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For friendship, a relationship, random play or whatever you can get, Facebook.com can help you nail an equally drunk, confused and vacuous co-ed.
Facebook has kept its head down in the media since the stalker-feed inclusion and the shedding of its university exclusivity, but finally there's a spoof worthy of mention. Produced for EXPOSED, a TV show for University of Southern California, and directed by Mu SunIn, this eHarmony-style infomercial gets the tone down perfectly, from the pompous manner of the narrator to the non-serious-but-serious use of relationship status on the site. And we love the self-conscious indifference leaking out of Walter Pederovsky's pores.
...What is that poking function anyway?
At a program development meeting in LA yesterday, ABC introduced a new commercial format which would have actual paid commercials appear in media vehicles shown in the network's dramas and sitcoms. In other words, a character on a sitcom might be watching TV, an actual ad would appear on the screen withing the show and then it would widen out to the viewers TV and be viewed in standard fashion. The plan, still in development, would also incorporate print ads seen in magazines depicted in shows as well as ads shown on cell phones. Presumably, there wouldn't be official commercial breaks rather the commercials would be embedded within the show and appear individually rather than clumped together the way they are now.
- A tipster attending OMMA Hollywood tells us R/GA Chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg told his VP of Visual Design Nick Law not to sit on a panel he was scheduled to participate in because, apparently, he's stealing too much limelight.
- Commercial ratings, versus program ratings, are fast becoming the gold standard and many, including Starcom CEO John Muszynski, will be using them in this year's upfront.
- If you're in search of an email address, Tattoo Projects has created Abalooba, and email address search engine.
- MTV's The Andy Milonakis Show which will premiere on a wide variety of digital platforms - including iTunes Store (www.iTunes.com), Amazon Unbox, AOL Video, MTV Mobile, MTV On Demand, MTV2.com, Wal-Mart Video Downloads and Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360 - all prior to the show's on-air MTV2 debut on April 27th.
- Entries for international viral awards show, Germ, must be submitted by March 31.
- The New Yorker, Wesley Autrey, who saved a man from being hit by a subway train in January, is featured in a new colon cancer PSA campaign.
- T wallow in the oddity of Japanese culture, check out a few kinky commercials for Axe in Japan.
- Copyranter disses the Siemens' ongoing wannabee hipster campaign complete with headlines like "Bling Bling" and "Chill."
Finally a clothing trend worthy of mention. What - we get skinny jeans and the Japanese get to play conservative cocktease with faux-transparent skirts and built-in thongs that show nothing but promise everything at the same time?
We can do better than this. Where's Lil' Kim when you need her?
Update: the PC police inform us nobody actually walks around with panties printed on their skirts, which we took to be a damn shame. The cheesy skirts are apparently used in cheap porns to titillate men who can't afford to put mirrors on their shoes.
At the recent SXSW conference in Austin, Will Wright, the famed game designer behind SimCity, The Sims and the yet to be released and highly anticipated Spore, flipped through pages of storytelling to an audience of all ears. Linking stories with the shift from passive to interactive media, Wright outlined the social and biological differences between games and film. While games utilize our basic instincts within the brain, film typically provides a rich emotional palette. Rather than push for the complete adoption of one or the other, Wright integrated the two into a cohesive experience.
Rather than trying to get people to remember a company's URL which isn't always the easiest thing to remember, several companies in Japan have started using what have been referred to as "search me" ads. The ads offer the visual of a search bar with a search term already filled in. People are urged to perform the search, either immediately on their phone or later on their computer.
If the terms are chosen properly and th proper search engine marketing accompany the effort, the approach just may work. There's only so much a single ad can convey but an ad they points people to a place where endless information can be conveyed would appear to be an effective approach.
More often than not the big media cat-chase for the elusive hot viral comes up short. This could be for a ton of reasons - the ideas are too contrived or simply out of touch with the demo.
LA-based Feed Company put together Social Video 101: a Primer, an example-ridden tutorial on why some Youtube "virals" work and others don't. Will your video start a conversation? Is it funny? Is it sexy? Is it something you'd share with your friends?
"Viral is video that you're prepared to share with your friends," says CEO Josh Felser of Grouper. "If you're not prepared to share it with your friends, it's not viral video."
We'd like to say this sounds like mostly common sense. The unfortunate truth is if it were, major media entities would be more successful than they have been, and to be fair they're getting better.
That's not to say we don't still have a lot to learn from the unlikely geniuses of Smosh, whose Pokemon theme song generated a bewildering wildfire fanbase. And when you've figured out why, you'll probably be holding the key to the secret of life.
Ushering her audience out, Kathy Sierra questioned why interactive attendees would bother to show in person in the age of live blogging and streaming content. With an opening line of "you don't need to be here", admittedly a few poured out of the conference room doors. However, Sierra stated, that there are still elements that exist as the missing link between computer interaction and human expression. Responsiveness to software was compared to the likes of Asperger's syndrome, unintentionally rude and often narrowly focused.
Responding to an article written by Glenn Sacks who claimed an Arnold-created ad for Fidelity in which a father jumps up and down with joy after beating his daughter in ping pong is insensitive to men and cause for Volvo to remove the agency as a contender in its ongoing agency review, Arnold CEO Fran Kelly responded, saying, "On the one hand I feel silly even commenting on a story like this, on the other hand, Arnold is known as an agency with strong values and relationships with our clients and important prospects like Volvo. We take our responsibility to be insightful, honest and aspirational brand communicators seriously. Our track record promoting family vacations for Royal Caribbean, driving down teen smoking rates by 22 percent with 'Truth' and raising funds to help put musical instruments in children's hands via Fidelity's Music Lives program speaks for itself."
While we've had our say on the topic of men portrayed as idiots in advertising, the trend may simply be due to the fact that, in a politically correct society such as ours, there's no one left to offend.
While we're sure retail campaigns like Gap's (red) and Kenneth Cole's Are You Putting Us On? mean well, they don't always ring sincere to the adxhausted audience they aim for.
With fingers on the pulse of a social backlash, Words Pictures Ideas and Romantic Static marry up to bring us the cynical Buy Less Crap, a pithy-prints effort pushing for less, not more, purchase-oriented donation.
In contrast to Gap's campaign, where donations are tied to purchasing (red) clothing modeled in the ads, (less) ads feature naked models with headings like (red)icu(less), meaning(less) and point(less). The website lists multiple charities where people can donate without having to purchase a heart-warming hoodie.
This isn't the first spoof on Gap's (red) but we dig the way it makes the point. While we see the benefit of turning philanthropy into its own sort of brand in a consumer culture, we can't shake the feeling there's a conflict of interest in blurring the lines between purchase and social responsibility.