Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sears' spin on Mother's Day

OK, here's the Mother's Day version of the new Sears campaign I posted about the other day. At least someone out there spent the time to put it on YouTube. Isn't that ELO in the background?

'New York Post' reports DoubleClick defection

Holly M. Sanders for The New York Post got an unidentified agency exec to 'fess up that some of his clients had come to him asking that his shop switch them from using DoubleClick for ad serving to aQuantive, which also provides those services. The concern, of course, is that the proposed Google/DoubleClick merger simply places too much online advertising power in one place. Couple that with the assertion yesterday by aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews that "GoogleClick" (yech, hate that moniker), would cause other advertisers to defect to aQuantive, and you've got the beginnings of a scorched earth policy by everyone else against Google.

Will Droga's HoneyShed really be a first?

So, I'm reading all this stuff about David Droga's new venture, Droga5 (its home page is pictured here), starting a new branded entertainment site, and frankly, it leaves me cold. Called HoneyShed, Droga apparently told the masses at the Microsoft Strategic Account Summit, that it would be "the world's first digital branded destination." If you've covered the Internet business for as long as I have, you learn to always tune out any claim to being first, particularly about a dozen years into the revolution. And, ask yourself, isn't any site consumed with one brand—be it Amazon or Nike—a branded digital destination? The site, which will debut in beta sometime this summer, apparently is meant to forge the back and forth that defines the relationship between brands and consumers. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Unilever shows zero intolerance

So Unilever has decided that it will no longer feature size zero models in its ads, anywhere in the world, which is a big relief to those of us who feel pressured to be skinny, and bad news for people who hate the "Real Beauty" campaign for showing women as they actually are. Very cool. This story says the company wanted to go with the guidelines for Body Mass Index that were set down by the U.N., which says that a BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is considered healthy. That just goes to show you how warped our world is, because, for the most part, when the UN is looking at BMI, it is looking at people who have a low BMI not because they are supermodels but because they don't get enough food to have a healthy one.

Chrysler ads engineered beautifully, boringly

Here's a stream of the new Chrysler spots you may have read about that was posted to YouTube by Chrysler. Carrying the tag, "Engineered Beautifully," these commercials are about sixteen times classier than "Ask Dr. Z" (actually the Head On commercials were classier than "Ask Dr. Z"), but I'd defy anyone watching them to remember what the brand was a few hours later.

Copyranter tells Gawker readers about the creative process

Click here if you want to see how Copyranter describes the creative process. It involves Snood, shooting pool and an art director who can "pull pretty layouts out of her ass." As always, thanks for sharing, CR. (I don't have any good art for this, so sue me ... or send some in.)

If Bill Gates cares about you, you've made it

One sign of how dependent technology companies have become on advertising revenue can be summed up like this: Bill Gates was the opening speaker at Microsoft's annual Strategic Account Summit this year, a meeting of agency types and clients, which is taking place out in Redmond this week. (A transcript of his remarks can be had here.) Back in 2003, I was the only reporter invited (long story), and at the tail end, just before everyone headed to the airport, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave a few closing remarks. While that's all well and good, the person everyone still wants to see is Gates—even if he is spending a healthy amount of his time giving away his money. At the event four years ago, after a series of breakout sessions, word got around that one of the groups, in search of its meeting room in an adjoining building, actually bumped into B-b-b-bill, and those people became the envy of the conference, with the possible exception of another group, which found a way to sneak into a room where Gates actually was speaking. Well, advertisers, your moment has arrived. As for what Gates said, he predicted that newspapers would all be online in five years. Good thing he's not at this conference.

As aQuantive goes, so goes online advertising

Time was when it was pretty easy to get a handle on growth in online agencies just by perusing the numbers of the dozen or so interactive shops who were independent—and publicly held. But these days, with even the once-fiercely independent Digitas swallowed into a much larger communications conglomerate, aQuantive, owner of Avenue A/Razorfish, is about the only game in town when it comes to seeing a pure, audited growth number. The Seattle-based company reported its numbers this morning, with growth in its digital marketing services of 51 percent or $83.1 million, compared to the first quarter last year. And while that doesn't mean that every interactive agency grew by as much, it does underscore that the online ad market is showing no signs of slowing down. The growth in aQuantive's Atlas and Accipter digital performance units (which compete with Google fiancee DoubleClick) was 130 percent, off a much smaller base ($9.3 million), but still. You look at these numbers and have to conclude that CEO Brian McAndrews' protestations to the contrary, aQuantive, as parts or a whole, will only be able to hold out so long before being somebody's catch of the day in terms of online marketing acquisitions. Still, McAndrews reportedly said on the earnings call: "We're a public company so anything can happen, but the reality is we're very focused on our clients and growing our business and growing as an independent company."

Old brands like Sears sure love old media

Perhaps it's really fitting that this press release for the new Sears campaign, "Where It Begins," from Young and Rubicam, Chicago, reads like a release from about 1987, save for an oblique reference to the existence of Old brands still love old media, it seems. Let's quote: "The new brand spot (:30 and :60 versions) tells one couple's story and illustrates the role Sears plays in it through the years. Every turn of the page in their book from Sears marks a new chapter in their lives, as they move into a new home, their family grows, and they celebrate family occasions." After that, there's a long list of all the places where Sears bought super-expensive time, including "American Idol," "Desperate Housewives," and, naturally, the Sears-sponsored show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," but I tried to find the campaign on YouTube this morning—thinking maybe, just maybe if the company was that serious about spreading the word it would've posted the spots—but no. Meanwhile, the Sears Web site, which is supposed to use the same book theme of the commercials, showed no signs this morning that it knew the expensive TV campaign existed.

To contrast, another campaign launched yesterday. This one from Orbitz, in its first effort since moving from Young and Rubicam Chicago to Mullen. Now the commercials, aren't great—in fact the Chicago Sun-Times' Lewis Lazare gave the campaign an F—but at least Orbitz has posted them all to the Web.

Mouseprint tells the truth about Kraft Singles

Tripped over this morning, a fun little site, dedicated to going through the fine print on advertising and packaging to figure out how bogus some ad claims really are. My favorite post of the ones I've seen thus far was the one about Kraft Singles, where one package identifies the product as being "American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product" and the other calls it "Pasteurized Process Cheese Food." The difference, of course, is buried in the fine print.

Now Mac vs. PC, the game show

It's hard to ever get enough of Mac vs. PC ads.

Omnicom to move to lower Manhattan?

The New York Post says this morning that Omnicom Group is mulling whether to move downtown to 100 Church Street, an area so far south when it comes to the ad industry's favored locales that it would give new meaning to the word "downtown." (Anyone remember when it was big news that Ammirati & Puris was moving to the East 20s?) The story, which erroneously refers to Omnicom as an advertising agency—it is a multinational, omnipresent, communications conglomerate, dammit!—also says that "some prospective tenants have turned up their noses at the renovated Church Street lobby and its Swarovski crystal chandelier." While there are few specifics as to which of Omnicom's properties would move into the new space, if it includes the Omnicom/DDB Worldwide headquarters at 437 Madison Avenue, that would be yet one more defection from the increasingly ad agency-free Madison Avenue. If I'm not mistaken, the ad industry's "Walk of Ad Icons"—or whatever it's called—is embedded into the sidewalk in front of 437 Madison, isn't it?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks

Wherein we give you Cliff Notes as to what’s worth reading from Monday’s advertising coverage, and nothing that’s not.

From Advertising Age:
Nissan sorta-kinda doesn't think it's marketing is that good. New business directors, better send 'em that reel.

Bob Garfield likes a "slightly effeminate English adult with high-button shoes."

MediaVest takes its anger out on the magazine industry.

Euro RSCG's David Jones has found the woman for him.

From Adweek:
Asked to come up with a hypothetical campaign celebrating Barry Bonds’ imminent breaking of Hank Aaron’s home run record, Daniel Russ of R&R Partners Las Vegas says, “As one who grew up in Atlanta idolizing Hank Aaron, I would implement a media agnostic, tactical, integrated, 360-degree, completely repurpose-able campaign, all tied into Hamburger Helper. Why? Because it's fake, it enhances something that's real, and no one has any respect for it.”

The Clios are going to be really good again—in about two years.

Barbara Lippert thinks Rachael Ray for Dunkin' Donuts is lame-o.

Do worldwide creative directors really matter? Only if you want them to matter.

From The New York Times:
How many people are really in the market to have their cell phone branded with the name of a women's softball team?

Welcome to Adverganza

Welcome to Adverganza, a blog that will try to help out John Wanamaker, even if the guy's been dead since 1922. Wanamaker, a one-time retailer, once said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half." We'll try to figure out which half it was.