Friday, October 29, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays -

Welcome back to Creative Excellence Fridays. We continue with the Halloween theme this week with some "disturbing" commercials from the Adweek Top 30 freakiest commercials of 2009.

This ad is not particularly scary, unless you consider a human being morphing into a balloon animal scary.

Lays Potato Chips

This is a 3 minute long "mockumentary". THIS is disturbing. Diesel Helmets

Demonically possessed children with special powers. Who'd a thunk.
McDonalds - Are we there yet?

Not sure I want to eat pizza every again with the vision of singing pepperonis ringing in my head.
Tobasco Sauce - On your pizza

And finally, a very disturbing commercial for a radical group protesting against airline expansion. It's very graphic. Whether you agree with them or not, you're compelled to go to the url to find out more.

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend. As always, your suggestions/comments are always welcome.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

online video advertising, expected to grow 48.1% this year

Online video is growing in leaps and bounds.

And there's no signs of it slowing down. Here are some interesting stats courtesy of Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable.
According to comScore, in the month of December 178 million people watched 33.2 billion videos, with the average viewer watching 187 videos per month in the U.S. alone.

The astronomical numbers for December mean that viewers tuned into two billion more videos than in November, and that, as expected, a majority — nearly 40% — of those videos were YouTube videos, with Hulu still coming in a very distant second place and accounting for 3% of video views.

Month-to-month Google’s YouTube maintains its commanding lead, while everyone else battles for the leftovers.

We've been excited about the possibilities for sometime and will be announcing a launch very soon of a separate division of Ontrack to handle this unique growth field in video production. If you have questions about trends or care to comment please send us a note.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A freaky commercial for White Castle

I was going through some online creative the other day and came across this ad. It's similar to what Crispin Porter + Bogusky did for Burger King. Edgy, youth oriented, and slightly off centre.

A dancing pig stripper. That says pulled pork.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nike invigorates the LeBron image

Nike sells athletic gear. Nike hires professional athletes to say nice things about their gear. Nike likes to feed off the "cool" factor of professional athletes.

Having said all that, sometimes Nike is also in the business of putting a coat of paint on that fixer upper, some fresh grass seed, and a new welcome mat out front.

This is the case with Lebron James, who suffered a huge hit in the eyes of the public, and especially Clevelanders, when he abandoned ship to play in Miami.

Nike and its longtime agency Wieden & Kennedy have just released a new campaign, "Rise," that lets LeBron address "his off-season controversy head-on," as Nike said as it announced the effort.

This 90-second spot appears this week on YouTube and will appear on TNT tonite as the NBA season kicks off with a game between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

The spot, directed by Stacy Wall, gives LeBron a chance to lash back at one of his biggest critics, Charles Barkley.What the Stacy Wall-directed spot really does is let LeBron get a few jabs in at Charles Barkley, who during the off-season turned out to be one of LeBron's more vocal critics.

Nike does tend to hit home runs, but on the heels of the Tiger Woods "talking to pop" fiasco, only time will tell on this one.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Late nite TV wars getting interesting

Conan's new show debuts next month. Meanwhile, Jay Leno's return to the 11:30 timeslot appears to have been a short lived victory for NBC. His numbers are going down in the crucial younger demos. See the article from the Hollywood reporter below.

Jay Leno's ratings among young viewers have shrunk in the seven months since he's returned to hosting The Tonight Show, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Just 1.3 million of his 3.7 nightly viewers are between 18 and 49, down 4.4% from Conan O'Brien's short-lived stint as host.

The paper expects O'Brien to continue to draw more younger viewers when his TBS show, "Conan," premieres this November, although the two won't directly compete against each other. (Conan airs at 11 p.m., 35 minutes after Leno.)

This is the latest ratings woe for Leno.

Last week, David Letterman tied Leno for the first time ever in the 18-49 demo, with a .09.

Among total viewers, Jay earned 3.5 million viewers and Dave had 3.4 million.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Scary Scary

Next weekend is halloween party time. What will you dress as? Ad Age had some interesting suggestions this morning. As marketing people we're inspired by pop culture, television and even advertising. There will be Snookies, Lady Gaga's and M&M's. But also look for more obscure costumes such as Pam from the "Office" and Joan from "MadMen". Even "Mayhem" from the recent Allstate commercials. We cast our vote for Flo from the Progressive spots. Only the Philadelphia Cream Cheese lady is happier than Flo. And of course, Dos Equis - Most Interesting Man in the world. Or The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, I'm riding a horse backwards guy.

In the spirit of Halloween I dug back into the commercial archives and pulled up a few from years gone by.

Here's a bizarre commercial for Direct TV featuring a soundtrack of an innocent version of Silent Night as the worst monsters in history parade across the screen holding hands.

Here's a scary commercial for Norwegian Airlines -- great special effects.

And finally, here's Nike paying homage to the Halloween slasher films, but in this version it appears Michael may need a few more spin classes.

Have a great weekend. As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Digital Ad Age editor Abbey Klaassen breaks down digital

As we stumble blindly into this new age which many are dubbing the "digital era" we look to find direction and meaning.

Ad Age Digital editor Abby Klaassen gave an interview recently that describes digital as the glue that binds all of our choices together.

She makes a good point. At one point marketers chose to use radio and television, or radio or television, with some print. Digital is now all of those. And when you throw mobile into the mix, digital is the message as well as the medium.

Here's the interview with Abby.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Use SEO video to promote your business

Recent research by Yellow Pages indicated that if people click on your video search link, they're ready to buy. It's that simple.

Here are some more interesting stats about online video.

Interesting statistic #1.
85% of North Americans's watch video online regularly. I'm finding even myself, when I miss The Big Bang Theory, makes it available to me. And, interestly enough, being conditioned to see a two minute commercial cluster, I feel almost rushed when the show comes back on after one 15 or30 second commercial.

Interesting statistic #2.
Some potential buyers say they'd choose a supplier with video, over those without, simply because it displays the buying decisions in an easy to follow format instead of reams of text to go through.

Sites such as YouTube, Blip, Metacafe, Daily Motion all promote video, providing you tag it properly. It makes a very solid argument for the powers of SEO video.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SEO Video - what is blended search?

Did you know videos, properly submitted to search engines, are 53 times more likely to generate a first page Google ranking than traditional SEO techniques, according to a recent study by Forrester Research. However, many companies are ignoring video SEO altogether, only submitting the pages on which videos reside and not the videos themselves, or worst of all, submitting their video assets to YouTube under the misunderstanding that this will generate SEO benefits.

If you're not optimizing your videos, you should start. "Blended search," the practice in which search engines display videos, images, news stories, maps, and other types of results alongside their standard search results, has become increasingly common on major search engines. And optimizing video content to take advantage of blended search is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google.

Coming up tomorrow - blended search techniques for better results using video.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beauty in all its' forms Jean Nouvel

Happy Monday - back at it with a look at something exciting coming to the skyline of Manhattan.

On the weekend I read in the online NYTimes about an exciting new edition to the New York vista, a new building by rising star Jean Nouvel. It seems odd to call a 65 year old Parisian a rising star, however he has bubbled just under the top in obscurity for years. People in the know were well aware of him and he has been awarded projects throughout the world, including the giant "penis" in Barcelona.

The new tower, going in a narrow lot right next to Moma, will light up the skyline. It even raised protests in Manhattan because it was going to rival the height of the Empire State Building. After much debate, it was agreed the Nouvel tower could be built if he shaved 300 feet off the top.

Click on the NYTimes article to read more, if you're interested. It's a truly beautiful structure.

Or click on the CBS Sunday morning link to see more

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Twitter success story with EdgeShave

Here's a great success story Twitter.

Edge Shave Gel Uses Twitter for Random Acts of Kindness

From Football Tickets to Megaphones, 'Anti-Irritation' Platform Grows

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( -- When a New England Patriots fan last month was irritated at his inability to get tickets to a game against the New York Jets, he tweeted his issues to the Edge shaving gel brand.

Edge has created an 'anti-irritation community' at its website
Edge has created an 'anti-irritation community' at its website
Within days, the fan, Matthew DeCoste, an interactive designer at Euro RSCG, New York, had tickets to the game as part of an "anti-irritation" campaign in which the Energizer Holdings brand is seeking to soothe some of the many gripes lodged in social media.

Mr. DeCoste had heard of the promotion from a friend at a time when Edge was giving out iTunes and Starbucks gift cards, and he thought he'd try upping the ante, he said in an email.

Of course, Edge can't solve every problem. Mr. DeCoste, who said he got tickets 20 rows back in the end zone, tweeted friends jokingly about the goal post blocking his view. "As the game started getting away from the Pats, I was getting text messages from the same Jets fans about the train schedule back to Manhattan in case I wanted to leave the game early," he said. "So, that was kind of irritating. That being said, I'm still appreciative."

Via its @EdgeShaveZone Twitter handle and #soirritating hashtag, Edge is slowly developing a following of gripers like Mr. DeCoste as part of a long-term campaign with big aspirations to own the position of irritation prevention.

Jeffrey Wolf, Edge's senior brand manager, terms it "the anti-irritation platform," which started last month via Edelman. It included releasing a ranking of the 50 most-irritated U.S. cities (Atlanta was first, thanks largely to traffic) and the Twitter campaign, which is backed by promoted tweets and e-cards to brand fans. Edge also has an "anti-irritation community" at its website,

Ultimately, the brand has bigger things in store for the effort, including as-yet undisclosed work coming later this year under development by WPP's JWT, New York, promo shop Ryan Partnership and media shop MEC.

The social-media effort has started slowly, with still fewer than 900 followers since it launched last month. But the following is likely to swell once more of the Twitterverse, a veritable cauldron of gripes, catches on to the chance of getting problems solved by adding the #soirritating hashtag in a sweepstakes for the social-media age.

Edge last month also sent a megaphone to a University of Alabama professor who said her husband wasn't listening to her and a Blu-ray disc player and the movie "Office Space" on DVD to ease the irritation of an employee annoyed by a coworker.

A few irritations are harder to tackle, such as recent ones about a neighbor's barking dog, a UPS package stolen from a porch, a ham-handed blood drawer, high Ticketmaster fees and a "power-mad boss" who's made employees cry for eight straight days.

Mr. Wolf is part of a panel of Energizer and Edelman employees who review the irritations and then decide which to address and how.

He's not sure what tangible effect the effort has had on brand sales just yet, but notes that it's part of a shift from a heavy focus on promotion under former Edge owner SC Johnson to more brand-equity-building activity since Energizer bought it last year. Energizer and Edge have continued to gain share in shave preparations since the sale (up 5.1 points for the four weeks ended Sept. 5, thanks in part to sibling Schick entering the fray earlier this year, but despite a new push by rival Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette Fusion ProSeries products).

"What I'm most encouraged about is where we're going to take this brand moving forward with this robust campaign we'll roll out within the next year," Mr. Wolf said.

Edge led the category with the introduction of shave gels 40 years ago, he said. "What I'm hoping to do with this brand is be the innovator or thought starter in marketing communications as well."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Toronto Star carrying NYTimes content on Sundays

Newspapers are finding the digital era is a difficult one in which to survive. Kudos to the Toronto Star for partnering with the legendary NY Times. Starting this Sunday, they will be carrying some of the content from the Sunday times.

Details below. (courtesy Marketing magazine)

The Toronto Star yesterday launched a marketing campaign to promote a new content-sharing deal with The New York Times.

Starting this Sunday, the Star will be running two sections produced by The Times, a 16-page broadsheet news and commentary section featuring a revolving roster of Times columnists, and a 12-page tabloid edition of the paper's Book Review.

"This is one of the largest marketing campaigns the Star has launched in many years," said Sandy MacLeod, vice president, consumer marketing at the Star, in a statement. "We believe that through the combination of newspaper, television, radio, point-of-sale, telemarketing and e-mail marketing efforts we will reach almost every adult reader in the Greater Toronto Area."

The newspaper partnered with M2 Universal for the campaign's media buy.

The new Sunday sections will be free for the first six weeks, then home-delivery subscribers can request delivery of the sections for $1 extra a week starting Nov. 21. Single-copy sales of the Sunday Star will double in price, from $1 to $2, effective Nov. 28.

While the Toronto paper already used The New York Times news service, Star spokesperson Bob Hepburn said The Times approached the Star months ago about this new product.

"We looked at the product and studied it quite extensively," said Hepburn. "We've taken it through focus groups, some online surveys and around to advertising agencies, and have had a very favourable response all-around."

The Star will sell local ads for the section, which will be produced by The Times.

Hepburn said that while The Times provides a similar product to about 30 newspapers worldwide, the Star edition will be more enhanced.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gap logo debacle - shades of New Coke

Not since the new Coke debacle of 1985 has a major brand made such an about turn.

Four days ago the Gap released their new logo design. In 1985 Coke didn't have the immediate response mechanisms of social media and word slowly fizzed back about the mediocre reception of the brand. In the case of The Gap, it was instantaneous. And frankly, why would one of the most recognizable logo brands in the world play with something as reverential as The Gap logo.

In any event, today at 4pm Pacific time, they will make the official announcement; old logo stays.

Was it a publicity stunt? Perhaps, as we're talking about a brand that many feel has been passed over in recent years by much more cutting edge marketers such as American Apparel.

The marketing media will be watching the press conference with their spidey senses on high.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Awesome viral hunting

Happy Friday. Scouring the net for interesting content for todays blog I stumbled across an amazing viral video experiment.

TipEx (Britain's answer to "White out") has a brilliantly designed YouTube marketing campaign: a video called "NSFW. It's all shot very handheld and seemingly low tech. A camper is brushing his teeth in the woods and a bear approaches. You are given the choice. Should he shoot the bear? As you click through, you're given the opportunity to type in "suggestions" on what he may actually do to, and with the bear. It's very funny and extremely engaging. And it fits the criteria of viral; something worth forwarding. Try typing in, hug, love, and paint. And yes there's even a response for the xrated suggestions. That's half the fun. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cigar guy demonstrates the power of social media

A photographer for the Daily Mail got a shot of Tiger woods ball as it headed straight for his camera. What really stood out however, was a man wearing a turban like hat, a big handlebar mustache, smoking a big cigar. That image started rippling through the internet and creative types starting photoshopping it into various icon images. His face appears over top of Sonny Liston in the fight of fights, on Beatles and Bob Dylan album covers and more. And it continues to gain momentum. No one knows the mystery mustache mans name, but it's proof that when one person starts a trend with the right mojo, there's no stopping it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Megabranding - when an iconic name shouldn't change

Ad age covered the Time Warner Cable rebrand in a recent article. The gist of the article was, "if it's not broke, don't change it."

NEW YORK ( -- When Time Warner Cable spun off from corporate parent Time Warner in March 2009, one obvious question hung over the No. 2 cable company's head: Why keep the name "Time Warner Cable" when it was no longer a Time Warner company?

So last January, Time Warner Cable's chief marketing officer, Sam Howe, and his agency partners at WPP's Ogilvy embarked on a name search, internally dubbed Project Mercury, to see what names, if any, could better define the newly independent company. The search was voluntary (the company had no contractual obligation to find a new name), exhaustive (dozens of names were explored, two were seriously considered) and ultimately, after 18 months as a standalone company, Time Warner Cable's new name is ... Time Warner Cable.

"When we first looked at the direction we wanted to take as our own company two years ago, we asked ourselves, 'What are we to people?' We didn't want to just be a cable company," Mr. Howe said, noting that the company considered removing the "Cable" from its name as well. "But we think we'll create distance from the parent in time. Those words together still carry a lot of equity."

Instead, Time Warner Cable will debut a revamped logo, design and branding campaign in an effort to establish a unique identity both as a brand and as a cable company. That includes ditching the RoadRunner logo it famously licensed from former corporate sibling Warner Bros. to advertise its internet service (although it will keep the brand name) as well as the capitalized, Time magazine-inspired font in its corporate logo. Time Warner Cable will now use a proprietary font, TWC Round, that draws less attention to the "Cable" part of its name so that its other products -- phone, internet, on-demand -- can get equal play. The company's logo, an eye/ear hybrid inspired by the work of Swiss artist Steff Geissbuhler, will also be featured more prominently.

A series of TV spots debuting this week, created with Ogilvy Group Creative Director Tommy Henvey, should also look a little different. Gone are the competitive ads featuring actor Mike O'Malley calling out Verizon Fios for its deceptive billing practices. In their place are ads featuring families with active lifestyles made easier by Time Warner products: a father pitching baseballs to his son while programming a game from his Remote DVR Manager; a couple who can watch an on-demand movie at the same time on any TV in their house; a married couple who can listen to voicemails from their son via e-mail.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ad groups unite to stop online tracking

NEW YORK ( -- In a broad attempt by the online advertising industry to ward off federal privacy legislation, a coalition of industry groups today announced a wide-reaching program that allows internet users to opt out of being tracked for the purposes of online marketing. The program has also enlisted with the Better Business Bureau to police marketers that are not in compliance.

Users can click on the icon that is to appear in the upper-right corner of any ad unit for links to opt out of being tracked by that advertiser and its attendant third-party data and network partners.
While some major digital advertisers, such as AT&T, have already offered a program that allows people to opt-out of being tracked, the Federal Trade Commission had expressed concern that there is not a comprehensive, single mechanism for people to unsubscribe from the legion of marketers that track their movements online.

"I think there is an interest in giving consumers who don't want to be tracked to have a single, universal opt-out device," David Vladeck, head of FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a recent interview with Ad Age. Mr. Vladeck cited that the FTC's recent suggestion of a Do Not Track list, similar to a Do Not Call list that regulates telemarketers, is not technically feasible for the moment.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nuit Blanche - Afterthoughts

In the five years since it began, Nuit Blanche has morphed into something quite signifigant.

Pluses - It's growth, awareness and positive impact on the appreciation of art is undeniable.

Negatives - It has grown too far, and should mirror the Paris model; have more exhibits condensed into fewer zones so you don't spend so much time in transit.

Congratulations to the organizers and Scotiabank for putting the time, effort and investment into this amazing celebration.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays Nuit Blanche

For our Toronto readers, the 5th annual Nuit Blanche happens this Sat night into Sunday morning. It's an annual celebration of art, both performance and creation. There are a handful of rather bizarre exhibits this year.

Two bizarre standouts...

Bizzaro Exhibit # 1
All Night I Mourned.
This is a great idea. Lie down on a quiet pew in a darkened church and see mourners passing by high overhead. Pick up the CoffinPhone and hear what the mourners are saying about their lost partner, family member, friend.
When I die, I'm definitely taking a laptop and Skype with me to stay in touch.

Bizzaro Exhibit # 2
I cried for you In the weeks leading up to this weekend, ad ad was placed in various Toronto newspapers as follows:
"WANTED: Actors who can cry on cue for a video art piece. Your performance will consist of a 10-minute audition during which you will try to make yourself cry. The audition will be presented live in front of an audience during this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche."

These may seem a bit out there, but that's the beauty of the celebration. An expression of emotion and art. Not unlike what we're all doing every day to wrap a personality and an emotion around a product.

It's the same spirit that inspired commercials like these.

Kiwi Bacon

Nissan Micra

Have a great weekend. As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated.