According to Gallup's annual honesty and ethics poll, we all still suck. The poll says advertising practitioners rank below congressmen and just above car salesmen and telemarketers Just as in past years, there's not much respect out there for us ad folk. We'd venture to say purveyors of pop up/unders sure haven't helped our cause. Anything to say in answer to that FastClick, ValueClick, Casale Media?
Connecticut-based Outhouse Communications has created a site for Operation Respect CT called Cut the Bull, a site that urges respect among kids, teens and everyone while hoping to eliminate bullying. At the website visitors can spread respect in various ways by making a unique, one of a kind custom respect poster, by sending friends respect notes, by downloading ringtones and by purchasing a "No Bull Shirt" T-Shirt. Outhouse is using billboards to promote the site.
A recent survey of 2,574 US consumers commissioned by Jack Morton and conducted this year found Gen Y consumers - also known as "millennials" - respond strongly to live marketing events, which they prefer over TV and Internet advertising. While self serving, the study found 70 percent of 13 to 23 year olds say experiential marketing is extremely or very influential on their opinion of a product or brand. Sixty Five percent of 13 to 23 year olds say participating in an event would cause them to act more quickly to purchase a product. Seventy six percent of this demographic say participating in an event would make them more receptive to the brand or product's advertising. Seventy four percent of 13 to 23 year olds say participating in a live marketing experience is something they would tell others about.
Whether or not Jack Morton is drumming up business for it self with this study is irrelevant. What's very relevant is the fact Gen Y, and other demos for that matter, don't respond well anymore to traditional media. The emerging field of experiential marketing - a fancy name for event marketing - appears to be gaining traction and success at reaching elusive, traditional media-averse audiences.
Neil French's sudden non-appearance at a Singapore AdAsia conference, held November 21-23, isn't news. What's news are comments he made in a Singapore newspaper article run a day prior to the show in which he tried to claim it's not just woman who are "crap" because they make time for family, it's men too. French claims, according to Ad Age, children are "incompatible with the long hours needed to become a top creative." Egoistically proving his point and hinting fatherhood is for wimps, French told the paper he hasn't seen his only child, an eight year-old boy in months. Keep smokin' that cigar, Neil but humbly suggest you give that Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle, a listen. It's got an important message for you.
Of course, one could claim the above is written from an overly PC, American viewpoint. If you flip the coin and acknowledge cultural differences between America and Singapore, where French has spent most of his career, French comes out smelling like roses as indicated by a comment reportedly made by a creative who said, during a dinner attended by French and, we assume, the Ad Age reporter who reported it, "You have to look at this through a cultural filter. In Singapore, its still legal to beat your wife." While we find that hard to believe, we're not making it up.
Furthering its embrace (experiment?) of releasing television content online, CBS will produce original content of its hit drama CSI Miami and will show it exclusively on CBS.com. Promising to reveal a major secret about team of CSIs, the scene has local news reporter Erika Sykes (Amy Laughlin) share a piece of information with Detective Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) that, we're told, will lead to an undercover investigation that will unfold on the show this season. Way to tease, CBS. The bonus scene will appear online immediately following the east coast broadcast of CSI Miami, Monday, November 21.
The bonus material featured on CBS.com will be sponsored by GM's Hummer, featured heavily in the series. CBS and Hummer will promote the combined broadcast/online storyline with spots on the network and ads on CBS.com.
Adrants reader Samara Grant writes to tell us she's concerned about Wal-Mart's recent Precious Jewel ad featuring Ashanti. Grant writes, "In her ad she talks about her belief that all young girls are 'precious.' But it is a contradiction to say at the end of ad that her fragrance is a 'sensual' scent. I don't think young girls should wear something that is called "sensual" if they are told in the previous sentence how 'precious' they are. If Ashanti wants to impress young girls and get them as her fans, she needs to put a little more clothes on. It's disgusting and very degrading and is also sending these young girls the wrong message."
Well, like we said in another post, stereotypes are rampant in advertising and so is the urge to grab youth while they are young and vulnerable. Currently, hot pop and Hollywood stars are the way to do it. But, that perpetuates the 12-year-old slut conundrum. Conversely, as Tia Fix writes, at one point in time, youth and sex were quite normal.
Apparently, 50 Cent and his movie campaign have stymied the efforts of The Bubble Project, a grassroots effort which placed 15,000 stickers on ads around New York City allowing people to add commentary to ads The Bubble Project says are over running public space. Flicker user and College Humor partner Jackob Lodwick who notes the sticker on the movie poster has been blank for two days and wonders if people are simply too scared of 50 Cent to make a comment.
Recently, several posters for the 50 Cent movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" caused complaints for their glorification of violence and were taken down by the movie's studio, Paramount.
On Tuesday, October 18 at 9AM, I'll be moderating a panel at BlogOn in New York. The panel is called "Can Advertising Be Social." On this panel, the panelists, who include Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, Unilever Brand Development Director David Rubin, Jaffe LLC Founder Joe Jaffe and I hope to discuss the relationship between social media and advertising - the ways in which people have entered what has now become a two-way conversation rather than the former one-way, marketer to consumer bullhorn approach.
It should be an interesting and, hopefully, informative discussion. There's blogs, chat rooms, forums, IM, Wikis, podcasting, social networks and innumerable other methods with which consumers can achieve a voice as powerful and widespread as marketers.
As examples of this newfound consumer voice, there's Jeff Jarvis who, following a bad experience with a Dell computer, took on Dell publicly forcing Dell to respond. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a response. There's George Masters, a teacher who created a professional looking iPod commercial which raced around the globe. Smartly, Apple took a hands off approach. There's Converse who asked people to submit films about Chuck Taylors. There's Mercedes who encouraged people to send in photos of themselves with their Mercedes which were ultimately featured in the company's ad campaign. The examples go on. People have become socially active with their brand experiences, good and bad, and the level of activity is forcing marketers to join the conversation and, forever, putting aside old methods of controlling it.
Indeed, marketing is in for the ride of its life.
Ad Induced Hotness?
Previously on Adrants: Writing in the Hendersonville News, Susan Hanley Lane shares her feelings regarding a racy Skechers billboard she saw when she was with her father in law as he was getting haircut. Noting the odd juxtaposition of the two figures on the billboard having simulated sex, advertising-style, with the presence of her father in law and two small girls playing outside near the board, Susan makes a convincingly cogent argument that, perhaps, we've taken this sex sells thing a bit too far.
She notes the walled garden that used to be called childhood has collapsed and has been replaced, at least for girls, by girlhood. In other words, kids aren't kids anymore but have, because of the continual presence of adult imagery, become young hotties in training. When you roll it up like that, it does certainly feel odd that young kids are routinely exposed to this sort of imagery. Many, including myself, have said, "Oh, just don't look. Turn the TV off. Monitor what your kids read and what they do online." Well, sure. That's all good but it's also like trying to juggle 12 tons of Jello while riding a unicycle. It's not possible. Kids are resourceful. If they want to see or do something, they'll find a way around parental blockage. Acknowledging that, one could argue if racy imagery that is now commonplace wasn't there in the first place, kids who circumvent so called blockage would find nothing more that a fully clothed Betty Crocker staring back at them.
Writing on Ad Age, Bob Garfield, in another of his occasional essays, sums up the recent growing trends of
consumer generated media, conversational marketing and what he calls The Open Source Revolution. We've covered all this over the past year or so but it's nice to see it wrapped up into a coherently powerful statement. From Orange County Teacher George Masters creation of his "Tiny Machine" iPod spot to GE's Pen campaign to Mercedes' send-us-a-picture-of-you-and-your-car campaign to Converse's consumer created films for Chuck Taylors to shifting copyright laws to the future role of agencies as enablers of conversation versus controllers of conversation to marketers need to embrace the conversation, advertising has been turned on its head. Marketers and agencies who do not acknowledge the open source nature of consumer participation in brand conversations will fail miserably.
In a BlogOn panel "Can Advertising Be Social," held October 18 at 9AM, I, along with Life After The 30-Second Spot Author Joe Jaffe, Organic CEO Mark Kingdon and AXE Brand Development Director David Rubin will discuss this very topic.