The Internet has done many wonderful things but it's also enabled some elaborate, not completely above board marketing efforts such is the insertion of geographically targeted Subway ads into an online game without the knowledge of Valve, the game's creator. Read the convoluted story and the intricate chain of agencies and vendors involved in this campaign which, while Valve wasn't happy about it, was an admirable effort, legal issues aside.
AdPulp points us to The Postal Service website on which band member Ben Gibbard posted a statement complaining about Apple's copying of its "Such Great Heights" video for use in the company's new Apple/Intel spot. In the statement, Gibbard writes writes, "We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent." Eminem. Lugz. Apple. Intel, TBWA/Chiat/Day. What's the deal?
As you may recall, early last year a couple reported finding a finger in a cup of Wendy's chili and then went all ballistic on Wendy's with legal threats and insurance claims only to be called out for planting the finger themselves after paying $100 to a construction worker who lost it in an industrial accident. Well, payback's a bitch and the couple has been slammed with years of jail time. Anna Ayala, 39, was sentenced to nine years and her husband Jaime Placencia, 43, will serve 12 years, four months. While a finger may have been lost, it was the couple's moral compass that was lost according to Superior Court Judge Edward Davila who said, "Greed and avarice overtook this couple."
It's sort of pointless for an agency to take legal action against a former employee if they end up going to another agency or starting their own agency and a few clients and former employees follow. First, no one forces an employee or a client to shift from the previous agency to the new agency. Agency people are big enough to make that decision on their own. Second, once a client makes the decision to leave, it's not like legal action is going to make them go back. And when the agency decides to somehow legally force an employee to stay when they've decided to leave and join the new agency, that's kind of pointless too. Short of shackles and a police escort, if someone doesn't want to show up for work, there just not going to.
How we went from a society that used to just go to their doctor when they couldn't get a hard on to one which, apparently, no one can get hard and everyone wants to talk about it, one will never know. Perhaps the NFL's recent move to end its $18 million contract with erectile dysfunction company Levitra will help the country alleviate its obsession with the four hour hard on and the penis as the only redeeming quality in men. Without belittling a very serious and unfortunate situation, the whole erectile dysfunction thing has gone from offering serious medical solutions to making a joke out of the situation along with turning some perfectly healthy men into pill-popping, 24 hour-a-day marathon pelvic thrusters.
In announcing this move, we've got to hand it to Ad Age for its cheeky third paragraph reporting that the NFL's decision "is a blow to Schering-Plough, which co-markets Levitra in the U.S. with Bayer..." Cute.
Not that anyone's heard of Belarus nor is there any worry it will affect the world's modelling and advertising industry in any way, the country's president has introduced a law that prevents foreign models from appearing in any of the country's ad campaigns. Why do we even report this stuff?
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.
Boston-based buzz marketing firm BzzAgent has strengthened its stance on transparency. While the agency has always asked its bzzagents to disclose their involvement with BzzAgent, the agency now requires all new BzzAgent community registrants to verify that they have read and accepted the company's Code of Conduct which requires campaign participants to make certain others are aware they have volunteered to be involved in a word-of-mouth campaign.
So that existing bzzagents are also adhering to full disclosure, BzzAgent has added a check box to its reporting template, a section where members describe their interactions as they buzz products, which must be checked off to participate as a member of BzzAgent. BzzAgent is also saying it will require members who do not properly disclose their BzzAgent status to those they interact with to complete an online training course before participating in the company's future campaigns.
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."
Not that it will necessarily curtail or make it any easier to find scumware peddlers but the Senate Commerce Committee is doing its best with its introduction of the SPY BLOCK act. The act, called the Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge Act, was introduced yesterday to the Committee by Montana Republican Senator Conrad Burns and aims to make illegal the less than honest practices of adware and spyware companies. Practices such as endlessly looping pop ups, identity theft, changing browser settings, fake uninstalls and unclear installation information. Hopefully, this bill will less toothless than the recently signed California Spyware bill.