UPDATE: The Omaha man, Andrew Fisher, has written Adrants claiming the sales of his forhead to SnoreStop is no stunt and was not planned in advance as a publicity stunt. He writes: "In fact no, I have never been to college in my entire life, nor have I ever met this girl even to this day. Where or how this rumor got started I do not know, but I can assure you I have never even heard of SnoreStop before this auction.

    How did the PR company get my picture so fast? Let me think. I took a digital picture of myself, and then emailed it to them. Follow? This is just a rumor made up by someone who is jealous of the fact that I had a good idea that worked out very well for me. I have added this question to the FAQ page on my website as well to prevent this rumor from spreading. Not everything in life is a conspiracy.

    -Andrew"

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Budweiser Releases Jackson Boob Joke Spot

    Just one day after agreeing with FOX not to air a spot that pokes fun at last year's Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," Budweiser has, itself, released the spot on the web heading off the underhanded efforts of those who would have spread it virally anyway. It was probably the right choice not to air the ad. Not because it might catch the attention of the FCC or any cause group but because it's simply not a very good commercial. It plays like a joke that has been told millions of times before by someone who still thinks it's funny. It might have been funny if it ran during the Oscars last year. This year it just screams like a wannabe, "Dude, isn't this hilarious?" View the spot at Budweiser's site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Radio Team Gets Boot For Tsunami Song Joke

    We heard the broadcast and it was clearly a joke albeit an insensitive one. New York WQHT Morning DJ Miss Jones and her Hot 97 team have been suspended for airing a song making light of the disaster. Set to the tune of "We Are The World," the song is filled with racial slurs such as "chinks" and Chinaman." The song first aired January 18.

    Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings said, "What happened is morally and socially indefensible. All involved, myself included, are ashamed and deeply sorry." You can hear the song here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

    January 26, 2005

    FOX, Anheuser-Busch Get Cold Feet, Cancel Jackson Boob Joke Spot

    An Anheuser-Busch Bud Light spot poking fun at last year's wardrobe malfunction, set to air during the Super Bowl, will not be seen after FOX and Anheuser-Busch execs met to discuss the potential backlash. In the spot, a man, backstage at last year's half time show, uses Jackson's dress, hanging over a chair, to get a better grip opening his bottle of Bud Light. This apparently damages the dress. No doubt, this spot will be released on the web anyway for all to see.

    Anyone over at DDB Worldwide that wants to get that ball rolling, feel free.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Maxim Launches 'Endangered Man' to Preserve Waning Circulation

    Recently, Dennis Publishing's Maxim launched a site called Endangered Man which highlights some of men's traits and why man must be added to the Endangered Species list. The kitschy, tongue-in-cheek site contains a petition addressed to United States Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Steve Williams arguing why man should be added to the list. The site is filled with humorous man references including mans' favorite tools: The Sanity Retention device (satellite dish), The Veal Chunk Transfer Device (fork), The Freestyle Landscaping Device (motorbike), The Rent Money Acquisition Machine (foosball table) and the Cheerleader Viewing Device (arena scoreboard.

    The site is quite involving following the style of documentary-like, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom-style references to man's habits and lifestyle and why they should not be left to extinction. Ironically, it's Maxim's circulation that's in greater danger of extinction.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

    MTV2 Behind Two Headed Dog Teaser Site

    Marketers and those that work for them continue to under estimate the resourcefulness of inquiring minds. Either that or they are just lazy when it comes to covering their tracks. Earlier this month, a strange site called Two Headed Dog launched with images, games and videos, all "two headed dog" themed. We, and others, eventually surmised it was related to MTV2. We were right.

    Today, an email pointed us to an Animated Republic message board posting by "Daikun" who picks up on how another poster "Albright" saw a promotion for the Two Headed Dog site on GameSpot's On the Spot. "Daikun" then looked at source code of the promo - just as someone who recently cracked a GM online promotion did - and, whadda ya know, right there in the code was reference to MTV2. We may never know whether this was the result of sloppy project management or whether the code was "leaked" intentionally. Either way, MTV2 is up to something.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

    Pepsi Screws Up iPod Bottle Cap Promotion Again

    Seemingly unable to learn from their mistakes, Pepsi has relaunched its Pepsi iTunes Music Promotion using the same code-under-the-bottle-cap tactic which, early last year, people cracked and have again, this year, cracked. The promotion calls for people to use the winning code found under the bottle caps of 20 oz. and liter sized Pepsi products to redeem songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store.

    200 million songs will be given away. Last year, people only bothered to download 5 million due to lack of interest and Pepsi shipping "problems."

    Without the promotion having launched yet, websites are already abuzz with tips and tricks to scam the promotion. With a simple tilt of the bottle or a flashlight/tilt/reflect trick, the code under the bottle cap can, apparently, be seen allowing the person to get the redeemable code without having to buy any Pepsi product. Perhaps a good ol' cash register-produced, code-containing coupon would solve the whole mess.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

    January 25, 2005

    Video of Macintosh Introduction Surfaces

    Twenty one years ago, Steve Jobs, to the tune of Chariots of Fire, introduced the world to the "insanely great" Apple Macintosh at the Cupertino Flint Center. We've all seen the commercial but many have not seen the birth of the Mac itself. In the video, Jobs pulls the tiny Mac out of its case, pops in a disk, and let's the Mac take over the presentation. It even speaks (hey, it was 1984). Along with witnessing the glory of the Macintosh being born to a standing ovation, it's one of the few times you'll see Jobs, out of his signature jeans and black turtleneck, in a suit and tie. Author Scott Knaster,apparently, had the only copy of the public TV broadcast and kept it for 21 years unseen by anyone else. It was tracked down by the folks at Industrial Technology & Witchcraft who, working with Knaster, cleaned it up and digitized it for all to see. In total, there's two hours of content on the video. Only the section where Jobs introduces the Mac has been released. Jason Kottke has collected several links to the video here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Career Builder Releases First Super Bowl Campaign Spot

    CareerBuilder has just released the first of several spots in a campaign which will launch Super Bowl Sunday. In the first spot, a man on the phone with a customer can't carry on a conversation because he works with a bunch of monkeys who can't keep quiet. Not all that exciting. View the spot here and sign up to be notified when new spots are posted.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Site Spoofs Crispin Porter & Bogusky

    Fave agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, famous for Burger King's Subservient Chicken, Dr. Angus, Virgin Atlantic Porn, Mini Cooper Robot, Chicken Fight, farting grandpa and more is now getting the ultimate endorsement - a spoof website. Like Crispin Porter describes itself as "not exactly the same as Crispin Porter. We don't have clients. Or an office. Or a staff. In that sense I guess we could have called ourselves Like Grey Worldwide Canada. But we didn't.

    Because we're Like Crispin Porter."

    The site has section called Like Work which contains none, Like Bios which spoofs CP&B execs and Like Bush which makes odd reference to Bush tax cuts. Of course, knowing CP&B, they're behind it. The hosting site (theneep.com) has "B K (webmaster@theneep.com)" listed as its registrant. BK. Get it? UPDATE: While we love viral jokes and conspiracy theories, we are assured this site has no connection to Crispin Porter & Bogusky and neither does the poor soul whose phone number is listed on the WHOIS info page. So all of you who have been calling him can now stop.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Forehead Advertising eBay Guy Gets Buyer

    Oh please. The dude who auctioned off his forehead on eBay found a company willing to pay $37,375. In a twist, the company that ponied up the money for the privilege or adorning Omaha resident Andrew Fisher's forehead is a company called SnoreStop. The company better not find Fisher snoozing and snoring on the job.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Vonage and BroadVoice Engaged in Brand Confusion

    Maybe it's just us but we wonder if broadband phone company BroadVoice couldn't have made it's ad campaign and website just a little bit closer to an exact replica of competitor Vonage's website. From typeface similarity to the use of International flags to the duplication of page layout, there's something strange going on here.

    Who knows. Maybe the two companies own each other but hat's for the financial media, not us, to worry about. For us, it's just wrong for two different brands to look so similar. It's confusing for the consumer. Vonage? BroadVoice? Ah, who gives a shit. There just phone companies. Is that the reaction brand managers of Vonage and BroadVoice want their customers to have? Perhaps it's all just a clandestine brand preference experiment.

    BroadVoice. Vonage.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

    Advice: Advertisers Prepare For Post Super Bowl Buzz

    Writing in ClickZ, Pete Blackshaw reviews last year's Super Bowl fiasco in terms of it stealing buzz from advertisers which usually become the topic of water cooler discussion for days following the game. Sadly, last year Janet Jackson's boob stole advertiser's thunder. Blackshaw speaks to the power of consumer generated media (blogs, chat rooms, forums, etc.) and how monitoring these channels can contribute to brand metrics and buzz. He offers five steps every Super Bowl marketer should take in preparation for consumer reaction.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Guerilla Tactics Get Creative Team Hired

    Canadian-based ihaveanidea Events Editor Brendan Watson, writing on organization's website shares how he and his creative partner, Jana, used some very inventive tactics to get noticed by those they wanted to work for. From Peanust paraphanalia to branded caffeine capsule packaging to self-created office space, Brendan and Jana got noticed and got hired. Now don't go copying their ideas but a resume and a book are useless unless they get seen. This creative team found methods that got their work seen.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Seven Years later, Pitt Snubs Tibet in Ad

    Choosing a more current pop culture reference certainly wasn't the strategy behind Amsterdam-based Selmore for its broadband client Chello when it chose to wink at the Brad Pitt movie Seven Years in Tibet with its Seven Seconds in Tibet spot. Humorous enough, the spot shows "Pitt" stepping off the plane, seeing the effects of local goat milk, thinking twice, and stepping right back on the plane. Perhaps the movie was just released in Amsterdam but for the rest of us, we say, "Huh? Seven Years Where? When? Who?" Other spots in this weeks' Ad Age TV Spots of the Week include a lavish looking, black and white spot for William Lawson Scotch featuring Sharon Stone which pokes fun at her Basic Instinct days; a spot by Minneapolis-based Colle & McVoy for Minnesota Tourism which promotes the frigid state by illustrating how much fun a bear can have when it doesn't hibernate; a weepy, somber spot set to cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken by Sydney-based DDB for McDonald's mourning the death of the late former CEO Charlie Bell - very well done; a spot by Modernista showing a family tobogganing from the top of a mountain to which their Hummer brought them causing Ad Age to , rightly, suggest the tagline for this ad could be "Hummer, The Vehicle of Idiots;" a Cliff/Freeman spot for Snapple which has Wendy getting a woman to say nice things about a mechanic who placed the woman's car in a junkyard; a spot for Quiznos by LA-based Siltanen & Partners featuring the talking Baby Bob; and a spot from Leo Burnett for Allstate which places its insured on mountain vista roadways to illustrate its rapid addition of customers in the past year.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

    adMarketplace Cuts Publishers in on Network Sales

    adMarketplace, an auction-based market for buyers and sellers of graphical online advertising and seller of eBay keywords, has announced the launch of a new affiliate program for Web publishers. Through the Program, publishers can choose to add a link on their site that leads prospective advertisers to a co-branded registration page introducing the adMarketplace Network. Referring Publishers receive a portion of total revenue across adMarketplace's entire network for advertisers that sign up through this Program.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

    January 24, 2005

    Sexy Billboard Ads Torn Down By Muslims in London

    A British Muslim activist group, Muslims Against Advertising, is fed up with sexually charged ads and has begun defacing and tearing down billboards that show scantily clad women revealing "offending" body parts. The group has set up a website (a lame geocities site down, apparently, due to all this news) listing advertisers it feels are offensive and offers tips to vandals.

    Thong-maker Sloggi, which runs provocative billboards specifically to push limits to garner press coverage, is one of the groups biggest targets.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

    EU May Ban Fat Food Ads

    The European Commission has warned fast food companies to stop advertising junk food to children and suggests the industry self-regulate itself or face legislation which would limit advertising. Along with America, Europe is getting fat. A recent study predicts 50 percent of British children will be obese by 2020. In Southern Europe, one in three kids are clinically obese, 36 percent of Italian nine year old are overweight and 27 percent of Spanich children are deemed overweight.

    Australia has dubbed its obese kids Generation O. Writing in Ad Age, Executive Editor Jonah Bloom says the obesity scare is blown out of proportion and food giants are not entirely to blame.

    UPDATE: Association of National Advertiser CEO Bob Liodice wrote an editorial in today's Ad Age arguing the recent issuance of the Center for Science in the Public Interest's "Guidelines for Responsible Food Marketing to Children" is an infringement on free speech. He posted the editorial on his weblog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Yo Dude, This Campaign is Cool

    Created by 72andSunny, trendy sports fashion brand Quicksilver has launched a collection of television spots that feature X Game medalist Todd Richards and Danny Kass.

    The Richards and Kass spots use kitschy surf movies from the 1960s (like Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo) as visual inspiration. The ads incorporate music produced and composed by Tom Baxter, grandson of Les Baxter, who scored many of the surf movies of that era. For the humorous dialogue scenes between the two athletes, Kass and Edwards were shot against a rear projection screen, which created the purposefully low budget look and effect of Kass and Richards ³snowboarding² against a park background when, in actuality, they were goofing off on a Burbank sound stage. The director then interspersed these dialogue segments with cutaway trick shots culled from stock footage.

    The spots break January 20 on ESPN, FOX Sports and ABC, with additional ads created for viewing on the Quicksilver website.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Jamster Rips Off Blockbuster Super Bowl Ad

    Ripping apart a current television campaign for Jamster Ringtones which employs the visual of a dancing guinea pig to promote its new Hampster Dance ringtone, Claymore, writing on Adland, points out the crude animation was basically stolen from a Doner Advertising created 2002 Super Bowl spot Blockbuster ran called "Kung Fu" featuring a guinea pig and a rabbit.

    With side by side comparison, Claymore makes it quite clear the visual was obviously ripped right out of the Blockbuster spot and slammed, badly, into the Jamster spot. Hmm, do we hear the lawyers making calls today?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

    Tide Coldwater Campaign Employs Six Degrees of Separation Strategy

    For the introduction its new cold water laundry detergent Tide Coldwater, Procter and Gamble has launched a website to promote the product, give away free samples, allow visitors to tell their friends and add their zip code which places them on an American map to illustrate how product usage has spread. Signing up to receive the free product leads visitors to a data gold mine-building optional survey which queries laundry detergent brand usage, feelings about Tide, temperature used when washing clothes and Tide Coldwater purchase intent.

    A social network of sorts and a real world demonstration of the six degrees of separation concept, the Tide Coldwater site is powered by Eyebeam's Forward Track, an open source project designed to promote online activism.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Cadillac to Launch Consumer Created Ad Promotion

    Following the January 15 launch of its 5 second television campaign to promote its V-Series cars, Cadillac is set to announce a contest wherein amateur filmmakers can submit their own 5-second spots, with the winner driving off in a CTS-V. The contest will be announced at Sundance, with submissions taken between Super Bowl Sunday and Feb. 17. Submission will be made through CadillacUnder5, a site which features John Travolta in his Chili Palmer character from the upcoming MGM movie Be Cool.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

    January 21, 2005

    Marvel Super Heroes Coming to Ad Campaigns Everywhere

    Stock photo house Corbis and uber-comic company Marvel Enterprises, Inc.

    today announced an agreement to make Marvel’s world-renowned Super Heroes available for use through Corbis. The deal grants Corbis with the rights to license Marvel’s digital content for editorial and commercial use on a global basis. Shortly, the world of advertising will be saved.

    Under the new multi-year license agreement, Corbis will gain rights to the thousands of images featuring Marvel’s library of more than 5,000 characters -- including such ever-popular figures as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Elektra, and Captain America – and makes them available for use in print and broadcast media. The arrangement provides creatives with simple access to Marvel character art and the rights clearance services necessary to use them in editorial and commercial advertising projects.

    Marvel content will be available for licensing at Corbis beginning January 19, 2005. Marvel content at Corbis is available for preview here.

    Please, don't everyone jump at once. We love the Super Heroes but, like the Matrix/Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon-based cam span pivot trick, we'll tire of Hulk "crushing the competition" very quickly.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Nineties Barely Over, Already in Revival

    Just five years out of the decade, the nineties are already making a comeback. Next week, Nerveana, a 90s-themed nightclub will make its debut. The club will have a "Basic Instint" room, a VIP booth inside a white bronco and will serve Monica cocktails. With the premiers of VH1's I Love the 90's, Part Deux, 90s CDs and other 90s-themed club sprouting up, the decade is roaring back. We think it's insane but marketers won't. Expect tributes to the 90s popping up in ad campaign very soon.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

    AMD to McCann Erickson: You're Fired!

    Upon hearing it's agency, Interpublic Group's McCann Erikson Worldwide, was going to pitch the $300 million Intel account, AMD, treated like a cast off wall flower, said screw you to McCann and put its account up for review. Joining Interpublic for the Intel chase will be WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell along with Y & R. Incumbent Euro RSCG Worldwide is out.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Jenna Jameson Launches Wireless 'Moantones'

    Wireless entertainment publisher Wicked Wireless announced Wednesday it has partnered with adult entertainment star Jenna Jameson to create an adult wireless entertainment offering. New York-based Wicked Wireless said the Modeltel Mobile Storefront, featuring R-rated wallpaper, "moantones" and other content, will first launch for Telefonica subscribers in Central and South America before being offered in the U.S. on a limited basis in late 2005. Jameson explains the offering, saying, "W'll provide [moantones] in the universal language of sexy sighs recognized around the world but with our own personal touch. The technology is way beyond most of us, but the bottom line is that you'll able to hear the other Jenna's Web Girls moan and me when your phone starts to ring.

    We'll also provide audio content in Spanish plus photos and text features."

    We're quite sure this service will be quickly and secretly downloaded to friend's phones becoming the biggest phone-related practical joke since calling a bar and asking the bartender to page "Mike Hunt."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Intelliseek to Monitor Weblog Reaction to Super Bowl Ads

    Intelliseek, parent company to BlogPulse, will monitor weblog commentary on Super Bowl ads for its clients. The market research company has also set up a panel of bloggers specifically to offer comment of the ads during the game. Many weblogs, including this one, have offered creative commentary but it has, mostly, come from advertising industry professionals. Those of us in the industry approach commentary differently than those outside the industry. And, in reality, it's the commentary from outside the industry which is more important to the advertiser. Intelliseek's approach may well have some very beneficial value to advertisers interested in the blogospere's conversational commentary though do not have the ability to do it themselves.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

    January 20, 2005

    Agency CEO Portrayed As Fool on 'The Apprentice'nm

    While it's known the producers of The Apprentice get sadistic pleasure out of editing contestants into idiots, it was still embarrassing to see a fellow industry professional get chopped up and fed to the nation as another twisted, reality show moron. In last night's season premier, Boston-based POPstick Chairman and CEO Danny Kastner was the buffoon of the episode, painted into a caricature not unlike a circus clown. Of course Kastner didn't help matters by dressing in distracting, oh-so-cool ad-wear, leading his team in a feel-good kumbaya campfire-like moral building exercise and, worse, failing miserably at his assigned task.

    In the episode, the two teams, college grads versus highschool grads, had to develop a new burger for Burger King and sell as many as they could. The highschool team, with a much better sense of the fast food environment, of course, won. The college grads, Kastner's team, lost.

    Kastner's job was to put together a marketing program to get people into the restaurant. As part of his plan, he came up with a freak sidewalk show, replete with his horrible guitar playing and some kind of carnival-like ring toss. Oddly, the stunt seemed to get people into the restaurant but the so-called college smarties were clueless behind the cash registers making for a cluster fuck of customer service.

    In the boardroom, Kastner was slammed by Caroline who simply couldn't believe what he had done in the name of promotion. While he wasn't fired (his team leader was), Kastner degraded the perception of the advertising profession which, today, is already in tough shape. We know we're sometimes a bunch of weirdos with our own incomprehensible language and odd characteristics but Kaster's performance on the show exposed our worst side.

    We feel for POPstick employees this morning.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

    GM Leaves Answer to National Billboard Campaign Puzzle On Website

    GM has launched a unique national outdoor campaign that reveals a new, one word billboard each day. On January 31, when all 17 boards are revealed, a sentence will be formed. The campaign includes a website called findthemessage which reveals each day's word and places it in proper order, provides message boards for people across the nation, prior to January 31, to work together towards solving the puzzle and allows visitors to enter a sweepstakes to win 100 daily prizes along with one grand prize consisting of a choice between eight new 2005 GM cars. So far, 6 of the 17 words have been revealed. The 17th word appears to simply be a period leaving 10 more words to be revealed.

    However, all the words are readily available in the source code of the findthemessage website. One programming-literate literate sole on the message boards claims the sentence is, "This is the last time you will ever have to feel alone on our nation's highways.," pointing to the possibility GM will offer OnStar in all of its vehicles and to the source code of the website's Flash file (text of file here) easily visible to those who have the technological know-how. Oops.

    Either the site's creators embedded the answer on purpose to throw people off or GM spent a ton of money only to have the fun taken out of the campaign. Just as we're assured of hearing "You're Fired" on tonight's The Apprentice debut, we're certain to hear the same words screamed by an angered GM marketing executive very soon.

    UPDATE: MarketingVOX suggests that GM act quickly and, working with the already revealed words, change the sentence to one reflecting the true outcome of this campaign: "This campaign costs big bucks; you will surely have higher car payments on this nation's car lots."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Social Networking Site Adholes Membership Passes 1,000 Member Mark

    Along with the Adrants Network, another new social network for those in the ad industry has seen rapid growth. Adholes, launched at the beginning of November by Marc Lefton, a freelance advertising creative, and Mary Crosse, a project manager at Euro RSCG Worldwide, now has 1,000 members.

    Much like social networking sites Myspace or Friendster, AdHoles, like the Adrants Network, is a niche advertising industry targeted social networking website that allows advertising professionals to keep track of their current contacts and meet new ones from independent and major agencies. Additionally, users can post blogs on industry topics, which spur comments from members of the site, forming a very collaborative and information rich environment.

    Currently, the Adrants Network has 1,265 members.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

    College Marketers Expand Tactics to Recruit Students

    From sex appeal to rock stars to skiing, colleges have ditched standard course catalog and brochure recruitment tactics and, instead, turned to racier, less collegial methods.

    Doane College in Nebraska found itself apologizing after it sent out a post card mailing to 13,500 California high school students that featured the image of a male student surrounded by women with copy that encouraged students to play the field.

    University of Nebraska, facing enrollment declines, allowed Motley Crue's Tommy Lee to film his "Tommy Lee Goes to College" reality show on campus. Of course, complaints arose surrounding his jail term for kicking his former wife, Pam Anderson.

    Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA took a less racy but equally alternative approach to recruitment by inviting applicants to an all expenses paid weekend ski getaway. Small college Centre College in Danville, KY sends highschool seniors personalized birthday cards and makes birthday phone calls.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Volkswagen Plans Legal Action Against 'Suicide Bomber' Creators

    Whether or not it's an inside job, Volkwagen is planning legal action against the creators of the Suicide Bomber Volkswagen Polo viral ad that has been making rounds this week. While it's not clear in the New York Post article, the likely recipients of Volkswagen's legal weight will be creative shop Lee and Dan who have admitted to creating the ad. Planned or unplanned, VW is getting some precious, free publicity this week.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Susan Sarandon New Face of Revlon

    Actress Susan Sarandon has joined the growing list of Hollywood celebrities featured in Revlon's ongoing ad campaign. Ad featuring Sarandon will debut Monday, January 24. Other celebrities having appeared in the campaign are Julianne Moore, Halle Barry, James King and Eva Mendes.

    Commenting on the Revlon's desire to hire her, Sarandon said, "It was so unusual for a cosmetics company to hire somebody instead of fire somebody even younger than I am."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

    PR Professional Slams Clueless, Money-Hungry PR Firm

    CooperKatz Public Relations VP Steve Rubel, writing on his weblog, Micro Persuasion, slams PR firm Delahaye for conducting a webinar designed to help PR professionals "deal with" weblogs which Delahaye calls "unfiltered channels of communication. According to Rubel, the seminar, entitled "Surviving Blogs: Monitoring and Analyzing Blogs to Protect and Direct Public Relations Strategy," treats weblogs as an enemy versus a phenomenon to be embraced. Calling blog content "conversations" which should be joined rather than managed, Rubel says Delahaye is just trying to sell its monitoring services and points out those running the seminar don't even have weblogs. Spending a bit of time on the Delahaye website brings back many strategic concepting session nightmares in which fancy marketing babble was developed instead of clear language to describe what a company does. Delahaye does media monitoring for clients. They should clearly state that on their website. This insanity exists in the ad agency world too. For years, agencies have used thousands of variations of "we're not an ad agency" language to try to differentiate themselves from other agencies. It's true the face of advertising is changing, as are the methods of commercial conversation, but if a company whose purpose is to create something for another company that is designed to be seen/heard/experienced/etc. by an individual with the purpose of getting that individual to buy something, they are an ad agency. And forget that "we're building a brand" babble. No one builds a brand for fun. A brand is built so people will pay money for a piece of that brand.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

    BMW Promotes New 3 Series With Mobile Campaign

    BMW is launching a mobile-centered campaign to promote the launch of its new 3 series. The campaign begins with a mobile phone number that will be distributed from the automaker's website, at autoshows and at other promotional events. The number, 703-286-BMW3, returns a text message to the caller's phone providing a link to a mobile-enabled website containing information about the new vehicle and a gallery of past models. The campaign also provides a notification service which will send an additional text message when the car nears availability.

    The campaign, created by Boomerang Mobile Media, was crafted to open dialog with people when they are in an automotive mindset. Boomerang Mobile Media Chairman Lou Schultz explained saying, "It's tapping a consumer when they're in a frame of mind where they want to know more.

    If you're watching traditional advertising, and you see an ad and it calls for interaction, you might go to the Web, and you might not. But here's a way to create something different that the consumer can tie into."

    Unfortunately, the campaign and the URL aren't friendly to non web-enabled phones. Granted, most phones are web enabled but our LG VX4400 isn't though we are definitely in the target audience for the 3 series.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    iPod Threatens Broadcast Radio

    While Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan thinks satellite won't be a threat to terrestrial radio, he does feel the iPod, and likely all other MP3 players, are a bigger threat. Writing on the Emmis website, Smulyan said, "Despite the buzz surrounding satellite radio, I believe iPods are a bigger threat, because you have a larger number of people with an alternative source of music. That said, I can remember when people were predicting the death of radio after 8-tracks came out. Despite continually evolving technologies, nothing has replaced the local information and local personalities we give our audiences. We know our communities, and we respond to their needs. Over the holiday season alone, Emmis radio stations raised $500,000 for charitable causes in their local communities - I don’t see how satellite radio can match that reach. Sirius and XM may or may not be viable businesses, but the reality is that two of Emmis' stations reach more people then the entire satellite industry, and those satellite subscribers still spend much of their listening time with terrestrial radio."

    Either this is a bit of realistic common sense regarding the excitement over satellite radio or it will be looked back upon as another clueless comment from a company that doesn't get it. As they say, time will tell and with it, bring a brutal reality for some and a rosy future for others.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Expert Offers Online Sponsorship Advice

    Riverside Marketing Strategies Principal Heidi Cohen, writing on ClickZ, offers some hints and guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of online sponsorships. From specific content to contests to blogs to interactive photo galleries, Cohen provides practical advice for those looking for online sponsorship ideas.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

    Air America Sounds Like Spam

    An article on the website of The Church of Critical Thinking, which is not a religious organization, comments on left-wing Air America Radio's commercial breaks. While the article is a bit longer than our ADD-addled brain is use to, the writer, who likens Air America to his spam folder, does put forth a concise commentary on how the network's advertisers all seem to be a bunch of low-life, get-rich-quick, save-your-sole hucksters. While we don't listen to Air America, upon reading the lengthy dissertation, the situation doesn't sound all that different Howard Stern and his merry band of advertisers.

    UPDATE: Air America co-founder Sheldon Drobny responds.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

    January 19, 2005

    Dog Marks Territory, So Does Mazda

    In a viral ad much less contentious than this week's Volkswagen Polo Suicide Bomber ad, comes this mildly humorous creation for the Mazda 3. It's well known dogs need to mark their territory but it's less well know that cars do too.

    London's DMC planned, seeded and will track the campaign which was created by JWT Europe.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

    Bloggers Can Lend Success to Marketers

    Writing in iMediaConnection, CooperKatz & Company's Steve Rubel says marketers can capitalize of the status of popular bloggers by signing them to endorsement deals, hiring them to write a custom-published blog, pay them to use product, use blog evangelists in a PR campaign or simply hire a blogger to go to work for you and garner the free press that goes along with it all.

    There is a pecking order in the blogosphere but once you've pecked you way in, your in. You're known. Your opinion and commentary circulate faster than a ten ton marketing campaign. Marketers, ever in search of better ways to reach their target, would do well to explore the unique conversational nature of the blogosphere and explore opportunities to leverage it for success.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Targeting Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

    A new study released by Deloitte's Media and Telecommunications division points to a future in which mass marketing shifts to micro targeting. While not surprising, the report speaks to the convergence of of media and the continual merging of electronic devices into one, through which all content will flow - likely the cell phone. Along with the merging of devices will be the transference off all media to digital form coupled with the rise in consumer conversation afforded by weblogs and wikis.

    This nichification of content will be fast followed by the nichification of advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

    Volkwagen Denies Responsibility For Suicide Bomber Ad

    While no company would ever own up to a viral clip such as this week's Suicide Bomber viral ad for the Volkwagen Polo, VW, is predictably, disavowing any knowledge of the ad. Revolution Magazine reports the ad was created by a company called Lee and Dan, creators of the Ford SportKa StreetKa and other viral ads.

    Sounding as if lying through his teeth, Lee and Dan's Dan said, "The ad got out accidentally and has spread like wildfire. It wasn't meant for public consumption. We think the spot reflects what people see in the news everyday, and in this instance the car is the hero that protects innocent people from someone with very bad intentions. We're sorry if the ad has caused any offence." No company is going to spend marketing dollars on anything just to let it sit in the closet. This was very much a planned campaign.

    Both Volkswagen and its agency, DDB, claim they had nothing to do with the creation of the spot. Clearly someone is lying. Very likely, someone deep inside the bowels of Volkswagen and DDB gave the green light for this. In fact, it's probably a case of plausible deniability.

    Some renegade account exec or brand manager told a few people to go do some cool viral thing but, at the same time, to keep quiet about it. In fact, there's probably an annual budget set aside at the beginning of each year for this sort of thing and those using the budget are simply told to do with it what they choose on a timeline of their choosing.

    In the world of viral and word-of-mouth advertising the debate will continue to center on transparency. Some practitioners believe companies should be upfront and acknowledge all involvement with campaigns. Others feel success hinges on gray area or planned denial as is the case in the Volkswagen Polo situation. While it may not be the most successful, at the end of the day, honesty is the best policy.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

    Porn Star Jenna Jameson Hawks Personal Media Player

    While Engadget reported this four months ago, the rest of us, sadly, are just getting around to it. While iriver ads have always been racy, the MP3 and personal video maker iriver has taken it a bit further and enlisted porn star Jenna Jameson to appear in its ads promoting the company's new PMP-100 personal video player.

    Extreme Tech's Jim Louderback thinks the device will be a film and video industry killer while making it socially acceptable to view adult video in public. While we have no problem with anyone viewing porn including the very cute Jenna Jameson, we still think it's an activity best suited for private spaces.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

    January 18, 2005

    VW Promotes Car With Terrorist Bombing

    There's a VW viral ad floating around today for the Volkswagen Polo. It's a smaller car than the Golf and has undergone a facelift. Currently, the car sells in Europe. It's unclear whether it will be available in the U.S. Considering current world events, this creative is quite daring but, at the same time, very supportive of the tagline, "Small but tough." Unfortunately, the guy in the spot chose the wrong car for his job.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Creatives May Lose Jobs to India

    Just as many other industries outsource the bulk of their work, it's not surprising it's now being done in the advertising industry. Ad execs David Banjeree and Seema Trivedi have launched Banjeree & Partners, a New York-based agency which will outsource a portion of the creative process to India. Founder Banerjee says research and initial concepting will be handled in New York and then sent to 15 teams in India who will create the actual work. Banerjee claims his shop can do the work for 40 to 60 percent less than going rates.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

    American Marketing Association to Debut Internet Radio Show

    Tomorrow and noon EST, the American Marketing Association will debut its Internet radio show Marketing Matters LIVE! hosted by Tim Riester. The show will be webcast on wsRadio and include interviews with AMA members on marketing topics including the growth of Internet radio.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Viral Award Winners Announced

    The winners of the Viral Awards were announced last week in London at the Royal Society of Arts for an evening of viral celebration. More than 200 members of Europe's advertising community turned out for the festivities. Winners included Crispin Porter + Bogusky with three first prize awards including Best Writing, and Creative use of Media; Matt Vescovo picked up an award for Best Use of Humor for a series of "Instructoart" spots for MTV; McCann Erickson USA took the Word of Mouth Award for their work on the Masterclass “Priceless” campaign. The Best Campaign went to The Viral Factory for its "Trojan Games." A full list of winners is here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

    Rolling Stone Rejects Bible Ad

    At first look, sex, drugs and rock and roll might not be an environment in which a bible advertiser would want to associate with but for Zondervan, publisher of Today's New International Version of the Bible, it's right where its target audience of 18-34 year olds hang. So maybe Rolling Stone isn't completely about sex, drugs and rock and roll but the iconic publication doesn't want religious ads in its magazine and has rejected an ad for Zondervan's new edition of the Bible.

    The word "truth" in the ad's tagline, "Timeless truth; Today's language," raised the eyebrows of Rolling Stone parent company Wenner Media General Manager Kent Brownridge who said, "The copy is a little more than an ad for the Bible. It's a religious message that I personally don't disagree with [but] we are not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Electronic Arts Signs Fifteen Year Deal With ESPN

    Fifteen years is a long time to commit to anything especially in the fast paced world of marketing but that's exactly what Electronic Arts decided to do with ESPN. The video game maker will pay ESPN between $750 and $850 million for the exclusive right to use the ESPN brand name in at least nine of its sports games. The deal follows another in which EA paid the NFL $300 million to use the likeness of the League's players, stadiums and uniforms.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

    FCC Insanity Continues, FOX Pixelates Cartoon Butt

    Even though the episode originally ran five years ago, FOX, in light of the recent FCC crack down, decided to digitally cover the butt of the baby Stewie character in a recent re-run of The Family Guy. The move is, perhaps, in reaction to its recent run in with the FCC which, in October, fined 169 FOX stations $7,000 each for a Married By America episode in which whipped cream was licked from a strippers body.

    While Anheuser-Busch has already stated one of its spots will make fun of last year's Super Bowl halftime show which kicked off all this insanity, there are sure to be more humorous references to this year's heightened sensibilities.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

    January 17, 2005

    Google Says FU to Blog Comment Spammers

    Writing on Micro Persuasion, Steve Rubel sums up a percolating rumor which points to Google's pending announcement it will kill weblog comment spam in it's tracks. Through the simple application of code by bloggers and blog software publishers which informs Google robots not to follow/index certain pages (blog comment pages), links in blog spam, which spammers use to move up their position on search results pages, will become useless and, over time, blog spammers will realize the pointlessness of their scum sucking ways.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

    Brad Pitt Joins Super Bowl Ad Line Up

    Recovering former Mr. Aniston, Brad Pitt will shill for Heineken during this year's Super Bowl. In the spot, directed by David Fincher, Pitt is seen buying a six pack of Heineken. He is then chased by paparazzi who, in a far-from-reality twist, are after the beer instead of Pitt.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

    Moving Company Engages in Philanthropic Advertising

    With millions of dollars flowing into Tsunami relief funds and donating companies receiving press for their good will, one small moving company, without millions to donate, did their part right at home in New York City. FlateRate Moving engaged in a bit of "Philanthropic Advertising." Over the holidays, a slow time in the moving industry, rather than laying off workers and letting trucks remain idle, the company donated time, trucks and people power to pick up furniture from well-to-do families and donate it to formerly homeless. With 17,000 homeless families in New York alone, they were able to make a big difference. Along the way, the company garnered press for its efforts which brought awareness of its services to those in need while gaining a little publicity for itself.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

    China to Get Fat on KFC

    Already with 1,200 locations, China can't get enough of the Colonel's fried chicken. With America eschewing any food with two or more grams of fat per serving, KFC is looking outside the country for growth hoping to fool China and other nations into thinking their food is healthy before they wise up. With profits of $200 million in China, KFC already has a strong foothold. The company launched 275 stores last year and plans to open the same number in 2005. Skinny Asians may become a thing of the past as China latched on to American glut.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Ad Age Editor Says 'Cut the Crap' to Slimy Practitioners

    Calling attention to the recent over flow of scandalous behavior in the media and advertising industries, Ad Age Editor Sott Donaton says it's time to "cut the crap." Citing the Armstrong Williams "No Child Left Behind payola scam, the Bush administrations fake "No Child Left Behind" video news releases and, among others, Pfizer's stretching of the truth for its Listerine brand, he says the only solution is simply to stop. We agree. Trust between consumer and marketer is nearing the breaking point. Honesty is in short supply. Truth is the only medicine that will turn this train wreck around.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

    Anti-Smoking Spot Says Smoking Worse Than Farting

    Going against the "he who smelt it, dealt it rule," poor grampa gets fingered by his family for passing gas in a new spot for the American Legacy Foundation and the Ad Council. Of course, it's not exactly gas he's passing. It's from our Subservient Chicken friends Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Also in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week is a very innovative and effective spot from Nextel by TBWA which features construction site employees working in perfect concert like ants, a spot for Vonage from Arnold in which a snowmobiler does something stupid that is then related to making better phone service choices, a boring spot from the New York Jets by Grey Worldwide in support of the New York Sports and Convention Center, a fairly hilarious spot from Dairy Queen also from Grey which promotes its new calorie-laden, artery-clogging, heart attack-causing Quarter Pounder and the fact it takes two hands to eat, another fat-burger spot from Jack in the Box by Secret Weapon Marketing which shows the company icon ogling and commenting on health club imagery and, lastly, an Ad Council spot by Merkly & Partners illustrating that a space suit really isn't necessary to avoid catching the flu.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

    The Super Bowl Commercial Line Up

    Ad Age has published a chart outlining which marketers will advertise during the 2005 Super Bowl, how much time each advertiser bought, the agencies behind the spots and a summary of planned creative. We especially look forward to an Anheuser-Busch commercial which, reportedly, will make fun of last years half time show.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

    January 14, 2005

    Jamie Lynn Spears The New Marketing 'Must Have' AUTHOR: Steve Hall

    As Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Linsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Hillary Duff shift from tween/teen queens to adults with flaws, marketers are now clamoring for the next new fresh face and they may find it in a younger, less tarnished version of Britney Spears: her sister Jamie Lynn Spears. Spears just debuted her new Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, in which she plays a student at a California boarding school. Yahoo searches for the show are up 1,733 percent this week.

    Soon, no doubt, the sponsorship requests will pour in as marketers shed themselves of Olsen drug scandals, Lohan breast obsession and Duff stuff overdose. Yet, dampening hopes the younger Spears will cast off the baggage of her elder stars to display much needed refreshing intelligence and cultural insight, she said, in a USA Today interview, "I want to get a new Louis Vuitton purse. I've had that one (a Murakami) for a while. I need something a little bigger." Yes. A brain.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

    Blogging Offers Marketing Professionals Many Benefits

    From interactivity to humanising a company to their viral nature, Yellowfin Direct Marketing Senior Creative Dirtector Bob Cargill, writing in Digital Bulletin, offers ten reasons why advertising, marketing and public relations professionals should blog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Ad Spoofs 'Pulp Fiction'

    In the movie, Pulp Fiction, there's a scene in which the John Travolta character asks the Samuel L. Jackson character, "You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?" In this Israeli ad for McDonald's, two actors, who are dead ringers for Travolta and Jackson, re-enact the same scene talking about McDonald's new Pita bread turkey sandwich, the McShwarma. The spot ends with a bit of Israeli cultural humor (not known for their politeness) with the Jackson character asking, "So a guy just walks into a McDonalds and says, "Can I have a McShwarma please"? To which the Travolta character replies, "Yeah, except they don't say 'please' in Israel."

    The script of the commercial is here. Quite funny.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Clear Channel Supports New Ad Pod Strategy With Study

    In another stunning waste of time, money and resources to prove the obvious, a recent study conducted by Naviguage for Clear Channel found, shockingly, listeners don't like long commercial breaks on radio and switch stations as breaks get longer. During a commercial break, the study found 80 percent stay tuned after the second spot, 70 percent after the third and less than half remain after six or more spots. That, pretty much, makes a spot in the last half of a Howard Stern commercial break a complete waste of money.

    Now for the self serving part of the study, it was found :30 spots keep more listeners than :60's. This supports Clear Channel's recent pushing of advertisers from :60's to :30's. While we jest, commercial radio breaks of three spots or less, clearly, work better than longer breaks.

    The dilemma, as Clear Channel is discovering, is getting the prices for individual spots back up to a point that allows for reducing spot load without harming revenue goals.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Groups Asks Johnson & Johnson to Stop Lying About Splenda

    While other groups have already complained, a group calling themselves Generation Green, yesterday, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what it calls false claims made by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Nutritionals LLC in its ad campaign for the sweetener Splenda.

    The group claims Splenda is being portrayed as natural because of the use of the word "sugar" in the product's advertising whose slogan is "made from sugar so it tastes like sugar." In a letter to the FTC, the group wrote, "Any substance whose listed ingredients include 4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D- galactopyranosyl-1 cannot be considered natural."

    All this food fabrication makes one pine for the days when the proper approach to a diet was simply, "everything in moderation."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

    January 13, 2005

    Newspaper Teaser Campaign Promotes Movie

    Adrants reader Steve Portigal points to a print teaser campaign consisting of small space ads, placed in the front section of newspapers, that speak obliquely about the arrival of someone called Charlie. Portigal surmises it's a campaign leading up to the January 28 release of the John Polson Film Hide And Seek which features an imaginary friend, Charlie.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

    eBay Ad Sells Forehead Ad Blocker

    Finally reaching the level of idiotic insanity, forehead advertising and stupid eBay ads have come together. This eBay ad promotes a device, called The Forehead Ad Blocker which is nothing more than a retrofitted pair of completely out of style eye glasses, that is said to have the ability to block forehead ads. Oh sure it's a joke but maybe Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Mary Baglivo is right afterall.

    UPDATE: Even more.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Google Takes Advertisers to Grammar Class

    To see how the English language has devolved into something that sounds like a cross between a retard and a rap artist, one only need read the forum rantings of Ashlee Simpson fans, hopelessly in support of her failing career. Thankfully, Google, who seems to be blessed with the ability to do everything right, has come to the rescue. Google's AdWords group uses a style guide and insists on proper use of the English language in its text-based ads. Of course, proper grammar has never been advertising's strong suit and, often times, grammatical license is taken. But Google doesn't want its search product, of which ads are an integral part, to be misunderstood by people looking for information. There's a line between well-formed grammatical license and plain stupidity. Google is drawing it.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Regis to Give Away Pontiac Minivans

    Following it's Oprah car give away, GM will, beginning February 1, give away 20 2005 Pontiac Montana SV6 minivans on Walt Disney Co,'s Beuena Vista syndicated show Live With Regis and Kelly. Late last year GM partnered with Oprah to give away 276 Pontiac G6's to every member of her studio audience in a scream-fest rivaling that of 1970's game show contestants winning "a neeeew toaster oven!" as if that was something to get excited about.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    Red Sox Manager Signs With Metamucil

    Writing on his weblog, A Fine Kettle of Fish, Bob Cargill gives us a humorous take on World Champion Red Sox Manager Terry Francona recent advertising spokesman deal with laxative maker Metamucil. Cargill also ranked the many post-game congratulatory ads and named Metamucil's, which had the tagline, "Way to go! Congratulations Boston on your World Championship.

    Let's hope it becomes a regular thing," the best.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Baby's Parents Turn Down Lucrative Advertising Deals

    As if China needs to get any bigger, its 1.3 billionth citizen recently entered the world and has been showered with advertising spokesbaby offers. In a uniquely smart and very un-American move, the baby's father, Zhang Tong has turned down all offers except one which provides insurance to his child saying, "It's lucky to be China's 1.3 billionth citizen. But it's unnecessary to act as an image representative for so many products, since Zhang Yichi is too young and too many commercial activities will have negative impact on the boy's healthy growth."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

    TiVo Co-Founder Steps Down As CEO

    TiVo CEO and Co-Founder Mike Ramsay, 55, has announced he will step down as CEO, a position he held for eight years, after a successor is in place. TiVo has been under the gun from cable and satellite operators who have been building their own, non-TiVo technology into set top boxes. On a brighter note, TiVo recently launched TiVoToGo, a product that enables TiVo users to transfer recorded programming to their computers and portable media players. Ramsay says his move has been in the works for some time and is not in reaction to any particular event.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

    January 12, 2005

    Plight of CMO Explained

    Author and marketing luminary Seth Godin explains the myth behind the Chief Marketing Officer and why blame for bad marketing should not always be heaped upon the person in this position.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Hall's to Offer 'New' Print Product Placement Tool

    Retooling what it has done for years, Hall's Reports LLC which tracks editorial content, ad to edit ratios and brands mentioned in print, is re-purposing its service and offering it as a web-based print product placement tracking service for media planners. Called "Hall's Reports: Editorial Credits," the service will monitor print and photographic editorial mention of brands in 130 magazines beginning in late March.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

    Woman Sues Estee Lauder Because Ads Said She'd Stop Aging

    Fourty-seven year old Debra Scheufler has filed suit against Estee Lauder and other cosmetic companies claiming their advertising makes false claims with respect to their "anti-aging" properties. Scheuffler, refreshingly, wants only for the alleged false advertising to stop and to be reimbursed an estimated $1,000 she spent on the products.

    "The real question is, what does anti-aging mean? If a product has a sunscreen in it, it has anti-aging properties," she said. "And moisturizers can give the appearance of decreasing wrinkles. Or if you have dead skin that's exfoliated, the light reflects better and skin looks younger and better."

    The answer is simple. Anti-aging means one stops getting older and no product has, to date, been able to accomplish that.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

    Kraft Ends Junk Food Advertising to Young Kids, Still Makes Older Kids Fat

    Under the delusion that junk food, apparently, makes only young kids fat, Kraft Foods has, rather than actually introduce healthy foods, decided to placate those concerned with childhood obesity by ceasing the advertising of it's snack foods to children under 12. Perhaps no one's told Kraft that media isn't yet quite that exact when it comes to targeting and kids under 12 are still very likely to see ads aimed at older kids.

    Kraft PR mouthpiece Mark Berlind said, "We do recognize that people and parents are concerned about advertising to young children. We hope this will address that concern." Mark, tell management that an Oreo cookie has the same amount of fat in it whether it's eaten by a 5 year old or a 50 year old.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Monster Will Not Advertise on Super Bowl

    After a six year run, job site Monster will not advertise on this year's Super Bowl and will instead use local radio, television and online marketing. Radio advertising on 180 stations will include a partnership with Infinity Broadcasting consisting of one minute Monster Career Moments featuring Monster founder Jeff Taylor and interview clips from business people, athletes and celebrities. Monster has also partnered with online local TV network Internet Broadcasting Systems to provide career content on the education, technology, business and family pages of IBS television websites.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

    January 11, 2005

    Teaser Site Launches With Two Headed Dog Theme

    A tipster keeps wetting our appetite by sending pictures and pointing to a site called The2HeadedDog so we thought we'd take a look. As the name connotes, it's all about a two headed dog. That theme carries through to several sections of the site. On the homepage, there are "Tricks Du Jour," a collection of really strange looking videos, all of which, incorporate a logo of a dog with two heads. Another section, called "Dog Pound," allows people to upload interpretive images of the two headed dog logo. A section called "Freestyle" appears to be a bunch of "on-the-street" amateur rap takes incorporating the phrase "two headed dog." Lastly, a section called "Arcade" contains, as the name suggests, three online games which are actually quite fun to play, especially the ones called "Ass Blaster" and Mailman Attack." A little addictive actually.

    Of course, the theme here is "two" so it's likely some brand that is about to re-launch or introduce a new product is behind the stunt. The site is registered to Pier Borra in New York which, upon searching, doesn't point to much other than the CEO of healthcare company CORA Rehabilitation Clinics which seems unlikely to be the type of company which would engage in stealth marketing of this sort. As is always the case with these things, it's only a matter of time before that cat is out of the bag. Stay tuned.

    UPDATE: Comments point to this being something from MTV.

    UPDATE 2: A reader named "James," claiming to be in the know, assures us this is for the re-launch of MTV2.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Wrangler Drops Frozen Jeans On Cities

    Amsterdam-based BSUR recently completed a unique street marketing program in three German cities for its client, Wrangler Jeans. As part of the company's "Wanted" campaign, one-ton ice blocks were placed around the cities as if they had dropped from the sky. Inside the ice blocks were Wrangler jeans with WANTED sprayed on them. Upon discovery, people stared at, touched, chopped, climbed on and, otherwise, just plain had fun with the gigantic ice blocks. Wrangler Promotion teams took pictures of people interacting with the blocks and placed them in area retailer window displays where the frozen ice block theme was continued. Full size images are here, here and here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

    New Tactic Gets Consumers to Call Telemarketers

    In September, Delray Beach, Florida-based ON-CARD introduced a reverse direct marketing concept, not unlike current call-to redeem-prize direct marketing programs, which allows marketers to provide free gifts to recipients provided they, upon receipt of the offer, call ON-CARD tool-free and provide any information the marketer has asked ON-CARD to obtain. Of course, during the call, other offers, which , no doubt require the opening of a wallet, are foisted upon the caller in hopes they bite. The program, which was just approved by the USPS, makes the offer via standard direct mail. Verizon is one of the first marketers to use ON-CARD.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

    Website Decodes Agency Blather

    We've all heard of it and we're all guilty of it. Come clean. You know what we're talking about. Those intelligent sounding phrases you hear coming out of your mouth when you, clearly, have no idea what you are talking about. East Bank Communications has collected some of these and provided a translator, called Dr. Gary's JiveCoder, to decode your industry standard statements and mindless blather-speak.

    Unfortunately, it's not that funny. However, visitors can submit their own phrases (via a form that collects contact info, of course) but can't offer a funny decode. Submitters have to rely on East Bank Communications to email their translation back which is then added to the JiveCoder.

    While East Bank is using industry humor to gain awareness and collect leads, they should at least allows those who are more humorous to submit statements and translations.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Luxury Watchmaker Launches Star-Studded Ad Campaign

    LVMH watchmakming company TAG Heuer is launching a new "What Are Your Made Of" ad campaign featuring actress Uma Thurman, golf legend Tiger Woods, tennis champion Maria Sharapova, and NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon. With Thurman and Sharapova, TAG Heuer hopes to shift the brand from sports focused of one that reflects both sports and glamour

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Marketers Push Sex Appeal

    While it's become almost normal to occasionally mistake a 13 year old girl for an 18 year old, the sexing up of tweens continues to spiral even younger as kids discover sex appeal earlier - and marketers capitalize on it. It's become so common to see stripper-esque tweens it's likely, in a few years, we'll soon see a babies pop out wearing thongs.

    In a CBC News interview, Wendy Mesley asks media expert and author, Shari Graydon, "Why are [retailers] selling bras for little girls?" Graydon, not so subtly lays partial blame on marketers answering, "Well, I suspect that the advertisers would tell you 'we're doing this because there’s a demand for it.' And they sort of escape --or avoid-- acknowledging that they have created the demand."

    From Bratz Dolls to padded bras to Ashlee Simpson to sex bracelets, tween girls are being taught, at a very early age, that sex appeal is very powerful. Explaining the reason she buys sexy clothes, twelve year old Amanda says, like it's a good thing, "You get more attention. And strange guys come up to you and try and get you to go to nightclubs."

    Amanda's friend, Natasha adds, "A lot of guys stare." That stare, perhaps, comes from rectifying the sensations that occur when seeing a sexy "woman" with the stunning realization the girl is just twelve.

    It's creepy.

    In today's culture, your daughter isn't your mother's daughter anymore.

    She's more like a Maxim model without knowing what that imagery connotes.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

    Man Offers Forehead As Ad Space

    In the so totally over category, yet another poor sole is committing a double cultural oddity - placing an ad on his head and using eBay to auction off the space. Aside from being sick of this trend, it's been done, one way or another many, many times before. Let's move on.

    UPDATE: And now for cleavage advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Pepperidge Farm Launches Animated Goldfish

    Today, Pepperidge Farm will launch a new ad campaign featuring "Finn," an animated Goldfish cracker character. The campaign, which includes four :30 ads and three :15 ads, is the first step in the company's planned brand update.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

    January 10, 2005

    Control, Quality, Relevancy Key to Establishing Consumer Trust

    As online merchants and marketers search for the shifting line between invasion of privacy and effective targeting to consumers, a new study by the Ponemon Institute, a research institute dedicated to privacy management practices in business and government, has published an analysis of how online marketers can build and capitalize on trust through their communication with consumers. The Online Permissions Survey, sponsored by Dotomi, is based on 1,799 responses from Internet users in all major regions of the United States.

    The Internet has quickly developed into a ubiquitous presence in commerce, and the public's perception of online marketing and merchants continues to evolve. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying online, but remain wary of sharing vital information such as credit card numbers with merchants they don't trust. Building and retaining trust with consumers is therefore critical for online merchants to succeed, and the survey found that trust is significantly correlated to improving the relevance of communication with consumers:

    This, of course, points to Dotomi's business model which is opt-in, on page banner ad messaging. Dotomi works to bring publishers, advertisers and consumers together for a permission-based relationship that adds value to publisher's advertising programs, advertiser's targeting efforts and consumer's move towards control over media consumption.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Four Letter Word Clients Rankle Agency Types

    Writing in MediaPost, Seana Mulcahy shares her client behavior horror stories which we all, on the agency side, at one time or another, have experienced. There's plenty of horror stories about agency personnel from clients but Seana's from the agency side so, today, if you work in an agency, gleefully identify with her commentary. If you work on the client side, gleefully poke holes in her every complaint and offer up your own reason why it's really always the agency's fault and not yours. Have fun.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Ford Opens Hollywood Office, Expect More Fords in Movies

    In what is believed to be a first, a Detroit automaker has opened an office in Hollywood for the express purpose of pressing the flesh to get more of its cars into films. Ford is the company and Al Uzielli is the man who will sit in that office. Uzielli is the cousin of Ford CEO Bill Ford and great-grandson of Henry Ford. Uzielli, 38, has been an independent film producer for 15 years producing such gems as Bongwater.

    As head consultant to Ford Global Brand Entertainment Uzielli will use his Hollywood connections to get more Ford vehicles into movies and television.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Farkers Fool With Famous Brands

    For a bit of truth and humor in advertising, check out these "tweaked" ad banners from members of online community Fark as they demonstrate their artistic abilities and quick wit.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Olsen Sisters Launch Line of Perfume

    Moving on from their fame as popular objects of desire for perverted, Olsen Eighteen Year Old Birthday Countdown watchers and, in the case of Mary-Kate, poster child for starved, third world countries, the Olsen sisters have launched two perfumes. Called Coast to Coast NY and Coast to Coast LA, the perfumes will be scented citrus and tropical respectively. The brands will hit stores in March.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

    Retailer Gets Pussy

    U.K. Retailer Marks & Spencer is getting 77 year old "pussy." Honor "Pussy Galore" Blackman, that is. Blackman is famous for appearing in the James Bond movie Goldfinger and has been tapped by the retailer to become its spokeswoman in a new ad campaign. Blackman will model the company's Classic Collection fashion line.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Kraft Sponsors White Supremacist Website By Mistake

    Kraft Foods was a bit surprised when they found themselves advertising on whiterevolution.com late last year. Kraft had used Google's AdWords contextual advertising program which matches page content to keywords the advertisers select. Google offers a free search engine to website publishers which, when results are returned, AdWords advertising appears above or next to the search results.

    Whiterevolution.com used this Google feature and when Milford, Connecticut freelance reporter Tom Giordano entered the search term "Halloween" on whiterevolution.com, Kraft's text ads appeared near the results. Giordano was researching a story on the group who had distributed fliers locally.

    Google, of course, forbids sites that contain pornographic, hate-related or violent content from using its search tool but the search code is freely available to all who wish to use it even if they do not conform to Google's requirements. Upon discovery, Google has disallowed whiterevolution from using its tools.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Verizon Wireless to Open Phone Content Floodgates

    Paving the way for more content, Verizon Wireless is dramatically expanding its high-bandwidth Vcast service which allows for delivery of music videos, television shows, newscasts, and, we're sure, the birth of the "phone-porn" industry. The service, already available in San Diego and Washington, D.C., will expand to 60 cities by year's end.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Ad Exec Inserts Foot In Mouth

    For the reason many large ad agencies will drop off the face of the planet suddenly, leaving them homeless on Madison Avenue, looking upward, longingly, saying, "Huh? What just happened?", rather than successfully morph into agencies that have a clue and are open to the future, we need look no further than a recent AdWeek poll that asked, "What advertising trend would you like to see die in 2005?" Taking the homeless agency exec prize is this nugget of intelligence from Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Mary Baglivo who said, "The trend I would love to see die is the frantic production of non-traditional, non-TV marketing ideas. In the quest to be smart, effective and media-agnostic, many marketers have become manic." No witty comment needed on this one.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

    January 07, 2005

    Listerine's "Effective As Floss" Campaign Killed By Judge

    Recently, Pfizer has been running a campaign touting a study claiming use of Listerine is as effective as flossing teeth. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin says Pfizer is engaging in false advertising and posing a treat to the public.

    "Dentists and hygienists have been telling their patients for decades to floss daily," Chin wrote. "They have been doing so for good reason.

    The benefits of flossing are real -- they are not a 'myth.' Pfizer's implicit message that Listerine can replace floss is false and misleading."

    The ruling followed a suit filed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc. Chin says Pfizer twisted the results of the study whose writers urged dental professionals to continue to recommend daily flossing and not to replace flossing with mouthwash.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Record Label Vandalizes Own Billboard Campaign

    A recent billboard campaign placed by Champaign, Illinois hip hop record label Up A Notch Records apparently encouraged local student organization UC Hip Hop to "vandalize" this billboards to achieve more publicity. The boards, with the headline, "Hip Hop Rots Your Brain," were accompanied by a logo for the fictitious Coalition of Responsible and Attentive Parents whose acronym, not surprisingly is CRAP.

    One of the boards was vandalized to read, "Stereotypes, Racism, Ignorance Rots Your Brain." The campaign and the vandalizing are hot topics of discussion on a UC Hip Hop and LiveJournal forum. The cynic in us, along with the all too convenient images and forum commentary, makes us think the whole thing is manufactured but, then again, we are very cynical.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Space on Kournikova's Bikini Worth More Than Super Bowl Spot

    There's always a premium on well placed, well viewed media and, today, Anna Kournikova's bikini is no exception. Trouble is, planning a media buy to coincide with these well viewed bikini appearances would not be an easy task. Though, with paparazzi recording her every move, an enterprising media planner could cut a deal with Kournikova's handlers or, better yet, directly with the photographer who could, with the help of a graphic designer, easily photoshop a brand's logo onto her swimwear. Then when Kournikova's images race around the Internet faster than a teenage boy's first time with a....oops, yes, we know that one is so over...the brand would reap more exposure than all the Super Bowls combined. And talk about time spent viewing.

    Today, though, might not be a good day for an advertiser to avail themselves of Kournikova's worldwide reach as it seems she's either suffering some sort of bikini bottom malfunction or has acquired a sudden fascination with her most private of parts. It might be best to view these images when your boss isn't looking.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

    January 06, 2005

    Mitsubishi Pitch Team Adds Emmy-Award Winning Producer

    New Mitsubishi Eclipse

    With its U.S. corporate management in turmoil, sales sagging, and an ad agency review tainted by dealer complaints, Mitsubishi is in need of all the help it can get. It may soon have some from a less than traditional source. Reported earlier, the DoubleThink Ad Hoc Creative Team are preparing a presentation for Mitsubishi and newly named CEO Rich Gilligan. Commenting on the approach the group is taking, DoubleThink's Harry Webber, today, said, "This is a brand immersion campaign that utilizes technology and branded entertainment as well as advertising to fully envelop the lifestyle of their (Mitsubishiu's) Gen Y target audience. An audience that is extremely adverse to traditional marketing methodologies."

    In preparing the campaign, Webber has announced the addition of Emmy-Award winning Producer John Feist to DoubleThink. Feist, who produced Survivor, Restaurant and Casino will serve as executive producer on the branded entertainment elements of the mystery-shrouded campaign. Commenting on his decision to join DoubleThink, Feist said, "When I saw the scope of what Harry Webber's group had created for the launch of the 2006 Eclipse, I had to be involved. This campaign leaves cutting-edge in the dust."

    Webber's DoubleThink previously created an ad hoc campaign for Coke with the tagline "A Cool American" which caught the eye of Coke execs but, ultimately, did not go any further. This time, Webber is looking to gain more ground with a campaign that doesn't just speak to but lives and breathes the language of the Mitsubishi Eclipse target audience.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

    GM's Bob Lutz Launches FastLane Blog

    .

    Following the launch of the GM SmallBlock weblog, as expected, GM has launched another weblog. This one, called FastLane Blog, will feature the writings of GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and other GM corporate management. In Lutz's first post, he discusses the success of Saturn and GM's plans to refresh the aging lineup with new products. One of the new vehicles is a convertible called SKY.

    GM is the first large scale company to bring the human voice of its corporate executives to the public in the weblog format. While we don't expect to hear about about Bob's Saturday afternoon barbecues or his favorite movie, we can, perhaps, catch a glimpse of into one of human beings behind the coprporate monolith.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

    Naming Returns to Normalcy

    Having worked through and contributed to the insanity of dot com era inspired brand naming, we're pleased to see an end to ridiculously idiotic sounding corporate names created though marathon, caffeine-induced brainstorming sessions supported by lengthy PowerPoint presentations so fluffy, not even the most verbally diarrhetic account manager, skilled in the art of brand puffery, could pass off as strategically sound. Writing in business 2.0, Alex Frankel walks us though how we got to that level of insanity, why naming trends change all the time and why we're back to a more common sense-based approach to naming.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Curvaceous Silhouettes Yeild to Flapvertising

    If FlapMedia has its way, we won't be seeing the usual silver silhouetted busty babe, or other such low brow imagery, on mud flaps of passing trucks much longer. FlapMedia has introduced flapvertising and signed Wyoming State Tourism as its first client.

    "We thought FlapMedia was a terrific idea and wanted to be the first to put our brand on the road," says Diane Shober, Wyoming state tourism director. "I knew we'd made a good choice when a friend from Chicago told me he'd seen a great ad for Wyoming on the mud flaps of a truck driving down I-55 near I-294." Friend-based media research. That's a new one on us. FlapMedia has, however, done its homework and claimed its medium effective by hiring Harris Interactive which found flapvertising to have the highest recall compared to other forms of out of home media. It's truck flaps are priced under one dollar per thousand.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

    Boston Herald Publisher Says Times Purchase of METRO Illegal

    Like the band geek who lost the girl to the quarterback, Boston Herald Publisher is crying over Boston Globe parent company The New York Times purchase of the METRO, of which Boston METRO is a part, claiming it gives the Boston Globe an illegal circulation advantage.

    Not missing a chance to slap broadsheet Boston Globe, Purcell said, "We are intrigued that the Boston Globe has finally recognized the merits of tabloid newspapers, but the fact is this deal is aimed directly at the Herald."

    While Purcell might be crying, he has good reason. The combined circulation of the Boston Globe (450,000 daily) and the Boston METRO (180,000) is 39 percent higher than allowed by Justice Department rules.

    Globe Publisher Richard Gilman brushes off Purcell saying, "The Metro is a single free newspaper in the Boston media market, which has 18 paid daily newspapers. In addition, there are a considerable number of free weekly newspapers, including the many owned by Herald Media Co."

    We love a good 'ol smack down among publishers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Hispanic People Ups Rate Base to 450,000

    Purely to offset the the roadblock of the female form here on Adrants, we are pleased to announce, as well as provide hunk imagery, People en Espanol has raised its rate base from 425,000 to 450,000 with its February issue making it the number one Hispanic magazine in America. Both its ad pages and newsstand sales are up dramatically. See. We're not completely one-sided.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

    Ad Industry Newsletter Hires New Editor, Relaunches

    The AdBumb Newsletter, loved by some, maligned by others, has relaunched with a new design and the hiring of Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Hines.

    Founded in 2001 and with a claimed circulation of 25,000, AdBumb covers new media for publishers and sales organizations. For those who fall into the "maligned by others" category, Hines has, admittedly, made a vast improvement to the quality of the editorial. Though, we're still not to happy about those massive 700 X 700 ads.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Radio Station Terrorism Ad Gets Banned. Sort Of

    Dallas/Fort Worth talk radio station KLIF is manufacturing its own controversy having created a low-budget, terrorism-focused, self-promotional TV spot that area broadcasters then declined to accept. The station is promoting the spot on its website. Tom at The Media Drop suggest KLIF, knowing the spot would likely be banned, should have released the ad through viral channels rather than attempt to place it traditionally. Oddly, KLIF will achieve it's goals anyway as the banning receives media coverage.

    Amid visuals of happy family life which quickly shift to images of explosions, a suicide bomber and Osama Bin Laden, the spot's voiceover says, "There are people in this world who want you dead. We need to talk." While being promoted as "banned," The Dallas Morning Herald is reporting Comcast cable will accept an edited version of the spot that removes a baby targeted by a gun sight. Drama in Dallas. More at 11.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

    January 05, 2005

    Ikea Brand Name Questionable

    Looking more like some kind of elaborate mobile bedpan for geriatrics, and perhaps the reason behind its strange name, IKEA has introduced a new work bench for kids called FartFull. It's either ingenious marketing to bathroom humor-fixated kids or some form of odd Swedish language barrier.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

    Ashlee Simpson Loves Public Humiliation

    Either masochistically begging for torture or playing a sick joke on the public for its SNL lip synch debacle bashing, Ashlee Simpson, again, proved she's destined for a career that doesn't involve opening her mouth. During last night's Orange Bowl half time show, Simpson did, unfortunately, open her mouth, without the help of backing vocals, to a stunned Miami Pro Player Stadium audience and was handed a very loud chorus of boos as she painfully finished singing.

    One viewer writes, "No lip-synching. This time she decided to sing. The performance was horrendous and the tens of thousands of people at the Orange Bowl in Florida consequently booed as loud as they could afterwards. I certainly hope this is the end of this no-talent fraud!" If Simpson isn't smart enough to realize it's time to give it up, perhaps her manager father might now have the balls or, at least, the sympathy to remove her from further public humiliation. Of course, we're sure to hear an endless litany of excuses as to why she couldn't sing properly or perhaps the Simpson clan will come clean and admit sister Jessica's been doing backing vocals for Ashlee all along. Either way, it's time for Joe Simpson to stop pimping Ashlee and go back to being her Dad.

    View the painfully horrifying clip here here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

    January 04, 2005

    CIO Podcast Catches CIO Magazine With Pants Down

    The Delmarva Group has launched CIO Podcast, a daily audio "broadcast" targeted to chief information officers and other information technology professionals. It's what CIO Magazine should have launched but with Podcasting still in nascent development, it's not surprising larger publishers haven't jumped aboard. Podcasts are mp3 audio files delivered via rss which makes it very easy for both publishers to offer content and for people to consume content. Setting up a podcast is very easy and similar to recording a radio program.

    Most companies could benefit from having their content available in additional formats and we all know many people find it easier to listen to content as opposed to reading it. Advertisers can sponsor podcasts in a fashion similar to radio sponsorship and advertising. With increased reliance on digital devices such as cell phones, MP3 players and PDAs for content, people will rely less on traditional content channels such as television and radio. Podcasting is a method to stay with these people as they move from the old to the new.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

    BURST! Media Offers Blog Focused Network Channel

    BURST! Media, an ad network, has launched an weblog sub-channel which includes Gawker Media sites Gawker, Wonkette and Defamer as well as the blogs BlueLemur, CelebCourthouse and 2WallsWebzine. Kyocera Wireless is the first advertiser to to use the channel.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

    Bacardi Bows BacardiLive

    Drunken Stepfather points us to a new site from Bacardi called BacardiLive.

    In a video, the characters "Bacardi" and "Cola," introduce "Diet Coke," a little guy who pumps up the benefits of Diet Coke to two sultry ladies at a party. The skit is just a small part of the site which let's you step inside the world of Bacardi with music pumped in while games, sweepstakes, Bacardi-gras, gorgeous Bacardi gallery girls and a bit of Fat Joe are enjoyed. Recently, Bacardi also launched PlanetParty - a virtual nightclub and human party behavior information site for aliens.

    The site is engaging enough to warrant some time spent fooling around which, in the long run, is all good. As you radio buyers know, high TSL is a very good thing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

    New Magazine Launches For Stage Moms

    While stage moms don't need any more ammunition to make them even more overbearing and freakishly obsessive about their children, Fairchild Publications is going to make that possible with the launch of its new Cookie magazine. Cookie, billed as "The Magazine for Sophisticated Parents," is a style and shopping magazine filled with all sorts of fashionable items no kid actually needs but will help parents play Barbie using their kids.

    The magazine hopes to offer parents information to dress their children in classic style, help them eat exotic foods and surround them with great design. Well, at least it might keep the kids out of McDonald's.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Cyber Sex Has A Purpose

    Bunny McIntosh of Melting Dolls has the solution for preventing teen sex and all the dangers that come with it. She's created an ad telling teens to turn to cyber sex rather than flesh and bone to release their sexual urges. Since AOL brought chat to the masses, unleashing the over-sexed freaks of the world upon unsuspecting teens, cyber sex has become a mainstay. Until now, it's been a scary prospect for parents. Now, it has a purpose. Perhaps now, parents will even encourage their teen children to experience a little extra bliss locked in their rooms behind their computer screen, one hand on the keyboard, the other somewhere else.

    Promoting safe and healthy masturbatorial pleasure, the ad mirrors the preachy, anti-drug campaign tone with a visual of a smiling teen who says, in body copy, "I'm choosing cyber sex. Cyber sex is a safe alternative to intercourse. No STD's, no babies, no pressure. Just a 40 year old man in is grandma's basement who likes to tell me I'm pretty."

    Sure it's a joke but it's also true. A little regular masturbation never hurt anybody. Full sized ad is here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

    January 03, 2005

    New Advertising Trend: Smart Dads

    As a result of the "clueless Dad" backlash, we predict the next trend in advertising to be the "smart Dad" whose stunning wit and intelligence will out maneuver even the smartest, hippest, home/career juggling Mom. Currently, Verizon holds the "clueless Dad" award but the trend is years old and ripe for change. We eagerly await the advertiser who can make Dad look smart, Mom look "un-smart" and do it without returning women to their place next to the Refrigerator as they were often shown.

    While we're sure we won't be seeing a spot called, "Get Me A Beer, Bitch" from Budweiser, perhaps we'll see a new form of advertising emerge which goes for something other than the lowest common denominator and portrays people as real human beings with intelligence rather than the buffoons they, more often than not, appear to be in many ads. Making someone look dumb is the simplest way to get a laugh and the fastest way to make the viewer feel superior to the poor loser in the ad. Verizon and others who employ the "clueless Dad" and the general "people are idiots" creative strategy should be ashamed of themselves. Of course, tomorrow, we'll probably have a story poking fun at some cause group who can't see the humor in Hardee's surely-to-be-seen-soon busty babe on a pogo stick forcing men to drop to their knees and drool ad for their new five pound Mondo Chicken Breast Burger.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

    Cadillac to Launch Campaign With Five Second Commercials

    In a nod to the ever dwindling ability of people to pay attention to anything longer than the time it takes a teenage boy to...oh, we've used that one before, Cadillac, on January 15, will launch a series of five second commercials to illustrate the speed of its cars which can accelerate from zero to 60 in that short time. The ads include a voiceover which says, "How fast? That Fast."

    Cadillac Marketing Director Jay Spenchian explains saying, "The whole idea is to attract the attention of those who hadn't considered Cadillac until this point. This is a dramatic way of getting their attention." As usual, Joan Claybrook, president of joy-killing Public Citizen has complained the ads glorify speed and are off target saying, "Middle-aged people don't need it, and younger people can't afford these cars." Well, at least she's not being politically correct.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

    Dennis Miller Pitches NetZero

    A reader wonders whether NetZero's choice of Dennis Miller as its new spokesperson is a good move writing, "Every once in a while I am abused by Dennis Miller, who implies I am an idiot for not signing up for NetZero; yet Miller is broadly known for his stupidity relative to football and is currently becoming broadly known for his stupidity relative to world politics; so I am wondering if he might not also be stupid about the Internet." Has the idiocy of this irony gone too far? We though Dennis Miller had retired years ago.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

    Starbucks Taxi-Top Stunt Ingenious But Questionable

    In what is believed to be a first of its kind, Starbucks, in cooperation with Clear Channel Taxi Media, launched a taxi-top campaign in Boston a few weeks ago that has pedestrians bugging taxi drivers. For the campaign, a Venti cup of Starbucks coffee was fitted with a magnet and attached to the top of 100 Boston cabs.

    The campaign received terrific attention though it's not clear how much it contributed to the brand. Like watching their husbands cluelessly drive off with the baby left atop the minivan's roof, passersby on both foot and in cars pointed, yelled and beeped at the unlucky cab drivers thinking the poor sole had left his coffee on the roof.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

    TiVoToGo Brings TV to The PC

    Announced long ago, TiVo has finally released TiVoToGo, its feature that allows TiVo users to burn shows to their computers.

    Advertisers can only hope and pray ads are downloaded too.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Buick Can't Get It Up

    No matter how hard Buick tries, it just can't get it's audience up for its brand. Always to be known as the car hat-wearing grandfathers drive, the brand, with the help of McCann Erickson, Detroit is trying to erect limp sales by having a hot chick dance seductively, complete with headlight to "headlight" camera pan, around the "always chic, always flattering, all new" LaCrosse. While the spot hopes to align the imagery of the vehicle with the imagery a woman imagines of herself when looking in the mirror, it's likely to leave guys in a state of semi-get-the-car-get-the-girl-delusion wondering what a hot chic is doing in a Buick.

    Anyway, in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week, Joan Rivers wants to make sure she waxes her butt in a spot with daughter Melissa for their new TV Guide show; a turtle carries a can of Diet Coke on its back because it, somehow, it helps him love life; a bunch of guys demonstrate sports watching idiocy for Pepsi Wild Cherry; and PalmOne gives us a very basic but very informative spot for its Treo. New year. Same stuff. OK, so all these spots were created last year. We'll be patient.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

    Industry Luminaries Pontificate the Year Ahead

    In a wrap up of prognostications for 2005, MediaPost collected quotes from advertising's big names including ANA President Bob Liodice, StarcomIP President Rishad Tobaccowala and Carat USA VP Director of Programming Shari Brill.

    Tobaccowala brings the soon to be insane levels of customized, segmented, spliced, diced niche targeting back to reality saying, “Re-aggregation rather than segmentation becomes the rage as clients realize that it is less and less about chiseling down large masses of audience but rather re-combining clusters of people into some form of scale." In essence, an aggregation of customized consumer demographic, psychographic, contextual, behavioral, astrological, medical, ideological, political, legal, sexual profiles into mass marketing's version of one to one marketing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    British Satellite TV Company Blocks Ads For Customers

    Satellite TV provider BSkyB has introduced a new set top box that will allow users to screen out ads. This could put a big dent in the ad revenue-supported stations Channel 4, Five and ITV. Because BSkyB garners close to 80 percent of its revenue from subscriptions, they are able to offer this service without losing much, if anything, financially.

    While it's not yet clear how the technology works, the new set top box is said to eliminate the ads completely, not record them on a hard drive for later skipping similar to TiVo. Apparently, the technology allows for users to record just portions of a show, not the entire shows thus the ability to eliminate the ads. We'd love to see Donnie Deutsch in the boxing ring with BSkyB owner Rupert Murdoch on this one if the technology ever finds its way to American set top boxes. We'd pay to watch that.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

    December 31, 2004

    2004 Ethnic Cleansing Awards

    The strangely named 2004 Ethnic Cleansing Awards has bestowed upon us its 25 worst and most annoying newsmakers of the past year. Wishing these people "vanquished, banished and never to be heard from again," the list includes Omarosa, Hybrid car drivers, multitasking female drivers, uninteresting game show millionaires, Paris Hilton and many more.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

    Old Farts Attack Bush in Newspaper Campaign

    Using a medium still widely read by its demo, the AARP will launch a $5 million national newspaper campaign on January 4 to counter Bush's proposal to take Social Security private. Further catering to its demo, one of the ads reads "If we feel like gambling, we'll play the slots."

    Claiming privatization "would weaken Social Security and put benefits for future generations at risk," the AARP will place ads in USA Today, The New York Times and 50 other newspapers. Austin-based GSD&M created the campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

    December 30, 2004

    Axe Feather Distracts, Something About Deodorant

    Axe has launched another cheeky viral to promote its, well, we really don't know. After playing tickle for a while, we checked out the axeeffect site and just got lost again. We seem to have heard they make deodorant but we were too distracted to care.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

    Donnie Donny Deutsch Went to The Bathroom

    In breaking news today, Donnie Donny Deutsch was spotted walking down the hallway of Deutsch Inc.'s Eighth Avenue offices towards the men's room. According to insiders in attendance at his daily "worship Donny" meeting, he had just finished his latte when the urge hit him, saying to his staff, "I'll be right back." With that, he reportedly grabbed his portable media player, loaded with the latest edition of The Big Idea, and left the office for some ego stroking and biological relief.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    December 29, 2004

    The Year in Reality TV Summed Up

    Writing on reality blurred, Andy Dehnart sums up the year in reality TV. From The Donald becoming the new Paris Hilton to the overreaction to FCC fines by reality show producers to the fact that no cares reality TV is "scripted," Denhart reviews a genre that is here to stay.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

    December 28, 2004

    Car Dealer Gets Caught Lying

    In a shocker, it was found a Columbus, Georgia-based car dealer engaged in deceptive advertising practices. Bill Heard Enterprises Inc. has agreed to a $188,000 settlement following an investigation by the Georgia governor's Office of Consumer Affairs. The settlement includes four area dealers: three Bill Heard Chevrolet dealers and Tom Jumper.

    The state cited the dealers with telling customers they were pre-approved for a loan when they were not, making claims that vehicles were available for sale when they were not, making claims that all vehicles came with limited warranty when they did not, making claims that cars were available in repossession sales when most of the vehicles were not repossesed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Pro-Dad Group Attacks Verizon Ad Agency

    A group called the Society for the Prevention of Misandry (hatred of men) in the Media has launched a campaign against New York advertising agency McGarry Bowen, creator of the Verizon "Homework" ad that shows a bumbling Dad attempting to help his daughter use the computer. We offered some commentary on this campaign earlier. While hatred of men surely isn't the intent of the Verizon spot, the Society's website provides information on how those who feel men get a bum wrap in advertising can contact McGarry Bowen, their clients and the press.

    Founded in 2003, the Society was created "in response to the increasing prevalence of negative representations of fathers, husband's and men in mass media." The group hopes to use McGarry Bowen clients as leverage towards their cause and has provided contact info for the agency's clients: Crayola, Marriott, Pfizer, InBev, JPMorgan and Reebok.

    While we do think there's no need to portray men as blithering idiots as is the case in the "Homework" commercial, it would, at the same time, be a bit hypocritical to complain after the many years woman have been relegated to subservient roles and sexual objects of desire. So guys, before you get all bent out of shape about this, call it fair trade. Do you really want to stop seeing women portrayed as sexual objects in advertising, magazine spreads and your favorite porn sites?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Newspapers Lose Millions to Craigslist

    Consulting group Classified Intelligence said newspapers have lost between $50 and $65 million in employment ad revenue along with millions more in real estate and other classified categories. Together, online job boards bring in $217 million in recruitment revenue compared to newspaper's $1.1 billion. Classified Intelligence predicts online job board revenue will eventually surpass newspaper recruitment advertising revenue.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)

    December 27, 2004

    eHarmony Admits Failure, Offers Time Travel

    Either eHarmony is admitting that it can't match people until they've matched themselves already or it is now offering a new time travel service.

    Read this ad, which appeared on Newsday's site and was sent to us by David Berkowitz, closely.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Laredo Group Signs Adrants, MarketingVOX for Ad Sales

    Adrants and MarketingVOX have signed an agreement with the Laredo Group to handle ad sales. The two respected and widely read online publications that summarize and comment on the latest developments in on- and offline media advertising and marketing generate about 400,000 monthly page views from 225,000 unique visitors. Their opt-in daily newsletters have over 11,000 subscribers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Buzz Marketers Do Battle With 'Determined Detractors'

    All while marketers have been exploring and, to a certain extent, benefiting from well placed buzz marketing, they have also had to contend with those who simply hate their brand for one reason or another. Dubbed "determined detractors," those who run these organized anti-brand efforts are just as passionate about destroying a brand as buzz marketers are about promoting the brand.

    From ipodsdirtysecret to ihatestarbucks to Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me movie, The New York Times Reporter Nat Ives examines how these determined detractors have locked horns with brands and how at least one company, Buzz Metrics, is helping brands fight back.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

    December 23, 2004

    Old Navy Model Worshipped With Blog

    Someone's so enamored with the blond in the new Old Navy Holiday commercials he's started a weblog devoted to her. Old Navy can't be complaining. Of course the skeptic in us requires we consider the possibility Old Navy has a hand in this blog. But, for now, with the holiday season on top of us, we'll just steer our thoughts to holiday cheer and assume it's just an innocent fan site. She is kinda cute.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Spiderman New Ralph Lauren Model

    Spiderman star Tobey McGuire might be the next Ralph Lauren model. His girlfriend, Jen Meyer, works for the fashion designer and is reportedly persuading him to pose for an upcoming ad campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

    'Not Created Here' Trend to Grow

    Writing in the New York Times, Nat Ives gathers together several of the recent "unauthorized" ad campaigns that have contributed to the growing trend of consumer/fan/unofficial agency-created ad campaigns. Ives includes the recent Coke campaign and the upcoming Mitsubishi campaign by ad legend Harry Webber, the iPod ad created by teacher George Masters and the ads created and placed by Canadian agency Vaughn Whelan & Partners for Molson as a bid to win the account.

    There are others and it's a certainty that this method of creating advertising will increase as creative people outside the walls of agencies become enabled by technology and motivated by brand loyalty.

    Of course there's the notion that, one day, it will all go back to money as agencies begin to bid on this "not created here" work which, at times, will best what is or can be created internally. There's no shame in this method of doing business. It's akin to hiring a freelancer except there's no risk. The work's already done. Like it, buy it. Don't, don't. Hiring a freelancer or an ad-hoc group that hasn't yet done the work will become a thing of the past.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Bob Brennan Should Return to Leo Burnett

    Bob Brennan rose to superhero status at Leo Burnett's Starcom group along with Jack Klues. Klues is still there; Brennan isn't. He was dumped a year and a half ago after having moved to out of media and into the top spot running Leo Burnett. Rumor has swirle he'd create his own super media shop once his non-compete ran out but MediaPost's The Riff suggests, with the renewed focus on full-service agency media departments, Brennan should return to Burnett as media director.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

    December 22, 2004

    Truth And Advertising Rarely Mix

    In the one of the Adrants Network forums, the question was asked, "Is truth in advertising dead?" It's a good question because one wonders if there ever was truth in advertising. Consultant John Morton thinks truth is alive and well and can be used as a powerful advantage over the competition saying, "Of course there's truth left in advertising. Good advertising, at least. I think truth and honesty in advertising is the secret weapon to reach our audiences today given the current landscape of hyperbolic ads that are out there."

    Swivel Media Creative Director and International Experiential Marketing Association Director Erik Hauser thinks there's life left in advertising truism but the industry has an increased laise faire attitude. "Truth in advertising isn't dead, but the spotlight on the truth in most ads just keeps getting narrower and narrower by the minute." He feels advertising has become one big caveat that isn 't fooling consumers.

    "There are too many asterisks in today's world of advertising. It will get back to basics when advertisers realize that people really do hear all of the harmful side effects of the medicines advertised on TV - no matter how soothing the voice is. Diarrhea is diarrhea."

    One creative director points out truth and advertising have never been in close association. "One could argue that there really never was such a thing as 'truth' in advertising -- we're always presenting a colored version of the truth, casting our product in the best light, ignoring some of the, shall we say, less flattering things about the product."

    Brand Central Station President and CEO Mike Bawden, noting media's contribution to the truth famine, thinks the rapid fragmentation and endless list of choices has yielded to content the audience wants to hear rather than what they should hear. "The rapid expansion of media bandwidth via the Internet, cable/satellite television and other channels has created a vacuum that has sucked up all the information available - fact, fiction and everything in between. This makes "the truth" almost impossible to define and, maybe more importantly, is conditioning audiences to only listen to the truth they want to hear."

    Hammering the point home humorously is ad vet Harry Webber who explains the two faces of truth in advertising: Mobile and Absolute. "The objective in advertising is to appeal to a version of Mobile Truth or the Truth of the Marketplace. In other words, the truth that defines a given market segment's unmet wants needs and desires. We ask a sample of 1500 respondents their version of the truth about bad breath, dandruff or financial security. They give us 1500 opinions. We stoically proclaim that we now know the truth about what the consumer wants. We then craft our products and their selling messages to appeal to that Truth of the Marketplace."

    Webber claims it's not a question of whether truth in advertising is dead. Webber says truth and advertising are entirely unrelated. "What we do has nothing to do with the truth. What we do has everything to do with what we assume our target consumer believes is the truth. To us, their perception is reality. And our perception of what those 1500 people believe is the truth is 'the truth.' 1500 'truths' out of 90 million."

    Truth is a strange concept. Rarelt is it an absolute. In many instances, particularly in a capitalist, commercial society, truths are twisted to suit goals driven by financial objectives. "Truths" will be told, or ignored entirely, to insure actions occur that positively benefit the entity doing the telling. So what if too much beer causes a state of inebriation. In commercial society, drinking the right beer gets a guy the hottest girl. So what if the making of perfume might cause harm to animals. In a commercial society, smelling right gets a girl the hottest guy.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Oxygen Promotes Show With Weblog

    To promote its show Women and The Badge, a "compelling series explores the lives of real women on the front lines of law enforcement," Oxygen Network has launched a weblog called Officer Dubina's Blog.

    It's an inside look at the life of Jan Dubina, a Phoenix Police Department Special Assignments Unit member, who's also featured on the show.

    Dubina minces no words when it comes to her job and the lives of those she comes into contact with writing, "My job is often as a negotiator, but it’s not always like it seems to be in the movies. Actually, much of my time is spent negotiating with possible suicides in an effort to keep them alive. I can’t say how successful I am because if a person decides to kill themselves is that a failure? I don’t look at it that way. There are people who are determined to kill themselves no matter what, and some want us to kill them." OK, then.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Old Brands Re-Invent For New Generation

    Sort of like Hollywood where it's all about remakes, retellings and outright usurping of previous ideas, some companies have found that dusting off old brands rather than inventing new ones is the clearer path to profit. For example, the meat-in-a-can turned email marketing blight Spam brand is making a comeback in Britain and will be the focus of a new broadway musical called Spamalot based on the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Or take Old Spice. Who knew your Dad's favorite deodorant would now be the choice of today's cool kids. An interesting new campaign and a gaming sponsorship with EA's NCAA 2004 have made the brand the number selling deodorant with a 20 percent market share.

    Back in the day when stay-at-home-moms where quaintly referred to as housewives, there was a popular cleaning product called Comet. P & G gave up on the brand in 2001 selling it to Prestige Brands who, rather than letting it die, returned it to the number one selling household cleaning powder with an aggressive low-cost retailer distribution strategy. Perhaps now, with the return of Comet to top spot and the success of ABC's Desperate Housewives, the political correctness of the whole stay-at-home-mom thing can be ditched, playdates can go back to being called "having a friend over" and househusbands can hold their head high.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Snapple Re-Hires Long Island Wendy

    Snapple, which seems to have all but disappeared from convenience store shelves is making yet another comeback.

    The beverage company is bringing back Wendy Kaufman who appeared in early 90's ad campaign and then again in 1997 for a short time.

    Debuting on January 17, Cliff Freeman & Partners has created a new television campaign featuring Kaufman interviewing fans about the brand and then interviews others about those fans. Similar to the original campaign, Cliff Freeman & Partners Chairman and CCO said, "The concept of returning a favor is a welcome message today. People find the tone appealing." The campaign will also include an under the cap promotion offering a chance to win a VW Beetle convertible.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

    December 21, 2004

    Agency Brings Holidayoke Cheer

    New York-based Catalano Lellos & Silverstein has served up yet another funky holiday wish with Happy Holidayoke in which members of the agency, or rather, their heads attached to illustrated bodies, cavort in holiday settings while doing their best to sing holiday songs. There's the Sound of Music-esque "A few of My Favorite Things," a fat Elvis-style Santa doing a rooftop jig, Graphic Designer Alice Anda and another staffer doing that hillbilly banjo song while trading barbs about fake boobs and butt size, a Twin Peaks style recitation of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by agency partner Frank D'Angelo, a country/Mexican style song about some guy's pants catching on fire and another Elvis-themed ditty about a sad little reindeer.

    Good viewing.

    Be sure to also check out the agency's other holiday offerings from year's past.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Named Number One Site to Bookmark

    We gleefully report Adrants has been named by Ad Age in its 2004 Book of Tens issue as the number one "Website You Should Bookmark." We topped Gawker, Drudge, even Google News. We couldn't be happier and we give kudos to Ad Age for recognizing the value our unique approach advertising coverage.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Eatmail Picks Five Best Virals of 2005 2004

    Eatmail, collector of all things viral, has queried its members and selected the top five viral clips of 2005. As a positive indication of advertising's success in using the viral medium, three of the top five clips are ads.

    The number five spot is Ninja for UFJ Tsubasa Securities. The number three slot goes to Trojan Games for Trojan Condoms. And the number two spot goes to ford for its SportKa. The other two winners were unrelated to advertising. In the number four position was a surfer successfully tackling a gigantic wave for a one of those surfer documentaries. Winning the best viral of 2004 was World of Evil, a clip painting government as evil. See them all here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Online Brand Advertising to Increase Significantly in 2005

    eMarketer predicts online brand ad spend will increase 22.4 percent in 2005. That's compared to 19.8 percent for direct. Assuming much of brand advertising originates with consumer packaged goods companies, eMarketer believes there will be a lot more proverbial dish washing detergent-related advertising on the web. It is theorized that the recent dramatic increases in brand spend on cable, with its niche audiences, by CPG companies is an indicator the segment is looking for even more finitely targeted media. They will find in on the Internet.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

    December 20, 2004

    Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex

    Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex.

    Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex. Pfizer to Halt Advertising of Celebrex.

    OK, OK, we get it!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Adland Sums Up Year in Advertising

    If you're looking for a place to graze through the best, worst, silliest, most bizarre things that happened in the ad world in 2004, Adland has compiled a categorized list for your consumption pleasure as you twiddle your thumbs this week waiting for the holidays. There's also a best/worst ad roundup and a Year in Review piece. We aren't even going to attempt to top this. Enjoy.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Ten Ads You Won't See But Already Did

    Ad Age gathers together ten ads produced in 2004 you won't see aired in the U.S. but which, if you are an avid Adrants reader, have seen right here over the course of the year. But we're glad Ad Age has wrapped them all up in one nice neat package for re-viewing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

    People Hate to Diet, Marketers Respond

    Stuart Elliot, writing in the New York Times, tells us to get ready for a new set of vocabulary for diet soft drinks. It seems marketers are reacting to people's sense that the word diet connotes some sort of punishment, bad taste and wimpy image for men. While Pepsi coined the term "free" at one point in the 80's for its caffeine free drinks, other marketers are set to replace "diet" with "free" and "zero." If one time traveled 100 years into the future one wonders how one would communicate when the combination of marketing and political correctness had so altered language as to render it incomprehensible to the traveler.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

    Budweiser Smacks Miller Down, Gets Girl

    Mad enough and not gonna take it anymore, Budweiser, in early November, complained to the nets about a recent Miller Brewing taste test-based ad campaign claiming it "disparaged" the Budweiser brand. CBS and NBC have agreed to pull the campaign.

    Like a grammar school kid standing triumphantly over the class bully after a victorious playground smack down, Anheuser-Busch VP of Sales and Marketing Michael Owens said, "We have said all along that SABMiller's claims are fabricated. By using these shady practices, SABMiller is admitting its products can't stand up to fair comparisons." And off he struts, back to class, chest puffed out, bully's trophy girlfriend on his arm.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Playboy Promotes New iBod Service

    To introduce its new iBod digital image service, Playboy has posted an initial gallery. The gallery consist of PG rated pictures sized appropriately for the iPod Photo and other portable image devices. The service will debut in January and hopes to keep the Playboy brand alive as portable image and video devices, not to mention the Internet as a whole, makes a printed nude pictorial magazine moot.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)

    Elvis Presley Themed Advertising to Explode

    The Elvis estate, along with rights to his the rock legend's name and image, has been sold for $100 million to SFX Entertainment. Lisa Marie Presley agreed last Thursday to sell 85 percent of the estate's assets.

    Presley will receive $53 million cash, be absolved of $20 million indebt and get shares in the new company expected to be worth $25 million. Presly, the King's only daughter will retain ownership of Graceland preventing a riot among members of the Elvis religion.

    Silverman believes he can increase the revenue of the estate with increased capital and marketing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Publicis to Remove Foot From Mouth

    In an effort to recover from a recent bout of foot in mouth disease, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy is in discussion with three of four agency groups in China and India. He's looking to acquire between 51 and 100 percent of two agencies in India as well as increase the agency holding company's presence in China.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:18 AM | Comments (0)

    December 17, 2004

    Converse Recruits Fans and Filmmakers For Creative

    Jumping on the "consumer-created," outsourced creative trend, Converse and its agency, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners have asked consumers and filmmakers to submit 24-second shorts for future use in television campaigns. The winner will receive $10,000. Painting the effort as opening a conversation with consumers, Converse VP of Global Marketing said, "We actually view our entire campaign as facilitating a conversation among those in our community." Whether the program brings Converse closer to its customers, gives between work filmmakers something to do or simply gets the shoemaker a lot of creative for free is up for discussion. What's clear is there will be a large body of work to choose from which, in the end, is not such a bad thing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

    Gillette to Launch Vibrating Razor For Women

    Upon hearing Gillette's plans to launch a battery-powered Venus Vibrance, some might not think it's a razor the company's talking about. Though, we trust Gillette did its market research on this product name before planning to spend $40 million promoting it.

    The new Venus Vibrance, similar to the men's M3Power razor, sends vibrations to the skin which raises the hair for a closer shave.

    Commenting on why women will pay a 15 percent price premium on the Vibrance, Leo Burnett's LeoShe Co-Founder Denise Fedewa said, "Women are very discerning shoppers, but they will pay more for something when it has some kind of benefit, tangible or intangible to them, that justifies paying more. When these products are out in display in your bathroom, you want it to look nice, feel good in your hands or go over contours better. " And putting the capper on the double-entendre's Gillette Blade and Razor President Peter Hoffman, commenting on the original Venus's recent price cut, said, "Our testing indicated that there is an upside potential to penetrate more razors at a slightly reduced price."

    Penetrate more razors? We can only assume he meant, "increase our share of razors sold," Now back to your regularly schedule, PG-rated advertising news and commentary.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

    December 16, 2004

    Victoria Beckham in Chinese Charity Ad

    Victoria Beckham will appear in a commercial for the Shanghai Charity Foundation, a group which helps raise awareness of children with leukemia. The ad will urge Chinese citizens to show more care for those with the disease. Foundation Spokesman Ma Zhongqi says the charity has raise $7 million and hopes to invite other international celebrities to participate in the Foundation's efforts.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

    Macromedia Enlists Diving Penguins For Holiday Card

    As the holidays draw near, the amount of Flash animation holiday cards reaches a feverish pitch. This time, it's from Macromedia which has put together a penguin diving contest complete with judges and snide commentary. It was fun once we actually mastered the art of the dive.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

    Spread Firefox Places Two Page New York Times Ad

    The Mozilla Foundation along with Spread Firefox placed a spread ad in today's New York Times to promote the Firefox browser and to thank the 50,000-strong Firefox community of supporters, developers and evangelists who created and promoted the product to over 11 million users. As Steve Rubel points out, this is an entirely consumer-driven marketing effort. If a group of people can get together, create a product and successfully get 11 million people to use it, "real" marketers should start looking over their shoulders in their own industries. View the full size ad image here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

    Television's Savior: Place Shifting

    Recently launched Sling Media believes programming and content be accessible on any digital device anytime, anywhere. The company plans to tie together the explosion of digital devices with an "embrace - not replace" approach to digital content management.

    It's first product, due Q1 2005 and called the Slingbox Personal Broadcaster, is an intelligent device that allows people to enjoy live TV from any device, via any network, anywhere in their home or around the world. The Slingbox connects to and "placeshifts" content from any cable box, satellite receiver, or personal video recorder. The device,which falls into the growing home media server category, will attach to home entertainment systems, connect with programming received through cable, satellite, over the air or from a DVR, and deliver it via the Internet to other digital devices such as a computer, PDA or cell phone. The device will retail for $250 and will have no subscription fees.

    For television, this could be the crutch medium been looking for. If this pans out, Sling Media, along with other media servers, will make it possible for television programming and, presumably, advertising, to be seen by a broader audience or at least, make it easier for the same audiences to "carry" their favorite shows around with them. TiVo and Replay have features where programming can be forwarded to a friend but Sling Media's approach appears to go further. It adds the anywhere component to TiVo's anytime feature.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Pam Anderson Makes Appearance in Chinese PETA Campaign

    AFP Photo

    While there have been recent cultural advertising blunders in China by some Publicis campaigns, we're assured by our Chinese insider this new PETA anti-fur campaign featuring Pam Anderson is culturally acceptable. We'll know for sure when PETA launches a billboard campaign, featuring the semi-nude Anderson, in Beijing and Shangai soon. "Im perfectly happy to bare my skin if it will help save animals skins," said Anderson. "With so many fashionable and comfortable fur alternatives available today, there's no excuse for killing animals and stealing their skins." PETA is targeting China because, as the country's economy grows, the group claims it has become the leading exporter of fur clothing to the United States accounting for 40 percent of US fur imports.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

    December 15, 2004

    Subservient Chicken Yields Subservient President Yields Subservient Blair

    Just in time for a likely election this spring in the UK, we have Subservient Blair.

    Oh yes. Just as in Hollywood, once success is achieved, as it was with Crispin's Subservient Chicken, it will be rammed down throats until it comes out the other end.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Looking For Commercials? Adland Has 20,000

    Denmark-based Adland has hit the 20,000 mark.

    The advertising-focused site run by åsk wäppling has collected over 20,000 commercials in its database. just because the site's located in Denmark doesn't mean it's not full of U.S.-based advertising. It is.

    And tons of it. If you need access to any commercial, you're likely to find it here. It's two Euros per month to access the database. Money well spent.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

    Best Viral Work of 2004 Discussed

    There's a discussion going on in the Adrants Network on the best viral work done in 2004. Members are noting the beheaded Cat, Honda's Cog, Burger King's Subservient Chicken, The Grey Album, iPod's Dirty Secret, Pontiac's Oprah car giveaway and many more. You are invited to join the Network and discuss your thoughts on this year's best viral advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

    JWT's Ty Montague Profiled

    having recently moved from Weiden + Kennedy over to J. Walter Thompson as Chief Creative Officer, Ty Montague gets a full on profile treatment from the New York Observer's Gabriel Sherman. Entitled, "The End of the 30-Second Spot," the article explores Montague's views of the industry in general as well as his plans for the future.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Out Of Work Creatives Launch Self-Promotional PSA

    Copywriter Marc Guttesman and creative/art director Tom Millar teamed with director Joe Leih to launch marcandtom, a website spoofing public service announcements that showcases their skills as well as their need for employment.

    The PSA features actors portraying Guttesman and Millar trying to succeed in a series of non-advertising jobs but failing miserably because their advertising skills are too ingrained. In one scene, Millar, as an elementary school teacher, criticizes a 5-year-old student's drawing and marks it up with a red sharpie. In another, Guttesman, as a court stenographer, rewrites a prostitute's testimony to give it more punch. The PSA ends with a voice over asking the viewer to please hire them because they can't do anything else.

    Check these guys out. If they can create something as good as this, they ought to be able to do some great work for you.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Publicis CEO Maurice Levy Inserts Foot In Mouth

    Apparently, agency CEOs have a short memory. While poking fun at Nike's recent LeBron James Chinese ad debacle and claiming his agency's superior understanding local culture, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy seems to have forgotten Leo Burnett subsidiary's Nippon Paint screw up and Saatchi & Saatchi subsidiaries December 2003 ad depicting a Toyota pulling a Chinese-made Dongfeng truck - apparently another cultural no-no.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Branded M&M's: Great Gift, Not So Great Stealth Marketing Tool

    John Keehler of Random Culture points to M&M's entry into the realm of brand customization. Visiting M&M's online store, one can select custom M&M colors, add text and have them bagged up for delivery. Of course, there are rules. No objectionable words and phrases. No obscenities and no commercial use. I guess that eliminates Hershey launching a stealth marketing campaign to rebrand all M&M's as Reese's Pieces.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

    December 14, 2004

    Dolce & Gabbana Let's It Rip

    We suppose there's always a time when an advertisers wants to poke fun at their stuffy selves and who better to do it than high styling Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana. In this romantic interlude, a couple passes more than just gifts between each other. Oh, and it being all funny and stuff, the site, called "For Real Lovers," encourages you to pass it around to your friends virally.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

    Bacardi Promotes Planet Party With Viral Cleavage Vacuum

    Designed around informing aliens as to the odd party behaviour of humans and the rules aliens should follow when in contact, Bacardi has put together Planet Party, a compendium of human party behavior. Visiting aliens can swoop in on the party scene and observe human nightclub behavior and conversation.

    One humorous video illustrates how alien females might mis-interpret leering I-could-eat-you looks from earth-bound men as an invitation to snack.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Starbucks Brings Holiday Cheer to Times Square

    An Adrants reader admired this Starbucks placement in Time Square and sent it in to us this morning. If you can wade through the onslaught of Times Square's commercialism to see it, this little structure reminds one of those water-filled wintery landscape things in which snow would fall if you shook it. Full size image is here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

    ESPN Scares Crap Out of Athletes in New Campaign

    To promote its Winter X Games, ESPN has launched a Fear Factor-style ad campaign capturing normally fearless X Game athletes with hidden cameras in situations inducing fear such as being stuck in a locked closet with roaches. Created by Los Angeles-based Ground Zero, the campaign, apparently, attempts to make athletes appear more real.

    ESPN EVP Lee Ann Daly summarizes the campaign. "This project was incredibly fun--it might be the first time ever that a series of carefully planned practical jokes were captured on film and used to make a TV campaign. This time we kind of turned the notion of X athletes' fearlessness on its ear and instead of focusing on their admirable, fearless, athletic talents, we captured X athletes scared out of their wits in the midst of some really fun practical jokes. The spots capture the sense of humor a lot of young folks enjoy nowadays."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Advertising Predictions For 2005

    It's the time of year when the prognosticators begin to spill forth their insight into the following year's activities. The first worthy set of predictions comes from Pete Blackshaw writing on ClickZ. He puts forth six intriguing predictions ranging from weblog backlash followed quickly by mass adoption of the format to reimbursed-per-view advertising to continued mis-integration of Super Bowl spots with marketer websites.

    The most intriguing, however, is his prediction that wireless access with move to a model akin to television. That is, it will be free in exchange for viewing an advertiser-sponsored log on page of sorts. This model will, thankfully, kill the price gouging currently foisted upon consumers by the likes of T-Mobile, Hilton Hotels and others who force people to pay obscene sums of money to access the Internet.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

    DoubleThink Prepares to Pitch Mitsubishi Account

    Madison Avenue veteran Harry Webber is preparing his ad-hoc agency team, DoubleThink to pitch the now-in-review Mitsubishi account. On his website, Webber explores the plight in which Mitsubishi has found itself including sagging sales, exiting marketing execs and dealer service problems.

    Webber framed the challenge thusly, writing, "...what a wonderful challenge for the creative mind. An automaker spurned by its big three godfather. The eve of an eagerly awaited new model with a 7 year gestation period. An unpopular dealer organization up in arms. A quality issue that may have put the automaker in last place in US sales. The hasty exit of an iconoclastic marketing director after his public slap to the efficacy of network television. A president and CFO who has made a public statement about the importance of 'getting the most innovative thinking.' $200+million to spend on said 'innovative thinking.'" While the industry might scoff at such efforts from an outside group, this is exactly the injection the industry needs. Granted, Webber is, most assuredly, not an outsider but he brings together creative minds, most of whom, have never worked in advertising before. Let's see what he comes up with.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

    December 13, 2004

    'Oracle' Site Spoofs McCann 'Talking Head' Site

    So everyone's making fun of McCann's talking head website today but no one's doing it better than Urban Advertising who feels a bit ripped off having created a talking head website of its own a while back. Accessed from the agency's homepage and called "The Oracle of Advertising," the site allows you to ask the "Oracle" questions. The answers are, however, gibberish - a nod to the industry's overused vernacular. Paying Homage to McCann's talking heads website, Urban Advertising has colored that section of its website blue to honor the "real" talking heads of McCann.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Million Dollar eBay Bid Latest Marketing Stunt

    With all the publicity eBay gets for the odd bids that appear from time to time, an enterprising sole hopes to capitalize on that and help an advertiser out at the same time. eBayer Karl Voss has opened a bid for his slightly worn Nike Air Max Dolce shoes. The starting bid? One million dollars. Voss's strategy hinges on media coverage eBay bids occasionally receive due to of the strangeness of some bids. He believes $1 million is a small price to pay for potential media coverage of such an obscenely priced bid. Voss writes in the bid, "When selling grilled cheese on eBay can make the nightly news, imagine the exposure for your company when you buy my shoes for a Million Dollars on eBay." He states the price is non-negotiable and final.

    Is there a stunt marketer out there willing to bite?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

    McCann Worldgroup's Talking Website Says Nothing

    AdFreak pokes fun at McCann Worldwide's talking head website writing, "There are legions of ad agency web sites that have left us flummoxed over the years, particularly for their annoying tendency to favor art direction over features that might actually make their sites easy to navigate. But, we've never had an agency web site talk to us when we didn't ask it to, until last week."

    What irks AdFreak is the sudden, unrequested pontifications that begin to spew forth from the mouths of McCann big wigs. What AdFreak didn't point out is this verbal diarrhea is so inanely bland one could simply slap the logo and design of another agency on McCann's site and no one would know the difference.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

    New Deal Allows Brands to Associate With Trash

    Well, we can't call them AdverCans because that term's already taken but we'll need something to describe the appearance of ad-sponsord trash cans in Bridgeport, CT. City Media Concepts has asked the City Councill to approve a proposal to allow the company to place 30 trash cans around the city emblazoned with ads. Oddly, the city would see only 10 percent of the ad revenue generated from this deal. By giving up that much revenue, you'd think City Media Concepts would empty the trash barrels for the city but, alas, that task will remain with Birdgeport trash collectors.

    We impatiently await which trashy advertisers will associate their brand with gum, fast food packaging, used condoms and whatever else finds its way into Bridgeport's trash cans.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

    Philbin to Stand In for Clark on 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'

    Talk show host and host of failed Who Wants to be a Millionaire Regis Philbin will host Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005 as Dick Clark, who suffered a mild stroke last week, will heed the advice of his doctor's and skip this year's festivities. This will be the first time in 32 years, Clark hasn't hosted the event.

    In a statement, Clark said, "I'm so glad that Regis hadn't yet made any New Year's plans. It'll feel strange watching it on TV but my doctors felt it was too soon. I'm sure Regis will do a great job and I'm thankful that he was able to step in on such short notice."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Homemade Apple iPod Ad Hits Big

    There aren't many, if any, companies, other than Apple, that instill so much product love customers will go out of their way to create and ad for it. That's what high school teacher George Masters has done for the iPod and the iMac. Steve Rubel points to a Wired article about the creation and the trend towards homemade ads.

    Set to the Darling Buds tune, Tiny Machine, with a 70's-themed psychedelic look, the ad, which was posted just a few weeks ago, has already been viewed 40,000 times. Industry prognosticators are gushing with adoration. Jupiter Research advertising analysts Gary Stein says, "It shows great advertising principles. He's computer-literate, but he's also literate in the language of advertising.... You could take this thing and put it on MTV this afternoon. It's not only good, it's good advertising. People go to college to learn this. He just gets it."

    Stein also calls this the first "straight-up," non-spoof ad he's seen.

    We're sure Adrants readers discredit that by pointing out past "straight-up" ads but this one's good. Very good.

    So far, Apple is playing it smart and hasn't slapped a cease and desist on Masters as many companies might if un-sanctioned ads such as this became as popular as Masters' has. For those agency creatives reading this, Masters wouldn't mind hearing from you. He'd like to work in advertising. And we don't think you'd go wrong using his skills.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Website Takes Christmas Carol Requests

    eBusiness company Sundog has created its own little Christmas-themed Subservient Chicken site called Carol of the Chins.

    There's no garter belt, it's very G-rated and they only sing Christmas carols but it's up there in the cute category. The company sent the site out to its customers and readers of its Sunblog weblog.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

    AOL Bails On Walled Garden

    Seems AOL is taking to heart its own current ad campaign as well as NetZero's spoof and giving people what they want - more for free. AOL has decided the days of the dial-up, walled garden are fast closing and will begin to offer much of its content to non-subscribers in hopes of gaining increased ad revenue from new visitors.

    AOL has always been the newbie crutch first-timers would use before they discovered the "real" internet and AOL has finally made that realization. It can't maintain the ruse that there's actually better content on AOL that can't be found elsewhere on the web. While AOL will try to keep current paid subscribers, it also hopes this move will bring more eyeballs to bear which it can then sell to advertisers. The change will occur early next year.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

    New Magazine Launches For Cosmetic Surgery Addicts

    Read all about it! Get your Botox here! Yes, folks, there's now a magazine written for those hooked on plasticizing themselves or, at least, considering the addiction. On January 18, Boca Raton-based (no surprise there) Sandow Media will launch New Beauty with a circulation of 500,000 nationally and in 13 regional markets - presumably those which index high in facial alteration behaviour and breast size dissatisfaction. Published only twice in 2005 with a cover price of $9.95 (what, no plastic surgeons stepped up to advertise?), the issue will distributed to newstands nationwide including Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

    December 11, 2004

    Mischievious New Online Advertising Method Advocated

    Charlie Demerjian writing in The Inquirer (no, not that one) advocates a tactic that could help increase online ad banner viewership. Not that his method would guarantee increased response nor be welcomed by site visitors, Demerjian says playing with page load timing, forcing banners to load first followed by the rest of the page, would leave visitors with nothing to view, for a period of time, but ads until the rest of the page was programmed to load. It's mischievous, it's wrong and while we're sure someone's doing it already, it would require that ad serving companies deliver banners quickly, as some, unfortunately, do not, thereby hanging the entire page until the called ad is finally delivered.

    Already we can't cram existing content through the overworked pipes. We don't need anything else effectively slowing things down further. Our current bandwidth troubles are akin to today's fast food-bellied teenaged girls, stuffed unbecomingly into low riders and tight, cropped belly barring tops, their fat bulging outward like a PointRoll FatBoy ad seeking delivery. Not pretty.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

    FMBQ Thinks iPod Ban Will Save Radio Industry

    Calling radio "the most effective, least obtrusive and least harmful medium available," industry publication FMBQ thinks a ban on iPods in the workplace will save radio. We'll forgive them for not realizing "effective," "obtrusive" and "harmful" are entirely relative terms to the advertising strategy, and resulting choice of media, at hand. We'll also help say what they really meant which was "a ban on iPods will force people to listen to radio, thereby saving our industry."

    So maybe using iPods to steal company secrets as they were last summer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the topic picked to make the article's point, is not such a good thing. Calling this event a dramatic example of what is possible on a smaller scale, FMBQ states an outright ban on the device would be "much simpler and far less costly" than the creation of policies or technical solutions limiting iPod-like device usage in the workplace.

    With iPod-like devices and cell phones likely to dramatically infringe on "mainstream" media, it's not surprising FMBQ would support a ban to save radio. We're sure broadcast TV would love cable to go away but that' not going to happen and a ban on iPods certainly won't be met with gleeful acceptance. We love radio but the cure isn't banning competition; it's ridding the medium of Clear Channel-like homogenization.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

    HBO Mirrors Real Life With Unpaid Product Placement

    Because it can afford to, product placements on HBO are not paid and are their appearance are left entirely up to the show's writers.

    "People are skeptical and just think there's got to be dollars for some of those placements," said Mitch Litvak, president of the entertainment marketing firm the L.A. Office. "I think there have been some really great placements on HBO programming, which makes people think they're too good to be true, but at the same time the placements are all very true to the programming and bring more realism to the show."

    HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson explains the network's position. "We're commercial-free. Paid product placement is an equivalent business transaction to a commercial. If someone is paying for our service, they are paying for a commercial-free service, so they shouldn't be getting pitched product."

    While many of HBO's product placement may have seem staged such as Nissan Exterra's appearance on The Sporanos or TiVo's appearance on Sex And The City, they are purely organic. HBO Executive Producer Ilene Landress says the placement simply mirror real life saying, "Where all this comes from is real life. This is the way people speak. I know nobody wants to believe it's as pure and simple as it is, but it really is that pure and simple."

    If only broadcast networks, who go out of their way to hide natural brand placement to protect their business model, were so lucky.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

    December 10, 2004

    Dennis Publishing Partners With TippingSprung

    While it's no surprise the words Maxim ( by Dennis Publishing) and sprung would be far apart, Gawker points to a marketing deal that is bringing them closer together. Dennis Publishing and TippingSprung, a New York-based licensing firm are hooking up so titles Maxim, Stuff and Blender can extend their reach even further. TippingSprung will help Dennis get its name out through multiple product categories, including vitamins, beverages, frozen food, sporting goods, and automotive products.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Heineken Launches Its First Podcast

    Steve Rubel points out Heineken has jumped on board the latest and the greatest new media channel - the podcast. A podcast is a lo-fi MP3 file created on a computer (or with any audio - video will soon follow - recording device for that matter) that can be subscribed to using RSS and easily and automatically transferred to your iPod or any other MP3 device. For its first podcast (to the right of the site), Heineken interviews Thirst Resident DJ Daniele Davoli.

    For advertisers, this is a new and untapped medium. While early adopters are gleeful podcasts are commercial free, when everyone is carrying around their all-in-one digital device, podcasting is how they will receive media content and advertising - though hopefully in a format more interesting than the tired :60. More likely, entire podcast channels will be hosted and sponsored as a "service" to consumers as is this Heineken podcast. Be smart and check this medium out now. Don't be left playing catch up.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

    Claria Gets Clear

    Behavioral targeting company Claria plans to cut its end-user agreement from 6,000 words down to 2,500 in an effort to be more concise with the explanation of its services. Claria serves ads to a user base who has, in return for receiving free software, agreed to receive targeted ads.

    While this is a step in the right direction, when was the last time you actually read a user-agreement?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

    PlaysSation 2 Spot Spoofs Wildlife Documentary

    If you are old enough, you remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom hosted by Marlin Perkins and featuring the crazy Jim Fowler in one of advertising's early sponsorship efforts. The series ran for 27 years - eight in primetime - beginning in 1963. It was campy by today's standards but, all the same, a good show.

    Any good show with a long history is ripe for spoofing and there's a PlayStation spot that does just that. Of course, today's wild kingdom features pornstars and a football mascot. Yes. Very weird but worth a look.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

    December 09, 2004

    Victoria's Secret Launches Seductive Christmas Ad

    Using a catchy Christmas tune and montage style money-shots, Victoria's Secret has launched its 2004 Christmas commercial complete with models undulating in lingerie begging coyly for the big one. After viewing, men may have to excuse themselves from the room for a few minutes. Upon completion, they may wonder if it was a commercial they just saw or a bootleg porn video that slipped its way into their cable feed. Alright, it's not quite that hot but it's probably not something parents would prefer their children see.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

    This Just In: Cat Fight At 'Lucky'

    Gawker reports there's trouble over at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine headquaters. A reader reported a staffer ran out of a conference room yelling, "You fuckin selfish bitches!" Hmm. Interesting. We can only assume the Holiday swag was not equitably distributed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

    Agency Creates Rock Star, Mocks Creative Process

    Chester, NJ-bad GraficaGoup has created a humorous spoof of the creative development process centered around the creation of a campaign for the fictional Holiday Spirit Improvement Board. Complete with the usual blatherific pontifications full of words we've all heard but mean nothing to the average human, let alone those of us in the industry, GraficaGroup created a birch-log marionette called Log Jam who jams with a band to an original, 80's-style track called "Holiday Tidal Wave." The agency used the creation as a holiday gift to its clients, in-house list and others.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

    Surprise! Two Media Are Better Than One

    Now come on. If you had the chance to create a TV spot versus a radio spot, which would you choose? We thought so and the Radio Effectiveness Lab knows this too so it's trotted out yet another study claiming, "Hey, wait. Don't forget about radio. Ya know, the frequency medium?" Of course, media buyers have known forever that a mix of media almost always does better than a single medium but, hey, who doesn't love a little fresh research space-filler to bulk up that media plan? The study, conducted by Peacock Research and called, "The Benefits of Synergy: Moving Money Into Radio," compared the results of two radio exposures against one TV exposure and one radio exposure and, lo, brand recall increased - by 34 percent. That's sure to make radio reps happy. But it will make newspaper reps even happier. The study also found two radio exposure compared with one newspaper exposure and one radio exposure tripled brand recall. Expect a sudden increase in combined radio and newspaper buys in the next few months.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Dr. Martens Launches Documentary Series

    Dr.

    Martens has launched a six part documentary series, called Veer, Outside the Ordinary, which peeks in on the lives of six individuals such as a motorbike courier, a silversmith and a structural surveyor veiled as long-form commercials. The series was shot in England and will air on Spike TV spring 2005 but are available online now.

    Other campaigns in this week's MediaPost Out to Launch column by Amy Corr include another Lemony Snicket's ties in with Papa John's, a Circuit City Pizza Hut in-store/in-home team up, a VH1/Mr.

    Youth street campaign to promote its BIG IN '04 Awards, a new Treo campaign, a Duracell campaign that explains why heavy duty batteries aren't so heavy after all and a 46-market campaign for Panasonic's Plasma TVs and DVD recorders.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

    E! to Debut 'Gastineau Girls' Reality Series

    Move over Paris and Nicole, two new hotties are hitting the reality TV scene. The former wife of NFL player Mark Gastineau, Lisa and her daughter, Brittny (oh yes, let's be different and boot the 'e' out of our name) have been signed by True Entertainment to appear in a 10 part reality series set to air on E! February 1. The series will follow the pair as they sachet from their glitzy Manhattan apartment to parties in the Hampton and Aspen. Lisa and Brittny are billed as a sexy and ravishing mother/daughter team by True President Steven Weinstock.

    Daughter Brittny has already done the expected Stuff spread. Buyers, call your E! rep today!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

    December 08, 2004

    Adrants Launches Readership Survey

    Yes, it's that time. The advertisers are knocking on the door asking "Who are these Adrants readers?" So, we must oblige. But it's not all about the advertiser, it's about you too. We are very interested in what you think of the stories you read here on Adrants - whether they are good, bad or ugly, and what sort of things we can add or remove to make your reading pleasure increase. So, now is the time to spill forth the guts of your opinion; to praise us with adoration; to skewer us with your sword; to berate us with a baseball bat. OK, wait. You don't have to be that forthcoming. Besides, surveys are supposed to be fun. This one's not too long. There's 20 questions. Take it. You'll love it.

    The survey is here. Thanks.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

    'Lost' Commits First Sin, Verizon Corrects Bimbo Dad Ad

    Well it didn't take long but ABC's Lost has succumbed to its first television drama sin. If brought a dead person back to life Abyss-style complete with required anguish, despair and chest pounding topped off with gleeful sobs of relief. For a moment there, we thought Lost was going to break the rules and actually kill off a main character (yes, as some others have done, you crazy fact checkers). That would have made for good TV. Trouble is, these actors have these things called contracts that usually call for them to stay alive lest their career disappear. The character in questions is Dominic Monaghan's Charlie who was found, during last night's episode, hanging by the neck after having been abducted by one of the island's unaccounted for survivors.

    All was not lost though as Verizon finally made good on its Bimbo Dad commercial with one that squarely put the Dad in charge this time. Of course, it was an African-American family so we all know what would happen if Verizon made the Dad look dumb in that spot. And we're just guessing here but we're sure we heard Sean Young doing a voiceover for a Windex commercial during Lost last night. We thought she'd packed it in years ago after Jim Carry's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective heading to sandy Sedona, AZ but, according to her IMDB resume, she's been as busy as ever. Though not in any movie we've ever seen.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

    Video Magazines Come to Desktop

    Acknowledging the decline of people's intelligence by saying, "People don't read anymore, and kids in particular don't read. This gives them content in a 5- to 7-minute package that matches their attention span," NEWgame Communications CEO Kathleen Hessert describes her company's online video magazine creation product, Vmag. That said, NEWgame is heading in the right direction as online video is relied upon more and more to create new and compelling online content. NEWgame provides publishers and marketers with a bandwidth-friendly, full-screen video tool to easily create customized, DVD-quality "video magazines" along with analytics showing how the viewer maneuvered through the "publication."

    Costs to produce and distribute the video magazine range from under $2 to $10 each. Of course, advertising revenue can offset those costs just as it does in the print world.

    One of NEWgame's initial customers was St. Mary's College in Notre Dame who used the product to create an online video application form which is said to have positively influenced potential students to apply.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Virgin Mobile UK Promotes Camera Phones With 'Dog Judo'

    With two humorous videos (and two more to come) created by 12foot6 and distributed virally by DMC, Virgin Mobile is promoting its camera phones for Christmas. The "Dog Judo" series features two dog characters - "Ruff" Rex Hunter and "Barking" Bob Bones - in highly snap-able situations that build on their rivalry and dry sense of humor over several episodes. Episode one is called "Power Date". It shows Barking Bob trying to impress a date, much to the annoyance of his sparring partner who lives only for judo.

    The animated clip exists both on the Dog Judo microsite and as a standalone file that can be passed around. The file invites viewers to click through to the microsite and sign up to be emailed when new episodes are released. Episode two can be viewed there as well.

    Visitors are encouraged to sign up to be notified when new episodes are released.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

    Advertisers Don't Want Foreign Business

    Here's a unique approach to handling advertising inquiries. Some advertisers simply doen't want to talk to you unless you live in their home country. Upon clicking a text ad on The Superficial for some advertisers, a Canadian user reports he was delivered to this page which said: "We Apologize! The advertiser you clicked on has requested not to receive any visits from users outside of their market area." A bit rude for a marketer one thinks.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

    PlayStation's Killzone Site Rocks, Bush Must Love It

    Like President Bush kicking the ass of every nation in the world, this Nazi-esque promotional site, complete with movie quality sound and graphics, for Sony PlayStation's Killzone makes you want to line up right behind our fearless leader lest you suffer total annihilation from the enemy. OK, so that's a little dramatic but so is this promo and the game itself. Very cool stuff though if you like killing, maiming, facial reorganization and blockbuster movie-style music. Zugara created the site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

    'Santa' Gets On All Fours, Town Gets Up In Arms

    Santa's Hot Daughter?

    A strip club in Northfield (UK) has parents embarrassed and kids wondering why Santa suddenly got so hot. The Medusa Club has placed an outdoor board with a nearly naked woman on all fours dressed in Santa garb near a busy shopping center. One young girl asked her mom, "Mummy, where's the real Santa?" One official reacted quickly saying, "This is the very worst kind of advertising because it is designed to alarm and shock people. I want these adverts removed as soon as possible and I've contacted Northfield's constituency director." Harumph! Of course, the Medusa Club is loving it. "We've had no complaints so far - in fact it's quite the reverse. People have been saying how effective the adverts are," a spokesman said. Thanks to Charley Brough.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Publicis Copenhagen Creates Singing Christmas Card

    Not burdened by the strings of America's political correctness, Publicis Copenhagen has created a genuinely enjoying Christmas card that has the entire agency singing Jingle Bells. The card let's you listen to the entire agency at once or hear each department sing on its own. We have to admit, the creative department is the most energetic.

    If you are so inclined, you can even eliminate staff one by one until you are down to just one lone singer. We just hope the boss isn't using this as some sort of performance evaluation tool.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Fedex Placed Ad to Recapture Image Tarnished by Jeopardy Winner

    FedEx, apparently horrified that Jeopardy player Ken Jennings lost his streak by answering the "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year" with FedEx, kicked its agency, BBDO, into pop culture capitalization gear. Not wanting to allow consumers to perceive FedEx employees as a bunch of seasonal slackers, it had BBDO place a gigantic ad in USA Today.

    The ad read, "There's only one time FedEx has ever been the wrong answer. Congratulations Ken Jennings on your amazing Jeopardy! winning streak. And thanks for mentioning our name. Even if it was the one time you shouldn't have." Ha ha.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Podcasting to Transform Media Consumption

    As traditional media channels whither, new ones always rise to take their place. One very promising channel is podcasting. Podcasting is a method to deliver time-shifted audio programming created on a PC which is then distributed via RSS to an iPod or other MP3 device. Podcasts can be subscribed to just as RSS feeds are subscribed to and special software automatically transfers the feed from user's computers to their MP3 device for later listening. It's radio broadcasting for dummies, if you will. It's only a matter of time before video is incorporated into Podcasting as well and delivered to MP3 equipped cell phone screens. Who needs broadcast television, when podcasting will literally allow for the creation of personalized media channels? Writing in iMediaConnection, CooperKatz VP Steve Rubel further defines podcasting and its potential as an ad medium. From the creation of radio-like audio spots, podcast sponsorships, RSS feed-embedded text ads and the development of a marketer's own AvantGo-like podcast channel, podcasting is yet another simple technology that will catapult handheld devices, most likely cell phones, to the primary media consumption device. Podcasting and the "death" of broadcast is not to say the technical device referred to as a TV is going away. Broadcast networks might go away (or, more likely, alter their method of delivery) but there will always be a need for large screen entertainment. Though, in the future, the device referred to as a TV will carry your own personalized podcast that you create and modify to your heart's content. Looks like growing old might not be so bad.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Clear Channel Killed The Radio Star

    Over at The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz clarifies radio's position as a seller of people versus advertising and how consolidation by the likes of Clear Channel has put the final cap on the medium killing off any hope it will ever return to the place people once went for music whin, in turn, has diminished the effectiveness of the medium for advertisers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

    December 07, 2004

    Word of Mouth Becomes Parody

    In just two days, word of mouth marketing has gone from highly noted ad medium of the moment, with a New York Times Magazine article, to parody with this little Brokentype piece that imagines the lengths to which the medium could go.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

    Crispin Porter Ad Method Used For Method

    With the likes of Subservient Chicken, Ask Crystal and Virtual Bartender, we need a name for this new form of "tell-it-to-the-website" advertising tactic. Our Miami friends Crispin Porter + Bogusky are at it again with a site called ComeClean for eco-friendly home care product company Method.

    ComeClean, which promotes holiday sales for the company's skincare line, allows visitors to type in confessions which then appear on a hand, are commented on by a soothing Indian woman's voice and finally washed off by Method products.

    The site includes the requisite send-to-a-friend feature (send to mom in this case) along with the ability to read other people's confessions and, of course, to visit the gift shop and order product. Good holiday fun.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

    Debate Over Word of Mouth Advertising Rages

    Over at Adland, DMC's Justin Kirby voices his opinion on the recent New York Times Magazine article on word of mouth advertising in which Boston-based BzzAgent is featured. Controversy swirls around the term transparancy and whether or not, as participants in a word of mouth organization, to disclose true motivations: trying to sell product by convincing people to give it a try.

    The only reason natural word of mouth and viral distribution of information, which is nothing more than the forwarding of information from one to another - a behaviour which has occured since living beings learned to communicate - has been commercialized is because the advertising techniques of today and yesteryear no longer work.

    Marketers are grasping at straws, fighting to keep their heads above water as consumers submerge them in an in a growing effort to shut them up and out of their lives for good. It's all simply an ongoing, multi-billion dollar battle of wills between marketer and consumer.

    Marketers want eyeballs. Consumers want to tear marketer's eyeballs from their sockets. The model is broken and it is just getting worse.

    We are in the pre-orgasmic throes of the Great Advertising Flame Out - a dynamic period just prior to the next great model which, perhaps - though unlikely, will rescue us from the capitalistic mess we are in right now.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

    Debate Over RSS Advertising Rages

    Many websites now publish their content using RSS or Really Simple Syndication which allows readers to "subscribe" to newsfeeds from web sites. The feeds are offered with either the headline, the headline and the first few words of the article or the headline with the full story.

    Basically, RSS makes it very easy to get content from many different sources all in one place. If something in the RSS feed is of interest, a quick click takes one to the actual website to which the feed points.

    Like any new communication channel, advertising is slowly seeping its way into RSS feeds and while some marketers are jumping aboard, many users are not happy about it.

    Jason Kottke sent a query out to several RSS reader developers asking for their stance on RSS advertising and whether or not they have plans to integrate ad blocking into their software. The story is here along with reader comment.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Hooters Gets (More) Free Publicity

    Not that it needs it, but Hooters got some free advertising courtesy of Avril Lavigne during a recent Holloween concert. Pictures (http://www.alavigne.org/thumbnails.php?album=726 - live link removed due to reports of spyware being installed when visting this site) of "punk" hottie Lavigne dressed in a Hooters uniform have been circulating for a while but a video has just surfaced. It might just be us but she looks far better as a Hooters hottie than she does in her grunged-up excuse for punk wardrobe. Of course, if she actually had hooters, it would be even better.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Message Boards Missed Marketing Opportunity

    A reader fans the embers of a simmering issue with us and that is company's inability to engage in conversation with its customer base.

    We're not saying all communication has to be a conversation because there are certainly times when a little one way shouting is the best way the market. But with the proliferation of online forums and message boards for every conceivable topic, brand and product, it's a mystery why marketers have not jumped on this goldmine of customer contact.

    If a company were to spend its entire marketing budget to create a "consumer conversation" department, we'd venture to say the ROI would far exceed that of a traditional marketing campaign. As we've written before:

    If a customer were to say, "the hose on my Kenmore vacuum always gets twisted because the connection between the handle and the hose doesn't turn," the correct response is "I'll run over to Jim's (hose designer) office and see what he can do and get back to you" and not "Well, we've designed it that way so that the hose won't lose too much suction."

    Give a shit. Basically, that's what this boils down to. Consumers are not a vast collection of numbers on a spreadsheet or a nice collection of 5 categories with silly marketing names like "early, suburban adopter." They are people with real concerns that will, ultimately, lead to a better product. Listen and give a shit. That's good marketing medicine.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

    Cat Gets MBA, Spammers Sued

    A group claiming to be Trinity Southern University of Plano, Texas run by Craig Barton Poe, Alton Scott Poe, and Innovative Cellular and Wireless has been sued by Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert for issuing fake college degrees. The group runs an online university where visitors can get college degrees for fees ranging between $299 and $499 simply by filling out a few forms.

    Investigators infiltrated the group by using a cat's name while applying for a degree. The cat, named Colby Nolan, applied for a bachelors degree in business administration for $299. Investigators received a return email informing them Colby had enough experience to be awarded an MBA - as long as he sent another $100.

    The state wants a permanent injunction, civil penalties, costs and restitution for violating law and restrictions on unsolicited email ads of which prosecutors say 18,000 were sent this year.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Band Aid to Cover Heathrow

    We know its been two decades but we hope you know we're not talking about the sticky kind of Band Aid here but rather the musical kind. Yes, it's been 20 years since Bob Geldof first wrote the famous charity tune in 1984 to raise money for starvation in Ethiopia. On November 14 this year, he gathered together the likes of Chris Martin, Dido, Thom Yorke, Bono and Paul McCartney to re-record the hit - this time to alleviate famine in Sudan.

    To help promote the single during the Holiday season, a gigantic "ground banner," visible from the air by 190,000 passengers a day, has been placed on a field at Heathrow airport in London. The message will read "Congratulations Band Aid on reaching No. 1" and will remain as long as the single keeps its top spot. While some are up in arms over the new single with websites describing how to digitally destroy the recording, others are pleased with the effort. The single has shot to the number one slot on Billboard's UK chart.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)

    December 06, 2004

    City of Boston Ravaged By Crazy Snow Plow Drivers

    Boston.com has launched a maddeningly difficult (as you can see from the pic) online game in which gamers navigate snowplows through the city of Boston without destroying the city. The game is part of a larger, holiday-focused "Get Wrapped" campaign and includes a newspaper campaign in which the paper itself doubles as wrapping paper, a transit campaign with gift wrapped trains, 3-D mobile billboards, taxi-tops, scratch and sniff postcards, a geo-targeted online campaign and a street team which will hand out Boston.com wrapping paper.

    The game itself was created by The Barbarian Group who also had a hand in creating the now infamous Subservient Chicken site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Farting Elves Promote Pepto Bismol

    As if elves weren't already cute enough, P & G had to show just how much cuter they are when they are farting and grabbing their ass so their diarrhea doesn't slip out. Yes. All in the name of promoting Pepto Bismol. Not to be outdone, Panasonic, copying an Edge spot from 2001, shows a couple having sex in a car wash to somehow show how great their razors are and Smirnoff uses a dead guy's ashes-turned-diamond to sell vodka. And let's not forget how a goat jacket has something to do with selling T-mobile phone service. It's just our friendly ad industry at work for you this week. Catch those and other freaky wonders over at Ad Age's TV Spots of the Week.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

    Dotomi to Serve Personalized Ads Into Bluelithium Network

    Dotomi, in a partnership announced today, will provide ad network Bluelithium its Direct Messaging giving Bluelithium the ability to serve personalized, opt-in ad banners across its network of 1,000 sites.

    Banners delivered through Dotomi Direct Messaging are culled from partner marketer databases and consumers who have opted in to those marketers. We await the combined Bluelitium/Dotomi AD:TECH Wrap Up Party in San Francisco next Spring replete with a selection of platform dancers partygoers can opt in to viewing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Ad Recall: The More, The Merrier

    According to a recent report by Initiative's EVP of Global Research Stacey Lynn Koerner, families that watch TV together recall commercials better. Among those polled for her study, 17.6 percent of those who viewed with others recalled ads while 9.1 percent of those who viewed alone recalled ads. Next up: McDonald's, ABC and Arbitron Sign Deal Under Which Real-Time People Meter Data Used to Deliver Ads.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Powell Bitch Slaps Stern in Times Op-Ed Article

    Last week, FCC Chairman Michael Powell wrote a New York Times Op-ed piece called "Don't Expect the Government to Be a V-Chip" in which is he laid out the FCC's current stance and approach to the swirling indecency debate. Of course he couldn't resist lobbing a shot at Howard Stern writing, "It is no surprise that those who make a handsome living by selling saucy fare rant the loudest - it drives up the ratings. The news media further fan the flames, obsessed with 'culture war' stories that slot Americans into blue-state and red-state camps." Oh how we've progressed since the Elvis Pelvis debacle.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Have A Happy (Discover sponsored) Holiday

    Random Culture points to a Holiday themed Discover card microsite where visitors can send an ecard, use the gift finder, have an online snowball fight or, of course, sign up for a Discover card. Our snowball throwing abilities against "Dave" left much to be desired.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    The Not So Hidden Persuaders

    Five years from now as you flip through your mental Rolodex of brands deciding which product to pitch your friend, it won't be too surprising when your friend shoots back with, "Oh, but you've gotta check this thing out!" And the two of you will engage as if you were Pepsi and Coke in a boxing ring. This past weekend's New York Time Magazine contained an article on the growth of buzz/word-of-mouth marketing and featured Boston's BzzAgent, a company similar to P & G's Tremor, which recruits "agents" to promote products through personal networks. The premise of buzz marketing calls for the identification of people who are well connected, have a desire to be ahead of the cultural curve and who are willing to talk about a product - a lot. These people are then recruited to spread the word throughout their personal networks.

    Importantly, many recruits (particularly those of BzzAgent's) are not paid. They receive nothing more than early trial of products and guidelines on how to talk up the brand. While many disclosure and transparency issues swirl around growing word of mouth marketing segment, BzzAgent has seen great success with its business model. So if you live in the suburbs and one day your neighbor says to you, "My lawn tractor is better than yours," be sure you've "connected" so you can shoot back with, "But wait, my power drill is much bigger than yours!"

    UPDATE: A Boston Herald writer wonders, in this world of growing word of mouth marketing, if she can now trust anything her husband says,

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

    December 03, 2004

    Wal-Mart Launches Campaign to Boost Sagging Sales

    Monster retailer Wal-Mart is launching a new advertising campaign today to boost slow holiday sales. The campaign will appear newspaper ROP, television and radio promoting 24 toys and electronics items with a price and item approach. The campaign will shore up Wal-Mart's price leadership position by cutting prices on these item by as much as one third. The campaign budget was not disclosed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

    Aflac Duck Takes Backseat in New Campaign

    The iconic Aflac duck, which scored highly in a recent consumer awareness study and boosted brand recognition from 12 percent to 90 percent since 2000, has be relegated to background status in a new ad campaign from the insurer. In the new ads, part of a $50 million ad campaign, the duck will not utter its signature "Aflac" quack and will appear only in the background. Conversely, the duck will now become part of the company's logo.

    The duck his risen to M & M character/Mr. Peanut/Tony the Tiger status. While recent research conducted by Aflac points to a need to further explain what Aflac does, messing with well known icons is always a risky bet. The new ads will now follow the out of place, "Gee, I just got hurt and can't work so Aflac is going to help pay my bills" conversation between two people that never occurs in real life.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    LA Affiliates Scared of 'Phil the Sore', AIDS Group Complains

    All things lead back to Janet Jackson's nipple these days. For fear of FCC retribution, LA broadcasters have refused to air a Los Angeles County health agency-funded AIDS Healthcare Foundation ad that features two gay men the morning after and an oozing cartoon character representing syphilis. The Foundation has filed a complaint with the FCC and is seeking clarification from the TV station as to why the ad was refused.

    For its part, KCBS Spokesman Mike Nelson said, "We consider the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases a serious matter," KCBS spokesman Mike Nelson said in a statement. "It is an issue that we have addressed and will continue to recognize through fair, accurate and balanced news reporting and the broadcast of public service announcements. With that said, we do not believe the spot we received was appropriate for our broadcast TV audience."

    The ad was set to air on NBC's Will and Grace and during late night programming. The groups were able to get several cable stations, whose content is not regulated by the FCC, to air the spot.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    TV Journalist Blog Launched to Promote Marketer B Rolls

    While the launch of a weblog is always welcomed, MediaPost calls into question the motivation behind recently launched NewsBluntly. The articles themselves, which comment on the inner world of television reporting, are fine. It's the blog's association with TheNewsMarket.com that has caused concern. TheNewsMarket.com is a site containing a vast collection of b-roll video marketers provide and hope television journalists will use for their on-air reports. The latest additions are promoted on the blog. While TheNewsMarket.com has a disclaimer clearly stating the footage come from corporations, the blog does not. Is it a big deal or just another new blog marketing tactic?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Wants Your Opinion on Advergaming

    There's a discussion brewing in an Adrants Network Forum on Advergaming. Members are sharing their thoughts on effective and appropriate use of advertisng in games and who's doing it properly now.

    If you work in game design, place ads in games or are just interested in the topic, join the discussion here. If you are not a member, use this pre-approved invite link here to sign up.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

    December 02, 2004

    Toyota Ad Demonstrates Effects Of Good Air Conditioning

    We're all familar with the embarressing (to women) and enjoyable (to men) effect cold air has on the female body. In a new ad, Toyota has extended this well known effect to demonstrate the power of its air conditioning. We think it's in Spanish but we're not sure.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

    MTV Asia Campaign Gets Freaky With Schoolgirl Panties

    Fleshbot (NSFW) points to an ad for MTV Asia which mirrors the supposed trend of Japanese schoolgirls selling there panties on eBay to middle aged sickos. Of course, in the ad, the panties are not really coming from hot little schoolgirls but from a far less hot source.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

    Agency Launches Viral Game to Promote Self

    UK-based direct digital marketing agency Inbox Digital has developed a viral game called Speedy Santa in which Santa's sleigh is dragged around a race track with a computer's mouse. The race is timed and if Santa veers outside the track, he crashes and returns to the start. Upon playing, we came to realize we need a much better mouse because it certainly could not have been the user that caused so many crashes.

    The game also allows players to create private leagues. Four friends can be invited to play the game and a real-time league table keeps players up to date on who has the best time. The game is accompanied by a small logo for Inbox Digital which leads to the agency's website which is designed using a book-like layout.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

    BrandBuzz Launches LG Transit Campaign

    Following the phone-as-fashion theme of LG's ongoing ad campaign, BrandBuzz has launched a month-long transit campaign in New York City. The campaign includes station domination posters at the 59th and Lexington subway station, bus wraps and taxi tops. The posters contain the headlines, "I Need a Little Black Bag to Go with My New Phone," and "I Can't Wait for Him to See Me in This Phone." Additionally, viral-like posting are part of the campaign with text such as, "You sat next opposite me...On the 6 train around 2PM, Tuesday...wearing a purple hoodie, jeans skirt and an LG slider phone...Let's talk...Joe...917-575-3669." The phone number leads to a casual voice mail message by a guy who says, among other things, "if you are the girl I saw, please call me."

    Anytime "real" phone numbers are used in ads, response is pretty much guaranteed because no one really knows who will be on the other end.

    Some callers to this number will win LG mobile phone prize packages.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

    SpongeBobs Stolen From Burger King New Guerilla Marketing Tactic

    SpongeBob SquarePants inflatables sitting atop Burger King restaurants in a joint marketing deal which began November 11 to promote the SpongeBob SquarePants movie have been reported stolen in ten states. While two teens apparently owned up to stealing one inflatable in Maryland, Burger King officials report they are disappearing nationally.

    One Adrants reader surmises its one of the grandest guerilla marketing schemes yet attempted by none other than viral advertising poster child Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Burger King ad agency in Miami. If this is true, it has certainly succeeded in garnering huge national play in the media. Currently, Google lists 228 news articles on the topic.

    UPDATE: Burger King is now offering a one-year's supply of free Whoppers, salads or any other item on its menu as a reward to anyone with information leading to the safe return of SpongeBob.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

    CNN Campaign Makes Network Look Stupid

    We're sure you've all seen the new CNN campaign featuring Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Lou Dobbs and Christiane Amanpour attempting to do their thing while interacting with a bunch of idiots. While this attempts to position the on-air personalities as intelligent, it fails CNN miserably belittling the network and minimizing the importance of CNN's primary goal - to deliver serious, quality news. A fight about the pronunciation of Iraq? Botulism at the local deli more important than Blitzer's world events? Please. While humorous, CNN has damaged its image with this campaign when, in the wake of two network anchors departing, leaving a gaping news hole, the network could have positioned itself as the new evening news leader.

    Instead, this campaign confirms its place as runner up to the networks.

    UPDATE: Slate doesn't like the campaign either calling it "boring, misguided and insulting."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Join the Adrants Network Discussion Group

    For a little diversion and to meet others who frequent Adrants, the Adrants Network provides a place for you to hang with the cool people. Members discuss marketing, advertising, public relations, creative, production, sales, trends, celebrity endorsements, viral activities or who just crashed and burned in a new business pitch.

    Using the network, members can make each other aware of career opportunities, make contact with potential clients and partners and network for new business opportunities. It's free. Join the discussion now.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Sony Launches Online TV Channel For PS2

    To promote its Playstation PS2 console to adults, Sony has launched an online television channel which will broadcast for ten minutes each day beginning at 4:25 PM (UK time zone) during the month of December. The ten minute broadcast will feature various Playstation games as well as original game-related content. The URL of the website, fourtwentyfive.tv, was chosen appropriately.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

    New Campaign Hopes to Improve Tyco's Tattered Image

    With former CEO and buffoon Dennis Kozlowski up on charges of corporate scandal and facing a new trial in January, Tyco has launched a new campaign it hopes will reassure its still the world leader in fire protection and the many other industries in which it serves. Boston's HHCC, which has had the account since May of 2003, has created the campaign, part of which, includes several television spots.

    In one spot, "Anthem," Tyco is portrayed as the solution to all the world's problems using the touchy, feely approach accompanied by the much overused, frog-throated, TV/movie-style voiceover. If Tyco solves so many of the world's problems, why can't it find a way to get its former CEO out of hot water?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

    Panels Discuss Digital Magazine Downloads

    As more and more publications begin to offer their products digitally, discussion has emerged on how to measure downloads and whether that measurement is the proper metric to gauge readership. Currently, audit bureaus generally measure those who subscribe to digital editions versus those who download and read the publication. Confusing matters, both ABC and BPA look at digital editions quite differently. BPA says they should be the same as the print version but with different advertisers. ABC says mirroring print editorial is less important but says the ads should be the same.

    As digital devices make it easier for people to consume media electronically, the measurement issue becomes very important. Although, ultimately, the number of downloads or the amount of readership is irrelevant. What is relevant is how many and in what fashion do readers respond to an ad. That is what drives the magazine business as well as the entire advertising industry.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

    December 01, 2004

    Hardee's Hangs With Hometown Hotties

    The marketing department of burger chain Hardee's has a serious crush on hot women and can't keep its hands off them for its marketing purposes.

    First, there was the Mechanical Bull Girl (Yes, we know that was originally for Carl's), then came the orally fixated straw girl and now a bevy of Maxin Hometown Hotties.

    Actually Hardee's has been the sponsor for a while but who's counting? These efforts clearly target the young, salivating male demo - the only audience not concerned that a Hardee's Double Burger has something like 1500 calories. Even if they did care, the power of the hottie obliterates this group's will power to diet. Very smart targeting indeed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Simon Malls Takes Heat For Statue of Liberty Ad

    Simon Malls ran a newspaper ad with the headline "Very inspiring. Now where's the mall?" alongside an image of the Statue of Liberty. Predictably, there were complaints and the ad was pulled. Simon Malls Spokesman Les Morris explained on ODwyerpr.com saying "This ad is one in a tourism series, using familiar landmarks in the area and playing off of the idea that visitors to any city tend to rank shopping as their No. 1 vacation pastime. We meant no disrespect to this national icon of freedom." What he should have said was, "You idiots. This ad is one in a tourism series, using familiar landmarks in the area and playing off of the idea that visitors to any city tend to rank shopping as their No. 1 vacation pastime. Has humor left the building?"

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

    Cingular Outdoor Campaign Causes Unnecessary Overreaction

    In the "it's just a fuckin' ad" category, Adland points to a Low Culture article which, while likely a spoof, calls attention to a Cingular outdoor campaign that shows cell phone bars breaking through the top of the billboards border. Apparently, Low Culture has never seen cell phone bars or realized the twin towers were the same height and thinks this ad is a sick twin towers/9.11 joke by Cingular. Calling the billboard "tasteless" and insensitive," Low Culture claims the city is still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. Not to belittle the event in any way (I knew someone on one of the planes) but New Yorkers are resilient. They move on. We've all moved on. This is just an ad and a good one for that matter.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

    ESPN and Sprint Introduce TV For Mobile Phones

    ESPN, in a deal with Sprint, will launch its own branded mobile phone service which will stream sports video and audio along with graphics and news.

    The move puts some real world application to the screen marketing trend whereby methods of delivery other than television, computer and video games are being explored. The mobile phone is destined to supplant, in part, many other mobile devices such as handheld PDA's, gaming devices and even the popular iPod. It's just a matter of time before technology makes it possible for all of these devices becoming one. In terms of demand for this potential device, it's there. Why carry more than one device if you don't have to? Already Motorola's RAZR phone has merged many of the features now handled by separate devices as has HandSpring's Treo.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

    Golfer Sexes Up Image, Marketers Salivate

    The LPGA now has its own Anna Kournikova. Natalie Gulbis has sexed up her image in a recent FHM spread and those in the golfing world don't seem too concerned. Even though the USGA didn't like a calendar she did, LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw said, "As our players become recognizable celebrities, more unconventional media outlets are becoming interested. If Natalie is comfortable, we're supportive of the decision." Her father, while blessing the appearance in FHM, was a bit more reserved. "This is an athlete, an LPGA professional. We're not looking for a 'skin' type of thing," he says. "No way she's wearing underwear or a negligee." Not that she has to. The spread reveals quite a bit of her luscious body. In the accompanying FHM interview, guys will be happy to know she says the size of the wood always matters.

    While she's already had marketing deals with Titleist, MET-Rx, GeniSoy and EA Sports, she's not yet become as well know an as Kournikova. No doubt, marketers will be knocking on her door soon. Gulbis joins other sports hotties including Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchova and Jelena Dokic. See them all here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

    November 30, 2004

    Discovery Channel Promotes Ramses Special With Plague Site

    To promote its December 5 special on Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, Discovery Channel has created a Saw-like microsite replete with dripping blood, frogs, flies, maggots, locust and dead animals representing ten biblical plagues. The eerie site leads to Discovery-branded site which contains a vast collection of historical information on the mysterious pharaoh.

    It's an intriguing promotion and most visitors will likely be drawn in by the site's graphic imagery, foreboding language and ominous tone.

    The site was also promoted with cryptic ads containing only the words "Do You Dare" and the microsite web address against a dark background in Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

    Student Journalist Blogs from Award Show Red Carpet

    Susan Tam, a student journalist in her senior year at the University of Southern California, is blogging live this week from the red carpet at the Family Television Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The Family TV Awards, hosted by Lori Loughlin, star of The WB hit series “Summerland,” recognizes the television shows, writers and producers who exemplify creative excellence in, and commitment to family friendly programming. The Awards, which take place this Wednesday night but air December 9 at 9 p.m. on The WB Network, are an initiative of the Family Friendly Programming Forum.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Jailed Martha Stewart Loved by Readers

    Martha Stewart might be in jail but readers of her magazine still love her.

    Akin to the inexplicable industry worship of Donny Deutsch, a study by WPP Group Mediaedge:cia found 70 percent of Martha Stewart magazine readers plan to renew which is 19 percent better than industry average.

    Good news for Stewart. Upon release, it seems there will still be magazine staffers around to belittle.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Wrigley Field to Add Advertising Signage

    While a historic landmark laden with all the usual conservative red tape, the Chicago Cubs don't want their Wrigley Field to be left out of the advertising signage bonanza and have proposed the addition of a 10 foot by 3 foot sign behind home plate along with additional seating. Under the plan, 80 permanent seats would be added to he right field dugout area along with a surrounding brick wall. Officials expect $3 to $5 million in revenue for 2005 but have stated they will not accept tobacco or liquor ads during the first year. The proposal aims to make permanent ads which, for the last two years, have been projected onto a green wall which only television viewers could see.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

    November 29, 2004

    Ann Summers Promotes Ultimate Christmas Toy

    For a little holiday pleasure, Ann Summers is promoting the new Platinum Rampant Rabbit with a provocative video that will have your office mates wondering just what sort of work you do all day in your palacial cube. Rather than let them in on your secret, turn the volume way down before viewing this tantalizing ad for the ultimate Christmas toy.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Man Uses eBay to Sell Self As Walking Ad

    While there seems to be no bid interest, a man has decided to capitalize on his trip from Columbus, OH to Miami where he will attend the 2005 FedEx Orange Bowl by offering himself to advertisers on eBay. A man calling himself andypinky_99 promises advertisers exposure at two airports in Columbus and Miami as well as exposure at the game and around Miami during his three day stay. He offers bidders any form of advertising including donning a company's company garb, plastering his rental car with corporate stickers and talking up the company. While it may be both ingenious and idiotic at the same time but it certainly aligns nicely with the proliferation of viral and word of mouth advertising. In effect, he's offering himself up as a walking, talking brand steward. It's no surprise why advertisers haven't bid.

    Aside from the possibility the guy is a kook and could ruin a brand, most media planners would rather lay back, make a humongous spot buy during the game and call it a day rather than lift a finger to manage minions of marketing messengers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

    City Snark Goes Over Poorly in Catskill Ad

    Hoping to attract some attention to the property he just bought in the rural New York town of Kerhonkson, New York City based Think Tank 3 President Harris Silver placed a snark-filled ad in the local Blue Stone Press newspaper looking for tenants. While intended as humor, the language in the ad did not go over very well with the locals. The ad told potential buyers to leave the tofu behind, don't invent new names for small, medium and large coffee sizes and finished with "No Artists or Canadians." While Silver has owned property in Kerhonkson for a while, residents didn't see the humor in his ad. One email to Silver told him to take his city persona home writing, "Do your brothers-in-flannel up here who read these ads realize that your thinly veiled 'Think Tank' is really a N.Y.C.-based ad agency with a slick and pseudo-intellectual Web site peddling freshman philosophy about, among other things, art? Get real, you self-important fakes. I'd be willing to bet you drink fancy coffee drinks every day. In short, you have no authority to speak as one of us, and no business pretending to be from the other side of the tracks." Sometimes city and country just don't mix.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

    Gilligan's Island A Commercial Orgasm

    You didn't think the latest it reality show would just have a bunch of lame :30's did you? Of course not. The TBS reality series, Gilligan's Island, set to debut November 30 will be jam packed with product placements from Ford Motor, Pfizer, Lowe's and others.

    Perhaps they should just carve the golden arches into the sand while they're at it.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Hardee's Says Size Does Matter

    Leave it to Hardee's to get us all excited about advertising again. Like any good journalist, we're just trying to bring you the news in a timely fashion but when we saw this new Hardee's ad, we got a big case of ADD and couldn't stop our finger from hitting the Play button over and over and over. To promote its new Double Burger, this Hardee's ad makes sure we understand size certainly does matter. Instead of a model riding provocatively atop a mechanical bull, Hardee's enlists the talents of a woman capable of "servicing" the needs of those no matter their size.

    Oh yea, there were some other ads to see on this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week.

    Dave makes his reappearance in Wendy's 35th. A guy dies for DirecTC sports. Peugeot spark toy envy. Peter Dyson marvels at his vacuum design even though Consumer Reports doesn't like it. And Mountain Dew brings out those Spy vs. Spy guys again.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

    M&M's Melt in Your Mouth, Not in the Subway

    To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NYC subway, the MTA has opted to go commercial and signed a deal with M&M's which will plaster M&M imagery all over subway lines and the IRT. While M&M's do cause a certain hunger-induced drool, we're not sure we need more drooling lunatics roaming beneath the streets.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

    Bag Maker Creates Truly Unique Brand

    EverQuest Design has taken a better path towards developing a unique brand for itself.

    Fighting the sea of sameness, EverQuest creates briefcase bags made from original material used in the parachutes of Russian Soyez decent modules and materials used for the sails in the America's Cup Courageous. Adhering to Seth Godin's theory of innovation, EverQuest has developed a unique product line where not only is the product line uniquely different from other bag manufacturers, each EverQuest bag is distinct in design as it is crafted from a different piece of fabric.

    Rather than attempting to make a standard bag and set it apart from others with a "unique" ad campaign, EverQuest has founded its business on being unique. It's mission statement reads, in part, "...to search for famous materials and relics and bring a piece of history to our customers in a product they can use everyday. We wanted to create products that were interesting and unique. We wanted to build a concept-product based on the story of an event rather than around the product itself."

    Everquest may not be EastPac but it can certainly call its brand unique.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

    November 28, 2004

    BrandSuicide Offers Perfect T-Shirt For Pop-Up Designers

    Adland points to BrandSuicide who has created the perfect Christmas (oops, we're not very good and being politically correct) Holiday t-shirt for designers stuck in the hellish world of designing pop ups for evil marketers. The t-shirt aptly reads, "pop-up designers = cocksuckers." If you know a suffering designer, be sure to put some cock in his sock this year.

    Alternatively, if you'd like a less dirty but equally interesting advertising-related t-shirt, check out the "I'm being exploited by an ad agency" t-shirt from Urban Advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

    Heidi Klum Joins McDonald's As McHottie

    Perhaps following the lead of its Japanese counterparts, McDonald's has signed a deal with supermodel Heidi Klum to be its new McHottie. Attempting to distance itself from the negative press generated from the film Supersize Me, McDonald's has decided to prove, once and for all, it can fool America into believing its food will make all Americans as hot as Klum.

    Unfortunately, Klum knows otherwise and has already put a negative spin on junk food saying, "I like to be healthy and eat well, but I also like to have a good time and have an occasional glass of wine or French fries." We're sure McDonald's will shut her up immediately, filling her mouth with appropriate pro-junk food speak.

    Klum is currently spokesmodel for Birkenstock shoes and for Target, who apparently, is now selling Marijuana and Crack.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

    November 23, 2004

    Direct Marketing Vs. Everything Else: The War Has Begun

    Bob Bly, master of direct marketing has, after trashing them, launched a blog of his own. In his first post, he lays out his ten attributes of direct marketing, most focusing on direct marketer's desire to make the cash register ring with little to no patience for branding efforts.

    The launch of Bob Bly's blog is welcome. Very welcome. Let the squishy brand believers duke it out with the diehard get-the-sale-no-matter-what direct marketer crowd. We need some healthy mudslinging.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

    NetZero Launches Spoof of AOL 'Members' Ad

    NetZero is running a television commercial that mirrors a currently running commercial from AOL. The AOL ad had members showing up at AOL's offices to offer suggestions on how to make the Internet better. The humor came from the exec asking the receptionist how many members had shown up, to which she replied, "All of them." Then the camera pans out the window to a sea of AOL members, surprising the exec. As Rick Bruner and The Media Drop point out the NetZero ad copies the AOL spot almost exactly - even down to the actors and the set. In the NetZero spot, members show up to say they are leaving AOL for NetZero. The exec asks, "how many," and the receptionist replies, "all of them," as in the AOL spot. Again, the camera pans out the window to the sea of people. This time, they are holding signs which say , "Bye," "See Ya," and "$9.95."

    It's both a smart and questionable strategy. Leveraging AOL's much larger media budget, NetZero hopes to broaden awareness of its own campaign by association. But, many viewers may simply confuse the two spots not realizing who the advertiser is or simply remember AOL because it is more ubiquitous. It's very funny though, but the proof will be in the number of $9.95 sign ups NetZero gets.

    The original AOL spot can be viewed here. Once we locate the NetZero spot, we'll post a link.

    UPDATE: We contacted NetZero and they were gracious enough to share their spots. You can view them here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

    New York Real Estate Brokers Get Fat Heads

    While not new, there seems to be a rash of high profile real estate agents who've left the impression of discretion behind and are now marketing themselves like celebrities. From the legendary Barbara Corcoran to The Apprentice contestant Jennifer Crisafulli, who was fired from her real job at Douglas Elliman for in show comments about "two old fat Jewish ladies," The Observer's Gabriel Sherman takes a deep look inside this expanding trend of personal branding.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's CEO Steps Down

    McDonald's President and CEO Charlie Bell has resigned due to a continuing bought with cancer. When Bell was named CEO in April, following the death of Jim Cantalupo, Bell, soon after, had surgery for cancer. VP Jim Skinner has been named new CEO and McDonald's USA CEO Mike Roberts has been named President and COO of the global business.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

    November 22, 2004

    Reebok Launches 'Rbk Streets'

    LA based agency Zugara has launched another engaging website for its client Reebok. The site, Rbk Streets, is a virtual cityscape where you can visit the Recording Studio and submit a demo to 50 Cent who will review it and choose a winner, visit the 40/40 Club and spin a scratch challenge, visit The Crib and view musicians rap about Rbk shoes, pit Allen Iverson and Steve Francis against each other on The Court, check out House of Rbk for the shoe collections and visit the Barbershop to get the 411 on the whole block.

    All of the areas in the cityscape let you earn Street Creds which count towards prizes. Dope.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Borders Marketers Avoid Loser Label, Launch Viral Ad

    It's as if a company's marketing department has a big L stamped on its forehead if it doesn't have some sort of viral ad thingy going on.

    Borders Books' marketers decided not to be branded losers so they've gone all hip and launched a viral ditty, called GiftMixer 3000, that provides shoppers gift suggestions based on the settings of five equalization sliders. John Keehler points to this viral of the minute where shoppers can move the sliders from one to ten for these categories: Romantic, Adventurous, Brainy, Imaginative and Funny. Once a setting is made, a drugged up, wise-ass, Hal 9000-like voice gives a running commentary on the selection.

    Whether it sells books, we don't know but it did keep us amused for a while.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

    Gandolfini Gives Kobold Watch The Finger

    Earlier, we reported The Sopranos star James Gandolfini lending his image to the Kobold watch company website to promote its new Soarway Diver SEAL diving watch. Now the company has extended the campaign to print, again, using Gandolfini's likeness, albeit with an interesting use of Gandolfini's hand to represent the company's spot as number one in...well, that really isn't clear. The ad will appear in The Economist. Larger image here if above link dies.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

    Agency Launches Stock Copy Website, Should Relaunch Own Site

    Chicago-based agency Blue Ant, in a backdoor effort to show the importance of well written ad copy, has launched adHacks, a site much like stock photography sites yet with stock copy. At the site, those who don't wish to pay the high fees associated with good copy can obtain basic stock copy by navigating through categories. Upon finding relevant copy, users can buy the full text for $199.

    Of course the whole thing is a joke to gain publicity for Blue Ant. No fault in that but upon reviewing Blue Ant's own site, some tweaking is in order. Blue Ant commits one of the most egregious agency website crimes. In its portfolio section, which provides links to case studies, half or more of the links are blank. That's not very reassuring to a potential client looking for a solid body of work. Also the agency's positioning statement, "Meet Blue Ant, a new kind or marketing agency.

    Or ad agency. Or whatever kind of agency you want to call us," doesn't quite adhere to another very important rule in advertising: clear messaging. Perhaps Blue Ant should spend more time properly developing its positioning and building out its portfolio before building spoof sites. Then again, any publicity is almost always good publicity.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

    Creative Brilliance No Replacement For Information

    Here's one of those brilliantly executed spots whose sole purpose is to be brilliantly executed. It's for some cool new phone from Motorola. Oh wait. I get it. The phone is so cool that your house full of electronics can all fit in the phone. Like so totally cool. Now if only I knew what it was called so I could buy it.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Robin Quivers to Host Daytime Talk Show

    Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers has signed a deal with Sony Pictures to create a pilot episode for a one hour daily talk show to air as soon as next year. While specifics are not available, the show will, reportedly, not to adhere to traditional talk show formats.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

    Circuit City Launches Pre-Movie Campaign

    To promote its CDs, DVDs and videogames, Circuit City, in a deal with Regal Entertainment, today, launched a pre-movie campaign with an ad featuring Santa Claus dancing to the tune "Just What I Needed" by the Cars. The ad will appear within Regal Entertainment's pre-show program as well as on the Jumbotron in Time's Square.

    Accompanying the spot will be box office flyers, signage and soft drink lid mini DVD's.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

    Publicist Says Kidman Chanel Spot Not An Ad

    Displaying all the pomousity of a Hollywood agent, a publicist for Baz Luhrmann says the $12 million spot Luhrmann directed for Chanel featuring Nicole Kidman is not an ad but a film. Excuse us, but anything that sells a product most assuredly falls into the ad/spot/commercial category. The publicists continues with this nonsense calling the ad "a creative first. The film to revolutionize advertising." Oh, it's surely an extravaganza but trying to pass it off as something other than an ad just insults consumers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Advertising Industry to Support 21 Million Jobs

    The advertising industry is projected to drive $5.2 trillion into the U.S. economy next year, a major new economic study has found. The total economic activity generated by advertising -- which includes direct spending, supplier spending and inter-industry activity - will account for a projected 20.5 percent of the United States' economic activity.

    Advertising will also generate an estimated 21 million jobs, or 15.2 percent of the national workforce of 139 million. The findings, released today, come from a new study entitled the "Comprehensive Economic Impact of Advertising Expenditures." It was conducted by Michael J. Raimondi of Global Insight, under the direction of Nobel Laureate in Economics Dr. Lawrence R. Klein for The Advertising Coalition. The Coalition is comprised of nine national media and advertising trade associations. Total advertising spending by businesses in the U.S. for 2005 is estimated to reach approximately $278 billion, according to the study. These expenditures are projected to create a total revenue impact of $5.2 trillion. The total estimated impact includes the spending on advertising, the direct impact on sales of $2.3 trillion, the impact on supplier economic activity of $1.2 trillion and the impact on inter-industry economic activity of $1.4 trillion.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

    November 21, 2004

    Ford 'American Dreams' Sponsorship Brilliant

    Sunday night, NBC presented American Dreams with no commercial interruption except for a long form Ford commercial at the end of the episode. In the episode, JJ Pryor, who had been wounded in Vietnam, returned home to his family after having been listed MIA. It was a heart wrenching episode and one that would assuredly have been ruined by traditional, interruptive pod advertising.

    Ford, the only sponsor of the episode, created a brilliant and emotional long form commercial which ran at the end of the episode. In the commercial, which mirrored the plot of the episode, a son is seen coming home from Iraq to his family. Ford cars played a role in the commercial, as well as in the episode, but in a way that was natural and not forced. Sure, there were the usual beauty shots of the cars but they blended unobtrusively with the ad's plot. Never, before has there been a more brilliant, emotionally powerful and seamlessly relevant program sponsorship. Kudos to Ford and NBC for this extraordinary effort.

    View the spot here. Skeptics should understand this spot will not have the emotional resonance it did when attached to the American Dreams episode in which it ran.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Paul McCartney Featured Performer at Super Bowl 2005

    Sweeping last year's boob-fest under the carpet, the National Football League has chosen Paul McCartney as the featured halftime performer for Super Bowl 2005. NFL spokesman Brain McCarthy promised no wardrobe malfunctions this year. Three-timer Up With People apparently unavailable, choosing a former Beatle appears to be the NFL's best bet against Super Bowl mischief. McCartney last appeared during the pre-game show in 2002.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

    November 20, 2004

    Lopez's Booty Halts Pepsi Shoot

    While preparing to be filmed at London's Shepperton Studios, along with Beyonce Knowles and David Beckham, for a new Pepsi commercial, Jennifer Lopez brought the shoot to a halt when she realized she had too much junk in the trunk for her apparel to accommodate. While Knowles slipped into her revealing outfit with relative ease, Lopez was unable to get her famously large derriere into her own. A source reports, "Basically, J.

    Lo's bum was just too curvy for the outfit and we had to make sure the costume fit her before we could start filming."

    To accommodate the star's bootylicious backside, frenzied producers scurried about behind Lopez's bulging buttocks madly sewing extra fabric into the seat of the overly taut attire while the crew looked on drooling uncontrollably. After several minutes of apparel surgery, the outfit was enlarged enough for Lopez to slide her commodious rear end into the strained clothing and the shoot continued.

    Plans are afoot to air the spot during this year's Super Bowl.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

    November 19, 2004

    Donny Deutsch The Plate Head

    We know Donny Deutsch, with his TV show and egomaniacal appearances on The Apprentice, is an ad industry icon - a figurehead, if you will. But a platehead? Yes. According to former Deutsch employee, Rachel, in the comment section of the blog brand new, back in 1998, his mug was put on a plate as a joke by his staff a while back at a AAAA's award show. It's the ad blog post of the day. Gareth Kay of brand new has it. So does David Burn of AdPulp as well as AdWeek's AdFreak. Will Scott over at Ad Age touch this one? Oh wait, they write about serious stuff.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

    '8 Simple Rules' Still Around With James Garner

    MediaLife takes a look at the continued success of ABC's '8 Simple Rules' and how Katey Sagal and, importantly, the addition of James Garner have played key roles in maintaining the show's popularity. Many thought Sagel could not carry the show and in many ways, partly due to her "Married With Children" success, she has. Garner, whose popularity spans three generations provides and important anchor to the show. While the show is not regularly in the top 20, it continues to do well in its Friday time slot.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Donald Trump Action Figure to Fire Office Ass

    If you can't get enough Donald Trump on Thursday nights, now you can have him with you every minute. Stevenson Entertainment has introduced the Donald Trump Talking Doll.

    The 12" Donald J. Trump doll features 17 phrases that include advice from Mr. Trump as well as his trademark boardroom dismissals. Among the 17 sayings are, "I should fire myself just for having you around", "This one's easy for me...you're fired", "That was a tough one", "Think big and live large", and "I have no choice but to tell you, you're fired".

    It's a great gift for that pompous ass down the hall from you who needs his puffed up image of himself put down. Who better than the man himself to do it. So go ahead. Buy one. Put it in your bosses office.

    Better yet, bring it to a meeting, hide it under the conference room table, and let The Donald rip when the meeting becomes dominated by that PowerPoint loving, white board dominating, ass kissing, self important windbag. Sort of like Maria who got the boot last night.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

    Nokia Gets Teens All A Twitter With New Design-A-Phone Site

    Catering to the likes of screaming girls at a Jojo concert, Nokia has launched a design-a-phone site to promote its new Nokia 3220. On the site, a custom phone back can be created. Called Nokia Express It!, five finalists with the best designs will be selected by the editors of Seventeen and CosmoGIRL based on the impossible to define metrics "originality and creativity." Visitors to the two publication's websites will then vote for the winner who will receive a new Nokia 3220 along with accessories. Everyone scream now.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Vodaphone Gives Girl Facial For Christmas

    While we're sure Vodaphone intended this image to convey the shock a woman might feel after having a snowball land on her face, others feel it's an expression of joy following receipt of a certain climactically delivered thrust of Christmas excitement. And who are we to disagree with such a brilliant assessment? In fact, advertising imagery should always be this attention getting.

    The ad appeared in several UK papers Tuesday and The Register offered it's suggestion for a better tagline, "Free video messaging phone: because Santa comes just once a year." Nod to Rick for this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

    November 18, 2004

    Video Phone Ad Deceives Chat Room Style

    Now that everyone has a camera phone, the next big thing is the video phone. Italian company TIM is promoting VideoMessagio, an application that provides a mobile phone up to one minute of video and sound. There's an ad floating around the web promoting this product with a woman taking a cam video of her hot body for her boyfriend - or at least that's what our non-existent Italian language skills deduced.

    If you've spent any time in a chat room and viewed people's profile pics, you begin to wonder why you are the only one without a hot body, 36DD breasts or a foot long hanging between your legs. A new mobile phone company is capitalizing on this virtual persona trend with a new ad for its mobile phone video product which records up to a minute of video with sound. In the ad, a woman, dressed in nothing but white panties and a bra, is seen cooing into her phone recording a cam tease for the lucky recipient. But, as with most chat profiles, things are not always what they seem.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

    Wendy's Founder Returns From Dead In New Campaign

    Mercifully killing the ill-advised Mr. Wendy, Wendy's is bringing back founder and long time spokesman Dave Thomas. No, he wasn't found hanging out with Elvis in a nursing home, he really is dead. But, in an equally ill-advised and questionable effort, the chain will feature pictures of Dave Thomas in a new campaign, to debut Friday, touting the burger joint's 35th anniversary. With slumping sales, Wendy's needs all the help it can get. Who knows, maybe dead Dave can help.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

    Gap Continues Campaign With Sarah Jessica Parker

    As we mentioned before, the attractiveness of Sarah Jessica Parker eludes us but that hasn't stopped the Gap from continuing their relationship wit the Sex and the City star in a holiday campaign debuting today. Parker will appear in three spots along with Josh Duhamel, Mary J. Blige, Will Kemp, J.C.

    Chasez, Frankie Rayder, Joy Bryant, Kelis, and Van Hunt. Other featured campaigns in this week's MediaPost Out to Launch column by Amy Corr are the humorous CNN campaign featuring on air personalities joking around, a street campaign for the bank HSBC offers free cab/subway/bus rides to New Yorkers who correctly answer two Big Apple trivia questions, more free (by invite) cab rides from UK-based Interoute who is promoting their communications network with a video in the cab and an in-cab meeting with a company representative, a TV campaign for Hachette Filipacchi's For Me lifestyle magazine launch, a Tweeter campaign which promise to untangle home entertainment, a promotional campaign for BET and yes, a Smokey Bear campaign. The dude is old. He's celebrating his 60th birthday.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

    'Sopranos' Star James Gandolphini Face of Kobold Campaign

    The Sporanos star James Gandolphini has lent his likeness to the Kobold watch company to promote its new Soarway Diver SEAL diving watch. Visitors to the promotional site can pre-order the product at a discounted price prior to December 14. Just in time to swim through the sea of dreaded office parties around the corner.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    The Viral Awards Come to New York

    The Viral Awards, a new organizations that celebrates worldwide viral advertising is bringing its award show to New York February 15. The event will be judged by creative executives from around the country. A portion of the event's proceeds will be donated to The Food Bank For New York City, to help provide food to the emergency feeding programs of New York City. The panel will consist of the following:

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

    The Future of Print Debated

    MediaPost reports on conference held yesterday at the Time Life Building by Fortune and Sappi Fine Paper North America. While Fortune Senior Editor Geoff Colvin kicked off the meeting trying to prove print is still relevant by handing out software for Microsoft's book reader - which came with it's own printed manual, panelists were clear that change is on the way. Pulling out the usual ammunition (TV didn't displace radio), Sandy Alexander Commercial Printing President Roy Grossman said, "Print is not going to be displaced." Well of course it isn't because he would be without a job.

    Hachette Publishing President and CEO Jack Kliger says the industry is wasting too much time competing against itself and not enough time promoting print as a medium. And a Starcom study was trotted out which found one third of those in a study, when asked to clip out the defining part of their reading experience, selected ad pages.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

    New Campaign Appeals to Gay Coke Sniffing Vodka Drinkers

    New Zealand vodka, 42 BELOW, launched a street campaign Wednesday in New York City. Naturally, the campaign will only live below 42nd street and in true 42 BELOW form, feature edgy (Ed. oh, we really need to stop using that word now) executions such as "Drink it straight. Or Gay" or "Purer than the driven snow, even if you drove it yourself from Colombia". The campaign also pokes a bit of fun at the French with this copy: "If you were going to choose the perfect environment to make the world's most perfect vodka, you'd have to pick New Zealand. The water is clear and sweet, the air holds a standard for purity and hardly anyone is French".

    42 BELOW Chief Vodka Drinker Geoff Ross explains the campaign saying, "There are bars here that have up to fifteen vodkas available. We need to stand out so we are hitting the city from the street up. If you are hip and you live in New York you live below 42nd street, so that is where we are concentrating. Everything has been tried in Manhattan, and we are so over PCism, so we thought we would tackle this with a kiwi approach and use some good honest, humor." We'll let Gawker debate the city's demarcation line for cool but, for now, there's a vodka that's outted itself walking the streets of the city. The campaign hits Soho, London early December.

    Other campaign images here, here and here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

    November 17, 2004

    Sushi Restaurant Places Dick Joke Advertorial in The Onion

    Boulder-based TDA Advertising and Design has developed an ad for its client Hapa Sushi, a sushi restaurant, which parodies the ad evelopment process involving a focus group and the group's likening sushi rolls to a penis. With the headline "Sushi Restaurant Decides Not To Run "Dick Joke" Ad'" The not-an-ad will be placed in the Denver metro edition of the satirical newspaper The Onion. The entire text of the ad can be viewed here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Buy Launches Kevin Kringle Campaign

    You saw it here on Adrants a couple days ago. Best Buy recently launched an underground viral marketing effort to target its core holiday consumers. The company partnered with SMG Reverb, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group that specializes in digital word-of-mouth marketing.

    Best Buy's online ads feature a fictional character named Kevin Kringle, who, according to Best Buy, is the younger brother of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle. Unlike Kris, however, Kevin struggles to find the right gifts for his family, friends, and co-workers. These struggles are portrayed in several humorous clips that are available on KevinKringle.com.

    The initial phase of the campaign is designed to establish Kevin's character and to encourage users to talk about his lack of gift-giving talent. To keep the focus on Kevin, Best Buy purposefully left off all branding from its online ads. Even Kevin's website and the site's video clips started with no company branding.

    Word of Kevin Kringle was spread online through partnerships with Best Buy evangelists, blogs, forums and pop culture and gaming sites. Best Buy will eventually start to incorporate branding on KevinKringle.com and ultimately plans to lift the veil on the Kevin connection through nationwide television commercials and promotional posters inside its retail stores.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Firms Pays Consumers to Wear Tattoo Ads

    Now added to the Xvertising list is Tattoovertising. TatAd will pay consumers to wear a tattoo and become walking billboard for products. The company matches people based on where they live and their lifestyle with marketers who have expressed an interest in the medium.

    Those selected will then be tattooed with the logo of the advertiser.

    The company reports 800 sign ups. There'd probably be a lot more if the sign up process wasn't so cumbersome and illogical.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

    Desperate 'Real World' Star Sells Self on eBay

    Yes, it's another sleazy eBay ad. This time, it's for Real World Las Vegas "star" Trishelle Canatella who seems desperate for attention with an eBay ad offering the highest bidder a chance to spend a day with Trishelle in LA. The Superficial points to the ad which currently has six bids, none of which have met the reserve.

    The ad states, "Auction bid only includes the following associated with travel, accommodations, meal at Dolce, 1 DAY ONLY meet and greet with celebrity, autographs, and security. Any additional expenditure to that listed above will be the sole responsibility of the bidder. Length of trip may be extended by the purchaser, but additional costs are to be incurred by bidder." We wonder what those additional expenses might be.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Catholic Church Improves Image With Hottie Calendar

    In a much needed effort to cast off its image as home to pedophiles, the Church is striving more for the Chippendales look with a new calendar.

    While not as hot as a Maxim calendar, the Vatican will introduce a pictorial calendar in 2005 to promote itself. The calendar will feature priest hotties in an attempt to sex up...uh...improve its image among Catholics worldwide.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    FedEx Logo Creator Interviewed

    We've never seen it, have you? We're talking about the arrow embedded within the FedEx logo. Look closely. You'll see it between the E and the X.

    Its existence was intentional and The Sneeze interviews Lindon Leader who created the logo back in 1994.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

    ABC Sports Gets Desperate With 'Desperate Housewives' Promo

    Never to leave a promotional stone unturned, ABC featured the towel-clad Nicolette Sheridan, who stars in the ABC series Desperate Housewives, in a promotion prior to Monday Night Football. In the promo, Sheridan is seen wearing a towel in the locker room convincing Terrell Owens to skip the game for her. She then drops the towel and Owens gives in grabbing her in a hug of lust. Well, of course, all those red staters got up in arms about it and complained to ABC Sports who agreed the placement was inappropriate and apologized.

    View the clip here and see what the big deal is about. Done? See. It's nothing. No big deal. Nada, No nudity. No nothing. Go stick your head back in the sand you neo-conservative, nothing better to do than complain losers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

    New TiVo Feature To Effectively Eliminate Ad Skipping

    Once the bane of advertising for its ad skipping feature, TiVo, will redeem itself in the eyes of marketers with a new feature set to launch next March. Tivo will introduce a feature whereby advertisers can purchase a billboard which will appear on screen when a user fast forwards through an ad. The billboards will allow advertisers to make offers and link to other ads, most likely residing in TiVo's Showcase - home for long form commercials. If a viewer opts in to the ad, their personal info will be sent to the advertiser enabling further direct marketing.

    While advertisers will rejoice over the introduction of this feature, a consumer revolt is likely to occur. Upon introduction, TiVo gave consumers control and now it is taking it back effectively having tricked consumers into buying a product that will now serve to more finitely market to them. It will only be a matter of time before hacked products arrive eliminating all TiVo functionality aside from its hard drive based recording abilities. While we are sure patents are in place, an enterprising manufacturer could make a killing offering a simple TiVo-less "ad free" hard disk recorder. But, at least for now, the control pendulum has swung back to the advertiser.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Woman Offers 32C's For Fondling on eBay

    An English woman (not pictured) in need of money to pay her college tuition placed an ad on eBay auctioning off 15 minute fondling sessions with her 32C breasts. Being english, she, of course, offered tea and snack along with the fondling session. Predictably, eBay wasn't amused and killed the ad claiming it broke the site's erotica ban. This site, however, does not have an erotica ban. Prior to cancellation, bids for her boobs reached $334.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)

    November 16, 2004

    TBS Set to Launch 'Gilligan's Island' Reality Show

    Two teams mirrored after the 60's sitcom Gilligan's Island, will go head to head in an elimination-style reality series called The Real Gilligan's Island set to air November 30 on TBS. Former Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert plays one of the Gingers and model-actress Rachel Hunter plays the other. The rest of the cast is made up of unknowns who will compete following themes from the original show.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

    Citroen Does Mini Cooper Robot

    So BMW's Mini Cooper did the whole robot car thing with help from Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Now it's Citroen's turn. The UK French car maker has created an ad which transforms a Citroen C4 into a pop star dancer The :30 spot was created by Euro RSCG London and Justin Timberlake's choreographer, Marty Kudelka who performed the dance while wired to a bunch of computers which copied his moves. The moves were then converted, using 3D animation software, into the moving car parts. In the spot, the car/robot grooves to Jacques Your Body (make me sweat) by electronic dance-pop outfit, Les Rythmes Digitales. The spot can be viewed here. Thanks to Adrants reader Rick Bruner for the point.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

    AdWeek Launches AdFreak Weblog

    Joining the growing number of advertising focused weblogs is VNU big boy AdWeek. The staff of Adweek including Ann Mack, Simon Butler, Tim Nudd, Alison Fahey, Jack Feur and others began posting to AdFreak yesterday and plan to use it to expand coverage of what is already offered in AdWeek. Current posts range from coverage of Mucinex's disgusting logo, the WTA's ad campaign with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and how hurricanes help Pop-Tart sales.

    The tone of AdFreak is decidedly unlike the straight reporting found in AdWeek. It's as if the chains of the editorial desk have been removed from the writers. It will interesting to watch it's growth unfold and to see how content is divvied up between AdWeek and AdFreak. Afterall, there's a subscription model to protect over at AdWeek and decisions will have to be made as to what to offer for free versus paid. The more intriguing question though for AdWeek is whether AdFreak eliminates the need for AdWeek. Already, two days content of AdFreak is of more interest than years of AdWeek's editorial which consists mainly of agency review announcements, campaign launches, mergers and personnel changes.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Readers Force Adrants to Cover Beer, Boobs, Booty AUTHOR: Steve Hall

    OK, OK. We give in. We'll write about this. Even though we saw it already, our inbox needs a break so here's the deal. Tiring from the all the Subservient Chicken copycats (alright, there weren't really any), we opted not to cover this much hotter version of the "tell me what to do" marketing microsites. But now you've made us do it. At this site, called Virtual Bartender, for beer enthusiast, beer.com, you can boss a hottie around to your heart's content. She'll take her shirt off for you and typing "show me your panties" gets a good result as well. And yes, she has a Pamela Anderson-like pillow fight too. Have fun. Drink more beer.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Revlon Boots Deutsch

    Revlon EVP Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Klein said the company's recent Deutsch created ad campaign is "increasing purchase intent and brand imagery" but has failed to increase sales. For that reason, the cosmetics company has informed creative agency Deutsch its contract will not be renewed and that an agency search will be launched. Deutsch is welcome to participate but, as history tells us, retaining the account is unlikely. In a blow to fans of beautiful and expensive brand advertising that is more concerned with featuring well known celebrities than persuading consumers to buy, Revlon has seen nothing but drops in sales and share price.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

    New Weapon in Salary Negotiation Launched

    Aquent and the American Marketing Association has launched MarketingSalaries.com, a site with a 70,000 survey base providing marketers insight on salaries for various positions, levels of experience and location. It's always good to have some persuasive data when having the salary conversation but visiting the site for the first time is a bit freaky.

    Once past the very lifelike head shots of people peering out from the site with their heads turning and their eyes blinking as though they know work should be getting done instead of gold digging for a higher salary, the site provides a pay dirt motherlode of salary information.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Age Rescues American Demographics

    Ad industry publishing institution Ad Age has come to the rescue of consumer demographics magazine American Demographics saving it from obliteration. The editorial focus of American Demographics will be rolled into Ad Age as a regular feature in its online and offline publication.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Tacoda's Dave Morgan Explains New Behavioral Targeting Network

    Recently launched AudienceMatch from behavioral targeting firm Tacoda allows advertisers to buy, through bidding, into a network of websites and target using the pay per click model. Tacoda CEO Dave Morgan explains the whole thing to iMediaConnection's Roger Park in this interview.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Video Game Ads Chip Away :30, Don't Kill It

    As much as consumers are gaining control over the media they consume and, consequently, the ads they see, good old couch laziness is here to stay. Market Researcher Veronis Suhler Stevenson reports Americans currently watch an average of 1,800 hours of TV and ply 71 hours of video games. In 2008, Americans will watch 1,900 hours of TV and play 98 hours of video game. That's hardly a leap off the comfy couch. After all, how would we live without satiating our voyeuristic desires now fed by the likes of Wife Swap, The Swan and Extreme Makeover.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    November 15, 2004

    Horny Viagra Ad Gets Blue Balled

    Pfizer has been kicked out of the middle aged American male orgy to rejunivate itself after being dealt a mid-coitus, blue balling "no" by the FDA. It doesn't like Pfizer's horny teen boy-like omission of detail just to come to the party's happy ending. The FDA, like a scorned girl fighting off an animalistic suitor has said no to Pfizer's Viagra ad which shows horns sprouting out from a man's head. Apparently, a few details that, oh, could kill you, were left out of the ad. Remember guys, no means no.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Three People Caused $1.2 Million FCC Fine Against FOX

    Buzzmachine's Jeff Jarvis did a bit of digging and found just three people to be the cause of the FCC's $1.2 million fine against FOX for it's "sexually suggestive" Married by America.

    Yes, just three people adversely affected free speech and caused a company to needlessly cough up $1.2 million. Jarvis correctly calls into question the sad state of affairs in this country which led to this and the recent freak out over whether or not to air Private Ryan.

    We've gone insane. That's the only explanation for it. When companies and the government leave their back bone at the door and bend over for every individual complaint, we become not a democracy but a dictatorship run by individuals who have co-opted our Constitution.

    It bears repeating. Three people out of 295 million caused the FCC to fine a company $1.2 Million.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Lifetime Runs Nearly Ten Commercials Per Commercial Break

    Apparently all those weepy movies and an overdose of Dana Delany (although recent hotties Annabella Sciorra and Kelly Williams are the latest women in distress) has caused Lifetime to schedule the highest number of commercials in a break allowing viewers to go dab their tears and grab another twinkie before returning for more The Notebook like programming. A recent study by Media IQ shows the network runs 9.5 messages per break followed closely by equally weepy (for Behind the Music) with 9.37 messages per break. The not so emotional Weather Channel provides the fewest message per break with an average of just 3.53.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

    November 12, 2004

    GM Promotes Chevrolet With Online Video Channel

    GM's Chevrolet division is launching "Chevy Live", a full-screen, DVD-quality interactive video application/channel that will be the centerpiece of an ongoing campaign for Chevy's broadband customers.

    Created by Campbell-Ewald, Chevy Live can be viewed here.

    We'd tell you all about it but, meaning no disrespect, these broadband video companies haven't yet realized that not everyone uses Explorer as their browser. We use Firefox and are much too lazy to open that old, bloated piece of standards non-compliant software.

    The Chevy Live channel extends Chevrolet's existing American Revolution campaign and will launch with special footage from the Country Music Awards that were held on November 9, 2004. Using technology from Maven Networks, the channel will be frequently updated with new content such as music videos from country music artists including Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson, as well as Chevy promotions and will be proactively delivered to consumer's desktops. Product information on Chevrolet's vehicles, with an emphasis on their truck line, will be integrated into the channel to increase consumer awareness of new launches throughout the year.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Target Promotes Two Day Sale With Wake Up Call

    In an intriguing combination of viral promotion and telemarketing, Target is insuring attendance to its two day sale November 26 - 27 by letting shoppers, on November 17, sign up to receive a wake up call on the day of the sale. Visitors to this site can view videos and choose their caller from a list including such odd characters as Darth Vader, some cheesy heartbreaker, a tween diva, a helpful construction worker, Dennis the rooster or Heidi Klum. The work was created by Mother New York.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Shocker: TiVo to Lead Change in Television Advertising

    Among members of the American Advertising Federation, 76 percent feel DVR technology will lead to change in television advertising. Many (55 percent) stated non-traditional forms of advertising like product placement will grow but that the :30 will remain the mainstay of the medium. While 76 percent state the medium will see change, just 20 percent think the effect will be "dramatic" such as the death of the :30 MarketingVOX points out most members of the AAF are senior level marketing staff at brand companies who possess a certain level of "cluelessness" about new trends clinging, instead, to old models. This is, perhaps, why, as MarketingVOX claims, television buying rituals have not been affected much yet by this new technology.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

    Anna Nicole Smith Featured in New PETA Anti-Fur Ad

    In reaction to a survey published in the September issue of Marie Claire with found eight out of ten men are turned off by women who wear fur coats, activist group People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals has created a new ad featuring Anna Nicole Smith. In the ad, Smith, in a pink satin dress, poses with a group of tuxedoed Suitors alongside the headline, "Gentlemen Prefer Fur-Free Blondes" and copy telling women, "If you want to hook up, hang it up."

    Smith Joins a long line of celebrities, including Charlize Theron who posed with her dog in a recent ad, who are adamantly anti-fur. The campaign supports the organization's website, FirIsDead.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Japan Dumps Ronald For New McHotties

    It appears McDonald's Japan has retired age-old Ronald McDonald and hired McHotties for its new ad campaign. Promoting its Tomato McGrande, McDonald's Japan has enlisted two far younger versions of Ronald McDonald and dressed them in stylish, new Ronald McDuds. It's unclear whether the campaign will make its way to the States mainly because The Ronald McDonald House would then have to be referred to as The Hottie McDonald's House. View the female McHottie here and the male McHottie here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

    November 11, 2004

    Amazon to Launch Videos Sprinkled With Brands

    In an effort to counter the "research online, buy off line mentality," Amazon will launch five short films starring among others Minie Driver, Chris Noth, Daryl Hannah which will feature various brands sprinkled throughout the films. Viewers can click on the name of the brand in the credits to buy the product.

    The campaign was created by Fallon and Hollywood production company RSA USA. It's the next entry in the soon to be long line of subtlety marketing.

    UPDATE: Rick Bruner points to the first two of the five mini-films. Agent Orange, directed by Tony Scott is pretty cool - in that hipster/I'm a cool filmaker sort of way.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Enchanting Ad Girls

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

    LL Cool J Sniffs Grandma's Panties For Virgin Mobile

    Following Missy Elliot, the Virgin Mobile campaign, to promote its call and text bundles which don't expire, continues with LL Cool J who freaks his buddy out while helping him move his recently dead grandmother's stuff.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

    Crystal Clear Launches Subservient Chicken-Like Website

    Not anywhere near as smart as Burger King's Subservient Chicken, Heineken's Crystal Light has launched Netherlands-based Ask Crystal, an online talk show type program where you can ask Crystal questions.

    Unfortunately, she's not half as smart as our chicken friend and delivers only canned asnwers and mindless commentary. Next.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Levi's Shoots For Cool in New Campaign

    Levi's puts the spotlight on 6 creative individuals who are independently expressing their personal vision and allowing them to share stories that aim to inspire a wider audience to believe in themselves. (Yes, that did come form a press release) Two websites, www.501anti-fit.se and www.anti-fit.no, promote the project along with a DVD and street marketing. As is usual with these campaigns, the work and the accompanying videos are ethereal and sub-culturally hip which brands love to try and capture and identify with. For us, we prefer the "buy our jeans" approach. It takes less work and it's easier to say no to.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Dad Gets the Bimbo Treatment in Verizon Ads

    A subject near and dear to our hearts is the portrayal of dads and men as blithering idiots in television commercials. The trend has been around for a long time and now there's an advocacy group speaking out against the practice. The group, Dad's and Daughters which, in some circles, could be construed to stand for something very different than healthy father/daughter relationships, is furious over a recent Verizon DSL ad which features a computer-clueless Dad trying to help his daughter with her homework online. In the ad, he gets shoed away by his wife as he looks over his daughter's shoulders.

    "It's really outrageous," said Joe Kelly, executive director of the national advocacy group Dads and Daughters. "It's reflective of some deeply entrenched cultural attitudes - that fathers are second-class parents, that they're not really necessary. To operate from the assumption that Dad is a dolt is harmful to fathers, harmful to children and harmful to mothers." Of course the counter argument is that it's simply a joke and advocacy groups like this one should just learn to have a sense of humor. Afterall, we're just paying dues for all those years we gave women the bimbo treatment, right? Verizon has maintained a bit of a backbone following complaints. "All we can say at this point is we're looking at it," said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo.

    "We take our feedback and customer comments quite seriously. We're obviously dismayed that some customers find one of our commercials offensive."

    Verizon in running a similar spot for their phones which shows a Dad giving his two daughters new phones and saying, "Now we can all talk together" to which his daughters grin and groan until his wife pipes in and says "and it has "in" so you can talk to your friends as long as you want" getting a much more positive response from the daughters.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

    'Biggest Loser,' 'Top Model' Hosts Compared

    Jossip lends its unique use of the English language to call attention to the sad state of reality television by pitting NBC's The Biggest Loser host Caroline Rhea and UPN's America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks against each other in a running for the best Reality Host Misfit.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

    November 10, 2004

    AD:TECH New York Closes

    On Wednesday morning, the third day of AD:TECH, with exhibitor booths gone, registration area removed and carpets lifted, the Hilton started to look like a hotel again rather than the glorious concentration of smart marketers it became for a few days. As is usual on the third day of the conference, only sessions are held which brought the number of attendees down to less than 1,000.

    Walking through meeting room area of the hotel, one wondered if AD:TECH actually happened. Signage for other conferences was up. Walking without arms colliding with inappropriate body parts was possible. And a sense of loneliness hung in the air as friends and associates headed across the country back to their respective cities and homes. We eagerly look forward to seeing them all again in April at AD:TECH San Francisco.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Mass Marketing Yields to Conversational And Tribal Communications

    The final day's AD:TECH keynote was given by Creative Artists Agency Entertainment Division CEO Mike Windsor and Berlin Cameron Managing Partner Avi Dan. The thrust of the talk centered on the now common theme of consumer control and the wane of traditional media. While Windsor prognosticated the death of mass “push” media and the rise of involvement and conversation marketing, Dan, while agreeing mass marketing has seen its day, claims the :30 is still a viable ad unit.

    Windsor began by citing a dramatic rise in spend on alternative marketing offering the Hollister, Lounge 22 in store concerts and the ilovebees campaign for the online game Halo which required people to solve a mystery using both on and offline methods as examples. Windsor also advocated a focus on creating passion for a brand using the TiVo-Sex and the City example, even while acknowledging that was not a paid placement. As part of embracing passion-based marketing, Windsor told marketers to listen and understand their own customer's passions and cater to those passions. Passion begets passion. Windsor said brands that cater to consumers passions will fare better in the consumer controlled marketplace.

    Dan admitted to the audience he may be seen as the sacrificial lamb but insisted the :30 still has a place in the marketing tool kit citing the effectiveness, long term recall an cultural proliferation of Super Bowl commercials. That said, he stated the gap between consumer spend on media related products and ad spend is the narrowest its every been indicating the consumer may, in fact, be taking over. While many cite TiVo as the death of the television advertising medium, Dan claimed it's the best thing that's happened for marketers with its potential, along with Neilsen's, to measure which commercial are watch and which are not effectively killing bad ads.

    Dan also admitted mass marketing is over and suggested a new era of tribal marketing which he described as a combination of niche marketing, fragmentation and designer brand product development. With the fall of mass marketing and intrusion marketing, Dan said collaboration with consumers during product development and customer management, versus brand management, will lead to success.

    In the Q and A, an audience member asked how mass marketing can move to a more consumer focused approach if marketers continue to express their methods with warlike terminology such as targeting, acquiring, launching and blitzing. Windsor replied with a logical, straight forward answer. "when marketing becomes a dialog, this will change. A dialog is not a war."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

    AD:TECH Tuesday Night Party Report

    Do I Have Cellulite?

    Following Monday's all out, non-stop, multi-party bash, the social scene Tuesday night was less harried than Monday's with fewer parties, more one on one dinners and a slower pace. There were no exhibit hall parties as exhibitors were more concerned with packing up their booths as fast as possible once the hall closed so many headed out to dinner or drinks with friends to start the night.

    The first stop for our entourage was the Hilton Hotel bar. Yes, we know it's not very exciting but it was time well spent after standing up on the floor all day doing business. Drinks and appetizers were shared with Underscore Marketing's Tom Hespos and Jim Meskauskas as well as Integrated Media Solutions' Jason Oates. After debating the merits of the consumer control trend and, visiting Booble on our hand helds to pass time, Tom and Jim headed off to a client dinner and we cabbed our way down to the Eyeblaster Awards party at Show.

    Mommy, Where Am I?

    In what turned out to be both brilliant and, at the same time, confusing event planning, the Eyeblaster Awards party was held at the same venue as the Bluelithium AD:TECH After Party. The brilliant part was once at the Eyeblaster Awards, there was no need to venture out into the cold to another club to attend the Bluelithium party. The not so brilliant part occurred when Show and Bluelithium attempted to clear the place of everyone to effectively restart their party fresh. After about one half hour of nudging by bouncers, music lowered by DJ's and raised lights, it became clear no one already present was going to leave simply to stand in line outside in the cold waiting to get back in. Not logical. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the DJ kicked off the Bluelitium party with a simple "Welcome to the Bluelithium party" announcement. We don't know our music very well but we'd describe the style as a form of Latin-laced dance pop.

    We Cool. We Groove

    For its small size, Show handled the crowd quiet well. While filled to capacity, our group found an area to the right of the stage in the front of the venue that was spacious enough to move about and talk without tearing a vocal chord. We met Neal Sheridan from HomeStore and the crew from Catalano Lellos & Silverstein including new media hires Ami Hoberg and Mike Valentin and graphic designer Alice Anda. Both Mike and Alice ripped up our little corner of the dance floor with their smooth moves. Even though Alice had the urge, no amount of persuading could get the two of them up on the platform in the center of the floor. That didn't stop her from attempting to persuade us to hop up and become the joke of AD:TECH New York 2004 with our far less than acceptable dancing skills. Luckily, sobriety was in attendance and the suggestion was politely declined.

    Crises averted, it was good fun to hang with the two and to marvel at Alice's uncanny ability to know, and lip synch, the lyrics to every song the DJ threw down. Not to mention looking at the cute pictures of her and her dog on her camera.

    We Are Like So hot!

    While our group never made it up, there were people that did manage to find their way up to the various platforms throughout Show. Yes, the requisite AD:TECH table/pole dancers were in attendance causing hundreds of cameras to flash away in what could only be described as a digital drool fest. While flashes lit up the club, two of the dancers climbed up on the bar - which just happened to have a pole in the middle of it - and began grinding and thrusting as onlookers crowded for an unobstructed view. The third dancer climbed onto a raised platform in the back of the club and clearly possessed the highest level of thrustability. View the clip off the pic link below and you'll agree.

    The night ended conversing with our favorite AD:TECH friend with whom more Polaroid pictures were exchanged and an enjoyable cab ride home was shared.

    There are many, many more full sized pictures and a video clip for your enjoyment here. Be sure to check out Bluelithium's professional photographs of the event. They make ours look horrific. Oh, but wait. We meant to go for that blurry style.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

    November 09, 2004

    AD:TECH Booth Babes: Found

    We Want Your Traffic!

    After a day and a half of endless searching, frustration and withdrawal, one company finally stepped up to the plate to deliver the trade show staple, booth babes. Card Traffic, an affiliate marketing, get-out-of-debt company had the women searching for affiliate traffic while turning male conference attendees into gawking, drooling highscool boys. Of course, the woman, Mandy Ashford, Erin Schmidt and others were very pleasant as well as knowledgeable about the company.

    Wearing T-shirts with "Got traffic? Stop by...let's talk" emblazoned across their curvaceous chests, the girls had a throng of men following them around the exhibit hall, all feigning composure while thoughts far from those considered composed raced through their head. That aside, the presence of the "Card Traffic Girls" was a welcome addition to the second day of booth schmoozing. Another picture here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

    Publishers Work to Increase User Base

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    The half-full attended Web Publisher's forum was moderated by OPA President Michael Zimbalist. The panel included CBS Marketwatch Publisher Larry Kramer, Washingtonpost.com CEO & Publisher Caroline Little, New York Times Digital CEO Martin Nisenholtz and Weather Channel President Debora Wilson.

    Zimbalist opened the session with an overview of market conditions and then questioned the publishers on the current market is treating them.

    Marketwatch's Kramer says his users have become more and more engaged in the site and that implementing behavioral targeting has provided an increase in value of each page of 3-4 times. Page design has been modified to lure users deeper into the site.

    Washingtonpost.com's Little explained 80 percent of site users are not local necessitating page redesign to insure visitors know they are on the site. Additionally, she is considering the launch of two separate homepages catering to the specific expectations of local users versus national users. Times Digital Nisenholtz says the site sees 13-14 million users per month each spending between 38 and 40 minutes on the site. He considers this “not acceptable” and is building out the back of the site with more content as well as adopting rss feeds and syndication as methods of bringing additional users.

    Moderator Zimbalist then asked the panel to comment on the increasingly distributed nature of the web and the emergence of RSS. Little says coming in through the home page is an old model and coming in sideways is the new method or arrival for most users. As well, the site has begun to write headlines differently online than off to more effectively attract search engine traffic. WeatherChannel's Wilson her site has been an early adopter of wireless delivery and aims to "surround the consumer with weather info: no matter where they are."

    All publishers agreed that paid subscription models are not a priority nor are they a viable revenue stream at this point. Most publisher also agreed that combining sales efforts with offline properties has been a challenge as well due to the differing language of the two media and, at times, opposing sales goals.

    When asked by a by an audience member how weblogs are affecting their sites, Nesenholtz say the New York Times has embraced weblogs and now links to them from some online articles. He says he "sees nothing wrong with pointing to another sources of content.” This, along with the implementation of RSS feeds, Nisenholtz sees as more of a user service rather than a revenue channel for the site.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

    AD:TECH Monday Night Party Report

    Where Do I Click?

    It was a very busy afternoon and evening socially at AD:TECH Monday with at least six parties vying for attendees attention. Kicking off the party scene was old standby TribalFusion which hosted its end-of-day exhibit hall party with beer, wine and finger food. Since the party was held in the exhibit hall, TribalFusion's party is always an interesting mix of business and anticipation of what's to come later at night. Partaking in the party spirit, DoubleClick's Rick Bruner mugged for a shot with Did It.com's frogs.

    Once the exhibit hall cleared out, attendees headed down to the hotel bar where Overture held its Mixer providing attendees, perhaps for the first time today, a place to sit down. relax and spend some time with business associates in a more informal environment. A full compliment of buffet items were available to cater to all food preferences - as long as those preferences were limited to fried food. The day's hunger won out over any concern for cholesterol levels.

    Next up was the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association's get together held at Whiskeys. The venue was, for once, conducive to conversation even if the lighting was such that significant squinting was required to see who you were talking to. Open bar had a way of making this irrelevant. The center of the party was DMC Founder Justin Kirby who was decked out, head to toe, in a shimmering white suit. Just before leaving, a conversation with Pod Digital Design Principal Liz Curran and her co-principal husband ensued leading to the discovery the Curran's living a stone's throw from our little Massachusetts town.

    Please Don't Kiss Me

    Then it was over to 327 West 44th to Babalu for the 212 Networking event, along with BlogAds Henry Copeland, which turned out to be the first throb-fest of the evening. Joining the entourage were iCrossing's David Berkowitz and eMarketer's Waisum Tam. For some unexplained reason, the DJ had an odd fascination with eighties Michael Jackson music that grew in volume to the point where head bobs, ear screaming and hand signals became the only means of conversing. That said, the evening connected many long time industry vets including Underscore Marketing President Tom Hespos and a very pretty woman in a long pink coat with a beautiful smile who's name we were, sadly, unable to obtain.

    Shifting gears to the late night events, it was TribalFusion's turn again to play party host. This time, the ad network hosted a party at the P.M. club. When entering, it was surprisingly quiet compared to the earlier 212 Networking party but within an hour, rising from the plush, booth-style couches became a fruitless endeavor. Thankfully, the company a JWT'er who engaged Tam in a boisterous conversation about weblogs and one woman from “can't remember the name of the agency” who engaged in the intriguingly repetitious behavior of checking messages on her cell phone, smiling beautifully and pulling her short black skirt down made leaving the couch unnecessary.

    Once we did tear ourselves away from the enjoyable company seated at our comfy couch, the final throb-fest of the night was up next at Crobar. We're not sure who hosted this party but there were a lot of banners hanging inside the venue with the words “traffic” on them. The Crobar party continued the baffling need for sponsor companies to create VIP areas that end up more crowded than the non-VIP areas.

    Thankfully, the delightful Tia Fix, now with MagicJupiter, was there with her pre-historic Barbie Polaroid camera to snap pictures framed by frilly, Barbie-like borders. While it was amusing to experience the gut-pounding dance music - again, an odd fascination with eighties Michael Jackson - , the writhing bodies on the dance floor and the ubiquitous booty shaker in the VIP booth next door, the cell phone clock was delivering a very clear message. It was time to go home. We did and we're glad as we write this on a semi clear-headed Tuesday morning as opposed to a hangover induced Tuesday afternoon.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

    November 08, 2004

    Word of Mouth Marketing Needs Clear Definition

    wom097097.jpg

    Moderated by Edelman Catalyst Group Strategic Consultant Justin Zwiren, this session is the first of two AD:TECH session focused on word of mouth and viral marketing. The panel included VBMA Co-Founder and DMC CEO Justin Kirby, P & G Tremor CEO Steve Knox, New Media Strategies Founder and CEO Pete Snyder and BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter.

    Zwiren began the session discussing how companies can listen to consumers to avert disaster through monitoring chats are reading weblogs. Much of the session centered on transparency - how much should be disclosed to the consumers in a word of mouth or viral marketing campaign. BzzAgent's Balter said no cash should exchange hands when a word of mouth network is created by a marketer and it's better to wait for consumers to join rather than actively recruit. DMC's Kiry question whether transparency, if intended, is even possible. Recent attempts by Mazda, which created a fake blog to promote a new vehicles was not branded in any way by Mazda but was "found out" by consumers in less than two days causing Mazda to eat crow and pull the site. Yet, BzzAgent's Balter pleaded expressly to marketers in the room to be transparent in their viral efforts or the medium would be killed.

    Terms such as "talkability" and "Spreadability" have become vernacular for methods of measurement now being explored by viral and buzz marketers. Moderator Zwiren posited “conversation rating points” emerging as a comparable measure to gross/target rating points. While forms of measurement begin to emerge, DMC's Kirby lended some common "conversation" measurement saying, "we're not going to measure every cocktail party conversion - most people are there to get drunk or get laid."

    Following the panel conversation, an audience member asked how viral marketers are insuring children are not being blindly taken advantage of with some of these efforts. While not addressing detail, both BzzAgent's Balter and Tremor's Knox stated emphatically when teens are involved, parents are approached as well and explained how their children are involved in these efforts.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Proactive Brand Management of 'Grave Importance'

    Continuing AD:TECH coverage, this session, Proactive Branding Showcase, was moderated by Maven Networks SVP Susan Bratton. On the panel were GSD&M Strategy Director Dave Evans, Nikon VP of Marketing Jerry Grossman and DiamlerChrysler Director of Interactive Communications Bonita Stewart.

    Bratton began by describing proactive branding as a "subject of grave importance and interest." Bratton introduced the panelists who each gave a short presentation of the work they've done to proactively "brand" their brands. GSD&M's Evans began by explaining how his agency approaches branding work for its clients describing the agency's "purposed-based branding" as achieving "sustainable results for brands that have a genuine purpose." He then ran through a litany of clients and the work his agency has done but revealed little details.

    When the first of the two marketers, DiamlerChrysler' Stewart spoke, much more meat was provided. Stewart gave an overview of the introductory campaign for the Chrysler 300 that involved a multi-media branding effort coupled with several direct marketing and web efforts.

    A primary goal of the branding effort was to shed the “old” Chrysler image and part of this was achieved with a teaser campaign that showed the vehicle but not the manufacturers nameplate leaving consumers to guess. The direct marketing component involved asking consumers for their names (via the web) in exchange for Chrysler revealing the name of the vehicle. Noted as a positive, 58 percent, when asked to guess the car's manufacturer named other manufacturers including Bentley and Mercedes - a crowd Chrysler was hoping to appeal to.

    Next was Nikon's Grossman who began with a not so necessary branding 101 explanation, but then moved on to embrace an aspect of branding most copywriters are loathe to admit - no one reads body copy. Grossman then proceeded to explain how Nikon used various media to provide more and more detailed information as consumers required it. Lastly, Grossman explained how the company developed a photo school which was promoted as a means to both educate and to bring consumers physically into contact with Nikon products.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

    AD:TECH Kicks Off

    doubleclickbooth.jpg

    Contrary to Sunday night where virtual cobwebs were hanging in the AD:TECH exhibit area of the Hilton, this morning the hotel was abuzz with thousands of attendess registering, meeting, greeting, and checking out exhibitors booths, which, miraculously are in a dramitically different state than they were last night. In the registration area, there were two characters dressed up like Microsoft butterflies asking for business cards and offering attendees a chance to win a Rio. DoubeClick provided the closest thing to a "booth babe" this year with a beach, complete with a woman sunning herself while reading a book and being fanned by a male "servant."

    Click here for more pictures including a pair of hotties registering. Hey, it'a a trade show.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

    Nike Gets Chinese Ad Translation Wrong

    Tian, the ever vigil Chinese marketing monitor points to a Nike ad that was translated incorrectly. While translations are always a grey area, Tian says Nike intended headline, "Extinguish fire from the base" ended up reading, "Extinguish fire but with base." He points out a few other problems but it does not seem to be is bad as the classic Chevrolet Nova/Nogo translation.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

    November 07, 2004

    Viral Agency Steals Ogilvy & Mather UK Domain Name

    Viral advertising agency ASABAILEY has placed a well-aimed left hook on the chin of O&M, by scooping up http://www.ogilvymather.co.uk for £4.95.

    Is this underhanded, cheap attack from the viral team, or is O&M and other agencies, fair game for a stunt such as this? What was the team trying to prove? If it was to make a big established ad agencies look outdated - it worked. ASABAILEY teases the agency even more with a little ad that reads, "If you understood the modern brand... ...you'd understand how to protect it."

    The lesson is simple and clear, check your own URL and protects your brand on and offline, for the cost of a couple of domain names you could save your business a whole load of trouble.

    UPDATE: Asa Bailey gets interviewed by PR WEEK about the stunt and about viral advertising.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

    The Eve of AD:TECH New York

    googleboothprep.jpg

    On the eve of New York's AD:TECH and with just a few hours to go, exhibitors were busy setting up for the storm of more than 5,000 expected attendees. At 6PM, boxes were strewn throughout the exhibit hall, booths appeared half built and piles of registration materials were quickly being organized. The work is cut out but if history's a guide, everything down to the last tchotchke will be in place.

    Intermingled with all this activity were the New York Marathon runners, their support teams and their families, all most likely looking forward to a relaxing dinner after a grueling day.

    Click here to see all the event set up pictures including PointRoll's FatBoy who appears to have been relegated to the corner, perhaps for bad behavior.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

    November 05, 2004

    Reality TV Series to Monitor Death

    London's Channel 4 is searching for volunteers to have their body viewed as it decomposes after death. The show, "Dust to Dust," will aid scientists in their quest to better understand the process of decomposition and aid forensic pathologist to better determine time of death in murder investigations. Thankfully the show won't be filmed in real time sparing viewers the nightly agony of waiting for a fingernail to drop off or an orfice to pustulate.

    Apparently, the documentary will air when enough volunteers die and and the English countryside is ripe with the smell of death. We don't know if we want to but we'll thank Adrants reader Charley Brough anyway for "forcing" us to write about this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Akademiks Clothing Gets Slapped For Giving Head on Bus

    I'm Getting Brain

    Hip-hip clothier Akademiks has raised the ire of New York's MTA for slipping sexually suggestive language into a transit campaign. In one ad, a hottie showing bootie is reading a book alongside the headline "Read Books, Get Brain" implying to the unsuspecting that reading makes you smart. Well, little do most know "get brain" means get head - the sexual kind. Needless to say, the MTA is angered by being hoodwinked with hip terminology and has vowed to take down the poster the New York Daily News reports.

    The headline was no oversight. It was intentional as explained by Akademiks Ad Designer Anthony Harrison who said, "We knew this. It's coded language, city slang. Teens know what it means but the general public doesn't." It's now likely the term "get brain" will be retired for yet another inventive method of describing that particular means of relieving sexual tension.

    The campaign also appears around the country in Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. At least until they read the Daily News article.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Newsday Caught Red Handed in Continuing Circulation Fraud

    The Long Island Press surprised a Newsday employee as he was tossing undelivered Newsday ad circulars and papers dated for the following Sunday into a dumpster. As LIP photographers snapped away, the Newsday employee pleaded with the reporter, "C'mon guys, don't do this to me, please. I got kids. I got a mortgage to pay. I need to do this. This is my only source of income."

    Uh huh.

    In the midst of circulation scandals, Newsday appears to be continuing its practice of overprinting and dumping to maintain circulation base.

    The Long Island Press also states Newsday appears to be creating phantom credit card numbers and putting non-subscribers with delinquent accounts back on the circulation.

    We think there' a new rash of nasty calls from advertisers inundating the Newsday phone lines right about now.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

    Assvertising Gives Way to Buttvertising

    In a knock off of assvertising, changes in football (soccer for those in the U.S.) regulations now allow coprporate logos on the backside of player's shorts.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Future of Advertising Bitchfest Continues

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Pontiac G6 Embeds Self in WE's Cinematherapy

    Following the car giveaway on Oprah, Pontiac is extending its reach into the realm of product placement with embedded appearances in the WE Women's Entertainment Cinematherapy show, a movie showing with bookended commentary. The car will appear at the beginning and end of the show when the hosts introduce and then review the movie. During those periods, the car will be driven while the hosts discuss the movie as well as show off the car's features.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

    November 04, 2004

    Wendy's Dumps Mr. Wendy

    Well that was quick. And mercifully so. It seems Wendy's and McCann came to their senses and have cancelled this poor excuse for an ad campaign after less than a year. Granted, following up Dave Thomas is a challenge but the Mr Wendy campaign definitely fell into the "what were they thinking?" category.

    The campaign will cease at the end of the month and McCann is expected to launch new creative in December. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    Mildly related: A Wendy's training video made in the 80's.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Kylie Minogue Launches New LoveLine Lingerie

    Shocking audiences by appearing fully clothed, Kylie Minogue introduced a new line of lingerie Wednesday in London. Appearing not so fully clothed were a collection of the usual runway hotties strutting the new Foxy Fishnets, Peek-a-Boo suspenders and underwear styles. As Kylie stood up to introduce the line, photographers can be heard in the back ground yelling, "Kylie, turn around." "Kylie, bend down." Alas, all they wanted was ass.

    Fleshbot points to the hotties doing there thing here and in a video here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Jessica Simpson to Launch Clothing Line

    Timed to deflect attention away from sister Ashlee's unfortunate Saturday Night Live mishap, Jessica Simpson has entered into a $10 million licensing agreement with New York's Andrew Sports Club to introduce a line of junior sportswear (Jessica Juicy?), kid's clothes, dresses, hats, watches, jewelry and, of course, underwear. The line will hit stores in time for next year's back-to-school Simpson recently debuted a line of edible body fragrance and a line of branded home furnishings has been mentioned as well. Simpson will introduce the clothing line on her MTV show, The Newlyweds.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Cartoon Campaign Promotes Detroit Pistons

    Paying tribute to the seventies cartoon "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," Minneapolis-based Olson + Co. has created a new ad campaign for the Detroit Pistons. The ad campaign, called "Interplanetary Pistons," consists of two minute spots (which can be viewed from the Piston's website) that mirror the look and feel of the "Cosby" cartoon and aim to portray millionaire basketball players as appealing to regular homies in the hood.

    Adrant queried an intern who worked at the agency during the creation of the campaign who said, "I interned at O+CO when this was just an arbitrary idea. I was sent all over the city to hunt down old tapes of Fat Albert episodes. No one thought the it would see the light of day, and now its making a buzz" The agency came to the realization that cartoons aren't just for kids.

    Grownups like them too. "The mistaken stereotype is to say that animation is a child's treatment. That's really not true," said former Campbell Mithun CEO Howard Liszt.

    The first spot debuted this week at the team's season opener and will also be shown on local Detroit TV and on the web. The videos compile a selection of NBA stars, such as Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming, as "guest villains" who go up against a group of "superhero" Pistons.

    Olson + Co. has created nine of the videos so far.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

    Reality Series to Choose Next SNL Cast Member

    Lorne Michaels, who we weren't sure was still alive, has decided to use the reality television genre to seek out his next SNL comic. He will reportedly play the now overdone Donald Trump-like overlord firing bad comics until there's just one comic left standing. Sound familiar? It should.

    NBC has a similar show called Last Comic Standing. The SNL comic hunt reality series is set to debut next summer.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

    YellowPages.com Acquired By SBC and BellSouth

    SBC and Bell South have created a joint venture that will marry YellowPages.com, BellSouth's SmartPages.com and SBC's RealPages.com into one very large national telephone directory which will debut early next year. MarketingVOX reports the deal is worth close to $100 million. The new corporate office will be created in Pasadena, CA for the operation.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Teens Girls Not As Fickle As Once Thought

    Ypulse points to a recent study by Harris Interactive examining teenage girl's brand loyalty. The study found the teens have become so saturated with marketing they have turned into savvy, budget-conscious shoppers who will stick with a brand once they've found one they like.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

    BizNetTravel Relaunches Travel Log

    Business-focused travel agency BizNetTravel has relaunched its travel log, a frequently updated compendium of travel topics including travel news, featured destination overviews, travel guides and advice from seasoned travelers. It is now written by Olivier Travers, a business consultant with a bent for traveling.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)

    November 03, 2004

    Peter Arnell Thinks Different

    Writing in The New York Times, Stuart Elliot profiles Arnell Group's Peter Arnell who has, over the years, become known for his winning projects away from other agencies. Most recently, Arnell Group won an assignment from appliance maker Electrolux, currently with Lowe & Partners.

    Arnell has also handled projects for Diageo, Mars, Reebok, Unilever and the not so great project for Diamler Chrysler now known as the Celine Dion Disaster. Nobody's perfect.

    Arnell has moved beyond marketing and advertising and into product and store design as well. "In this iPod economy, clearly design has become one of the most important differentiating tools for brands," Mr. Arnell said. "It's a powerful place to be these days." Currently, Arnell is designing a store for Jacob the Jeweler in Manhattan and a store for Reebok's Rbk line of clothing in Philadelphia.

    In an intriguing move, Arnell has taken on a project for Home Hero, makers of home fire extinguishers to make the products more fashion-friendly. Of the fire extinguishers, Arnell says, "it's so ugly, nobody wants to leave it on a counter. We need a product like what Braun did with coffee makers." Perhaps some things are just better left in the closet but he gets an A for effort.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

    Spammers Have Fun With Blondes

    Blondes are good for more than fun according to spammers. A recent study from BlackSpider Technologies has found spammers who lace their messages with blonde jokes are more likely to have their messages pass through spam filters. Filter technology identifies email that contain blonde jokes as just friendly emails between friends and does not identify them as spam. Expect an increase in Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears "joke" email coming soon to an inbox near you.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

    POPstick Launches Social Network Marketing Product

    Hoping to cash in on the popularity of social networks such as Ryze and Friendster as well as the Xanga and Livejournal blog communities, POPstick has launched POPstick Outburst, a social network marketing product that "entices consumers to participate in online communities centered on branding initiatives" Now if that sounds like a lot of marketing blather, check out the demo video.

    The company also announced agency vet Steve Dworin as president. Dworin helped EURO RSCG move from a fragmented holding company into a single, cohesive worldwide agency with billings exceeding $8B, was once named the youngest CEO in the history of N.W. Ayer & Partners and was a partner at Deutsch/Dworin, now Deutsch, Inc., where he helped increase revenues from $30MM to more than $400MM in just three years.

    If brands use Outburst to truly listen and monitor consumer insight regarding the brand, the move could be a success and very beneficial to both marketer and consumer. If, on the other hand, the communities devolve into yet another channel for brands to tout their product, they will be shut down by users faster than David Spade goes through girlfriends.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Mobile Bedroom Promotes IKEA Store Opening

    Tian points out IKEA's use of a mobile bedrooms to promote a store opening in Tempe, Arizona. Tian reports the mobile bedrooms have been seen throughout the Phoenix metro area and on the streets of Tempe. The mobile bedroom is mounted on the back of a retrofitted Ford van, outfitted with IKEA's Fall furniture line and has two inhabitants in their pajamas going about their morning routine as onlookers watch. And no, they aren't doing that. This is a G rated promotion.

    IKEA has used this modified out of home approach to advertising before.

    Last month IKEA hung 39 mattresses from the ceilings of major Paris raliway stations

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

    November 02, 2004

    Nike Promotes New Shoe With Blaxploitation

    Nike has launched a website called Shoxploitation to promote its new shoe, the Shox Neo. A video on the site pays tribute to the blaxploitation trend of the seventies and introduces the shoe's "playas" trailer style. The shoe hits stores this month.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

    Metro Says Vote Or Die

    Metro USA teamed up with the Vote or Die campaign this Election Day, November 2nd, in an effort to motivate young Americans to vote. The national Vote or Die campaign has been powered by Citizen Change and produced by entertainer Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to combat voter apathy among young Americans.

    Metro hand promoters were located throughout New York, Philadelphia and Boston and outfitted in Vote or Die t-shirts. The Vote or Die t-shirts were designed and supplied by Sean John clothing. The shirts have become popular by celebrities such as P. Diddy, G Unit’s 50-cent and influential public figures who want American youth to get out and vote.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Copy Machine Voices Opinion On Paper

    One of the most unbearable moments of truth in business comes when standing in front of a copy machine assuming, while acknowledging the hopelessness of that assumption, the machine will dutifully perform its job. In this commercial, when presented with the dreadful "paper jam" indicator, a woman reacts in the usual fashion by taking her anger out on the machine. But, as we find out, it's not always the copy machines fault and this copy machine wants her to know that.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: American Legacy Foundation Launches New Campaign

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Copywriter Misunderstands Weblogs, Feels Threat to Livelihood

    Bob Bly, who's been a copywriter forever, doesn't like weblogs.

    Expressing that opinion would be welcomed if Bly had a proper understanding of the platform. After reading his article about the topic on DMNews, it is clear he has no idea what he is talking about.

    Bly writes, "The first is that most blogs I encounter are rambling, streams-of-consciousness musings about a topic of interest to the author, largely bereft of the practical, pithy tips that e-zines, Web sites and white papers offer." Apparently, Bly has only reader the Xangas and LiveJournals of teenage girls. There are many fine, business focused weblogs with valuable and intelligent content for business professionals published today. For a taste, visit Rick Bruner' s Business Blog Consulting which is a compendium of business weblogs.

    Bly then writes, "The second problem involves distribution. With an e-zine, once the reader subscribes, he gets it delivered to him electronically every week or month or however often you send it. But with a blog, the reader has to go out and proactively look for it. And since your contributions to your blog may be irregular and unscheduled, he has no way of knowing when something new of interest has been added." Mr. Bly has obviously never heard of RSS or newsreaders which deliver the content of a weblog, post by post, to a person's desktop in real time without all the baggage in most HTML e-zines. Not to mention the need to sift through spam just to get to the email. By the way, didn't the term "e-zine" go out with the 90's? Bly digs himself in even deeper, "And that’s another of my complaints with blogs in particular and the Web in general: the ease with which people can post and disseminate content. "The best thing about the Web is that anyone can publish on it; the worst thing about the Web is that anyone can publish on it," a computer magazine columnist once observed." Mr. Bly one of the most powerful things the weblog publishing platform does is enable many voices to be heard. It's called Citizen's Media. Why should voice a opinion be limited in any way? We can certainly understand why that might threaten your multi-million dollar annual fees earned by writing all those overpriced newsletters for major corporations.

    Further illustrating his misunderstanding, Bly writes, "Blogs are, by virtue of being a form of online diary, like diaries: rambling, incoherent and more suited for private thoughts than public consumption. If you have something of value to share, many better formats exist for doing it online than by blogging, including white papers, e-zines and Web sites." Blogs are only rambling incoherent diaries if they are written that way. The weblog publishing platform does not perpetuate a particular writing style. It just makes it easier to publish thought - good or bad. And white papers? Who reads those anymore? All you get out of white papers is high level marketing blather and who needs that? Oh wait, you do Bob. Writing them pays your salary.

    UPDATE: Business Blog Consulting's Rick Bruner makes the case for weblog's contribution to ROI.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

    Postal Service Band Teams With Postal Service

    Rather than suing the band for co-opting its name, the U.S. Postal Service has entered a marketing agreement with Postal Service, the band. "We could've abandoned the name," the band's record label Sub Pop Owner Jonathon Poneman said, "but it would've been a significant setback. Name recognition is very important to us. While they've certainly settled on a popular name, one wonders what sort of hostage situation they've found themselves in. The band will play an exclusive concert for senior Postal Service execs and the band's music may end up in USPS ad campaigns.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Hummer Promotes H3 With Black Eyed Peas Concertisement

    Hummer hosted a branded concert with the Black Eyed Peas in Anaheim, CA for 1,500 Hummer owners to promote its new, smaller H3 which sat on the stage as the band performed. The concert was held one day prior to the official unveiling of the vehicle at the California International Auto Show. Following the concert, a three minute video was shown and then placed on Hummer .com.

    Over the next four days, the video had 20,000 views, the heaviest traffic the site has ever seen.

    If that brand onslaught wasn't enough for concert-goers, XM Satellite Radio was there pimping its relationship with GM along with Cigar Aficionado which held a cigar tasting event. While brands have had a presence at concerts for a long time, full on brand sponsorships are relatively new. Following the traditional model of offering "content" for free, the growth of concertisements will depend heavily of musical artists's comfort with "selling out."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

    November 01, 2004

    Mercury Launches Online Soap Opera

    In an effort to "hip up" the brand, Mercury has launched Meet The Lucky Ones, an online soap opera-like webisode. It's a story written and produced in the style of a quirky independent film about the comic misadventures of a slightly dysfunctional family. The story unfolds over a five-week period and is told through an interlocking combination of Internet-delivered short films, coupled with interactive elements that reveal significantly more details about the characters and the plot than you get from the films themselves.

    The film shorts depict a droll and bland existence filled with odd twists worthy of an episode of Six Feet Under.

    Mercury's agency, Wunderman Detroit enlisted entertainment industry professionals to create the piece. Creator Kirt Gunn brought together a team of top talent, including: Director, Derek Cianfrance - 2003 Sundance Film Festival Award Winner for Best Cinematography, Quattro Noza; Executive Producers Jon Kamen and Greg Schultz of @radical media - Producer of the 2004 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature, Fog of War and of Fade to Black; Writer, Ed Herbstman - Da Ali G Show, Creative Consultants, Mother New York, and Musical Composer, Stephin Merritt - The Magnetic Fields.

    While it doesn't quite come off as an indie film so far, it does introduce radical (as ad campaigns go) topics such as murder and death at the same time tying it to a chance to win a new car. Quirky indeed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

    GM Adopts Weblogs With Launch of Smallblock Engine Blog

    GM has launched a weblog to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the smallblock engine. The first entry was October 21 and discusses how the Chevrolet Corvette became a sports car once it had the GM smallblock V-8 was put under the hood.

    Another couple posts review smallbock milestones over the last 50 years. Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole is highlighted as the man behind the creation of the engine. With proper syndication feeds, GM hopes, perhaps, to at least gather the following of some gearheads interested in this sort of thing. The blog sits on the domain gmblogs.com indicating other blogs may follow but currently, the page only sports a GM Blogs logo. A call to Hass MS&L, a GM public relations agency and the whois registrant of the site confirms the site is a GM initiative but referred calls to GM's corporate communications.

    We await callbacks.

    There are innumerable, un-branded car enthusiast sites available and time will tell whether branded sites such as this GM blog will see adoption. While the site is clearly GM produced, it would behoove GM to state clearly on the weblog GM is firmly behind it so as to ward off skeptics. If GM does, in fact, have plans to launch more weblogs, the medium could gain more mainstream corporate awarness and be embraced by many more companies likely sitting on the sidelines pondering the viability of the medium.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Newspapers Still Most Credible Medium

    As we all participate in the newspaper death watch, consumer are oblivious to our prognostications and still consider newspapers to be the most credible medium for news. In a recent InsightExpress study, Newspapers and local TV news ranked above other media as most credible.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

    First Men, Now Women Disappear From TV

    Among ABC, CBS and NBC, ratings for women 18-49 are down cumulatively 13 percent. For women 18-34, ratings are down even further at 16 percent. The drop offs are coming mainly from daytime soaps. Perhaps women have finally realized that their own lives are, in fact, more exciting than watching the same person have sex with 12 different people over the span of 30 years. John Consoli's got all the details over at MediaWeek.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

    Q4 Scatter Outlook Debatable

    Calling the Q4 scatter broadcast market a "leaky faucet," Carat USA Director of National Broadcast Andy Donchin says business is coming in "but it isn't flowing." MediaWeek's Megan Larson posits the uncertainty surrounding the election and the price of oil as possible causes for the low demand as well as the late start of some Q4 programs.

    Broadcast networks are doing business at or slightly above upfront prices; cable is a bit lower; movie studio money continues to flow.

    And, eyeballs continue to shift unexpectedly.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

    October 29, 2004

    Beckham Joins Lopez And Beyonce For Pepsi Threesome

    Actress Jennifer Lopez, singer Beyonce Knowles and Real Madrid star David Beckham are in Europe together filming a new commercial for Pepsi. The commercial is described as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Kill Bill." Sporting a budget of one million dollars, the commercial, set in the Far East, will pit Lopez and Beyonce against Beckham in a martial arts extravaganza.

    Beckham recently signed a $10 million five year deal with Pepsi.

    Beyonce joined Pepsi as spokesmodel in 2002 following Britney Spears and Lopez recently signed a deal joining the Pepsi threesome.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Advercan Debuts Can Top Advertising

    Joining the now lengthy list of "adver" media, Advercan has introduced can top advertising offering the potential to deliver 260 billion impressions per year. Five years in development, the six-layer plastic Avercan label serves as both an advertising medium and a "Cleancap(TM)" designed to keep the can top clean from the bottling plant to the store shelf. The company says the protective seal can thwart the spread of dirt, germs and other contaminants. It also fills up landfills quickly too but Advercan isn't promoting that small detail.

    "Advertisers are always looking for ways to reach consumers with unique new messaging," said Advercan founder Kenny Mac McClintock. "This label double-delivers: It promotes the advertiser, and creates cleaner can."

    McClintock adds the can top provides means to bottlers to reduce costs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Porsche Places Media Account in Review

    Porsche Cars North America has placed its 34 million media account in review.

    The account is currently with Omnicom's PHD and it is said four shops will be vying for the business. Presentations are expected in December.

    Lying through his teeth, Porsche rep Martin Peters said, "We have no issue with PHD, this is simply a matter of good business practice.

    Management rules require that we review from time to time."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Agency Gets Humble For Client

    David Burn of AdPulp calls attention to an outdoor campaign by tda advertising and design for their client Wahoo's Fish Tacos in which the agency cops to the truth while allowing their client to rise above.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

    AD:TECH Party Invites Hit Inboxes

    As the New York AD:TECH show approaches, inboxes are beginning to fill with party invites as companies vie for conference attendee's attention. Online ad network, Bluelithium, reprising its San Fancisco party of last May, has sent out a fancy Flash invite for an event that will be held at New York's Show Nightlife from 10 PM to 4 AM, Tuesday, November 9. Also hitting inboxes is an invite for the Tribal Fusion party to be held Monday night, November 8 from 9 PM to 1 AM. Tribal Fusion promises an open bar all night. Bluelithium promises an hour of open bar from 10 PM to 11PM. Plan accordingly.

    Tribal Fusion will also host the Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall on Monday from 5 PM to 6:30 PM. Following that, Overture will host The Overture Mixer from 6:45 PM to 8 PM. Without a moment to rest, the New York Interactive Advertising Club, 212, invites you to their event beginning at 8PM - location TBD. A full list of official AD:TECH social events is here.

    It's very likely other parties will pop up at the last minute making party coverage a frantic undertaking but we are here to help you party virtually if you choose not to do so physically.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

    Razor Magazine Sees Success At Expense of Larger Rivals

    "Media buyers are realizing that they can take a huge chunk of their budget for one page, one month, and get a diluted audience--or they can get into six other books that deliver that guy they are trying to reach," said Razor Publisher and Editor in Chief Richard Botto.

    Razor has seen growth rates of 130 percent bringing on new advertisers such as Ford and BMW while larger laddie books like Maxim which saw a 16 percent drop in newsstand sales through June and an 11 percent drop in ad pages through September.

    Botto says there's a big misconception about the current generation of men and that is, while they still enjoy pictures of hot models, they enjoy reading just as much. Razor provides for that with intelligent editorial and investigative pieces such as its recent story on the White House transition from Clinton to Bush.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

    October 28, 2004

    Kotex Brings Back 'Red Dot' Campaign

    First launched in 2000, Kotex has updated it's "Red Dot" ad campaign that puts forth an honest discussion about feminine care products. Created by Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign will include TV, print, sky mural and a mall tour. Other campaigns featured in this week's MediaPost Out to Launch column by Amy Corr include Nintendo's "Touching is Good" campaign, a $30 million national broadcast campaign for Canon, a holiday-themed point of sale campaign for Jose Cuervo, a new "Frozen" campaign for Stolichnaya, yet another "encourage teens to vote" campaign from Rock the Vote and Mekanism, an interactive Times Square billboard for Unilever's Dove asks "Wrinkled?" or Wonderful?" aside the picture of 96 year old Irene Sinclair, a stem cell research campaign from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and a radio campaign for Unisys.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

    PR Professionals Still Don't Get Blogging

    Dan Gilmore shares a PR pitch he received from a company that offers to "manage and monitor digital influencers" and how companies can use the service to take action against those who don't speak kindly about a company. The key element that public relations professionals do not understand about blogging and all Citizen's Media is that conversation can not be manage - it can be joined. Any company that thinks they can "manage" the conversations taking place through weblogs and other conversation-enabled media is asking for a backlash so powerful, the company could be brought to its knees. In this country and in any free country, people are not told what to say, they are asked why they said it and asked to converse about it. If a public relations entity seeks to influence thought, it should enter the conversation - not attempt to ban the conversation. (Make sure you read the insanely short-sited comment from Flackboy Kevin)

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Europeans Bail On American Brands

    GM is facing a $236 million loss and plans to lay off 12,000 employees in Germany. The Gap has announced a ten percent drop in European sales volume. Coca-Cola no longer symbolizes the American dream. Some pin these drops on the political situation. Others pin it on the falling European economy. What's certain is American brands are no longer viewed as favorably as they once were internationally. It may be time for some major, worldwide sucking up by both politicians and marketers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

    The Viral Awards Announces New Category, Award

    The Viral Awards, an international showcase of Viral and Buzz marketing, has announced a new category –The Hall of Fame. The new category has been created by the judging panel who intends to bring light to the best viral and buzz marketing efforts. The new category will be open to advertising campaigns that have created a hype or buzz, be it intended or not.

    Not to be outdone by traditional agencies need for self gratification, a new overall Award for The Best Viral Agency has been created in response to a number of self-esteem challenged ad agency types who have submitted entries.

    For those in need of a "hug," the deadline for entries is 5th November 2004. The Viral Awards will be held in London on 13th January 2005 at The London College of Fashion.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Sernovitz Takes Charge At WOMMA

    Andy Sernovitz has been named CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and aims to bring organization to the burgeoning word of mouth and viral marketing segments. He describes one facet of the organization as, "a reasonably organized industry effort can stamp out potential problems."

    Another association, the Viral & Buzz Marketing Association which focuses on "bottom-up", consumer-driven, peer-to-peer marketing, recently published a manifesto to define viral marketing.

    As the viral and word of mouth segments endeavor to define themselves, Sernovitz hopes these efforts will stamp out privacy and disclosure issues so the segment does not experience the fate of email which has been brought to it's knees by spam.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Brands: Converse Or Die

    Today's teens want to lead, not follow; do whatever they want, whenever they want; actively involve themselves in consumerism and expect to live forever. These and other wants where discussed at the second annual What Teens Want: Marketing to Teens Using Music, Movies and the Media held in Beverly Hills Tuesday. The upshot of the conferences seemed to be that marketers can n o longer "control" teens. While they take an active role in consumerism, they refuse to be talked down to and hered into a single direction. They demand control and are getting it. Teens do not understand a world once controlled by big media telling them what, when, where they will consume content.

    In iMediaConnection, Rebecca Weeks tells marketers they must change their ways writing, "effective marketing requires brands to demonstrate authenticity (voice brand opinions and stories and do not stray from it), be bold (make a statement that offers them something new), connect consistently (responses to messages in all media should be consistent or you'll lose their interest and trust), build relationships over time and learn to speak in the teen's own idiom."

    While that may not sound revolutionary in theory, it is revolutionary in practice as many marketers are not creating a "consistent connection" with teens by allowing a conversation nor are they providing the two way street to enable that connection. Brands are still guarded and controlled as if above reproach. Apart from providing capability to enable conversation, marketers are fearful of allowing the kind of conversation that might turn negative. In the long run, however, negative commentary is really a positive for a brand because, if heeded, it results in a better product. Teens want to be heard and they won't "do business" with a marketer who won't converse with them.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

    October 27, 2004

    Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie Prance NYC Streets Prepping For SL3

    With matching yippie dogs adorned with frilly pink coats, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were seen in New York City today filming for their upcoming FOX show The Simple Life 3.

    This time around, the pair will be in familiar territory visiting majot East Coast cities to work as interns for both Wall Street firms and as teachers assistants in classrooms. Missing, unfortunately, will be any hint of bovine-Hilton interaction.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Kahlua Launches $10 Million Television Campaign

    Allied Domecq Spirits has launched a new ad campaign for its Kahlua brand aimed at convincing consumers the brown stuff will make the daily grind less ordinary and easier to take. Aside from the fact that any alcoholic beverage will accomplish that, Publicis Worldwide has created a television spot showing everyday women provocatively walking with a leashed alligator; floating on an oversized lily pad; and admiring a pet tiger cub as if Kahlua instantly transforms one to exotic places.

    The spot culminates with a woman enjoying an splash of Kahlua.

    Ten $10 million television campaign will launch in November on national cable and local network affiliates.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Apple Extends U2 Relationship With Custom iPod

    Following the launch of an Apple iPod commercial featuring U2 and its new single, Vertigo, the Mac maker has launched a special edition iPod with a jet black front, red Click Wheel and the autographs of U2 band members etched onto the back. In natural co-promotion fashion, the iPod comes with a U2 poster and a $50 iTunes Music Store coupon to be used towards the purchase of "The Complete U2."

    UPDATE: Great Ashlee Simpson iPod spoof.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

    AMC Promotes 'FilmFakers With Microsite

    With a Heavy microsite, AMC is promoting its new reality series, FilmFakers, in which unsuspecting aspiring actors are led to believe they've just landed their big break in a horror film only to find out it's completely fake.

    The site promotes the series with a behind the scenes look at the creation of the cheesy horror flick. The series premieres Wednesday October 27 at 10PM.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Website Promotes Do It Yourself Democracy

    As if we need another, Do-it-yourself Democracy has just launched a website as a last-ditch effort to get people to vote before the election next week. The tag, "It’s your voice or theirs." is conveyed through the compelling flash intro and downloadable posters. The site, produced by advertising agency, McKinney (Durham, NC), includes links to help people become more-informed voters, discussion boards for voicing opinions, a link to a vote predictor that shows the current electoral vote count, and posters.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

    CMO Position Gaining Ground

    A recent study by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers pointed to a disconnect between marketing and corporate management.

    While 75 percent of respondents said marketing is far more important today that it was five years ago, while less than half agreed marketing is an issue that keeps CEO's up at night. Seventy percent said their marketing structure is undergoing restructure and the number of Fortune 1000 companies that have a CMO has risen to 47 percent. That lags far behind established positions of CE) (98 percent), CFO (91 percent), CIO (80 percent) and Chief HR Officer (83 percent).

    Writing on his weblog, ANA CEO says the CMO is an integral and necessary position for companies to successfully navigate the increasingly confusing marketing waters.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

    October 26, 2004

    Ponderance And Procrastination Hinders Agency Weblog Adoption

    As we've mentioned before, ad agencies can get a lot of mileage out of publishing a weblog. In this New York Times article, Nate Ives takes a look at the ad agency weblog landscape and queries insiders on the benefits agencies can gain from producing a weblog.

    Most importantly, weblogs grant agencies a streaming voice to the advertising community providing prospects a better grasp on both the tangibles and the intangibles of an agency and its culture. While flashy and creative, current agency websites are woefully inept at providing any sense of insight for the prospect. Agencies are always blathering on about thought leadership and expert opinion yet are loathe to share that with the industry for fear of leaking their "proprietary process." Deutsch COO offered perfect commentary on why, unfortunately, many agencies will never publish a weblog. "Blogs are in fashion, and it is easy to hop on the bandwagon and say that every company should have one. The questions any smart marketer should be asking are, 'Does this provide a platform to connect with their most relevant audiences and how will this address business objectives?' " "That's not to say we would never enter blogland," she continued, "but there is a fine line between being timely, topical and keeping current while making sure that we are doing what's best for our business long term."

    We'll excuse her for using the term "blogland" and for sounding like a press release by suggesting Nike's "Just Do It" tagline is a perfect response to that mouthful. Don't sit back and pontificate and perpetuate analysis paralysis. Put your voice into the marketplace now and win new business by doing so. New business presentations are extremely costly and have a low ratio of success. An agency published weblog is analogous to gathering new business prospects in a room everyday to impart agency knowledge that will help that prospect gain trust, insight and confidence in an agency. While it's unlikely an agency will ever win a piece of business directly from a blog post but it moves the client/prospect relationship to much firmer ground when the opportunity to stand in front of that prospect presents itself.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

    Stern and Powell Have On-Air BitchFight

    On Tuesday morning, Howard Stern called in to San Francisco's KGO AM 810 while FCC Chairman Michael Powell was being interviewed and engaged in a bit of verbal warfare.

    Stern told Powell he is ruining free speech and that the only reason he has the job is because of his famous father, Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell disagreed stating he was appointed during the Clinton administration when his father did not hold his current position. The two continued their exchange for ten minutes.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

    Verizon Wireless to Offer WeatherBug Service to Customers

    Verizon Wireless has teamed with WeatherBug to deliver local weather forcasts to Verizon Wireless Mobile Web 2.0 customers. Verizon Wireless customers can now access live weather information and alerts from WeatherBug's network of 7,000 local neighborhood WeatherBug Tracking Stations. In addition, customers can choose the WeatherBug Tracking Station closest to them at any time - whether they stay close to home, travel or want to view weather from a station across the U.S. - to receive live local weather and alerts. Customers can also view WeatherBug's extensive collection of community photos, and subscribers with camera phones can capture photos of weather as it is happening and submit the images directly to the WeatherBug Photo Community.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

    Meyer Golden Parachute Could Serve Many

    When Grey Global Chairman-CEO Ed Meyer gets his $87 million golden parachute as part of the WPP acquisition, he could:

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

    NBC Adds Five Second Delay to NASCAR Broascasts

    Following an October 3 NBC NASCAR telecast in which winner Dale Ernhardt Jr. said, in response to what the win meant to him, "It don't mean shit right now. Daddy won here 10 times," the network has bent over for a few party poopers who think the word shit somehow degrades human life and added a five second delay to all future NASCAR broadcasts.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Four Reasons to Use An Online Ad Network

    Writing in iMedia Connection, Acceleration Media Director Julie Jeancolas offers four reasons planners should consider ad networks for their clients. From reach in high quality environments to strong return on the dollar to the targeting technology, Jeancolas claims ad networks should be part of every media plan.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

    October 25, 2004

    Missy Elliot Gets Caught Bending Over For Virgin

    To promote its call and text bundles, Virgin mobile will launch an ad in the UK that features Missy Elliot getting herself into a rather awkward but very innocent position.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Nintendo Says Touching Is Good

    Touch Me Please

    Not to be left out of the sex sells game, gamemaker Nintendo is spicing up its advertising for the launch of its DS handheld device. With the tagline, "touching is good" cooed, in a television spot, by a sexy female voice, Nintendo plays on the early childhood memory of being told to keep one's hand to oneself. Which, of course, one never does.

    "When you're a kid you're always told you can't touch anything," said Nintendo VP of Marketing Perrin Kaplan. "Touching is good. You're grown-up now, so read it how you want."

    Print versions of the campaign, appearing in Maxim and Blender, include images of the typically well-endowed hottie accompanied by the headline, "How to Score!" The copy is laced with sexually-charged double entendres sure to grab the attention of sex-starved teenage boys.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Jeep Scales Two Penn Plaza

    In a promotion for its new Grand Cherokee, Jeep configured a shell of its new 2005 model and pulled it up the side of Two Penn Plaza last Thursday as 500,000 looked on.

    "Scaling a New York building positions the new Jeep Grand Cherokee at its rightful place in the market - above everything else," said Jeep marketing vice-president Jeff Bell. "We wanted to make an impossible-to-miss statement incorporating the hallmarks of the Jeep brand and the capability of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee."

    Stunt marketing at its finest.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Jaguar Launches Web Episodics

    Today, Jaguar will launch the first of a series of five videos to promote its new X-type model. In the videos people go through their mundane daily rountine until they see the new Jaguar. They then slip into an anime cartoon world in which their lives become far more interesting.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Ghosts, Dumb People and Elvis in TV Commercials This Week

    This week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week brings us a scare tactic spot from Partnership for a Drug-Free America in which a teenager who killed an old man keeps seeing his image, not-so-smart musicians trying to explain what CPR is for the American Red Cross, tailgating doofuses do their antics for Campbell's Chunky Chili, Whatabruger creates burger-envy, a guy hopes V8 will make him look hot for the neighborhood hottie, horror movie vingettes try to scare up interest for Mountain Dew Pitch Black, the unexplained fascination with Elvis is co-opted by AOL Broadband and Hasbro uses cartoon war figures to sell its board game HeroScape.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Sneaker Retailer Promotes Business With Sneaker Tuning

    Footwear retailer Finish Line is jumping on the consumer customization trend by sponsoring the Sneaker Pimp Tour. The was started in 2003 by sneaker fanatics who enjoy customizing their shoes with artwork and celebrity signatures. Finish Line teamed with New York agency Heavy to put the sponsorship together. While unable to directly attribute to the Tour, Finish Line Q2 sales increased 15 percent.

    Finish Line Creative Services Managing Director Sean Salter hopes the sponsorship continues to pay off saying, "Finish Line gets overlooked in the marketplace a lot. By reaching these influencers and showing them the wide variety of products available in the stores we have spread the word."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

    October 24, 2004

    Ashlee Simpson Croaks On Live TV

    It's usually forgivable when a musical artist makes a mistake or two while performing live but when the mistake is due to a technical malfunction of the pre-programmed music and voice track used because no musical group today seems capable of actually performing without a crutch, forgiveness is just not in the vocabulary. This was the unfortunate position Ashlee Simpson found herself in last night during her "musical performance" on Saturday Night Live. The music and voice track started before she was ready leaving Simpson and the band looking like fools onstage while engineers turned the vocal track down rather than have Simpson try to synch up with it again. What's worse was the song that started playing was the song she had already sung earlier in the show.

    In an extremely awkward situation, Simpson, dumbfounded, gyrated in a lame, lanky manner while her musicians switched tunes and began playing to cover the still audible vocals (as corrected in comments. In what is sure to be the most embarrassing moment of her life, Simpson, after pondering for a bit, walked meekly, and likely horrified, off stage as the band continued to play. Finally, a merciful engineer cut to commercial. It's a priceless television moment and one that is, unfortunately, sure to haunt her for the rest of her life.

    One wonders what is so wrong with singing live. Do artists and producers feel the public is too stupid to realize a live performance will sound different than a studio performance? That the public expects this pre-produced fakery? Have pop stars become so produced that they are helpless outside the studio? We have nothing against the girl but it's well know she's no singer without the help of a thirty track sound board. Media Drop has more including the fact Simpson is blames the screw up on her band whom she claims played the wrong song. This spoof is funny and, at the same time, very sad.

    UPDATE: Father Joe makes excuses.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

    October 23, 2004

    Movie Promoted With Theater Simulcast

    Teachers and elementary school students across the country will "climb on board" at 97 Regal Entertainment Group movie theatres across the country for a live, interactive workshop with Chris Van Allsburg, award-winning author and illustrator of 15 children's books including The Polar Express and Jumanji.

    Hosted by Regal CineMediaSM entertainment services, Warner Brothers Pictures and Houghton Mifflin Company, All Aboard With Chris Van Allsburg will be simulcast to 97 Regal, United Artists and Edwards movie theatres nationwide beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT / 12:30 p.m. ET. In a virtual classroom setting enabled by Regal CineMedia's satellite and digital video technology, Van Allsburg will share stories about his writing and inspiration, as well as answer pre-selected questions live from students in the theatres. Allsburg will also talk about how his book, The Polar Express, was transformed into the new movie The Polar Express, from Warner Bros. Pictures, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, about a doubting young boy who takes a train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. To help illustrate the discussion, students will get an exclusive preview of select segments from the film, which opens nationwide on November 10th.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Discovery Promotes Series With Hitler Wrap

    To promote its new Virtual History: The Secret Plot to Kill Hitler airing November 25, Discovery Channel has placed a wrap with the image of Hitler on the London newspaper Metro.

    The image superimposes Hitler's head atop a models body. Future Virtual History series will feature Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill surrounding the failed attempts to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

    October 22, 2004

    T-Shirt Speaks Truth About Ad Industry

    There's no hiding it. In the advertising industry, we make our livelihood by influencing the hearts and minds of consumers to open their wallets and buy our client's products. Urban Advertising doesn't try to conceal that truth and wants people to celebrate it with a T-shirt that proudly proclaims, "I'm being exploited by an ad agency." Now, when asked by our friends what we do all day, we don't have to go into a long-winded explanation - we can just buy them a shirt and they'll get the message.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

    New Contextual and Behavioral Ad Product Begs Another

    Contextual ad firm Adrelief has introduced a new product that combines the benefits of behavioral marketing's demographic database/site behavior targeting capabilities with contextual marketing's content focused targeting. Even though part of Adrelief's offering is creative services to develop the many versions of creative needed to make this approach effective, some believe the industry isn't ready because of its partial reliance on static and rich media banners - creative that is not easily changed on the fly.

    The introduction of this technology begs for another. One which would, in effect, develop static and rich media creative on the fly using a templated approach. Optimally, an approach whereby several graphic and text variables for the same unit of creative are developed, then cobbled together on the fly based on Adrelief's - or any other's - targeted delivery system.

    Recently launched Dotomi offers Direct Messaging which provides a step towards the templated approach by delivering database targeted ads to consumers by name and self-expressed interests. It's not clear whether behavioral targeting capabilities are part of the offering. While Dotomi does not provide behavioral targeting (and has no plans to) and is purely opt-in, it's not inconceivable that such an on-the-fly ad building technology would see the light of day or be in development already by other vendors. It's always easier said than done but it really boils down to one served ad unit simply "calling" for multiple creative elements rather than a single element to build the ad.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

    October 21, 2004

    Mazda Launches Blog to 'Viralize' Video

    As a follow up to a couple of viral videos, one of which shows a car crashing, which made their way around the web a while back, Mazda has launched a weblog, HolloweenM3, that includes yet another video purportered by the blogger to have been found on public access TV. In the video, called Phantasmagoria, a bunch of 20-somethings ride with ghouls doing the usual Holloween mischief while bangin' their heads to some metal. Not so oddly, the Mazda logo finds its way prominently into most shots. Next.

    Thanks to Jon Hurwitz for the tip.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Photo Assistant Promotes Art Project Using Crate And Barrel Catalog

    Hopping on the anti-555 number trend and in need of promotion for an upcoming art project, Marc Horowitz, while working as a photo assistant during the creation of the latest Crate and Barrel catalog, wrote his cell-phone number on a white board in a shot that made its way into the catalog to solicit calls for his project, The National Dinner Tour whereby he travels the country and has dinner dates with strangers to create a "social sculpture. Page 89 of the catalog features the "Hideaway Home Office" armoire whose open doors displayed the white board on which Horowitz's number appears. In an interview with New York Observer's Gabriel Sherman, Horowitz explained, "It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. When I was on the shoot, I saw that I could post my number and thought, 'Hey, this is free advertising!' So I jumped on it. The day the catalog came out, my phone started ringing.

    It hasn't stopped since. I have more than 75 dinners set up on this tour; last time, I only did 15."

    Crate and Barrel Director of Marketing and Advertising Kathy Paddor had not heard of the stunt until told by The New York Observer. "This was the first time we heard about this," she said. "Are we going forward with this kind of marketing initiative? No. This is not something we would go forward with."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Lindsay Lohan Spills Milk For 'Got Milk' Campaign

    Steering clear of Lohan breast-obsession and breast milk jokes, starlet of the minute Lindsay Lohan has achieved another rite of passage and joined the milk mustache ad campaign.

    Lohan is the latest in a long line of celebrities who have lent their support to the award-winning campaign, which was launched in 1995 by the nation's milk processors to help educate Americans about the health benefits of milk and increase milk consumption. Over the past decade, the milk mustache has become a part of pop culture and has helped slow the country's calcium deficit and raise awareness of the many reasons to drink milk.

    Of her appearance in the campaign, Lohan says, "I've always loved milk so it's really fun for me to be a part of the campaign. It's not only an honor, but I feel like it's such an important message to be getting out to other teenagers. I want my fans to know that I drink milk and they should too!" Perhaps this is just a PR ploy to pull attention from that other sort of drinking she does that isn't so wholesome.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Women's 'Broad' Ad Campaign Causes Complaints

    An ad campaign for the St, John's International Film Festival in Canada has caused several complaints for its use of a woman and her "set of boobs" accompanied with the headline, "films with broad appeal." High school student and festival goer Joanne Harris says the ad objectifies women and has no place at the festival. Mary Lewis, award-winning Newfoundland-raised short film director and the woman featured in the ads sees no problem. "The term 'broad' refers to a woman with smarts and chutzpah and personality," she said. "I'm just surprised because it strikes me as such first-wave feminism...that an image is too sensual to represent the Women's Film Festival seems to me to be very backward and prudish." I guess we can't really complain if the objectified doesn't object. Thanks to Adrants reader Charley Brough for the tip.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Pregnancy Test Suspense Sells Harlequin Book

    Pregnant? Who Cares.

    Writing in the New York Observer, Gabriel Sherman points out an ad in the current issue of Glamour for Ontario based publisher Harlequin who is promoting the new Vicki Hinze Silhouette Bombshell book Body Double. The ad shows a woman from the back sitting on a toilet with a pregnancy test in her right hand and the book Body Double in her left. The ad's tagline reads, "Silhouette Bombshell. No suspense like it." The woman is so entranced by the book she finds the results of her pregnancy unimportant. This is certainly a unique approach to selling a book as most publisher ads feature boring, angled cover shots of the book along with a collection of adoring quotes.

    Harliquin Marketing Director Anita Sultmanis explains the strategy. "We wanted to launch a new line of books and, as we were doing that, we wanted to leverage the most appealing aspects of the series, which is suspense. That's what the ads do. The [pregnancy-test] ads tap into the most suspenseful moment of women's life. To show Silhouette Bombshell is suspenseful, we stacked it up to a suspenseful moment women can identify with."

    Other ads in the campaign depict equally suspensful moments such as a woman sitting in front of her television holding a lottery ticket in one hand, the book in the other as the results display on the screen.

    As in the toilet ad, she can't take her eys off the book to see if she has won the $26 million prize. The campaign was created by Toronto based Zig and will include a $2 million media spend in magazines such as Lucky, Cosmopolitan and People. Click the image to see the full sized ad.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

    National Geographic Celebrates Growth With Big Fat Ad

    Some might call this offensive to the weight-challenged, but this new trade ad for National Geographic that appeared in Ad Age does a nice job of melding imagery with copy. Referring to exploding sales and fatter issues brought on by a 35 percent increase in sales over last year, the ad is laced language that relates magazine growth to body size. In some instances, fatness is a good thing - Vogue's September issues - and in some cases it's not - 500 pound people who can't lose weight even though they starve themselves trying. Whether offensive or not, it's a daring use of imagery in our ridiculously politically correct culture.

    Click the image to view the full sized ad.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

    eBay Begets egay

    Continuing the niche-ification of all things media, a UK group on October 20 has launched egay, an eBay-like site design for the gay and lesbian community. For the first two month of the launch, placement of auction items will be free.

    Following that fees are said to be 30 percent lower than eBay fees.

    egay Founder and Managing Partner Craig Busst described the site as one that "aims to provide not only a great service, but a distinctive and credible website that serves the requirements of the gay, lesbian, bi-Sexual, transsexual and transvestite communities." He added, We plan to develop the site, introducing egay chat and egay dating, but our main focus will continue to be the quality of service."

    Portions of egay profit will be donated to the HIV and AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Bill Clinton 'Featured' In ALLTEL Commercial

    In response to an article in Adweek in which ALLTEL said they were looking for ideas, Harry Webber and his DoubleThink group have put together a humorous campaign for the Midwestern telecom provider featuring Bill Clinton.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

    October 20, 2004

    Wiz Radio Launches In-Bathroom Radio Network

    Once a haven for stress free rumination, the men's public rest room has been under siege by marketers desperate to get their claws into unsuspecting consumers at all costs. Following other wiz-related bathroom advertising, I Heard It Media Group in Hartford, has launched WIZ RADIO, a pre-recorded audio production that plays in the restrooms of twenty-five establishments. Consisting of comedy, trivia, and advertisements, the feed is updated and changed monthly. In addition to the on premise audio, is WizRadio.com, a website for searching nightlife, dining, entertainment, career search, singles connection and shopping. Advertisers in the Hartford market are Coors, Guinness, Miller, Hartford Advocate, LIA Hyundai, and Travis Mortgage. The product is scheduled to be in all major cities across the United States by June 2005. Soon, earplugs may become as important as toilet paper.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: A Creative Manifesto

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

    Mobile Billboards Now Follow Bikes

    As an extension of the mobile billboard, BikeBillboards.com has launched a new form of mobile billboard that is towed behind a bike instead of a truck. We look forward to the grudge match between mobile billboard truck drivers and bike billboard riders as they jockey for position at the latest trade show.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

    Best Buy Creates Slothmore Institute Couch Potato Site

    In an odd effort to promote its couch potato inducing selection of home electronics, Best Buy has launched Slothmore Institute, a website full of ideas to help consumers sit on their asses, be more lazy, make more excuses and buy more products. The 888 number is particularly amusing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

    Beer Brand Sponsors Subway Musicians

    British beer brand Carling is now sponsoring subway musicians who appear in the London Underground paying them money and placing branded marketing materials around the performers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Sun Editors Fight With Marketers

    U.K. Sun editor Rebekah Wade has ordered the paper's sports desk to drop all mention of football (soccer) sponsors from its coverage in the latest salvo in the ongoing rights battle between newspapers and the game's governing bodies. The move, which is sure to enrage sponsors such as Barclays and Coca-Cola which have shelled out millions for the naming rights to the leagues, comes as the two sides have failed to come to an agreement on the terms under which the game should be covered by the press.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

    Burger King Does Less Subservient Chicken

    Burger King, with the help of Miami's Crispin Porter + Bogusky, is doing strange things with chickens again to promote their chicken menu items.

    This time, rather than bossing around a garter-clad chicken, visitors to Chicken Fight can pit "TC" aka Tendercrisp Chicken against "Spicy" aka Spicy Tendercrisp Chicken against each other in a boxing ring. It's not as engaging as the Subservient Chicken effort a few months back, which, admittedly, would be hard to top but it's amusing enough. It appears there's a networked, multi-player version arriving soon that may effect (Ed. affect?) the pass-along of this viral effort more quickly than the standard email a friend feature.

    The purpose of the site is to promote a "real" fight between the two chicken characters on DirecTV November 5 at 10PM. We question, though, how the effectiveness of this campaign will be measured and suggest that, perhaps, fight winners be given redeemable coupons which could then be measured in stores as well as, ideally, increase sales.

    We particularly love the disclaimer copy at the bottom of the site for those law-suit happy, animal loving morons. "No real chickens were harmed in the making of this advertising campaign. Burger King Corporation does not endorse or condone animal cruelty in any way including chicken fighting. The chicken characters featured in this advertising campaign are just actors wearing a chicken costume." No shit.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Glass House Promotes Sims 2 To Voyeurs

    EA Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) has launched a unique stunt to promote The Sims 2 in the country where Big Brother was born.

    Beginning tonight, a family will enter a house of glass, located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, for four days. During those four days, the family can be followed from the web, but anyone can also come to the house and watch them live. The family, two adults and two teenage sons, can be given assignments from the internet (hat is if you speak the local language), which makes them just like Sims. EA earlier on launched a campaign to find the Dutch family that will appear in the house. Calling all voyeurs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:20 AM | Comments (0)

    October 19, 2004

    Charlize Theron And Her Dog Appear in PETA Campaign

    Oscar-winning actor and PETA supporter Charlize Theron will appear, as part of the organization's Fur is Dead campaign, in a new anti-fur billboard debuting on Sunset Strip this winter. The Monster star poses with her dog, Tucker, beneath the slogan "If you wouldn't wear your dog, please don't wear any fur." The campaign and the ad are the result of a PETA investigation on a farm farm in Midland Michigan where PETA claims chinchillas were being electrocuted, causing painful seizures to the animals' hearts, and having their necks broken while fully conscious.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

    Six Basic Tips For Creating Viral Campaigns

    Greedy Girl, a viral marketing copywriter, offers six tips to think about when creating a viral ad campaign. From seeking out inane items to religiously tracking buzz indexes, Greedy Girl says it takes a bit of obsession to succeed.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

    Pop-Up Retail Proliferates As MarketingTrend

    As marketers dig deeper and deeper into the bottom of the marketing barrel, pop-up retail has been adopted as the marketing trend du-jour.

    From Crown Royal to Levis to Target, marketers are launching here today, gone tomorrow, fully branded retail stores. Located at 199 Lafayette at Cleveland Place in the Soho/Nolita district of lower Manhattan, Crown Royal, on October 15, launched The Crown Royal Barbershop. The location will offer free haircuts for a one month period and then close up shop for good. Open seven days a week, the Crown Royal Barbershop will feature local barbers, three chairs and a social area. The nearly 1,000 square feet of retail space is decorated in purple and gold, Crown Royal’s signature colors, and is open to consumers 21 years and older on a first come, first serve basis. On select evenings, the space will host private parties complete with cocktails and entertainment.

    The Crown Royal Barbershop is the first creation for Location NYC, Inc., who provides the space for 30 day limited engagements to companies seeking to offer a special brand environment. Location is a new exciting media experience combining a street level billboard, interactive brand gallery, brand events, sampling and marketing opportunities.

    Crown Royal is not alone in this trend towards engulfing the consumer with a brand experience. Many are in New York City, logically, because of its high population concentration and foot traffic. Recently, Levis partnered with alife, a hipster store in the Lower East Side, to create a location that sold brightly colored special edition Levi’s at $165 a pair. The store was open one month. Imitation of Christ, a cutting-edge fashion house, has created a portable, Plexiglas retail venue that sells just one item each day. According to visitors, one day it was a pair of antique glass eyeballs the next it was a $7,000 couture dress.

    A pet food manufacturer, Wiska’s, currently has a short-run store on Fifth and 41st. Target, a pop up retail veteran whose pop ups are called The Bullseye Inn, recently highlighted Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenzweig's Swell designs (dishes, linens and bedding), Sean Conway's Garden Style and Rachel Ashwell's Simply Shabby Chic home goods. In May, J.C. Penny opened a 2,500 square foot retail space in Rockefeller Center which unveiled designer Chris Madden's home, bath and kitchen lines. And finally, Delta Air Lines' Song, last fall, opened a pop in Boston and in a Soho site in New York that had 50,000 visitors to the 2,700-square-foot store in six weeks.

    One positive of this trend, for both consumer and marketer, is the trend's "choice" and "control" attributes, something more consumers are demanding and more marketers are capitalizing upon.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

    October 18, 2004

    Barney Brand Gets A Hip-Hop Update

    Having your brand spoofed is par for the course when you have a brand that stands for something as odd as Barney. In this dub of a Barney dance, we are treated to what the kids would really be singing if they and Barney were a little bit older. If your boss doesn't like uncensored hip-hop emanating from your cube, you might want to turn the volume down on this one. Thanks to Lucian James for the tip on this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Ad Calls Non-Voters Idiots

    In a clever use of letter-play, this spot for Politics.com by Riester-Robb places those who don't vote squarely in the category of idiot.

    Ingenious.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Copywriter Wins Dead Radio Award For Miller Brewing

    Young & Rubicam' Greg Christiansens's client-rejected radio script "Testing" was chosen from 1,000 entries and has been awarded a Gold by Oink Ink Radio Inc.'s "Dead Radio Contest." The spot was to introduce the new Miller Fridge Pack. As a winner, Christiansen get his spot produced by Oink Ink Radio Oink Ink Radio Inc. (www.oinkradio.com), a national radio-advertising agency with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, is pleased to announce Greg Christiansen’s “Testing” for Miller Brewing Company is the Gold Award winner of its seventh annual “Dead Radio Contest.” Hailing from Young & Rubicam’s Chicago, IL office, Christiansen’s script was selected from more than 1,000 entries nationwide. “Testing,” which was rejected by the client, is a :60 spot introducing the convenience of the Miller Fridge Pack.

    Oink Ink Radio’s annual “Dead Radio Contest” invites advertising agency copywriters across America to submit their best radio scripts that suffered heart-wrenching deaths on clients’ conference room tables.

    "When I first got the call from Oink telling me that I won, I was really surprised and very excited," said Christiansen. "I immediately told my creative director, who high-five’d me, my partner, and a few others in the office. It’s really great to be recognized for good work, even if the client doesn’t use it."

    We can see why the spot might not have been client-friendly. It centers around various types of people such as a cement-footed mafia informant overcoming odds to reach the Miller Fridge Pack. We can just hear the client getting all PC, "But we can't actually make it seem like people would go that far out of their way to get a beer. That would them sound like alcoholics and us sound like drug pushers." Exactly.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

    Here Come The 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives' Copycats

    Just one month into the new television season and there are already hints television executives are up to their old tricks cloning successful television series. Not quite understanding that people really do want variety, not warmed over versions of current hits, network execs can't help themselves and have begun searching for "quirky female dramas and big-concept thrillers." Next year, we can expect train wrecks like Lost in Suburbia.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

    Bikes, Babes and Boobs Bolster Buell

    After you've seen the first five seconds of this multi-minute video for Buell American Motorcycles set to Psykohed's 'Do It Again,' you've seen the whole thing. Over and over, it's the same visuals of bikes, boobs and babes. Of course, if you like that sort of thing, there's not much to complain about. Other spots from this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week include a spot promoting the Suzuki 2005 Reno which features an MP3 player, bathroom humor for Foxwoods, floral cultural confusion for HSBC Local Banking, more babes, beer and office flirting for Michelob Ultra, Mom does "Incredible" stretched for P & G, Emiral Lagasse goes bang for Crest and Acura beats the traffic.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Woman uses Billboard to Find Husband

    Australian Chinese woman Helen Zou has spent $5,000 to buy a billboard in Randwick for a month advertising for a husband.

    With the headline, Husband Wanted," the copy lists her requirements for the ideal husband. Requirements include "good sense of humor, solid financial background, unencumbered and of Caucasian appearance and up to age 45." Zou has never been married and says her past attempts at romance have been unsuccessful. She is quite nonchalant about the whole thing, "I'm surprised a lot of people think this is special or unusual," she said. "It's Australia. There's a lot of freedom here. If you can put up a sign advertising Coca-Cola or whatever, why not write one about a husband.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Fufeng Toy Trademarks 'Happy Birthday' Brand

    A Chinese toy company, Fufeng, has registered the words "Happy Birthday" as its trademark in 25 countries including the U.S., Japan and the European Union. Accordingly, marketers may now face legal difficulties when tying their brand to the words "Happy Birthday." One hopes the company won't be too hard on little girls who are planning birthday parties for their Barbie dolls.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

    Marketers: Wake Up And Smell The Consumer Control Coffee

    Writing in Clickz, Sean Carton gives marketers a swift kick in the ass and tells them DVRs are ready to wipe out television advertising as we know it. We've heard this warning over and over but marketers need to hear it again. Begin right now. Today, envision your media plan with no commercial pod television element. Foresee a media landscape in which the consumer has complete control over every piece of content fighting for their eyeballs. It's not science fiction. It's happening right now.

    Plan for it.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    SC Johnson Goes Limp, Quits TBS's 'He's A Lady'

    There's a lot of pulling out going on these past few days. Following Lowe's and Tyson Chicken's pullout from ABC's Desperate Housewives, SC Johnson is pulling out of the TBS cross dressing reality show He's A Lady.

    It seems marketers are having difficulty completing the task at the last minute. Perhaps Viagra can fill in for these less than virile marketers.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Ford Dealers Experiment With Addressable Advertising

    A group of New York and New Jersey Ford dealers are experimenting with addressable advertising - the practice of delivering customized advertising using database marketing. The dealer association is running nine versions of the same spot with each delivered based on geography, income and demographics as determined by zip code. Granted, this is hardly what addressable advertising will resemble in the future with true, individualized message targeting but marketers are at least getting their feet wet.

    To put the campaign in place, the dealership group worked with its agency, J. Walter Thompson and Visible World's Intellispot software.

    The first :15 seconds of each :30 are the same. The second :15 uses the same footage but superimposes different financing options over the second half of the spot.

    Visible World EVP Claudio Marcus acknowledges the industry is in its infancy. "We are in the diaper stage right now," Mr. Marcus said, "and many marketers and media buyers are just beginning to understand what it could mean to execute cable TV campaigns in much the same way as direct marketers use household data to plan and execute mailings."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

    Online Gaming Ad Network Announced

    New York-based Massive Inc. has announced its introduction of the first online gaming ad-serving network. Similar to online ad banner networks, Massive Inc. will enable advertisers to embed their advertising messages within gamescapes. Unlike product placements in games, Massive Inc.'s system, like current ad banner networks, will allow for the placement of messaging based on dayparts and other targeting criteria.

    Massive Inc. has signed deals with gaming companies such as Ubisoft, Universal Games, Atari and Konomi. The company has signed RealNetworks as its first client. Estimates claim 10 million PC gamers and 3 million internet connected consoles. Massive predicts internet connected console players to double every 12 months.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

    October 17, 2004

    Science Says Coke Wins Pepsi Challenge, Supports Branding

    A study conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston into the preference for Coke versus Pepsi found Coke is preferred only because of its cultural brand iconography and that there is no perceived difference in taste between the two when tasted blind.

    In the study, when asked to taste the two soft drinks blind, participants showed no preference. However, when the participants were shown company logos before they drank, the Coke label, the more famous of the two, had a dramatic impact: three-quarters of the tasters declared they preferred Coke. Perhaps branding does work. Afterall, it was Coke that got us all to believe Santa wears red.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

    October 16, 2004

    Free Speech And Government Don't Mix

    The incredibly intelligent and insightful Jeff Jarvis writes an extensive piece about the importance of keeping government out of media and out of the business of censoring speech.

    It is utterly wrong, completely unconstitutional, and fundamentally insulting for the FCC, both parties in Congress, and the White House to think that they should protect us from ourselves and have the ability to fine companies and citizens millions of dollars for uttering even one word. According to the FCC, we are ruined and corrupted by: 1. Fart sounds.

    2. Titanium tits.

    3. Whipped cream.

    4. F words.

    Who do they think we all are, their children? And who do they think they are, our parents?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    October 15, 2004

    U2 Promotes New Single In iPod Ad

    We love getting tips from our readers and this one especially caught our attention. Submitting a new Apple iPod commercial, the sender wrote, "I'm not sure if this is worthy of publishing... it doesn't involve boobs, sex, or smarmy ad execs, but it is interesting." We pondered for a moment over whether that was a compliment or insightful commentary into our questionable editorial morals. We thought for a moment and accept both gleefully as fair comment.

    That said, Apple has partnered with U2 to promote its new single, Vertigo by creating a iPod silhouette ad with Bono and the silhouettes doing their usual gyrations to the tune of U2's new creation.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Ford Uses Digital Version of Steve McQueen in New Ad

    Ford is using imagery of Steve McQueen, who died in 1980, in a new television commercial for its Mustang and other new vehicles. In one version of the spot, McQueen is seen stepping out of a cornfield as he did in the movie "Bullitt" and into the Mustang. The commercial is part of a third quarter, $200 million effort to promote the new Ford Five Hundred, the Freestyle and the Mustang.

    The campaign will break this Sunday with the Steve McQueen ad airing in November.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

    SEGA Launches 'Gentleman Farmer' Viral

    SEGA has launched a viral campaign for the European launch of its Football manager 2005. The video shows a gentleman farmer on the English countryside watching his dog herd sheep. Suddenly, it turns into a game where the gentleman farmer turns into a coach and begins screaming at the dog for his poor herding performance. Predictably, its raised the ire of animal lovers. Viral agency ASABAILEY is seeding the launch, its first for SEGA. The ad was produced by Maverick Media and directed by Seamus Masterson, for SEGA Europe.

    Seeded in two versions, the first comes complete with language befitting a football couch and is being seeded as "The Banned Country Sports Video" and targeted to the 18 - 30 online gaming crowd. A second, softer, yet still funny version has also been seeded to a younger, more "morally conservative" audience.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Marketers Struggle to Reach Tweens

    This past weekend, Hilary Duff's new movie Raise Your Voice tanked leaving Hollywood scratching its head figuring it had a sure thing.

    "The young female movies are almost impossible to figure out right now," one studio marketing executive said. "The girls are just rejecting the young female movies. They are a fickle segment of the audience, and it's pretty hard to figure out who is going to go to these movies."

    Trying to identify tween trends is not an easy task. In fact, it's almost pointless. Trends move quickly enough in older demos but with tweens, trends last for periods of time far too short to capitalize on, especially for a Hollywood movie that takes a year start to finish.

    Hollywood's worst enemy is a successful movie. It creates an imperfect definition of what consumers want and is then beaten dead with sequels and copycats that are far behind a trend before the camera even roles.

    A better strategy would be an original idea. Yes, we know they're in short supply and hard to create but go on, give it a try.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Foundation Launches 'Coping With Chemo' Animated Shorts

    ANIMAX has created a series of webisodes and a website for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. The "Coping with Chemo" shorts are aimed at helping teens cope with the physical, emotional and social impact of cancer and chemo treatment. Mixing storytelling and humor to communicate serious messages, the animated shorts reach out to teens using their language. Having survived Cancer, we're a fan of this sort of thing.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

    October 14, 2004

    Agencies Perpetuate Underhanded Online Advertising

    Underscore Marketing CEO Tom Hespos writes a thoughtful and detailed article outlining how agencies are creating the very thing they claim to have no part of: malicious and underhanded placement of advertising on consumer's computers. Referred to as Malware, this software causes much of the agonizing "advertising attacks" many users experience while online. Much of the advertising that makes it to Malware is supplied by the blind media buy. This is a buy made by buyers through lead generation companies where an agreed upon number of leads are guaranteed but the sites on which the ads will appear remains secret. The advertiser nor the agency knows where all the ads will appear. This practice allows the lead generation company free reign over the tactics it uses to obtain those leads. Hespos explains most of the ads placed through blind buys end up on sites no reputable advertiser would ever want to appear. By allowing these blind buys to occur, the ad industry itself perpetuates the existence of malicious malware (and other forms of online crap-ware) which so completely debilitate a user's online experience that it threatens to shut down the entire online advertising medium.

    Hespos also offers suggestions on how our industry can work towards crapping on the crapware vendors, leaving them high and dry and the online advertising industry in much better shape.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

    Weblogs Are A Good Media Buy For Advertisers

    Higher click throughs and low out of pocket costs are driving some advertisers to weblogs writes B.L. Ochman. "Advertisers including Paramount Pictures, The Wall Street Journal, and The Gap are successfully reaching niche audiences for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and a handful of bloggers are earning six-figure incomes from their blogs. Why aren't more advertisers and bloggers getting together? Fear, ignorance and the knowledge that a lot of pioneers got shot."

    With their low cost, niche focus and more personal tone, weblogs are well positioned for a media landscape controlled more and more by consumers who have increasing methods of filtering the content they consume. The growth of weblogs has also been fueled by RSS (Really Simple Syndication) which is a method of publishing weblog content out to personal newsreaders and news aggregation services increasing readership.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Senior Daily News Editor Moves to Metro U.S.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Bill Gates Says Television Is Dead

    In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bill Gates said what many have said for some time now - the current broadcast television model is dead. Acknowledging the changes brought on by Tivo, On Demand and Microsoft's own Media Center, Gates says content delivery will change dramatically. "The ideal for many content people would be that they just put their content on the Internet and then they have a direct relationship with the viewer," Gates said.

    "That model for low-volume content is the future."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Viacom May Plug Stern On Cable Channels

    The Motley Fools are advancing the theory Viacom may aquire a minority stake in Sirius, rather than outright buy the satellite broadcaster as earlier rumors had suggested, following Howard Stern's move to Sirius in 2006. A minority stake and resulting partnertship would make it easy for Viacom to cross promote the show on its cable properties and increase the likelihood that Stern would ultimately work for both Viacom and Siruis.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Crew Cuts Behind 'New York Post House' Promotion

    As reported earlier, an ad industry spoof site called New York Post House coupled with New York Post look-a-like newspapers handed out yesterday and today near New York ad agencies has been revealed to be the work of New York's Night Agency for its client Crew Cuts, a post-production house. The agencies being targeted include Kirshenbaum Bond, Mother, Amalgamated, Margeottes Fertita + Partners and 35 others.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Video Calls America Fascist

    While not exactly an ad, this video and Brooklyn International Film Festival Best Animation winner by 31 year old Simon Robson featuring the voice of Barry McNamara takes the U.S. to task for what the film calls "The Project For The New American Century." Filled with accusations of government insiderism with right wing thinkers, militarists and industrialist, the video names Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Pearl as major players in a "neo-conservative manifesto which includes in its toolbox the unbridled use of war in clearing a path for U.S. interests." It also calls September 11 "merely the pretext" and "Bush merely a figurehead" in this supposed clandestine effort to rule the planet.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

    October 13, 2004

    Animal Rights Group Launched Horse Meat Campaign

    To protest the legality human horse meat consumption in Ohio, local horse rescue group Second Chance Horse Rescue launched an ad campaign promoting a ficticious restaurant chain called Red Derby Burger, to illustrate what life might be like if horse slaughter for human consumption proliferated. With the headline, "The Biggest Damn Burger America's Ever Laid Eyes On," the ad ran several times in local media prior to the truth being revealed both in print and on the spoof website.

    Second Chance claims 150,000 horses are slaughtered each tear for human consumption. Barefoot Advertising created the campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

    UK Noodle Brand Capitalizes on 'Dogging' Trend

    Don't be ashamed if you aren't hip enough to know what dogging is - we weren't and had to ask. It's the practice of having exhibitionist sex in semi-secluded spaces which are publicized for participation or for voyeuristic pleasure. Now that we've admitted to our un-hip lifestyle, we can get on with the story. Pot Noodles, a UK noodle maker is capitalizing on the dogging trend with a "meet-up" site of its own, called Natural Noodling, including tips on how to dog - or as they call it - noodling, maps, pictures and a guide to get started with noodling. We'll admit it's an effective strategy. Sex does make you hungry afterall.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Model Has Sex on Bull For Hardee's

    Bordering on clothed porn, Hardee's, last month, launched a television commercial featuring the very hot Camerson Richardson writhing, to the tune of Foghat's Slow Ride, atop a mechanical bull while having oral sex with a burger. Oh wait. She was just eating the burger. It was hard...to tell until viewing a few times. Promoting the chain's new Western Bacon Thickburger and capitalizing on men's fascination with women humping inanimate objects, the spot follows the tried and true strategy of association: Hardee's equals hot women, hot women eat at Hardee's, I'm going to eat at Hardee's. Or, perhaps, it just caused the sudden, uncontrollable urge to have sex. All good. As the ad says at the end - Eat Right. Exercise More.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

    McDonald's Replaces Golden Arches With Question Mark

    Adland reports McDonald's is dropping the golden arches from its advertising in the UK apparently attempting to distance itself from the association between the logo and clogged arteries. There's even a new tagline just to make sure we noticed the change: "McDonald's. But not as you know it."

    Perhaps trying to distance itself from the recent "Supersize Me" movie in which Morgan Spurlock eats McDonald's food exclusively for a month risking his death, the campaign will promote coffee, salads, fruits and, of course, calorie-laden bagels with cream cheese. Leo Burnett is behind the campaign and there's no doubt it's being considered for the U.S. as well.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Website Spoofs 'New York Post'

    A website for what is believed to be a post production house has launched, called New York Post House, mirroring the look of the New York Post.

    There are reports of printed versions of the site being "sold" outside ad agencies in the city today by old school paper boys shouting the proverbial "extra, extra, read all about it!" The site is reminiscent of AdWeak, an intermittently published site that skewers the ad industry with an overload of wit and insightful humor. New York Post House is split into sections similar to USA Today including news, lifestyle, sports, horoscopes and classifieds with a focus on ad industry shenanigans.

    The current New York Post House cover story reports Nike's placement of its swoosh on the moon to reach "night-goers" and promote the new "Getaway" line of shoes "designed for sprinting away from police and security guards." Now there's a company that knows its target audience.

    We're told the mystery behind the site and its creators will be revealed to all Friday. Stay tuned.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    October 12, 2004

    Satellite Radio Could Become 'People's Medium'

    Writing in MediaPost's Online Spin, Tom Hespos posits satellite radio, with its seemingly limitless bandwidth, could become the new Internet allowing anyone, through satellite company lease, to broadcast their own radio show. Internet publishing and recently, weblogs, have provided a global voice to individual inclined to shout loud enough. Satellite could do the same for wannabe radio personalities.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

    Agency Places TV Buy to Win Beer Account

    In what is believed to be a first, Toronto ad agency Vaughn Whelan & Partners, which does not have the Molson account, placed a commercial for Molson Canadian over the weekend. It was placed, along with other marketing efforts, to attract the attention of Molson Chairman Eric Molson, Molson CEO Dan O'Neill and Adolph Coors CEO Leo Kiely. Vaughn Whelan & Partners CEO Vaughn whelan employed the tactic in a bid to win the account away from incumbent Bensimon Byrne as part of an ongoing agency review.

    The 60-second ad told the story of a Toronto bike courier who took on Revenue Canada and won after arguing his daily food bill should be deductible as fuel. In a nod to the usual beer ad, the spot concluded with the line "Respect," a patio shot with the triumphant courier, the obligatory buxom babe and the tagline "It's a Canadian Thing."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Trump's Atlantic City Failings

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Penis Size Sells Big Burger

    Dismissing the minor detail that fast food kills, Carl's Jr. Restaurants (OK, so they're not exactly fast) is maximizing the obsession with penis size in a new campaign to promote its new double the killing power, double burger. With the voiceover "everyone in Washington is talking about how big they are," images of everyone from Bush to Kerry to Clinton to Rice are shown indicating their size (or desire for in Rice's case) making sure we know the Carl's Jr. burger is BIG.

    Lest we forget other fine, though sexually unrelated spots this week in Ad Age's TV Spots of the Week, Visa has Brentson Buckner kissing is shoes, Zaxby's piles on the carbs with the much over used pencil in the ceiling tile analogy, iPod silhouettes, Ameritrade bores us with some guy's morning routine, American Legacy Foundation continues is realty series approach to quitting smoking, Oral-B, whose name, alongside images of women's grinning mouths, alludes to something other than whiter teeth and TGIFriday's gets the whole family to the restaurant.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

    AM New York Uses Link Popularity As News Source

    A few days after the first Presidential debate, there were accusations from both sides claiming Bush and Jerry "cheated" during the debate.

    There was talk of Bush being fed answers through an ear piece and Kerry using a cheat sheet. New York paper AM New York ran a front page story yesterday about the issue and cited Google searches, "Bush and bulge (in jacket" and Kerry and cheat sheet" yielding many searches as an indicator of the accusation's validity. Journalistically, there's a difference between many people saying something happened and many people searching to see if something actually did happen.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Euro RSCG to Jetison Black Rocket

    Black Rocket, once the high flying agency that created Yahoo's famous yodel, is now in the throes of an ugly dispute with parent company Euro RSCG. Founding partner Steve Stone, whose Euro contract has run out, wants to buy the firm and take back the Black Rocket but Euro wants to bury the name yet will consider selling the company back to Stone. Founding partner John Yost has just resigned citing the need to take a break. Agency business as usual.

    And all along we thought Black Rocket was just some oblique product from failed Internet backbone provider Genuity. Never heard of it? Neither had we until sauntered into a tricked-out, dot com boardroom a few years back for an explanation while working on the account. Our eyes are still glazed over.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

    Ford to Copy GM With On-Air Car Giveaway

    Not to be left out of the fun, Ford is signing its own car giveaway deal with ABC's Extreme Makeover" Home Edition. While not as grand as Oprah's multi-hundred car gieaway, families in six upcoming episodes will receive a free vehicle. Perhaps ABC will also pay the tax and insurance as well rather then saddling winners with those costs as the Oprah giveaway did.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

    Maven Networks Promotes Branded Video With Glowing Research

    Maven Networks, Inc., developer of a platform that enables brand marketers to deliver full-screen, DVD-quality interactive video to the desktops of broadband consumers, today released survey results that indicated 71% of consumers would download a branded video channel to their desktop and that 76% would like the channel concept as a means of receiving specific information from companies of interest. OTX Research conducted the study.

    Of consumers shown a demonstration of how the Maven-powered channels work, other findings were as follows:

    Further supporting Maven's business model, consumers in the study also indicated concerns over receiving video content directly from marketers, specifically: Research is always welcome, if even to confirm the obvious as this study does. Video on the web has a promising future and companies like Maven who "channel-ize" online video are likely to succeed handsomely.

    When ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and every other television entity finally give up the broadcast model and realize people want what they want when they want it, Maven and others who play in this space are certain to do well either on their own or through acquisition.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:41 AM | Comments (0)

    October 11, 2004

    Mitsubishi Bows New 'Best-Backed' Ad Campaign

    In a nod to its tagline, "the best backed cars in the world," Mitsubishi, today, launched a new national advertising campaign featuring images of hundreds of Mitsubishi technicians dressed in red coveralls. In one spot, "Anthem," which features the song :Draggin' The Line" by Tommy and the Shondells, technicians line the sides of the roads in a "wall of red" while a Mitsubishi drives along. As the Mitsubishi pulls to a stop, one technician steps out of the line to tighten the tire valve cap, smiles at his colleagues for a job well done, then steps back into line.

    In "Road Trip," the campaign's second spot slated to break in November, a technician is casually performing a regular vehicle maintenance service under a Mitsubishi vehicle in motion. He then nonchalantly rolls out from underneath the moving vehicle, pops up the creeper like a skateboard, and walks away with confidence that his task was completed.

    Deutsch LA created the campaign which will air on TNT, BET, History Channel, USA, Food Network, MSNBC and broadcast networks.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

    October 10, 2004

    Procter & Gamble Debuts On-Demand Ad

    Procter & Gamble is hoping a long form ad for its Old Spice Red Zone scented body wash will be compelling enough for Comcast's video on demand subscribers. Hoping to capitalize of heightened political awareness, the ten and twenty minute ads follow a political campaign across college campuses to choose the best smelling candidate. With Bush and Kerry providing all the political humor we can stand, we aren't sure how funny P & G's smelly candidates will be.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

    October 09, 2004

    Mortuary Advertising The New Lawyer Advertising

    Once the thought of a lawyer advertising services was taboo. While those that do advertise haven't stepped far from their perception as ambulance chasers, mortuaries are set to be the new awkward/cheesy trend in advertising. Denver's Fairmont Cemetery & Mortuary has launched a billboard and print campaign painting death in a less morbid light.

    With headlines like "Walked on all seven continents" and "Put six kids through college" along with the tagline, "Celebrating lives well lived," the ads feature smiley, we had a great life type images.

    Fairmont hopes to encourage funeral planning as well as cater to the wims of a generation who wants to make a party, rather than a sob-fest, out of a funeral.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

    Boston University to Launch 'Boink' Magazine

    On the heels of Harvard University publishing its sex-laden H Bomb student magazine, a group of Boston University students are set to launch Boink, a magazine that will feature nude pictorials of students, columns on sex, sex toy reviews and polls. Launching in January with 96 pages, the magazine is not endorsed by the University nor will it receive money from the University as Harvard's H Bomb did.

    Boink Co-Founder and Editor in Chief Alecia Oleyourryk says there is a need for the publication. "Sadly, there are few formal forums for people our age to share their sexual experiences and to learn from others who are on the same journey. Boink was created to fill that need." She went on to describe the focus of the magazine. "We will be talking about some serious topics like pregnancy, STDs, abuse and date rape. We plan to cover any and all sex-related issues that are relevant to college students - male, female, straight, gay or bi."

    Local artist and co-collaborator on the magazine Christopher Anderson, who also helped launch Harvard's H Bomb, wants to take blankets off people's hang ups about sex. "My primary interest in advancing this whole idea is that there is nothing shameful about nudity and sexuality. The City of Boston has these almost puritanical roots, where anything related to nudity or sex becomes very taboo." Anderson is 38.

    Either he's truly an artist or he's got the greatest scam going.

    While this is all very liberal and forward thinking, one would assume there's still going to be something a bit awkward about sitting next to a student in class whom you just saw naked in the magazine the day before.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Author Says 'Marketing Free For All' Harms Kids

    In a new book, author Juliet Schor says kids are gravely harmed by television and in-school advertising in what she calls "the corporate takeover of childhood." Schor claims "the more kids are exposed to consumer culture the more likely they are to become depressed, suffer from anxiety or experience low self esteem. She goes on to accuse marketers of the double whammy - dual messaging to kids and parents for the same product. She also found, through interviews, that marketers do not disagree with Schor's assessment. They feel somewhat guilty for the tactics they use but are seemingly stuck in the machine that forces them to continue lest they lose their jobs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

    October 08, 2004

    Clients And Agencies Disagree On State Of Relationship

    The just released 2004 Salz Survey of Advertiser-Agency Relations paints an uneven picture of the agency-advertiser relationship.

    Not to be too harsh on the two groups but it sounds like agencies are a bunch of whiners while advertisers don't respect advertising's role in effecting sales.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Christina Aguilera Skechers Ad Gets Banned

    Oh how we love when interest groups over react and can't see a joke for the joke it is. A bunch of American nurses have complained about a recent Skechers ad featuring Christina Aguilera dressed in nurse fantasy (fantasy, get it?) attire.

    Center For Nursing Advocacy Executive Director Sandy Summers said, "This ad simultaneously exploits the 'naughty nurse' and the battleaxe/Nurse Ratched stereotypes, setting the nurse up both as an available sex object and a mock-malevolent authority figure, rather than a competent professional."

    The ad has been banned. Overseas, at least. See the original story and all the ads here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Radio Industry Curls Into Fetal Position Following Stern's Exit Announcement

    Envisioning their stations going out of business and their mortgages going unpaid, radio broadcaster are lamenting the loss of $100 million in ad revenue when Howard Stern leaves broadcast radio for Sirius satellite radio in 2006. And so the 16 month, futile, search for Stern's replacement has begun. Executives, who once worshipped Stern will now, predictably, begin to spout phrases like, "Oh, we'll be fine. There's plenty of radio talent out there. Howard isn't the only rating getter." Or excuses such is this one from Entercom Communications CEO David Field, "What did it mean to late-night TV when Johnny Carson left? The reality is, that was not the demise of late-night TV." While true, it's not as though television ratings haven't suffered over the years as the proliferation of media options allows consumers to easily gravitate to better content, forever fragmenting what's left. The same will be true of radio. More choice. More fragmentation. We're not going back to a three network television world or a radio environment as bland and limiting as the current one. When Stern leaves, radio will suffer.

    Badly.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Schwarzenegger And Romney Square Off In Billboard Campaign

    Not that we don't doubt Arnold would crush Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in a grudge match but the fight the two are currently waging leaves the outcome a bit less certain. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is running a billboard campaign in 12 cities across the nation to bring business to California. The billboard features Arnold in a tight T-shirt, muscles exposed with the headline, "Arnold says California wants your business." in response to that campaign, Romney has launched his own billboard campaign featuring his decidedly less muscular, although fit self, dressed in a business shirt with the headline, "Smaller muscles, but lower taxes! Massachusetts means business." We love Massachusetts and we love Arnold. May the best billboard win.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

    Mazda, Sirius, Comcast, ESPN, Subway Team For Brand Orgasm

    We love a good brand partnership but we think there's a limit to how many brands should be smacked together at the same time. Try to follow this. There's this thing called ESPN The Truck. It's a 53 foot interactive television sportscenter on wheels letting people experience ESPN HD, play video games, download programs and get their picture of the cover of ESPN Magazine. All good. ESPN got together with Comcast Spotlight's Chicago ad sales team to take the truck to Subway restaurants in Bolingbrook, IL for a day. All good. A cable sales team capitalizes on its cable carrier for local exposure and Subway gets in on the exposure too. Not done yet. ESPN The Truck can't just stand on its own brand. It has to have two more brands sponsoring it so now we throw in Mazda and SIRIUS for good measure. On one hand, this is great marketing in terms of co-branding and amortizing costs across several interested parties. On the other hand, its a brand onslaught the consumer has to digest and interpret. OK, so it's really not all that confusing but what's easier - remembering one brand or five?

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Ad Spend Up in 2005, 2006

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

    ANA Launches Annual Conference in Naples

    The Association of National Advertisers has launched its annual conference today at the Ritz Carlton in Naples Florida. The ANA's public relations firm, CooperKatz and Company will be covering the event and blogging it live here.

    We'll cover it too but not as well as CooperKatz and Company's Steve Rubel and Lesley Weiner. Lesley will be in Naples at the event and Steve will be in New York. Stay tuned.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

    October 07, 2004

    Group Claims Media Makes Political Coverage All About Money

    Activist group FreePress, suddenly realizing the media business is all about making money, has launched a campaign claiming the media have hijacked democracy and made political coverage all about keeping advertisers happy rather than reporting actual news.

    Oh, the horror.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

    IKEA Hangs Mattresses in Paris For New Campaign

    Agenda reports a new campaign from IKEA which consists of 39 mattresses wrapped to look like billboards and hung in major Paris railway stations. We wonder how long it will be before Parisians tire of the campaign, rip the mattresses from the ceiling and hop on for a nap. Or how about all those teens who are looking for a place away from their parents to get a little closer to their girl/boyfriend? Looks like IKEA has some nifty experiencial marketing going on.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

    Annie Leibovitz Snaps Peninsula Ad Campaign

    Hot off her work for for A&E Biography's Naked Truth ad campaign with the Olsens, Annie Leibovitz stepped into the world of Peninsula Hotels to shoot images for the hotel's recent ad campaign called, "Portraits of Peninsula."

    The press release gushed in typical fashion, "So much of what makes Peninsula’s style of hospitality special is the personal connection our staff has with guests," said Peter C. Borer, Chief Operating Officer, The Peninsula Hotels. "Our culture of warm and genuine service is expressed through every one of our family of employees. To us, service is an art, which is why we chose a true artist to represent it. Annie Leibovitz captured the spirit of our employees with sincerity. Through the honesty of her images, we have created a campaign that will resonate with our audience for a very long time."

    AGENCYSACKS New York created the campaign.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

    AIR Network Brings Marketers Closer to Online Consumer Buyers

    London Ad Agency ASABAILEY has rolled out AIR (Advertising In Retail), a network (demo) providing advertisers the ability to place television ads or long-form videos alongside the advertiser's product listed on a participating online merchant's website. The AIR network provides marketers the ability to influence sales at the moment of purchase. The premise that influencing consumers at the moment of purchase is, of course, not new.

    However, the proliferation of digital media and online buying may make models such as AIR network viable options for marketers interested in getting closer to consumers at the moment of purchase as well as maximizing production dollars spent creating ads.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Fox to Air 'My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss'

    Capitalizing on the success of its My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, FOX is making the obnoxious thing a trend with its new My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss. The reality series will spoof both Fiance as well as NBC's The Apprentice complete with Donald, Caroline and George look-a-likes telling 12 contestants to "get the hell out of my office" after failing such tasks as begging for money on the street. Oddly, we think this series will be a success. We don't know why, we just do. The series airs November 9 at 9 PM.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Jessica Simpson Debuts Edible Body Fragrance

    We know jessica Simpson is already as delicious as they come but she's now made herself, much to the delight of hubby Nick Lachey, even more delectable announcing the an addition to her Dessert line of body care products. At Rockerfeller Center Sephora earlier this week, Simpson debuted Taste, an edible body cream designed to taste like the foods Simpson experienced in childhood.

    "It's low-calorie," Simpson said. "It's like having dessert without the calories, so if you're on a diet, it's a good thing to just kind of lick off every now and then. Or have someone else do it - that's even better" We wonder if the streets of New York will now be filled with wafting, mouth-watering food scents driving people to helplessly lick strangers as they pass each other by. Perhaps Simpson should donate her product to the homeless. They need it more than those of who have homes and spend our money on stuff like this.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: People Care About Politics

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

    October 06, 2004

    Destiny's Child Joins McDonald's 'I'm Lovin' It' Campaign

    Hoping to fatten up America and perhaps finally reveal the secret behind Beyonce's behind, McDonald's has enlisted the help of recently re-grouped Destiny's Child as spokesgroup for the calorie laden fast food marketer. The threesome will appear in a new collection of McDonald's ads and, in turn, McDonald's will sponsor the group's new worldwide tour beginning in spring 2005 and called, predictably, "Destiny's fulfilled and Levin' it." "We're lovin' the chance to work with McDonald's and know that together we'll create lots of fun and cool surprises," gushed Beyonce Knowles or more likely McDonald's PR people. "McDonald's shares our passion for music, so we can't wait to start connecting to our fans -- McDonald's customers -- all over the world."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Conde Nast Sucks 'YM' Into 'Teen Vogue'

    Conde Nast is bailing out Gruner & Yahr Publication's ailing YM and will cease publication following the December-January issue rolling the teen magazine's circulation into Teen Vogue's circulation. Accordingly, Teen Vogue will increase its rate base from a planned 650,000 to 850,000 for the February issue. Thank God there's one less teen magazine to destroy teenage girl's self esteem by perpetuating unattainable perfection.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

    Viral Marketing Manifesto Launched

    Following a grueling debate between viral marketing firm DMC Founder Justin Kirby and Britain's Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Danny Meadows-Klue, the International Viral + Buzz Marketing Association has announced a viral manifesto which cut's through the clutter and clearly defines viral marketing.

    Basically, it calls for clear target identification, enjoyable and valuable delivery of message and encouragement to share messages with others. Additionally, the manifesto calls for fostering genuine enthusiasm for a brand, acknowledging it is the recipients themselves, not the marketer, who spreads the message and the treatment of consumers as partners in the marketing process.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Virgin Atlantic Launches Porn-Like Parody

    Continuing its streak of alternative advertising methods and to promote Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Suite, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has created a ten minute video, called "Suite & Innocent," filled with every conceivable porn double entendre in existence from bad acting to character names like Miles High and Summer Turbulence to cheesy dialog like "seven more inches" of legroom and orgasmic "oh, oh, oh" pronunciations of the number of zeros on million dollar check.

    The video is being distributed, appropriately, on the LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation Adult Desires pay-per-view hotel channel.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Publicis Says Havas Should Stay Independent

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Howard Stern Moves to Satellite Radio in 2006

    In January of 2006, Howard Stern will finally be able to legally tell the FCC to fuck off. That's when Stern will move to censor-free Sirius satellite radio taking a five year, $500 million deal.

    With just 600,000 subscribers, Sirius has a fraction of Stern's current 12 million listener base but his move is sure to quickly and dramatically increase that figure. While this may be a welcome move for both Stern and Sirius, the censorship of commercial radio actually added to the allure of the show. Many times, it's what we can't say and can't see that makes those things all the more desirable. With everything hanging out on satellite, the desire may be less potent.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

    AOL to Launch New Logo, Campaign Tomorrow

    AOL, still, sadly, trying to convince consumers they are the best channel through which to experience the Internet, will debut a new campaign and new logo tomorrow in The New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. MarketingVOX notes the tagline has not yet been finalized and is being bandied about like a hockey puck among senior execs.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    SBC Launches Blog-Powered Desktop RSS Newsreader

    Capitalizing on the explosion of weblogs and the rapid growth of RSS, SBC has launched Project D.U. (digital universe), a desktop RSS reader populated by feeds from weblogs in six categories. Believed to be the first branded RSS reader that comes complete with pre-loaded content, Project D.U. was developed to bring unique and different voices, along with SBC's brand of course, to a wider audience. With Yahoo's recent embrace of RSS in its new My Yahoo, RSS is fast becoming the preferred mode of information dissemination on the Internet.

    Project D.U. was conceived by Dallas-based TracyLocke Director of Digital Initiatives Todd Copelvitz. Prominent bloggers in the six categories were approached and recruited by yours truly (to whom money was paid) along with others at TracyLocke. We tried to identify blogs with strong personal voice like Tony Pierce's Busblog and blogs with focused subject matter like David Hauslaib's Jossip or Jessi and Tom's Big Bad Boat Blog.

    Project D.U. users can add their favorite rss feeds as well.

    Obviously, SBC intends to garner broad brand recognition and sell some product from this effort and there's no shame in that. What's unique is the project's win-win position providing long term branding for SBC, unique and different information for consumers and increased notoriety for those bloggers participating in the project. Participating bloggers are paid a small fee in exchange for Project D.U. pulling their RSS feed and adhering to minor guidelines. TracyLocke expects about 500,000 downloads of the reader by early 2005.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Starbucks to Launch Booze Brand

    Following its recent price hike and not to be outdone by Budweiser who just jumped in the Starbucks sandbox with its new caffeine-laden BB beer, Starbucks is now teaming with Jim Beam to create a line of Starbucks-branded liquor to be sold at retail and in bars. We're certainly intrigued by this trend of conflicting drugs ripping our insides apart as the urge to pass out battles the urge to jump up and down like a coke-addled teenager heading back to class after snorting line or two in the bathroom. And yes, this news was originally announced back in April but a trend really isn't a trend unless there's two so forgive us our desire to manufacture.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

    October 05, 2004

    Budweiser Debuts Caffeinated Beer

    Back in the day before Red Bull and all of its imitators, we always wished there was a beer that would do more than put us to sleep. We even double fisted coffee and beer from time to time to combat the overwhelming urge to pass out. Now, a brewer has finally heeded our call and added drugs...uh...caffeine to beer. Budweiser is rolling out BE beer which contains caffeine, guarana and ginsing. Now, those who choose to get drunk on beer can now do it wide awake while experiencing caffeine-induced heart palpitations.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

    America Loves Its 'Desperate Housewives'

    A series about four housewives in the suburbs didn't sound so exciting initially but after Sunday's series premiers of ABC's Desperate Housewives, it seems there's a lot of people who want a peek into America's Suburbia. The premiere, watched by 21.3 million, was ABC's best in eight years and the highest rated new series of the season.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    Chanel Pays Nicole Kidman $12 Million to Appear in Ad Campaign

    Getting paid $12 million to star in a two hour Hollywood movie is common. Not so common is a $12 million pay check to appear in a two minute ad.

    Chanel No. 5 is paying Nicole Kidman a rumored $12 million to appear in the company's Australian ad campaign wearing $42 million worth of jewelry all to promote a tiny little bottle of perfume. Baz Luhrmann, who directed Kidman in Moulin Rouge, directed the three day shoot. Two minutes - $12 million. Just let that sink in for a few.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: European Mitsubishi Ad Overly Sexist

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

    October 04, 2004

    Clear Channel to Write Copy For Advertisers

    Hoping to alleviate listener tune out due to crappy radio ads, Clear Channel is taking its recent announcement to improve the radio experience by reducing hourly spot loads further and offering expanded creative services for advertisers. Called, Creative Resources Group, the unit of ten copywriters, producers, and other creative experts will aid marketers in creating better radio ads. Either that or Clear Channel created ads with further the notion that the company's vast station ownership has created homogeneous programming sameness.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

    Three Enter Ring For Vonage This Week

    Vonage will hear presentations from three agencies this week for its $50 million account. Exchanging punches for the right to spread the word about Vonage's incredibly low, voice over IP phone rates (yes, we use Vonage here at Adrants and love it) are Boston's Arnold, New York's Lowe (with Seattle's aQuantive Avenue A/Razorfish) and New York's Carat. Mullen withdrew and Starcom didn't make the cut.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

    Subaru Choose DDB, Press Release Proves Quotes Are Interchangeable

    After what was surely a grueling battle between Omnicom, Interpublic and WPP, Subaru has chosen Omnicon's DDB Worldwide to handle its advertising account. Confirming the world is run by babbling PR people attaching names to meaningless, recycled quotes or that marketing VP's really are as vapid as they sound, Subaru EVP Fred Adcock (ad? cock? We'll leave that one to you readers to comment on) said, "As we continue to innovate and expand our product lineup in the U.S. market, we need to communicate the Subaru brand promise in a way that is relevant, memorable and differentiated in the marketplace."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Gawker Media Launches Three Male-Focused Sites

    Gawker Media, publisher of Gawker, Defamer and Fleshbot, has launched three new site it refers to as the "testosterone trio." Finally, some guy sites Adrants can play with. Jalopnik is a car site, Kotaku is a video game site and Screehead is described as a site the covers "funny shit." Published by Nick Denton, the sites are sure to see quick success as did previous launches. See his announcement here.

    In addition to the launches, Gawker Media has signed a deal with Audi to be the exclusive, site integration sponsor of the Jalopnik site.

    Along with ad banners, the Audi logo is embedded within the Jalopnik site and site graphics.

    Denton describes the topic matter of the sites as serving the needs of advertisers. "The motivation for rolling out these sites now is very much about advertiser and audience demand," said Nick Denton, the publisher of Gawker Media. "Right now, we don't have enough inventory for people who are trying to reach young males. The idea was to come up with sites that would interest them - around here, we say that Screenhead is a site built for men who are too lazy to watch TV."

    We describe the sites as "rockin', guy-focused sites that won't offend women."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Welcomes New Advertisers

    Business is booming here at Adrants and we want to make sure you know who's paying our rent. HP has been with us a long time and now they are offering a $700 rebate on a new Designjet printer and a chance to win a digital camera. AzoogleAds has joined us to tell you about their kick ass online advertising services for advertisers and publishers. Aquent has a bunch of ad industry videos for you to view that feature industry vets sharing their war stories and telling you how you can improve your marketing and creative services. BrainMass Professional is a company you really need to check out. They provide all the kinds of research and market/competitive/trend analysis quickly and painlessly to make you smart for your client or boss.

    DVDmarketer.com has joined Adrants to explain its DVD marketing program that allows marketers to place DVD content in front of 42 million Amazon shoppers. OK, enough self congratulation. Back to the news.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: Mastercard Offers Hello Kitty Branded Debit Card

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Site Overview

    So you like to come here and read what, apparently and surprisingly, many find interesting. Well, aside from the apparently brilliant writing on this site there are some other features you might like to know about.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

    October 03, 2004

    Reebok Becomes Celebu-Sneaker

    Partially acknowledging advertising's waning, so yesterday place in today's culture, Reebok is opening a celebu-level, upscale Rbk store in Hollywood complete with a VIP room stocked with Cristal, Dom Perignon and Red Bull along with private party spaces. The strategy, of course, is to lure celebrities knowing the masses will follow like lemmings, opening their wallets, spilling forth their hard earned cash for a pair of shoes priced four times their worth while clinging desperately to the insane notion that wearing the shoes gives them the same cred as the hip-hop celebu-wood types they worship like gods.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

    Round Two of GE 'Pen' Campaign Goes Multi-user

    In early 2003, GE launched a banner campaign in which users could interact with the banner and create a drawing. Last week, the company launched an expanded version of the campaign allowing up to three people to create a drawing together on the same webpage. Called "Imagination Cubed," people can invite friends via email or IM to a page on which the three can make a creation together. The page begins with the copy, "good ideas start with a sketch, great ideas are created together" then provides the tools for inviting two friends.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

    October 01, 2004

    Sylvester Stallone to Launch Magazine

    MediaPost's Mag Rack points to a couple new magazine launches. First, is a new magazine from American Media called Sly which will feature Sylvester Stallone on the cover and focus on health and fitness for older men. Then there's a new shopping magazine coming, also from American Media, called StarShop and will merge two current American love's - shopping and celebrities. The magazine will basically stalk celecrities as they shop and report back findings to readers.

    Great. Another all-Britney, all the time media outlet.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: NBC's 'Joey' Gets Full Season

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Fort Lauderdale Fights Hurricanes With Sex

    The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a new ad campaign to insure travelers the city is still standing after the state was battered with hurricanes. The campaign will consist initially of radio spots in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington and email to travel planners consumers and travel trade. Following that, a $4 million national (plus London) campaign is planned for 2005 incorporating print ads showing hot men and women with their nipple ring and belly button respectively standing in for the O in the Bureau's sunny.org web address.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    September 30, 2004

    Mazda And Conde Nast - Yet Another Do-It-Yourself Ad Campaign

    Mazda and Conde Nast have partnered to create an on and offline contest whereby contestants can submit photos representative if their "interpretation" of Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" slogan. Granted, we gleefully enjoy making fun of brands who turn to consumers to do their advertising (OK, so Mazda isn't exactly looking for a campaign) but we think these efforts, similar to Mercedes asking owners to send in photos of their cars, are worthy of drawing the consumer closer to the brand. After all, this contest's specific focus is to ask consumers how they'd visually represent the brand with an image.

    To promote the contest, a 12 page insert will appear in Conde Nast titles such as Wired, GQ, Details and others pointing readers to a microsite where photos can be submitted. "The Conde Nast Media Group is thrilled to be working with Mazda for the first time on an integrated marketing program of this size and scope," gushed Conde Nast Media Group President Richard Beckman. "This is a great example of our ability to create innovative programs that connect consumers with a company's brand philosophy."

    What he really wanted to say was, "Conde Nast is thrilled to milk Mazda for all it's got. We sold them this 12 page insert when, really, the job could have been done with one page but, you know, we needed the revenue."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

    PETA Launches Nude Anti-Fur Ad

    Survivor's Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn have "gone Hatch" in a new anti-fur PETA ad that was unveiled, as part of Advertising Week, at New York City's Museum of Sex on September 22. Ethan and Jenna appear as Adam and Eve, wearing nothing but well-placed fig leaves and holding a red apple.

    "I wouldn’t wear real fur —not even for a million dollars,” says Jenna.

    "Fur-wearers look just plain silly, walking around in coats that belong in a natural-history museum." And we suppose that's why the ad found it's way into the museum.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

    Business 2.0 Editor Loses Bet, Loses Hair

    MarketingVOX reports on a bet Business 2.0 Editor Josh Quittner made with publisher Lisa Bentley which called for him to shave his head if the magazine reached 100 ad pages in an issue published in 2004. Well, 107 pages were reached and Quittner is now bald. Bentley is most likely laughing her head off at the moment.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

    New Zealand's 42 Below Vodka Leverages PETA in New Ad Campaign

    If you're sick of hearing from PETA about how cruel food producers are to animals, there's a cheeky new commercial from New Zealand's 42 BELOW vodka which promises the company has never harpooned whales, bludgeoned baby seals with bats, hunted Pandas, cut horns off rhinos, shot elephants with grenades or eaten brains out of a monkey. So, for balance, drink lots of 42 BELOW vodka when you cut into that juicy filet that came from a bull who was hung by one leg and gutted while still alive.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: DDB Wins $10 Million Lipton Tea Account

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

    September 29, 2004

    ABC's 'Lost' Destined to be A Hit

    While NBC's Apprentice has devolved into a hyped-up bitchfest akin to a highschool catfight, ABC's Lost is destined to become a hit. It's intruiging. It's suspenseful. It reveals enough to keep interest and it features 40 people whose back stories are sure to provide pleanty of fodder for storylines.We figure it will finish the season in the top ten easily.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

    Volkswagen Puts $1.4 Billion Media Business in Review

    Seeking to "buy media smarter and cheaper," AdWeek reports Volkswagen is evaluating its global $1.4 billion media business. Of course, no sources are talking except to say that current agencies Havas Media Planning Group and Grey Global Group MediaCom have been invited to participate in the review.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

    William Shatner Plays Joke on Iowa Town For Reality Series

    William Shatner, who was in Riverside, Iowa shooting scenes for what he said claimed to be part of a new sci-fi movie called Invasion Iowa, revealed to the town Tuesday night the whole thing was a hoax.

    Shatner and a Glacier Point Productions crew had been in Riverside shooting a reality series, set to air on Spike TV, about small town playing host to a Hollywood shoot.

    "Everything in front of and behind the cameras was faked," Shatner said. "The only thing that was real is the love we have for Riverside."

    Just so the townfolk didn't revolt, turning the whole thing into a horror flick, Spike TV producers donated $100,000 to the town and the cast a crew passed the hat to collect an additional $12,000 for the Riverside Elementary School Book Fund. Do kids still read? We don't know when the series will air but we do know Shatner can be seen on ABC's The Practice spin off Boston Legal with James Spader Sundays at 10 PM.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

    New Campaigns From Sears, Liz Claiborne, Reebok

    This week, Amy Coor's MediaPost Out to Launch column brings us new campaigns from Sears featuring ABC Extreme Makeover host Ty Pennington, Liz Claiborne featuring Sex and the City star Kim Catrall, Traditional Home magazine, Cottage Living, AccuWeather.com which partnered with AstraZeneca sponsoring WeatherHost, and Reebok Sweets.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Mavi Jeans Buys News Coverage on New York's FOX 5

    Further confirming the lengths to which marketers will go to obtain awareness, and proving nothing in the news is unbiased anymore, an email leaked to Gawker reveals a New York FOX 5 fashion reporter's negotiation for payment from a fashion brand in return for favorably mentioning the brand in a segment to appear on Good Day New York next week. Sylist Susan Redstone told Mavi Jeans she'd feature the brand's jeans in a 3-4 minute segment in return for $750. We know there's "pay for play" stuff going on all the time but it would be nice to know that news is news and marketing is marketing, wouldn't it? Wait, we're marketers. Or course we wouldn't.

    UPDATE: We contacted Mavi to get to the bottom of this and, while they admit being asked by Redstone, they assured us they did not, in fact, pay for any placement. Mavi's Michael Williams said, "We didn't or wouldn't pay for placement. We make a great product and don't need to pay for our placement."

    Posted by Steve Hall at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

    PETA Airs 'Meet Your Meat' Ad With Alec Baldwin

    PETA is airing a :30 version of it's Meet Your Meat video narrated by Alec Baldwin which contains footage of animals being treated horrifically for food production. Granted, any organization with a cause will find the most shocking imagery to make its case, this ad and the long version will make you think twice before eating animal products ever again. The ad will air on CBS affiliate WTVF in Nashville during the American Meat Institute Conference which begins today.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

    Adrants Billboards: New York Radio Personality Scott Muni Dead

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Reebok Promotes NFL Equipment With Ficticious Reality Series

    Reebok has launched an ad campaign called "Welcome to the Neighborhood" that mirrors the Big Brother reality series placing 11 NFL players in a house together. The campaign by Arnell Group and website (where you can view all the spots and out takes) by Zugara are promoting Reebok's Gridiron Classics and Team Apparel collections.

    Beginning, September 26, the campaign will air during the 2005 NFL season on ABC, CBS, ESPN and the NFL Network. Print executions (ever wonder why we say "executions"? You have to wonder what people outside the industry think we are talking about.) will occur in Sport Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Canadian Website Promotes Smoking Rights

    In a very Un-PC move - but then again, America is the only country who has overdosed on political correctness - the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturer's Council has launched Mychoice.ca, a website promoting "fairness and civility" to the country's five million smokers. The site provides those who join the ability to rant about smoker's rights on message boards, take surveys, read up on the legal rights smokers can claim, contact politicians and access a map that shows where smoking bans are in place across the country. You go, smokers! I want my cancer stick!

    Posted by Steve Hall at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

    September 28, 2004

    David Beckham and Scooby-Doo In Ad For Adidas

    As part of the "Impossible is Nothing" campaign, European football player David Beckham will appear alongside cartoon character Scooby-Doo in an animated commercial for Adidas to be launched October 1 across Europe. Beckham plays a mysterious character who gets unmasked by Scooby and his friends.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

    'Double-think' Unveils 'A Cool American' Coke Classic Campaign

    Coke Classic Campaign

    As reported yesterday, ad hoc group "Double-think," made up of West Coast creative minds and headed by Madison Avenue vet Harry Webber has, today, unveiled a new conceptual ad campaign for Coke Classic. With Coke's marketing in turmoil, revenues in the toilet and many agencies currently vying for the business, Webber hopes Coke marketers will give this effort serious consideration.

    On Madison AveNew, Webber writes, "Armed with a new dossier of global product and market info, our "Double-think" team worked on discovering and defining the powerful product-based, "Brand Character" inherent in Coca-Cola Classic. We went in to discover the prime motivator that will compel the current Coke Classic faithful into becoming active (as opposed to passive) brand ambassadors. We went in to uncover "who" rather than "what" defines the true personification of Brand Coke Classic" While a global brand, Webber argues Coke is uniquely American and has made that stand for something in the campaign which incorporates the tagline, "A Cool American." The campaign puts forth a set of unique personality qualifiers that defy categorization yet, together, paint a holistic picture of a unique individual that can't easily be slotted into a demographic bucket.

    Predictably, many in the industry will slam this effort, not for any shortcomings it might possess, but because they didn't think of it first. We, however, think it's a brilliant step in the right direction.

    It's fresh. It's not hip. We don't need anymore ridiculously hip-filled ad campaigns. We need advertising that identifies itself with the consumer. This campaign does that. It accessible. It's flexible. It's identifiable. It allows the consumer to step inside the campaign no matter who they are. View all the concepts here.

    And the inevitable spoofs here and here.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Leo Burnett Apologizes For Chinese Cultural Faux Paux

    It's always difficult to know what's acceptable and what's not from one culture to another. What seems harmless in one can be quite offensive in another. Danwei reports multi-national agency Leo Burnett recently apologized for an ad it created for Japanese Nippon Paint. The ad demonstrates the smoothness of Nippon Paint by showing a dragon which had slid down its post. In China, you don't mess with the dragons. They are sacred, cultural icons. Luckily, for Leo Burnett and Nippon, the ad never appeared in mass media but in the September issue of trade journal International Advertising. It appeared, oddly, as part of an article about Leo Burnett's global, multicultural creative talents.

    Posted by Steve Hall at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Ad Hoc Hollywood Group to Unveil New Coke Classic Ad Campaign

    Hoping to aid sagging revenues and heeding a recent "iconographic creative" request Coke recently made to its ad agencies, long time Madison Avenue legend Harry Webber, creator of such memorable television campaigns as A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, I'm Stuck on BAND-AIDBRAND, and Dr. Pepper, America's Most Misunderstood Soft Drink, is leading a group of Coca-Cola stockholders in the Hollywood creative community to develop a Coke Classic ad campaign that Webber hopes will put Coke back on the growth path it enjoyed under the late Roberto Goizueta.

    Webber has dubbed his ad hoc "Big Idea Company" effort, called Doublethink, an entity un-tethered by traditional ad agency baggage and desire for hefty fees saying, "We don't give a fuck about how much money they (Coke) spend. We only care about how much money they make."

    Two weeks ago newly appointed Cola-Cola CEO Nevill Isdell laid the blame for the company's less than stellar performance in the marketplace squarely on the shoulders of lackluster marketing.

    Instantly, Chuck Fruit, the new chief marketing officer for Coke scrambled the troops with a so-called "Iconographic Creative Brief" to the entire roster of company agencies around the world.

    Writing on his website, Madison AveNew, Webber takes us through recent Coke marketing history including his experience working on the account over the years. He pulls no punches when commenting on the recent efforts of those involved in Coke's marketing, "After John Bergin left, McCann stumbled and Coke struck up a deal with Mike Ovitz and CAA. Mike brought in Len Fink and Shelly Hack to create the infamous CAA "Black Box" team. Coke paid out a lot of money in development fees for very little creative firepower and wound up back at McCann. Then the feeding frenzy began with creative assignments going to Lowe, Fallon, Burrell, Goodby and anybody else they could think of. At the same time the CMO dance began with Peter Sealy and a cast of thousands whipped through the revolving door. The latest cat on this hot tin roof is Chuck Fruit.

    Wait a minute. Do all of these names I've been spouting ring a bell? Fink,Hack,Lowe,and Daft. If you were convicted of a felony would you put your fate in the hands of a law firm named Fink,Hack,Lowe,and Daft? However. If cranberry, blackberry and passion flower flavored drinks were blasting away at your customer base, would you bring in a guy named Chuck Fruit to save the day? Damned straight, Jack."

    Hoping to get Coke out of its doldrums, Webber issued his open call to the Hollywood creative community. According to Webber the response was overwhelming and the ultimate strategy and campaign the ad hoc creative team was far in advance of the type of branding solution traditional agencies might devise. They created a "Brand Character" for Coca-Cola Classic based upon the recent findings of a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review on the impact of recent political realities on the efficacy of global brands, that is absolutely breakthrough in the category, according to Webber. In what will be either a revolutionary step for Coke and its advertising or a shameful embarrassment for Webber's Doublethink, the ad hoc ad campaign for Coke Classic will be unveiled tomorrow on Webber's Madison AveNew Column.

    Posted by Steve Hall at