Friday, June 29, 2012

Creative Excellence Fridays - Iphone addict

Recent statistics out state that more and more of us are becoming iPhone addicts. I have to admit, I'm one of the minority, clinging on to my Blackberry. However the depressing earnings from Rim this morning give me the distinct impression I may have to defect as well if the company can't stay afloat.

So, for iPhone addicts, here are some interesting statistics from a recent survey from consumer electronics publication "Gazelle".

65% of survey respondents say they can't live without their iPhone; only 1% say they can't live without Facebook.

15% say they'd rather give up sex for a weekend than go without their iPhone for a weekend.

Nearly 70% say they've gotten rid of their iPods or MP3 players since buying an iPhone.

55% of survey respondents have given up their cameras since getting an iPhone.

More than 40% have turned in their GPS units since getting an iPhone.

58% "usually" or "occasionally" use their iPhone in social settings such as a meal or party. (otherwise known as poor social etiquette)

85% have used their iPhones in the bathroom. (Come on, you KNOW that statistic is a lot higher.)

40% of consumers say they'd like to see a bigger screen in the next iPhone version. (Although I suspect that would result in people never going home and welding their faces to their phones 24/7)

For everyone who has pent up feelings of frustration over their addiction to their iPhone, here's an excellent parody commercial. They sliced up the original and added a few Siri "special touches".

I'm off to New York for the long weekend. I'm leaving my cell phone 4G turned off and using it as a watch. I expect I'll start experiencing the shakes at about hour three and start pressing numbers randomly in elevator panels.

Have a great weekend.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Creative Excellence Fridays - Bob Hope got around

Bob Hope was here for a good time and a long time, passing away at 100 years of age in 2003. In his roughly 80 odd years of performing he knew the importance of making a living, a very good living.  He lent his name and image out thousands of times over his career for everything from cigarettes to tooth paste and then some.

On today's Creative Excellence Friday blog, a look back at the advertising career of Bob Hope.

Up first, a magazine ad from the forties for Pepsodent. The Name this Baby contest.  The techniques used aren't that different from a fan building promotion for Facebook today.  Every entry must be accompanied by a Pepsodent box liner.  When you talked about winning 12,500 dollars in 1940, people took notice.

And who wouldn't want the Hollywood Lapel Locket.  After all, if it's good enough for Doris Day and Bob Hope...

Although the artist who drew Bob Hope wasn't very flattering.  You would think he would have left out a wrinkle or sag in defence of the anti-aging properties or healthy skin agents from the sponsor, Swan soap. And honestly I'm not sure either drawing actually looks like its' intended "victim".

In the 70's Bob aligned himself closely with Texaco Oil.  He did a number of commercials for them over the years and they sponsored various prime time specials he starred in for NBC.  As you watch this you'll get a good idea of how we've become accustomed to the 30 second commercial.  This almost seems like a mini documentary as a 60.

Speaking of time honoured 70s commercials, remember the John Cameron Swayzee commercials for Timex?  "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."  Guess who was a celebrity spokesperson long before that?

Bob Hope. The legend on television and in the world of the commercial.
That's it for this week.  Have a great weekend.  Keep the comments and suggestions coming. Thanks for reading and watching.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why does the McDonalds burger look so much better in the commercials?

How many times have you seen a poster of a McDonalds hamburger and thought , "why does it never look that good in person when I buy one at the store?"
McDonalds marketing director Hope Bagozzi walks you through the process.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The power of social blogging

When you have a bad customer service experience, you generally storm out of the venue and pledge to never go back. And're..ummm... going to tell all your friends to never go there too! There was a time when that was generally your only recourse.

However, with social media, you now have the opportunity to tell your friends, your friends friends, their friends and...well you get the picture. That's the whole premise of social media right? Sharing, and viraling a message out.

Recently I had a terrible experience with a cleaning company. They solicited my business and I agreed to let them come into my home and try them. It was an awful experience. I agreed to their price without haggling, figuring if I put my best foot forward they'll do a great job and it will be "the start of a beautiful relationship." It was anything but. Long story short, they charged me in advance, did an awful job and disappeared. My recourse? Social media. I posted a negative review with the proper tagging in a review site, Yelp, and a few days later their business and my less than flattering words were coming up page one in Google. It's a bitter sweet experience.

Having discovered Yelp, as a result of this, I am now becoming a bit of a Yelp-a-holic. I have only written two reviews, but I am finding it enormously entertaining reading some of the more witty reviews others have written. My friend Tracy W's reviews are a great read. I especially like the one for Grace Nails, which she titled "Dis-grace Nails."

Blogs like Yelp can be very useful in getting feedback before making a final decision on a restaurant or a service. Especially if you start following people who seem to share similar interests and expectations.

And more importantly, blogs can be a great outlet for creativity or even just gold old fashioned frustration. Yes, I see some people on Yelp who perhaps need to find another hobby, but for every one of them are five others with solid, entertaining reviews.

By the way, the cleaning service? G& E Clean Team, Gladys Lasconia. Avoid her and that company at all costs, unless you have an afinity for dust bunnies and bad service.

See, blogs ARE a great outlet. I feel better already!

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Creative Excellence Fridays - European flavour

As part of our ongoing series of international ad appreciation, I wanted to present three ads to you today. Two from Scandinavia the other from Paris.

This first ad is by Forsman and Bodenfors for Volvo. I know, what are the odds a Swedish car company would use a Swedish agency to produce their ads. When they're this good, the odds are excellent.
It's a warm, whimsical commercial about a company who are successful, but not pretensious. And they appear to be genuinely in love, but not "smoopy in your face", "I want to kill these two" kind of love. They make me want to buy a Volvo. Bingo.

Next, 2 commercials in a series for the Young Director's Award. Both utilize the innocence of children in a non innocent world.

The first from TBWAHelsinki, directed by Rogier Hesp. The little girl is quite convincing.

And finally, a very funny, and disturbing commercial from BETC Paris. Sort of Harry Potter meets Stanley Kubrick.

That's it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend. As always your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Swedish government twitter experiment fails miserably

The Swedish government recently decided to try something new to promote tourism.  They set up a twitter account and decided to share it with a variety of citizens.  Who better to tell you about an amazing country then the natives right?  Well it's turned into a text book case of a good idea gone very very wrong.  A female "guest tweeter" decided to use the site as a forum to express her views on nazi's, jews and the need for urine on bowls of strawberries.  It will no doubt show up in late night monologues soon.
Here's the Huffington Post article with the back story.  

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creative Excellence Fridays - Never work with children or animals

Welcome to Creative Excellence Fridays. It's now June in Toronto. The days are longer and the living is easy.
A couple of international commercials for consideration this week. First up this week, this ad should win an award for most sexual innuendo in 39 seconds. I realize it's France and everything is more, you know, sexy there, but it's almost a parody by North American standards. I don't think this ad could decide whether it was selling water, or perfume.

Perrier - Ogilvy and Mather France. Tres chic, I guess.

Next up, a clever ad from Fox Movies Premium. "Cleavage" from agency Taproot India.
The idea is good, but the woman cast as the cleavage is not going to be holding any little statuettes any time soon.

The idea is good, but the woman cast as the cleavage is not going to be holding any little statuettes any time soon.

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg test drives Airtime

Airtime is a new app that enables you to video chat and share in real time with friends or potential friends. It was created by Napster founder Sean Parker along with Shawn Fanning. When you click on the page it asks for permission to share your personal information along with your friends. It's a bit daunting giving an app that much control. I've passed for now, but will wait to see if there are any ramifications. Along with Sean Parker, Jim Carrey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus attended the launch party.

Here's the article.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Google Places giving way to Google + Pages

With thanks to SearchEngline Land and Greg Sterling.  We've been following with interest how well Google + is doing, as compared to Facebook.  It doesn't come as a big surprise they are now integrating the old into the new.  See Greg's article below.

Google Places Is Over, Company Makes Google+ The Center Of Gravity For Local Search

When Google+ and Google+ Pages for business were introduced a little less than a year ago many people in the local search arena began anticipating the day when Google would merge or integrate Google Places and Google+ Pages. Well, today is that day.
Google Places pages have been entirely replaced by new Google+ Local pages. As of this morning roughly 80 million Google Place pages worldwide have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages, according to Google’s Marissa Mayer. It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners.
(See our related Google+ specific coverage, New Google+ Local Tab Unveiled, Will Replace Google Places, at Marketing Land.)

A Range Of Changes Implemented

Here’s a brief overview of what’s new and what’s changing:
  • The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages (as mentioned) for Google Places pages
  • The appearance of a “Local” tab within Google+
  • The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews (its entire archive across categories)
  • The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties (search, Maps, mobile)
  • Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends/family/colleagues
Static Places now give way to more dynamic Google+ Local pages. Google’s star ratings are also being replaced by the Zagat 30-point rating scale (for user reviews as well).
Below is an example SERP for “burgers near Seattle.” The top screenshot reflects the “old” Places look and feel. The second is the new search results, sans stars.
Marissa Mayer argued to me that Zagat scores can express much more differentiation and nuance because they contain separate scores for food, service and atmosphere vs. a five star scale, which is forced to factor all those considerations into a single rating (read: Yelp). The greater, 30-point spread also prevents everything from converging at 3.5 stars.

Consistent Experience, Several Doorways

Users will be able to discover the new Google+ Local pages in several ways: through a search on or Google Maps, in mobile apps or through a search on Google+. The image below an example of a local search result within Google+.
As a result, Google+ becomes another local search destination within Google, arguably with richer content and more functionality than offers at the SERP level.
Not unlike some similar functionality offered in Foursquare, users will be able to sort and filter search results by several criteria, including “your circles,” which will reveal places “touched” by friends. Currently this means reviews and posts, but could extend to check-ins later.
Google had originally hoped to make Places into interactive content pages that merchants would use regularly to communicate with customers and prospects. However that didn’t happen in part because of the limitations of Places pages themselves. Google+ Local pages are much more versatile and “social.” Indeed, it gives Google a local vehicle with functionality equivalent to Facebook and Twitter.
Below is a Places/+ Local “before” and “after” comparison for a restaurant in the Washington DC area, “Mio.”
Google+ Local pages are much more visually interesting. They also enable the presentation of a wider variety of information types than Google Places allowed. They will permit local merchants to develop followers and message them, and to have the kinds of social interactions now available on Facebook and Twitter.
Google says there will be many more merchant features to come, in a post on the Google and Your Business Blog (formerly the Google Small Business Blog):
We know many of you have already created a Google+ Page for your business, and have been hosting hangouts and sharing photos, videos and posts. We’re excited that we’ll soon extend these social experiences to more Google+ Local pages in the weeks and months ahead.
Below is another example Google+ Local profile page. The design and functionality essentially match but seek to improve upon Facebook Pages.

Discovery . . . And Search

If you click the new “Local” tab in Google+ you’re taken to a personalized local home (discovery) page, which offers a mix of popular, social and recommended content. There are several variables that go into the content that appears on this page. The same two people in Seattle won’t see the same page, though aspects of it may be the same.
What’s also interesting is that Google has returned to a two search-box approach for Google+ Local.
Users can browse this “home page” content or search as they normally would on Google or Google Maps. As I said, the integration of Zagat content, plus the other social filters and features make Google+ now an arguably better local search destination than or Google Maps.
Below is what the new experience looks like on Google Maps. It’s largely the same as what exists today except for the replacement of the star ratings by Zagat scores (and of course the underlying new Google+ Local pages).
Rather than being asked to rate businesses along a 4 or 5 point star continuum, users are now asked to fill out a more structured form (food, service, atmosphere/decor) and leave additional comments. Some of those online reviews may also make it back into Zagat proper, at the discretion of Zagat editors I was told.

Mobile A Bit Less Straightforward

All these changes will show up almost immediately on Android handsets in what was the Places layer on Google Maps for Mobile and in the Google+ app. (The images below are Android shots from Google Maps for Mobile.) Google has submitted app updates to Apple for review and approval. They should be out very soon but will look and be accessed in a different way than on Android handsets.
It’s quite likely that Apple will replace Google Maps in June with its own Maps and so none of this experience will probably ever show up on the iOS map. Instead, Apple users will be able to access this Google+ Local experience through the Google Places app and the Google+ app on the iPhone. There was no discussion of other smartphone platforms.
Overall this should present a stronger and more useful local-mobile search experience for consumers, in large measure because of the Zagat content, but to a lesser degree the social and recommended content.

Google+ Local Pages Will Be Indexed!

The conversion of Places pages to Google+ Local pages is taking place regardless of whether Places pages were claimed by business owners or not. However nothing on the back end will change immediately for merchants. Google says this in its Google and Your Business post:
If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing.
Despite this temporary calm, business owners are effectively being dropped into the social fray with more customer-interaction potential but also greater demands to learn how to use Google+ to their full advantage. Those who do will be rewarded. There’s a ton of SEO potential here. Most notably, unlike Google Places pages, these new Google+ Local pages will be indexed.
We asked about management of multiple locations from a single page. Google said that there’s no news for the time being but that’s the ultimate goal:
A single page through which businesses can manage their online presence is a top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring business owners have a clear voice in how their business is represented on Google, via Google+.
In its SMB-focused blog post Google provided example businesses that were invited in early to enhance their  Google+ Local pages. I’ve reproduced only a partial list here:

A Few Preliminary Final Thoughts

These are major changes that Google is making in the fabric of local — for both consumers and marketers. They will enhance the consumer experience with a relatively small adjustment and learning curve. People will be able to go on using Google as they have but get the benefit of the richer pages and Zagat ratings. They won’t be forced to use Google+ to get the new content.
By the same token Google probably hopes that millions of local merchants creating and enhancing dynamic pages and content can bring additional usage and greater engagement to Google+. We’ll see how it plays out.
Business owners will probably have a somewhat more difficult transition than consumers, as they’re compelled now to pay attention to Google+ — in a big way. They now ignore Google+ at their own peril.
Overall local search also just got a lot more social for Google, as it has recently in a different way for Bing. We’ll explore the social dimensions as well as the SEO implications of Google+ Local pages in companion articles and during next week’s SMX Advanced, especially in the Hardcore Local SEO Tactics session.

About The Author:  is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him@gsterling
Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Creative Excellence Fridays - Never work with children or animals

WC Fields once said, "Never work with children or animals."   But in the ad industry one might say, "Work with children, animals and adorable seniors every chance you get."

An ad guys main directive is to pull your attention away from the cheese doodles, the iPad, PVR commercial skipping and whatever else is keeping you from focusing on the all important TV commercial.
So WC Fields nemesis becomes the ad guys ace in the hole.  Cute kids?  Absolutely.  Adorable puppies. Without a doubt.  A little mouse who won't say die.  Priceless.

And did I mention, the all important Monkey Commercial?

But when it comes to monkey commercials, The Suburban Auto Group still reign supreme with Trunk Monkey.

That's it for this week.   As always, your ideas and inspiration are encouraged and shared here.  Have a great weekend.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.