Friday, November 9, 2007

Droga talks about Honeyshed

Teressa Iezzi at Ad Age's Creativity has a slightly more illuminating take on Honeyshed, the branded entertainment shopping site that Publicis' Droga5 sorta kinda launched a few weeks ago. Droga's explanation of the rationale behind the site: "Everyone is scrambling to do branded content, but for the most part, there is no real home for it. The strategy has mainly been to create entertaining content and then seed it, put it on YouTube or elsewhere. So content is king, but the king didn't really have throne. Our idea was to have a site where you could be overt about the brand. The site gets at the entertainment value and the sociability of shopping." Still love that bra above made out of boxing gloves, though I don't think it's for sale.

Goodby creates new language for Comcast

Saw this cool Comcast "triples language" site from Goodby yesterday, at a creative panel at ad:tech (hey, I finally noticed that ad:tech dropped the "@" sign .... the old log was sooooo 1999). Whoops. Got way off point. Anyway, everything about this Comcast site—which promotes the Comcast "triple play" offering—rocks. The navigation, the amusing word plays, and the videos. It centers around behaviors that people indulge in once they have phone, Internet and TV from Comcast. A few examples:

Wi-fiving: Instant messaging a friend to celebrate a specific part of a TV program, usually a sporting contest.
Tomphonery: Calling a friend on the phone to hear their reaction to an obnoxious email.
Karaocasting: Singing karaoke On Demand while broadcasting it on your Webcam.

You can enter your own word and see if it gets added to the site. I submitted "postatubing" which is the act of writing posts while watching cable, an activity you can depend on me doing at least several night a week, which explains why so many Adverganza posts make no sense at all. If it gets added, you can bet I'll be wi-fiving.

Here's what happened to the Dell Dude

I don't sit around much thinking about what might up with the Dell Dude, but hey, if you do, I've got news: he's working at Tortilla Flats in New York. (It's a Mexican restaurant, natch.) In this exclusive interview with New York magazine, el Dude sums up his peculiar ride from computer pitchman to bartender, with soundbites such as this:

Do people quote [the commercial] to you?
They get really drunk, and they’ll start yelling things at me. I either ignore them, or if it’s way out of hand, I go up and say, “I appreciate your support, but my name is Ben.” That usually doesn’t work so I smile and ignore them.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Omnicom goes native to set up global digital shop

Brian Morrissey at Adweek has a story this morning about a new global digital creative shop that Omnicom is setting up called Redurban. That's already the name of an Amsterdam-based shop that will serve as the agency's home base. Omnicom bought apparently bought it in the first quarter, but I don't think anyone was paying much attention—most of the big news around then was about Publicis buying Digitas. The only other existing office in the network is the Tribal DDB spinoff shop Virion in Dallas, which handles Arby's to avoid conflict with McDonald's. Other offices in key markets London and New York are being opened. Omnicom isn't going on the record about all this yet (even though the Red Urban home page—pictured above—already reflects the change), but according to our good friend "sources", the aim is to "form a global digital operation along the lines of AKQA, with strong expertise in marketing and creative." Hell, it's a lot cheaper than buying AKQA. OK. Off to @d:tech. Later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Once upon a time, ads were about storytelling

It was fun listening to Universal McCann CEO Nick Brien rattle a few cages in his opening keynote at @d:tech on Tuesday. Among those shaken a bit: the current structure of the advertising business and people say the business, "Is all about storytelling. It's not. It's about exceptional experiences." Take that!

The Facebook advertiser fans scoreboard!*

Facebook wouldn't let me into its press conference about the reinvention of advertising, but I remain undaunted. Therefore, I'm debuting, the first, and maybe last, edition of the Facebook advertiser fans scoreboard, in which we see which advertiser—among those who have already built a profile page on the site—has gotten the most fans. (Advertisers don't get friends on Facebook like the rest of us, apparently. They get fans.) OK, here's the rundown, as of last night:

Sprite Sips: 39 friends (Mr. Sips, who for some reason appears to be holding a spatula, is pictured above)
Blockbuster: 41 friends
CBS' The Amazing Race: 73 fans, including Patrick Keane
Epicurious and Verizon: tied at 74 fans.

And the winner, by a landslide, is ...

The New York Times
with 582 fans!

Congrats NYT! Keep up the good work!

*Study completely unscientific and subject to radical change.

Here are Ellen DeGeneres' live Toyota spots

Found the two "live" commercials Ellen DeGeneres did on her show for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The first is above; you can watch the second by clicking here. From what I read, it was DeGeneres' idea to hearken back to the live-on-tape commercials of old, and at the beginning of the one above, she riffs briefly on all of the old talk show hosts, each of whom would tell viewers "about his favorite brand of cigarettes." In DeGeneres' hands (as long as she doesn't cry about dogs during the same show), the gambit surely works. One, because she's such a deft comedienne, and two, because, unlike endorsers in days of yore, it's more likely that the live pitch-person actually believes in the product. Oh, and there's a third thing--that the commercial is way intrusive. My only question is ... what would David Letterman endorse? Saatchi & Saatchi helped, but make no mistake, this is DeGeneres' show.

Radiohead downloaders: good content not worth the price

So, comScore tracked downloads of Radioheads's pay-what-you-want album, In Rainbows, and it seems that most people don't even think a Radiohead album is worth paying for. Only 38 percent of people who downloaded the album paid anything for it. The rest paid an average of $4.64 cents—hardly what they'd pay if they had been forced to pay. Depressing.

Presidential candidates: dumb about search

Pitiful story in Newsweek this week about how the presidential candidates use search—or not. Seems that only John McCain has discovered the search equivalent of attack advertising—by buying the names of other contenders—in an effort to collect campaign donations. The rest are just buying their own names, almost as if it was a one contender race. I couldn't articulate the cluelessness of this any better than Peter Leyden, a mucky-muck with something called the New Politics Institute, who is quoted in the story: "It's amazing how many people don't buy their name and the name of their opponents. That's a no-brainer."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I was rejected from the Facebook press conference

Apparently I don't really rate because I was rejected from the Facebook press conference today, in which they re-invented advertising. Here are the stories, posted late in the day, from Ad Age, Adweek and The New York Times. A quick glance at them seems to indicate that Facebook has discovered the profile page--as in the advertising model that MySpace has employed for several years. There are, of course, differences. As with the sponsored groups that these advertiser pages will more or less replace, when a person on Facebook counts an advertiser as a friend it will be included in the news feeds that all of that person's Facebook friends get about his or her activities. In addition, and this is where it gets really viral or really icky--depending on your point of view--is that that person's Facebook friends will see ads from the advertiser that their friend is a friend of--including, to use the Times' example: "A photo of Bobby and the fact that he likes the Prius." I dunno. It sounds like the kind of thing that would make me want to avoid asking any Facebook advertiser to be my friend. Apparently, a small group of advertisers, including Sprite, are going live on the site now. I didn't find the Sprite site, but if a Sprite home page is loaded onto Facebook and no one makes friends with it, does it make a sound?

Aww, look at @d:tech, all grown up!

It's been a long time since I went to @d:tech, and the last time I attended, it was probably one of the ultra-geeky ones in San Francisco, so I guess I went to it today in New York to see, to an extent, whether it was grown-up. Being the person who covered interactive for mainstream trades like Adweek and Ad Age, going to @d:tech was always like entering parallel universe. While the mainstream industry was still taking about reach and frequency, over at @d:tech the talk was of ad serving technologies and search engine optimization--the advertising almost seemed incidental to the technology. Well, @d:tech has grown up--at least in terms of the speakers it attracts. A running joke, in fact, in the opening keynote with Universal McCann chief Nick Bierne, was that Bierne had asked to speak at the conference in 1999 and been rejected. Also speaking today: Ted McConnell, director of interactive innovations at Procter & Gamble; Curt Hecht, chief digital officer of GM Planworks; Stuart Elliott (I dunno, does he really need introduction); Carla Hendra, of Ogilvy; Nielsen's Susan Whiting and NBC Universal's Beth Comstock. What I'm not as convinced of--from scanning nametags in the packed hallways, hotel lobby (see picture), and exhibit halls (which themselves overflowed into the hallways), was how many mainstream ad types are there. I'll report back more on @d:tech tomorrow.

Microsoft's Zune looks inward for answers

You may have read that Microsoft has dropped its old Zune advertising emphasizing, its social, file-sharing side, maybe because, as David Becker at Wired pointed out, "that for song-sharing to work you need to have several Zune owners in the same place at the same time." Something which obviously hasn't happened due to Zune's lousy sales. Now, it's all about personalization, or the inward Zune. Anyway, the spot above might be pretty cool, if the iPod didn't exist. But I could do without the room full of fluffy, pink bunnies, which look like they belong in a commercial for Rozerem with that gopher and Abe Lincoln. Via McCann-Erickson's T.A.G. OK, I'm off to @d:tech for the rest of the day. See ya.

Dove meets the Axe Effect, and it ain't pretty

OK, this had to happen. A guy named Rye Clifton has cut together this takeoff on Dove's recently-released "Onslaught" video—interspersing imagery from Axe advertising as part of the female-as-bimbo imagery. Via Adland. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Here's a story from today's Sacramento Bee about the Axe/Dove, uh, dichotomy. Somehow knew this controversy wasn't going to just go away quietly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Same lawsuit, totally different interpretations

It's not that often that you see such divergent write-ups of the same basic story. But that's exactly what happened with Ad Age's and Adweek's accountings of Biegel vs. Dentsu this week. In case you've been living in a cave, Steve Biegel, a former Dentsu creative director, sued the agency for sexual harassment last week, citing forced trips to brothels and bathhouses during business trips, arranged by a superior, Toyo Shigeta, who, along with North American CEO Tim Andree, is named as a defendant in the case. To hear Ad Age tell it, Biegel is a married father, who coaches his son's flag football team and finds himself now fighting a huge corporation that will do anything to stop him from winning the case. Adweek's account comes off as being almost completely dismissive of Biegel's claims. It portrays him as a disgruntled ex-employee who concocted a list of outrageous charges in an attempt to get more severance after he was dismissed by Andree. "If Steve Biegel had exhibited as much creativity and effort when he worked here as he has on manufacturing this frivolous complaint, the company would not have fired him," Andree told Adweek. To understand why these two reports would be so different, you have to look at the very short, boring history of Dentsu and the ad trades. While agency reporters spend many hours speculating about the fate of Lowe, or the latest management change at Young & Rubicam, Dentsu has never really warranted much scrutiny, or interest; the execs at the agency weren't exactly the kind you spent quality time cozying up to. But in mid-September, Adweek ran a story of over 5000 words about Dentsu's aspirations to finally matter on the global stage. It not only quotes Andree extensively, but also included a visit to Dentsu's Tokyo headquarters. Ad Age's acquaintance with Andree boils down to a few mentions in stories about management reshufflings, and one account of a reporter being stuck in an elevator with him and a bunch of PR people. I'm not taking sides here—the fact is, I know people at both publications and know how hard their jobs are. But a little insight goes a long way.

It's not a g-Phone, it's a g-Idea

Don't read this if you're trying to figure out what Google's phone product will look like, and don't turn to Google either. Today came the announcement of the Google gPhone, but rather than being about an actual product that you can hold in your hand like an iPhone, it's basically an operating system called Android which is going to be developed among several dozen companies. Those meetings are going to be fun! Anyway, the OS will make it possible "to deliver advertising on a mobile device," according to Google's Ethan Beard. Sorry if I can hardly contain my glee.

In Orange spot, Culkin shows ageless appeal

Meant to post this spot last week, but never quite got to it. It's for the telecommunications giant Orange in the U.K. and stars Macaulay Culkin. Good for Culkin in making fun of the fact that some people will always treat him like a 7-year-old.

Ben Relles, viral video superstar

This whole Ben Relles thing is getting kinda meta. Now, Relles is one of the contestants of the "Battle of the Viral Video Superstars" which is being sponsored by Canon on YouTube. The premise is that two teams, made up of said superstars, will duke it out over three days to shoot the best viral video of all time. Or close. Actually, the mission statement, as stated on the Canon site is, "If they were to shut down the Internet next week, what would your last post be?" Well, given that Relles has been associated with both one of the best (Obama Girl), and the worst (the pitch video for Subway, which, sadly is no longer online) kind of illustrates that these guys could come out with some real crap. As for Relles, he's a former online ad guy who made a really bad video while in advertising who is now starring in a viral ad campaign. See what I mean by meta?

Not funny: ad featuring Madeleine McCann

Been meaning to post about this for a few days since, in the annals of bad taste, this ad campaign, even it is a spoof, is in spectacularly bad taste. It features a line of products inspired by Madeleine McCann, the little British girl who went missing when she was on holiday with her family. I know the spread pictured here is in German, so I'll translate: the ad for the household cleaner makes the claim that it's a cleanser "against which DNA tests have no chance." To give this all some context, the ad was created by a German, uh, humor magazine called Titanic, which said the ad was "not aimed at the little girl, but against the media machine that surrounds her." Uh, OK.

This just in: Roehm and Wal-Mart stop suing each other

Just found this out at Unfortunately, the story, in its entirety, is subscription-only, though it should be all over the net within the nanosecond.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 11.05.07

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

From Advertising Age:

—More, yes, more on Biegel vs. Dentsu.
—NBC, Omnicom work on TV series about advertising. No, it's not "Mad Men, II."
Facebook, the Superstore?
—Toyota gets all touchy, feely, ironically enough, in new campaign from Dentsu.
Is Detroit over as a media-buying mecca?
—Garfield gives one of the new Toyota spots, two stars for eco-consciousness which is, well, unbelievable.

From Adweek:

Adweek's take on Biegel vs. Dentsu, which departs, quite dramatically, from the events as we know them thus far.
—A Q&A with Mediacom U.S. CEO Doug Checkeris.
—Euro RSCG and 4D, together at last.
—Michael Roth lowers his margin target.
—Barbara Lippert hates everything about "Bee Movie" promos except for that H-P spot.

From Mediapost:

—Ellen DeGeneres approaches Toyota about doing live TV ads. The company accepts.
—General Mills embarks on kiddie CGM for the Fruit Roll-Ups brand.
—Is the GPhone announcement today?
—Oprah launches a channel on YouTube.
—MTV Networks embraces C3.

What we hear from The Delaney Report:

—Mark Wnek discusses his plans for Lowe.
—A bank you've never heard of, Fifth Third Bank Corp., goes into review.
—Dean Foods maybe/possibly looking for an agency.

From The New York Post:

—Bay Area start-up launches word-of-mouth marketing it calls ""conversational targeting."

From The New York Times:

—A multi-media effort featuring Netflix, a zillion magazines, Philips and so on and so forth. Looks like a win-win-win-win-win ...
—NBC goes green, including its logo.
—Chris Anderson of Wired takes his ire out on PR people, blocking flacks from Edelman, 5W Public Relations, Fleishman-Hillard, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Weber Shandwick from emailing him anything, ever.

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

InterActive Corp., world's most boringly-named company, to split into five companies.
—How social networks are coming up with new revenue models.