MarketingSherpa Publishes Viral Advertising Guide

Lending some practical knowledge and hard facts to the viral advertising category is MarketingSherpa which has just published its Viral Advertising in 2005 - Top 7 Tactics, How-Tos and Measurement Data special. Based on responses from 2,431 marketers and viral agencies, the article includes a clarification of the definition of viral advertising, suggested best practices, strategies, experiential results from viral marketers, measurement procedures and a practical Data and Tips section on viral ad tactics. It's the most concise collection of information about viral advertising ever published and a must read for anyone remotely considering this method of advertising.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Ford Focus Commercial Steals Volkswagen Concept

Ever vigilant Jossip has, again, spotted a Ford commercial that's, shall we say, less than brilliant. Last week, on American Idle, Ford ran a commercial for its SUV wannabe, the Escape, to which Jossip so eloquently reacted to the ad's horsepower claims by writing, "We take shits with more thrust." This week, Ford ran a spot for its Focus that, as Jossip points out, mirrors a recent Volkswagen spot quite closely.

In the spot, a person takes the Focus out for a test drive and loves it so much, he races by the dealership and keeps on going. Sound familiar? It should. It's the exact premise of a currently running VW commercial in which an overly excited VW test driver races past exits as the salesman tries to urge the driver to head off the highway.

You see, it's really true. All great ideas are already taken.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Gawker Media Launches One Stop Tabloid: Sploid

Gawker Media magnate Nick Denton has launch another weblog. The site, Sploid, mirrors the look of a tabloid publication complete with over sized headlines and Page Six-like editorial. While much of the content consists of the first few sentences of original content cut and pasted to Sploid, the headlines are originally written as are some of the posts.

Unlike most weblogs that roll posts down the page based on receny, Sploid will keep what are deemed to be top stories at the top of the page with other, less important stories further down the page. And they will keep stories coming fast. Sploid is written by Choire Sica, former Gawker editor, Ken Layne and Henry Seltzer. With headlines like "Sex Creep Poses As Vice Cop!" and "Vatican Plagued By Filthy Toilets & Unbearable Garbage", it's likely to be an amusing smash. Already, the site is getting over 10,000 page views per hour. Not a bad start.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

AWNY Gives 'Grand Ugly' to Adrants' Favorite Ads

Adrants is deeply saddened to hear the fine, upstanding advertising organization Advertising Women of New York saw fit to bestow its Ugly awards upon three of this site's most favorite ads. AWNY, for which we have fond memories since introducing us to advertising through a seminar attended while in college and which included a day's visit to the now defunct NW Ayer, awarded its Grand Ugly award to Troeg Beer's "Burp" commercial and its Ugly Print award to Guess for its Paris Hilton ads and Skechers for its Christina Aguilera ads. OK, so we really didn't like the Paris ads but Christina was HOT in her ads.

Explaining the point behind the organization's awards, AWNY President Carol Evans said, "This event has always looked at advertising with a sense of humor and honesty. We know many of the beer ads that continue to be losers are directed at men, but nonetheless, they reinforce images and stereotypes that continue to show women in demeaning roles. It's important that marketers understand that using women as props just for a laugh is not acceptable." Fair enough.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

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Corbis Acquires Dead People

Archival photo house Corbis, yesterday, announced the acquisition of Beverly Hills licensing firm Roger Richman Agency which represents the likes of Steve McQueen, Sigmund Freud, Vivien Leigh and the Marx Brothers. The acquisition gives Corbis deeper reach into the rights management of dead celebrities, used heavily in recent ad campaigns. The move is part of Corbis' strategy to position itself as a bigger player against its larger rival, Getty Images

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Comcast And TiVo to Provide More Ads to Skip

Comcast and TiVo are in cahoots on a new advertising system that will insert news ads over old, previously recorded ads when the recording in played back. It a seemingly futile effort to force people to watch commercials, TiVo, again, is grasping at the ever disappearing straw. Apparently oblivious to his customers desires, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, "In the long term, advertising is going to be a big winner. They're going to get more bang for the buck."

One could argue the insertion of newer and, perhaps, more relevant ads is a good thing. The bigger issue, though, is one of control. Consumers have it and marketers don't like it. The VCR, for example, though far less usefulness in terms of usability, put the owner, rather that the manufacturer in the driver's seat with a simple inexpensive box. Now, with TiVo, there's still a box but there's also that endless monthly fee just for the privilege of being forced to watch ads (TiVo has a new experimental system that places banner-like ads over ads while they are being fast forwarded through. It's all very insane. Kinda makes the VCR look pretty good.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Bloody Sheep Butt Serves PETA Cause

Showing a lamb’s butt that has been mutilated with a pair of gardening shears, next to the tagline "Help Stop Cruelty to Animals—Boycott Benetton" and steering viewers toward UnitedCrueltyOfBenetton, PETA is at their finest again with a brand-new ad has just gone up at in San Francisco at Lombard and Fillmore streets, facing east. The ad is the latest in PETA’s international campaign against two forms of cruelty in the Australian merino wool business, which has involved protests on three continents, an advertising blitz, and a burgeoning boycott. PETA has targeted Benetton for refusing to join other major retailers—including Abercrombie & Fitch, J.Crew, and U.K.-based New Look and George—in refusing to buy wool that comes from mutilated Australian lambs. Gross.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Spears Federline McMarriage Becomes UPN Reality Series

The blissful innocuousness of MTV's The Newlyweds is about to get slapped upside the head by UPN which is launching a new reality series focusing on the much trashed lives of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. Denied by the couple but filmed over the past year or so, the series will follow the odd couple from courtship through marriage and, as rumors have hinted, perhaps, through pregnancy. Debuting at the end of May, the series will have an initial six episodes

UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff explains the series saying, "I don't think there's anything sugarcoated about this. It's pretty raw and pretty real. I don't think (viewers) have ever been exposed to people being so honest and open about their lives." That's code for lots of bitch fighting/slapping. We're there.

By the way, what the hell's up with Variety's invented slang? Prexy? Skein? Competish?

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Huggies Promotion Gets Dumped On

Metafilter creator Matthew Haughey and his wife were out shopping buying diapers for their impending newborn and stumbled upon a cross-promotion involving the placement of Disney characters on Huggies diapers. While his wife thought this attempt to brand her child at such an early age un-nerving, Matt put it all in perspective saying, "Yeah, but think about it, these are diapers -- our daughter will get to shit right on Mickey!"

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

VW Screws Up Their Own Jetta Commercial

Volkswagen has always developed small but nifty features that really make a difference such as all the windows rolling up at the turn of a key in the outside door or a miniature visor behind the rear view mirror to catch the sliver of sun that always slips past the two big visors. There's even a helpful feature on the new Jetta's radio which, when turned on, automatically adjusts the volume downward to a more sane level from the previous night's earsplitting head banger session enjoyed while driving home from the club. Seems that feature would be ripe for riffing on and, in a new Jetta commercial, it has been, just not correctly.

Autoblog brings to our attention a reader who points out a flaw in the commercial. In the ad, a young man is trying to impress his older client with his spanking new Jetta but when the stereotypically old and un-hip client turns on the radio, seemingly looking for sedate news, and gets an earful of high decibel heavy metal, the plan goes awry. In real life, as opposed to fake advertising life, this guy would have been saved from humiliation. One would think this inaccuracy would be quickly pointed out by the marketing team at Volkswagen following the agency's presentation of the concept but, apparently, not even Volkswagen knows how cool their cars are.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05