Microsoft's new OS Vista "Welcome Center" screen, seen by all PC users when they start their computers, will display ads. Because that practice has caused complaints, the company is facing trouble from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as states attorneys general who are considering legal action. A report was filed last Wednesday with the judge handling Microsoft's antitrust compliance.
With millions if not billions of people viewing that screen on initial boot
at least a few times a week, calling it prime advertising real estate is an understatement. While TV has died as a mass media, Microsoft's "Welcome Center" will cause marketers to drool over its reach but cause extreme concern among those who feel Microsoft will use the space to promote the company's own products.
UPDATE: Catch the "diggversation" over here where diggers crucify Adrants Farker-style.
UPDATE II: Here's the actual legal brief (pdf) that confirms the story except for our misinterpretation about the ads appearing every time Vista is booted versus just during initial boot.
To promote the 2006 Football (soccer) World Cup, Nike has launched a campaign called Play Beautiful which consists of eight serialized videos, the first showing a ficticious cause group, headed by real-life, legendary footballer Eric Cantona, taking over a television station to deliver the group's message of encouragement. In the first video, Cantona says "we've let liars and cheaters make a fool of the game" and that he is here to "remind the world that this game is about skill, heart, honor, joy, team spirit." He urges us to make the game beautiful again. As football-clueless Americans, we never would have know the game had a problem in the first place so we'll take his word for it.
Future videos will also feature Cantona along with other current footballers. The video was produced by Wieden & Kennedy and F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, who handle work for Nike in Brazil, created the site.
With the tagline "live green, go yellow" GM, today, has painted the homepage of the New York Post's online site along with other sites such as the Austin American-Statesman yellow to promote the company's E85 ethanol-fueled vehicles of which there are already 1.5 million on the road. The vehicles can run on either gasoline or the new E85 fuel. E85 fuel is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and is made from U.S.-grown corn and other grains. The company will introduce and promote more E85-capable vehicles mid-2006.
The yellow takeover and the ads point to a live green go yellow microsite where visitors can find out about the fuel's benefits, how it's made, what vehicles will run on it, play a Stalk Car Race game, see the TV and print ads and get live green go yellow goodies.
Retiring its 20 year old "It's everywhere you want to be," Visa will introduce a new TBWA/Chiat/Day LA-created tagline, "Life Takes Visa," during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Interestingly, the tagline was created a few years ago by Visa's previous agency BBDO New York and was in some Latin America ads created by Leo Burnett.
Unlike Intel's new but meaningless "Leap Ahead" tagline, Visa's tagline nicely connotes you can get just about everything you need in life with a Visa card. That is, everything that costs money. A piece of plastic isn't going to help solve your marital woes but hey, we can only ask so much from a piece of plastic.
Anheuser-Busch will use its Super Bowl commercial time to launch a direct-to-consumer network called "The Bud Screen." The network will offer all manner of programming, branded content and advertising delivered to the desktop or an iPod. The brewer intends the network to be long-lived and to eventually be named "Bud TV." We've said it before and we'll say it again, the middleman - the networks - just aren't needed any longer. When a brand or program producer can deliver content directly to the consumer, there's no need for the current TV network set up. Oh sure, big changes are years away but it's happening and it will continue to happen faster and faster as more brands and content producers realize they can have their own channel of distribution.
Kuwaiti Art Director and Ad Blogger Tata Botata (or whatever his real name is) pointed us to this Kuwaiti IKEA ad on the back of a local dining guide that shows Filipinos, apparently the predominant wait staff in the country, portrayed Swedish maids. While Botata tells us its very common to see Filipino wait staff in Kuwait, he took issue with IKEA dressing them up in stereotypical Swedish garb and headlining the ad with, "Enjoy the Swedish hospitality at IKEA store."
We don't pretend to understand all the cultural ramifications of this but we prefer our Swedish maids blond, buxom and holding beer St. Pauli Girl-style. Then again, that's got its own nasty, sexist, stereotypical baggage.
We always wondered if there actually was any bread in Wonder Bread since you can compress a slice into a ball the size of a marble but no matter, the company is launching a $10 Million campaign to introduce Wonder "made with" Whole Grain White. That "made with" phrases casues one to...uh...wonder whether just how real this new bread will be. Well, we'll give it the compression test and let you know. In the meantime, all you TV and print sales reps enjoy your slice of that $10 million. We bet it's a lot more substantial than a slice of Wonder.
As you may recall, early last year a couple reported finding a finger in a cup of Wendy's chili and then went all ballistic on Wendy's with legal threats and insurance claims only to be called out for planting the finger themselves after paying $100 to a construction worker who lost it in an industrial accident. Well, payback's a bitch and the couple has been slammed with years of jail time. Anna Ayala, 39, was sentenced to nine years and her husband Jaime Placencia, 43, will serve 12 years, four months. While a finger may have been lost, it was the couple's moral compass that was lost according to Superior Court Judge Edward Davila who said, "Greed and avarice overtook this couple."
MPH thinks Toyota's plans to run a "hybrid" English/Spanish commercial for its Camry Hybrid during the Super Bowl is less than smart writing, "They better have one heck of a commercial because the concept sounds like a dud. Just sell cars, don't try to preach. Especially during the Super Bowl." Well, as we all know, the binoculars will be on hand to scrutinize every marketers' offering during the game so we'll all know soon enough if Toyota's hybrid/hybrid wittiness bombs or soars.
Back in May 2005, we reported on an incident in which clothing company Crown Farmer claimed Urban Outfitter had stolen its designs and sold them without proper license. It appears the retailer is, again, up to no good, this time, with Johnny Cupcakes which claims the retailer has produced designs very similar to Johnny Cupcakes' which Urban Outfitters had previously seen but declined to license. It appears Urban Outfitters has borrowed heavily from a Johnny Cupcake bomb-dropping design. One time is, perhaps, a coincidence. Two times and it's time for Urban Outfitters to come clean.
UPDATE: Someone's started a blog called Urban Counterfitters taking Urban Outfitters and other retailers to task for their "borrowing" of other's designs.