Friday, April 18, 2008

Here comes Advertising Week 2.0

Whether you think Advertising Week is a complete waste of time or a worthwhile annual event to galvanize the industry, the move to replace Ron Berger with Chuck Porter and Linda Sawyer as co-chairs is one sign that whatever Advertising Week will be in the future, it will be different. It's also one of the first signs that under new chief Nancy Hill, the names that have long led the industry are giving way to a new guard. Personally, in addition to making the thing more fun, I've long thought it would be great if the industry came out of the week having produced something—like banding together its skills together in service of a good cause—but when I posted that thought long ago (can't find the link), everyone found it so scintillating that no one commented. Maybe it'll stick this time. Another thought: delegate some of the programming over to two groups: 1) consumers, and 2) people in the business who are under the age of 30.

Oogling Google's performance

Kind of fun to see Google defy the worry-warts by posting better than expected results for the first quarter yesterday—profit rose 30 percent from a year earlier, and revenue rose 42 percent. What I've been wondering is whether Google's performance can be seen as a bellwether for the online advertising category as the country heads into a possible recession. The thinking has gone—at least from those with rose-tinted glasses—that online advertising will continue to expand in a downturn, because its accountability will make it a safer investment, but I remember a similar argument back in 2001, when the dot-com bubble burst. Instead, advertisers turned to the tried-and-true. Granted, the medium has come a long way in terms of proving its worth since that time, but on the other hand, to get back to Google, its revenue comes from the most accountable of online media. Will its success in an economic downturn, carry over to other forms of online advertising? Despite the soundness of the accountability argument, I think it's hard to say. There are still a lot of advertisers out there for whom digital media is considered edgy, making some retrenchment possible.

Wave your fingers at the Yaris

If I were doing moments of Zen like Jon Stewart, I'd definitely pick this video. It's an interactive ad for the Yaris that involves waving your arms and fingers around to interact with it. At least when I played it, there was no audio, making it even more Zen-like.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stevie Wonder takes over commercial pod

OK, from what I can recall, Stevie Wonder started selling his tunes to commercials decades ago. Remember "I just called to say I love you" for AT&T. But it's not often that you hear two Stevie Wonder songs in the same commercial pod, as I did last night when watching HGTV. First some lame-o ad about leasing a Mercury using "Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I'm Yours" (that approach was pretty literal), and then "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" for color copying services at the UPS Store. Next thing you know "Livin' for the City" will be used to promote New York City tourism, even though it's about a guy who comes to New York, and ends up in the slammer.

Welcome to the new, silo-free Mindshare!

The big ad news this morning seems to be Mindshare's decision to get rid of the silos Interaction, in favor of being completely media-neutral. The shop will now be split into four disciplines: client leadership, business planning, invention and "the exchange" roughly translating to account management, media planning, creative and digital, and media buying. (Yeah, I know that's just the kind of knee-jerk interpretation that , including disassembling its digital unit, MindshareWPPMindShare is trying to avoid, but here at Adverganza, we like to dumb things down). The story in Mediapost deals with the thorny issue of what creative agencies do when media agencies also do a form of creative. "We think the ad agency has even a stronger role in the new process," Mindshare CEO Scott Neslund told the publication. Of course, Neslund isn't the first to share this sentiment, but what's interesting is that as power in the business has shifted, you never hear the head of a creative agency talking about how a media agency fits into its world—only the other way around.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What a chick thinks of the Dove campaign

The next iteration of the "Campaign for Real Beauty" is out and the male critics are pissing all over it like there's no tomorrow. Their main point is that this is commercialism masquerading as public service because Dove products and advertising don't always live up to the "real beauty" theme, or otherwise Unilever wouldn't be selling firming lotion. That argument isn't entirely lost on me, but as men aren't the target market for this campaign, let me go on a bit. The bottom line is I'd rather see this campaign out there than not out there. Going back a few years to the Dove "Evolution" vid, I remember seeing it making me feel a bit better at my lot as yet another woman who knows she'll never look like those who grace the pages of Vogue. Even though we all know that most magazines air brush the bejesus out of the photos of models and actresses (how 'bout that Vanity Fair cover of Madonna?), "Evolution" was an actual demonstration of it, and that made all the difference. I also have been known to breathe the occasional sigh of relief in seeing those Dove print ads of what Freddie Mercury described as "fat-bottomed girls," even though I'm not one of them. It's just refreshing to see bodies that are imperfect, when 99 percent of the media images out there project otherwise. Unfortunately, since Dove began running this campaign, it's not as though the rest of the beauty world has embraced the message—with the exception of Playtex—so if Dove wants to continue to carry the torch—even if, like the Olympic one, it's somewhat tainted—than it's fine with me.

A digital agency becomes lead agency

Cool to read yesterday that digital shop imc2 is now lead agency on the Mars Direct business, which includes My M&Ms and My Dove. That's right—it's the lead agency, not the lead digital agency. Even as digital moves to something closer to the forefront (let's not get ahead of ourselves, though), such assignments are still a rarity. Maybe a year or two from now that will be different. Of course, doing this makes the most sense for customizable products but, well, it's still pretty cool.

Here's the Burn Alter Ego group-critique

As some of you know, I asked people who read my Social Media Insider column over at Mediapost to join me in a group critique of Coke's Burn Alter Ego app on Facebook. You can read the result here.

Maxing out with VW's Max

As a public service, I'm running what I believe are all of the new VW spots, featuring Max, the talking VW Beetle. OK, this is from Crispin people. Discussing is mandatory.

Here's The Hoff:

Here's Heidi:

Here's Bobby Knight:

Here's Shawn Fanning:

Here's the one with the astronaut:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zyrtec print ad clogging my head

Something tells me I shouldn't spend too much time today pondering this Zyrtec ad, and yet, I can't help myself. What, pray tell, does it all mean? Why would a person who had been waiting for Claritin to start working suddenly disappear? Is this an undocumented side effect?

Wieden finds harmony for Nokia

Above, the Nokia "Harmony" spot from Wieden + Kennedy London. I'm kind of liking it, though some are finding it creepy. It certainly stands out in the pack of cell phone ads that are feature-heavy, and there's something damn mesmerizing about all those flashing lights.

Elie Weisel hearts Maurice Levy

If you're still a person who reads TIME, you may have noticed that the magazine is asking influential people, which influential people they'd nominate for the TIME 100 list of influential people. Phew! In this week's issue we get a surprise: Nobel laureate Elie Weisel is nominating Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, saying Levy is, "an outstanding international figure in marketing and advertising and an influential personality at the highest levels of government and business. He is well informed, intelligent and warm." Tell that to Martin Sorrell.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 04.14.08

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

From Ad Age:

—Story which asks the question "Is Earth Day the New Christmas?" A bit overdone, no?
Tina Brown, content aggregator.
Does Microhoo make more sense than GoogYa? (Ha! I made that last one up.)
Researching ads in stores.
Being an Olympic sponsor gets dicey.
—Does your company need a chief blogger?
VW makes its message uniform with a talking Beetle, I think.
—Bob Garfield on why dicks can never acknowledge that their dicks.

From Adweek:

—The good news: post-strike broadcast nets are up. The bad news: scatter prices are running 30 to 40 percent higher than in the upfront.
Icrossing crosses the pond.
—Barbara Lippert on the plusses and minusses of Max.
—Joseph Jaffe asks if creative has had its day.

From Brandweek:

—Johnson & Johnson invites bloggers to Camp Baby. I wasn't invited.
—Most marketers CRM insights are CRaP.
More women drinking tequila. Is this a good thing?

From Mediapost:

Lots of Yahoo stuff. At this point, just wake me up when it's over.
A social media agency called Ckrush.
— looks for more ways for its consumers to talk to one another.

From The New York Times:

A new author who is everywhere: Al Gorithm.
Tibet protesters started working on their protests seven years ago. Fascinating.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—Despite my bold prediction, so far Olympic sponsors aren't bailing. Free.

OK, finally done. Have a good Monday!