Visa Launches Crippled Olympic Advergame


For some inexplicable reason, some marketers and their agencies still think it's OK to create a website, in this case, an advergame, that only works with Internet Explorer on a PC. Given the horrid user experience Internet Explorer provides with it's gaping holes through which scumware of all forms permeates to the proliferation of far superior browsers such as Firefox, let alone a cadre of Mac users, it's just plain shortsighted idiocy to create anything limited only to IE.

This time the idiocy comes courtesy of VISA and its agency Wild Tangent who created some kind of promotional advergame for the Torino 2006 Olympic Games. That's all we can tell you about the game because, yes, we gave up IE years ago and have avidly used Firefox ever since. And this time, we aren't even going to fire up our stale copy of IE so we can perform our journalistic duty and describe the game's merits or demerits to you. Suffice to say, based on the marketer's ignorance of a huge audience segment, it's safe to say all the effort is worthy of is a giant pile of demerits.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Brands, Games, Online, Opinion

Jennifer Love Hewitt Makes It Big Friday Nights


Since her days on Party of Five and The Byrds of Paradise, we knew one day Jennifer Love Hewitt would finally see herself at the top of the television rating charts. And she's not there not just because of her breasts. She has an alluringly charming attraction - cute but not overly bubbly - which seems to have finally paid off with her I-see-dead-people drama Ghost Whisperer on CBS. Currently, the show is number one on Friday nights with 10.86 million viewers. Given endlessly proliferating fragmentation and a Friday night time slot, ten million is very impressive. Patricia Arquette's similarly themed show Medium still does slightly better but that's in a far better time slot. With the success of Ghost Whisperer, it looks like JLH can finally leave behind her clothing company (it's a joke, people), her TV Guide covers (also a joke) and set her sites of television success.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Research, Television

Michelle Wie The Next Big Thing


Ever so often, they bubble up at an early age, demonstrating their astonishing skills and surprising all who witness. Perhaps child prodigy is not exactly the right word but golfer Michelle Wie, 16 on October 11, plans to take on the professional golfing world and become a medium of her own lending her fame to brands that take the ride along with her. With drives up to 391 yards, Wie has hopes of becoming the best golfer, man or woman. When Wie plays golf, people watch. Millions of people and that makes marketers see dollar signs. Recently, Wie struck a five-year, $5 million deal with Nike and another smaller deal with Sony. The next Tiger Woods? No. Better.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Celebrity, Sponsorship

New York Times to Launch In-Theater Movie Magazine


Hopefully not just another pre-movie ad attack or more trash for theater staff to pick up after the movie, The New York Times will launch, OnMovies, an 18X per-year, digest-sized magazine from the paper's Culture desk which will be handed out to 1.25 million moviegoers at Lowe's cinema as they buy their tickets. This could go either way. Pessimistically, it will add more agony to already slow ticket lines with cashiers frantically handing out the magazine along with tickets, create more noise in theaters as moviegoers thumb through the magazine even as the movie rolls, dramatically increase movie exhibitors trash bills or cause moviegoers heads to explode as they attempt to process the onslaught of pre-roll ads on screen and athe d-supported content in the magazine thereby causing huge riots and a sudden upturn in business for home theater contractors.

Or, more optimistically, with lovely content such as film reviews, movie grosses, filmmaker interviews, actor profiles and trivia, it could give Entertainment Weekly a run for its money. Debuting December 16, the glass half full, glass half empty challenge will commence. Either way, we're betting the weblog will be pretty happy with its increased accidental traffic.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Magazine

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Muppets Appear in Charity Spot


PuppetVision points out New Zealand charity, CanTeen, an organization supporting young people living with cancer has launched a spot featuring the Muppets singing their famed "Mahna Mahna" song to promote National Bandanna Week and the group's green CanTeen bandanna. FCB created the commercial and got Disney in LA to quickly approved character usage and then shot the spot just two days later with the Muppets cast.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Online

Burger King Gets Farked, Sells Halloween Masks


Burger King has scored a branding coup. It's Burger "King" has been Farked. After being posted to Fark October 4, there are hundreds of images of the "King" taking on all sorts of personas such as the Army's "I Want You" guy, Bush's Supreme Court pick, Santa, Jesus, Larry King, Colonel Sanders and even Ronald McDonald himself. Not to be one-upped by it all, Crispin Porter + Bogusky is capitalizing on mask mania with the launch of BK Masks, a site where visitors can buy masks of the King himself and the famed Subservient Chicken. Wouldn't it just be sweet for Burger King and CP + B if this actually took off and kids across the country appeared at your doorstep wearing these masks? That would be successful marketing.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Brands, Online, Viral

UNICEF Anti-War Commercial Blows Up Smurfs


Along the lines of the United Nations Mine Action Service commercial which which shows a girl who, while playing soccer, steps on a land mine and gets blown up, UNICEF in Belgium has created an anti-war commercial which shows Smurf characters getting shot to pieces by warplanes. The spot, which aims to raise money for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi and carries the tagline "Don't let war affect the lives of children," is set to air this week. After viewing a preview of the spot, reactions ranged from approval to shock to terror in children.

UNICEF spokesman Philippe Henon explains the approach was needed to grab attention, "It's controversial. We have never done something like this before, but we've learned over the years that the reaction to the more normal type of campaign is very limited." Acknowledging the potential reaction, UNICEF has promised the spot will air only after 9PM.

The Smurf characters, which have been around since 1958, along with Tintin and Lucky Luke were created in Belgium and family members of the late Smurf creator, Peyo, gave permission to use the characters. Publicis created the spot which can be viewed in the middle of this news report.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05    
Topic: Commercials