Clinging for it its own life at the expense of the lives of others whom it feels should perceive smoking as a glamorous activity rather than the killer it is, R.J. Reynolds in launching a fancy new brand of cigarettes called Marshall McGearty and supporting the brand with a hipster lounge in Chicago. As if completely oblivious to the past 20 years worth of research highlighting the killing qualities of cancer sticks, Larry McGearty, CD at RJR agency Gyro Worldwide told Ad Age, "No one has done this before. Nobody has tried to create romance in the industry and take it to the next level." McGearty and the other pompous soul who's name is on the brand, RJR stench guru Jerry Marshal cooked up the idea several years ago realizing many other categories of social vices had high end brands that were successful and figured why should cigarettes be left out of that game.
Oh sure, everyone should be free to choose their on manner of death but at least in American society, the whole smoking thing is over. It had it's day. It's done. Clearly, it's not a healthy thing to engage in and eradicating it from the earth wouldn't be such a bad thing. Oh wait, then everyone will want to ban alcohol, coffee and all those other pleasantly mood-altering but health challenged substances we all enjoy from time to time. That said, we just don't think this one's going to go very far. You can see two of the ads here and here.
Coinciding with the launch of China CEO Tom Doctroff's book, Billions: Selling the the New Chinese Consumer, JWT China issued a press release with the headline, "Understanding and Embracing China's Different Worldview Is Main Theme of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer, by JWT's Tom Doctoroff," which offers 12 facts about the "Confucian Consumer." While the release may seem like yet another harmless attempt by a marketing entity to neatly lump together the traits of billions of people and slap a cute title on it, some who watch the country's culture closer have taken issue with the oversimplification and incorrectness of the 12 facts.
The main complaint is the trotting out of Confucius to "frame the market for American business people" writes the China Herald weblog that doing so "creates the illusion that there is one driving force in the Chinese market you can use as a beacon in an often chaotic situation." In an article on Danwei written by Jeremy Goldkorn who works in the Chinese ad biz, he offers a a point by point analysis of the release and ends with "bullshitting is part of the game in the advertising industry." While we have no idea who's right and who's wrong on this whole Confucian Consumer thing nor are we equipped to make judgement, we do know Goldkorn's statement is as true as the Earth is round.
In what might be the first use of a million dollar homepage for something other than personal gain, Sweden's Sam Nurmi has created HelpFirefox.com, a site that sells pixels for one dollar a pop and donates all the money to the Mozilla Foundation, makers of the open source Firefox browser. Given that the Mozilla Foundation has been very successful is raising money both for development and for advertising, it would appear this particular million dollar homepage idea might see some action.
For brands looking to extend their awareness to the ad-averse generation, Adland points us to user bars, graphic images which people can add to their forum signature or other online presence. User bars, which have been around for some time and are available all over the place, and are grouped into categories such as hobbies, cars, games, TV, movies, sports and, yes, brands. Adidas, Coke, Converse, Corona, Nokia, Nike, Snickers, Sony, Playboy, Pepsi, Reebok, and yes, cigarette makes such as lucky Strike and Marlboro since its about the last place they can advertise. Many users create their own user bars along with those that have been created by forum owners. User bars are a great way to reinforce a brand to those who are forum addicted and advertising averse.
According to American Demographics Founder Peter Francese, Americans out pace the rest of the world, by far, in weekly spending on the consumption of goods. He says Americans, each week, spend more than the gross domestic product of Finland. Francese wonders just how necessary it is for many Americans to "need two homes, three vehicles and four TVs" but he's not complaining acknowledging that world-beating consumption keeps the ad industry afloat. In fact, if consumer spending, over the past ten years, rose at a rate equal to the increase of households (14 percent) rather than 23 percent, people would have spent $640 billion less altering the current American economy orders of considerable magnitude.
Mobile entertainment firm Moderati has released its year-end wrap-up of ringtones including an analysis of regional preferences. Without surprise, hip-hop dominated top spots on the list again this year, with 60 percent of the songs from hip-hop artists.
Video game themes (Super Mario Brothers) and evergreen movie themes (Halloween) ranked high as well, with five top finishes. Cracking the top 20, a bit out of left field, was "Scotty Doesn't Know" by Lustra, a song from the 2004 movie Eurotrip.
The wafting odor of the elder generation is diffusing online at an increasing rate according to a report from BURST! Media featured on eMarketer. The report says online users over the age of 54 are spending more time on the Internet and less time with offline media sources. While the over 54 crowd are still big consumers of offline media such as newspapers, many are finding valuable information online they can't find in traditional offline media. eMarketer has all the smelly details.
It happens to the best us us. We come up with a great idea. Get all high and mighty about how we're not going to be like everyone else. We promise not to sink into the gutter and use all the tired, old tricks to attract attention. We vow to be virtuous and laud ideals and intellectualism over insipidness. Then it happens. No one watches us. No one's heard of us. Our primary competitor towers over us and we are lost in a sea of television stupidity. Do we continue to stay the course? Do we try to beat them? No, sadly, we throw in the towel and join them.
After playing second fiddle to Lifetime for so long, Oxygen just can't stand it any longer and is pulling out the trump card of last resort: sex. Rather than rise above the misty-eyed success of Lifetime with higher brow offerings, Oxygen network has joined the titillation crowd with offering like "Talk Sex With Sue Johnson" and its new series, "Campus Ladies," a show that will somehow make the scenario of middle-aged, suburban women going back to college and frolicing with undergrad hotties funny.
While some marketers would certainly explode with glee if every human being on the planet wore the brand's logo somewhere on their body but we just can't understand why any sane human would affix logoed fingernails to their fingers. Of course, we can't understand headvertising, assvertsing, babyvertising, voicevertising, cleavagevertising, bellyvertising or boobvertising either.
OK, wait a minute. Of course we can understand it all. Sorry. It must be this slower than death holiday news week rotting our brain. There's always plenty of money-hungry fools around to add to this list of marketing stunts. That and the fact the entire ad industry is in the middle of some sort of knee jerk reaction to all the "death of the :30/traditional advertising" woe that's been spinning around since marketers woke up and realized, oops, there's these ad skipping things called DVRs, iPods, pop up blockers, bit torrent TV, pirate radio and file sharing which they wish had never existed. Now advertising is...um...hard work when it was just supposed to be all about the parties and the three martini lunches.
How we got from someone's logoed fingernails to martinis we do not know but it passed some time on a slow Friday at the end of a slow holiday week. See you next year.
Nothing cool lasts for very long in this world. Now that millions have made MySpace their home for just about everything, many worried the acquisition by News Corp would changed things. Not so promised MySpace founders but alas they have. Many MySpace members link to videos on YouTube and, apparently, News Corp-owned MySpace doesn't like the practice. According to the Blog Herald, MySpace has been deleting any and all reference to YouTube from profiles. There's even a MySpace group fighting the censorship.
MySpace came out of nowhere as the single most popular place to go for...well...anything. It can disappear just as quickly and be replaced by another.