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.
The American Advertising Federation didn't like what Advertising Age had to say about a recent study the group conducted which found 69.3 percent of students in the organization's Most Promising Minority Students program are employed in marketing and communications. Advertising Age chose to twist that with a story headlined, "Nearly One-Third of AAF Minority Candidates Vacate Ad Industry."
In an apparent response to the Ad Age story, the AAF placed an ad in today's USA Today headed, "Mr. Advertising" with a visual of an African American packaged up like, well, a ready to go to work, fully-charged, easily upgradeable work doll. Questionable creative aside, why don't we all stop twisting facts and just have an open conversation. Gee. It just so happens Adrants is the major sponsor of an upcoming conference on the topic entitled, Advertising and Marketing Industry Diversity Job Fair and Leadership Conference.
At the event, held March 13 in San Francisco (and again in Boston May 16), industry professional, both minority and non-minority, will discuss the issue of diversity in advertising. Part of the event will also include a job fair for those interested in exploring a career in advertising. Maybe a bit less twisted rhetoric and more open dialog would be a healthy thing for all. More info here.
In support of equal marriage rights, agency Young & Rubicam, Chicago join forces with director Max Vitali of HSI Productions. The resulting smile-coaxing spots crush the notion gays will do nothing but cross-dress and debauch if permitted to marry.
The series comically emphasizes the familiar and occasionally frustrating domesticity we all experience after a given amount of time with our partners. We also dig the candid tagline, "Gay marriage is just like yours. Only gay."
Thus inspired we thought it would be nifty to add "Adrants is just like you. Only sexaaaaaay" to all future marketing efforts. We find it catchy.
Proof positive people have way too much time on their hands, last week, the virtual stores of American Apparel and Reebok has suffered a terrorist attack inside Second Life. Yes, you heard right. Some people actually went to the trouble of "bombing" the two stores. The group behind the attack (we can barely write we are laughing so hard right now) calls themselves Second Life Liberation Army and the purpose of their actions is said to be a call for democratic decision-making inside the virtual world (oh for fuck's sake, it's a game!).
The bombing follows several "attacks" made by the group over the past six months and follows the famed flying penis attack (video here) made by another group during an in-world CNET interview with wealthy Second Life Resident Anshe Chung. Seriously, people. Grow up and get a real life.
Online community Stardoll unrolls a virtual red carpet for the Academy Awards. For the teeny bopper demo (or girls at heart like Mariah), Stardoll is a candy-sweet space for creating Oscars-themed scenes with - wait for it - virtual paparazzi and Joan Rivers avatars. It ain't the Oscars without invasive camera angles and loud blondes straddling perpetual midlife crises so we smile upon the stab at authenticity.
"We hope to usher in a new generation of kids who want to try their hand at fashion in a way that is fun, creative and a bit friendlier than an internship at Vogue," says CEO Mattias Miksche. After seeing The Devil Wears Prada, we find this noble indeed.
In addition to playing with Oscar nominee avatars and making adamant suggestions about who should win (most favor Kate over Penelope!), girls make their own avatars and craft campaigns to become the next Stardoll cover girl, an honour doled out by the community.
Stardoll stikes us as an awesome resource. While we'd like to suggest it as such, the imagined execution (admen trolling the Pretty in Pink section) is not cute. Resist the urge to channel dormant XX chromosomes. We're sure you know a little girl you can foist this job upon.