Friday, February 8, 2008

Look away ... it's Sunsilk-ified MySpace

Forgot to post this a few days ago: the incredibly inane, obnoxious Sunsilk buy on the home page of MySpace, which compelements the incredibly inane, obnoxious Sunsilk Super Bowl spot. It was up on the site earlier this week. Thankfully, no more.

Better than attaching jumper cables to nipples

One of my least favorite Super Bowl ads was the one for Amp Energy Drink showing some guy attaching jumper cables to his nipples. I dunno, maybe it's just me. I like the Amp commercial above far better, not only because it doesn't really have a gross-out factor, but because it's much clearer about what Amp does. (I'm not an energy drink afficionado, OK?) The Super Bowl spot, by contrast, is so focused on shocking people that the line that connects cause to effect somehow isn't so clear.

Yeah ... Eli Manning's going to Disney World

I guess this ad is obligatory by this point—on the other hand, I wasn't entirely sure Disney was still doing these, until I saw this during a commercial break of "Hannah Montana" last night. Yeah, I was watching "Hannah Montana" last night. Still can't figure out why. Via BestAds.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Global Al-Qaeda account in review?

As Tom Delaney might say, "Shops might poke around Al-Qaeda ... "

Calm down people, REM didn't write the song

So, I saw this Toyota Sequoia spot the other day which used REM's "Superman" as the soundtrack. Kept hoping it was for a hybrid Sequoia or something maybe green-friendly that would explain this stunning error in judgment—but no. What had happened? Had REM sold out? Had Michael Jackson bought the band's catalog? Turns out that when REM recorded the tune in 1986 for Lifes Rich Pageant, they were covering a song by some band called The Clique from 1969. I feel like I should've known they didn't write that song—then again, it's been quite a few decades since I had the time to obsessively study liner notes. Anyway ... phew!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Bowl advertisers buy search

I always expect to be unimpressed by major advertisers and their interest in search. Or lack thereof. So, I was surprised to find this list of advertisers pop up when I Googled the term "Super Bowl commercials." Good work, people. You're learning.

Found! Someone who loves CareerBuilder ad!

Still mystified by that CareerBuilder ad on the Super Bowl that showed the heart leaping out of a woman's chest and quivering on her keyboard. (It's above.) In unison: "EEEEWWWWWWWWWW." Now that we've gotten that out of our systems, the thing that's perplexing about it isn't that it exists--it's that Wieden + Kennedy did it. It's as though, for a lark, the creative team on this spot decided to go slumming by pretending they worked at the schlockiest agency they could think of (insert name of shlocky agency here). But there is someone who actually likes the ad: "Your heart can tell you an awful lot about which way to go," says Nancy Colasurdo, Life Coach at FOXBusiness, in gushing over the ad. (I always find that title highly suspicious). "That’s why you hear people on the right career path say things like, 'I love what I do.' Love equals heart. Get it?" Yeah, got it, but that doesn't mean my heart has to jump out of my shirt to let me know.

BigFoot meets a Jeep Liberty


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some thoughts on the new

If you've read some of my previous posts about my former employer Adweek, than you're probably expecting me to rip the new Adweek site to shreds. But sorry folks, I'm not going to do that. The relaunched Web site, which went up over the weekend, isn't perfect, but it's loads better than what came before it. Even the biggest grousers out there have to admit that. The old home page, as the years went by, became more and more cluttered, as content had to be shoehorned into places it probably was never meant to go. The new Web site actually has white space and displays more content than the old site.

In fact, that's the site's biggest achievement--bringing more content to the home page. My frustrations with the old were almost endless (and I think those thoughts were shared by insiders and outsiders alike), but one of the most unfortunate things was that, if you cared to click on links to "creative", "digital," and so forth you'd actually find some good content, but you had to know the site backwards and forwards to find it. The old home page seemed capable of holding about four to five main stories, and a few links, many of which changed every couple of months, if that fast; the new one has 17 stories and or video streams, and a whole batch of headlines as well. It sounds like it should be a cluttered mess, but it's not. Also the nav bar at the top displays where more content lies if you mouse over it. A big improvement.

The publication has also cleaned up the morass that was the archive. I don't know how many people other than reporters have habitually used the archive, but I always felt the Web site probably lost loads of traffic because of a key fault: you could only get content for more than three months previous by using the "advanced search" option. How many people over the years simply thought that the story didn't exist in the archive, because it never occurred to them that the basic search option didn't go back any further?

Do I see faults in the site as it's presented today? Absolutely. As streaming video is the hot thing on Web sites right now, the appearance on the site is that there's very little video available. This actually isn't true--if you drill down far enough, you'll find that just like Ad Age, has full streams of all the Super Bowl spots, but it's hard to find. And the big video box, which features Tom Carroll, is only populated with his Q&A and an introduction to the new Adweek by editor Alison Fahey. It should have been far more populated at launch, and it should also include links to creative video there as well. The assumption on an advertising site, is that video, first and foremost, means ads, but for some reason the site treats video of ad exec talking heads as separate from creative. Second, there are several stories referencing Super Bowl ads, which either don't link to the specific spots or use a still to tell the story, such as this one for E*Trade. In 2008, you can't get away with that anymore. People expect they are going to be able to stream the spot the person is writing about right then and there. This may be easier to do on a blog, but it doesn't matter. You have to meet the consumer expectation on this.

At this stage, it's hard to see whether Adweek's expanded CGM (or is that agency-generated media?) gambit will work Among the site's new features is the ability to upload advertising content and critique it. Agencies can update their profiles on the site too.

But the site's biggest problem is that it's launching in 2008, rather than a few years ago. While the site is driving down generally the right road, the blogs, and Ad Age have been miles ahead for some time now. To invoke another metaphor, Adweek is playing catch-up ball and it may be too late in the game for the brand to come from behind. I've pasted a chart here from Alexa showing comparative traffic of, and over the last three months. Can that gap be made up?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Adverganza's, er, Monday morning picks, 02.04.08

Monday morning picks now available late Monday night! Sorry about the delay. It's been one of those days/weeks/months:

From Advertising Age:

—Microsoft can go and buy Yahoo all it wants and it'll still have less revenue than Google. Ha!
—Bud Light campaign accused of plagiarizing, like, five other campaigns, which means it plagiarized a plagiarizer, which plagiarized a plagiarizer, which plagirized a plagiarizer, which plagiarized a plagiarizer, which plagiraizer a plagiaraizer. Gee, that's kinda viral.
—Bob Garfield's complete rundown of Super Bowl commercials. He's not happy. You can watch a post-game video of him ranting here.
—Nokia thinks it should narrow down its digital roster from 500 shops. Sounds good to me.
—I cannot believe that Wieden + Kennedy did that horrible Career Builder follow your heart spot, which ranked even worse than Cramer-Krasselt's spot on the Super Bowl.

From Adweek (yeah, I know the big news here is the new Adweek, but I'll post about that later):

—Barbara Lippert on the Super Bowl spots. She's happy.
—All in all it's just another BRIC in the wall. OK, couldn't find a way to spice this one up ... it's a story we should probably all read on the growth of the Brazil, Russia, India and China markets.
—Roy Bostock, non-executive chairman of Yahoo? Who knew?
—Why the proposed Microsoft/Yahoo deal shouldn't leave you tied up in your underwear.

From Brandweek:

—Will Ferrell Bud Light ad was supposed to be an online short.
—More ads on school busses. Yuck.
—Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Gold: it's gggrrrreeeeaaaatttt.
—A Q&A with Hyundai vp/marketing Joel Ewanick who explains about the Genesis, and other stuff.

From Mediapost:

—Mercedes-Benz, Fashion Week, upcoming Sex and the City movie, synergy.
More on the Yahoo?Microsoft deal, in the offchance you're not already sick of it.

What we're hearing from The Delaney Report:

—Blockbuster might be an account to look at.
—Also worth looking at: Sony Ericcson.

From The New York Post:

—Fashion Week gets into fashion "presentations."
—Is the Yahoo/Microsoft deal really about display advertising?

From The New York Times:

—Stuart Elliott's take on the Super Bowl ads.
"Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC?"

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

Is Microsoft undervaluing Yahoo? Free.
A mock Mac vs. PC ad about the time WSJ tech columnist Brian Fitzgerald's iMac broke. After only three weeks. Free.

My one-sided chat with Hillary Clinton

Just got a call from Hillary asking me to vote in tomorrow's New York primary. She sounded a little bit rushed at the end. Guess she's in a hurry.

Stream of consciousness on the Super Bowl

No, I did not live blog the Super Bowl, but I posted my favorite spot above. Too much else to do this weekend, so it was time to drink some beer, eat some pulled pork and relax once the game came on. Only problem with that scenario was that my husband is a Pats fan. Ouch. Not as bad as my 2007 Mets imploding right before the playoffs, but this is up there. I guess not blogging the Super Bowl, for the first time since 2004, was somewhat instructive. I haven't entered a Super Bowl contest with this little knowledge of the ads in a long time. I was much more like a consumer than an ad wonk. Here are a few stream-of-consciousness thoughts I came away with: when the ads are not your focus, they don't seem all that great—plus consumers hold Super Bowl ads to a higher standard, so when they don't deliver, it's bad news. Repulsion seemed a big theme, with the slobbering dog for Gatorade (which, frankly, no one watching the game at my house understood and Adrants called "the most baffling" Super Bowl spot ever), the barfing baby for E*Trade (which came away as a favorite spot amongst our crowd), and the guy who'd attached jumper cables to his nipples (don't remember the advertiser, but no one around me liked that one). Our gang was also entirely confused by the Sobe Life Water spot featuring Naomi Campbell with a bunch of Geico geckos who were channeling Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Just that description explains why. We far preferred the Shaquille O'Neal jockey spot for Glaceau's VitaminWater. A Botox injection wouldn't hurt Tom Petty. I was wrong about the Taco Bell ad. It ranked in the bottom half of theUSA Today AdMeter, but not the bottom third. However, the Hyundai Genesis ad which referenced the USA Today AdMeter, came in 13th-to-last. Wasn't that Doritos' spot with the giant rat a cast-off from last year's CGM contest? What was with that Sunsilk spot? Are we really to believe that Madonna uses that stuff? You'll notice I haven't mentioned Anheuser-Busch. No real news there. Its spots were the crowd favorites again. OK gotta busy day in front of me. Hope to get the Adverganza Monday morning picks in by Monday afternoon ...