January 18, 2008

The Myth of ElfYourself.com

Elfyourselflogo_2 Ok, I can't take it anymore. What is it with these office supply companies and their ability to create marketing juggernauts that every other client in America wants emulated? The next Easy Button, the next ElfYourself, the next...

Wait. That last one. ElfYourself. Let's look at that.

First, credit where credit is due: The site has been rightly equated with a pop culture phenomenon:

  • The hottest holiday greeting Web site two years in a row
  • Roughly 100 million visitors created elves. (Including my DAD!)
  • And, the site helped OfficeMax win nearly half of the December traffic to consumer goods sites.

No question, the site has been a runaway success for OfficeMax and agency creators Toy and EVB. But that's not the full story:

  • First up, this was not just a random great idea from some creatives loopy on spray glue fumes. It was a the winner of a very well-funded test of over 20 holiday sites - each of which was intended to be viral. (That level of upfront investment would make most marketers cringe!) A few examples of the OfficeMax sites you may not have heard of:
    • Reindeer Arm Wrestling
    • Roast A Turkey
    • Greetings from the North Pole
    • Shake the Globe
    • Yes I'm Working
    • Save the Snowman
    • Faux Charity Donation Generator
    • North Pole Dancing

  • Second, it didn't magically go viral. OfficeMax (and/or Toy) has a strong understanding of how to pounce on an opportunity. They took early adopter posts on Flickr, Digg and Facebook and leveraged them into a PR pitch that landed spokespeople on Letterman, The Today Show and others. From there, they juggernaut ... well, juggered.  Mainstream media coverage included USA Today, ABC World News Now, CNN American Morning, CBS Early Morning, and US Weekly's "Buzz-O-Meter." Online, nearly half a million pages reference the site.

  • Finally, let's wait and see the results. Buzz is OfficeMax had a tough fourth quarter. Despite 120 million ElfYourself.com visitors having spent the equivalent of more than 1,500 years with the brand.

January 06, 2008

Target Corporate Responsibility Ads: A miss?


It is possible that the next World War will not be fought by proud countries, but rather be a heroic battle for global dominance between the two true gladiators of our time: Target and Google.

Like much of the rest of corporate America, Target is on a 'good citizen' kick lately. Racking up comp points with talk of philanthropic programs and charitable causes.

Jump to: These online ads (above) driving traffic to their 'do good' page.

Cute design, right? But quite misleading and a good cautionary tale for other Web advertisers.

Three AVOIDABLE sins of banner advertising:

  1. Misleading call to click: We're a nation of multimedia. We toggle sound and video on and off. We've been trained by advertisers to believe 'click to watch' means just that - a video will begin playing in the window. And, we appreciate that functionality - because it gives us the choice rather than overwhelming us with noise and causing us to smack the mute button on our laptops.

    But, this target ad is actually a flat banner. Click to watch takes us to target.com. The resulting community page features a few rollovers and a lot of reading. None of the promise of the call-to-action is fulfilled.

  2. Missed opportunity for interaction: The graphic is a door. The words are open the door. The strategy is to evolve consumers overall categorization of the Target brand. Come on, show us something. Let's slide open the door to change. Let's rollover to interact. Let's re-purpose that experience on the Web site in a much more in-content way.

    Here it is: Meet Pointroll. Meet Eyewonder. Do better.
    • Or, a possible alternate to #2: Not optimizing message to the medium. Once an ad is approved, it's all too common to simply route it universally. If 80% of your media buy accepts the multimedia ad designed, the other 20% just gets a flat JPG of the same creative.

  3. Fully branded page, not fully integrated page: Target definitely owns share of voice on this page. They have covered it with banners. But, are they saying anything with that megaphone? And are the impressions building on one another to say something about the brand? We've all seen the darn-near-perfect Apple ads. And, surely there are learnings there that can be applied cost effectively.


December 05, 2007

2008 Holiday Gift Cards

First, the gift card version of the 'How Many Jelly Beans' jar:

How many different gift cards does Giant Eagle currently carry?

(Answer at the end of the post)

Even those of us not in the Big-Bird-Gift-Cards-for-Gas program have likely noticed the gift card gauntlet retailers are up against this year. The challenge: Personalize the ultimate impersonal gift. And, get the card-buying masses to wrap up yours.

Category leaders like Starbucks have enabled full personalization and design of their cards online - to the delight of caffeine-addled art directors the world over.

Borders, Circuit City and others are offering a simplified approach to personal design with a single photo upload. Home Depot's cards double as a CD of How-to tips for the DIYer on your list. And, the Big Boxes are going after the little box with entire catalogs of just-right-for-you card decor, from Barbie to the nearly-old-fashioned spotted dog.

If the personalization isn't enough to woo you, there's always old-fashioned bribery. LL Bean will give you a free tote for giving a card, Circuit City will reward buyers with an instant-win card to try your luck at a big holiday surprise for yourself, and most of the restaurants are trading 'cash back' cards for gift card sales.

But, all that said, there are two programs that I think are stand-outs this year.

First up, the Sears card. I was already doting over the nostalgia of the Wish Book when I saw these two winning cards: A water-paint gift card that lets the giver or getter paint the scene (just don't drop it in the snow) and a sticker-book kit that lets buyers deck out their cards. Great extensions of the childlike fun of the season and the nostalgia of family holidays.

8f93_1_2 A885_1_2

Second, the Bob Evans gift card tin. Your choice of several snowy Bob Evans cards fit neatly in this cute brand tin. Considering that 88% of us (according to NRF) will buy at least two gift cards this year, the tin seems like a great add-on for the gift-giver - a place to store all their plastic cash without stretching out their wallets or pockets with the temporary cards.


Answer: Giant Eagle carries 275 different gift cards.

December 03, 2007

Decision time again for multi-channel retailers: Where do you want shoppers to go?

Lots of news for multi-channel retailers out this quarter. JCP.com launched a 'know before you go' campaign that directly speaks to online pre-shoppers. Brookstone launched a true virtual store online - one with all of the sense of discovery and maddening inconvenience of a real-live shopping trip.

Barnes and Noble launched a site intended to bring the local store experience online, while Whole Foods finally got in the Web experience game with a holiday planning site aimed at sending you in-store, list in-hand.

And, new research out claims that one in three Americans will shop more online this holiday season (over last) even as they indite online retailers for shoddy customer experiences. Cyber Monday sales alone were up 21% off the same day last year.

It seems that we're reaching another key critical decision time for retailers.

What do you want your brand experience to be tied to? Your flawed local store or your impersonal national warehouse? What does ideal convenience really look like for today's shopper?

The options are much broader than the current big three:

  • Buy online
  • Pre-order online, buy in-store
  • Browse online, buy in-store

One of my favorite options re-invigorates high-touch service and another turns shopping on its head...

  • Neighborhood store: One of my most-despised words in the press right now is 'the new urbanism.' Essentially, walkable amenities moved to the traditionally housing-rich suburbs. The ethic behind it is one of neighborhood-ism. Of being part of something 'smaller' with access to all the conveniences of 'bigger.' That same ethic could create a resurgence of personal deliveries. Customers check product availability online. If the product is at their local store, they can choose to an open time for a same-day local delivery to their home or office. Trust me, if the Mentos intern can do it, so can Best Buy.
  • Virtual-real store: I'm sure you've seen this concept store created by IconNicholson. It's this incredible 'social retailing' concept that's a combination physical dressing room with online social tools that enable idea sharing, remote recommendations and more.
  • Remote personal shopper: 66 percent of shoppers said they would be more willing to buy online if every purchase was guaranteed. So thinking about the concept of guaranteed, what if we brought the trusted recommendation of a favorite sales associate online. Higher-end brands, like Nordstrom, could offer a free (likely even a paid) consultation with a sales associate. The associate would profile the customer, understand their preferences, shop the store with them. Then, via IM or phone, that associate could make Web-purchasing recommendations to the customer over time - becoming a virtual private shopper and an essential guarantee of satisfaction.

There are hundreds or permutations ... but the core question is: Do you want your customers to interact with your brand in a vacuum? Or will you leverage the local store for all it's worth...

August 11, 2007

Robed metro launches category

BodygroomRemember that snarky Norelco site ShaveEverywhere.com that launched last year? Well, the results are in. And, they reveal well more than an optical inch':

The big number: 60% of Bodygroom buyers say they learned about the product via ShaveEverywhere.com

Wait, it gets better. According to The New York Times, the category was largely built by the buzzy little site:

  • [Prior to the launch] the idea of a product specifically made for below-the-neck shaving barely existed.
  • Today, the Bodygroom is one of at least four products in what’s seen as a distinct and fast-growing category; nearly 250,000 body-hair trimmers have been bought in the United States in the last year.

At a $40 unit price, that's a $10 million category launched with stock images of peaches & carrots and bleeps!

In other shaving news, you've got to check out the career advice from Bern on Barbasol.com's overhaul. This well-spoken hand puppet definitely knows the inside scoop...

(Click the 'How to live the Ultra Successful Life' button)


August 08, 2007

The elevation of creativity

Michaels3beading Michaels2gluegun Michaels1scrapbook_2

Since I'm not a speedy aggregator, you've probably already seen these ads for Michaels by The Richards Group. Nonetheless, there are two advertising trends here that I'm really excited about:

  • The personalization of demographics: Increasingly, I get the sense that agencies are investing in creating identities for niche audiences - building out the story of one person - her wants and dreams and fears - to best create advertising that really speaks to emotional drivers.
  • The elevation of creativity: Whether it started in advertising or advertising is merely following, I appreciate the increased value placed on personal creativity - on the validation of that fundamental emotional desire to create and share...

August 01, 2007

Candy Pratts Price on Style.com


Finally, technology has solved the age-old media question: What to do with a behind-the-scenes-face on a fashion spokeswoman??

Answer: Create a dishy avatar.

Bruno Frisoni - presumably of Roger Vivier - illustrated CondeNet's fashion director Candy Pratts Price for a new monthly fashion program on style. com. Oddcast converted the illustrations to a full-motion avatar, creating a glamorous virtual host. The result is ... really pretty damn hot.

Want to convert yourself to a glamorous avatar? Do it on the cheap at sitepal.com

July 13, 2007

Fetish casting?


"I want to be one less. One less."

A little melody so annoyingly memorable that you'd think it was in a Target spot.

But, I digress. I actually have something much more snarky to say:

This Merck spot has been running since February or so and every time it comes on, I am completely distracted by the casting. How does being HPV-free correlate to having really, really horrible eyebrows? The full range of eyebrow errors is displayed: from huge, untamed caterpillars to over-plucked bald foreheads. I cannot look away. It's like a mangled, burning car on the side of the road.

My guess: Either the casting director has a thing for eyebrows or the agency creative team had this conversation very late on the night before (ok, the morning of) the casting presentation:

Hyper-caffeinated creative director: We're selling a $360 product to girls 9 - 26. Get it? This can't look like an over-produced spot. These all look like models. Where's the authenticity?

Pissed off copywriter: We've talked about this a hundred times. It's still TV - they have to look aspirational. The script will deliver the authenticity.

Guy who knows he has to give the presentation: Maybe we just give them all one thing - one signature that makes them look more accessible. Like ... I don't know... cut off jeans.

Hyper-caffeinated creative director: Yeah, but something more physical. Something that separates them from models. What about eyebrows... big bushy eyebrows.

Guy who knows everyone: Perfect, boss. I know the makeup artist who made Ugly Betty ugly.

November 10, 2006



Great painkiller spot from a Finnish company ... not only funny, but lets us imagine a time, a country, a television experience where pharma spots do not have to include warnings of anal discharge, nose bleeds and compulsive vomiting.

Agency: Bob Helsinki

October 31, 2006

Elf the vote!

Tired of the endless stream of local political ads? The petty accusations about real estate taxes and miscellaneous law suits? The really, really bad suits and worse ties?

Here's an election that will renew your love for democracy: Big Lots spokeself.

Starting tomorrow, three elf finalists will attempt to wow the country with their spokeself auditions (handily condensed to :30 second spots). Viewers can visit a voting site to cast a ballot for their favorite elf. The winning elf - announced on Thanksgiving - will be the brand's national spokesperson for the rest of the holiday season.

Check out the site - watch back stories, see elf rejects and more:


(My name is Advergirl and I approved this message)

Agency: SBC Advertising

October 24, 2006

AAA Membership


Local advertising can be impossible. Tiny budgets. Huge expectations.

AAA is one of the toughest cases. National brand. Local control. Local dollars.

I'm really proud of these spots my agency / team created for the Ohio Auto Club - they very cost effectively carry off the national brand in a way that builds relevance for new audiences...

Agency: SBC Advertising

August 18, 2006

Meijer Creates Demand Surge with Text


I've come to enjoy my cell phone relationship with advertisers. Either I am merely lucky or text marketers really have a true dedication to "opt in," an ethic spammers have long since slewn in the email world. Showtime texts me when the new season of my favorite show kicks off; my credit card company reminds me a payment date is approaching; it's all good.

But, check out this latest campaign by Meijer - they're offering text addicts a 5-hour head start on slurping up the last of today's gas prices. Piloted in Indianapolis, Meijer simply notifies registered shoppers of approaching price hikes.

It's an interesting campaign. And, I'm not convinced that Meijer is the appropriate credible source for a campaign like this. After all, they have a vested interest in both the price and the volume. As all retailers live day-to-day on the latest traffic and basket numbers, I can understand the impetuous to create the demand. And, of course, to exploit the American need to always get a better deal than his neighbor...

Next, I'm looking for "full service small talk alerts" - weather, gas prices and a local sports score all in one message.

Found by Richard Masoner on Flickr

July 10, 2006

Hair in all the wrong places

Very funny find for Korean Hair Loss Treatments from Coloribus

(Or: sometimes bad Photoshop is good Photoshop)


July 09, 2006

Hate dropped calls? I do now.

Love it or hate it, you have to hand it to BBDO - they've accomplished the hat trick for Cingular: (1) immediately recognizable campaign - you know it in the first seconds of hearing / seeing it, (2) immediate brand recognition - unlike many of the funniest campaigns of the last few years, we actually know this is CINGULAR (vs. uh, some phone company, i think) and (3) positive brand impression - the ads still aren't annoying.

No worries, here are my snarky comparisons. The antithesis of each of BBDO's campaign pros:

(1) The unending series of false starts from the men of CP&B - VW seems to have an entirely new campaign every month - my theory: VW bought a "garage sale" package of rejected creative pitches from Crispin and is just throwing the loser darts at the wall.

(2) "What would the guys at Watkins Worldwide do?"

(3) Taco-freaking-bell. What's more aggravating than Home Depot trying to "OWN" orange? How about Taco Bell trying to create pop culture buzz phrases? That campaign is good to go... far, far away.


June 25, 2006

Relieving Children's Pain

Great find on Peanuts - these Y&R ads could have been for the first martini in a sippy cup, but they work well for Bayer Kids' Pain Reliever, too:




June 22, 2006

That's Lynx, not Linux


This Lynx deodorant spray spot is as mildly disturbing as all "sex sells," "woman are things" advertising (which - as an American - I am (more) disturbingly desensitized to), but I'm posting it because context truly is everything:

I'm not at all familiar with this product. So, when a friend sent me the link, I thought he said it was a Linux spot. And, I have to say, I was at the edge of my seat to see what bizarro "geeks are hot" ending was afoot.

Alas, more derivative, offensive body spray nonsense. Boo.

Found at: Dave's Adventure into Boredom

June 08, 2006

Let's see, who buys stockings?

Drat. I have no category for ads-that-make-me-laugh-out-loud-sitting-alone-in-my-office-and-

Copy: very, very opaque stockings.

Women with varicose veins rejoice. Criminals, well, ha:

Die2 Die3_2

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather GmbH
Found at: Twenty-Four

June 06, 2006

Nokia Tattoo


Check out this branding ad for Nokia's new Tattoo phone. The graphics are really intriguing - you quickly get the sense of connection and spreading something beautiful and affective. Still, it's subtle. If you're not looking at the television, you'd miss the entire thing. The music isn't captivating. There is no VO. And, if you're half watching, the slithery tattoos are still subtle, elusive.

Here's the counter to my counter - Nokia is looking for early adopters, people looking for the next hot thing. I think maybe they'd watch. Or, better, seek it out. And the tag and close are pretty strong.

Great product name. We walk around with these phones glued to our faces, talking about what model we're addicted to and why we love our special carrier. Portable, disposable, pricey tattoos. Nice.

Agency: Hasan & Partners

June 04, 2006

Brawny Academy: Retro TV online


After much buzz about Lifetime’s Perfectmatch.com show last week, I thought we’d pretty well soiled our advertising selves in the retro world of brand-sponsored TV, but it looks like this is just the beginning of our return to a campy TV world where everything really can be made with Campbell’s Soup…

Next stop: Brawny Academy

Working with veteran reality show producers the Feists and Biscuit's Tim Godsall, Fallon is about to launch an 8-episode online TV serial called “Brawny Academy.” In the show, under-performing hubbies have been recruited for a retraining experience that looks like something between Survivor and the early seasons of The Real World.

The trailer includes some fun clips:

  • Sloppy men living with actual pigs
  • See-what-women-go-through races, forcing the men into high heels to push baby carriages, clean windows, etc.
  • Attempts to school the eight in the “masculine” arts – like an ax tossing lesson where all miss the target
  • And, genuinely horrible dancing

Overall, it appears to be a laugh or SCREAM proposition, heralding back to the original days of brand TV and wallowing in the social stigmas of the time. High heels and baby carriages? What a conceit. Try long hours and getting the pizza boxes out to the trash.

(Oh, but I'm not saying I won't watch it. TV I can watch at the office. Come on, you got me.)

Submitted by: Mr. Lance Dooley

June 01, 2006

A picture and a thousand words

(Or: even though it was really cool to tell the client that Stephen King was coming to the next ad  meeting, he totally treated our super creepy photography like a book jacket and wrote a freaking novel that we had to run unedited because he threatened to name the mean antelope-aliens in his next novel after our clients and agency president if we shaved as much as a comma. And somehow we won an HAAG anyway. Wild, huh?)


Agency: Paling Walters
Found at: TwentyFour

May 23, 2006

Elmers: Men are silly


Have you seen this spot before? I love the idea behind it - it's perfect for the category that buys duct tape by the 3-pack.

Agency: SBC Advertising

May 22, 2006

Beko: A vaccum as quiet as this ad


With the help of my friendly household art director, I was able to decipher this ad. See, it's a treble clef and staff. And, there's no music notes on it. And, the teeny tiny tagline is "very quiet."


Found at: Advertising/Design Goodness
Agency: TBWA

May 21, 2006

Alka Seltzer: Making food unappetizing?


Nice clean creative. A little weird to make the food you're passionate about look so tasteless and chalky, but, eh, overall, very compelling - quick visual connection, page flip stopper.

What's interesting, though, is the introduction of the overbrand. I don't remember Bayer playing that prominently into Alka Seltzer ads before. Wonder if there's some new research out there or a new agency. BBDO? Or an up-and-comer? Anybody know?

May 18, 2006

Cigarettes are still cool elsewhere in the world



While cigarette makers here are skulking around the airwaves with downplayed creative and public service announcements, Camel is still playing up the old-style sexy/cool/urbanism of lighting up elsewhere in the world. Only issue: Isn't that "Discover more" font/treatment pretty darn close to Discover card? At best, confusing...

Agency: Saatchi&Saatchi, Milan
See more at Ads of the World

May 10, 2006

Wempe: An interactive die cut

Wempe2 Wempe3 Wempe4

Credits: Julia Neumann & Michael Schachtnerr
Found at: Advertising/Design Goodness

May 02, 2006

TV campaign lives in print


Or: For all the boys in my office who invested a month of their lives drawing various Rhino logos. This, my friends, is a RHINO.

Actually I like the ad because it's a great translation from broadcast - maintains the feeling of the TV campaign (and, it's Puma counterpart) with all it's energy and motion. No easy task.

Agency: Nonbox

See more creative.

May 01, 2006

Is golfing really this big of a deal?

Paula Bob_4
Or, what about running? All these overwrought sports ads - like you're some sort of storybook heroine, victor, champion just for running around the block or hacking out of the sand trap. Do recreational athletes really identify this strongly with their hobbies? Maybe so...

(This post is in honor of my first golf lesson. Which, actually went pretty well.)

Agency: NYCA
Client: TaylorMade

April 14, 2006

Big Lots ambassadors

060224001_1 Big Lots must have a BIG media buy - because I've seen these great testimonial spots again and again despite my habitual tivo-induced fast forwarding.

Here's the big idea:

Presumably, Big Lots has a perception problem of consumers thinking it's not "their kind of store."  So, in this series of three spots, they ask real shoppers (all very likeable, attractive people we can imagine ourselves being friends with) to bring a friend to the store. In :30 seconds they find tons of bargains on great stuff they would really buy and at the end of the spot the unsuspecting friend declares herself a convert.

I'm really a big fan of these spots. Great direction for increasing relevancy AND very visually arresting - bright screens, bold colors, good stopping power (for fast-forwarders).

Apparently, "closeout shopping" is all the rage. Check out this primer from last Sunday's New York Times.

Who knew? But, I should admit, because of these spots, I tried a Big Lots store for the very first time. And, I spent $120- on an amazing leather ottomon that would have cost three or four times that at Pottery Barn and some other random household stuff. I never thought I'd say it, but - you should go. (Weird, huh?)

Agency: SBC Advertising

April 10, 2006

"Comfortable shoes you'd actually be caught dead in"

Just a really good concept from an agency that demonstrates an excellent understanding of their client and their customer. I laughed. I critiqued the shoes. I looked up the store address. Success.



Client:O&i Shoes

Agency: Euro RSCG

The great page part


Nice buy. Left page was printed on matte, right page was printed on glossy.

Hed: "Without Sunsilk conditioner, you're only doing half the job"

Agency: JWT

Found at: Ads of the World

April 05, 2006

Panadol: One is Enough

Agency: Y&R, Beijing

March 30, 2006

Ariel: Disappearing Stain

Really interesting find over at Coloribus - The Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi agency in Argenitna developed two fun ways to communicate the stain-fighing power of Ariel detergent -

At a distance, these billboards appear to show a big black stain on the white shirt. However, as the driver gets closer, the stain disappears.
And, less innovative, but still eye catching - they acheive a similar effect with clings on these sliding glass doors.


March 27, 2006

Slick outdoor


“Non stick surface with 3 years warranty”.
Via Adverbox

March 24, 2006

Rush hour foot race


I first saw this on Advertising for Peanuts, but it seems to be all over this week. JWT created a giant soccer ball/car to chase down the streets of Mexico after two enormous shoes (size 540)

Comments vary from incredible to silly to wasteful, but I think it says great things about the agency - imagine how open the table has to be to get an idea like this out there. And, now that I've seen this, I guess I'm surprised that we don't see more of it - surely, there are hundreds of parade float designers just looking to get their work showcased during rush hour.

March 21, 2006

In-bathroom advertising

I resisted posting any of the slew of urinal advertisements, but this is an in-bathroom ad that definitely captured my attention for its interactivity and unique approach.

Client: Natan Jewelry Shop,
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi (Sao Paulo)

March 17, 2006

Couple of great outdoors ... or, on doors

Agency: Menno Kluijn
via: Billboardom
(does it seem that I would have nothing to post without Billboardom?)

More on Bigumigu

March 13, 2006

Halls: Breathe Big



This is one of those campaigns that make ad types wish they had been in the room. It's a great idea - a concept ripe with opportunity. And, the execution is just so-so. The punchline isn't quite as crisp as it could have been. Still, very fun campaign and definitely a smart sell to people currently stuffed up.

Agency: JWT, New York
Via: Advertising/Design Goodness

Bic razor outdoor


Anyone know if this is real outdoor? Or some other medium? If it is outdoor, I hope it's near a golf course and one-of-a-kind - great idea, but what a job to maintain...

March 10, 2006

Friday Favorties

Siemens: XXL fridge

Agency: Christian Soldatke, Saskia Lübke
Via: Ads of the World

Size still matters (where the Wild Things are anyway...)

Agency: Unknown
Via: How Advertising Spoiled Me

Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissues
(Kind of a weak payoff - but, certainly the most delightful turtle ever)
Alt play link
Agency: JWT, New York
Via: Ads of the World

Mice Bait
Since everyone else is passing around the clearly very impressive, though troubling lingerie ads, I'll share the similar mouse bait climber:
Agency: The Jupiter Drawing Room
Via: Billboardom

And, absolute best of the day goes to: World Wildlife Fund
Copy: Make a Stand - The only thing between their survival and extinction is you.
Story: In this outdoor installation hunters are on one side of the street taking aim at animals on the other side - and you're in the middle.
Agency: Ogilvy (?)
Via: Advertising for Peanuts


March 08, 2006

Edelman's Blogging Blunder or Bloggers Edelman Blunder?

Hmm, what does it mean when your boss sends you (a known blogger) an article that includes the phrase "most of us know bloggers need to be watched"?

Not much of a conspiracy it turns out - just another great story about what happens when BDAs (big dumb agencies) and even bigger clients (Wal-Mart in this case) rush into word-of-mouse media with all the customization and audience awareness of a big clunky direct mail campaign.

This time - Edelman PR gurus appealed to blogger egos with an offer of exclusive access to PR-generated "news stories" about Wal-Mart.

Interestingly, the Motley Fool criticizes bloggers for the ethical lapse of just repeating the company line verbatim and - in doing so - dinging their own credibility. And, the New York Times questions why bloggers didn't cite the source in their praise of Wal-Mart.

These PR tactics may make the hiring companyies look sneaky and under-handed, but the media is holding bloggers accountable, too. Turns out playing online in your jammies requires social responsibility.

In other blogging faux pas news - Bob Lutz of GM is being criticized on the Web for calling for customer feedback and then not responding to it.

No question - it's hard to do everything right in this new customer-focused conversation marketing.

Question: We've seen a number of these heavy handed blog strategies go bad lately. Do agencies who blog (like the fabulous Hill & Knowlton writers) have a better pulse on bloggers than agencies who just stick to their clunky Flash Web sites?

What do you think?

March 03, 2006

I love this game -

Staples_the_wallOk, I'd normally be the last one to say so - but, Eyewonder nailed this one. Well, ok, the whole integration of the campaign was probably McCann Erickson, but, it's still a great, great viral site and game -

Here's the deal. Staples runs an Easy Button TV spot driving users to the site to play the game. The game has the same theme as the commercial and users can press the Easy Button three times to make the game, well, easier. Still right on message, the campaign integrates even further - all the way to the brick and mortar - by giving online high scorers gift certificates to the store.

Oh, and get this - the game is fun! (Very reminiscent of that great penguin game.)

Via AdBlather

Fun Bus

Agency: Students from the Miami Ad School

February 26, 2006

Playing to a fan


Say you were a Jordan fan. How captivating to see every game-saving play, every signature move perfectly recreated in the jump, the run, the swoosh of a hopeful kid... Ok, so, you're probably not a Jordan fan. Then, just imagine seeing your favorite line, action, moment recreated by a fan as big as you. As aspiration goes, Nike always has it.

Agency: Weiden and Kennedy (?)

February 25, 2006

Say it with your music


Agency: GSD&M,  Austin

More at Advertising / Design Goodness

February 22, 2006

That's one powerful lint roller...

3ml3The 3M Lint Roller. More at Advertising/Design Goodness.

February 21, 2006

Art inspires advertising


Left: Ad under an existing man-made waterfall at a busy shopping mall (Agency: JWT Singapore)
Right: Photography projected onto Crown Fountain in Millenium Park, Chicago (Designer: Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa)

February 19, 2006

Just a really good use of the medium -

NiveanewsA project that obviously started not just with the product story and a few consumer insights, but with an eye toward genuinely leveraging the media plan as well...

via Adverising / Design Goodness
Agency: Giovanni FCB

February 18, 2006

Because sometimes arresting is enough...


This campaign for Victory Compact Binoculars claims you can "see everything 10 times bigger."

Via Twenty-four

February 16, 2006

Dad, take us to the hardware store.


Nostalgia may not have worked here, but it definitely works for Pfau's.
Agency: Adams & Knight Advertising

February 13, 2006

Streaming tape = cell phone minutes?

OrangeFor everyone who loved Sony's Bravia campaign, here's a lower rent, slightly less on message, still very fun spot from a Orange - a UK mobile phone company.

[Once the page loads, click the play button on the top right.]

Bisley, Perfectly organized

See a larger collection at Adverbox.


Client: Bisley, Quality Office Furniture
Agency: Unknown

February 09, 2006

Circulars still relevant

As some retailers are moving to RSS and email newsletters to deliver weekly sales to customers, Vertis is drumming up research to prove the continuing value and viability of traditional newspaper inserts.

Advertising insert readership levels are consistently at 85% or above, and web-savvy consumers still rely on them, as 88% of Sunday newspaper readers surveyed via the web say they read the inserts, while 79% of those surveyed by telephone say they read them.

::Customer Focus 2006: Retail study from Vertis.

Vertis also highlighted the decision-making power of the circulars, noting that 52% of those surveyed by phone and 71% of those surveyed via the web said they use the inserts to decide where they buy groceries; 29% / 41% to decide where to shop for health and beauty care products; and 28%/39% for office supply decisions.

Other Key findings

  • Since 1998, the percentage of women aged 18-34 reading grocery inserts has increased 14 percentage points
  • These women tend to like discount stores, and have shown an interest in the grocery stores' ethnic and organic departments
  • 40% of women aged 35-49 said advertising inserts influence their overall buying decisions, while television only influences 20%
  • Women aged 18-34 are an important demographic for furniture retailers, as 33% of these women said they plan to purchase bedroom furniture, 26% plan to purchase bedding and 24% plan to purchase living room furniture. When these women were asked about their last furniture purchase, lowest price was the greatest consideration for 39% of them, increasing nine percentage points since 2002; meanwhile, highest quality dipped seven percentage points since 2002
  • The percentage of women aged 18-34 turning to the internet first when ready to make a purchase has increased from 19% in 2004 to 27% in 2006
  • The percentage of "do-it-yourselfers" has grown nine percentage points since 2004, as Americans are increasingly more willing to take on home improvement projects. Specifically, this group has grown most with women aged 35-49, growing 12% in two years
  • 73% of women aged 35-49 who read ad inserts compare similar home improvement inserts before heading to the selected store

Full report

February 03, 2006

Tangles- Switch to Rejoice Conditioner

Rejoice_1Agency: Leo Burnett
Client: Rejoice

AT&T - still going... but, why?

PodcastdeliveredMarketing professors take note - perhaps the  most misguided use of buzz words continues.  AT&T's latest is podcasts - yes again, they've selected a term that nets zero results when searching their Web page.

And, in addition to not being something consumers care about (try simple billing, lower prices, bundled service), it's also a technology that is enabled simply by connectivity - AT&T delivers nothing special or differntiable vs. other connectivity providers. They could just as easily say "bad email jokes from your annoying aunt sue delivered." Or Toyota could pick up the campaign and claim "groceries delivered." 

This is one of those campaigns that begs the question - what could I have done with that $500 million?

February 02, 2006

Nike Y'ouch

Nike_ballAgency: Wieden and Kennedy
Client: Nike

January 31, 2006

When outdoor is viral

Fedex_kinkosClient: FedEx Kinkos
Agency: BBDO New York
Copy: Office products now at FedExKinkos.com

January 30, 2006

"Blogging Delivered," Return to Sender


What is more antithetical to actually delivering blogging than delivering the message that you deliver blogging on a billboard?

Campaign objective: Reach 137.8million unique Internet users each month
Campaign reality: Oh, we've reached them. We just didn't say anything about delivering a meaningful, relevant or worthwhile message.

Oh, and for a little extra fun re: what happens when advertising doesn't synch with product, visit ATT.com and search blogging. (Ok, I'll ruin the ending. No documents will be found that meet your search term.)

Cheers to Omnicom Group’s GSD&M and Rodgers Townsend.