Friday, October 30, 2009
You know how you are forced to watch the same boring inflight safety video every time you board a plane. Thomson Airlines put something together which people actually ask to watch a second time because it is so adorable and endearing. Thanks to Hal Roback for sharing this.
Here's a video on sensitivity. Just for laughs.
Sensitivity Training - The best bloopers are a click away
On a sad note this week, I wanted to mention the sudden and unexpected passing of a client of mine. Hersh Spiegelman was the founder of Telehop Communications. I only knew Hersch professionally, but found him to be a pleasure to work for and with. Hersch was spokesman for Telehop. I don't think every client should represent themselves in their advertising, but in Hersch's case, it was definitely the right move. He had a Burl Ives warm and unique quality to his voice and presence that was a real winner for his brand and for those who had the pleasure of meeting him in person. My condolences to the Spiegelman family.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Microsoft Shocked 'Family Guy' Humor Includes Incest, Holocaust Jokes
Company Pulls Out of Seth MacFarlane Deal After Discovering 'Content Not a Fit'
by Michael Learmonth
Published: October 26, 2009
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Turns out Seth MacFarlane isn't PC enough to be a PC. Microsoft was set to sponsor a prime time special by the "Family Guy" creator as part of its Windows 7 media blitz, but was somehow surprised when the typically MacFarlane-esque fare didn't exactly "fit with the Windows brand."
Variety reports that three days after crowing about its new Seth MacFarlane deal to the world, it pulled the plug after getting a look at the content, which included "riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest," the company pulled out of the project.
"We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of 'Family Guy,' but after reviewing an early version of the variety show it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail statement. "We continue to have a good partnership with Fox, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein and are working with them in other areas. We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent."
That's a long walk back from what Microsoft marketing exec (and former branded-entertainment chief) Gayle Troberman said a few days before: "You'll see us deeply integrated into the content," she told Ad Age. "You'll hear how Windows 7 can help you simplify your PC -- it's simple, fast and easy to use."
The show, "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," was to be the second collaboration between MacFarlane and Microsoft's "I'm a PC" agency Crispin, Porter & Bogusky. The first was the much-ballyhooed deal between MacFarlane and Crispin client Burger King, a custom web series distributed on YouTube and over Google's content network.
Fox is still planning to run the special as part of an "all Seth MacFarlane night" on Nov. 8 with another, as yet unnamed, sponsor. And Microsoft says "Family Guy" remains in its marketing plans for Windows 7 and hopes to work with MacFarlane "in other areas."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Marketers have hopped on board as well. But this is a bit of a bold move on the part of Volkswagon. They are launching a new model solely with an Apps promotion.
Thank you to Kunur Patel and Jean Halliday of Ad Age for the details.
Volkswagen of America is launching the newest-generation GTI exclusively on an iPhone app, a cost-efficient approach the automaker said is a first for the industry.
The automaker's Real Racing GTI game for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the App Store, unveiled at a press event last night in Manhattan, includes a motion-controlled car-racing game play like arcade or console counterparts, as well as a virtual showroom. The brand conceived the mobile strategy, which also includes a six-car giveaway for game players, with independent digital agency AKQA.
Volkswagen licensed the game from Australian developer Firemint, which built a pared-down version with fewer race tracks using only GTI's, the high-performance variation of VW's Golf brand.
Not only does choosing a mobile platform over a customary 30-second spot reduce marketing cost, but licensing an existing game also means savings. "It's a clever idea," said mobile-marketing consultant Raven Zachary, president of Small Society and founder of iPhoneDevCamp. "Licensing game technology saves VW considerable development cost and time to delivery. And the cost of six cars is not bad considering the cost of doing a print campaign or TV campaign."
Cost a focus of VW review
Cost appears to be a major factor in Volkswagen's review for creative agency of record, according to executives familiar with the matter. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco and Deutsch, Los Angeles are still in the running, after DDB and Wieden & Kennedy were eliminated yesterday.
Of course, there is a real danger the automaker will miss many prospects using only one narrowly targeted marketing tool. But Tim Ellis, Volkwagen of America's VP-marketing, maintains it is a highly targeted strategy to directly reach the GTI customer, a tech-savvy, social-media activist who spends time on mobile devices, most often iPhones. "It's a homerun in terms of the demo overlap," said Nihal Mehta, CEO of local-search and networking app Buzzd.
As for driving that demographic to discover and download the app, Volkswagen is banking on PR, viral pass-along and some paid search for consumers looking for iPhone apps and information on the GTI.
Coming at a time when advertisers and agencies are trying to figure out how to get their apps to get noticed -- and downloaded -- amid the more than 65,000 in the App Store, the question arises: Will viral be enough for the GTI app? The game includes built-in functionality for players to send messages via Twitter and upload game play-videos to YouTube. Digital experts such as Mr. Nihal, who founded text-messaging company Ipsh and sold it to Omnicom Group in 2005, thinks these vehicles will prove more effective than paid media.
"Viral tactics work because media buys aren't that compelling anymore," he said. "You can get clicks, but even if an app is free, people don't want to download it. They really have to be invested or told by a friend." He especially thinks the competition and incentive to play and beat other players will work to make the app popular.
Small Society's Mr. Zachary agreed, especially since the game has incentive beyond entertainment: a chance to win a new car. For consumers, more game play means more chances to win one of the six limited-edition 2010 GTI's that the Herndon, Virginia-based automaker is giving away as part of the launch. Beyond the competition, the fact that the mobile-only car launch is a first is a big draw for press, too.
"It's not a gamble in this case," he said. "VW is the first to do this and that's PR value. If this had been the third car giveaway through an app, maybe not. Because this is novel, [VW is] going to generate considerably more press and that will drive downloads."
Press hits aside, pitting app user against app user in competition will also translate to downloads, said Mr. Mehta, citing the popular mobile social networking service FourSquare, where users compete to be the mayor of local bars and restaurants, as a prime example. "I don't know if a press event is going to do anything, but building in those viral elements of inviting friends having multiplayer games is a good long-term strategy. People like to compete," Mr. Mehta said.
VW's launch push for the GTI in 2006 from Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, featured a dark, gremlin-like character called "Fast" who in TV spots and online urged male GTI drivers to drive faster. The other work, themed "Unpimp Mien Auto," played on VW's heritage with "Helga," a sexy, labcoat-wearing engineer with a German accent aimed at conveying to tuners of Asian cars that the GTI has built-in Deutschland engineering. Online versions with Helga and her sidekick, Wolfgang, were wildly popular and won Crispin Porter the top cyber award at Cannes that year.
But there were insiders at VW who were concerned that the company was spending too heavily on the niche GTI model while ignoring the best-selling Jetta. Auto pundits criticized VW for having too many different messages for different models instead of an umbrella approach.
VW sold 5,558 GTI's in the first nine months of the year, 57% fewer than the same period a year ago, while its Jetta sales jumped by 7% to 81,161 cars, according to Automotive News.
Monday, October 26, 2009
As internet news readers eat away at the daily newspapers readership, newspapers now grapple with whether the should continue to "give the milk for free".
The push for newspapers to charge their online readers reached a feverish pitch last week, as Newsday.com announced a pay wall, a big deal for the country's 12th biggest paper, and New York Times readers begged the paper to let them pay to read the site.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I few weeks back I wrote a posting called "What to do with your hands while doing a presentation" It was well received, especially if you have seen yourself on tape after a presentation and thought "was I a robot?" "why are my hands waving up and down like I'm having a seisure?" etc. etc.
Today on Creative Excellence Fridays - being more creative with your hands, on camera.
A while back, out of necessity, we developed a technique called the "The Point Steeple Technique".
You put your hands in front of you about chest level, and touch your finger tips. As you work your way through your dialogue, move your right hand or finger away to emphasize a point, then return it to home base (the finger tip steeple). Then move your left hand away, then return to home base. Then for large emphasis move both hands away and return both hands to steeple. Plan out your movements line by line if it's looking too repetitive or you have a client who needs that much structure. It enables the talent/client the ability to relax, knowing what the hands will be doing, so he/she can focus on the message.
It's similar to learning a dance. You get smoother the more you practise and the more confident you get.
Here is a commercial we shot recently with the client, Darryl Hayashi, using this technique. Darryl has a marvelous, natural way of expressing himself and is extremely likable in person, but his on camera technique was a bit stiff. His first go round had his hands pretty much at attention and he self critiqued it as looking like a school boy. After working with him on the Steeple approach, the end result was much more pleasing.
And to finish off, a very unique piece of creative that came out this week from Delta Faucets. Fun, catchy music with the star being, of course, hands.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Canadians aren't wandering away from the traditional TV as quickly as some thought. Here's an excerpt from this week's Marketing with some interesting data.
"Statistics from BBM Canada suggest the number of hours Canadians spend watching TV each week has remained unchanged. The top-rated show for the third week of September this year, an episode of reality show Survivor, drew 3.2 million viewers. It’s the same number drawn by a C.S.I. episode that topped the ratings during the same week in 2004.
Even members of the gadget-hungry 18-34 age group have remained loyal to the (not-so-small) small screen, spending an average of 21 hours a week watching TV in the last fall-to-spring season. That’s virtually unchanged from the 21.2 hours registered by BBM in the ’04-’05 season.
One reason for the continued TV time is increased multi-tasking. Sure, we’re surfing the web, checking e-mail and updating our Facebook page. But many of us are doing it on a laptop or smartphone while watching TV."
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Social marketing hasn't looked back since Twitter blasted on to the scene. It started in 2006. One of the originators working on the team (who is now now longer attached to Twitter) talks about those early days
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Here are some tips to building a successful brand app strategy. (Courtesy of Kunur Patel)
More than a year into the age of the iPhone app, brands are starting to get on board -- and best practices are emerging. At Wednesday's Apps for Brands event in New York, marketers taught other marketers what's worked for them. Here are 12 lessons culled from the day, during which MLB.com CEO Bob Bowman and marketers from Kraft, Bank of America, Benjamin Moore and AKQA convened to talk about what they've learned from their early, successful forays into the space.
Apps must be real-time
People's expectations of apps, especially paid ones, are high. When it comes to streaming video or stats, don't provide content on mobile that's inferior to what the web or TV offers. It must update in real time. "The notion of the one-minute delay is unacceptable," said Bob Bowman, president-CEO, MLB.com. "If you don't have real-time content, you're dead."
Make it easy for consumers to pay
Take advantage of properties such as iTunes and mobile providers such as Verizon that have the infrastructure and back-end know-how to take payments from app users. When it comes to MLB.com's paid app, the vast majority of purchases come through tried-and-true mobile-commerce providers instead of directly through MLB.com. "Partner with people who know how to collect money," said Mr. Bowman. And when it comes to figuring out how much to charge, it's easier to drop the price than to increase it, or move from free to paid. "If it doesn't work, take it down, rework it, try it again," he said.
Integrate feedback quickly
People will point out flaws in your app on the web. That feedback is an asset. Adjust your app as quickly as possible and send through an update. "All feedback is important, but on our app it's especially valuable," said Mr. Bowman. "When we went from offering two free [live-streamed] games to one, we heard about it immediately. We went back to two games the next day."
'This is not the wired web'
Mr. Bowman urges that marketers and publishers to not make the same mistakes in mobile that have been made on the internet -- and that means forcing ads into every spot they can. On mobile, click-through isn't the only metric that matters. Are people recommending your app? Or trashing it on Twitter? "We measure click-throughs, but we don't measure pissed off," said Mr. Bowman, referring to when MLB put an intrusive ad into its At Bat app.
People will pay for value...
Zagat's iPhone app is the 77th top-grossing app in the Apps Store, out of 58,000. MLB charges $9.99 to download the At Bat app, 99 cents to watch streaming video of games; it has 400,000 users. And Kraft charged 99 cents for its iFood app, promoting the notion that what it's offering was something of value. Additionally, pointed out Ed Kaczmarek, Kraft's director of innovation and new services, making an app paid allows you to offer future in-app commerce and subscription opportunities that just aren't available in a free app.
...But free works to drives sales for your endemic product
Benjamin Moore's Ben Color Capture app was built to build brand awareness for its subbrand Ben, as well as to drive traffic to stores. "We haven't accomplished anything until we sell paint," said Carl Minchew, director of product development, Benjamin Moore. The app lets users snap a photo of something in the world and than matches colors in the photo to paint shades in the brand's library. If that inspires a paint purchase, the app uses GPS to direct users to the nearest retailer.
Apps need to be part of an integrated message
AKQA, a digital agency that has created apps for clients such as Gap, Nike and Smirnoff, sells apps as part of marketing ideas and integrated campaigns, instead of as one-off projects, said Rei Inamoto, the agency's chief creative officer. The app then becomes integrated with the agency's thinking or larger programs, instead of something a freelancer or developer could do cheaper.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The city of Calgary is going to take some heat for handing out branding work to a US shop. The local agencies are scratching their heads.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The piece is fun and achieves its' goal.
Next, a silly viral piece featuring a talking husky. It demonstrates how inane viral pieces can be, and yet this piece received over 2 million views so far. Marketers look at virals like this and determine how they can create their own viral explosion story.
To wrap up - This week marks the 40th anniversary of Monty Python. Their influence on pop culture, entertainment and of course advertising has been tremendous.
Here's their seminal trademark piece - the Parrot Sketch.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
New research indicates female IPhone Users More Likely to Tune Out Mobile Advertising.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Mitsubishi has a 3-D ready TV and Sony and Panasonic are among manufacturers that are expected to hit the consumer market in 2010 with TVs that could cost at least US$5,000.
NCI LA -- has become the #1 rated new show. Is there a police show on today that doesn't have NCI in the title?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This led to the development of what we call the 3 Point Steeple Technique. You put your hands in front of you about chest level, and touch your finger tips. As you work your way through your dialogue, move your right hand or finger away to emphasize a point, then return it to home base (the finger tip steeple). Then move your left hand away, then return to home base. Then for large emphasis move both hands away and return both hands to steeple. Plan out your movements line by line if it's looking too repetitive or you have a client who needs that much structure. It enables the talent/client the ability to relax, knowing what the hands will be doing, so he/she can focus on the message.
Media news today - Chicago Tribune Syndicate has filed for bankruptcy protection and put the Chicago Cubs on the for sale block.
Tomorrow - 3D movies in your home?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Today we look at some commercials that go for the cheap laugh, using the oldest device in the book "sex sells". Some of these commercials do make it to air, but with the obligatory editing. The rest? Well they land in the land of the viral where we all pass them around and around.
This is a fun spot for Centrum. With a fun little surprise at the end.
A british commercial for Women's Health magazine. Harmless and still fun, and still banned.
And finally -- nothing particularly clever about this one, but the special effects are, well , interesting.
Coming up on Monday, "What to do with your hands when presenting or on camera." A simple technique that will allow you to focus on what you're saying.
Have a great weekend.
Speaking of Google, there has been much fuss this week over Streetview. Google has sent teams of cars to cities around the world to photograph them from every angle. Your house is most likely available to view. Some find it invasive. Tour operators are looking at it as a huge opportunity, giving people the chance to have a glimpse of where they'd like to go.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
It's the first time since 1980 that the FTC has updated its rules on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. In addition to covering bloggers, the new FTC rules state that celebrity endorsers can be held liable for false statements about a product, and all endorsements must include results consumers can "generally expect." Previously, an advertiser could cover their claims by the disclaimer "results not typical."
In this cyber era we are all prone to immediately googling a product to see what the reviews are; it's not fair that a paid endorsement may be masked as a review.
Monday, October 5, 2009
So Saturn's lights will soon be darkened.
Here's an interesting article on why Saturn could have been the final blow for the original GM.
Why Saturn Was Destined to Fail
12:59 PM Thursday October 1, 2009
by Mark Ritson
Tags:Auto industry, Branding, Marketing
It's doubly depressing to see Saturn make its final bow. Depressing, because it's always hard to watch loyal employees lose their jobs. Depressing, too, because many of the brand's newly written obituaries completely miss the real reasons behind Saturn's demise, and the real damage the brand did to GM.
To understand why Saturn was destined to fail you must travel back to a freezing cold January day in 1985 in Warren, Michigan. It was there that GM Chairman Roger B. Smith proudly announced its first new nameplate in more than half a century. Saturn was conceived as a specific response to the growing threat from the fuel-efficient and affordable cars being launched into America from Japan. In other words, Saturn is a classic example of a fighter brand — a brand created to take on low-priced competitors. Smith admitted as much at the launch event, telling journalists: "In Saturn we have GM's answer — the American answer — to the Japanese challenge."
The first Saturns hit the market in 1990 and quickly achieved some of the highest repurchase rates and customer satisfaction scores in the industry. By 1996, orders actually exceeded Saturn's production capacity, and the brand's fighting prowess was further confirmed when dealer research revealed that 50% of these orders were from individuals who would otherwise have bought a Japanese import. Many commentators look back on this period of Saturn's operations and wistfully recount it as evidence of the brand's once great success.
Only one snag: like many fighter brands designed to take on low-priced competitors, Saturn was wildly unprofitable from the outset and totally unsustainable as a result. Its initial setup costs of $5 billion were soon extended as Saturn's sub-compact prices failed to cover the huge costs of a dedicated plant with massive operating costs that produced cars that shared very few parts with other GM brands. By 2000, Saturn was losing $3,000 on every car it sold.
But an even bigger cost for GM was the time it lost building a brand it believed could fight off its Japanese rivals. The enormous strategic shifts that GM has been forced to make over the past year should really have been made back in the 1990s. If only Roger Smith had not believed that Saturn was the "key to GM's long-term competitiveness, survival, and success as a domestic producer," the company would have moved faster and earlier to fix its core business. The notion that another brand, rather than fewer brands, was the way forward turned out to be a colossal distraction.
Weep not for the loss of Saturn. The brand should be remembered as a failure from the start for three reasons. First, it failed to deliver on its mission to fend off the Japanese imports that now dominate the US market. Second, it managed to lose billions of dollars at a time when GM needed every penny it could muster. Third, Saturn represents perhaps the single biggest explanation for GM's current precarious situation. Saturn's demise did not take place on Wednesday of this week. It started on a cold morning in Michigan a quarter century ago with the launch of a business model fatally flawed.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sony recently unveiled something very "Nuitblanch-esque". They placed loud speakers at various positions throughout an entire village in Iceland to develop awareness of the Sony brand.
The agency behind it, Fallon of London, filled the village of Seydisfjordur, Iceland with speakers and sounds by Richard Fearless ( Death in Vegas ), Mum, Bob Dylan, Toumani Diabate, Roberto Goyeneche, Murcof, Federico Cabral, Guillemots, and others.
It proved to be the talk of the town.
And finally.. few define commercial.. into art better than Nike. Music, visuals and special effects all beautifully combined.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
One of the problems with magazines has always been the long lead in time.
Rogers Publishing and Transcontinental Media recently announced the introduction of Pressexpress, a revamped ad-close schedule that will allow advertisers to submit creative up to two weeks prior to publication of the two companies’ monthly magazine titles.
Speaking of press, here's a interview with Sharon Waxman, who is with the Wrap, an entertainment and news site. She talks about the new age of journalism.
Good news on the newspaper front, if there is any to be found. Cancellation of home papers has slowed down.
The cancellation rate for newspaper subscribers has plunged pretty incredibly, to 31.8% last year from 54.5% in 2000 and from 36.6% in 2006, according to new statistics out from the Newspaper Association of America. That's despite price increases for home delivery, which brought the average seven-day delivery price to $3.66 in 2007 from $3.37 in 2006.
How are newspapers -- frequently portrayed as the internet's latest victims -- pulling this off during the terrible economic times?
It was necessity: They couldn't keep running up paid circulation numbers at any cost and expecting advertisers to pay all the bills.
"The economic environment, meaning the tough advertising revenue environment, makes everybody stop and start thinking a bit more about profitability, and specifically circulation profitability," said John Murray, VP-circulation at the newspaper association. "The bottom line paid-circulation number that particularly the major metropolitan newspapers lived and died for, and went to extremes to achieve, is not really that relevant to the health and well-being of a newspaper in today's world."
As a result publishers got much smarter about the way they sell subscriptions, for one thing, de-emphasizing or even abandoning home delivery to areas that cost more to service but didn't mean much to advertisers.