Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What do timeshares and social media have in common?

Not much, according to my latest Social Media Insider column which brings you to the ringside at the recent timeshare pitch I attended. You can read it here.

Here come the mediocre ads

Claire Beale of Campaign raises a good point in Monday's Independent, wondering if the recent controversies over that Snickers ad (above), that Heinz ad with the two men kissing, and a few others are a harbinger of a rise in mediocre advertising. Whatever you may think of the recent smorgasbord of controversial ads, she notes that the globalization of advertising—in which any commercial can be seen in any country—makes controversy global as well, even though some ads that don't offend local sensibilities get pulled because they garner complaints in markets where they've never even aired. The result? Watered-down ads which seek not to offend anyone, anywhere. She seems particularly annoyed at the recent Ad Age poll that asked readers which of three spots offended them (or none of the above). Beale writes: " ... although the poll is running on a site aimed predominantly at a US audience, two of the three ads in the poll are resolutely British. They're written for a British audience with British cultural reference points, British sensibilities and a British sense of humour. Are Americans really qualified to judge whether they're offensive in the context for which they were created?"

Free Credit Report home page same as it ever was

Been curious ever since the kerfuffle broke out on Monday about the non-free-ness of about whether there would be any intimation of the controversy on the site. Methinks no. Yes, there is information on the home page in the bottom left corner disclosing that, oh, BTW, after a 7-day free trial, users will incur a monthly fee, but what's on the site now looks very much in keeping with how it was described in The New York Times story that brought the non-free-ness to light. It says " ... that language is in small print on the side of the home page on a subdued background, versus the large font and rich colors promoting enrollment." I don't expect the folks at to change so radically that they'd change the name of the site to, say $14.95/, but at a time when consumers have access to the full range of pluses and minuses about a service, it seems that the best route to go is to be transparent, and's stance so far is to mislead. The days of being able to get away with stuff like this are numbered.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Extended Stay Americas: it's toilet-lickin' good!

Let me start by saying I can't even believe I'm posting this. I'm a respectable woman, for Christ's sake! Or I was. Yeah, the picture at left is of a woman licking a toilet, and if you want to watch the entire NFSW video, you can click here. The premise is that her hotel room is so clean she can lick all of the surfaces, and although it drags a little when she's licking the clock radio (how banal!), it does sort of reach a, uh, crescendo during the bathroom scene. Now, the reason I'm posting this is that, according to a BoingBoinger who checked out, it's posted on a site that's owned by Extended Stay Americas:, which means either someone hacked the site, or it's real. If you look closely, it's clear the action takes place at an Extended Stay Americas hotel. (Particularly when she licks the company's logo on the phone....ewwww!) Tasteful? No. Memorable? Yes, YES, YYYEESSSS! (Thanks to Steve Rubel for tweeting about this and getting me with the program.)

Microsoft's 'Mojave Experiment'

You've probably heard by now about, a site that, in apparent homage to those ads of yore where coffee drinkers inadvertently discovered the joys of Folgers Crystals, computer users inadvertently discover the joys of Vista under a different name—Mojave. When they are finally told that, in fact, the operating system they've been playing around with is the much-maligned Vista, they are shocked, Shocked! Personally, I've never found these hidden camera-style ads very convincing, and that goes for this one as well. However, props to Microsoft for just out-and-out addressing the Vista problem. Saw one of the Mojave Experiment banners opposite the headline on CNET, "Why Microsoft Must Abandon Vista to Save Itself." That's either brilliant, or inadvertently contextually right on.

Want to ask Nielsen about this campaign

Don't totally understand the why and wherefore of this seemingly pricey campaign that Nielsen is running for Saw it first in The New York Times' Olympic-focused Play magazine this Sunday—I believe it was the sole sponsor—and again this morning opposite an NYT story about the mind games that take place in the swimming pre-race room. The campaign is actually a lot of fun, since it involves a bunch of pop-culture questions that Nielsen can answer, but it's also really consumer-friendly, and I don't think Nielsen is trying to attract John Q. Public with this campaign. Mousing over the questions revelas the answer. (BTW, the answer to this question pictured here is True.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 08.04.08

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

From Advertising Age:

This week's obligatory "Mad Men" story, in this case, about fashion.
—What them worry? The surprising robustness of agency holding companies.
—P&G, Unilever spend less, but Kraft, Kellogg spend, spend, spend.
—The Prius is popular. Duh.
The newest magazine industry headache:
—Cut back on ads, go bankrupt.
—Can Wired attract luxury advertisers?
—Long Island, sans Hamptons, as a tourist destination?
—How we're cutting back. Or not.
—Bob Garfield favorably reviews some cutesy PSAs. Maybe this Comcast thing has made him soft in the head. Kidding!

From Adweek: on the comeback trail.
—Jon Miller not on the Yahoo board quite yet.
Jim Stengel and the Purpose Institute.
"Planning? Yecch!" says Mediavest.
—Video of a guy who makes hangers.

From Brandweek:

So much for those MillerCoors craft beers.
—Dodge discounts its trucks by only 40 percent. Yikes.
—Pizza Hut goes organic on your pizza.

From Mediapost (which, full disclosure, I do a fair amount of work for):

—Will the sorry state of our debt make us hate credit card companies?
—Trucks, SUVs dragging numbers down along with them.
Subway is no. 3!
The refashioned
How big is YuMe really?
—AOL Video relaunches with only 200 million videos.
Interpublic takes over Endeavor's marketing group.
More depressing news about the newspaper business.
Larry Blasius leaves Magna Global.
—Fox leads the summer so far, until the Olympics, that is.

From Mediaweek:

Ninety-six percent of NBC's Olympic ad revenue is sold.
Everywhere is history.
No one's watching TV this summer.
—Who will lead XM Sirius.

From The New York Times:

—The media isn't seeing a campaign bounce of its own.
The "Jewish HBO."
—No one wants to buy a newspaper. isn't free.
Wordscraper is the new Scrabulous.
—A plan to rehab Vista's image backfires.
—Apparently "The Mummy" and the Beijing Olympics have something in common.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—Investors expected to closely examine MySpace tomorrow when News Corp. announces earnings. Subscription required.
—McDonald's tinkering with the Dollar Menu, or when is a cheeseburger just a burger with cheese? Free.
Did Buckcherry orchestrate its own leak? Free.

That's it. Have a good one.