Friday, July 30, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Put a Tiger in your Tank


Today on Creative Excellence Fridays, as you get ready to fill up the tank for the long weekend drive, we look at gasoline marketing.
Now that BP has managed to finally plug their public relations nightmare in the Gulf, gasoline marketers can go back to re-establishing their image in the minds of consumers.

Gas station marketing has evolved quite a bit over the years. The early days saw uniformly well dressed men shining your car and giving the kids suckers. I recall as a part time gas attendent in the 70's a manual that specifically stated "You must keep your squeegee clean and wash the windshield, headlights and tailights in clockwise fashion".

When gasoline advertising started there were no televisions in the home, so marketers resorted to in theatre advertising. Here's a cinema ad from 1938.



We move ahead to the 1950's with an ad that would jump right out of MadMen. Jazz had reached its' peak and was now being reflected in films like Blackboard Jungle, and of course, commercials. (Art directors will love the graphics and animation in this spot)



Ahead to the 1960's now to see Esso putting a Tiger in your tank. And who can resist full colour scenic placemats for 19 cents with an 8 gallon fillup!



I remember watching this commercial as a kid in the 60's and thinking, "he must go through a lot of pants!". I I think it holds up well even today.



Todays gasoline marketing commercials are mostly feel good, institutional messages telling us how much progress they've made saving the environment. But here's one from 1997 that manages to leave you with that warm and fuzzy.



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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Disney storms into social media games

On Tuesday, Disney acquired top-three developer Playdom for $563 million plus $200 million in incentives. Google, meanwhile, is reportedly in talks with Playdom, Electronic Arts and Zynga in a social-gaming push. And MTV Networks this month acquired social-game developer Social Express and plans to launch games based on its TV shows later this year.

We may feel that those Farmville games on Facebook are a waste of time, but large corporate players think otherwise.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How do you create a video blog?

Video blogs can be a complicated beast, if you choose to go that route. Our goal is to speak with clients about focus, and goals, and not allow a simple blog to grow out of control.

Today we'll cover the basic, head shoulders, office backdrop speaking into a webcam video blog. This is you, with your pre-written script, speaking into a web cam or camera on a topic.

The key element to remember is, a video blog is an extension of your text blog. When you write your text blog it's a posting of probably a maximum 400 words. And it's based on a particular theme. Video blogs follow the same rules.

1.Keep the length short enough that you won't lose the viewer's attention.
2.Focus on the theme and don't stray.

Other things to keep in mind.
Images. If you are enhancing the content, choose images that fit the theme and image of the topic. But by choosing images you are also stepping into art direction and branding. If it's just you, speaking on a theme, sometimes it's better to just do a headshoulder shot enhanced by titling and go with a simple look. It enables you to be consistent in future blogs.
Everything you put out that represents you, or your client, is part of their overall brand; and mixed visual messages cause confused consumers.

Next, upload to your blogging account. In upcoming posts, we'll cover other ways to post and utilize video blog posting for maximum results.

Questions? Send us an email to info@ontrackcommunications.ca

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What is Video Blogging?

According to Wikipedia, Video blogging, sometimes shortened to vlogging (pronounced v'LOG-ing) or vidblogging is a form of blogging for which the medium is video, and is a form of Internet television. Entries often combine embedded video or a video link with supporting text, images, and other metadata. Entries can be recorded in one take or cut into multiple parts. It is also a very popular category on YouTube.

Why go to the bother of creating video? Can't one just blog through word press and blogger traditional posting methods? Sure, but you're blogging for two reasons: 1)To share your ideas and thoughts about an interest or an industry and 2)For people to find those thoughts, read and enjoy or learn from them.

It's like the tree falling in the forest. Will anyone hear it if it's surrounded by thousands of other trees.

Video blogging commits what you're saying to video. It's very effective for a couple of reasons. First of all, in the "visual generation" people are more likely to click on a video that will guide them through the thought process or the how to process. And secondly, video is up to 7 times more likely to be seen and boost your organic results. And in the United States a recent survey revealed 25% of Americans watched a short form video communication in the last month.

If the video is targeted and focused the results will bear fruit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Has the Old Spice guy hype translated into sales?

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Isaiah Mustafa, aka "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," has clearly broken through all previous viral-video records and achieved pop-icon status. The question is: How much Old Spice body wash has he sold? And the answer is a bit of a mystery.

Isaiah Mustafa, aka 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.'
Isaiah Mustafa, aka 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.'
Since Mr. Mustafa lent his sotto voce humor to the production wizardry of the Wieden & Kennedy ad in February, the Procter & Gamble Co. brand has been consistently gaining market share, even though that's only been enough to erase a deficit for the brand built up earlier. In the 52 weeks ended June 13, it had a roughly flat share in a category that grew a robust 8.6%, according to data from SymphonyIRI.

Then again, some other men's brands also have been making substantial share gains of late, including P&G sibling Gillette and Beierdorf's Nivea. And the thing Old Spice, Gillette and Nivea have in common isn't Mr. Mustafa, but rather multiple national drops of high-value coupons. They included buy-one, get-one-free offers from both P&G brands and up to $4 off a single bottle of Nivea Men from Beiersdorf, reflecting unprecedented levels of promotional intensity in the category.
Strong Gains chart
Source: SymphonyIRI Dove Men+Care launched in February, so has no year-ago comparison.

Meanwhile, Unilever's Dove Men & Care has also picked up some share, albeit with lower-value coupons and higher price points.

The bottom line: Mr. Mustafa and Wieden & Kennedy are clearly selling some body wash, but they may not be responsible for the bulk of Old Spice's sales gain this year.

Consider the four weeks ended June 13, possibly the best month ever for P&G body wash. Old Spice's sales were up 106% from the prior-year period, jumping 4.8 share points in a category that grew 17.7%. But sales of Gillette body wash, also backed by buy-one-get-one-free coupons and by TV ads (but not Mr. Mustafa), were up a lot more, 277% and 3.9 share points, though it's by far a smaller brand in the category.

Nivea men's body wash, backed by little other media support but $4 coupons, saw its sales rise a mere 63% and its share go up 0.5 points.

And Dove Men & Care, the newest brand in the segment and against which all three were defending vigorously, dropped no coupons and was outside the main promotional burst of its February launch, but still held on to 2.4 share points for the four weeks ended June 13, down a bit from the 2.7 points for the 12-week period.

How much of Old Spice's recent gains -- of that 106% bump measured by Symphony IRI in June, for example -- come from Mr. Mustafa's ads and how much from the coupons? "It's impossible to know," said P&G spokesman Mike Norton.

Nor is it clear how much Old Spice's 106% gain will disappear from P&G's top line when coupon redemptions, which don't figure into scanner data but do come off the company's top line when financial results are reported next month, figure in.

But it seems clear the ad, which won the Film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes in June, has had some positive impact. Old Spice began to reverse share losses as soon as it began in February.

Mr. Mustafa, a former NFL wide receiver who essentially switched to playing defense for Old Spice against the Dove launch, is now clearly back on offense. None of the data (including that for the four weeks ended July 11 that showed continued gains for P&G in body wash), yet reflects the sales impact of Mr. Mustafa's 186 highly publicized personalized response videos earlier this month, which generated more than 34 million aggregate views and a billion PR impression in a week, according to P&G. In a single week, views of the personalized ads surpassed the nearly 29 million viral video views of Mr. Mustafa's four TV ads since February.

As of July 18, Old Spice, with 94 million views, had become the No. 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube, Mr. Norton said. Old Spice had eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube on July 16. In the six days following the start of Mr. Mustafa's personalized videos, he reached more than 100 million followers.

The effort sent Old Spice to more than 80,000 Twitter followers (finally ahead of Mr. Mustafa's own follower base of 30,000) and its Facebook fan base to 630,000. Facebook fan interaction jumped 800% since the launch of the personalized videos.

The effort also bumped traffic to OldSpice.com to 300%, inspired a fan to create a website (oldspicevoicemails.com) where people can download voicemail messages that sound like Mr. Mustafa, and inspired a marriage proposal from another fan, which was accepted.

In perhaps another boon for P&G, Mr. Mustafa has also inspired a counter-video from a man claiming to be a fan of Dove Men & Care, and who may be to some women a cautionary tale of the man their man could look like:this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Droid This!

Even in spite of the little "blip" with reception, Apple's newest Iphones have been selling like hotcakes.
Why? It's pretty simple really.
a) They're cool.
b) Your friends have them.
c) They enable you to do cool stuff.
d) Did I mention, they're cool?

We've all been slaves to trends. It's the world North America is built on, having cool stuff early on while it's still being talked about. And cell phones are a beacon because they are affordable cache. Not everyone will have the latest Range Rover or Mercedes, but cool phones that load up music, photos and apps that you choose based on your likes are affordable by almost anyone who values that as part of their personality identifier.

What's my point?

How do you knock Apple off the mountain top.
By not only building a better mousetrap, but a better cool factor. And given that Apple culture is now hotter than Scientology on Rodeo Drive, it's not an easy task.
But Apple didn't invent cool. They just figured out how to bottle it better.



But don't underestimate the new kid at the kiosk. Droid, backed by Google, is coming up fast on the outside with open source apps and pricing that is easy on the wallet.
And, wait for it, ... cool commercials.

Droid figured out that to speak to a 25 year old market you need ad execs who speak "youth-a-nese". But, if you're a wily veteran, remember to follow your gut. Goosebumps are not age or gender specific.



And then there's Canadian favourite RIM and Blackberry. They recognize their audience skews slightly older, in the business set. Beatles remakes and older edgy U2 soundtracks help them hedge their bets.



That's it for this week. Enjoy the premiere of season 4 of
Madmen this Sunday night if you're a fan.

Have a great weekend. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

5 social media lessons

Ontrack has entrenched itself in social media. We look at it now as essential as a fax machine was 15 years ago.
In addition to our creative services for broadcast and web, we are now offering customized Facebook and other social media portal welcome pages and video blogging. It just makes sense.

But social media is moving so fast it's difficult to keep a handle on it.

Our thanks to Ilya Vedrashko of Interpublic Group for these observations.

Here are five social-media learnings that grabbed our attention:

1. The Invisible Impact. If you find yourself measuring the value of referral sources for your campaign, consider their total impact via re-shares in addition to the direct traffic they send your way. Counting only the direct clicks from any site is likely to underestimate the site's total value; five out of six sites on our top referrers list sent almost as much traffic through re-shares as through direct clicks. It would make for an interesting follow-up experiment to see if this difference holds up for paid campaigns as well as for "organic" content. If it does, and this difference is measured, it would have important implications on how we plan media buys.

2. If It Doesn't Spread, It's Half-dead. Dr. Henry Jenkins once made this now-famous remark about the destiny of content in the age of social media: "If It Doesn't Spread, It's Dead." Having looked at the data, we can now say with a degree of confidence that you'll still get viewers if your link gets picked up by major online publications, but content that's designed to be spreadable can nearly double the referred traffic through re-shares.

3. Some Sites Are Read By More Active Spreaders Than Others. Some sites on our top list turned out to be a lot more spreadful (for lack of a better word) than others. Buzzfeed, in particular, sent more traffic -- twice as much! -- via re-shares than through direct clicks. In fact, the number one direct referrer, collegehumor.com, will come last if we re-rank the sites by "boost." These observations along with our understanding of the reasons behind the differences will influence the way we design online properties meant to encourage content sharing.

It would also be interesting to see if there is a difference in the length of pass-along chains between different sites. On average, the link traveled down two or three generations of users before the chain broke, and we've seen chains as long as seven users, but we couldn't produce a more precise analysis for a technical reason.

4. The Speed of Content Depends on the Medium Through Which It Travels. You know how the speed of sound depends on the medium through which it passes? It's like that with Twitter and Facebook, and probably other social networks. To repeat an observation made earlier: in our experiment, shared links had a much longer gestation period but also a longer shelf life on Facebook than on Twitter. For the entire January-May period, Facebook has referred 12,789 visitors, 83% of them after the first week. Twitter has referred 10,549 visitors altogether, 97% of them during the first week. This difference probably has to do with how people access the news feeds on these sites. On Twitter, the single stream of news quickly washes away older items. On Facebook, older news can still be the front-page material on the individual slower-moving walls. If you find yourself choosing between the two sites for your next campaign, be aware of this difference.

5. Don't Reach For the Off Switch. As the 404 errors on formerly popular viral branded destinations demonstrate, it might be tempting to kill the destination site some time after the traffic has peaked. I've argued elsewhere that abandoning old microsites in their Long Tail phase means leaving money on the table, and our experiment has demonstrated that not only do off-peak sites attract healthy traffic, these visitors can also be more valuable than the rush-hour crowd.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skype adding pay per call

I have so many friends and family who have hopped on the Skype bandwagon. It's a truly great product to connect people through their computers. Many weren't aware however you can call a conventional landline or cell phone through Skype by buying Skype credits.

Now Skype has added a pay per call option.

Skype has partnered with Marchex to offer a new pay-per-call advertising service in the US, Canada and Western Europe. The Click & Call program works with a “Free Call” button that can be placed anywhere on the web. When a customer clicks the button, the Skype software launches and the call is connected at no cost to them. The advertiser pays a fee only for the calls they’ve received and they can set a budget so they won’t be surprised by a large bill at the end of the month.

Skype’s Click & Call system might seem like a good alternative to acquiring an expensive toll free number, but there is a downside to the system and it’s a pretty big one. In order for the call to connect, the callee must have Skype software on their computer and Skype’s browser plug-in. The system is also not available for Macs and it won’t work on Skype mobile.

On the other hand, since you only pay for the calls that come in, there’s really nothing to lose by setting up an account with Skype. If you’re running a service business that gets a large number of referrals on line, an instant, free phone call could be the deciding factor between you and your competition. Our thanks to Marketing Pilgrim for the background information on this post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Social Media Maintenance Disaster

In yesterdays blog we discussed the importance of choosing your social media maintenance company wisely.

Today - two more reasons why this is such a crucial decision.

Reason #1
If you've nosed around the net lately you've found numerous companies (individuals) looking to provide article writing and maintenance services. Here is the concern; are they skilled writers who will properly research your brand category and talk intelligently about your product/service? Nothing sinks your image faster than a "newbie" trying to relate to an industry filled with industry speak. People in a specific industry, let's say mobile phones, expect that you have at least a remedial knowledge of the history, the major players, and major concerns of that industry before attempting to pontificate on the industrie's concerns.

Reason # 2
Choosing the wrong person/company can be corporate brand suicide. Whoever is handling your page needs to develop an ongoing strategy of defense.
Back in March Nestle had a pr disaster by being very defensive in addressing negative posts on their Facebook page.

In addition, Greenpeace created a very negative, and gory video mocking their palm oil policies. Nestle demanded it be pulled from Youtube, looking hyper defensive in the process. It appeared like the corporate giant was using their will to influence honest online dialogue.

On Facebook, however, they have no immediate control over vitriolic blasts. See the Facebook stream below:

Nestle Social Media Mishap

Sometimes it's better to let it all hang out, and allow the public to see you are a corporate citizen, warts and all, doing your best to alter practices in a realistic fashion. People appreciate and respect honesty and your desire to allow full disclosure.

If you have questions or comments on positive social media strategy, video articling and maintenance please contact Ontrack Communications.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Your social media maintenance. Be careful who you entrust it to.

So you've determined your company is hopping on the social media bandwagon. You had someone in marketing create the facebook page and twitter account. And you're looking into these other social media portals like Vimeo, Youtube channels and whatever else seems to be getting buzz.

Now, it occurs to you, you've created a monster. These pages, if not changed regularly become giant creeking door, spider web covered abandoned houses, if not a attended to regularly. Social media pages are like a house party. If it doesn't appear like "the place to be" they'll find another place.

So who will maintain these pages? Sara, who looks after the front desk? Jim, the techy guy who also knows a lot about social media? June in marketing who has a way with the words?
Probably a combination of the three. If you have time to coordinate it and over see it.

Outsourcing your social media maintenance is a wise move, if you choose wisely.
There are companies, such as Ontrack Communications and Assureassess who specialize in providing social media creation and maintenance, and articling. It's essential, whoever you choose, that the company assures you they will take the time to know your business and speak your customer's language. Otherwise the page could do more harm than good.

Tomorrow, corporate social media maintenance gone horribly wrong.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Pause that refreshes

The eastern seaboard has experienced quite the heatwave over the last few weeks. Today's Creative Excellence theme - soft drinks, and the pause that refreshes.

We've covered pop (soda, for our American readers :) in the past. But there are plenty of commercials to choose from in this category.

Celebrity participation has always been a big seller in the soft drink industry. But just because you have a celeb, you still need strong writing and direction. The Simpsons have no compunctions with selling. It's only natural that a show that promotes the Krusty burger, promote products in real life.



Kiss has never had a problem selling out. They've been a marketing machine since 1973.



And of course the granddaddy of soft drink endorsement commercials, the original Mean Joe Green commercial from 1977



And the followup from last year's Superbowl



That's it for this week. Say a little prayer that your air conditioning holds out, have a wonderful weekend, as as always your comments, kudos and arrows are always welcome.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oprah tackles Ipad publishing

Publications like Popular Mechanics, Esquire and Harper's Bazaarare now publishing in Ipad format and Oprah is no exception. She has never been one to be a johnny come lately and has embraced the new digital format for her book recommendations.

Heart publishing is excited about the possibilities. They recognize that with Ipad publishing a magazine doesn't just lay on the pages; interactivity, games, video clips and yes, motion commercials are all part of the party now.

Since we're speaking of print today, I came across an inspiring blog. IDSGN.org
Some great designs and well written articles.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tech Wednesdays - RIM, Twitter & Iphone

There's no denying that mobile is the next great frontier in ad and social communication. The RIM shareholder's meeting in Waterloo yesterday had extra meaning yesterday, given the competitive edge it appears to be giving away to Iphones. There was talk of a new operating system, the Blackberry 6, but no word on when it would be released. This could be the act of an experienced company that realizes it's better to take a small hit in share price, then promise and deliver something that's not ready for market.
Iphone is discovering this now, encountering problems with the new Iphone, which is translating into share price drops.

Meanwhile, you may recall a short time ago, Google appeared to kiss and make up with the Chinese government who agreed to stop blocking searches in the communist country. Twitter like companies appear to be at square one with the same problem in China. The original Twitter was banned over a year ago, but many "twitter-like" companies have launched social networking type sites, and the Chinese government has started clamping down on them.
It's difficult to keep a lid on free speech and thought, especially when you have a nation with a sophistocated tech infrastructure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Video to boost SEO - part 2

Those images at the top of the search results are video thumbnails, and as of summer 2010, there’s only two ways to get there:

1. Upload your video to YouTube.

As Google owns YouTube, the advantage of this is that you are 100% certain to be indexed into Google’s search engine. This does not guarantee you’ll get a first-page result, but at least it ensures that Google knows your content exists.

The drawback, of course, is that anyone who clicks on a YouTube result will be taken to YouTube, which may be fine if your goal is branding (i.e., you only care that people watch your video). If your goal is driving traffic, as is typically the case with SEO, this won’t be a successful strategy.

Your other alternative is:

2. Video SEO

Video SEO is a set of techniques designed to make sure that:

  • Google finds your video content
  • Google successfully indexes your video content
  • Google will display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms

Here's what you need to make that work:

You Need Video Content

Google is fairly flexible in what it considers to be video content. You can use actual video footage, but screen captures, slide shows, animated PowerPoint slides, and other content will work just as well. Google can’t actually “see” what’s inside the video content, so it relies on title and other meta-data to determine what content your video actually contains.

Submission, Not Discovery

With traditional web pages, Google utilizes crawlers to discover and index web content. Unfortunately, Google can’t read Flash very well (although this may change soon), and as a result, most video content is invisible to Google’s search crawlers. Therefore, the best way to appear in Google’s blended search results is to submit your video to Google using a Video Sitemap. This is similar to an XML sitemap, but is formatted specifically for video, and only contains information about your video content. It is submitted using Google’s Webmaster Tools.

The most common error in Video SEO is to assume that because you have submitted the web page on which a video resides, that the video content itself is being indexed.

You’ll also need to make sure that you have a robots.txt file on all video pages, to ensure that Google can easily verify that the locations on the Web you’ve submitted do in fact exist, and that they contain embed codes which indicate the presence of a video.

Title and Title Tags

When ranking videos, Google primarily considers the match between search keywords and the video title. Although Google allows you to submit other meta-data such as description and keywords, these currently don’t have much influence on your search ranking. Google likes it when the title tag of the page matches the title of the video, and will give a higher weighting for results where this is the case.

Video SEO is Long Tail

Like traditional SEO, you’re much more likely to see results with Video SEO if you target more specific, or longer tail, search terms. A video titled “Dog” is unlikely to produce a first-page ranking, while a video titled “German Shepherd Police Dog” will be more likely to score well in Google’s algorithm. Since Google can’t determine the actual content of the video, you might consider submitting the same video multiple times with different titles that match potential search terms.

Age and size unimportant

With traditional SEO, the age of a website is an important consideration for Google in deciding its ranking. Google also considers things like the number of pages on the site, and the number of links to the site, along with the importance of the places those links originate.

In Video SEO, none of this matters. This means that even new sites and small sites can compete on equal footing with larger and more established players. Publishers who are too small or too new to even consider traditional SEO can still be taking advantage of Video SEO opportunities.

For the Foreseeable Future, Video SEO is a Winning Strategy

As time goes by, Google’s discovery and indexing of video content will no doubt become more sophisticated, and as competition for video results increases, it will become harder for sites to achieve these first-page rankings. However, the number of web pages still massively outnumbers indexed video assets, and for as long as that continues, publishers will have an opportunity to jump to the top of Google’s search results through Video SEO.

Our thanks to Tech Crunch for assistance with today's Blog.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Importance of video to boost SEO

As more and more people are realizing, the success of a new or existing business is becoming more dependent on how well you optimize your website.

People find you online, click over and convert. Well in a perfect world that's what happens.

The problem is, however, that more and more of your competitors are all practicing the same principles you are in search engine optimizing. Where can you get a competitive advantage?

Video.

Not only do Google’s search and indexing algorithms continue to evolve in complexity, but Google has given over more and more of its search results real estate to “blended” search results, displaying videos and images towards the top of the first page, and pushing down—and sometimes off the page—traditional web results that would have otherwise competed for top rankings.

But where problems arise, so do opportunities. Although Google’s newfound enthusiasm for video has created more competition for fewer traditional search results, it has enabled sites with video assets—even sites that would otherwise score poorly in the Google index—to successfully achieve first-page rankings. In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking.

Statistics from Forrester Research and Tech Crunch.

Ontrack Communications specializes in creating video for broadcast and the web, with a special emphasis on social media placement posting.

We'll be happy to discuss how video can work best for you to boost your rankings and your overal brand impressions among existing and new clients.

Coming up tomorrow, video tags and titles for seo.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - making your point

Welcome to this week's installment of Creative Excellence Fridays. Today's theme, "Have you Missed the Point?"

At our shop, our golden rule of creative is to make sure that the creative doesn't overshadow the message. The primary selling point of a product or service should be the star of the ad.
Here's a commercial from 2002 for Greg's Instant Coffee.



Very entertaining, great production values and we get the comparison, instant satisfaction. But how does this commercial convince me I want to buy Greg's Coffee. Yes, one could argue that coffee is coffee and you'll want Greg's because it has positive association with a humourous commercial. Funny commercial, they must make good coffee. But is that really going to convince you to change a daily habit that you may have been committing to for weeks, months, years?

Scrap the commercial completely? Not necessarily. The concept is sound. But there needs to be more meat on the bones. Why not condense the humour angle, and allow a few seconds to make at least one claim about the unique, satisfying taste, with someone drinking it and showing, even for a second, a look of undeniable satisfaction. Food, sells food. Humour just makes you more amenable to listening.

We recently produced two commercials in a series for a new online company called Easycourt.ca. It's an online way to prepare small claims court documents. The main ojective was to emphasis what a huge inconvenience it is to file a small claims court action the traditional way. Taking the morning off work, driving down to the courthouse, searching around for a spot and going through all the other hoops necessary to file or defend a small claims court action. We featured actor Al Kosinec going through a "day in the life" starting with the parking lot dance. Both commercials were done with sports commentators to add an extra twist.



And now comes the line up.




Humour grabs their attention, but we can't lose sight of the goal. To connect memorable product association and connection.

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

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lebron James - good guy? or good pr ?

Lebron James has the sports world on edge as he makes his announcement tonight on where he will end up next season. If you're not a sports fan this is inconsequential to you. However, as an ad practitioner you'll appreciate his deft ability at PR. He has given the announcement exclusive coverage on ESPN this evening. Commercial revenue from the ESPN special program -- which is being called "The Decision" -- will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America, a charity that ESPN and Disney also support. The ESPN show will be "co-presented" by the University of Phoenix and Microsoft's Bing search engine, with Coca-Cola's VitaminWater and McDonald's also lending a sponsorship hand. Nike and Coca-Cola's Sprite are also making contributions.

Charitable tie ins are not new for Lebron. He treated 800 local residents, many of which were homeless families, to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Quicken Loans Arena. Following the dinner, which was complete with all the fixings, attendees were treated to a movie.

Perhaps he has a heart as big as Kansas. Or he has street smarts enough to realize the importance, and bankable edge that comes from positive spin.

I'm going to be an optimist and just assume he's just a nice guy. Why not. And even if it is just for spin, everybody wins anyway right?

Way to go Lebron.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Online advertising.. dollars going to the few

I read an interesting article this morning about how the bulk of online ad dollars are going to a very few large scale online mediums.
Have a look at these statistics.

The Short Tail: The top 10 online ad-selling companies, which received 71% of 2009's total internet ad revenues, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. These include Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.

The Mid-Tail: Ad-selling companies 11 through 50, which received a sedate 18% of last year's internet ad revenues.

The Long Tail: Ad-selling companies numbers 51 to 250, which received about 8% of last year's internet ad revenues, according to eMarketer.

The Very Long Tail: Every other online ad-selling site -- thousands of sites, number 251 and up -- which received a mere 3% of all internet ad spending in 2009.

A closer look at those revenue figures shows how many major websites represent a small slice of the market. More than 82% of revenues from the total U.S. online advertising market go to just 25 web publishers. That means the 26th-through-50th-largest ad-selling web publishers -- not small sites in terms of traffic -- got a mere 7% of the total U.S. online ad spending in 2009.

Thanks to David Hallerman (Source).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jet blue and Newstand credit cards

On one of our Creative Excellence Fridays a while back we featured creative from Jet Blue. It was groundbreaking, fresh and brand positive. They recently switched shops. I was curious why - read the whole interview with Jet Blues Marty St George.

Jet Blue

As newspapers continue to find a way to stay in the game, vendor boxes have tried to make it that much easier to pay and go.
Now, vendor boxes are accepting credit cards. Seems odd but when certain papers are seeing enough positive results to merit the experiment.

Article here Credit card news boxes

Monday, July 5, 2010

The future of television

I have seen the future of television. And it doesn't bode well for cable operators. Although they have wisely diversified into the telephone and internet realms, so we'll lose little sleep over their economic viability.

Here is the latest development. Hulu announced it will soon offer monthly subscriptions of 9.99 per month. You'll be able to view pretty much any cable show for one monthly fee. And if you've checked your cable bill lately, this isn't that far fetched.

Plus Youtube has announced they'll soon be renting movies from their site from as little as 99 cents a view.

Apple TV's next generation is rumoured to be not far down the pipe as well.
And as always, Google TV will also make things interesting as they continue to pioneer their particular product.

When prices are this reasonable, it makes you wonder why anyone would consider downloads from the illegal sites, and all the viruses that come with them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Living lavita loco

Last week I took a vacation to Barcelona. Incredible scenery, and the locals are extremely fond of photography; so much so that one of them still has my camera. A beautiful city, but I think the movie "The Grifters" was largely inspired by it because I've never seen so many different ways to separate tourists from their money. All that creativity also translates into great commercials. The ad community in Spain is vital and has made a lot of contributions.

And, in the spirit of international commercials, Spain has their share of celebrity endorsements. It's doesn't hurt that Hugh Laurie speaks passable spanish. Sorry there are no subtitles to this, but you'll get a smile out of this just the same.



And being a typical European country, their attitudes about sex are more... relaxed.



And finally, as World Cup winds down over the next two weeks, here's a commercial with a "Futbol" theme.



Happy belated Canada Day.
As always your comments, suggestions, themes and commercials are always welcome.