News Flash: Alex Bogusky Has No Hair!


A new online campaign for the Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Coster movie Rumor Has It has played sweetly into our fluff and puffery-filled world of journalistic nonsense. Online marketing firm Pod Digital Design has created RumorMaker, a site that lets visitors create their own front page tabloid scandal about a friend complete with photograph and snarkish commentary. If there's no photo or snark available, visitors can choose from several provided choices. We couldn't resist temptation and had a bit of fun with Alex Bogusky and his hair.

by Steve Hall    Dec-15-05    
Topic: Agencies, Online, Promotions, Spoofs, Viral

Sony Promotes PS2 Game With Worldwide Archaeological Find


In an elaborate marketing hoax, it appears the Sony PlayStation2 game Shadow of the Colossus is being promoted with sitings of giant, unexplained archaeological findings around the world. Three large, prehistoric entities have, reportedly, been found - one in India following the tsunami, one in the Sulu sea and one in Bam, Iran following an earthquake. There's even video news footage from the Indian finding to go along with the hoax.

Fueling the notion this is all just a big marketing ploy - albeit a grand and intriguing one - Joystig points out all this information appeared at the same time just this week, an anonymous tip pointed them out, there's the predictable blog (with a podcast) and two of the site's follow that tired, Geocities-like, "this site is so bad it has to be real" design strategy.

One has to admit, it is quite admirable the lengths to which a company with boatloads of money will go to get its products talked about. One also has to question the potential backlash of such an elaborate lie.

by Steve Hall    Dec-14-05    
Topic: Brands, Spoofs, Strange, Viral

Screwed Up Family Promotes Microsoft Security


Interactive agency Inspire has created an online video featuring Mr. Jefferson who loosely reveals all of his family's inner secrets illustrating just how unprotected life can be if, of course, one does not use Microsoft security products. While the video (the Netherlands version) is in English, the sites are not. We'll leave it to you Belgian speaking folks to tell us whether we've made any sense here. And would Adobe, for the love of David Ogilvy, please make freakin' Flash understand a browser's Back button?

by Steve Hall    Dec-14-05    
Topic: Viral

New Word of Mouth Firm Slams Buzz Marketing


Basically ramming a dagger in the back of buzz marketing firm BuzzAgent, word of mouth marketing firm BoldMouth has launched with a ferociously negative view of buzz marketing practices. Mincing no words, the companies press release reads, in part, "Real word-of-mouth marketing is about sharing advice as well as product and service recommendations. These informal and typically person-to-person dialogs should not to be confused with 'buzz marketing' that is nothing more than an attempt to artificially engineer a referral by offering incentives so that "agents" make recommendations on behalf of an organization." Ouch. Dave Balter might have a bit to say about that back stab.

As if gleeful in his attack, BoldMouth Founder Todd Tweedy said, "Word of mouth is an operational principle that organizations can pursue and model to increase loyalty and ultimately revenue that creates a customer-centric approach to marketing. Disguising a commercial as a person and having these 'agents' share commercial messages on an unsuspecting audience with misleading 'buzz' tactics simply creates more ad clutter and puts brands in unnecessary danger. It's time to put an end to buzz marketing."

Somehow this all seems very counter productive to the growth of a nascent advertising practice but the verbal warfare that will undoubtedly follow this release will be charmingly amusing to watch.

by Steve Hall    Dec-12-05    
Topic: Viral, Word of Mouth

Super Buff Women Promote Super Buff Phones


OK, we have nothing against people doing all they can to stay in shaped but when women work out so freakishly they end up looking like, well, a female body builder, it's just kinda gross. Call us sexist but everyone's entitled to an opinion including Virgin Mobile UK which has launched Super Buff, a site promoting its "totally buff phones" with help from super buff women. It's all quite hilarious, though. Adland reveals the work was created by 12foot6 and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 7-05    
Topic: Online, Strange, Viral

Virgin Mobile Reveals Aussie Viral Campaign Details


Virgin Mobile in Australia has summed up a recent viral campaign involving a fake soapstar, Jason Donovan. There's a long and involved story about how Donovan was trying to sell his Range Rover by placing a For Sale sign, which contained his cell phone number, in the window of the SUV, how a photo of Donovan, his vehicle and his cell phone number was taken, how he was harassed by callers, how Virgim Mobile got involved and how the whole thing turned into one big viral. It's the only time we've ever seen a company publicly lay bare all the details of one of its viral campaigns. It's insightful and refreshing. Though, sadly, we have no explanation for the woman in the upper right hand corner of the site who looks like she's having a killer orgasm.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-05    
Topic: Viral

Honda Dreams the Impossible Dream


Doing some nice work for Honda UK, Wieden + Kennedy has created The Power of Dreams, a mini-movie set to the tune of "Dream the Impossible Dream," that takes the viewer through the history of Honda from its launch of the Super Cub motorbike in 1958 to its invention of the ATV in 1970 to a motorcycle with an airbag to roadsters, speedboats and the cars of today. The movie leads to The Power of Dreams site on which the history of Honda is detailed with each product receiving highlight through multiple microsites. There's also a an enter-to-win contest for a balloon ride over New Zealand. The site puts a nice wrapper on the package that is Honda.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 5-05    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Online, Viral

Giant Cock Terrorizes Britain


Richard Branson really does own everything. We knew he was airline guy and cell phone guy but we didn't know he was train guy too. To promote Branson's Virgin Trains, glue London has created a series of online films (they call them viral but we'll see if they earn that moniker) which illustrate how much smaller Britain has become because of Virgin Train's fast service. The first film unleashes a giant cock (no, not that kind you freak) on an unsuspecting British neighborhood to, you know, show how small Britain is compared to, um, a giant cock.

The films were shot by web guys Ben Wheatley, Joel Veitch and Rob Manuel through Tomboy Virals. The first film "Cockerel" was released this month, with the rest to be released at regular intervals up until the World Cup eight months from now. blue has placed all the films neatly on a microsite called Little Britain for our viewing pleasure.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 2-05    
Topic: Brands, Online, Viral

Balding Men Get Help From 'League of Thinning Men'


Everyone's got a viral these days or, more correctly, a piece of creative they hope goes viral. Now even the hair loss people are getting into the game. For New Zealand's Propecia, a prescription pill for hair loss, Insight NZ has created an online, satirical look at what could happen to men with hair loss if they don't take action. Called League of Thinning Men, visitors to the site are introduced to a little interactive world where they can check out the ways of men who prefer a good comb-over and a cup of well-stewed tea. All of which Propecia hopes will convince men with thinning hair to abandon the site, head over to Propecia's site and grab a bottle of their hair saving pills.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 1-05    
Topic: Online, Viral

Virgin Mobile Does 'The O.C." Chrismaka Thing


With its Chrismahanukwanzakah holiday greeting, Virgin Mobile has attempted to cover all its politically correct, religious bases but really has just further segregated things with these videos. Humorously, of course. And you've gotta love the 1-888-ELF-POOP helpline.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 1-05    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Online, Viral