- George Parker wonders what the hell sense an "official insurance company of Major League Baseball" makes. We tend to wonder as well.
- Blind dude goes to Cannes to promote Italian viral community.
- Brokaw mourns loss of unofficial agency mascot.
- Wieden+Kennedy/Amsterdam and Psyop give did a behind-the-scenes peek at the Silver Lion winning "Happiness Factory"'. Real Coca-Cola employees were interviewed and their responses used by the animated factory workers for this film, which is running in Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola.
Perhaps to avoid confusion with much larger shop, Portland-based Via, or simply to reflect the agency's model of bringing in outside talent, smaller, lesser-known VIA (Visual Intelligence Agency) from Connecticut is re-branding itself Plaid. In doing so, the agency is launching Brand Aid 2007, a three week summer road tour during which agency personal will hop in a van, travel across the country to visit clients, prospective clients and share the social media love with all while web 2.0ing the whole thing with videos posted on YouTube and other content published on social media style sites such as Twitter. Twitter Tripping. That's a new one.
Rather than going it alone and funding it on it's own - though the agency promise it will take the trip regardless of funding, Plaid is looking for sponsors who, they promise, will reap the benefits of publicity that is sure, they claim, to shower this tour. While we're not so sure about that, we can't fault an agency for going about promotion a bit differently with at least the intent towards using emerging media to do so.
MySpace has become a total box office mouthpiece. When it's not all Silver Surfered-out, it's a poker table for Ocean's Thirteen (at left).
Littlejohn at Advertising for Peanuts wonders whether users will get turned off by the social networking darling's shameless ad-whoring (kind of like friend-whoring?) but we doubt it. If there was going to be a meaningful reaction to MySpace's games of homepage dress-up, it would've happened already. At this point we're all just watching the show go by.
Anyway, there are worse things in this life than a homepage swathed in George and Brad.
For this edition of Contextual Advertising Screw-Ups, a festive Pizza Hut ad appears atop a CNN story about a death row inmate who, for his last meal on earth, ordered pizza for a transient.
And while that was fuzzy-sweet of him, we weren't quite raring to order pizza online immediately thereafter.
(Note to Pizza Hut: add the word "killer" to campaign negative keywords.)
We do love a good contextual advertising screw-up. And because we're feeling nostalgic, let's tilt our heads and recall the time Expedia sent 35,000 troops to Iraq, or the time Microsoft sponsored the Wii contest water death, or the time a turpentine ad added texture to the tale of the pregnant girl who drank it to off herself.
We don't know whether or not it's important to be the first brand to appear on a nanosite dependent entirely on video players, but after clicking on the link (resting at the deceptively named Bore Me) we know we are not going back to sleep.
Dude. That kid is pissed off. Then again, you could be singing in German (which at some point he does) and still sound like you're about to rend somebody's limbs off with your teeth.
Backstory: 20th Century Fox is the first brand to appear on the video player-hosting nanosite Bore Me. They'll be pushing interactive for 28 Weeks Later, a film that's supposed to be scary but probably won't be as addling as the screaming German spawn.
The New York Times' Stuart Elliott reports The Week will publish an issue that focuses on environmental issues and in true tree hugger fashion, the issue will only be published online. On April 20, the issue will be available to all, not just subscribers to the magazine. Lexus is sponsoring it and will use the site to promote its hybrid vehicles.
In true fashion, Stuart goes on endlessly so if you're interested in how this will affect the magazine's readership, what other print publications have taken to online either by choice or out of sheer economics, how Lexus is challenging other media to change their game, the pop up stores Lexus created last fall in tandem with Conde Nast and Hearst, the previous promotion The Week did with Philips and this gem: "Single sponsorships, in print and on TV, are becoming popular among marketers as they seek to stand out from the commercial clutter," be sure to read the article in its entirety.
In a surprise move, Paul McCartney unveils his status as premier artist on Starbucks' label Hear Music with the release of his current album under the Starbucks banner. This move marks his surprising departure from Capitol Records after 43 years.
We've been huge Starbucks fans since the early 90's. With the prominent inclusion of a Beatle on their roster, our Starbucks visits will take on the sensory experience of a menage a trois. We have chills just thinking about it.
Howard Schultz feels similar if Advertising Age is any indication. "How could a coffee company sign a Beatle?" he allegedly asked in awe. Frothy as usual, McCartney appeared before the Starbucks corporate team and wished love and kisses to everyone present, then cheerfully admonished that they all get to work: "I look forward to with all of you guys and reaching people around the world in a new way, and let's get on with it, man!"
To fully leverage its sponsorship for the PGA tourney in Orlando, MasterCard launches Priceless, an interactive site that positions itself as a telecenter support group for the one-iron-obsessed. Magical voice response technology even syncs what consumers hear on the phone to what they see on their screens.
Based on a set of quiz questions, golf lovers can log into the site and find out how golf-obsessed they are. A major incentive to answering these questions is that afterward you get the option of registering for text messages from LPGA golfer Laura Diaz or cheats from Spaulding Smalls.
We're going to take a shot in the dark and suggest if you actually explore the site for more than a couple of minutes you are probably pretty obsessed as things stand. Like golf itself, unless you actively decide to get involved in it the site ain't terribly interesting.
After calling John Edwards a faggot at the last Conservative Political Action Conference, several companies are arranging to pull their ads from Ann Coulter's website, now billed politically extreme by Verizon and probably others. A quick content scan makes you wonder why anyone would make a milder assessment. Guess it's a perspective thing.
With cavalier she's presently flouting Edwards' campaign letter against her alongside her blog. We want to call it ballsy but we think there's a better b-word for it.
Unless you're Kate Moss, losing endorsements is often the first sign you're slipping through the tubes, but in Ann Coulter's case it's just another notch in the figurative bedpost. It's not like she's acting out of character.
It was only a matter of time before Wrigley's Candystand, whose candy-tagged games get progressively better, would start testing waters in real gamer territory.
Candystand and Wii just joined forces in a bizarre cross-branding where Wii web games are peddled on Candystand and Candystand is totally accessible through the Wii browser.
The relationship isn't exactly low-key - within 24 hours of launching on Wii's Internet Channel, Wii.Candystand.com drew 6000 visitors and a ton of positive reviews. That is, according to Scott Tannen, Wrigley's director of global digital marketing.
This is the first branded site to link to the Wii browser, which will definitely get competitors sniffing at the door to be next in line. Candystand's content offerings are also formatted for television instead of computer monitors.
Kudos to Wrigley for creating a series of branded offerings that seem able to stand alone in gaming world. It hasn't been an easy trek, considering Candystand was first introduced in '97 - building this kind of recognition takes time. Just ask Target.
We still harbor doubts that our Socom buddies would be deeply impressed to hear we destroy the competition on Altoids Sheep, though.