Sony's Street PSP Campaign Getting Tagged, Ragged

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While initially it seemed Sony's PSP street chalk drawing campaign in several cities around the U.S. was being well received by some (us), others have dished out a bit of backlash by defacing the drawings and calling for an end to corporations' attempts to co-op the graffiti art form. AdFreak sums up the issue pointing to a rant over at Gothamist, an online petition to stop the practice and street art blog Wooster Collective's collection of PSP street art.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 7-05    
Topic: Guerilla, Opinion, Outdoor, Trends and Culture



It's Impressions Stupid, Not Traffic

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This morning, we received this eager request from an ad network sales rep. This is exactly the sort of thing that really doesn't help the online advertising industry's image and, while this company may be populated with a fine bunch of folks, the message irked us one too many times.

"My name is XXX, from the online ad agency XXX {really an ad/affiliate network). I came across your site and was wondering if you would be interested in getting some business going. Currently we are looking to sell some traffic but we do buy traffic so feel free to make us an offer. We specialize in Pop-under, Floating Ad, and Interstitial formats and work on CPM, CPC, and specialty CPA terms. E-mail me back or give us a call so we can perhaps discuss getting a campaign going with you. Hope to hear from you soon."

First of all, don't come across my site. That's just nasty, Second, it's not traffic. It's impressions. Why is it that reputable companies refer to this ad metric as impression and others refer to it as traffic? Traffic connotes mindless, scatter shot reach to anyone, anywhere without regard for targeting. With impressions, at least the word alludes to leaving an impression which alludes to something with purpose. Oh, sure, you can argue they're the same thing. After all, not every impression is seen by human eyeballs. So hey, it's all just mindless traffic anyway and publishers and advertisers are simply putting up toll booths to collect cash. But, at least for me, talking about the selling and buying of online advertising, which, when done right, involves targeting contextually, behaviorally and demographically, among other things, as if it were all just traffic greatly devalues the medium and its capabilities as an advertising channel.

And thirdly, Pops? Floating ads? Do these companies realize they are pimping the most hated form of online idiocy? Do they care? Of course not. As long as the ROI math works out positively, pops are here to stay. Unfortunately, for us, the math does work out and we have to suffer. It still doesn't make it right.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 2-05    
Topic: Opinion



FOX's 'Reunion' Is Actually A Good Show

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Catching up on this week's TV last night during a date with the DVR (no TiVo baggage here - just a straight forward, simple cable DVR) we realized a few things. Aside from the usual hits everyone watches such as Survivor, Lost, Grey's Anatomy and ER (well, it used to be a hit), there's a few shows that are getting some attention but deserve more. While racing, blissfully, through a few commercial-free hours of saved programming, we realized there's a few lesser known shows worth mentioning:

  • UPN's Veronica Mars is a brilliant show. Each episode is a mini-mystery that Veronica, who's Dad is a private eye, solves all while wondering what she's doing in this really strange world they call highschool. In addition, each season contains an arching mystery that drops clues each episode. Smart strategy. Each episode can stand on its own while the viewer is rewarded with an in depth story if they stick with the series.
  • FOX's Reunion, while not brilliant, has an amazingly intertwined plot which spans the live's of six people over 20 year from 1985 to 2005. Each episode represents a year. Because each episode jumps back and forth between present day and the episode's year, it can get a bit confusion following the plot. Perhaps that's one reason why its rating are in the toilet. This show's really a perfect candidate for DVD when you can sit down and watch big chunks of it at a time. Though FOX has done a good job with episode recaps for those who want to catch up.
  • ABC's Invasion finally moved the plot along a bit this week with an episode that revealed a bit more behind the alien assimilation thing and the lead characters long involvement with it. It's the better of the several alien shows airing right now. The show has a blog which is nice but they do a terrible job of referring to it on the show misusing the terms blogs when they mean posts on a blog. Does anyone else think the actress playing the Sherrif's daughter, Alexis Dziena, is oddly attractive?
While UPN's Veronica Mars and ABC's Invasion will see future seasons it's likely, but unfortunate, Reunion will be cancelled after this year.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 2-05    
Topic: Opinion, Television



Donny Deutsch to Announce 'Media Person of the Year,' Voting Closes Sunday

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Donny Deutsch will announce the 2005 "Media Person of the Year" on his CNBC show, "The Big Idea," this Monday, Dec. 5. Each year, I Want Media runs a poll to find the "Media Person of the Year" defined as the figure who had the most impact on the media landscape. Last year's "Media Person of the Year" was the Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart.

This year's 10 candidates, submitted by the site's readers are CNN's Anderson Cooper; Gawker Media's Nick Denton; Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Apple's Steve Jobs; Author Judith Miller; media mogul Rupert Murdoch; Craig's List's Craig Newmark; Viacom's Sumner Redstone; Howard Stern and Martha Stewart (who was named the 2002 "Media Person of the Year").

I'm voting for underdog Nick Denton. You should too. He, and blogging, have significantly altered the media landscape in recent years. The online poll closes this Sunday evening.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 2-05    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion, Research



Food Advertising Regulations Stiffen, People Still Fat

The ad industry is all a twitter about recent rulings by the Children's Advertising Review Board reports Ad Age. CARU, a division of the self-regulatory group National Advertising Review Council, has been battling Kraft over a Lunchables Chicken Shake-Ups ad which CARU claimed did not properly represent four out of the five food groups as required by the group's guidelines. Kraft revised the ads but said forcing advertisers to show all required food groups might cause advertisers to "depict an overabundance of foods."

Advertising attorney Douglas Wood told Ad Age CARU is overstepping its bounds by making the wrong way, saying, "Doing so [make policy changes in advertising practices] through cases rather than rule-making is a very dangerous road. By using a case to announce a broad reaching rule, some will argue that CARU has eliminated the deliberative process and engaged in rule-making more by fiat than fairness. Without doubt, this will further fuel the debate that CARU has become too aggressive."

more »

by Steve Hall    Nov-29-05    
Topic: Opinion, Policy



Neil French Says Top Creative Career Incompatible With Kids

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Neil French's sudden non-appearance at a Singapore AdAsia conference, held November 21-23, isn't news. What's news are comments he made in a Singapore newspaper article run a day prior to the show in which he tried to claim it's not just woman who are "crap" because they make time for family, it's men too. French claims, according to Ad Age, children are "incompatible with the long hours needed to become a top creative." Egoistically proving his point and hinting fatherhood is for wimps, French told the paper he hasn't seen his only child, an eight year-old boy in months. Keep smokin' that cigar, Neil but humbly suggest you give that Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle, a listen. It's got an important message for you.

Of course, one could claim the above is written from an overly PC, American viewpoint. If you flip the coin and acknowledge cultural differences between America and Singapore, where French has spent most of his career, French comes out smelling like roses as indicated by a comment reportedly made by a creative who said, during a dinner attended by French and, we assume, the Ad Age reporter who reported it, "You have to look at this through a cultural filter. In Singapore, its still legal to beat your wife." While we find that hard to believe, we're not making it up.

by Steve Hall    Nov-21-05    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Ad Age Apologizes For SpecificMEDIA Cover Wrap Debacle

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Following a MediaPost Real Media Riff's column that roasted Ad Age for an editorial cover wrap attached to 1,000 copies of the magazine distributed at ad:tech in early November, Ad Age's Rance Crain, today, offers up a mea culpa and apologizes for what MediaPost deemed a serious ad/edit line crosser. Apparently unbeknownst to the magazine's management, including Crain and Editor Scott Donaton, a last minute deal was struck between someone at Ad Age and a company called SpecificMEDIA to adhere a front page cover wrap that appeared to look like news content and distribute it at ad:tech. Crain writes David Klein, publishing and editorial director of the Ad Age Group, sent an email to the magazine's staff stating, among other things, the publications credibility had been damaged by the wrap. Crain also makes no excuses for misjudgment.

In a nod to an American Business Media "Editorial Integrity: Under Assault?" panel Crain moderated last week, he noted readers have increased protection from "overzealous advertisers" by blogs and other journalists who will call out moves such as this cover wrap debacle. It's encouraging that Ad Age chose to publicly deal with this issues as it could very easily have simply swept it under the rug and moved on. Welcome to the conversation, Ad Age.

by Steve Hall    Nov-21-05    
Topic: Magazine, Opinion, Publishing



Danica Patrick Beats Paris Hilton in GQ Ad Babe Showdown

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There's never a lack of ad babes peering, longingly, out of magazine ad pages luring guys into buying things they really don't need so it's without surprise that we find both been-there-done-that Paris Hilton and IndyCar babe Danica Patrick meeting our eyeballs as we flip though the December issue of GQ, which, by the way was a multi cover issue on which Jennifer Anniston appeared semi-nude but we, unfortunately, ended up with the Vince Vaughn version. Come on, Jim. You read Adrants. You know what we like. Send a memo to the circulation department, stat!

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Paris, who, hands down, has the best "do me" look, is in GQ hawking her Paris Hilton For Men fragrance. Oddly, the container looks like a lipstick wand so we're doubtful too many men will actually be seen buying or using this stuff. Danica, who has the more girl-next-door, wholesome look, except here, is smirking for TISSOT Swiss Watches. The ad carries the headline, "A Woman's Touch...in a Man's World," which appropriately, references her place in the male dominated world of car racing.

So in terms of which ad does a better job selling its product, without doubt, the award goes to Danica Patrick's TISSOT ad. It's a product an actual man would actually buy and Patrick's demeanor, at least in this ad, is far more tangible and realistic that Paris Hilton's airy, empty, vacuous persona seen here.

by Steve Hall    Nov-17-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Magazine, Opinion



Old Models Die Hard, But Die They Do Die

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"Advertising within TV shows is still the mother lode of how the networks bring in their revenue, and CBS and the other networks have an extremely important interest in protecting the sanctity of the first-run show's ratings," said Andy Donchin, executive vp and director of national broadcast at Carat. Andy might be eating those words in a few years as cable and broadcasters wake up and smell the VOD. Certainly, not everyone is going to pay for ad-free content but an entire generation who will refuse to accept current ad supported content models is fast growing and simply won't settle for business as usual. Additionally, if show producers and broadcasters see a viable and profitable pay per VOD business model, they'll dump advertisers faster than Cue Cat came and went.

by Steve Hall    Nov-14-05    
Topic: Opinion, Television



Nordtrom Gives 80's Go-Go's A Makeover

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Bringing two decades of style together and highlighting a few products a long the way, Norstrom, with help from Fatboy Slim, has launched Norstrom Silverscreen a remixed version of the 80's G0-GO's video "Our Lips Are Sealed." Random Culture points out several products are featured in the video and the two decade groups cavort in typical music video style. Other similar video remixes are forthcoming. Visitors can opt to watch a basic version of the video or an enhanced version which requires a download but will automatically play each new video as it becomes available.

Unfortunately and stupidly on Nordtrom's or it's agency's part, the enhanced version only works with, you guessed it, Internet Explorer and not with the IE-killing and fast growing Firefox, the browser of choice for anyone that has a clue. Marketers and technology providers have got to stop sleeping with one bed partner and start playing the field. There's a lot of untapped Firefox hotties out there willing and waiting for the "enhanced experience." So, come on marketers and technology providers. Stop being so prejudice in your choice of bed partners.

by Steve Hall    Nov-10-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Online, Opinion








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