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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While some marketers would certainly explode with glee if every human being on the planet wore the brand's logo somewhere on their body but we just can't understand why any sane human would affix logoed fingernails to their fingers. Of course, we can't understand headvertising, assvertsing, babyvertising, voicevertising, cleavagevertising, bellyvertising or boobvertising either.
OK, wait a minute. Of course we can understand it all. Sorry. It must be this slower than death holiday news week rotting our brain. There's always plenty of money-hungry fools around to add to this list of marketing stunts. That and the fact the entire ad industry is in the middle of some sort of knee jerk reaction to all the "death of the :30/traditional advertising" woe that's been spinning around since marketers woke up and realized, oops, there's these ad skipping things called DVRs, iPods, pop up blockers, bit torrent TV, pirate radio and file sharing which they wish had never existed. Now advertising is...um...hard work when it was just supposed to be all about the parties and the three martini lunches.
How we got from someone's logoed fingernails to martinis we do not know but it passed some time on a slow Friday at the end of a slow holiday week. See you next year.
Not that there's really any news this week nor any real reason to actually be working this week in the advertising industry, typically the time when upper management leaves the grunts behind to play pool and download music...uh...perform minuscule tasks referred to as work, but there are plenty of the usual 2005 wrap ups and 2006 pontification stories. One that caught our eye is written by Intelliseek CMO Pete Blackshaw.
Writing on ClickZ, Blackshaw offers up some personal insights he's experienced over the past year from buying more online (he has two newborn twins) to incessant bombardment of advertising, both consumer and B2B, into our lives particularly the insanity of pre-movie ads to cable company-based DVRs making television advertising irrelevant to increased consumption of online video to his experience with personal blogging that got him blogging about his babies and blogging to save a neighborhood pool.
We've noted this before but apparently it's become such a trend, people have begun to email us complaining about it. We think Verizon is the biggest culprit here but plenty of brands (or, more likely the creative folk at their agencies) have found it necessary to be witty by making their own customers look stupid. Here's an email we received today:
"I just keep wondering why so many ads seen on TV show the customer as an idiot? The most glaring one was a recent Nextel/Sprint commercial where two gingerbread men were talking to each other about whatever in front of a glass of milk. The "smart" one's last reply was the selling proposition - no overages - when a hand comes down and he gets picked up by the feet. So...the customer who supports Sprint/Nextel gets treated to Sprint/Nextel's love. Their head bitten off?
Oh yea, another one comes to mind and it's a cell phone ad too. I'm sure you know it. Man speaking to wife, daughter and son. I'll call you, you call her, etc. The son is the smart one. 'I don't have a cell phone' Duh."
Duh, exactly. Can we all please stop treating our customers like they are a bunch of bleating buffoons...even if they are. It's so much easier to be negative than to be positive. Just read a few weeks of Adrants and you'll see what we mean. But it doesn't make for a good marketing strategy. If people feel they are being talked down to or made to look dumb, they'll think you (marketer, agency) are dumb too. Let's make a New Year's Resolution to treat our customers with respect, K? Now get out of the office the two of you who are still working and start eating fruitcake.
"PC Users with Netscape, Mozilla or Firefox: you need to run Internet Explorer to use MTV Overdrive," so says MTV's Broadband Video Channel site. Excuse us, MTV, but no, we don't. Perhaps you haven't heard that Firefox isn't just this little side project that a bunch of geeks work on in their spare time in-between discussing episodes of Battlestar Galactica. It's a full fledged, far superior to Internet Explorer, browser that's gaining some serious market share. Marketers who continue to practice this loyal-to-Microsoft buffoonery are unsmart, unintelligent and losing out on a vast chunk of business.
Oddly, the American Family Association thinks everyone in America is Christian and celebrates the Christmas holiday. Certainly the vast majority are and do and the recent politically correct shift from labeling everything formerly known as "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays" may have gone too far but we're not sure we need an organization to force companies to say "Merry Christmas" in their marketing. But, unsurprisingly, in our overly issue-oriented world, there is.
The American Family Association has been boycotting stores such as Sears and Target for not including "Merry Christmas" in their signage and advertising. Apparently, the AFA is quite powerful. Both retailers have relented and added "Merry Christmas" to their messaging. We don't know what's more stupid; forcing a retailer to adhere to one particular religion over another or the politically correct insanity that got us here in the first place.