"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.
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.
Kathy Sierra, writing on Creating Passionate Users, has put together a chart that compares the old ways of marketing to the new. Filled with gems like "Hire a creative, user-focused product designer" rather than "Hire a creative, award-winning advertising designer" and Buy Typepad accounts for every employee in your company, and maybe some users too" rather than "Hire a PR firm" and "Product placements in the 'real' world, by donating samples to those who could benefit" rather than "Product placements in a 'fake' TV, movie world," Sierra has created a chart that inspires and demonstrates how truly stupid current marketing efforts are.
AdJab points to a consumer-generated media treasure trove called Revver. It's a site where anyone can submit self-created videos on any topic. Revver will host the video, insert a short ad at the end and share the proceeds, 50/50, with the video creator. The ad, called a RevTag, is embedded in the video so that viewership can be tracked whether the video is viewed on Revver or viewed as it wends its way from friend to friend via email attachment.
Apparently the site's quite popular as it's moving slower than a turtle pulling an 18 wheeler. We hope that's temporary. There's a lot of promise here as people begin to realize that all content doesn't have to come from big media companies and all ad revenue doesn't have to go to large corporate conglomerates.
In an interesting twist, Infinity's "Who's Replacing Howard Stern" campaign, currently gracing every sliver of ad space on Ad Age, may, according to 925M, do more to hurt Infinity than help. The campaign highlights Stern replacements Adam Corolla, David Lee Roth and Penn Jillette, who have received with less than stellar reviews as replacements for the irreplaceable Stern. As 925M indicates, all this campaign may do is say "Hey, we know Stern left. We know the replacements suck. We're trying this kooky FreeFM thing. Just skip it all and go listen to Stern on Sirius."
Adrants reader Samara Grant writes to tell us she's concerned about Wal-Mart's recent Precious Jewel ad featuring Ashanti. Grant writes, "In her ad she talks about her belief that all young girls are 'precious.' But it is a contradiction to say at the end of ad that her fragrance is a 'sensual' scent. I don't think young girls should wear something that is called "sensual" if they are told in the previous sentence how 'precious' they are. If Ashanti wants to impress young girls and get them as her fans, she needs to put a little more clothes on. It's disgusting and very degrading and is also sending these young girls the wrong message."
Well, like we said in another post, stereotypes are rampant in advertising and so is the urge to grab youth while they are young and vulnerable. Currently, hot pop and Hollywood stars are the way to do it. But, that perpetuates the 12-year-old slut conundrum. Conversely, as Tia Fix writes, at one point in time, youth and sex were quite normal.
Use Me. Abuse Me. I'm An Ad Babe
Feminist Naomi Wolf says that the beauty myth isn't good for men or women. "It prevents (men) from actually seeing women...in suggesting a vision in place of a woman, it has a numbing effect, reducing all sense but the visual..."
That's a fairly poignant statement regarding the numbification of society because marketing images portray impossible-to-achieve beauty and the representation of women as playthings. Granted, marketers are never going to show an ugly slob in an ad because no one wants to see a slob and we all aspire to something greater. But if all we see are unachievable representations of ourselves then certain unhealthy illusions of self are sure to emerge. And have. Just visit a highschool hallway.
About Face, whose mission is "to promote positive self-esteem in girls and women of all ages, sizes, races and backgrounds through a spirited approach to media education, outreach and activism," examines the portrayal of women, specifically, in advertising and comments on how damaging the images can be to the psyche of consumers. Part of the site has a list of the top ten marketers who, in the opinion of About Face, damage society through their imagery of women advertising.
In a Slate article Seth Stevenson ponders the notion Burger King agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky orchestrated the Burger King Halloween mask hype which involved emails inquiring where the mask could be bought, a thread on Fark in which the mask was parodied and a BK Masks site was launched by CP + B around the same time. Coincidence? We don't think so.
Adrants reader doesn't think so either and wrote us, "Lets say CP+B were the farksters of the King. Funny, but is it legal? Can an agency Fark a marketing tool, and then profit by selling masks for Halloween? Although a bit shiesty, this seems to bob and weave around any kind of direct profiteering via manipulated personal likenesses, intellectual property, etc. But sending faux-inquiries about the masks to Slate? I realize that the inquiries where only that- inquiries, not hard sells. But the level of shrewdness here gets under my skin. I know this isn't anything new; advertisers have been playing the fool in chat rooms for years. But Slate is a major news source. It makes me angry."
Anyone want to add their comment?
After receiving an email from Banu Sen of Publicis Net Paris telling us about a viral teaser trailer created to promote a new online game which would feature car maker Renault and that a fake game company and fake website where created and disseminated to bloggers as part of the promotion, a lengthy email exchange with Ben ensued regarding the buzz phrase of the day, transparency. Transparency is the notion that all marketing, especially that which comes through buzz, viral and word of mouth channels, be fully forthcoming with what brand is behind the campaign.
Clearly, with fake company names and websites, this was not transparent. However, during our discussion, in which, at first, I was quite surprised a major agency like Publicis and a major car maker like Renault would engage in fakery such as this given the recent uproar over buzz and word of mouth marketers and their associations calling for transparency, I realized it's really nothing more than your standard teaser campaign which has been around forever. There's a fine line, though, between a teaser campaign and a misleading campaign. The prior always, at some point reveals its identity which this Renault campaign does. The latter, which uses stealth methods like the recent U.S. Cellular blue man fiasco or an army of 250,000 teenagers who may or may not reveal their association with the large word of mouth company for whom they work.
Publicis and Renault has done nothing wrong here. Not that anyone is saying they did. Though in the face of transparency insanity, the discussion was worth having.
Reacting to a column UnderScore Marketing's Tom Hespos wrote about marketer's fear and laziness to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers, I wrote a piece calling for the creation of a "Conversation Department," a department whose sole responsibility would be to listen to what is being said about a given brand in blog posts, discussion boards, forums and other methods of group conversation, join the ongoing conversations about the brand and make sure the company properly reacts to conversational opinion by addressing concerns immediately. Today, Tom goes a bit further with this and proposes a structure for a conversation department and how it might be staffed.
The more we talk about listening, joining and learning from conversations, while everyone in a company should be doing this, it makes more and more sense for companies and agencies to created a dedicated conversation department.