Coke Lies, Misleads With Fake 'Zero' Blog

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To appeal to men, many soft drink makers have dropped the word "diet" from the name of their products or introduced newly named products. In Coke's case, there's Coke Zero. A clandestine element of the campaign urging men to consume Coke Zero is a weblog, with no mention of Coke's involvement (Note: apparently in reaction to negativity about this effort, the page is now clearly branded with a Coke Zero bottle), named The Zero Movement on which a guy rants about why life is so full of stuff to do and how it would be so much nicer if there was, well, zero to do. It's written in typical character blog prose, devoid of personality and full of whiny banter which comes off like it's a product of a creative brief. There's even fake, supportive comments to go along with it.

While the blog's archives indicate the site's been up since June, 2005, Whois information tells a very different story. Not only does the information reveal the site is a product of Coke, it clearly states the domain for the site was registered November 21, 2005, a full five months after the site, according to its archives, launched. On top of this, blog monitoring service BlogPulse has little to no information on the blog. Had The Zero Movement blog been pumping out posts since June 2005, BlogPulse would have had a sizeable profile for the site. Blog search engine Technorati, aside from some recent referrals, doesn't have much either. In creating The Zero Movement, Coke has lied, misled and misrepresented. Some would call this reprehensible and irresponsible. We'll just call it stupid.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-11-06    
Topic: Brands, Opinion, Weblogs, Worst



Intel Joins Three Billion Other Oval-Logoed Brands

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Thanks to Hurt Elbow, we now have visual proof the new Intel logo leaps ahead of nothing and simply joins the "logo ovalation" crowd. Check out all the unoriginal, copy-cat insanity here in one gigantic, orgasmic ovalistic circular logo-fest that either proves originality is dead or that all these brands used the same focus group.

by Steve Hall    Jan- 9-06    
Topic: Brands, Opinion, Worst



Adrants Makes Podcast Debut on 'Across the Sound'

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So we've finally jumped on the podcasting bandwagon or, at least, we've hitched a test drive with an appearance as guest host on Across the Sound. A few months ago, Joe Jaffe and Steve Rubel launched Across the Sound which covers new marketing, media and PR. In late December, Steve Rubel had to back out to focus on other commitments and Jaffe decided to bring on some guests hosts. Timidly, we raised our hand while, at the same time, cringing at the thought of hearing our own voice uttering non-sequitors and pointless blather we so often relish trashing here on Adrants.

During the podcast, we rambled on about the genesis of Adrants, Brandweek's fascinating insight into the apparent pointlessness of blogs, those three year old PUMA spoof ads (more here, here, here and here), Sprint's Ambassador Program, cable news network screw ups, Stormhoek wineries who doubled sales in less than 12 months by leveraging a blog campaign in the sales process and Intel's poor choice of tagline.

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by Steve Hall    Jan- 8-06    
Topic: Opinion, Podcast



Religious Zealots Have No Humor, Confuse TV With Church

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Last Friday night, NBC aired the initial episode of The Book of Daniel, the show that unnecessarily had everyone's frocks in bunch last week because, God forbid, it mixed the topic of religion with a frothy dose of humor and human imperfection. Not dainty Starbucks-style froth but full-on, blender-busting froth in the form of a pill-popping priest, a gay son, a martini-swilling wife, a daughter who sells pot to support a manga cartoon hobby, another son who likes to have sex with a bishop's daughter, a priest who cheats on his wife, a relative who steals $3 million from the church, a mafia-connected priest who blackmails the pill-popping priest and a self-referential, wise-cracking Jesus who doles out less than traditional religious advice. Four NBC affiliates couldn't take the heat and pulled the show from their schedules.

Upon viewing the two hour premiere, we just don't know what all the fuss is about. The show was funny. Really funny. It took the very serious subject of religion, did away with the usual collection of unrealistically pious people and turned the whole thing on its head by dropping the kid gloves to portray people as they are in real life, full of flaws, faults and foibles.

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by Steve Hall    Jan- 7-06    
Topic: Opinion, Television



Nudity in Advertising Not An Issue in Prague

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Somehow during the long history of America's creation with all its focus on freedom and supposed acceptance of just about anything, someone forgot to realize there's nothing with the normal portrayal of the human body in its natural state. No, we have to somehow equate nudity to the downfall of mankind and the catalyst for a nationwide orgy resulting in a country-wide orgasm of cataclysmic proportion causing the destruction of the moral fabric that binds our United States together.

In Prague, they just put nude ads up and no one blinks an eye.

by Steve Hall    Jan- 6-06    
Topic: Opinion, Outdoor



Oxygen Gets All Sexy On Us

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It happens to the best us us. We come up with a great idea. Get all high and mighty about how we're not going to be like everyone else. We promise not to sink into the gutter and use all the tired, old tricks to attract attention. We vow to be virtuous and laud ideals and intellectualism over insipidness. Then it happens. No one watches us. No one's heard of us. Our primary competitor towers over us and we are lost in a sea of television stupidity. Do we continue to stay the course? Do we try to beat them? No, sadly, we throw in the towel and join them.

After playing second fiddle to Lifetime for so long, Oxygen just can't stand it any longer and is pulling out the trump card of last resort: sex. Rather than rise above the misty-eyed success of Lifetime with higher brow offerings, Oxygen network has joined the titillation crowd with offering like "Talk Sex With Sue Johnson" and its new series, "Campus Ladies," a show that will somehow make the scenario of middle-aged, suburban women going back to college and frolicing with undergrad hotties funny.

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by Steve Hall    Jan- 4-06    
Topic: Cable, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Blogging Campaign Doubles Sales, Disrupts Norm, Trumps Tradition

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Gapingvoid blogger Hugh Macleod worked with U.K. wine brand Stormhoek to use blogging as a means to increase sales. It worked. Big time, doubling sales in less than 12 months. The increases didn't come from the hundred or so bottles he sent out to U.K. bloggers who might blog about it and get a few of their friends to buy a bottle. Surely, they did drink the wine and did blog about it but the big increase in sales came from what Macleod calls The Porous Membrane, the wall between internal brand conversations and external consumer conversations.

Macleod posits blogs are a good way to make things happen indirectly and that they are disruptive to the status quo. To double sales inside of a year can't possiblely come from a few more people drinking a couple of bottles of wine. It can, however, come from a vastly improved internal attitude and sales process. The simple fact that the wine was out there and was being blogged about became part of the story telling sales process. As the sales force went out to supermarket buyers and importers, there was a new, different and exciting story to tell. Additionally, a retail outlet is far more likely to take on an increased inventory if it knows the product is getting talked about. The mindset is that if they're talking, they're more likely to buy. That's exactly what happened.

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by Steve Hall    Dec-31-05    
Topic: Campaigns, Opinion, Weblogs



Dear Hilary Duff, Gain Some Weight

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Within the span of two days, we saw two of your movies, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and A Cinderella Story. (Don't worry, we're not stalking you. There's two kids here to entertain) Clearly, these are two very different movies. Clearly, you look very different in each. Clearly, you look far better in A Cinderella Story. What are you and every other young Hollywood celeb thinking when you choose to loose so much weight you end up looking a collection of bones with skin colored rubber stretched over them? You do know you look really bad, don't you? Mary Kate and Lindsay have managed to return from skeletal oblivion and we know you can too. Grab some pizza. Grab some McDonald's. Grab anything with more than 100 calories.

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It's true the camera adds ten pounds but when you're 20-30 pounds underweight, even the camera can't help. For some reason, you seem to think you look better as a skeleton and, perhaps, feel guys will find you more attractive. You are wrong. Very wrong. There are these things called curves. You've heard of them. Those things that stick out behind you and in front of you. If, for some reason, you can't seem to remember what curves are, check out Scarlett Johanson. Or Jennifer Love Hewitt. Or Jessica Simpson. Or Jessica Alba. Or Angelina Jole. Or Katherine Heigl. Or Denise Richards. Or Michelle Trachtenberg. Or Mandy Moore. Or Amanda Bynes. Or Anne Hathaway. Or Joanna Levesque (Jojo). Or Elisha Cuthbert. Or Lacey Chabert. Or Jewel. Or Jessica Biel. Or Alexa Davalos. Or Amanda Righetti. Or Chyler Leigh. Or Rachel Nichols. Or Charlotte Church. Or Keeley. Or Nikki Cox. Or Mandy Amano. See? Get it? Now go get your curves back, Hilary. For the sake of your health and your career and your fans.

UPDATE: Not that Hilary reads Adrants as many of the commenters seem to believe, but if she does, this article was meant, as many of the commenters do not seem to believe, to be helpful. To be supportive. To be well intentioned. While jarringly blunt, all we're saying is be careful of the Hollywood machine. While Hilary, who's been in the machine for years, knows full well what the machine can do, an unsolicited kick in the ass from the outside world might be worth paying attention to.

by Steve Hall    Dec-31-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Opinion



Consumer-Generated Content Hits TV, MTV Continues IE-Only Stupidity

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The Wall Street Journal reports MTV's VH1 will, on January 13, launch "Web Junk 20," a show featuring video clips found on MTV-owned iFilm. MTV hopes the show will drive viewers to the company's online channel, Vspot. Unfortunately, as with other MTV online efforts, Vspot does not work with Firefox and visitors using that browser are met with "We're Sorry. PC Users with Netscape, Mozilla or Firefox: you need to run Internet Explorer to use VSpot." Idiots. Those most likely to be interested in Vspot content have a clue and those who have a clue use Forefox, not IE. Please get a clue, MTV and screw your deal with Microsoft.

by Steve Hall    Dec-31-05    
Topic: Cable, Online, Opinion, Viral



Intel Launches Boneheaded Boardroom Brand Blather

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Claiming Intel's marketing needed a swift kick in the ass, American Technology Research Analyst Doug Freeman, commenting on Intel's decision to change its tagline from "Intel Inside" to "Leap Ahead" in support of the company's expansion beyond computers, said, "That they're going to focus on 'Leap Ahead' makes me think about the technology. Not, 'buy me because I'm inside,' but 'buy me because I'm doing something unique.'" Apart from the fact that sounds like boneheaded boardroom brand blather, the change is beyond stupid. It's illogical and nonsensical. Intel chips ARE inside. That's the whole point. It's an easily understood, straight forward way of saying a product is better because it has an Intel chip inside. "Leap Ahead" is meaningless. Oh sure, there's that whole squishy, "we're doing all these cool things to help you move ahead and beyond the competition" but that could be applied to any company. It's not unique enough to set Intel apart from, say, the brand of wires used inside a device.

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by Steve Hall    Dec-30-05    
Topic: Brands, Opinion










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