Freelance Creative Gabe Chouinard is a consumer. Not just any consumer but a new consumer and he wants marketers to know this. As part of our random and completely irregular guest columnist series, Gabe authored a piece entitled "I Am the New Consumer" in which he summarizes many of the points we have made here over the years. Things are different. People are in control. Marketers and not. Things must change. Marketers must listen.
While change doesn't happen overnight nor should it, the tidal wave is approaching and every one of us ought to accept it and be prepared for that shift. In his article, Gabe mentions the pointlessly idiotic Flashturbation (our words) most marketers engage in when creating their facade on the web. Wouldn't it make more sense if the focus of a brand's external image actually included a free flowing, ever-changing conversation made up of people's comments and opinions of the brand and the company's reaction/response to those comments? That would certainly fair far batter than arriving at a site that's just a pretty picture and mindless marketing blather. Yes companies have blogs which help serve a conversational purpose but currently, they are off on their own and, for the most part, not an integral part of the company's face. That should change.
Multicultural firm Burrell Communications Group conducted a study on current perceptions of Black History Month (February). At least 79 percent of those researched agree future generations should understand African-Americans' historical struggles, though the message of honouring these struggles doesn't resound as strongly for younger generations as in previous ones.
Black youth also have a different picture of black challenges, believing issues of racism and oppression are more covert today. They focus more on financial empowerment, battling crime, and educational advancement, and prefer for Black History Month to highlight current African-American accomplishments and issues.
63 percent of respondents also think companies' participation in Black History month helps enhance their image and are more likely to buy products and spread hype for those that tote black achievements.
So maybe Nissan's onto something. But we doubt it.
Becky C., publisher of Just A Girl In Short Shorts Talking About Whatever (and, yes, she looks good in her short shorts), has written a piece entitled Girl on Girl Advertising which examines advertising that features women with women and may or may not portray a lesbian relationship. She points to ads from Skyy Vodka, Banana Republic, Beefeater, Cartier, Abercrombie & Fitch and several others and wonders why there aren't more positing men would respond to these ads as well as women because, after all, what man doesn't like to see two women together?
She cites a study which finds gay male ads are ten times more prevalent than lesbian focused ads and also posits marketers are missing out on an important point: bi and lesbian girls love to shop just as much as straight girls. She's right. Bring on the girl on girl ads.
UPDATE: Actually, Becky C. seems to be misleading us a bit regarding her appearance. An Adrants reader tells us the Beck C. picture is really actress Andrea Bogart with whom he claims to have gone to school. Well, I guess you can't blame a girl for wanting to look hot is denim shirts.
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.