Friday, May 9, 2008

AT&T Mother's Day ad in bloom

Brentter has posted this AT&T commercial, which takes a different approach than the usual beat-people-over-the-head-with-your-latest-cell-phone-deal. Take a look. Somehow I'm seeing a connection between this ad and Haagen-Dazs' missing bees.

I'm so all over data portability

Sometimes you just luck into being right. That's what happened to me anyway, in declaring data portability across social nets somewhat inevitable in my Social Media Insider column on Wednesday. On Thursday, MySpace announced an opt-in program in which its members can share their profiles across Yahoo, Photobucket, Twitter and eBay. Truthfully, I don't spend much time thinking about such things, but when I think of all of the social networks I've been asked to join since I started doing the column, the craziness of it all bashed me over the head--and from a sheer time-saving vantage point, if my social nets are taking up too much of my time with profile updating than I'm less likely to spend quality time with them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is this the year the upfront goes down?

I don't cover the network upfront quite as maniacally as some people, but seems it's been a few years since it actually went down. Now Merrill Lynch's Jessica Reif Cohen is saying that her best case scenario is a two percent decline, and her worst-case a drastic 14 percent. Reif Cohen, of course, cites the economy, but also the writers' strike and ratings declines—which have never stopped the upfront from being up in the past. I know there are still a lot of media buyers out there hung up on guaranteeing advertisers a certain number of gross ratings points, but at some point, it's got to be de-emphasized.

Dove's retouched, fat-bottomed girls

So retoucher quoted in The New Yorker says that those real women in the Dove ads were retouched. I guess I'm lukewarm on how big this controversy is, although others are getting all hot and bothered about it. It's not like he turned them from size 12 into size 0, but go at it anyway, if you want. UPDATE: So now everyone involved, except the women themselves, has issued a statement denying any substantive retouching. Turns out Annie Liebovitz shot the thing. Anyway, retoucher Pascal Dangin, says: "The recent article published by The New Yorker incorrectly implies that I retouched the images in connection with the [2005] Dove 'real women' ad. I only worked on the [2007 Dove Pro-Age] campaign taken by Annie Leibovitz and was directed only to remove dust and do color correction—both the integrity of the photographs and the women's natural beauty were maintained." OK. Time to move on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who knew DIY social networks were so hot?

I guess you never know what's going to grab people's attention. Wrote my Social Media Insider column today on the trend toward creating niche social networks, and quite a discussion has arisen from it. If you want to join in, click here.

Sayonara SuperSpy

Was going to title this post "Sayonara AgencySpy" but that would imply that AgencySpy, the blog is folding, when it's just that the main spy, SuperSpy, is getting out of the blogging business. Says she got promoted and can't spend the time anymore. Trust me, though, she won't be able to entirely stay away. Happened to Copyranter. Happened to me when I left AdFreak. This blogging thing is a little like crack. (Not that I would actually know.) Story was first broken by my partner-in-crime George Parker at Adscam yesterday. Guess he wasn't supposed to do that.

Interesting investor chases after SpotRunner

Don't find it the least bit surprising that SpotRunner just closed another huge round of financing--$51 million to be exact. If you're not aware--and you should be!--the company's focus is an automated system for creating and buying ads that is targeted at this point mainly to small companies, like the local florist. What does surprise though, is one of the new backers, Groupe Arnault/LVMH, the luxury goods conglomerate. According to Nick Grouf, company founder and former PeoplePC founder, the funding from LVMH reflects its desire to have better targeted, focused advertising.

Coke Zero ad features speaking with tongues

Found the Coke Zero spot above on YouTube in Chinese, Spanish and Italian--it stars an eyeball and two tongues fighting over whether the tongues just drank Coke Zero. Talking tongues isn't quite as disgusting as that Monster ad where the heart plops onto the assistant's keyboard, but I find them a little yucky. You can see an English version of the commercial here. And apparently, there's a sequel.

You, too, can be a new media douchebag

Going for some low-hanging fruit this morning since got a lot to do. Heard about this video from a tweet by AdFreak's David Griner. It's about how to become a new media douchebag. Ever since I started this Social Media Insider gig, have started to wonder if I'm becoming one. Via The Presurfer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nerve's 50 greatest commercial parodies

Can't resist linking to Nerve's "50 Greatest Commercial Parodies of All Time." Of course, most are from Saturday Night Live, with the No. 1 and 2 spots dating from 1976 and 1977. Nerve's pick for the best was Dan Ackroyd for the Bass-o-matic, above. It would've been fun if they threw in a few user-created parodies, but that's just a quibble.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Didn't run for president; does buy search

Kinda strange that I came across a search ad for in my Gmail yesterday morning, though the ad doesn't appear to run when you do a straight Google search. What, exactly, is the point? He's not running for president, nor is he running for re-election. Anyway, the site's not bad if you're obsessed with Mike.

Old Spice ad just smells funny

Funny video on - Pig
Damn. So look forward to Old Spice ads, but this one misses the mark, even though it uses the song "I'm Hotblooded" as the campy classic it is.

'Mediaweek' quietly launches its new site

My former colleagues at Mediaweek have taken a different approach than Adweek to promoting the launch of their new site, by almost not promoting it. It launched yesterday and, from an interface perspective, it looks much like the site, which, you may recall, I do like better than its predecessor. The video above explains the goals of the site, and is unapologetic about the advantages of being owned by Nielsen in a data-driven business. While some people feel uncomfortable about that connection, I'm not among them, as long as Mediaweek doesn't suck up when it reports on its parent company. I don't think it does. Get over it people--the data-sharing is what's called synergy.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 05.05.08

First, let us start the morning with a moment of silence in remembrance of the merger that never was between Microsoft and Yahoo. Microhoo, we hardly knew ye. Now onto the Monday morning picks, wherein I scan the headlines so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age:

Ad Age's annual agency report. Here's a link to the index. Click away.
—Led by digital, agency revenue grows by 8.6 percent.
—Microsoft starts to like the idea of big government.
—Matt Creamer and Rupal Parekh give two thumbs up to the new 4As Leadership Conference.
George Parker on the sorry state of the conference business (except for those who charge the fees). He actually does this without saying "fuck" once.
—Unilever, P&G discover it's not easy being green.
Burger King credits marketing for increase in same-store sales.
—Will Google help improve TV advertising creative?
Obligatory Miley Cyrus story.
Social Media 101.
—How to find out if your consumer is using social media.
—Turns out prominent marketing prof James Twitchell has plagiarized.
—Bob Garfield gives a star and a half to a bloviated Sony commercial. I watched it, and somehow I'm not quite as outraged, though it has a certain Bravia bunny quality to it.

From Adweek:

—The digital agency report cards. Below are the grades. Click here if you'd actually prefer your grades to be delivered with insights.


Interesting story about a fake blog (or flog if you're really into groovy new digital words). Read this before you plan your next fake campaign.
—People already getting all hot and bothered about a piece of research that MTV will unveil on Thursday. Really.
One of a zillion Microsoft/Yahoo stories.
Interview with EVB ecd Jason Zada.
—The settlement completed, Interpublic Group can finally get on with its life.
—The rise of the agency digital innovation lab.
EVB CEO Dan Stein on the five things that good interactive campaigns have in common.
—Critical Mass creative David Armano asks interactive agencies to please make themselves useful."
—Barbara Lippert likes that Haagen-Dazs honey bee ad that I'm not so hot on. The upcoming plantable print ad in Newsweek sounds interesting though.

From Brandweek:

Q&A with McDonald's CMO Mary Dillon.
Slurpee, Aerosmith, Guitar Hero together at last.
A reality TV approach to marketing 24 Hour Fitness.
Is addressable advertising about to find a home?
Jamba Juice protects its smoothie business.

From Mediapost:

Another Microsoft/Yahoo story.
—Microsoft's Joe Doran joins Media6Degrees as CEO.
Wikipedia wants to be legally immune from users' posts.
Amazon thinks New York's Internet tax is unconstitutional. Sounds right to me.
—What? WPP Group tried to buy TNS? Nielsen said to be bidding even more.
Washington Post Co. has 39 percent drop in first quarter profit.
—ANA wants the networks to drop integration fees. Not sure what they are.

From The New York Post:

—So you just decided marriage wasn't in the cards. What's a Microsoft exec to do with $46 billion now?
—How will Whole Foods handle a recession?

From The New York Times:

—Multi-faceted Microsoft/Yahoo package:
Yahoo shares down 20 percent so far today.
What can Microsoft do to catch up with Google now?
—What Yahoo shareholders might have been willing to accept.
Google as the Microsoft/Yahoo spoiler.
What is the value of a merger that never happened?
How IDG has made the transition to digital.
—A new look at how to market a rock band, or the Panic at the Disco case study.
Steve Jobs wants your family room.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—The WSJ's Microsoft/Yahoo package.
The main story. Free.
Microsoft's statement about the deal's collapse. Subscription required.
Yahoo's statement. Subscription required.
—Some digital execs wanted a Microsoft/Yahoo deal. Subscription required.
Vote on whether Microsoft and Yahoo will kiss, make up, and eventually get married. Free.
—Kara Swisher on Google as Yahoo's new BFF. Free.
Translating Ballmer-speak. Thankfully this one is free. Here's one of the "translated paragraphs from Ballmer's letter to Yang, concerning Google: "There, I said it. The Big G. It should scare the wits out of all of us. Remember, Jerry, the Big G will come and get you, too, one day. Beware The Big G, Jerry!"
Everyone but me went to see Iron Man. Subscription required.
—Recession-fearing Web start-ups pump up the volume on newfangled social media ads. Free.

I know that was an absolutely exhaustive—and exhausting—set of links, so thanks for reading all the way to the end, if you did. Well, it's not every day that Steve Ballmer doesn't get his way.