Ehealthinsurance Makes Insurance Fun


It's a known fact there's nothing fun about health insurance. What with referrals, co-pays, "this is covered but that isn't" insanities and wallet-busting monthly premiums, insurance needs all the help it can get. eHealthInsurance hopes to help with a new online promotion, called Am I Covered, which features an animated series featuring the Wyndales, the "lovable, yet klutzy family with whom all Americans can identify." Led by Percy Wyndale, family patriarch and certified klutz, the adventures of the Wyndale family brings humor back to the insurance game.

The campaign was created by marketing agency RSA and Truelight Entertainment and used artists and producers from The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Dilbert and Ren and Stimpy.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Online, Viral

Agency Wants to Hire Neil French


After the Neil French debacle, one brave agency, Hart+Larsson has posted a recruitment ad to which only Neil French need apply. Neil is instructed to contact the agency at

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Agencies

Cheerioke Introduces Yogurt Burst Cheerios


Sanj points to General Mills which has created Cheerioke, a karaoke site on which people can choose there character, style them, change their physical features then sing along to the provided music and send the thing to a friend. The site promotes the new Yogurt Burst Cheerios and uses Oddcast's virtual host technology.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Online, Viral

Teaser And Stealth Marketing Tactics Explored


After receiving an email from Banu Sen of Publicis Net Paris telling us about a viral teaser trailer created to promote a new online game which would feature car maker Renault and that a fake game company and fake website where created and disseminated to bloggers as part of the promotion, a lengthy email exchange with Ben ensued regarding the buzz phrase of the day, transparency. Transparency is the notion that all marketing, especially that which comes through buzz, viral and word of mouth channels, be fully forthcoming with what brand is behind the campaign.

Clearly, with fake company names and websites, this was not transparent. However, during our discussion, in which, at first, I was quite surprised a major agency like Publicis and a major car maker like Renault would engage in fakery such as this given the recent uproar over buzz and word of mouth marketers and their associations calling for transparency, I realized it's really nothing more than your standard teaser campaign which has been around forever. There's a fine line, though, between a teaser campaign and a misleading campaign. The prior always, at some point reveals its identity which this Renault campaign does. The latter, which uses stealth methods like the recent U.S. Cellular blue man fiasco or an army of 250,000 teenagers who may or may not reveal their association with the large word of mouth company for whom they work.

Publicis and Renault has done nothing wrong here. Not that anyone is saying they did. Though in the face of transparency insanity, the discussion was worth having.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Online, Opinion, Viral, Word of Mouth

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FastClick, Pop Serving Ad Networks Should Be Boycotted


Enough of this shit. Ad network FastClick, along with all other ad networks that continue to defy people's wishes by circumventing pop up blockers should be boycotted for their pop up delivery practices. Not only are pop ups annoying but, if you look at the one pictured (click for actual size), it is clearly deceptive and all about trickery. What respectable ad network would even consider allowing such an advertiser to use its network?. Also, shame on Dribbleglass, the site at which this pop up popped, for allowing pop ups to be served. To be fair, all pops are not always associated with the site being visited but most are.

Any media buyer out there who is currently buying pops should be shamed as well. Any advertiser that engages in the use of pops should be boycotted to death. Any site that serves pops should pack it in, leaving only a 404 page behind. Are we finished with this crap yet?

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Online

Real Medium to Conduct 'Ghost Whisperer' Seance


On Thursday, October 27 at 3PM, will feature the "Ghost Whisperer Halloween Seance," hosted by medium James Van Praagh. Van Praagh, who is co-executive producer of the CBS television drama Ghost Whisperer, will perform readings for the general public via streaming video on

People will be able to call Van Praagh at 323-227-1000 and speak to him personally as he connects to the dead while others can simultaneously converse in a designated chat room. Hmm. Watching Jennifer Love Hewitt seems far more interesting than this.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Television

Camel: Killing People Since 1913


This Camel ad sort of screams, "Killing People Since 1913." That's something to be proud of as an advertiser.

UPDATE: While the photo appears to have been removed from the link, you can view it by clicking on the image in this post.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Magazine

Times Square Holograph Sells Lexus


By now you know that, with our overly jaded viewpoint on advertising, we don't usually get very excited about much because we've seen it all before. Well, we're gonna shove that pompous, egoistic nonsense aside for a bit and get REALLY excited about this new holographic ad for Lexus in Times Square. The holograph, at sidewalk level, shows the car zooming back and forth and allows passerby to interact with the vehicle. Apparently, according to this video, it did the trick of grabbing attention. Selling cars is an entirely different matter but for the sake of this effort, it was certainly an attention getter.

The holographic images were all produced by Imaginary Forces in Los Angeles.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Outdoor

Large Red Balls Crush Cars, Promote Powerball


Like muffins falling out off a billboard and crushing a car, large red balls are popping up - on crushed cars - to promote Powerball. Flicker user Andy explains, "I took it in the Twin Cities. These two cars (and Powerballs) were on the back of a flatbed truck, being driven somewhere, possibly the MN State Fair, that was going on at the time." Yes, this happened back in September so don't get all pissy on us complaining the story isn't two seconds old.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Guerilla, Outdoor

Bus Handrail Hangers Recruit Drug Testers


From Flickr user Sangsara, who shot the image of a cow atop a bus for a flavored milk company, comes this interesting in-bus ad concept. Along the hand rail, small promotional packages for drug company Pfizer are hung. The ads seek clinical research volunteers. While Pfizer surely hopes people grab these hanging ad handles, we sure hope commuters grab the real handles when the bus comes to a stop lest there be a pile of injured, ad-carrying people at the front of the bus. View close up shots here and here.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Outdoor

Bus Top Cow Sells Flavored Milk


To attract attention to it line of flavored milk products, Malaysian-based Marigold placed a cow - not a real one - atop a bus in Singapore. Flickr user Sangsara was there to catch the action.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05    
Topic: Outdoor

NBC, Time Warner to Offer Dumb Video on Demand Service


In a less-than-smart effort to offer time shifted video on demand shifted viewing of particular shows, ER, The West Wing, The Tonight Show, NBC, in a deal with Time Warner will offer customers a sort of video on demand service called Start Over. The service, currently testing in South Carolina, allows viewers to begin watching one of the shows at anytime during the regularly broadcast hour as long as they do so before the show ends. Viewing the show after it has ended is not an option. Viewing on a different night is not an option. Skipping the ads is not an option. Why would anyone want this when there's TiVo and DVR cable set top boxes that allow all of the above? Wasted effort.

by Steve Hall    Oct-25-05