Advertising Archives

August 17, 2006

I like it when you play with my low hanging fruit

playtime.jpgMany women are familiar with this line being whispered in their ear in a room full of throbbing testosterone, over a dark, hot cup of coffee in a client meeting. While it gives some of us that familiar tingling, it triggers psychotic acid relapses in others, causing them to hear their pervy old uncle asking for a kiss.

A BusinessWeek article asks to “cut the raunch” saying that, “Girls cringe at overtly sexual ads, yet paradoxically, marketing campaigns targeted at teen girls are sex-obsessed.” Oh, so the girl who sits next to you in 5th hour that tells everyone she’s bi just so that guys will look shouldn’t be included in those demographic behavior charts? Outdated memories? I can practically open my day planner and see my teen years listed.

The article goes on to state that, “Modern teens are inspired by a deeper definition of feminine strength.” Does feminine strength not include the ability to admit to having an insatiable sex drive?

via: AdRants

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August 23, 2006

Everytime you order pizza, god kills a kitten

domofudge.jpgPerhaps it's just me, but Domino's latest commercial of a peculiarly named "fudgems" running through a field instantly reminded me of everyones favorite anti-masturbation propaganda poster of a Domo-kun.

The hip square also has a promo site complete with rave party dancing, fudgem-speak, and a national free brownie square day that (lucky for you, you have me as an insider for these kinds of things) is today.

August 29, 2006

Advertising builds street cred

signoutdoor082706.jpgWHUDAFUXUP with advertising? An advertising reporter in 2006 wondered if we should ban advertising. Because, according to her, addictive eye-catching boards are also illegal. The article compared the addictiveness of advertising to that of M&M's and cigarettes.

In an attempt to build some street cred sympathy with the Wooster Collective, advertising has now, too, become an "ephemeral art". New York has started a crackdown on what has become a $25-million-a-year illegal-ad industry. Despite costing $50k a month, illegal sites are sought after by creatives with a taste for the finer things in life for their campaign monikers.

Read more: Banned in the Big Apple (Thanks, Nicole!)

November 6, 2006

ad:tech launches, launches

DSC02737.jpgWhile both seem to be a work-in-progress so far, ad:tech New York launches today with a predicted 10,800 attendees. Running around frantically, I will be keeping a photo blog of up-to-date geeky craziness at Flickr, so keep checking back for occasional cleavage and cheesy booths.

Please, if you're reading this, go ahead and update your bookmarks to, as the Blogger site will soon be fading into the horizon. Also, to subscribe to the new site, the feed can be found here.

More to come soon!

Brands Dip Their Feet in Social Strategy, Superfans

DSC02751.jpgAfter some much needed coffee and the delegate lunch that left a bit to be desired, I meandered my way through the sea of logos, flyers, and marketers to the "Why You Should Create a Corporate Social Media Platform - Incorporating Community, Blogs, Podcasts and WIKIs into Your Customer Interaction" session. Admittedly a bit skeptical about the term corporate, the session provided insight to how brands are viewing social strategy, for better or worse.

Stressing the 3 P's - Participate, Provide, Portable - the panelists offered up their song and dance of case studies. While many of the case studies presented the usual blogs, widgets, and RSS feeds, a few proved that the brands were willing to go the extra mile. Betsey Weber, from TechSmith Corporation stressed the importance of net-meets in order to allow their online strategy to radiate offline engagement as well.

Scott Wilder, an Group Manager at Intuit, a fellow VML client, spoke to the importance of product developers being the public-facing team on discussion boards. In a time where some brands are wanting to jump on the social band wagon, they often begin with a front of marketers and PR people, which more often than not creates friction in online communities. By engaging a brand's product development team in online communities, insight and change become expedited and consumers know that their words are not just heard - they're actionable.

Another major discussion in the session room circled around audience, outside of the mediums. Do brands approach specific mediums because they know there's an existing audience, or because it's right for their audience? The panel gave the impression that brands are still frightened by blogs. While social strategy is progressing at a rapid speed, brands are just dipping their feet into portable content, and other "safe havens" in the blogosphere.

I couldn't help but ask the panel, "Do you think these social strategies are engaging people who aren't already actively seeking out your brand? Or is it just for the superfans?" Wilder and Martin Green, a VP at CNet, explained that brands are starting with their core audience and planning to reach beyond just the superfans. While it's important to be comfortable in the social space as a brand, it seems that many need to go beyond and gain comfort in the quickly and constantly changing social ecosystem.

November 7, 2006

*Knock Knock Knock* Housekeeping...?

DSC02791.JPGGo away! Oh, not you, just all the people and things that are keeping me from trying to obtain 5 hours of sleep for the last week. Anyway, photos are up and the site is down! Well, okay, not down, but it's obviously in shambles for the moment (especially those of you who insist on still using Internet Explorer - why!?). Obviously a background in design doesn't mean you can solve all problems... cough, like coding for a blog.

Photos from Monday night's ad:tech afterhour debauchery are being put up as we speak. Hang tight and check back for Monday's Afterthoughts and Afterhours and more session recaps.

Monday Afterthoughts and Afterhours

DSC03012As advertising execs and booth babes alike gingerly walked into the mid-morning sessions today, I couldn't help but try to put the noise of yesterday together. Between the blur of wristbands, hand stamps, martinis, lectures, freebies, and softball questions, Monday was a pinnacle for seeing our industry and its best and worst.

The Monday morning keynote, like some of the lunch food, left a tiny bit to be desired. As Steve pointed out in so many words, some industry luminaries can talk a lot while not saying much of substantial value. With many wide-eyed, hopeful attendees, any panelist that sets out to take a risk by giving specific advice to their audience is a true leader for our industry. Thankfully, most of the panelists and speakers are very intelligent and more than willing to lead by the example if their shared wisdom. A leader is not someone who simply lets people follow - a leader needs to inspire and value and interact with their audience - no less, be willing to learn FROM their audience as well as teach.

Moving into the starry night, clouded by bright lights and martinis, on member of my entourage had a day planner full of ad:tech parties to attend. Obviously needing much energy and courage for the long night ahead, our necessities for comfort lead us to create a rating system of each party. Based off of the 4 things everyone was looking for that evening (well, okay, the more innocent of us), we gave ratings for food, drinks, ambience, and overall cool and unusual things.

Ending the night at the saturated Crobar event, I couldn't help but wonder if our industry during the day mimicks our industry at night. We often chat about if advertising is culture-polluting. While watching some of the geekiest dance moves (keeping in mind my previous life in rave culture) I have ever witnessed, I started to see that our industry's occasional culture pollution might spread beyond the work day.

Viral Marketing Sensitive to Nuances, Brands Skimming the Surface

Picture%2018.pngTuesday's "The Intricacies of a Great Viral or Word-of-Mouth Marketing Program" session provided an array of case studies from the client's perspective. The panel consisted of various speakers who provided insight to how a client views a viral or word-of-mouth campaign. With a bit of plugging for WOMMA out of the way, the session began to take form.

Perhaps one of the more well-known viral campaigns presented was that of the Philips Shave Everywhere site that launched to an audience of 1.7+ million viewers to date. Zdenek Kratky, a Brand Manager for Philips Norelco, explained that the project was put in a position where they needed to rely on WOM because of a low budget. They spent one year researching and developing this campaign. Despite listing sales goals in the project's objective, Philips decided to leverage organic word-of-mouth to influence their target audience. Once Kratky presented the site for the session attendees, it was easy to hear why this campaign was a success through the waves of giggles in the room.

Next up was Jason Woodmansee, a VP at Digitaria, who started off by stating "I'm going to talk about a different kind of balls... golf balls." Woodmansee faced a different challenge: How do you enter the market place with a dominent player? He proposed that you do the opposite. By getting the product into influencers' hands and creating brand ambassadors, you're able to build off of that established foundation for a more traditional marketing campaign. The idea of using viral and WOM as a flagship for a marketing campaign has actually been a common one throughout the many sessions at ad:tech this year.

Finally, Gary Spangler from DuPont stated that every brand and company can do viral and WOM. A bit skeptical to that opening statement, I listened more. Spangler is in the manufacturing industry, an industry that is typically under-represented when it comes to brand presence. Throughout his presentation, Spangler seemed a bit untrusting of agencies, stating that they can easily ruin brands if the client doesn't go to them with a game plan and keep them on a leash in so many words. I found it quite interesting that he was open about his skepticism of most agencies while at the same time speaking at an advertising conference. While Spangler laid out the basic framework for WOM, he didn't dive into the "how" or the execution. In fact, there seemed to be a significant link missing in all of the cases studies, as they jumped from the problem to results.

I asked, "Do you feel that you're "stretching it" as a client to tie sales objectives to a viral campaign?" While all of the panelists stated that they didn't let sales objectives drive a viral campaign, I found it quite interesting that when it came time to present results, that they were all in dollar signs. Overall, the impression gained was that brands are treating viral marketing as a pilot still. In these early stages, the panel as well as other brands out there present results in sales. This unit of measure is not dynamic or in depth for results of engagement. While many brands are talking a lot about true engagement and intricacy of viral and WOM, their results and standard measurements do not reflect it. In essence, brands are still skimming the surface of interactive richness possibilities.

November 8, 2006

Breakthrough Technology Provides Self-Help Session

DSC03087.JPGMore from my coverage at ad:tech New York:

One of Tuesday's many sessions opened with a speckled attendance, as the previous day's energy and excitement took its toll. With just two scheduled panelists, the "Breakthrough Technology: Designing The Future" session played to the after-lunch crowd. Dave Evans from Digital Voodoo gave an anecdotal introduction. Evans explained that this session was about getting lost and finding your way back. Not quite making the nebulous connection between the anecdote and session title, the attendees seemed did their best to understand.

Taking the stage next was Barbara Fittipaldi from the Center for New Futures. With many philosophical statements and aural overlays of the adjacent room's speaker, some of the crowd began to phase out while others continued to listen. Fittipaldi positioned a breakthrough as something that seems difficult, if not impossible, to reach. One of the attendees asked if the session defined a breakthrough as just another word for a goal. Fittipaldi explained that a major part of a "breakthrough" was making the possible, doable, while not being predictible.

Fittipaldi then asked the crowd to couple up and share "breakthroughs" they wanted to accomplish in their work. I chatted with the attendee next to me about his thoughts coming into this session. We both shared an awkward glance and agreed that we both were actually quite content with our work and that there wasn't much we didn't think we couldn't accomplish. He shared with me he was under the impression the session was supposed to be about emerging technologies rather than self help techniques. I agreed and we both scratched our heads wondering exactly how this was supposed to help online marketers. Despite that, the session did drive home the point learning from one's mistakes can help one achieve their goals. While the title was a little misleading, some of the audience did appear to benefit from being able to share their frustrations with close strangers.

Rain Washes Away Sins, Sessions End on Ambiguous Note

DSC02908.JPGLike Wash Away Sins Bubblebath, the November rain of New York washed away all the debauchery and chaos from the nights and days before. Sitting, absorbing the awkwardness of New York's LaGuardia Airport, I filtered through the remaining morsels that hadn't been covered off on yet.

Alan Kelly's "Elements of Influence" workshop closed out the end of Tuesday's sessions. Creating his own buzz words by substituting the phrase "playmaking" for strategy, Kelly launched into his science-saturated PowerPoint presentation. Kelly mentioned that he was a son of a cell biologist, and as the presentation continued, it shined through. Kelly spent 5 years writing his book with a heavy social science foundation.

To Kelly, strategies, or "playmaking" seem to be explanations of expired forces. Rather than presenting the steps of strategy, Kelly provided a retro-glance at various successful campaigns. Cataloging political ads to Gap commercials, Kelly explained the strategies behind each from an almost Freudian perspective - explaining their expressive needs. Kelly was a little absorbed into using his own language which may have made the audience grasp harder for the main point. Drawing a tangent from Kelly, my own perspective was that context was truly king when it came to strategies past and present. Overall, it was interesting to look back at prior generation's advertising.

Tuesday evening proved to be a precursor to the rain, already showing signs of energy depletion. Giving up on squeezing in as many parties as possible, and saying no thanks to an event at Scores (which I've been told is a strip joint up here), Steve Hall and I played it low key. On Wednesday, I ventured outside of the advertising bubble to MTV Networks, where I had a quick tour of MTV's interactive and news departments. Sneaking a quick glance at Kurt Loder and John Norris and a beautiful view of New York, I hurried off to the airport to discover my flight was delayed by 4 hours. Originally not wanting to leave ad:tech and New York, I now can't wait to get home as I work away the delayed hours.

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