Friday, November 16, 2007

Doesn't New Yorker Hotel logo look familiar?

OK, one other post before I go on vacation. Take a look at the logo for the newly-redesigned New Yorker Hotel. (Saw it as part of a banner ad on AdFreak). If I were The New Yorker, I'd consider suing.

It's a beautiful Toyota of Tampa Bay

One more post before I go on vacation. Above: Toyota of Tampa Bay commercial that rips off U2. It's not quite as bad as BofA employees revising the lyrics of "One," but you gotta give these people credit for both revising the lyrics and ripping off the video for "Beautiful Day." Bravo! Via Copyranter.

Buick banner ad intrudes unobtrusively

Found this ad banner on the home page of today. There's nothing exceptional about what it says, but it had a subtle, pulsating feature that did a great job of being unobtrusive and noticeable at the same time. (Hmmm ... oxymoron watch!) In pulsating mode, it just ever so slightly gravitated into the next column, but not so much that it obscured any text. Nice, simple technique. With this post, I'm signing off for awhile—the family is going on vacation next week and there is much to do. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Starbucks TV campaign seems like a waste

I'm finding the whole idea of a national TV campaign for Starbucks a little odd. It's so rare, really, that a brand has such a strong identity before they launch a big brand campaign that advertising seems besides the point. Except if the company is advertising a "buy one latte, get the second one free" promo effort (which it isn't), what news is there about the Starbucks brand that we don't already know? The company told The Wall Street Journal it is doing the campaign because of a slump in sales, but in this case, even that explanation doesn't really wash. We hardly need to be reminded that Starbucks exists; its ads—as in, its stores—are already everywhere.

JC Penney ads rock, while sales suck

So here's the latest example of a long-time advertising conundrum: what if the advertising is great, but the product's sales are slumping? That's the case with JC Penney, which has had some great advertising from Saatchi & Saatchi this year, and just released its best ad to date: this exquisite commercial (I admit, it's so good I don't even want to call it that) about a girl who builds a rocket ship to go see Santa. There are many small details that make this ad extraordinary—that the girl would never be cast for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog, that she wears her prettiest party dress when she's getting in her rocket ship to prepare for her meeting with Santa. And then there's the music. Lots of people know I'm a complete curmudgeon when it comes to the use of Beatles tunes in commercials, but this time, I'm, well, changing my tune. The commercial uses the John Lennon tune "Real Love" and it's used so perfectly that it's obvious great pains were taken to choreograph the action to the song, rather than it just being thrown haphazardly into the mix. He might not even have minded its use. But, as for JC Penney's sales, they decreased "dramatically" in September and October according to this story in Mediapost. Whatever the retailer does to fix its woes, I hope it doesn't include firing the ad agency. No company is going to get better advertising than this.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Honda holds back on the power of water

I don't really get the point of not being able to embed this new Honda spot elsewhere—I mean it has almost 200,000 views so think what it would have if you could? Anyway, the commercial touts the still-in-concept-phase Honda that will run on water. (Which is great, unless you live in Atlanta.) Anywho, go check it out. The gunfight with water pistols replacing actual firearms is a nice touch. I'm spacing on who Honda's domestic agency is. Forgive me.

The Facebook advertiser fans scoreboard! Round two!*

Ok, since people seemed to link to my first Facebook advertiser fans scoreboard, here's round two, which I'm posting more or less a week later. In other words, this is more or less how many fans these advertisers gained in a week. (I may add more but this list is made up of the ones who were Facebook advertisers right out of the gate.) Here goes:

Sprite Sips: 153 fans (last week's tally: 39; still perplexed as to why Mr. Sips holds a spatula).
Blockbuster: 139 fans (last week's tally: 41)
CBS' Amazing Race: 1499 fans (last week's tally: 73)
Epicurious: 193 fans (last week's tally: 74)
Verizon: 477 fans (last week's tally: 74)
The New York Times: 2337 fans ((last week's tally: 582 fans).

Biggest Gainer: Yes! It's Amazing Race!
Biggest Loser by not Gaining that Much: Blockbuster.

Knee-jerk analysis: People really like TV, but good newspapers aren't bad either. Rental movies suck, and drinking soda isn't all that important.

*Study completely unscientific, subject to radical change and chock full o' specious logic.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Watching the wall at fall

By the time is free to the masses, the story will be just another news blip to flip (or more likely scroll) past. Rupert, who doesn't yet own the Journal, told a bunch of his homies in Adelaide yesterday that once he actually owned the joint, he would stop's subscription model and let the ad revenue flow in, which doesn't exactly rate as news since that move is all but assumed, but was covered as though it was. I haven't done the math on this, but I can easily see it making more money as a free site. The content is still coveted, but strangely, every time I've re-upped my sub the last few years I've felt like somewhat of a chump, even knowing I could write it off. I mean, who pays for content anymore? Probably not so many that it offsets the potential ad revenue stream the site could get. And brick-by-brick the wall is coming down even without Rupert's ownership. The Journal has actively sent links to free content to bloggers for several years. Now, I just saw on Mediapost that anyone who Diggs a WSJ story will automatically make the content they're linking to free to anyone who accesses it through Digg. I had once hoped that a subscription model could flourish on the Internet, but it's time to move on.

Do you feel like seeing Frampton for Geico?

God, it must be fun to work on the Geico account.

Accenture to ad agencies: you're doomed

Spent most of yesterday working on stuff that did not involve ad agencies, only to come home and discover that they're all doomed. (Phew! Thank God for other industries!) So anyway, this news--and maybe it's old news--comes by way of Accenture, which, according to Adweek, "interviewed 70 advertising "decision-makers'" about which of several different strains of the media and marketing industry were least likely to cope well with the shift to digital advertising. Forty-three percent picked ad agencies as the sorriest of the lot, followed by broadcasters at 33 percent and cable operators at 10 percent. Stupidly, the survey asked how digital agencies and search advertisers might fare in a digital advertising world, and no one thought they were doomed! Sheesh. I looked on the Accenture Web site in for the study in all its depressing entirety, but alas, I couldn't find it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bring back resurrected Orville Redenbacher!

Come to think about it, maybe ConAgra should have stuck with the creepy, resurrected Orville Redenbacher that Crispin brought back from the dead. The company has actually resorted to airing old Orville ads as bad as this one, but at least, since it's from the 1970s, in this commercial Orville doesn't yammer on about MP3 players. The brand's agency is Venables, Bell and Partners right now. Can't figure out the strategy.

Marks and Spencer brings out some stars

So, Marks and Spencer is airing this somewhat star-studded (is that an oxymoron?) ad to usher in the Christmas season in the U.K. Of course, for those of us stateside, that song, "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" will, strangely, always be associated with that Staples ad from Cliff Freeman and Partners celebrating the start of the school year. Or maybe I just watch too many commercials.

Mac beats up poor little PC

Apple certainly takes the gloves off in this new round of "Get a Mac" ads, even if one of them features the PC as a boxer. (Hey, how consistent was that use of a metaphor?) Actually, I'm starting to feel sorrier for PC every day, and if it catches on, maybe the meteoric rise of Mac sales will slow down. Kidding.

Commemorative ad agency plates ... or something

Whoever it was that suggested to Copyranter that the new "Lies Well Disguised" logo should perhaps be the stylish Alex Bogusky plate at right wasn't too far off the mark. Here at Adverganza Estates, our checkered past includes a lot of strange agency memorabilia, such as this "Truth Well Told" commemorative plate at left, now celebrating its 20th anniversay as a commemorative plate. (In case you didn't get it, "Lies Well Disguised" is a takeoff on the McCann-Erickson slogan, "Truth Well Told." Sheesh! Do I have to explain everything?) BUT, WAIT, THERE'S MORE: I knew that damn Bogusky plate looked familiar.

Bailey's gets all shook up

Here's a spot for Bailey's Adweek wrote about yesterday featuring the facial contortions of a woman shaking a drink in a martini shaker. Particularly because it's in slo-mo, and you can't figure out why her head is going back and forth until the end of the spot, it definitely draws you in—you find yourself needing to stick around to find out what in hell this is all about. The soundtrack doesn't hurt the engagement factor either. Via Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

New structure brings Burnett back 'round again

There's something weirdly back to the future about the restructuring of Leo Burnett under an "open architecture" structure that also encompasses Starcom Mediavest and Digitas with, according to Mediapost, "no default lead." You could ask (OK! I will!), did the whole company get itself over-siloed, and will we see more combines like this going forward? Starcom, of course, started as Burnett's media department. As for Digitas, it's new to the Publicis/Burnett fold, but does anyone remember Giant Step? Back in the 1990s, it was Burnett's digital arm, and one of the most well-regarded in the business; it eventually got merged out of existence. No, I don't think Giant Step, even in its heyday, would ever have held a candle to the pointy-headed data geeks at Digitas, but still, it's odd to contemplate how many big agencies got out of the digital game back in the day, as though the Internet itself had gone away instead of just a whole bunch of get-rich-quick stock options. What goes around comes around, I guess.

Can you find the AT&T souvenir site?

Took a spin this morning on the AT&T site that lets you make customized t-shirts and coffee mugs based on the places you spend your time. (It's a spinoff of the Wes Anderson-directed AT&T campaign themed, "Your Seamless World.") Doubt I'd shell out $17.95 for this "Pelcancy" t-shirt (that's short for Pelham, New Canaan, Quincy), but I guess it's fun enough to play around with the site. AT&T told Adweek that they've sold thousands of t-shirts—the site went live a month ago—but I'm wondering if the whole thing is under-promoted. I actually have tried to find it several times to post about it and I came up empty until I saw the Adweek story. True, AT&T is a huge company, but there's no mention of it on the company home page, or on the home page for its wireless services. It was also referred to as a "souvenir store" in the release that originally announced the launch of the campaign back in September, and yet, if you type that phrase into the search function on the AT&T site, you come up empty. Googling it gives marginally better results. There's no sponsored links about the site; it comes up third in the non-paid links, but hardly describes what it is. Sorry, I'm such a stickler.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks 11.12.07

Wherein I scan the Monday morning headlines so you don't have to (though I'll be a little late with most of them on Monday):

From Advertising Age:

A Q&A with Barry Diller, owner of the most boringly-named Internet company ever.
—What talents do organizations crave in terms of digital? Read this or be made redundant.
—Doritos? A force for good? Well, maybe.
—Do consumers save $2,500 a year by shopping at Wal-Mart? Not necessarily.
—Ford and New Orleans equals zero stars, according to Bob Garfield.

From Adweek:

—Not getting enough viewers from reality, TV networks create virtual worlds.
—Hill, Holliday gets bigger presence with Bank of America.
—A Q&A with Richard Kirshenbaum, in which he reveals the importance of a good haircut.
—A close-up on Wendy's online marketing programs.
—Barbara Lippert likes everything about Target's fashion show featuring holograms, instead of models. Except for the fashion. I've embedded video of it below.

What we hear from The Delaney Report:

—Despite evidence to the contrary, Wendy's execs aren't all necessarily happy with the red wig.
—The relationship between Revlon and Endeavor might not be so strong.
—Some advertisers are skeptical about Facebook.

From Mediapost:

—Mountain Dew launches a dewmocracy, wherein consumers get to create their own new version of the super healthy, non-teeth-decaying soda.
Publicis' Maurice Levy calls Microsoft's Facebook investment "insane," and states the obvious: that there's not enough online ad dollars to support all of the sites that expect ad revenue to be their road to riches.
—Laurie Petersen bolts Mediapost for
—Two groups plan to complain to the FTC about the new ad programs just launched by Facebook and MySpace.

From The New York Times:

Google's masseuse retires because she's so damn rich.
—Now video game magazines are feeling pressure from the Internet.
—Circulation at Philadelphia's two newspapers holds steady, and some say—amazingly enough— it's because of an ad campaign to gain new subscribers.
—Will consumers care about Finra? A new campaign aimed at them hopes that they do. (Naw, I'm not really sure what Finra is either.)
—New Arbitron ratings system shows radio use dropping among blacks and Hispanics.
—New Web site lets people create their own cookbook.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—More on Minyanville.