Thursday, May 20, 2010

Talk about seamless integration...

My roommate sent me a link to this song, Patron Tequila by the Paradiso Girls. At first I was annoyed by the youtube ad that prerolled before the song came on but to my surprise, it wasn't a commercial! It was the video itself. Now I've heard of commercials becoming less like ads and more like featured entertainment, but never have I seen a music video aim to appear so much like a commercial. The dr. dre headphones (which are entirely WAY to expensive and can easily be defined as excessive) are the focal point of the entire song and drive the video's storyline. Regardless of my own opinion about the new dre headphone fad, the advertiser did a phenomenal job of grabbing the attention of the consumer (me!) and plugging the headphone brand as well as Best Buy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Young People Down for a Change

With an estimated spending of $1.2 trillion a year, 14-34 year old consumers are a huge focus for advertisers. These consumers are cause-conscious shoppers and are nearly two-thirds more likely to respond to marketing campaigns that tie in a social cause or movement. Companies like Coca-Cola, HP, and GE are taking note and have switched their campaigns to more cause-related initiatives like the environment or education. Social media has also played a huge role in this as well. Most companies have a twitter and/or Facebook account. Since 14-34 year olds are some of the most active uses of SNS, it only makes sense to use this cost-effective medium to reach them about social cause and initiaitves. With many brands emersing themselves within the digital communities and capitalizing off of these social causes, it begs the questions: will consumers buy in to their new socially responsible efforts? Or will they just see it as another marketing tactic? Well, regardless if companies are motivated solely by potential profit or not, market growth has shown that campaigns like HP’s Power to Change (targeted towards college students) has indeed increase revenue for the company.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Facebook: Legislation Puts Limitations on SNS

Facebook recently made it possible for third-part sites to automatically access user data from the Facebook network. The company also just created a way for displaying user activites on those third-party sites in the Facebook environment. Days after these new features, legistlators and Washington stepped in to regulate this use of consumer data. These leaps in marketing research and tactics have government officials worried about the implications on consumer privacy online.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are currently or already set the groundwork for a highly targetable approach to consumer advertising. The trend in research now is not what sites you’re coming from or where you are located, but who are you connected to. If this sort of trend continues without some sort of guidelines or restrictions put in place, the fall out for SNS could be huge. Consumers could eventually see SNS as an imposition or marketing threat to their friends and family. There must be some line drawn that says here, this is how far it is okay to go before you are oversaturating and abusing consumer rights.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kobe--What Were You Thinking?

Though this is not entirely media-related, this issue has more than moved me to blog and definitely caused quite a stir in the ad industry. Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, modeling? I don’t know what Barney’s was thinking in hiring a professional, national championship-winning, NBA player to model their new summer line, but they should’ve thought twice. The photos portray Kobe in all white against a blaringly white background. The photos have sparked much criticism around the artistic license of the ads themselves. Kobe, as well as others, has made claims that his skin was darken during the post-shoot editing process. Kobe is more often than not in the public light. Darkening his skin was a horrible choice on the part of the creative team making that ad and would only lead to negative publicity. Though the photos have garnered quite a bit of attention, much of it has not been positive.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Maybe Big Media Companies are the Way to Go

Maybe agency-side isn’t the way to go. In an article by, the media industry is still not out in the clear. Though the economic situation of the country has gotten significantly better, many agencies are still struggling. However, at the top of some of the biggest media corporations like CBS, NBC, Comcast or Viacom, top executives are getting paid at least 8-figures! This is virtually unheard of in the agency-world, where starting salaries are averaging a bleak $30-40,000 a year. What was most striking in this report was CBS’ Leslie Moonves, whose salaries doubled from last year to $43 million.

Though most clients were pulling back their media spending, it seems as if the job security during the economic downfall could, ironically, be found at media companies. These companies have become surprisingly more lucrative, especially in comparison to the financial industry that usually averages much higher salaries across the board. In my opinion, though these large media companies have been reaping unimaginable profits, I question how long it will last. Many, many studies have shown that during economic depressions, companies look to advertising are a quick fix to maintain profits. With the economy slowly recovering, I question how long will this financial growth last?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

PETA Buys Ad Space on Dead Man's Urn

Media is everywhere!

In order to help his wife pay for the cost of his funeral and creamation, an Oregon comedian sold the space on his urn as ad space to PETA. The animal rights group paid $200 for the space.

Their copy will read:

"I've Kicked the Bucket -- Have you? Boycott KFC." And another: "People who Buy Purebred Dogs Really Burn Me Up. Always Adopt."

Though I’m not sure the exact ROI of this, I highly doubt PETA will get very much reach on a dead man’s urn sitting on his wife’s mantle. PETA is known for their radical publicity-generating efforts, so this stunt definitely falls in line with their usually tactics. However, I’m not sure the context fits very well with their cause or the ethical implications that result from buying ad space from a dying man to put on his urn. Either way, may he R.I.P.

Friday, April 30, 2010

iPhone on the Look Out for Alien Invaders

The iPhone has been the number one mobile phone sold in the US for quite some time now. Those who use the iPhone have grown to have the same sort of affection as the love between a MAC-user and his Macbook. However, since its launch in Dec. 2009, the Android has significantly taken the lead in gaining the most shares in sales as well as ad requests. Prior to its launch, most mobile phone apps were created based on the iPhone OS, leaving out all other mobile consumers. However, now with the success of the Droid, I believe it is only a matter of time before we start to see the advent of mobile apps spread to all phones. Perhaps there will be a universalization of mobile OS one day—one can only imagine. Until then, advertisers can work with the majority and provide even more exposure and reach to their consumers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iron Man 2

It’s hard to not be aware of the fact that Iron Man 2 will hit the theatres in about 2 weeks. From Dr.Pepper can wraps and 7-11 slushie cups to Burger King and Reeses candy packaging. Marketing efforts of Iron Man 2 can even be found on the latest version Norton Anti-virus and the Audi automotive campaign. The most impressive marketing tactic created by the company is a flashy digital campaign including a HD interactive trailer for the movie itself. A slew of brands have attempted, and many successfully, to create a fully engaging experience with their fans. The Iron Man 2 campaign allows users to explore the world of the main characters Tony Stark and Iron Man through the movie’s interactive trailer. As users watch the trailer places are “lit up” allowing them to click and explore more. Iron Man 2 is definitely leaving a presence in the mind of consumers and their online interactive campaign is something to take note of.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Army Recruitment Video

Even for the troops in Iraq, sometimes you just need to dance it out. I came across this video of a group of US Army troops who seem to be having a really great time ‘dancing it out’ to Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s song “Telephone.” In about a month the video has already receives almost 4 million unique impressions. Could this be a better marketing piece for the US Army? It’s definitely a win for the military as we get to see a group of bad-ass soldiers dance it out (in the appropriate outfits of course!) and attempting to lip sing.

This is clear consumer generated content (I highly doubt they were under any kind of orders to create such a video) and with so many unique views in the matter for 30 days and a slew of comments and postings, it easy to see the benefits of this sort of unintentional marketing effort. It is simple, organic, entertaining and more importantly believable. As a consumer, we are more inclined to buy into what our fellow consumers are telling us than an ad. Is it inspiration for a 2011 military campaign? We shall wait and see…

Saturday, April 17, 2010, I love you.

After hours of emailing and searching online, trying to find demographic research and usage data of online sites, I was just about ready to give up. Then, I met my new love: This is such a great media resource tool! Instead of having to email each site to get statistical data on number of page views or unique impressions, this site does it all for you in pretty chart and pie graph form. It provides media minded people with information based on country, age, income, education, other websites users visit, DMA, traffic, etc. Though it does not give you prices, it will give you the size/type of ads each site have the ability to run. Love it!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Many say Twitter has become Facebook’s biggest competitor. However, Facebook has always had a leg up by making themselves a sustainable and more importantly, profitable business. Facebook has created a place for advertisers to build brand awareness and target consumers in a highly effective way. Will Twitter be able to do the same? Twitter’s new launch of promoted tweets will start off slow and provide companies with real time results of their efforts. It’s risky. By creating a platform of advertising, Twitter risks diluting their user’s experience who don’t expect to be bombarded with tweets from huge corporations. In order to maintain their reputation, Twitter will need to find a way to protect the integrity of the service they provide as a social network—if not, well we can be sure that someone will definitely tweet about it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

If Marlon Brando Drank Beer, I Bet He’d Drink Stella

Stellaa! Stellaaa!! Okay, it’s not Marlon Brando or A Street Car Named Desire, but it is definitely a movie to be seen. Belgium beer company, Stella Artois launched an online campaign that is catching the attention of beer, and even non-beer, enthusiasts. The interactive marketing effort connects users’ Facebook profiles with the website and careful scripts them into the short film. Through the use of Facebook photos, the campaign turns each user’s experience into life.

The film’s storyline takes place Miami-like city after the death of Jacques de’Azur. During the reading of his will, it becomes apparent that his weekend at the Cannes film festival is up for dibs. The wealthy, prestigious family is now on a hunt to find who should represent Jacques de’Azur at such an event. The storyline goes on to incorporate photos of Facebook friends as well as the users’ own albums. At the end, the movie asks if you’d like to continue the story of the de’Azur family’s effort in finding who gets to receive the weekend at Cannes. Ultimately, users are given the opportunity to enter in a contest to win the all inclusive weekend. This high quality video and level of engagement definitely sets the bar high in providing a meaningful user experience, which can be rare in this industry.

See the story yourself:

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'd Go With Diesel

A brand’s website—especially in the consumer product world, is vital to ecommerce. If your site isn’t user freindly or engaging, consumers won’t want to use it. This could mean huge potential profit lost from online shoppers. Diesel’s current website, featuring their spring and summer collection brings together entertainment and functionality. They provide a great balance between the music-video like on their homepage and the user’s ability to scroll over the outfits during the video to view them. This transition, which I’m aware sounds complicated, is in fact really easy to use. The video itself adds to the brand experience, taking it away from the sense of “selling a product” (which essentially that’s all they are doing) to “an engaging experience.” In this case, Diesel does little to promote the name “Diesel” but instead highlights the clothing.

Watch the video, you’ll get it:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Does Facebook Offer a Refund?

What an absolute marketing fail. Facebook, the community-oriented site (primarily used by marketers looking to advertise on social networking sites) definitely missed the target with me. Recently when I was on Facebook the following ads popped up in my side bar:

So, according to Facebook I have recently been dumped and am current stalking my ex-lover hoping to reconnect with him one day. I also recently had a baby (congratulations to me!) and diapers along with other baby-essentials can be found on my grocery list. And finally, and probably most fitting, I am in the market for a makeover—decomposing, zombie-girl style. I guess they got me right on the mark. NOT! I’m not sure what keywords from my profile helped them pick out these three ads, but I hope these companies didn’t intend to target a happily single, childless college student, with no desire to throw a ton of make up on her face. Though, I will say, this is a bit refreshing compared to the usual ads I get looking for an Indian college student willing to sell her reproductive eggs. So, thank you Facebook.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Here

Absolut and Spike Jonze joined forces to integrate a brand into cinematic art. They created a movie called I’m Here. This 30-minute film tells the story of two robots who live in L.A. and the romantic relationship they form. The film is only available at certain times of the day and limited to a certain number of views (kind of like buying a ticket to a movie theater). This was a smart move on the advertisers part, not only are they able to increase buzz by limiting the movie to a select few who can then later brag about it, they are creating the sense of demand/urgency to view the movie. This will ultimately drive people to the site constantly to find a way to be a part of the community of viewers. By mirroring the offline cinema experience they are creating such a hype that resulted in 230,000 views in just the first weekend.

To view the movie click here:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Domino’s New Taste Yields Success

Last year Domino’s announced its big change: a completely new, revamped pizza that included fresher ingredients, better ingredients and most notable (in my opinion) a seasoned crust. In the message for this campaign, Domino’s were blunt with their consumers. They went to consumers and listened to their responses about the pizza. They came back with insight about their pizza tasting like cardboard and weren’t afraid to let everyone know. They told the world that their pizza had been “real bad” and that it was time for a change. They made this change and soon followed an ad blitz, everywhere you went, Domino’s was. Their efforts resulted in much free press in the form of print, news shows and blogs that were taste testing the product. Today their stores have averages a 14% increase in sales. This is huge! This is a great example of how one key insight led to the creation of a better tasting product, a revamped ad campaign and increased sales.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Itty Bits of StickyBits

During SXSW Interactive, StickyBits presented an app that lets users attach videos, photos, audio or texts to real world objects with barcodes. How does it work? First you have to download the app onto an iPhone or Android. The phone can then scan a barcode and users upload a piece of content connected to that barcode or view what others have already upload to it. The content can even be uploaded to the consumer’s phone and geo-tagged, making it available to them and friends via their social-media profile.

What does this mean for advertisers? Well, consumers have already started to download the application and uploading content to products. Companies like Doritos, Ben and Jerry’s and Campbell Soup have already taken note and created their own marketing efforts using StickyBits. However, with companies lacking the ability to control what content gets posted to their products, consumers have complete hold over how a brand can be portrayed. Though the invention of the StickyBits app may seem like a worthwhile opportunity, what will happen if a disgruntle consumer uploads negative content to a product? This could lead to a downhill spiral very fast…

StickyBits on an iPhone:

Friday, March 19, 2010

The World's Biggest Sign Post

When people think about navigation they don’t think about Nokia. Nokia wanted to change this. They wanted to inspire their consumers to use the navigation system on their phones from the web. The problem: most people see navigation as something that takes you from A to B, it’s not fun or engaging. They wanted to make it into something social between their consumers. So, they created the world’s largest interactive signpost.

In London, they raised a digital arrow up on a crane for passer-byers to see. The crane would turn periodically and point out people’s favorite locations by listing the name, address and including the name of the person who sent in the information. People could text in locations and within moments the crane would move and tell you how far the location was. Nokia kept track of the arrow and information via a livestream on their website. They mapped out all the locations people had entered. This physical instillation was powered by people and became more than just a way of telling you how to get to point B, but also something fun and engaging.

The World's Biggest Signpost from adghost on Vimeo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Best Dinner Trick of All Time

BMW has always continually set the bar in the automotive industry for advertising efforts. Earlier this month they attempted what seemed impossible. They took the typical party trick of removing a table cloth from a set dinner table for one and amplified it to a guest list of 24. In one swoop, their S1000 was able to rip off the table cloth in seconds, leaving each place setting virtually untouched. Though the stunt isn’t clearly defined as advertising, it’s hard to call it anything but. The video has received about 3 million unique impressions on YouTube already and is also featured on the website. The video is and has become a viral marketing tool and a strategic move on the part of the automotive company.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Search is the Answer

The power of search! Search is becoming one of the most profitable and reliable options for advertisers as SEM and SEO tactics become more targetable and yielded greater results. Think about it, what’s the first thing we do before we make huge purchase decisions? We research it! We turn to friends or family and then when still left without an answer we Google it! In a study done by eMarketer, most marketers indicate they plan to shift their print and direct mail budgets to search. It is predicted by the end of 2010 search spending will reach about $16.6 million, a huge increase from the past 4 years.

Search’s ability to traffic where consumers are coming from allow for clients to track the effectiveness of their campaign efforts in a way that is of in the realm of print and broadcast. An ineffective search campaign can quickly be adjusted to yield better results, an aspect that cannot be found in more traditional media.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tonic Water Company's Sweet Revenge

Paso de los Toros is a company that produces bitter tonic water. This year for Valentine ’s Day they created a unique campaign that utilized the broken heart feelings of people who had been hurt by their ex. The idea of the campaign: Revenge is the best way to get back at an ex for pain and suffering but not in merely a physical sense. Paso de los Toros gave their consumers a way of immortalizing their revenge forever. The campaign asked people to go online and submit a message to their ex. The best lines were collected and made into a book and immortalized forever. The tonic water company, with the participation of some of the world’s best illustrators put together a book of the 72 best messages. Here are a few examples:

C: Thanks for leaving me after paying for the surgery, my boyfriend is appreciative!

R: Do you still have a pain in your stomach? Tomorrow I’m going to poke your liver with a pin.

The book was translated into English and Spanish and consisted of 6 chapters, each with a different theme. The main idea: “To stop with the sweetness” (also the company’s tagline) of Valentine ’s Day.” Books were sold in bookstores all over Argentina and 50 books were donated to the Book Crossing program, to help them spread organically. The company incorporated Twitter, Facebook and yielded great results of over 100,000 visits to the site, 6,000 messages, 2,000 books sold in 3 weeks and 72 ex’s with peace of mind. I guess revenge can be sweet sometimes, but Paso de los Toros tonic water, never.

Paso de los Toros Tonic Water - Immortal Revenge from BBDO argentina on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To Like or Not to Like

I like a lot of stuff. Sleeping, eating, my friends, puppies, my google calendar, an empty inbox, etc. Facebook has now changed all of their “become a fan of” X company option to a “like” button. Now users can “like” almost everything. Photos, wall posts, comments, links…oh yea and did I mention brands? It’s easy to get lost in vast array of option of things to like, but does this mean that consumers are engaging in a meaningful, emotionally-based relationship with a brand? My answer—no. It takes very little effort to like something and even less effort to skim over a news alert about someone “liking” something.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't Talk While He Drives

Yes, we all know talking on the phone while driving can be dangerous and Mundra Group in India has clearly portrayed this message in their new campaign for the government. The ads are pretty self-explantory and least to say gruesome. See for yourself:

Is this the right way to go? Fear can be a way to sell, but images of blood gushing through the telephone may not be the best way to sell a message. Though the ads are frightening, I will admit the shock factor sticks with you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

IGA Have Gamers Peeved

It’s clear when seeing a video game you’re not seeing real-life content. It’s not a filmed video but to a gamer, during the time he/she is gaming they are very much a part of this virtual reality world. The virtual reality world creates a fantasy that includes weapons, costumes, characters or environmental factors that cannot be found in real life.

Today, advertisers have taken notice of the growing popularity of video games and have already begun to use it as an advertising platform. They have placed billboard and out OOH ads into games, including ones whose premise does not fit well with an ad (Halo, for example). Gamers are claiming that these sorts of ads disrupt the gaming experience and refer to the gaming publishers as “selling out.” The lack of congruency between an ad and a game’s premise lacks the subtlety that is necessary in order for brands to not build bad reputations with their consumers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Lost Ring

Alternate Reality Games may seem pretty nerdy to some, but the results of these sorts of campaigns leave a huge impact! For example, take the McDonald’s Olympic campaign: The Lost Ring. In order to help better understand how ARG could be utilized as a marketing tool, the international franchise McDonald’s, with the help of digital ad agency AKQA, created their own ARG called ‘The Lost Ring.’ With no explicit branding done in the game itself, the fast food chain was able to seamlessly get a large amount of free attention from media outlets, word of mouth and the press.

The aim of their marketing efforts was to enhance McDonald’s brand image and commemorate the company’s long-standing support of the Olympics. The ARG began on Mar. 3, 2008 and ended at the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Gamer from all around the world received clues both online and offline about ancient Olympic legends. Over 4 million people across 100 countries participated in the game and worked together across the world to solve the legend.

Prior to the start of the game, McDonald’s sent out 50 packages, which contained the first few clues of the game, to the most active game bloggers. The ARG featured six characters who had amnesia and found themselves blindfolded in different places around the world. The players were allowed to communicate with each other through chat, email, social networks and public forums. The players also reached out to the general public, involving them in helping solve clues along the way.

Results: McDonalds and the creators of the game were able to make The Lost Ring so challenging that no one could possibly solve it on their own. Players were forced to develop a global, virtual community. The company was able to traffic millions of players to sites that were subtly branded with the McDonalds logo.