In a Slate article Seth Stevenson ponders the notion Burger King agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky orchestrated the Burger King Halloween mask hype which involved emails inquiring where the mask could be bought, a thread on Fark in which the mask was parodied and a BK Masks site was launched by CP + B around the same time. Coincidence? We don't think so.
Adrants reader doesn't think so either and wrote us, "Lets say CP+B were the farksters of the King. Funny, but is it legal? Can an agency Fark a marketing tool, and then profit by selling masks for Halloween? Although a bit shiesty, this seems to bob and weave around any kind of direct profiteering via manipulated personal likenesses, intellectual property, etc. But sending faux-inquiries about the masks to Slate? I realize that the inquiries where only that- inquiries, not hard sells. But the level of shrewdness here gets under my skin. I know this isn't anything new; advertisers have been playing the fool in chat rooms for years. But Slate is a major news source. It makes me angry."
Anyone want to add their comment?
When it is suggested an agency borrowed a previous idea for creative work, as TBWA\Chiat\Day just did with the Apple Eminem commercial, it's usually dismissed as coincidence. When it happens twice, with the same client, no less, notions of coincidence get chucked out the window. Artist Dane Picard exhibited this video artwork in June at an exhibition in Santa Monica located 15 minutes from the LA offices of TBWA\Chiat\Day. Picard's work, images of hands manipulating various objects in front of a black background is eerily similar to the recent Apple iPod Nano spot, launched a few weeks ago, made up of images of hands manipulating the device against a black background. View the work. Compare it to the Nano spot. Decide. Comment.
BBDO has created and outstanding campaign for eBay called What is it. The campaign tells the story of two guys who invent "it" and how it became the world's most famous, hippest thing to own. Of course, the message in all of this is that "what ever it is, you can get it on ebay." Really brilliant. Really. Check it out.
Reacting to a column UnderScore Marketing's Tom Hespos wrote about marketer's fear and laziness to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers, I wrote a piece calling for the creation of a "Conversation Department," a department whose sole responsibility would be to listen to what is being said about a given brand in blog posts, discussion boards, forums and other methods of group conversation, join the ongoing conversations about the brand and make sure the company properly reacts to conversational opinion by addressing concerns immediately. Today, Tom goes a bit further with this and proposes a structure for a conversation department and how it might be staffed.
The more we talk about listening, joining and learning from conversations, while everyone in a company should be doing this, it makes more and more sense for companies and agencies to created a dedicated conversation department.
This morning at New York City's Grand Central Vanderbuilt Hall, Bank of America held an event to promote its new debit card product, "Keep the Change," which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and places it in a saving account for the card holder. To attract attention to the new card, a gigantic, 20 foot long, 10 foot high sofa was placed in the Hall where people could climb on and reach beneath the cushions to find prizes such as MetroCards, Starbucks cards, restaurant gift certificates, retailer gift certificates and Apple store discounts.
This promotion, created by Jack Morton, aligns quite well with the whole money-stuck-under-the-couch-cushion thing. More photos to follow.
Honda and its agency Weiden + Kennedy are hoping two new spots currently in the works called "Impossible Dream" and "Choir" can match the success of the company's "Cog" and Grr" spots. The "Impossible" spot has a car morphing into a bunch of different vehicles including a boat and a hot air balloon. The "Choir" spot is being created by the team that worked on the "Cog" spot. We can't wait.
Sort of defeating the purpose of highlighting Jeep's new seven seat, 2006 Commander, Chrysler has launched an online promotion, called The Mudds featuring a family if five. Yup. Five, Not seven. OK, maybe that's splitting hairs but if you're going to highlight seven seats, you better have seven people to fill them. Hopefully, the kids have some friends.
The promotion will have all the usuals: bi-weekly webisodes - also available on Dish TV), biography pages, screensavers, wallpapers, text message notification of site updates, AvantGo PDA notification and online scavenger hunts using Google Maps. Oh wait, the Google Maps thing is new. Visitors can use Google maps to find virtual "geocaches" the Mudds have hidden and get a chance to win one of the new 2006 Commander's. Get your mud on.
In the UK, Pepsi is said to be in talks with former child opera star and current tabloid queen, Charlotte Church along with Oasis band member Liam Gallagher to appear in a Pepsi commercial promoting the drinks' use as a cocktail mixer. In the ad, it is said, Gallagher will teach Church how to smash up a hotel room while sucking down drinks mixed with Pepsi. Now there's a brand image worth fighting for. A Pepsi source explains, "We've always got safe, family friendly stars to endorse Pepsi in the past, like Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Cindy Crawford and Blue. But Pepsi is becoming more and more popular as a cocktail mixer at parties, so we want a wilder, more controversial image to go with that, and Liam and Charlotte are ideal. They both love their booze and between them they cover the gender demographics we're trying to target. Charlotte is young, sexy and fun-loving, while Liam is an older, cool rock star." Now there's a brand manager that doesn't gloss over the truth of his company's marketing goals.
Almost three years ago, we proudly predicted Charlotte Church would rise to a level of celebrity on par with Britney Spears. While she might not quite have reached Spears' level, if Spears continues to head in her current direction, it won't be too difficult for Church to overtake.
The first of a series of five videos, which will have ads sold in them trough a deal with MSN, Jib Jab has created Big Box Mart, a short that skewers big box retailers poking fun at merchandise created with cheap labor oversees, stores full of crap no one needs, Americans losing manufacturing jobs and the kicker: the same company that eliminated those jobs is scooping up the unemployed it displaced to work for low wages in its own big box stores.
Other videos will be created and sponsored by brands which will be place ads within the video as well as be features, perhaps no always positively, in the video. Jib Jab Co-Founder says it's all in good fun. "If you have a sense of humor about your own brand, and poke a little fun at it, then people appreciate that. It's a more honest approach, maybe." Yes, maybe.
While we're not quite what the draw is about watching television on a 2.5 inch screen in a world of 50 inch televisions, we can't complain about Walt Disney's deal with Apple to provide next-day downloads for $1.99 via iTunes to the new video iPod of ABC's popular series Lost and Desperate Housewives, among others. With dwindling television viewership and, hence, dwindling ad revenue for networks, providing mobile, commercial-free, pay-per-view programming makes a tremendous amount of sense for the nets. If this takes off, networks will run with glee to the bank. Marketers, with an ad medium pulled out from under their feet, may not be so happy.