Netflix Wants Us to Sign Up After Having Been A Member For Four Years


One would think a company like Netflix, with massive, sophisticated databases of its subscribers and the movies it rents might, when it comes to sending out its direct mail solicitations, actually be able to keep track of who's a member and who isn't. Or at least convey that to their direct marketing firm.

We've lost track of the number of times mailers have arrived asking us to become a member when we've been a member for over four years. Sometimes they come by mail. Other times they come by email. Sometimes, we'll receive a "your movie has been sent" email right after we receive a "become a member" email.

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by Steve Hall    Sep-19-07    
Topic: Bad, Direct

TV Guide, ABC to Shoot Out Promotional Hospital Gowns


ABC and TV Guide are mailing out a branded hospital gown alongside the September 24 issue of TV guide. This is so everyone will get all hyped about the season four premiere of Grey's Anatomy, which rolls back around on the 27th.

Hopefully nobody misinterprets the gesture as a cry for help on the Guide's part.

by Angela Natividad    Sep-12-07    
Topic: Brands, Direct

German Engineers Wish They'd Built the Subaru Imprezza


Subaru makes good cars. At least that's what Consumer Reports says year after year. But why do most their cars look, well, so pedestrian. While that's one person's opinion, it seems, according to a recently launched campaign for the Impreza (which does actually look better than past models) created by DB Canada, German engineers are jealous of Subaru's performance.

The campaign consists of an onslaught of television, out-of-home, online, print, direct and cinema. The cinema ad broke late July and the rest is coming soon to Canadians country-wide.

The cinema ad, which you can view here, features four German engineers out for a joy ride in the Imprezza. They cruise the test track to the tune of Falco's Amadeus until they are met with the disapproving eyes of their senior engineer who mutters disgust in German.

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Coke Eliminates Confusion With It's Version of Pepsi Challenge


Don't you hate when you get one of those letters in the mail that promises to be something it's not? You know, the one's that come from Bank of America every third day - or any financial institution for that matter - that promise magic but always turn out to be yet another credit card offer. Or how about those officious looking plain white envelopes with nothing but "open immediately" written on them which turn out to be some lame chance to win something.

Wouldn't it be nice if, when you received a piece of direct mail, it contained something you could actually use? Perhaps that's what Crispin Porter + Bogusky were thinking about when they created this legal spoof letter which contains the Covet & Yourminy Taste Confusion Kit - a coupon for a free Coke and free Coke Zero,

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by Steve Hall    Aug-20-07    
Topic: Direct

Free Hand Ads: Paper Media isn't Dying; it's Waiting for You!


A new company called Free Hand Ads proposes putting brand names across the top margin of college-ruled pieces of paper. Paper with ads printed on them are free to students.

Per a quick conversation with the founders at ad:tech Chicago, the idea hasn't been banned or even much frowned-upon by either high schools or students.

So in the last couple years left of paper-shuffling in schools, you might as well get your brand name into the hands of some penny-scrimping students.

And while you're at it, you might as well hit college bluebooks, too.

by Angela Natividad    Aug-10-07    
Topic: Direct

Man Sells Non-Personally Identifiable Information to Marketers on eBay

One could look at this eBay auction promising a marketer complete access to this person's non-personally identifiable information for a 30 day period so as to razor target the marketer's advertising as a joke or one could realize this is exactly what the future holds: people divulging detailed information about themselves and selling it to the highest bidding marketers in return for a promise to view all their advertising.

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by Steve Hall    Jun-18-07    
Topic: Direct, Online, Opinion, Research, Trends and Culture

Boy Tugs Skirt-Clad Lands' End Back End. Confusion Ensues


There are so many confusing messages emanating from the cover of this Lands' End catalog, we simply don't know where to start. First, there' the very curvaceous back end of women juxtaposed just beneath the title of the catalog, Lands' End, as if illustrative of some sort of early American west conquest for land but with a tone far removed from that depicted in the Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman movie Far and Away.

Then, there's the young boy tugging on the women's spandex-like skirt with a cute, semi-mischievous look on his face. Is the woman his mother? Is the boy just some random kid grabbing at some random woman's skin tight, bathing suit-like skirt? Is he just doing what all men eventually do, literally or figuratively, when they grow up? Or is this some art director's realized wet dream?

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by Steve Hall    Jun-10-07    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Direct, Strange

Vodafone Manual is Lacking, Kind of Like their Brand Equity


Draft New Zealand justifies this Vodafone campaign like so: "Installing [Vodafone's vodem] is simplicity itself."

Because installation of said product (their wireless broadband modem, tinnily dubbed vodem) is so self-explanatory, the agency deluged potential clients with manuals whose 8 pages are blank except for the front covers.

We love how it takes 8 pages to demonstrate the absence of information.

by Angela Natividad    May-11-07    
Topic: Direct, Mobile/Wireless

Discs Spark Sciolistic Swaggering Swordfighters


We really dig Rethink, Canada's clever means of paper-passing for the 2006 BC Fencing Championships. Instead of boring us all with ads of padded men parrying in masks, the go-getters slid discs onto car antennas to make them look like fencing swords.

That makes us ALL fencers! Now excuse us while we tear our own antennae off and play Inigo-and-six-fingered-man with them.

by Angela Natividad    Apr- 3-07    
Topic: Direct, Good

Bank of America Direct Mail Misleads


No, Bank of America (and all other financial institutions for that matter), my account information is not enclosed in this letter. In case you hadn't read your own mail before sending, what's contained inside this letter is not my bank statement but rather yet another offer for me to consolidate debt, spend more money on a vacation and create even more debt by writing a check against my credit card account to spend frivolously on things I don't want or need.

Perhaps direct mail guru Bob Bly can put my mind to rest. Has it become permissible for the practice to mislead, lie and misinform as standard practice? I never created email that lied and for years I've ignored this idiocy. I can't any longer. It's bad enough Bank of America requires you to have a degree in accounting to figure out how much you actually owe on your overdraft account. Now they want you to go deeper into debt with these idiotic monthly offers. Yes, of course, I ignore all of them but after 24 months of me not responding, you think they'd want to save a stamp or two. Oh wait, direct mailers don't care about the wasted 98 percent of people who ignore their offers.They only care about the two percent that respond. Silly me.

by Steve Hall    Mar-20-07    
Topic: Direct, Worst