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.
During the bathroom breaks and :30 coffee breaks we are allowed here at Adrants headquarters, we have finally finished Joe Jaffe's book Life After the 30-Second Spot. Actually, we finished it about two weeks ago but, again, we aren't allowed much time here to do anything serious what with all the stunt marketing and cleavage out there that had to be given our journalistic excellence. So, finally, we've found a few moments to hide from the Adrants Overlords to reflect on Jaffe's book and share our thoughts with you.
Following his trip the the recent iMediSummit, Underscore Marketing President Tom Hespos is voicing his frustration with the advertising industry's continued cling to the television nipple. Concerned that many new online video advertising opportunities will amount to "shovelware TV," Hespos reports many industry execs are pleased as punch with the status quo, happy to unnecessarily pay middlemen to serve their precious TV spots and offended at the notion online video should be any different than a :30 spot.
Writing on TalentZoo as a guest columnist, copywriter, brand consultant and author Hadji Williams brings to light the rampant dismissal among major agencies of multicultural advertising and explains how "ethnic" agencies are brought in by AOR's at the last minute to black/Latino/Asian-ize campaigns only to have them end up looking stupid and perpetuating stereotypes. It's an insightful examination of the practice and one I can admit to engaging in having done my fair share of minimizing the importance of the ethnic portion of a campaign.
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.