Because Coke's My Coke Rewards was performing dismally, some employees - all of whom were expressly forbidden at the outset - were asked to participate in the brand's My Coke rewards online promotions. Seemingly to boost activity on the site, the request seems to have backfired for employees who exceeded a pre-set limit of 2,000 points.
When one employee, Frank Grant, who did what he was told and participated in the program noticed he had accumulated more than 2,000 points and was made aware of the 2,000 point limit - likely buried deep within the fine print, he offered to return the merchandise he acquired from his points. Sounds fair enough, right? Wrong. Rather than rectify the situation in a normal fashion, Coke told Grant to resign or face getting fired. According to the Vellejo Times, many other employees faced the same situation.
Here's a wee throwaway video I took in the ad:tech press room, which is where we hole up from morning 'til the first party of the night.
Featuring Brent Terrazas, Steve Hall and Really Loud Guy Who Asks for Business Cards and Puts You On Annoying Mailing Lists.
Seriously. He doesn't even ask for your name. It's just "Miss, got a business card? I HAVE A NEWSLETTER."
While ad:tech Chicago's "The Role of Email in a Web 3.0 World" was mostly theory, I liked its feel-good flow. Moderator Christopher Marriott of Acxiom Digital got panelists comfortable without making viewers feel like they were sitting on the outside of an inside joke. It's a rare and beautiful skill.
Marriott acknowledged it was late in the day and told us up-front that the panelists were debriefed on his questions beforehand. As a result, he said, they came laden with slides to answer three major questions:
1. How might the nature of email change as it goes more completely cross-platform?
2. Can email coexist with the semantic web (web 3.0) ... or co-opt it?
3. What role will The Consumer play in creating web 3.0 email?
Before we get too deep down the rabbit hole, let's define web 3.0.
Tuesday night at ad:tech Chicago wrapped up with a keynote by author Clay Shirky, "Here Comes Every Customer: The Former Audience is Talking Around You."
The Big Idea, if intro speaker Drew Ianni is any authority: "The internet is the most important thing to happen to the human species."
That's a pretty high and mighty manifesto. Upon taking the stage, Shirky tried conveying the same idea with more precision -- and a much higher word count.
Here we go again. Apparently, it's OK to blow up stuff in TV commercials (see Verizon's Michael Bay commercial) but OMFG, show a fleeting glimpse of a natural human body part and the country freaks to high alert, places a blindfold over the collective eyeballs of every kid in the country (nudity is bad!!) and launches the cause group machine.
Yes. This is America. Nudity is bad. Nudity is something to be shunned. Natural beauty? Screw that. Put a potato sack on! Cover that God-given beauty. Sex is bad. Sex dirty. Sex is nasty. Sex should never be thought about. Sex should be shunned.
Four years ago when Keira Knightley starred in King Aurthur, the studio had her breasts digitally enlarged for the movie's promotional materials. Knightley, now 23 and starring in the film The Duchess, refused requests from studio heads to toy with her chest, claiming she's happy with her body the way it is.
Oh yes, we all love period piece cleavage, what with the era's corseted gowns and plunging necklines, but every woman should be able to feel completely comfortable with her own body without society dictating that they be a C or D cup.
Knightley, who caved to studio breast enhancement requests in 2004, put her foot down this time. Last year she told Britain's GMTV, "I would love to have breasts! I'm never going to get them. I'm naturally who I am."
While we'd all love to be perfect, we know perfection doesn't really exist. And creating the illusion that it's attainable only spawns unrealistic goals that can do serious damage to a person's psyche.
Son: Dad, what's that?
Dad: It's an ad.
S: But it just looks like a plain piece of paper.
D: No, it's an ad.
S: Well what's it an ad for?
D: I 'm not sure but I know it's an ad.
S: How do you know?
D: Because there's nothing offensive about it.
S: So ads can't be offensive?
D: Oh no. Not at all. And that's how I know it's an ad.
Hmm. Let's see if we can drag this "OMG, it's gay bashing" Snickers kerfuffle out just a bit longer and try to snag a few more vociferous comments. Hey, Advertising Age is doing it. Why not Adrants? Rather than move on, much like the rest of the non-ad world has..if they even heard the whining in the first place, Advertising Age decided to do...yes...a trend piece on banned ads adding to Snickers the Verizon Pit Bull ad and the swearing Churchill Insurance dog.
Is this really what the industry needs to spend its time debating? Oh wait, of course it does. That's all this industry does; bitch about the work of others' while inflating ego balloons over their own. And that's before the cause groups enter the debate.
During this week's Television Critic's Association Press Tour held at the Beverly Hilton, MarKyr Media Co-Founder Marjorie Kase interviewed Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner for Adrants. Mad Men, a show about advertising that's set in the early sixties, debuts its second season this Sunday, July 27, on AMC at 10PM.
MK: How has the Ad game evolved since the early days of Mad Men?
MW: I think the biggest difference is all of the conglomerates in advertising. They take the competition out of the market place. The ads themselves, I don't think are particularly bad or anything. There are still great ads being made with amazing amount of talent in advertising. I meet them and I see their work and I'm impressed and I'm amused and I enjoy it.
MK: Aside from all the sexism, drinking and smoking, how has the industry office culture changed?
MW: Well I don't think that's changed. I think that when you go to an advertising convention, the drinking is still there, and all the smoking is happening out in front of the building. I think people still go to strip clubs. There was a joke about Peggy last year that made Pete punch a guy in the face that was "She's like a lobster, all the meat's in the tail". That's from the New York Stock Exchange last year, that's not historical research; I was worried that would sound too contemporary.
Yesterday I read an article on JAMZ about Mad Men and how diversity advocates might threaten the show's authenticity. The author called Mad Men un-nostalgic and a "world where white men were kings." In what appears to be a reasonable justification to crystallize Mad Men as its own white male ecosystem, the author concludes:
Everyone is smoking, drinking, closeted, desperately unhappy. Choices and options are limited. That's the fabric that holds 'Mad Men' together. To suddenly throw in a little diversity would rip it to shreds.
I get the dude. It would be unrealistic to pepper those executive suits with black and brown faces for the sake of the PC police.
But it's also dangerous to use Mad Men as an excuse to shut diversity out -- something agencies are still too good at. That's gratuitous and unrealistically romantic. There's plenty of room to broaden Mad Men's scope without harming its precious and purported authenticity.