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Starbucks kicks off the holidays Pay it Forward-style by disseminating cheer on chilly city streets. Baristas hand out movie tickets and other small gifts on the condition that the recipient has to do something nice for someone else.
The campaign includes a "cheer pass" that tracks how far the "chain of cheer" has gone. Participants are encouraged to visit It's Red Again to share holiday stories and create greetings. The site is hosted by an awkward-looking man who personifies Starbucks' quirky intellectual vibe. It's also ridden with clever recommendations about holiday coffee blends and seasonal cakes.
CEO Jim Donald says they're interested in the qualitative results of the campaign and admits there aren't any of the usual tracking methods attached to it. (It begs the question - how often does anybody really track anything?) We look forward to seeing how many chains get generated. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
Here's an interesting little piece about the meteoric struggle between the animator and the animated. Apparently it's #4 among the most viral videos du jour so there must be a lot of creative tension in the air.
Aw, hurting for inspiration that doesn't put up a fight? That's what conferences like ad:tech are for. You can't very well hallucinate alone. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
Coffee and Manipulation points us to some virals for Blendtec, a company that hawks ordinary-looking blenders that are apparently not so ordinary. We were mesmerized in a pathetic sort of way when the man in the white coat fed a rake to his blender on the :90 second soup cycle.
We suspect these virals strike a chord because they speak to a desire to put things that will create fatal shrapnel in contact with swirling kitchen blades. But hey. It's not like videos go viral because they're deeply profound. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
In what could be a masterful viral approach to growing a business that goes far beyond viral marketing, Microsoft is embedding viral expansion into its new iPod competitor, Zune. Users of the Zune MP3 player can send songs to friends over the devices Wifi who have three days to listen to them before they disable. If the recipient of the song decides to buy the song within the three day period, the sender of the song will receive a portion of the song's purchase price in the form of credits to be used towards purchasing music and other items from the Zune Marketplace.
Currently, it's a rumor and it would certainly be difficult to topple iPod from its reigning position but the approach is indicative of what many brands should be doing to grow their business beyond just traditional advertising tonnage. And yea, yea, yea, the whole referral thing has been done since cavemen traded rocks but this is high profile and it will be intresting to see if it works.
- If you travel a lot and you're bored with your bland luggage tags or you don't have any at all, you might want to check out some new tags that are decidedly more colorful than your standard, bland tags.
- Mango Moose Media in Mississauga Ontario has launched StreetTeams, a service that makes it easy for media buyers to "buy" street teams just like they buy other media.
- As if Coke wasn't already unhealthy enough, it's now a frying agent for any thing from bananas, to twinkies to cookies to pickles.
- RSS reader Newsgator has added Google AdWords to it's pages. Launched Friday, it's in test phase which will continue into next week.
- Not that this is is indicative of any role they may have played in their clients' successes but BBDO's work was the most viewed work on AdForum in the third quarter.
- Here's a collection of videos Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam worked on as part of their work for the Electronic Artists' game FIFA 07.
If your one of those people who just absolutely, positively has to know what viral video are the hottest at any given moment, you might want to give a service called Ulmo a try. UMLO, created by asabailey, crawls the web and tracks linking behavior to various video sites to produce an aggregated list of what's hot. On top right now is, of course, the goofy video of giddy YouTube billionaires, Chad and Steve, telling us how wonderfully happy they are and how YouTube will continue to be great and not change too much because of the Google acquisition. Um, yea.
We've seen this at least three times at different web addresses but passed it off as just a freakishly weird video but now the video contains a TiVo status bar, sound effects, closing copy and logo. And, it now lives on the website of San Francisco-based Swivel Media lending more credence to the marketing angle of the clip. The video (an old Bollywood film) features an Indian-looking family sitting on a bed with an old-school boombox. The Dad turns the boombox on and off as one of the kids (or...dare we say, dwarf with a big head and freakishly weird smile), standing on the floor in front of the bed dances robotically, starting and stopping as the Dad starts and stops the music. Freakishly weird but additively entertaining.
We contacted our friend Erik over at Swivel Media to confirm (yes, shockingly, we do that sometimes) this is, in fact, another weird promotion for TiVo and Erik tells us, yes, Swivel did create it in the sense they latched on to popular and strange clip and branded it with TiVo. We say another because in mid-September an odd, 50's-style video surfaced called Blue Moon in which scientists found a Tivo and thought it was some sort of alien (the kind from other worlds) device.
With a riff on typefaces, HP's Imaging and Printing Group have released their first virally-intended video, called Berthold's Grotesk Zkzident, which features two graphic designers working together, one of whom freaks out when the printer breaks and ends up trashing the office unintentionally. Oh, and bike messenger that shows up at the end? No idea. Weird. But in a strangely good way. Created by Publicis Dialog.
Today, we received a cryptic email directing is to a Belgian website called Unknown Frequencies which delivered explosive, full screen imagery that made it look like your computer was being attacked by some sort or killer virus. It then delivered an onslaught of IM windows in quantity only the likes of girls with naked pictures on their profiles would ever receive. After a few more ominous messages, the site said to check our email October 11 for more information. We don't need to wait. We already figured it out.
Strangely, as soon as this full screen takeover begin, it reminded us very much of a movie review we had read back in August for the Kristen Bell film, Pulse. And, sure enough, after spending a bit more time with the site, seeing a directory tree with YouAreNowinfected.com flash by early on and following that link, we were redirected to pulsethemovie.net.
Not that this particular movie needs any promotion since everyone's already sen it or they're already lined up for the DVD but Disney felt it necessary to put together, Dead Man's Mail, a "create a customized pirate and make it speak whatever you tell it to" promotion just in case the two people who haven't seen Pirates of the Caribbean 2 are aware of the DVD's release.