ad:tech Chicago's "Love for Sale -- How Great Creative Seduces Its Target" session was broken into two discernably useful parts: statistics on online dating, and seduction as a metaphor for marketing.
We'll begin at the beginning.
The Online Dating Crowd
Accompanied by Liz Ross of Digitas US, Fusion Idea Lab's Matt Brennock regaled us with both statistics and close-to-home anecdotes -- the kind that's fueled many a romantic comedy.
I heard one guy say the pair had great chemistry, and he commended them for "[opening] the kimono" the way they did. Given the topic matter, and Brennock's zeal for reminding us (first once, then twice, then...) that men really do just wanna get laid, the geisha metaphor was oddly appropriate.
- The average online dater is 42 years old.
- Match.com remains tops, with 3.4 million uniques/month, but people increasingly drift away from these big-box dating sites and into more niche fare: j-date, veggiedate, Christian singles. (AdAge blogger Kelly Eidson seized this opportunity to send me a link to STD Match, a dating site targeted to people living with sexually transmitted diseases. There are also -- as if you didn't know -- ethnicity-specific sites.)
If the world wasn't our oyster before, the marvelous advances of the internet, coupled with mankind's enterprising creative spirit, have ensured it certainly is now. There's a match worth blogging.
- Fuel loses fuel.
- MCD gives those hardworking kids a day off in the city.
- Well, that didn't take long. Long live Teddy's dead legs.
- Fake WWF campaign lands just in time for 9/11!
- Where the white women at?
While Steve's away playing at conferences, I debated running the latest nude Lego print ad from Istanbul--or chumming the waters and pissing off as many blogging groups as I can. What to do, what to do. *flips coin* Paid reviews and Mommy Bloggers it is!
So the FTC and the National Advertising Review Council are set to announce what they intend to do with blogs and the issue of disclosure.
Basically, Big Blog... Brother will be watching.
To be fair, it's not just MBs, but any blogs where ads, promotions and reviews are involved. Then there's the issue of whether compensation affects objectivity or not. You can't discuss the topic of monitoring blogs for questionable things like hidden endorsements without also mentioning the groups most likely to warrant that increased scrutiny, namely, paid reviewers and... Mommy Bloggers.
So someone sent us a message which read, "Not sure if you're the sensitive sappy type but here's a link to the extended version of a new TV campaign we just finished for Robbins Brothers Engagement Ring Stores."
OK so reading Adrants might not lead one to believe the people behind it (in this case, me) have anything but vindictive bones in their bodies but they would be wrong. Are we jaded? Yes. Are we temperamental? Yes. Are we unfairly bitchy from time to time? Yes. Are we like a playground will of wise ass little shits with nothing better to do that sling mud at one another and call each other names? Yes.
But, believe it or not, we are not insensitive and we are close to the biggest sap out there. After all, we cried during Sandra Bullock's film, The Proposal. Yes, we really did.
Last week in his monologue, late night host Craig Ferguson went on and on and on and, yea, on about youth and advertising and how marketers all got together in the 50's and 60's to "deify" youth, put it up on a pedestal and focus all their advertising on that particular age group.
He goes on to explain how youth became the most important thing, how everyone wants to be young and how stupid that is because, well, the young are inexperience and, therefore, stupid. And how that deification of youth made being young fashionable which, of course, resulted in a bunch of idiots running around doing anything and every thing to be young no matter how old they were.
While everyone's all a Twitter over EA's Act of Lust booth babe stunt, consider this: If the Booth babes were Booth Dudes and the rules were the same, would anyone care?
Of course, encouraging people to "commit acts of lust" and then photograph it in order to get a chance to win "dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty" isn't going to win any prizes at a church fund raising competition but let's break this one down a bit.
The "booty" referred to in the promotion is not the ass of the "two hot girls." It's a swag bag full of geeky goodness any fanboy would lust over as much as he might lust over a booth babe. The encouraged "act of lust" is most certainly not meant to get people to do anything rude, crude or disrespectful to a woman hired to play the role of booth babe. Anyone who might actually do that is just a loser and in need of castration.
While this promotion can certainly be seen as crossing the ever-moving, hard-to-define line of decency, it's not encouraging rape, prostitution or other unseemly (and illegal) behavior. It's simply using a time-tested - if not tired and lame - marketing strategy to get people to do what a marketer wants.
The "two hot girls" are obviously paid for their participation in this promotion and while we're sure they'd rather spend a night with some hot dude - not to mention their own boyfriends - they knowingly took this job and the money and knew what they'd be getting into.
Arnold is out with another mock interview ad for the Truth campaign. In this entry, a seemingly immovable woman is subjected to the interviewers over-excited explanation of yet another business acronym. This one's AMPED or Articulate Motivated Passionate Energetic, which, clearly this woman is not.
The interviewer is amusingly animated. The woman is a dead fish. Perhaps due to years of suffering under the weight of her...oh that would be so rudely sexist to say! How dare we? Oh but wait. AdFreak got all sexist by suggesting just because the woman is wearing a "bust-accentuating" top, the ad is a bit NSFW. Huh?
As quirky (by our standards) as a Japanese commercial, brewer Taedonggang has launched North Korea's first beer commercial. The two-and-a-half minute commercial touts the beer as the new look of Pyongyang and that it will ease stress - not a bad selling point for a country which appears to have a lot of stress going on inside it.
So Advertising Age is all over agencies today for their use (or lack thereof) of Twitter. A destined to be classic quote from a Euro RSCG spokesperson reads, "We're developing our Twitter strategy and in the meantime want to hold onto the name. It's a Catch-22: You don't want your Twitter handle stolen, but you also don't want to start using it before you're really ready."
On the one hand, all well and good. No one wants to make a fool of themselves. On the other hand, this is not rocket science. Certainly it's easier for a random individual to join Twitter and use it any way they see fit. That, however, is not entirely the case for a brand, an agency or an agency representing a brand.
While the wonderful world of social media is, as everyone insists, supposed to be one gigantic, happy conversation, brands, because they are more than one person, need an agreed upon approach to using the medium. But that doesn't mean they have to over engineer it or have every last detail of that "strategy" in place before they dip their toe.
Why? Because you can't develop a "strategy" unless you know the medium and you can't know the medium unless you use it. Yes, it is a bit of a Catch-22 but the Catch-22, itself, is a Catch-22.
There was once a day - or at least it feels like there was - when music had deep meaning. It was very personal and, depending upon the artist or the song, could immediately transform your emotional state, cause you to ponder your worth in the world or simply celebrate the beauty of life and the moments you cherish with the one you love.
There once was a day artists - musical or otherwise - wouldn't dream of allowing their work to be used in any form of commerce other than that of selling their own work. But over the past ten years or so, music and all things pop culture seem to have become one with commerce. Almost by definition, performers (not necessarily musicians in every case) like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Beyonce, M83, Dr. Dre, Kid Rock, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Christina Aguilera, 50 Cent, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and, yes, the Beatles must have an element of commerce in their portfolio.