AOL Gets Caught Trying to Badger Customer Into Retaining Account

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Now we know why AOL still has so many users. Try as they might, canceling an AOL account is, apparently, a nightmare, a point proved by one Vincent Ferrari who recorded his exchange with an AOL customer service rep while canceling his account. It took Ferarri a total of 21 minutes to complete the cancellation and the five minute he spent with an actual human being are simply priceless. The CSR berated Ferrari, who is 30, to the point of asking to speak to his father because he thought Ferrari was making wrong decision in canceling the account. While, AOL did reply to the MSNBC report on the incident with an apology and a statement it had fired the CSR in question, there are, according to Ferrari, many others who have had similar experiences with the company. In the world of social media, consumer-generated media and YouTube, there's no hiding shady business practices any longer.

by Steve Hall    Jun-22-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Online, Viral



'Entertainment Weekly Explores Viral Video, Fails

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To both see if they could become famous and to do their journalistic duty, two Entertainment Weekly writers, Jason Adams and Scott Brown manufactured a video they hoped would go viral and reported on the process they went through to make it happen. With advice from people at CollegeHumor, MySpace, Google Video, AOL Video, comedian Anthony King and Time Inc. lawyers, the pair shot a video of Brown breaking up with a mannequin named Becca Kelly.

To date, the video has been viewed 7,700 times on YouTube and the effort has been called a failure by Brown and Adams. It was too long. The jokes came too late in the video and the lawyers got involved. Well, we'll see. No one new who the Numa Numa kid was for a while so we'll see where this goes.

by Steve Hall    Jun-22-06    
Topic: Online, Viral



Countdown Campaign Promises to Debunkify

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Ah, yes. Another mysterious site with a countdown clock. Don't the creators of these sites, in this case, according to Whois information, Cincinnati Ohio-based hyperQuake, know this has been done a million times before? Do they think we will actually care what the countdown leads to? Are they so bold as to assume there is something unique about what they are about to announce? Oh wait. Of course they do. This is advertising and when we create cool campaigns like this we just know the entire world will be jonesing right along with us.

The countdown site, called Debunkify, is accompanied by a video on YouTube and billboards and TV ads in several Ohio locations. The billboards proclaim, "kill the myths before they kill you" and the site indicates all will be revealed July 10. OMG, we just can't wait. Can you? Yawn.

by Steve Hall    Jun-22-06    
Topic: Campaigns, Guerilla, Online, Outdoor, Strange, Television, Viral



Fingering Bikini-Clad Hotties Yields Sundown Song

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Adrants reader John Brock sent us this link to Oooooouch.com. Yes, that's six O's. It leads to a site on which eight beach babes laying on towels and wearing various bikinis are waiting for you to touch them. You soon realize touching them in a certain order creates a song. Yes. Fingering them with the mouse makes them squeal. Who knew? Anyway, it's for Sundown sunscreen and was created by DDB Brazil. Figures. Capital of the bootie. Our favorite "note" is the second from the right.

by Steve Hall    Jun-20-06    
Topic: Games, Online, Viral



Truth Ads Continue Stupid Streak, Katherine Harris Spoofed

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- Two guys are following England around Germany as the 'Unofficial' Coca-cola mascots and reporting back to fans via their video blog.

- Here's a little Aussie viral for a roadside assistance company that puts a twist on on asking mom and Dad to use their car.

- Here's the third installment of the incredibly stupid Truth campaign in which the guy with the goofy hair calls attentions to jogging, M&M's and smoking addiction. It's just not working.

- Walking in on your hottie having sex with a bunch of other guys and not flinching is a poker face Poker.com would appreciate.

- Katherine Harris' U.S. Senate Campaign is getting some seriously hilarious spoof treatment and is racking up tons of views in the Huffington Post Contagious Viral contest.

- Here's what Aussies do to promote cricket in London.

- More Nike Joga Bonita football...uh...soccer fun.

by Steve Hall    Jun-19-06    
Topic: Campaigns, Commercials, Online, Viral



The Coffee Bean Unleashes Mascot Roomate

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We love when we get little tipster emails from people that say things like "Thought you should check out this new site..." and "Viral marketing at its best" because, inevitably, it's not and we relish the opportunity to squat down and dump all over it like a 400 pound slob who's just had an enema. This, unfortunately, is not one of those times. This viral, and we do call it viral because we're sure it's been paid for or influenced by The Coffee Bean, follows the antics of three roommates as they terrorize a fourth who is a mascot called Mr. Ice Blended for West Coast-based The Coffee Bean.

The site, Masot Roomate, has a bunch of videos that show the guys pulling various pranks on the mascot from attacking him on the job, impersonating him, placing his hands down their pants and mascot mascotnapping him. Without fail, all the guys have MySpace profiles which look like they were all recently created and, for the most part, all have the same friends. In another section. Another section of the site, called "5 mascots we wouldn't ever fuck with" explains why the Kool-Ais Man, The Fruit of the Loom Guys, Grimace, McGruff the Crime Dawg and The San Diego Chicken are off limits. Only an unleashed creative type would obsess over these icons and write such lines as, "I spent my formative years with my junk cradled in the safe confines of their white cottony briefs" about the Fruit of the Loom Guys.

more »

by Steve Hall    Jun-14-06    
Topic: Good, Guerilla, Strange, Viral



First Buckin', Now Huckin' Chicken Sells Burger King Sandwiches

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We are tired. So tired. Tired of typing the words "Burger King," "Chicken" and "Crispin Porter + Bogusky." But, it is our duty, as one who conveys the latest in advertising goodies, to tell you that, yes, CP+B has launched yet another chicken-themed campaign to promote Burger King Chicken sandwiches. We've seen everything from the Whopperettes to CoqRoq to Subservient Chicken to Big Buckin' Chicken. Now, there's this site called Huckin' Chicken on which a guy in a chicken suit does increasingly more daring motorcycle stunts based on how many people visit the site. It's a nice twist on a viral campaign but maybe CP+B should just move on to Big Fuckin' Chicken and close the book on the man in a chicken suit approach to selling sandwiches. Oh wait, there's still Suckin' Chicken to endure.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 8-06    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Online, Strange, Viral



S&M Imagery Sells High Tech Products

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Adland points us to a fetish-focused site for electronics distributor Cosmos on which the usual arty images of perfect males and female bodies are adorned with links to products available from Cosmos. What this has to do with selling technology we don't know but, oh wait. Silly us. Sorry. We lost the mantra for a moment there. OK, now it's back. Sex sells. Sex sells. Sex sells. Repeat after us. Sex sells. Sex sells. Sex sells. OK, we feel better now. Sorry for that brief lapse in knowledge on our part. We'll try not to let it happen again. There is some nudity on the site.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 8-06    
Topic: Good, Online, Strange, Viral



Pepsi Tricks People Into Downloading Music Site Promotion

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In what BBDO Canada calls inventive, the agency has created a campaign for Pepsi's Pepsi Access Canada, a site that provides people with "access to ultra exclusive music, downloads, concerts, merchandise and events." To promote the site, BBDO Canada seeded will seed (although BBDO, as of June 8, says the client has not yet given approval) peer to peer sites like Acquisition and Kazaa with MP3s that appear to be unreleased tracks from major artists but when the user downloads the song, this (removed from YouTube at the request of BBDO Canada) is what they hear. Basically, BBDO and Pepsi are tricking people into believing they are downloading new music when, in fact, they are downloading an ad promoting Pepsi and its association with really cutting edge groups like...oh...INXS which almost may have been cutting edge about 20 years ago.

Anyway, less "inventive" are several (1, 2, 3, 4) ads BBDO created to promote the site which humorously follow the actions of a couple guys as they try to obtain access to popular Canadian groups such as Kardinal Offishal, Swollen Members, and Dashboard Confessional.

UPDATE: The MP3 file that was to have been seeded has been removed from YouTube at the request of BBDO Canada who claims (or had to based on the choices YouTube provides when a cancellation request is made) they were used without permission even though they were sent to us by someone from BBDO Canada to be featured here on Adrants. Twisted. Consequently, because of this and other companies who have sent in content and then had other entities with the company or partner companies make complaints, our YouTube account has been closed. With bandwidth constraints in mind, we'll host what we can here or we will rely on the marketer/agency to host things themselves. The frustrating thing here is everyone wants there work seen by everyone - and we want to show it - until those nasty usage fees and other issues come into play.

UPDATE II: We've been told the file that will be seeded has not yet been approved by Pepsi and that is why BBDO Canada asked YouTube to remove the file and has asked us to clarify that here.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-06    
Topic: Brands, Guerilla, Online, Viral



Site Tests Lung Capacity, Outcome Other Than Expected

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Appearing to be some sort of lung capacity test for cancer prevention, an officious sounding woman instructs visitors to Lungster how to conduct an online lung capacity test using a microphone or headset. The test calls for the visitor to blow as hard as they can into their microphone or headset to determine lung capacity. But, midway through the test, visitors are interrupted and told, well, just take the test yourself to find out. It's worth it.

The site was created by McCann Norway.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 6-06    
Topic: Good, Online, Strange, Viral








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