Not quite like Axe helping a small male-heavy town attract women by spraying the town with deodorant, Microsoft has, apparently, completed an aerial software drop over the town of Willow Springs, IL to promote its new Office Accounting software. In perhaps an attempt grab share from Quickbooks, the small business software arrived from the sky on a CD attached to a miniature parachute which netted the usual "news footage" now "found" on YouTube. While one might assume there's laws against this sort of thing,
The aerial package also directs people to the IdeaWins site on which the software and a free download are promoted on the basis that everyone's got a big idea therefore they need accounting software to manage that big idea. Hmm. Well, that line of thinking might work for, say, software that actually aids the development of an idea rather than account for it but, then again, even accounting needs creative assistance at times.
Like an aging rock star who won't roll over and die, Mcdonald's has brought back their McRib sandwich with the MicRib Farewell Tour II, a follow up to last year's original McRib Farewell Tour. On the site, visitors can build their own rock concert light show that can be recorded and sent to friends, download McRib themed t-shirt designs, download McRib "power rock ballads" and download McRib wall paper for their computer. While that all makes for a good time, we found ourselves spending way to much time just watching that intro rocker chick do her thing. Over and over. Yes, we are truly ill. We admit it.
Also back is the BPFAA (the Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America) website, bonelesspigs.org, a fictitious organization that promotes the good will of boneless pigs. This whole boneless animal thing. It just makes one wonder if all the PETA videos capturing the mythical boneless KFC chicken are for real.
Perhaps directing some of the attention away from Edelman who was behind the Wal-Mart fake blog (flog) thing, are two new blogs for McDonald's, but not labeled as such. The co-promote with Monopoly. The Consumerist points to 4railroads and McDmillionwinner (link goes to Google cache as someone inside McDonald's apparent said "oops" and pulled the blog) and explains how the two sites are inter-related. Even though they carry dead giveaway copy written not by bloggers but by copywriters, the two blogs do not mention any association with McDonald's or Monopoly.
It's not that the blogs were launched in a clandestine manner. In fact, an October 19th press release makes reference to the 4railroads blog. It's just that things should be marked as they are. There's nothing wrong with cute, teaser campaigns but to pass something off as something it's not because it's thought slapping a brand name on it will lessen it's effect is, well, just not right.
In this art director's visual wet dream for the new Pontiac G6, the ever declining prices and increasing speed and sexiness of computers, music equipment and telephones are cited as an analogy to the less expensive and supposedly sexier G6. Created by Leo Burnett Detroit, the spot kinda gets the message across but does anyone really believe cars can get cheaper and a Pontiac cold be classified as sexy?
There's a law somewhere that says two makes a trend and with Chevy joining Nissan in the "our car is so awesome you could live in it" thing, we officially have a trend. As you know, some dude is living in a Nissan and making a "film" about it. Opinions as to how and when and ad somehow became a film aside, the series of "films" is supposed to endear us to the vehicle and the glory of its comfort.
Now, Chevy, with its Livin' Large in Aveo, is following eight college student teams across the country for a week with webcams and blog entries. Everyone gets to vote on which team lives the "largest." Wow. Cool. Yea, road trips are fun and we've had our share back in the day when every friggin' move you made wasn't commercialized.
Ashlee Simpson, who seems to be morphing into some kind of plastic representation of her older sister Jessica, has hooked up with Skechers to launch a new line of footwear. During the launch announcement a few days a go, she said, "Skechers is brand that is not afraid to going the beyond. I look forward to representing Skechers clothing line; I also hope to add a few more pairs to my wardrobe," causing some to wonder if English is her first language. Whatever. She looks way better with blond hair and whatever facial/nasal adjustments she's had than her former I-Must-Look-Different-Than-Jessica look she forced upon us earlier.
Much negativity has surrounded the launch of a new marketing company called Crayon. The company chose to make their launch announcement within Second Life where they established an island outpost. Some seem to think it's the end of Second Life because Crayon, along with all kinds of other marketers, will enter Second Life with no respect for the world's current residents. To coin a Second Lifers anti-marketing sentiment, it's all a gallery of lies. Second Life will be just fine with or without marketers.
First of all, Crayon is not a company whose sole purpose is to create marketing programs within Second Life. The company created the outpost as an efficient place to conduct business. Sure, some of the work they do may be Second Life-related but that is not the focus of the company. We don't profess to know anything more than what a couple months-worth of visits to Second Life have provided but, as far as we can see, no one is forcing Second Life residents to pay any attention at all to brands entering the world. In fact. most have been set up on islands which can easily be ignored or never discovered in the first place.
In what could be a masterful viral approach to growing a business that goes far beyond viral marketing, Microsoft is embedding viral expansion into its new iPod competitor, Zune. Users of the Zune MP3 player can send songs to friends over the devices Wifi who have three days to listen to them before they disable. If the recipient of the song decides to buy the song within the three day period, the sender of the song will receive a portion of the song's purchase price in the form of credits to be used towards purchasing music and other items from the Zune Marketplace.
Currently, it's a rumor and it would certainly be difficult to topple iPod from its reigning position but the approach is indicative of what many brands should be doing to grow their business beyond just traditional advertising tonnage. And yea, yea, yea, the whole referral thing has been done since cavemen traded rocks but this is high profile and it will be intresting to see if it works.
As part of its partnership with the Susan G Koman Breast Canver Foundation, Ford has teamed with the organization's Race For The Cure Virtual Quilt project which allows people to create their own message on the quilt. JWT Detroit along with interactive firm Firstborn created the project o coincide with this month's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
CoolzOr has put together an in-depth review of the many brands who've stepped in Second Life and the tremendous growth the virtual reality world is experiencing. CoollzOr walks us through the Second Life presence of brands such as Adidas, Reebok, American Apparel, Sun Microsystems, Toyota, IBM, Starwood Hotels and Nissan. Each has created an interesting virtual representation of themselves and, predictably, not without some complaint from SL residents.
Ad agencies have jumped into the world as well including Leo Burnett, BBH and the new social media agency Crayon which will open tomorrow.
If you're interested in keeping with what's happening in Second Life, Reuters has set up shop and provides news about the world. Preceding Reuters' coverage of Second Life is The Second Life Herald which is filled with all sorts of SL activity. CNET is there too.
Second Life has been around since 1999 but has only recently caught on with marketers and, for that matter, the general public having just netted it's one millionth resident a few days ago. In an odd way, this feels like the old AOL when it passed its one million mark. If you missed out on that ride, now's your chance not to miss this one.