Friday, September 26, 2008

What Budweiser and brides have in common

Apropos of nothing, you have to check out this commercial for Budweiser, I think for the Chinese market. Bride walks out of beer bottle ... need I say more?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Those were the good ol' days of flying

Travel + Leisure is featuring this look at vintage airline commercials, including a list of its favorite 11. (Is 11 the new 10?) Anyway, chose to embed this one from United above. It may not be the best of the bunch, but couldn't stop laughing at the thought that this was how professional women used to dress, including yours truly.

Draper not in character at Yahoo! conference

Since I've opted out of Advertising Week this year missed a thing or two I would liked to have seen, including yesterday's appearance by Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper), as emcee of Yahoo's press conference announcing Amp. So far have only been able to find this picture of it, and find it a bit odd that they didn't have Draper come in character. Oh, so Yahoo was holding a press conference to announce the platform that used to be called Apex, and then was called Amp, and now is called Apt, aimed at networking ad inventory across Yahoo and other sites and making sure that the whole process is smoother and doesn't involve faxing (faxing? how 1992!). Apparently, Hamm/Draper said stuff like this: “If Don Draper were standing before you today, he would still be smoking and drinking. But he’d recognize that what my friend Jerry Yang is about to share with you will rock the media world in the way that radio and TV did." Yecch. As for the platform, online advertising does need to streamline its processes, and pooling inventory and letting advertisers focus more on who they want to target instead of dealing with individual properties isn't a bad one. But Yahoo's real hope in making this work is to get all of the non mega-sites on board. My guess is that, unless there were financial dealings between the two, no other major property would want to get on Apt. Instead, they'd want to use their own version. To that point, CEO Jerry Yang wouldn't comment directly yesterday about a rumor which appeared in the Financial Times (subscription required to read all of article) that Yahoo might buy AOL. To get Apt off the ground, wouldn't be the worst idea.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Cablevision, Verizon and me

When we last left our protagonist (i.e. me), I was arguing against switching from Verizon to Cablevision. As you might recall, among other problems, my wireless connection stopped working the second we signed up with Cablevision, and Cablevision, after pretty much stalking me to get my business, now doesn't give a rat's ass about the fact that I had to pay $70 for a new router to get everything working again (and it still isn't as good as it used to be). So, twice in the past week, I've called them up and made the point that I should get a $70 credit on my bill and the people on the other end dutifully say they'll pass it up the food chain. I'm happy to provide the receipt. Needless to say, I haven't heard back. Here I am, giving them my business, and they are turning their back on me like this? For now, I'm refusing to pay my cable bill and emailing them the links to all of the posts I've done on this. I feel betrayed. UPDATE: So, just got a call from them. They are only willing to reimburse me for one month's online service, which still leaves me $40 in the hole (not counting, of course, all of the time I've spent on resolving my issues). Their point-of-view: they don't handle routers. My point-of-view: I acted in good faith by giving them my business, and deserve that they act in good faith and give me a $70 discount on my bill. When I asked the person I just talked to whether I could talk to a supervisor, she responded, "I am a supervisor." "Do you report to someone?" I said. "I want to talk to that person." Awaiting their reply.

Not only eco-friendly, it's politically correct

This is either a great marketing idea or too politically-correct by half, but did you know Lexus has an entire Hybrid Living initiative which promotes allegedly eco-friendly products? Found this out via a 450-word press release about some eco-conscious candle and bracelet being sold as part of this whole marketing push at Barneys New York. The bracelet is made out of leather from soon-to-be euthanized Lexuses! OK, maybe this whole thing is just weird.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Will this spot make me want Macy's? Nah.

Find this new Macy's ad, which is a montage of moments where Macy's has been mentioned or seen in movies, kind of curious. It seems more appropriate as a rallying cry for Macy's employees than a reason for the rest of us to shop there. I mean it's great and all, that Macy's has been a part of the fabric of America for decades, but is shopping there going to do anything special for me, like get me some good deals? Especially now, that's about all I care about. Last I knew, JWT handled Macy's, so probably its handiwork, but not absolutely positive.

Hey, Starbucks! Here's where to look for ideas

So how obvious was it that Wieden + Kennedy and Starbucks were going to part ways? The only surprise for me is that apparently they've had a relationship with one another for four years, and with the brand asking Wieden and other agencies for ideas to move the brand forward, I can see it being time for Wieden to start walking in the other direction. The beginning of the end for me came last year, when Wieden started to actually do TV advertising for Starbucks, which, not at all coincidentally, is when TV advertising for Starbucks jumped the shark. It's not that the ads were bad (check out one above); it's just that they were completely superfluous. Starbucks is so well-established in the national psyche as a brand, and more importantly, as an experience, that it's impossible to impose an image-driven campaign upon the brand. A much better idea is where the Starbucks universe can share, discuss and vote on ideas to improve the company--and Starbucks actually implements some of them. Let's hope Starbucks continues to plough its resources into that instead of advertising. If Starbucks is really looking for ideas to move the brand forward, that's where they are.

What everyone is saying about "I'm a PC"

Now that I've gotten the whole Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates thing out of my system, time to move onto Microsoft's "I'm a PC" commercial, which has picked up on the buzz-o-meter where Bill Gates doing the robot left off. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which cares intensely about these things, has a roundup piece culling commentary from TechCrunch, AdRants and others. Most, not surprisingly, think the "I'm a PC" effort is a failure. Says Jason Kottke: "If MS had created the 'I'm a PC' message on their own, the ads would be great, but these copy-and-paste ads lack soul and are merely 'eh'." OK, you didn't ask, but what do I think? I think it's great that Microsoft finally, several years into the Apple campaign, got direct about the ad campaign that's done so much to undermine its image. It's surprising, actually, that it took Microsoft so long to hit the Mac campaign right between the eyes; the only part I would lose is at the opening. There's really no need for the John Hodgman doppelganger at the beginning to say "I've been made into a stereotype." The rest of the commercial gets that message across quite clearly, without the sour-grapes declaration of it. I suspect that the people who say the campaign is a failure are the same people who deride those of us who use PCs. As much as I love the "I'm a Mac" ads, portraying me as a dumb PC user has always grated on me. And before I start to get comments from all of you Mac lovers out there, there's certain software I need to use from time to time that doesn't run well on Macs, so, hey, call me a loser, but I'm staying where I am. It's interesting to ponder how Microsoft and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky could simultaneously have been producing one campaign that was anything but on point (i.e. the Seinfeld/Gates ads), and another that hits its problem right where it lives. I suspect they both knew how out there the Seinfeld campaign might appear, and had the "I'm a PC" ad in the can, ready to go, if the other one flopped, which, of course, it did.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No need to email Dan at Sprint

Sprint Nextel came out last week with the second black-and-white commercial featuring (relatively) new CEO Dan Hesse. The only thing I know about the first spot was that a bunch of bloggers, rightfully, got down on Sprint for printing Hesse's the end, as though the guy was actually going to enter into an email relationship with his customers. Instead, as I recall, people who emailed their pal Dan got a form email. Bad form. In this commercial (it contains a pre-roll for Cisco), Sprint and Hesse make no such promises and direct you to a URL:

Bring Gates and Seinfeld back ... as a sitcom

Wondering if this whole imbroglio over the Microsoft campaign briefly starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates will be looked back on as the moment we all learned that buzz, in and of itself, isn't enough. (Yes, we should know that by now, but something tells me ... ) Was just checking out Y'Tube to get the html for the long version of the spot in which they live with an "average" family, and it seems to occupy a pretty high spot in the consumer zeitgeist right now. Lots of uploads, video responses and views. Here's what I think it means: even though the point of these pointless ads was to humanize Windows, there's something voyeuristically enjoyable about what they actually do, which is humanize Bill Gates. Ahhh the suspense of seeing how Gates fares after being run through the Jerry Seinfeld/Alex Bogusky test labs. Will he really do the robot? Will he really get pissed off at that teenage girl? Will he really tell the delivery boy he has no money? Yes, yes and YESSSS! Now, that's entertainment! I dunno. Maybe Seinfeld and Gates can succeed where the sitcom that spun off of Geico's cavemen didn't. Every week Seinfeld could try to further humanize Bill Gates, with all proceeds going to the Gates Foundation. Hey, there have been dumber ideas. I think.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 09.22.08

OK all. Hoping the worst is over with my childcare woes and my connectivity issues. With that, I re-commence the Monday morning picks:

From Advertising Age:

Massive Wall Street meltdown package. Some highlights:

Consumers had lost all of their confidence before last week.
What your favorite holding company CEO thinks of the market turmoil.
—Here's what to do if you're a financial services brand.
—Jonah Bloom, pissed off at the media.
Bring on the Ramen Noodles!
AIG's tag line was "The Strength to Be There." Ha! Take a look.

What digital production costs.
New pubic hair fun at
Bob Garfield doesn't get all that excited about flatulence.

From Adweek:

Networks do away with integration fees and make agencies, advertisers, somewhat more happy. Or less grumpy. Take your pick.
Can Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley every get along?
—Inside what Scion is looking for from prospective agencies.
The allegedly amicable parting of ways between Goodby and Hyundai so that Hyundai can go to some agency that no one has ever heard of.
—Brand Finance says the major global brands are taking a hit.
Pols try out idea generation software.
Is Activia really that good for you?
How live streaming of sports events is changing the game.
—Barbara Lippert on a good, strategically on-target Microsoft commercial.
—Mark Wnek admits he's bad about choosing.
—Bradley Kay buys an old house and says that digital and video production aren't the same thing.

From Brandweek:

—Boring as hell, but more of us are bringing lunch to work.
More companies are listening to customer complaints on Twitter and elsewhere. If only one of them were Cablevision.
Gallo ads featuring Allman Brothers soundtrack, but not for Boone's Farm.
—No lotion on your tissues? Man, are you out of it.

From Mediapost:

—How not fun it is to market the Ford F-150.
—Gift cards going on an unwanted diet.
Huggies targeting Hispanic market by giving out free diapers, collecting mothering techniques.
Online retailers relatively optimistic about holiday season. Offline retailers, not so much.
—Companies, are you listening? How microblogging can work for you.
—The Interactive Advertising Bureau wants a self-regulatory online ad organization, with no IAB affiliation.
—This Friday's presidential debate will be the most-watched ever.
Media stocks ride last week's roller coaster well.
Newspaper ad revenue down 17.2 percent for the month of August. No silver lining that I can see.
—Film at 11! Younger dads actually buy things for their kids!

From Mediaweek:

The second annual Mediaweek 50. David Levy, president, advertising sales, Turner Sports is no. 1.
"Mad Men" and "30 Rock" pick up lotsa Emmys. Hmmm. Two shows about the media business win awards. Who'da thunk?
Is it content? Is it advertising? Who cares?
NewMediaMetrics unveils an uber database.
—A closer look at the circulation figures for Conde Nast's Portfolio.

From The New York Times:

Reporters and editors show restraint in using words like "crash", "free fall", "Armageddon" etc.
More jawing on from marketing types about the financial crisis.

As for The Wall Street Journal, did it get rid of the "Media & Marketing" link? Can't find it in the redesign, and don't have time to comb through the headlines myself. For shame, Rupert!