Friday, October 26, 2007

Jarvis revistis Dell, likes what he sees

Finally getting around to posting about Jeff Jarvis' new opinion that Dell Hell has turned to Dell Swell. As you might recall, Jarvis went on a one-man jihad (although of course, he soon gathered an army of outraged Dell owners) against Dell a few years ago when the company proved at best, inept in handling the matter of his melting laptop. Now, he admits in BusinessWeek, Dell gets it, having honest dialogue with its customer base and also taking concrete, real-world action that resolves customer issues more quickly and more pleasantly. (Jarvis went down to Dell's Round Rock, Texas headquarters and interviewed Michael Dell in a video accompanying the story.) Like millions of other people, I've recently experienced this first-hand, when I took a flyer at calling Dell when my desktop PC, way beyond warranty at 5-plus years old, simply stopped one day. (Don't use it much except for my vast iTunes collection, but wanted it to work anyway.) What amazed me was that they actually stayed on the line for me twice, in two free phone calls of at least 45 minutes, as we troubleshot the thing, and even opened the CPU and started fooling around with the hard drive. So far, it looks like the computer may be destined for the great beyond, but it isn't dying for lack of interest on behalf of Dell. Impressive.

eBay really wed to "Shop Victoriously"

I guess eBay is really taking BBDO's "Shop Victoriously" campaign seriously. They've put the tag line up on every page of the site.

GI Jonny informs, protects, disgusts

The video that I'm linking to here is Not Safe For Work. Repeat: Not Safe for Work!!! However, you could look at it under the guise of work, since it's allegedly a safe sex campaign from the U.K. featuring action figures as the protagonists, and made by a shop called The Viral Factory, which obviously knows what they're doing, as it's getting lotsa views. However, a source close to Adverganza's thinking points out that the video ... let's see ... emulates these two videos created awhile back by es/drake in Boise. So check out Action Teen Father and Teen Mommy Darci. These are safe for work and hilarious take-offs on children's toy advertising.

If you're a little lad who loves berries 'n' creme

Can't believe I never stumbled across this video, but, hey, no time like the present. It's the "little lad" from the Starburst Berries 'n' Creme commercial giving instruction on how to do the little lad dance. It was posted about six months ago and has an impressive 2.2 million views. Not surprisingly, there are dozens of videos up on YouTube that, in one way or another, pay homage to the original spot. One not particularly good remix has almost 1.5 million views.) Here's a link to a relatively new spot for Sour Starburst. Assume that, too, is from TBWA/Chiat/Day. It's no "Berries 'n' Creme," but then again, nothing is.

Check out Honeyshed; QVC for the rest of us

Hmmm ... this Honeyshed thing is ... what's the word? ... different. It's QVC for people who don't watch QVC because it's actually fun to watch. Consider this explanation of boxing gloves for the Nintendo Wii, where the presentation is decidedly "street": The glove is "easy like a condom, you just slip on in." I don't even know what some of the videos on the site are selling, but I took the screen grab above because I thought the bra made out of boxing gloves was a new twist on fashion. The videos are embeddable, which is smart, except that the default on them is to automatically play, and I shy away from posting those. Anyway, go on your own time and check it out. Honeyshed, in case you haven't been reading your ad news, is a site developed by Publicis, Droga5 and Digitas. It launched last night in beta. Wonder what kind of revenue cut they'll get from promoting these products, but at the very least, good for them for doing something that is, truly, different and ambitious instead of the same tired approaches to advertising. BUT, WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Experience Matters isn't buying what David Droga is selling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What people who ride Harleys believe

Intrigued by the video on the Harley-Davidson site, which presents what you could describe as "The Harley-Davidson Manifesto." Some of the copy lines in it really sound over the top unless accompanied by the electric guitar and visuals in the film itself. Take, for instance, "We believe in wearing black because it doesn't show any dirt. Or weakness" or "Some of us believe in the man upstairs; all of us believe in sticking it to the man down here" or "We believe in bucking the system that’s built to smash individuals like bugs on a windshield." Still, the film has an undeniable power, particularly—and I suppose exclusively—to the converted.

Does anyone care about Wikipedia's appeal?

For the past few days or so, Wikipedia has been running its version of a telethon: an appeal for people to donate money to the site—especially to build up its foreign language editions. I wish 'em all the luck in the world, but I'm wondering if the success of this appeal only lies in proving that no one wants to pay for content. So far, slightly under 4000 people have donated, out of a pool of visitors that's in the tens of millions. (According to Nielsen/NetRatings, the site had roughly 31 million visits last month domestically in both its work and home panels.) Meanwhile, as of this writing no one has actually viewed the YouTube upload of the appeal, which is also running on the Wikipedia site itself.

Diddy to guide Ciroc vodka brand

Speaking of CMOs, Diddy is becoming, more or less, the CMO of Diageo's Ciroc vodka. Apparently he held a press conference yesterday in which he said of his plans to make the vodka the official vodka of New Year's Eve: " "When the ball drops, if you're not drinking Ciroc vodka, you're not drinking New Year's Eve the right way." Anyway, there's a full Q&A with him on the Ad Age site.

How much Coke CMO Tripodi is making

There's a story at this morning outlining the compensation of new Coke CMO Joe Tripodi (I don't mean he's the CMO of "new Coke." Ha. You'll get that joke if you were around in the 1980s.) But I'm digressing again. Here's why it might be worth taking the job, even if you only last, say, the two years that CMOs keep their jobs these days.

Base salary: $525,000.
Bonus: $500,000 within first 30 days of employment.
Deferred compensation plan: one-time $2 million contribution.
Restricted stock grant: One-time donation of $2 million.
Stock options: One-time award of an estimated $1.5 million.
Other benefits: paid relocation costs, country club membership, pension, yada, yada yada.

Even just adding up the numbers that are disclosed, that's more than $6.5 million. Hey, I'd take that job.

C'mon Wendy's, the people want their wigs!

Another quick word about red wigs: they're hot, and the people want to wear them. Saw a surge in traffic here on Adverganza yesterday, and from what I could tell, it was due to two factors (well, three if you count my astoundingly astute writing abilities. Um. Yeah.). Here they are: a link to my most recent Wendy's red wig post by Brand Flakes for Breakfast (thanks) and a lot of people doing searches for "Wendy's red wig," "Wendy's official wig,"—and most tellingly, given that Halloween is only six days away—"Wendy's red wig for sale."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is this Gap t-shirt a vessel for, um, content?

Got an email pitching me on buying this t-shirt today from the Gap, and I'm wondering—if logos are becoming vessels for content—is it completely obvious that this t-shirt is part of Product(RED)? Or isn't it? The reason the shirt says (2 weeks) on it is that the contribution from each t-shirt bought pays for two weeks of AIDS drugs. It's a limited edition, though I don't know if the shirt is on sale for only two weeks.

Why didn't someone else cut a deal with Nielsen?

Here's the thing I don't understand about the alliance announced today by Google and Nielsen to, as The New York Times put it, "give advertisers a more vivid and accurate snapshot than ever before of how many people are viewing commercials on a second-by-second basis, and who those people are." The thing I don't get is: why did everybody wait around and then let Google—which , on the surface, doesn't have that much of a vested interest in TV measurement—do it? Initially, Google and Nielsen will only be gathering data from some set-top boxes in Echostar's DISH network, but I'm sure that won't calm fears that Google is out to "get" the ad and media industries. Not surprisingly, the Times' version of events (it broke the story), is the most emailed of today's business stories so far—probably being shared by people, who, rather than viewing this as an honest attempt at developing deeper TV measurement, see it as the latest evidence that Google's world domination is at hand. The people in the media industry have no one to blame but themselves for not being first to do this. As it was when ABC first announced it would make its shows available for download on iTunes, expect a rash of similar deals to follow.

Another politically-incorrect alcohol campaign

I'm looking at this Canadian Club print campaign and wondering if we're seeing a trend: of overtly politically-incorrect alcohol ads. Ad Age points out the obvious: that this campaign is very, very "Mad Men." If the pictures don't get the point across, there's the headline: "Your Mom wasn't your Dad's first." Of course, sex in alcohol advertising seems almost as old as sex itself, but there's a huge leap (into the sack) between this campaign and, say, Miller Lite's "Cat Fight" of a few years back. Same with the Partida "Tequila Confessions" campaign I posted about last week, in which a guy admits having a child in Chicago because of a night he drank too much tequila. Well, you know what your mother—the same one that wasn't your Dad's first—always said: Honesty is the best policy. Created by Energy BBDO Chicago.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"3-minute 'Ad Age'" worth checking out

This 3-minute Ad Age video experiment is kind of interesting. As the name should demonstrate, it sums up the day's ad news stories in three minutes. The first installment was yesterday, and, day two is here covering the Bob Dylan/Cadillac ad, Interpublic's alliance with BzzAgent, Downy sponsoring telenovellas, and the writers' strike in Hollywood. The downside is that even if you routinely spend three minutes a day on the major ad news sites, it seems like a much longer time when you don't have as much ability to manipulate the content. On the other hand, it's a nice break from scrolling through pages of online text. Another plus: it allows to exploit the market for online advertising video, which isn't all that easy for advertising sites. Who wants to watch a pre-roll commercial as a pre-amble to checking out a commercial? Both installments I've seen had 15-second ads, from VideoEgg and Better.TV respectively. Not a bad start.

Lee Clow dreams of a golden iguana

I'm not up on all that is Lee Clow so I didn't know the TBWA/Chiat/Day creative guru had plans to start what he's defining as a "Media Arts Festival" in Mexico because, he says, ""I resent going to France to celebrate advertising." But now that I've read Adweek, I'm all caught up--and he pictures a golden iguana as the top prize. First, I wanted to mention that I've been to the Cannes confab only once but--being not as well traveled as Clow--I wasn't resentful in the slightest. Anyway, the term "media arts" is Clow's way of describing what it is he believes people in advertising are really up to these days, and was the basis of his keynote speech at Adweek's annual Creative Conference. "Everything we do now is media," he said. Part of me really thinks that's true, but the evil part of me just says, "There go those ad guys again trying to pretend they're not in advertising." Some of the agency's work for, say, Apple, is entertaining enough to qualify as media, but, I ask ya, aren't the agency's commercials for Nissan pretty much just commercials?

Should obesity effort pack fatter punch?

Insightful piece from Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press asking whether the current "Small Steps" campaign to combat obesity is, as the headline says, "Too Soft on Fat." Instead of, using the in-your-face tactics of throat-hole guy or the Montana Meth Project, campaigns which have a concept that can be summed up as "gross out," this one shows cute little blobs of flesh—a butt in the Second Life adaptation shown above—which have gotten "lost" because their former owners have slimmed down. Each vignette is followed by one small step that can be taken toward controlling one's weight, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The campaign, done by McCann-Erickson and the Ad Council on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, is certainly memorable—after all, it's not often that you see a disembodied butt on the sidewalk. However, in terms of fighting the problem of obesity, you can certainly argue that it's not a very impactful campaign. "It's so namby-pamby I think people will shrug it off," says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in the story. The Ad Council counters that people are so overwhelmed by the prospect of losing weight that the small steps featured in the campaign help combat the problem.

Don't you forget:: Burnett smoked only Marlboros

Have no idea why is devoting space today to this story about Leo Burnett—the man, not the agency—but it has good insights into his approach to client loyalty. Just one question: did the guy who offered Burnett another brand of cigarette during the meeting with Marlboro get fired?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Skeleton new Craftsman spokes-creature

Don't know that I'll be walking through Times Square this Halloween season, but if I did, supposedly I'd see a 22-story version of this ad—an ad for Sears Craftsman made entirely out of the brand's tools. There are other components to this campaign—including the alleged selling of skeleton t-shirts at the Web site (I couldn't find it)—but surely, a 22-story ad is the most noteworthy. Would be really cool if it was carrying a chainsaw. Created by Young & Rubicam.

Wendy's red wig not officially for the public

As you may have noticed, I've been digging the Wendy's "Red Wig" campaign for awhile. As predicted, Wendy's red wigs are for sale for $29.99, presumably for Halloween, but unlike when Burger King started selling King Masks a few years back, these aren't for sale from Wendy's Instead, Wendy's wants the wig to stand for empowered consumers while at the same time controlling its distribution. I found a link to the "Wendy's approved Red Wing Local Activation package," which provides franchisees with all the whimsy and red hair from the commercials for a lo, lo $20. It contains: "One official Red Wig, reference worksheet for Red Wig and Wendy usage and 'Dos and Don'ts'[sic] , one DVD of Red Wig performances as a reference for appropriate style and behavior, talk points/script to guide your local Red Wig talent." The site selling the package makes clear, "WIGS ARE NOT INTENDED FOR THE PUBLIC." If that weren't enough, the site links to this Usage Guide written by Wendy's vp/brand management Bob Holtcamp. He says that the wig "is something that is most effective when it appears (my emphasis) to come from consumers." God forbid that it actually did come from consumers.

Be afraid! It's Bob Dylan for Cadillac!

This Cadillac Escalade ad/short film starring Bob Dylan is scaring me. Just in time for Halloween, I guess. Created by Modernista.

'Portfolio' finally covers ad business!

The story about the marketing and branding behind the New Museum of Contemporary Art in the current issue of Portfolio, isn't much, but at least it's a start. I've been waiting, waiting, waiting for Portfolio to acknowledge the industry's existence and was about to chastise all of you for being too boring to write about, but you're temporarily off the hook. The story is made less interesting by the fact The New York Times already covered it last week, still there's a fun sidebar of what ideas from branding agency Wolff Olins, and creative agency Droga5 got shot down. Wolff Olins rejectees: small speaker announcing lead donors, staffers wearing bright sashes of museum's logo, just calling the museum "New." Droga5 rejectees: cut a silhouette of the new building out of a billboard, something about artists sculpting "refrigerators in the shape of the building as an homage to the neighborhood's history as a restaurant-supply district."OK with me that the world is without that one.

Yes, people do actually leave Google

Don't know who in the ad industry attended the Web 2.0 Summit last week, but probably would've made many in advertising happy to know that occasionally people actually leave Google rather than flocking to it like moths to a flame. In fact, the conference, which was held in San Francisco, actually devoted a whole panel to why Googlers might become ex-Googlers. The panelists included former Google ad strategist Patrick Keane, who is now evp/cmo at CBS Interactive. Said Keane, ""The financial incentives are important ... but I think there are bigger things—not that Google isn't a big thing."BTW, I scanned the list of speakers at the event (go to this link and scroll down), and while it was really impressive—anyone ever hear of Rupert Murdoch, or Steve Ballmer, or John Doerr?—it was utterly lacking in people from the advertising industry. Only ones I found were Brian McAndrews and Curt Viebranz, who run online advertising businesses from the publisher side. To me, something's wrong with this picture.

IAB: Nothing new in 'New York Times' story

Randy Rothenberg did a quick turnaround post this morning on his Interactive Advertising Bureau "clog" saying that there is nothing all that new under the sun when it comes to audience measurement discrepancies—and that the story in today's New York Times doesn't point out that the IAB has been working with the major services to resolve measurement issues. Of course, as a former New York Times' ad columnist, Rothenberg makes sure to point out how difficult summing up big, thorny issues such as Web metrics can be, saying, "if you think it’s so easy to summarize a history of the world in 750 words, try it someday."

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 10.22.07

Wherein I scan the headlines, so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age (They seem not to have updated the "This Week's Issue" page, so don't go there unless you're feeling nostalgic—for last week. I can't find some new content, like Garfield, but will update later):

—Who the hot independent digital shops are. Well, after this story, they may not be independent for long.
—"Bum, bum, bum, another one bites the dust." And this time it's Yahoo CMO Carrie Dunaway.
—Ouch, that hurts! Coke making t-shirts out of recycled bottles.
—A new video show: Ad Age in 3 minutes.
—Jonah Bloom on why he hated Al Gore's ANA speech, and why Randy Rothenberg should do some ANA programming.

From Adweek:

Ten emerging agency talents. Let's see how long they stay at their current jobs.
—What media agency execs really think about C3.
Scion's alternative media channels, which don't include what many think of as alternative media channels.
Barbara Lippert guffaws over the new Jeep Liberty campaign.

From Mediapost:

Wal-Mart threatens legal action on sites that post sales deals before the Monday before Black Friday. The sites are fighting back.
Valerie Bertinelli joins Rachael Ray's show as a "celebrity content buddy." Huh?

From The New York Times:

—If only sites could get their audience counts straight.
—The French may not love EuroDisney, but they love "Ratatouille."
—Why film directors are showing a renewed interest in directing commercials.
—AT&T offers the Napster catalog for wireless download.

From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required, unless otherwise noted):

—Advertisers want Web metrics that tell them more.
Making over professional tennis' ATP tour.
Commercial-free radio is thriving. Free.
Walt Mossberg is fed up with cell phone carriers having so much control. Free.