ClassMates.com Tempts Clickage with Puzzles

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We had high ad hopes for Classmates.com. When they started unrolling the "She married him?!" ads we thought, how cute, they're going to play on cliches. High school is rich with them.

But an otherwise promising direction's lost its luster as Classmates.com failed to give us much more than the same pair of ads and the same cliche, both featuring the bespectacled chick we've come to consider their poster child.

Apparently this darling has stopped bringing in the dosh because Classmates.com is going interactive. Here we find their first effort. In line with the nostalgic yearbook photo theme they bring us ... an image jigsaw.

Unless you're Picasso there are only two moves worth making. If even then you're not clever enough to put the pieces together, just follow the green arrows on each square. Try not to blink; you might miss one.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-28-07    
Topic: Brands, Online



JC Penny Spawns Magazine Inside GQ in Last, Pre-Saatchi Hurrah

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We seem to have a thing for those fake magazine cover ads and it looks like DDB is using the trick as its last stand for JC Penny before handing over the reigns to Saatch & Saatchi who will give us its "Every Day Matters" love. But, for now, it's still "It's All Inside."

In the March issue of GQ, the cover of another magazine, MANdatory, appears complete with manism headlines such as "There, there. How to tell her what she needs to hear" and "Emotions. Could there be more than two?" It's not terribly creative but it does stand out in a sea of messageless, Dolce & Gabanna-like ads that fill the magazine so we'll give them points for that. It did get us to stop and read it.

Alas, the retailer is due for a squishy Love Marks makeover which, hopefully, doesn't try to make the place more than what it is: a moderately priced department store that sells moderately styled items to moderate people. Everything doesn't need to be high end, ya know.

by Steve Hall    Feb-27-07    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Good, Magazine



Kraft Encourages Naughty Microwave Habits with Site for Co-Eds

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Aware of the average college student's ongoing state of starvation, Kraft puts together University of St. Arvin, where users can auto-generate depressed letters to parents and otherwise scam their way into some Easy Mac.

Our memories of dorm room subsistence are vivid and not very pleasant. We haven't touched Easy Mac since. But even if processed insta-food is behind us, microwaving stuff that shouldn't be microwaved is not.

We're glad we've been given the opportunity to experience this small pleasure from the safety of our own monitors. What can't a computer do for you today?

by Angela Natividad    Feb-27-07    
Topic: Brands, Good, Online, Promotions



Live Rats Join Yum! Family at Greenwich Village KFC

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We all have to deal with vermin from time to time, but rarely do we have to fight them for our fried chicken, dolphin v. man-style. This is what patrons of a KFC in Greenwich Village had to do when a deluge of vermin ran a rampage across tables, chairs and trays.

Graham and Jamie fill us in on the story and include a clever little comic where PR guys (of course) save the day. Because in the end, tons of rats generate tons of press for KFC and "Customer Mania!" parent company Yum! as a whole. You just have to know how to spin it. No advertising is bad advertising ... right?

by Angela Natividad    Feb-27-07    
Topic: Brands, Events, Television



Ad Hugs, Bank Babbles, Heineken Spends, Starbucks Wonders, Starcom Wins

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- Now here's an ad that really reaches out and touches you.

- Oh God. All we need is another meaningless marketing buzzword that capitalizes on yet another new trend.

- Just in time to comment of CareerBuilder's idiotic "firing" of its agency comes this Forrester report which claims marketers love to place blame on agencies but can't back it up with any sort of "failure metrics."

- Heineken has $70 million to spend but it's unclear who they'll spend it with.

- Starbucks' CEO laments some of the streamlining changes he's made and ponders its affect on the brand.

- What? Again? Starcom nabs Advertsing Age's Media Agency of the Year nod.

- Joe Jaffe is finishing his follow-up to "Life after the 30-second spot", titled "Join the Conversation: How to engage marketing-weary consumers with the power of community, dialogue and partnership and he needs your input for a survey he's doing on Conversational Marketing that will be a topic in the upcoming book. He's looking for brand marketers to complete the survey. Lend him a hand.

- Furniture retailer Levitz has signed on as a major sponsor of HomeTeam, the nationally syndicated weekly TV show that helps people become homeowners.

by Steve Hall    Feb-26-07    
Topic: Brands, Good, Newspaper



Ad Popularity Poll Genesis of CareerBuilder Agency Review

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It seems $50 million dollar marketing decisions can now be made on the basis of winning or losing a newspaper's ad popularity contest. Yes, that's right. CareerBuilder has placed its account in review because its ads did not make a top ten appearance in USA Today's Super Bowl ad poll, a tiny survey based on just a few hundred people with absolutely nothing to do with whether or not an ad affected sales.

Cramer-Krasselt President Peter Krikovich is pissed. Livid. Dumfounded. And steaming mad and tells Advertising Age he responded to CareeBuilder's opening a review based on the poll by asking, "You have to be fucking kidding me, right?" The agency has resigned the account and will not participate in the review.

more »

by Steve Hall    Feb-24-07    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Strange, Worst



Adrants Ponders Dov/Julie Paradox

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For Dov Charney, who's bowing out of American Apparel in pursuit of his own manifest destiny, office life has been a source of both business and pleasure.

Short of being a lumberjack or Chuck Norris, Dov Charney is a king among men. Dov Charney:

* Masturbates regularly in front of reporters
* Gets freaky with colleagues (thanks, Jewlicious)
* Pushes American Apparel's squeaky clean clothes with skanky adverts
* Still manages to position American Apparel as an ethical business that pays good wages and poses no harm to overseas workers

While Julie Roehm fights for footstools over in Pariah-ville, she must be shaking her fist at what Dov got away with over the course of his career, also behind the guise of a similarly apple pie all-American style company.

Granted, American Apparel ain't all sex, and it isn't the first brand to use R-rated tactics to pull in a fickle demo.

Are we looking at a double standard? And double standards aside, is America just too uptight about this sex stuff?

by Angela Natividad    Feb-22-07    
Topic: Brands, Social, Trends and Culture



Wrigley's and Wii Get Cozy on Candystand

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It was only a matter of time before Wrigley's Candystand, whose candy-tagged games get progressively better, would start testing waters in real gamer territory.

Candystand and Wii just joined forces in a bizarre cross-branding where Wii web games are peddled on Candystand and Candystand is totally accessible through the Wii browser.

The relationship isn't exactly low-key - within 24 hours of launching on Wii's Internet Channel, Wii.Candystand.com drew 6000 visitors and a ton of positive reviews. That is, according to Scott Tannen, Wrigley's director of global digital marketing.

This is the first branded site to link to the Wii browser, which will definitely get competitors sniffing at the door to be next in line. Candystand's content offerings are also formatted for television instead of computer monitors.

Kudos to Wrigley for creating a series of branded offerings that seem able to stand alone in gaming world. It hasn't been an easy trek, considering Candystand was first introduced in '97 - building this kind of recognition takes time. Just ask Target.

We still harbor doubts that our Socom buddies would be deeply impressed to hear we destroy the competition on Altoids Sheep, though.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-22-07    
Topic: Brands, Games, Good, Online, Sponsorship, Television



BlackBerry Personifies Personal Assistant with Weird Mascot

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We thought the Microsoft Butterfly was kind of nifty. The guy in the BlackBerry suit? Not so much. Giant plush costumes are so deceptive in their frozen state of cheer and rarely work outside Chuck E Cheese and college football fields, where they can be ridiculed at leisure by their own peers.

The requisite BlackBerry Mascot MySpace, as if we care.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-22-07    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Online, Promotions, Strange



Station Domination Campaign Says Nothing

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Why? Why? Why? Why do brands launch these massive campaigns, spend all this money and make ads that don't say a thing about what the company does? Are there people in agencies that still think "branding" without meaningful substance works? Apparently, not after one of those day-long, mind-numbing vision, mission, essence, position self-serving mind fucks. After that, they're all sipping the Kool Aid without realizing the consumer wasn't in that meeting all day and has no idea what the hell the resulting brand messaging is trying to convey.

Sure, this Mobius award winning Bart Domination campaign for Kaiser Permanente will certainly force the company's name into the conscious and subconscious mind of everyone within eye sight but will they walk away having any idea what the company does? Oh wait. Yea. There's this thing called the Internet. Oh wait. There's no URL in the ad. Oh wait. There's this thing called Google. It helps you find stuff. Oh wait, Kaiser's name is impossible to spell. Even if one does find their way to the site, it doesn't even tell you what the company does. Not until you click in several levels or visit the far more helpful Wikipedia listing. And yes, we have heard of Kaiser Permanente before and many people in California, where the campaign is running, have as well but that's not the case with most other marketer's that go this route.

So why? Why? Why make your potential customer work when you only have a split second of their time? Why paint pretty pictures that are devoid of commercial messaging. This isn't art. It's advertising. Wallow in the beautiful non-descriptiveness of this campaign here (PDF).

Oh, and the explanation for why those tree trunks and their copy look fake: "Apparently the photos taken of the installation were not very good and someone thought they could be improved by photoshopping the copy that was on the pillars onto the already poor quality photos."

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-07    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Opinion, Outdoor










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