In this week's Times Magazine, Clive Thompson (or @pomeranian99 on Twitter) described in his "I'm So Totally, Digitally Close to You" article how "incessant online contact" encouraged by tools like Facebook's Newsfeed and microblogging platforms like Twitter, has created "ambient awareness." Whether we tweet in 140 or less, post on each other's wall or upload photos, videos or Utterz, we're creating and curating a public record of who we are, what we like, dislike, what sparks our interests and what we care about.
This article left my head buzzing with the implications of this new "ambient awareness" and in particular, what it means for brands.
American Express has this program called Members Project, which funds worthy ventures with $2.5 million. (Members vote to decide who gets the money.) Read all about it.
To promote the program, AmEx used footage from previous ads to produce a montage of famous cardholders like John Cleese, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Ellen Degeneres and Jim Henson.
Their achievements are presented as the fruit of childlike desires. Scorsese's "project," for example, was to "tell unforgettable stories"; Degeneres wanted to "encourage people to dance to their own tune." The premise is, these people changed the world with their passion. Got a dream? Maybe you can change it too.
Dual body wash and moisturizer isn't really a new idea. (Companies like Dove beat that horse dead years ago.) Bringing bang to an old combo, Wieden + Kennedy enlist a centaur for Old Spice Double Impact. He's half man ... and half provider.
More importantly, he's actually got YouTube users talking about Old Spice. Will they buy the stuff? Hard to say. But hey, if a centaur doesn't turn this trick, Doogie Howser, M.D. definitely will.
Think only experienced TV spokespeople wield influence? Yeah, Geico agrees. So to supplement the tale of an apparently ordinary customer, it ensured success with an old-school icon: Mrs. Butterworth. (You know, the maternal maple syrup bottle.)
I love how she tosses in that random "hot pancakes" reference. Good stuff by The Martin Agency.
Commercials for IBM's "Go Green" campaign are all over my daytime TV. In the ones I've seen, corporate suits debate the merits of implementing energy-efficient policies. Once they opt to "go green" (usually for financial reasons), a cartoon forest -- complete with cheerful chirping wildlife and a high-pitched chorus -- blossoms around them. The message is that companies going green, whatever the reason, can change the environment for the better.
Style-wise, the effort mirrors a current Truth campaign where reality is also shattered by musical kitsch and doe-eyed cartoons. (Both are liable to make jaded cubicle cogs long for a vatful of hot smoking Dip.)
- Amalgamated clears air over "Virtual Drinking Buddy" rip. In addition to starting a dialogue with Robbie Wenger, Amalgamated founder Charles Rosen told Adrants, "in no way are we above stealing ideas around here - but it wasn't the case this time. we really didn't know about robbie's virtual drinking buddy until he emailed us about it after our mike's spot ran." That's serious grace under pressure, and we were completely charmed.
- Smart way to promote sober driving.
- Tribal DDB scores Wrigley account, must now work out how to adhere gum to 'net users. Shouldn't be too hard. Just chew a little and avoid this kinda crap.
In an internal letter obtained by TechCrunch, SVP Bill Veghte tries to explain WTF Microsoft was getting at with its Seinfeld campaign, which kicked off with this really weird ad.
Excerpt from Veghte's letter:
Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows - a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series [...] aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows.
"Best of Skype Laughter Chain" is FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES of footage of other people laughing. After awhile you'll be like, "That is one seriously ugly noise."
The video is part of a broader effort where people upload videos of themselves laughing. Sorta like that Gmail thing from last year. The idea is that Skype provides the ultimate setting for mirth and hilarity with its video chat feature. That's cool, and I'm a Skype fan and all, but this "take a giggle, pass it on!" gimmick is lame. It's like a whole campaign composed of inside jokes you weren't let in on.
This is HSBC's "Lumberjack" by JWT/London/NYC and production company Gorgeous. At first watch it's like Swiss Family Robinson meets Lord of the Flies, except everybody's grown up and cops ruin all the fun.
In the first ad released by Crispin Porter+Bogusky for Microsoft, Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld meet serendipitously at Shoe Circus, a Payless ShoeSource-type store. Seinfeld helps him pick out shoes. Made of pleather. Significant glances are exchanged, immigrants gawk, and churros are shared.
Thus ingratiated with one of the world's richest (and thriftiest?) men, Seinfeld poses the question we'd all ask, given the chance (and a serious case of munchies): "Are they ever gonna come up with something that'll make our computers moist and chewy like cake so we can eat 'em while we're working?"
Gates gives Seinfeld a subtle but sassy little ass-shake to denote "yes."