Friday, January 29, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Airline Wars

Welcome to Creative Excellence Fridays.

Using sex to sell is not new. Nor is the idea of nudity in commercials to attract attention and word of mouth. After all, I'm writing about now.
In a recent promotional campaign, New Zealand Airlines decided to "bare their souls" with a campaign called "nothing to hide". The general idea was to create commercials and virals that had flight stewards take it all off, and have their uniforms body painted on. Then serve customers and record the reactions. This was all done with actors but it looks very convincing.

To get further mileage from this, New Zealand Airlines then challenged South West Airlines in the US to come up with something even better. In my opinion, they didn't. But the link below does illustrate that SouthWest staff do inject a lot of their own personalities into their jobs, and anything that prevents service from being cookie cutter and generic is never a bad thing.
And the idea of two separate companies creating and leveraging two separate viral and social media campaigns pointing to each other is a win win too.

Coming up on the blog next week, we're going to continue to follow the repercussions of the IPAD on the advertising and social media industry and delve into how Apple seems to have mastered the art of creating a buzz. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Will Ipad influence ad creation platforms?

The new Ipad is out - and doesn't play well in the sandbox with Flash files. Many of the pages people will be viewing will contain advertising created in a flash format. Will creation content houses stop creating in flash? Not likely . It could have an impact on ad revenues if the Ipad takes off the way experts think it will.

Article Ipad not flash friendly

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All Hail the Republic of Bacon

As I head off to see my doctor so he can council me on how to lower my cholesterol, John St Advertising comes out with a website called The Republic of Bacon. It's a full on campaign to promote that tender tasty little strip that I have a hard time saying no to.

It's just not fair. Why couldn't broccoli be bad for you??

And in tech news -- Here's the release on the much talked about Mac Tablet.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the $2,279 device is an after-market hardware modification to Apple's MacBook notebook line. The companies claim it's the "first ever Mac OS X tablet computer solution."

Each ModBook starts off as a MacBook Core 2 Duo but undergoes a surgical operation where its original display and keyboard are severed, then replaced with a new 13.3-inch Wacom pen enabled widescreen display set in a chrome-plated magnesium top shell.

The device runs the current version of Mac OS X and utilizes that software's built-in Inkwell handwriting recognition. Meanwhile, the tablet retains all of the hardware features of the current Apple MacBook line, such as a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an integrated camera and CD/DVD combo drive.

While the ModBook utilizes the original MacBook iSight camera, it has been slightly tilted downwards to allow video conference applications like iChat to better frame the face of the user.

Axiotron says the ModBook features the same Wacom Penabled hardware technology that has made Wacom pen tablets and interactive pen displays the preferred choice amongst professional artists and photographers. The technology requires no batteries and allows the Mac OS X cursor to be controlled in a mouse-like interface, even if the user's hand is resting on the screen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Four Square - Another Twitter?

Social media watchers are following Four Square very carefully. It's a new location-based service based on your Twitter network with an added layer of social gameplay.

It's being picked up by followers in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, and more.

While no service is likely to achieve the same success as Twitter in such a short period of time, it's worth following newcomers.

What is LBS (location based service)

It's a location-based social network to help you connect with friends using GPS via your mobile device. It enables you to combine location sharing, friend connections, and Twitter-like streams to create a photo and status update feed for your check-in history, and placestreams for each location. Seems like over kill to many.

The question remains, do we really care where complete strangers are throughout the world, and what they're doing every second of the day?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Apples big announcement

This week Apple is rumoured to be making the announcement of the release of their new Apple Tablet. The signifigance of this is that experts are saying it may do for books what the Istore did for music. The ability to download and subscribe legally to just the sports section of the New York Times for example - instead of paying for the whole paper.

We'll keep you posted. It may re-invigorate the print media.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Diamonds have a history

Happy Friday. Today a powerful spot from the Diamond Marketing Council of Africa. Diamonds are still the standard of beauty and rarity but all diamonds are not equal. And their sources can be very dubious. This point is well made in this commercial.
Agency - Y&R Capetown.

Next, a commercial that's a bit more uplifting. Sony has introduced a new branding statement; make - dot - believe. They wanted to feature the various enterprises that embody Sony, film, technology etc. And when it comes to special effects, on a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 12.
Credits - Production Company - Biscuit Films.Production Company: Biscuit Films
Executive Creative Director: William Gelner

And finally - the Friday before last I asked for feedback on the new Virgin Mobile creative. You can see the creative again here Virgin
Véronique Perez, owner of Crêpes a GoGo in Yorkville had some poignant comments.

The example is clear: how cool is it to lie on a beam high on a construction site and walk on a crane? Go ahead, do it to impress your lover! Otherwise you’re a chicken!...That’s exactly what I hear as a message.
And as far as the “angel” posters are concerned, I find them distasteful in their message. “Behave outrageously, be vulgar…it’s accepted and even cool!”
There is no beauty, no kindness in the ads these days. It’s like fashion that presents models who pout and don’t smile; who look like bags of bones; pose in a warrior-like attitude…and it becomes the norm!

Thanks to all who commented. We love hearing your feedback.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ethnic marketing

It's no surprise that smart marketers are targeting ethnic markets in Canada. We are a nation welcoming to countries abroad and our fabric has been changing substantially over the last 20 years. We've had the unique pleasure of casting Russian, Ukranian, Polish, Tamil and Portuguese when we produced the Ontario by election radio commercials.
As well we produce Cantonese regularly for instore Walmart material produced in the GTA.

Home Depot is moving into ethnic marketing with a cantonese targeted promotion in Richmond BC.

They have launched their first multicultural marketing campaign to help its Cantonese-speaking consumers prepare for the Chinese New Year.

The effort, running only in Richmond, B.C., includes print, TV, in-store signage and radio as well as in-store events like do-it-yourself workshops.

The retail giant is also offering free traditional Cantonese favours like personalized Fei Chun banners that offer messages of good luck and Lai See money envelopes.

Home Depot launched the campaign in Richmond because of its large Cantonese-speaking community, said Peg Hunter, vice-president of marketing and communications for The Home Depot Canada.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No balls No babies - The Mark Cuban take

Billionaire businessman and maverick Mark Cuban recently spoke out in favour of NBC on the recent Conan, Jay debacle. It's interesting that he chose to dive in on this topic but his overall message is, take chances if you want to lead and build.

Here is a passage from Mark Cuban's blog.

Why are we condemning Jeff Zucker & NBC over Leno ?

Jan 18th 2010 4:11PM

If you want to know why its going to take longer than people hope or expect to get out this great recession, look no further than media and corporate response to Jeff Zuckers move of Jay Leno to primetime.

What Zucker and NBC did was the EXACT RIGHT MOVE.

Business environments change. When they do, as broadcast network television has, and continues to, there are two basic choices. You can do it the way it’s always been done, or you can challenge yourself to change the game.

In the case of NBC, Jeff Zucker chose to take a risk and move Jay Leno from late night television to primetime. The upside was HUGE. Rather than risking tens of millions of dollars each season on pilots that never make it on air, and then watching those that do get aired fail far more often than they succeed, Leno in primetime could change the economics of primetime TV dramatically for the better.

Leno’s show would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour instead of 2mm, 3mm or more per hour. A game changer. It was equivalent to CBS putting a reality show in primetime. Survivor worked. It changed the economics and ratings landscape of TV forever. A successful Leno show would do the same thing,.

But what if Leno to primetime failed ? What was the downside ?

The downside was that NBC could go back to business as usual. They could cancel and move Leno, just as they have done. Then they could go back to the old school way of lots of pilots, build a primetime schedule, and then pray some of the shows work. Rinse and repeat.

Going forward they will program the 10pm slot. They will get some hits, some misses. It will be expensive, but in a few years they will find a hit and recapture the viewers they lost. Just as every network has done in response to a down period. In a few years the Leno experiment will be nothing more than a memory. A big so what.

Thats what happens when ideas fail. They fade into memory and hopefully something is learned.

But there is a bigger message in all of this.

What I have learned from watching all of this is that corporate America has been neutered. No one has any balls anymore.

I have a saying, “No Balls, No Babies”. It was told to me by a blackjack dealer when I asked if I should double down on an 11. The message was simple. If you dont take the risks, you dont get the rewards.

Well that used to be the case. Its not anymore.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TV Testing

CBS has set up camp in Las Vegas to survey and test television habits of visitors. They are even partnering with Sony to explore 3D television. I'm convinced 3D will be the next wave of consumermania to sell televisions.

CBS tv

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twit-storm with Haiti

With the terrible tragedy in Haiti right now, Twitter has proven an invaluable tool in joining the masses and raising monies to assist. However, it also illustrated the interactive abilities of Twitter and how individuals can rain on a corporate citizen's good intentions.

Here is the story.

Twitter for Haiti

Friday, January 15, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Coca Cola triumph & Renegade Olympics Campaigns

With all the talk lately of taking soda/pop out of schools, Coca Cola felt it needed to go right to the source of the controversy. Parents and health officials have been lobbying to have sugar beverages taken out of cafeterias and schools and replacing them with healthier drinks. Regardless of which side of the issue you sit, this brilliant viral piece will make you smile, I guarantee it.

As the Olympics draw closer, marketers are starting to put their wagons in a circle. Commentator Micael Hlinka had a great piece of CBC this morning talking about renegade advertisers; advertisers who don't belly up to the bar with the sponsorship money for the Olympics, but attempt to piggy back on the momentum.
Royal Bank is the official sponsor of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, however Bank of Nova Scotia just announced a promotion featuring Canadian Olympic darling Cassie Campbell.
Another example was the 96 Olympics in which Rebok shelled out millions to be the official sponsor, but Nike simply bought every billboard in Atlanta. Millions "thought" Nike ruled the show when in fact they just made some smart, strategic decisions.

From the international library - a new Nike ad from Barcelona. It's dark and raw and very Nike. CREDITS
Agency: Villarrosas, Barcelona Creative Director: Frank Hahn Copywriter: Sharon Cleary Art Director: Chrisrophe Pugmire

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Twitter shines on Haiti disaster

Social media proponents will get another huge boost in the eyes of the public and media planners with the news that a Twitter link has helped raise thousands overnight.

The Leno, Obrien dustup seems to have reached a crescendo. Obrien did the only thing he could do. Announce if he is bumped up, he's out the door. This maintains his dignity and puts a hold on his free fall in the eyes of the public and other other potential opportunities.
Although Andrea Peyser of the NY Post wasn't so kind stating "Conan, don't let the door smack you on the way out!"


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ROI on Social Media? Lululemon gives it away

We hear so much talk about social media, but what is the ROI ? We believe it to be difficult to assess because of the exponential opportunities a successful twitter or viral campaign can create. But Ad Age attempts to wrap a number around it in terms of your personal time.

ROI Social Media

The Olympics are just weeks away and marketers everywhere are attempting to catch the feeling. Lululemon is giving away free yoga classes. There is some controversy surrounding the Olympic image and Lululemon.

Marketing Magazine - Jan 13-10

Lululemon Athletica continues to stretch the bounds of Olympics-related advertising with a plan to offer free yoga classes in Vancouver between Feb. 12 and 28.

In mid-December, the yoga-wear retailer drew a public scolding from Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) officials after introducing a clothing line created for a "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011."

VANOC has exclusive Canadian marketing rights to Olympic brands and only official, paying sponsors are allowed to market products under the brand.

The committee is notoriously protective of the Olympic brand, threatening and following through with legal action against any businesses trying to hone in on Games trademarks.

"We expected better sportsmanship from a local Canadian company than to produce a clothing line that attempts to profit from the Games but doesn't support the Games or the success of the Canadian Olympic team," said VANOC director of commercial rights management Bill Cooper shortly after Lululemon announced the line.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tech Tuesdays and NBC Turmoil

You couldn't help but see the sparkle in Letterman's eyes last night as he explained the NBC turmoil to his CBS audience in great detail. His explanation of Leno moving to 10PM originally was because he "wasn't getting enough sleep" at 11:30. Of course it's common knowledge the show tapes at 5:30. Dave was having great fun at their expense as he was at the receiving end of NBC's skewers in 1993. His top Ten was dedicated to "Signs there's trouble at NBC"

On our Tech Tuesdays portion - We look at Ereaders. This is starting to get a lot of attention. I watched a feature on this on CBS Sunday morning show "Sunday Morning" that talked about this being the wave of the future.
Here is the latest reader from Samsung - getting mediocre reviews. Ereaders

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dominos delivers - They hope

Dominos Pizza was hearing rumblings that customers were dissatisfied with the taste of their pizza. After putting focus groups together it was determined that their crust tasted like "cardboard".

Domino's responded with an aggressive approach to counter any further negative consumer chatter with

Reviews have been mixed on their response. The Colbert Report bashed the approach quite handily last Wednesday night. But there is definite buzz about the brand.

Here is part 1 of the PizzaTurnaround.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Virgin Experience

Welcome to the first installment of Creative Excellence Fridays for 2010. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and your creative juices are flowing for the coming year.

I'll start off the blog with a question. As we move further into the new Millenium, are the boundaries becoming more blurred? Are people relaxing about language and situations that at one time were an automatic taboo?

Case in point. In Marketing this week, there was a story about how both a Calgary and Mississauga transit system pulled the Virgin Mobile ads because of complaints. Mississauga Transit had two complaints.

Here are the ads.

Fearless ads

Do share your thoughts on these. I'll release the results next Friday. Yay or neigh.

And just to add a little more food for thought, the television creative that accompanies the transit is below. Heavily stylized and, appropriate to the demographic it's more a music video than anything. Not particularly clever, but beautifully shot.

Coming up on Monday's Ontrackblog, Dominos Pizza released a viral earlier this week which was featured on the Colbert Report. We'll discuss the pros and cons of full disclosure.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Design Day - The science of colour in advertising

We go through our every day routines not really focusing on whether something is a cool colour or a warm colour; and we certainly don't think about how the colours we see make us feel. But designers are definitely aware. The human brain/eye can see over 200 shades of white. Multiply that by all the variations of red, blue, yellow and you see how powerful the right colour choice can be.

Whether you know it or not, colours speak very loudly to our psyche and have a direct influence on purchase decisions.

BLACK suggests authority, power, boldness, seriousness, is
distinguishing and classic. Business wise it's great for
creating drama and is good for a background colour (except on
websites, it is very hard on the eyes). It is ideal for text
on a light background. Black also implies submission and is
associated with evil.

BLUE suggests security, authority, faithfulness and dignity.
For business it suggests sanctuary and fiscal
responsibility. It is the most popular and the second most
powerful colour. Blue can also be cold and depressing. People
are more productive in blue rooms.

BROWN suggests richness, politeness, helpfulness and
effectiveness. In business it suggests less important items.
Solid, reliable brown is the colour of earth and is abundant
in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown
is similar to wood or leather.

GRAY suggests authority, practicality, earnestness and
creativity. Business wise it is traditional and

GREEN suggests health, fertility, freedom, freshness,
healing, tranquility and jealousy. Businesses use it to
communicate status and wealth. It is the easiest color on
the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing

ORANGE suggests pleasure, cool, excitement, cheer,
endurance, strength and ambition. For business it is good
for highlighting information on charts and graphs.

PINK suggests femininity, gentleness, well being and
innocence. For business you must be aware of it's feminine
links and implications.

PURPLE suggests spirituality, royalty, luxury, wealth,
sophistication, authority and mournfulness. In business it
is upscale and works with artistic types. It is also
feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in
nature, purple can appear artificial.

RED suggests excitement, strength, sex, passion, vitality,
aggressiveness and commands attention. Business wise it
associated with debt, is great for boldness and accents. The
most emotionally intense colour, red stimulates a faster
heartbeat and breathing.

WHITE suggests refined, purity, devotion, contemporary and
truthfulness. For business it can be sterile and refreshing.
The best colour on the web for a background color. Doctors
and nurses wear white to imply sterility.

YELLOW suggests warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness, jealousy
deceit and cowardice. Business wise it appeals to the
intellectual types and is a good accent. Yellow enhances
concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds
metabolism. It is the most difficult colour for the eye to
take in, so it can be overpowering if overused.

Green, brown, and red are the most popular food colors. Red
is often used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is
an appetite stimulant.

Choose your colours wisely and ensure your design house supplies you with all the CMYK, RGB and pantone information so you can be precise from medium to medium.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apple vs Google

We all thought Google was facing off against Microsoft. It turns out they always had Apple in their sights.

Why do we care so much about who is running the mobile phone business? Because al the pundits are saying mobile phones are the next great portal of communication.

Here is the latest event.

Sometimes companies can't move fast enough to compete so they end up pulling out their chequebooks and buying the required puzzle pieces.

In the tech news this morning:
"Apple to Acquire Mobile-Ad Network Quattro Wireless"

Competes with Google
The acquisition comes nearly two months after Google gobbled up leading mobile-ad network AdMob in a $750 million stock deal.

Here is the full article Apple Mobile

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Google's Plan of World Domination continues (The Google Phone)

There are humourous jokes going around that Google is set to be the Microsoft of the 20-teens. They have branded themselves as "hipper" and less corporate than Microsoft and somehow they have gotten an easier image ride. As they now attempt to be even cooler than Apple, it will be interesting to see how they spin their brand.

Here is the Press release on the Google Phone launch today.

Internet giant Google is set to launch its first own-brand mobile phone.

The Nexus One is the first smart phone designed by the company's own engineers and is expected to be unveiled at a press conference at its headquarters in California.

The company has remained tight-lipped about the phone but photographs and reviews have already appeared on-line after handsets were given to Google staff for testing.

It has been given decent reviews with gadget fans describing it as thinner and lighter than Apple's iPhone and praising its five megapixel camera.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with research firm Gartner, said one of its main selling points was it would be available from Google itself, allowing users to decide which network they want to sign up with.

She said: "The difference from the previous Google phone is Google will sell it directly.

"You buy the phone and then choose what sim card you want to put in."

It is expected the phone will also be available, at a subsidised price, from networks.

The launch of the Nexus is seen as Google's latest bid to promote the Android operating system which it designed in 2007 and which is already used on other phones, including Motorola's Milestone.

Ms Milanesi said: "For Google it is about selling services from navigation to Gmail. They don't want to be a phone manufacturer. We have other devices that already use Android but this is going to be about the full Google experience that other devices don't give because they are not so closely linked."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Avatar uses new media to top a billion

James Cameron's Avatar continued its reign at the box office for the third week in a row. The film grossed $68.3 million domestically and surpassed the $1 billion mark worldwide, only the fifth film in history to do that.

Fox is partially attributing the success to the "twitter effect". So much positive feedback rapidly fed through cyberspace has greatly contributed to people seeing the film multiple times. Many forums have been created already to also contribute to the buzz and runaway success.

With all the talk of the "Twitter effect" and social media making or breaking Hollywood releases, Fox took a decidedly big-picture approach to go to market with the most expensive film ever made.

"Avatar" was a costly gamble for Fox -- its production budget was once confirmed by the studio to be $237 million but believed to have climbed as high as $300 million with an additional estimated $150 million global marketing outlay (a global figure on par with Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," the second-highest grossing film of all time). So the studio had to manage its own expectations along with that of moviegoers.