Even block buster ads don't work?

Ok, interesting pixel pong going on here. Everybody in the ad industry applauds Honda's un-deniable achievements in the attention deficit disorder world of t.v. advertising. Naresh Ramchandani writes in the Guradian: 'The Honda ads seemed to say that big advertising wasn't dead. They seemed to say that you didn't have to engage in the fiddly new world of media partnerships and programme sponsorships because you could scrap all that nonsense and make an old-fashioned blockbuster commercial and it would still cut through the way it used to. By being merely good, not great, the Honda Choir ad makes that strategy look very risky again.' article here. The w+k blogger replies that: 'We believe that the non-traditional use of media, such as inserting DVDs with the ads on into national press, circulating ads virally, using TV to drive people to web content and making films available to download online, has been key to the success of our work for Honda. They simply don't have the budget to outshout their competition via an 'old-fashioned blockbuster' TV campaign. We have to create content that's good enough for people to want to seek it out. Over 800,000 downloads of 'Choir' from Honda's website (see earlier 'Heavy Traffic' post) suggests that this is working.' full response here. I reckon Naresh is right for thinking that old industry idealists loved its blockbuster triumph but from what w+k is saying there is more to it than just making a blockbuster t.v. ad they created an 'asset' which they 'sweated' in other media which is fair game.


First Brand Bashing Advergame

This looks like the first anti-brand advergame. From persuasive games. It was a question of time really. They are complainging about FeDex.

Where did the time go

Yet another execution on the theme of life, death and where did we waste our lives doing? This site takes a morbid approach/execution by telling you what you've wasted your life so far doing....after its clever calculations it invites you not to waste anymore time and get broadband from B.T. I somehow feel that this although clever in principle lacks humour, feels morbid and getting a broadband from BT is hardly a joyful experience for those who tried....

Beating Death

As a Howie T-Shirt once said: 'life is for a limited period only'. According to The Death Clock a helpful site which will help you calculate when you are going to die based on your age, health and attitude to life I am going to die in 2047. This got me thinking on the possible ways one may beat death (or at least cheat it a bit) here they are (naturally they are not all mine):

* Have children

* Be creative (Pretty much anyone working in the arts or advertising)

* acquire abstract knowledge (Plato's idea)

* Teach

* Rebel

* Leave a legacy

I am sure I am missing something ...


Word of Mouth Research Results

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association in the U.S. announced some of the results of its recent research. Apparently, people don't mind when they find out that a friend is engaged in giving them a commercial message instead of a friendly tip. However, the researcher also added that when people find out they expect the message to be special, new or otherwise significant because otherwise it seems too much effort on the part of a brand to tell you that there is a new flavour. As WOMMA tries to convince us that people don't mind WOM it seems to me that the same holy grail of marketing is still missing....relevance. Here is a thought, in recent research study for a car company people looked for information on the internet FIRST before asking any of their friends or family. Internet has replaced family and people are individual enough to find out and make up their mind even if their best mate tries to give them a 'commercial' tip. In my own research into word of mouth it was clear to me that any 'forced' or 'contrived' recommendations by paid 'agents' are not effective. A much better approach is to find those who are already positively endorsing your brand, reward and encourage them to give you word of mouth.


Nice Quote from Lars Von Trier

"I think very often people start with very good intentions, especially artists, and they they themselves become more and more important, so that the casue they have been working for slips into the background and sometimes they loose it completely, I think that's often the case" - Lars Von Trier


Death & Life. The 'Live Now' Trend

So death is a very real possibility in today's environment. People are naturally afraid. However, some brands have actually captured something positive out of this, whether they made the connection in the planning process or not I don't know but the resultant campaigns say a lot about our re-newd need to just LIVE NOW. Worrying about later is not that big a deal, Now is the most important. Seneca said it ages ago: 'We can't be happy because we are obsessed with the future and we forgot to live the now", he also said: 'Live each day as if it was a lifetime'. If you pass by St Martin's in Totenham court road try and catch a glimpse of their window gallery. One of their students made two road signs with the word 'death' on each. The arrows on the signs point to the left and to the right each and of-course he put them pointing away from each other in the two windows. So basically he is saying if you go left you die, if you go right you die too. Brilliant execution of the ultimate truth that ever was in this world we all die sooner later. Yeppee. In a book about thought experiments called the Pig That Wants to Be Eaten there is the famous problem of 'Quality of life' v 'Quantity of life'. Assume you could eliminate death completely and you could live for ever, would you do it? I know I wouldn't.

All change please. News now breaks online.

Blinx T.V. US is making its news archive available online. And Ten By Ten gives you the latest news in pictures (matrix 10x10) as they happen now. As news seems to move online and some 70%+ of London urbanaites regularly visit BBC.co.uk it seems to me that as far as news go the internet has an added advantage...immediacy. And it doesn't have to go through several rounds of confirmation and substantiation as the t.v. does. Remember 7/7? flicker had pictures captured on mobile from inside the blasts while the BBC was still fumbling about thinking it was a power surge. I remember at the time flickr had the first round of pictures no more than 5 minutes after the first blast.


Digital Outdoor

Latest innovation from ... yes you guessed it the lastminute team and Viacom outdoor has remotely controlled digital bus sides. Viacom said they are working on GPS enabled version where the specific ads can be shown depending on where the bus is. Superb. We are getting closer and closer into Minority Report style of advertising where outdoor speaks to an individual by name not to the random masses. Luckily we are not quite there yet, phew, just imagine outdoor ads calling you by name it would be worse than going through a street market in India where little children try to sell you little home made jewelry. In another execution C4 pushed its new documentary channel via bluetooth posters where you point click download and view. This is more like it as it is permission based rather than I will target you and shoot you approach of Minority Report.


Nice Quote from Niel French

“Talent is everything. Don't look at what people have done: Look at what they could do, given the chance.”


Apparantly 2006 is the year of the mobile. Google is first off the mark with a personalised mobile page says Reuters. Reuters also reports that Apple has registred 'Mobile Me' as a trademark. It looks like that this is going to spur a whole load of internet and equipment manufacturers taking both thier content and their devices for a walk about. Could it be that people may not go to websites that much anymore but the websites / content come to them instead? I have a Google side bar on my desktop. It is brings all things I am interested in as they happen right to my 'desk-step'. Content distribution will be the 'new thing' or the principal, but I have a feeling devices will battle it out for who makes the best mobile Swiss army knife. I just hope that the ad-industry doesn't fill consumerss pockets with stuff that is well ... meaningless shit.


advergaming 2.0

You can of-course put adverts inside computer and online games. The news is you can actually buy 'space' on billboards as and when you want to appear in the virtual billboards of online network games instead of hard coding the ads into the games. It is not just the billboards that you see on the side of the road in games like spliter cell but anything you can think of from the character's clothing to the coke machine. This is a bit like product placement in movies but in games. According to massive networks the company gamers actually like this stuff e.g. “I love the idea of having actual advertisements in a game instead of fake, made-up companies. I’ve always wondered why more games didn’t try to do this.” My hunch is gamers are not so much interested in the advertising itself but in making the game as realistic as possible...alas it is a lot of impressions on hard to reach 18-34 year olds. From a planning point of view massive says it can also evaluate and optimise campaigns 'live' - just in time during-testing.

I Hate Mediocracy



C4's Viral Awards

I would love to say I was impressed by the winners and the runners up in the C4 Viral awards but sadly most were ideas that I've seen before elsewhere in different guises for example the Bush Bashing interactive viral and the Camel film. I did enjoy a couple of the typical 'here is what everybody knows about it but no one has visiualised it yet' executions such as Camden's signage. Some of the more original ideas in the viral arena that I liked but never made it to the competition were the work done on Peperami Noodles and the viral launch of the the XBOX 360 both had thought and innovation to the extent that you wonder whether the marketing message stacked up to the creative. For example the XBOX 360 site had coded messages in Latin that you couldn't see with the naked eye - you had to zoom in to see them then translate into English. When the countdown secret site stopped the suspense it was merely a competition to win some prizes put up by XBOX hardly original on their part just imagine if the marketing message/prize was as innovative as the viral . Looking at the winners of the competition though the same ingredients for success in the viral executions remain unchanged: Sex, Humour, Controvesy and Firsts - not many surprises there as most just relied on the first two sex and humor. Would have loved to see more controversial stuff and a first or two. Overall I think it is great that there are now 'Viral Oscars' where digital creatives can showcase their work. Well done Channel Four.


Ant Mentality (& Muscles).

These dozen or so ants are carrying a sweet approximately 50 times their body weight (each). …and this is not a flat surface… they are carrying it up a vertical wall. The reason humans can’t do the same is because they are full of … you guessed it… FAT While those active ants are nothing but pure muscle, and a few million eyes to see where they’re going… Now you might think this is a random connection, but this brilliant ad from Greenpeace about a proposed alien invasion of earth highlights how if people got toghether they can actually change their future. The whole strength in numbers thing. As much as I love the ads I just find it difficult to believe that people will get together like ants do or as Greenpeace are inviting us to. We are now far too individual and selfish for that. Combining the trends of Generation I with the Selfish Society makes collective action somewhat rare - unless there is a big nasty enemy of-course.


An Ad Man's Molskein

This used to be a black polo neck shirt, a black rimmed glasses and a membership at soho house ... I don't have a Molskein. Does that mean I am not a good ad man ? -:)

Schizophrenic Planners

Having just gone through a briefing of a whole load of creative where I had to 'brutally reduce' stuff to its bare bone purest form I now have to strategize, intellectuallize, twatize, glamourize, maximize and supersize, the idea in a long paper to sell it to the client...does anyone have the phone number of a specialist shrink in shifty schizophrenic planners?

A first for Honda?

A new t.v. ad from W+K London to launch a Honda Civic showing a choir singing about 'this is how a Honda feels like' will also be video cast onto iPODs where there will be extra footage of a 'behind the scenes' nature showing how the ad was made. Honda claims that this is 'first' in advertising. Two things, first don't think they are first simply because the entertainment industry use trailers for films on their downloadable films these are adverts too. Secondly great that Honda is giving people a bit more than just an ad on an iPOD but is the footage of how the ad was made really interesting engaging and helps the brand or is it just trying to make the ad look like a film?


Life and a half and a minute

t.v. tells you to enjoy a life and a half, and a last minute e-mail invites you to blog every minute of your life and a half, and a last minute the free blog site takes two minutes to set up no one said life is perfect right… you can buy the book of last minute living of-course and there is a campaign microsite that takes the story deeper (as well as sell you a few holidays while you are there. looks like a well planned campaign from lastminute - great central idea uses traditional advertising, branded content, co-created content, ATL and e-mail, 'digi' buses. In particular they did a t.v. 'roadblock' where the 90 second version went on 80 channels at the same time. This is a technique used in online advertising glad to see that some inter-dicipline planners somewhere decided to talk to each other. Well done lads (and ladettes).

I want to know NOW.

OK so apparently we live in an accelerated culture where instant gratification is a key trend. Now trying to surf the web on your mobile is a pain in the backside typing stupid urls etc so the disconnect between people who want to click know now and passive non interactive outdoor advertising means they have to wait till later to find out more. The solution: shot code from the Dutch ShotCode which taggs adverts with a shot code that you point your mobile at and it picks a direct link to the web immediately to exactly where you will find further info. Heiniken is one of their first clients to use this cleverly in yes you guessed it ... a pub game.

Now that's what I call advertising ...

Whoever said advertising agencies are not good at advertising themselves should check these two examples. The first from Lean Mean Fighting Machine and the second from MC Saatchi after loosing BA. Whoever works in advertising needs to believe in what they do if they don't (like most out there) they should retire or go and do some gardening instead.


Web for DA People

Nice to see that big brands are submitting to the fact that the internet belongs to the people, the strategic challenge is your product is still yours but not your brand. The latest in co-creation from MTV.