Family Group Warns Parents And Marketers About Marketing to Children

Insuring it is part of the growing conversation on viral and buzz marketing, particularly as it applies to children, the National Institute on Media and Family has launched an offline and online ad campaign targeting marketing and parent-related websites. The campaign appears on ClickZ, Ad,,, and and directs people to a recently launched weblog calling attention to a viral and buzz marketing code of ethics just launched by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

A full page print ad appeared in the print version of Ad Age as an open letter to execs at agencies that have been involved with viral marketing.

As we've said before, we don't think viral and buzz marketers are shoving dangerous messages down kids throats anymore than other marketers have done for years. Kids are smart. They are not duped easily. Viral and buzz marketers are not pedophiles. NIMF isn't John Hathorne during the Salem Witch Trials. All parties just need to go have a drink together and get over this overblown animosity.

In fact, WOMMA should, if it hasn't already, extend an invitation to members of NIMF to attend its upcoming Word of Mouth Marketing Summit in Chicago March 29-30.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05    

Style Network Launches 'Craft Corner Deathmatch'

The knitting needles and glue guns come out tonight for the debut of the Style Network's Craft Corner Deathmatch, a show in which dueling crafters are pit againts each other in a battle of stitch and bitch. What's next? "Bolt Tightening Brawl?"

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05    

NBC's 'The Contender' Pulls Strings, Not Ratings

We're a sucker for repetitive Jerry Bruckheimer theme music and the blatant use of kids for manipulative emotional appeal. We admit we're a fan of all things Mark Burnett and Sylvester Stallone. And we can appreciate a good, kick ass face pounding from time to time. NBC's The Contender, the latest Mark Burnett reality show, delivered all that last night leading us to believe another hit may be in the making. Unfortunately, according to overnight ratings as published in Marc Berman's MediaWeek Programming Insider, that's unlikely to happen."The Contender debuted with a disappointing 5.3/ 8 in households (#2), 8.40 million viewers (#2) and a 4.1/10 among adults 18-49 (#2) from 9:30-11 p.m."

So much for Bruckheimer's swelling French horns.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05    

Volunteer Organization Promotes With Job Rejection Viral Site

To promote itself, do-it, a UK-based volunteer organization created a website called the National Job rejection Database, a site where those who recently interviewed for work but were not hired can search for reasons why they weren't hired. Of course, it's all a joke and after you've entered your name, job applied for, company and date, you are taken to a page with a humorous description as to why you were not hired. That is, until the page automatically progresses to another with the gigantic headline, "Just Kidding!" and the sub-head, "We made up the NJRD. But volunteer work really is a great way to improve your CV."

This is an intriguing viral. (There's a send-to-a-friend form) It's engaging enough but doesn't keep you guessing too long before it reveals its true self and takes you to a site where you can sign up for volunteer work. While funny, it might not be all that funny to someone who has been unsuccessful at finding a job only to be presented with an unpaid opportunity but we think everyone will see the humor.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05    

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Race Horse Center of Drunk Driving Ad Campaign

It's not that the name of this particular race horse sounds odd - they all do. It's that the name of this horse is central to a New Zealand-based, anti drunk driving campaign. The Land Transport Safety Authority plans to use the name, Dontdrinkanddrive, for a race horse bred by Sir Patrick Hogan. No, not that one. That was Paul Hogan.

The apparent strategy of race fans hearing the name, Dontdrinkanddrive, over and over and over again before, during and after horse races, might cause that sixth beer not to be consumed before heading home.

Clemenger BBDO is behind the naming strategy.

Not everyone thinks it's a good move. National MP (some sort of high ranking government official, we guess) said, "I haven't come across anyone who has heard this story and hasn't fallen about laughing. I'm not sure that's how they want road safety messages taken." What do you think?

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05    

RV Ad Targets Gays

In creating a commercial for Go RVing, The Richards Group of Dallas has tossed stereotypes to the wind.

Instead of featuring the usual grey haired, twilight of life retired couple enjoying some god forsaken nightmare of a trailer park in Florida, the agency created an ad targeting young, hot gays. At least according to CG, an openly gay man writing on Appreciate the Cheese. We tend to trust the gaydar of those living the lifestyle rather than our limited, married with two kids lifestyle.

Recent research by Harris Interactive pointed to three new prospects for RV marketing: families with children, weekend recreation and sports buffs and outdoor escapists. Though there seemed to be nary a mention of gay men who have female friends and like to look longingly at each other.

Intriguingly, the spot is done well. It's not one of those spots that screams, "Look! See! we're targeting some different people here! We're trying real hard to be cool about it! Bear with us until we return to the usual bland, boring, watered down, please all demographic, ethnic and psychographic group commercials." It's subtle - sure to fly high over the head of those who might take issue with this sort of thing.

It's a fairly dramatic shift in traditional RV marketing. There's no reason only retired folk should enjoy the open road from a box on wheels. Read CG's commentary here. See the spot here.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 8-05