Jul 20

Greenpeace Anti-car ads

From today’s viral mailgroups comes a link to a new Greenpeace campaign. As it’s called the Gas Guzzler you can guess where it is going, but it’s well put together as you watch the “hero’s” collegues react to him in the office. It turns the usual adland admiration of a new car into disdain. the message with the Send to a friend bit make sit plain:

Do you know someone thinking of buying a 4×4? Tell them not to screw the climate by sending them a link to our video.

Jul 20

ThatGirlEmily – good idea, bad execution

I like stealth marketing campaigns, viral campaigns, ARGs, what ever you want to call them. When done well, they challenge and engage, provoke comment and get people involved. They are fun. But with this latest one from Court TV, the buzz is there but so are the potential problems.

Behind the scenes we have PR, media buyers, technical teams and the agency people out pretendind they are Emily – ‘she’ was outside Pennn Station in New York yesterday handing out fliers. There’s a thatgirlemilyblog that’s getting linked to, outdoor posters that are getting plenty of notice and comment and probably all other stuff in the works. So far so good. Everything is working out right.

But a few boundaries were overstepped and that could have the wrong implications for the brand and the agency. There’s a hint of astroturfing or just plain stupidness. Emily was out on the blogs and message boards spinning her tale and getting tea and sympathy back. But as with Cillit Bang, it’s not the best thing to be out and about posting as a character in places that don’t expect it. ARGs do this…but a working practice appears to have arisen – there are ways to get attention and not piss people off in the wrong place. ‘Emily’ has hurt some of the people who read and enjoy these boards…not the greatest result.

A second mistake with this campaign – they should have done a little more research and not used an identity that already exists. thatgirlemily already has a presence on message boards and other sites. Her online profile is now messed up with this one and I would not be too pleased at that as the buzz aroud the fake Emily is probably not what the real Emily would like.

I finding myself getting angry at this campaign, most likely a slightly over the top response, but agencies doing these things badly makes it more difficult to get compnaies to even touch these types of campaigns. I strongly beleive they work well when done well. done badly and clumsily like this one means that the whole industry gets tarred with the same brush.

Jul 19

Google and Measuremap – lack of feedback

I’ve been using Measuremap blog reporting system for a while now and really like it. It’s laid out well and I like the way it gives me my information in just the right buckets. I;ve got Google analytics set up as well, but just does not feel as good for me. However, the performance over the last few weeks has been getting worse and worse, with information not being displaed at all. There’s a couple of comments on the help forums, with a promise of improved performance a month as they are increasing the resources, but nothing much happening.

When it fails (as it does a lot) it tells me to try again and then email google about the prpblem. So I finally have done. Usually when you do this you get at least a canned response back, acknowledging the mail but so far it’s been 48 hours and nothing back at all. Have google just bought up this nice resource for the engineers from Adaptive Path and now abandoned it? I want it back…GAnalytics is just far too, well, analytical!

Jul 18

That Girl Emily – viral marketing for something

My friend Keiron sent me a few links (from Fark)to what is, to all appearances, a new viral campaign..for something. Not quite sure what yet, but it’s definitely looks like a campaign. First of all read ThatGirlEmily. She started a blog a few weeks ago and then sudden calamity. A women scorned, swearing a 2 week campaign of vengence on her cheating husband. She has some nice contacts – called in a favour on Saturday night and less than 48 hours later she has billboards up in 2 cities declaring vengeance.

Now Will Thompson has done some digging and gives a rundown as to how you can spot that this is a campaign. Starting off with the perfect spelling and grammar and purple prose. ( I wonder how many client reviews the agency had to go through). And the multiple postings of the same message on different discussion groups, calmly posted 15 minutes apart when she is supposed to be on her way to see a PI. There’s a few other postings that Emily appears to have made as well, including this one, or this talking merrily about her lovely husband at the same time as posting that he is cheating on her on her blog.

And with all the advice that the women on these boards have offered, she’s not gone back and told them about her campaign to get back at her husband? But she is posting comments on other peoples blogs.

It’s at this point I hope I’m completely wrong, that it is not a stealth marketing campaign, that all these pointers are just because she is an extremely gifted writer/editor and very quick at picking up on blogs/message boards and her posts to some of the boards just got delayed in the timing. (because if not, this could severely backfire given the time and concern that is being expressed on the boards where she has posted. I’ve subscribed ‘cos I’m interested in what she’s going to do in the 2 weeks of wrath she promises (interestingly the feed is listed as new yesterday in bloglines).

Update: I’ve got confirmation that this is a campaign for Court TV. (friend of a friend).

And here’s a follow up comment from Smart at Love:

Manipulating forums like this where people actually go for actual help just to sell your products to people already suffering… that’s the lowest of low.

I can’t wait for someone to find and out the scam marketers responsible for this, so we can publish all their REAL personal info on the internet. And billboards.

There are other similar messages on the message boards where Emily has been asking for help and advice.

There’s a billboard up in Chicago as well

Jul 18

London great for start-ups?

“London is a unique market, with a highly developed start-up culture. In the UK, start-ups are more fashionable and sexier and clients are often more inclined to give them their business. In the US, they don’t generally succeed – the size and scale of business is a barrier to entry for start-ups and means the top talent generally believes they will be better off staying with established agency brands.”

Someone thinks the UK is brilliant for startups – a definite change of opinion from previous US/Valley only comments.

Well, it would be if they were talking about technology startups. Instead this is David Jones, EuroRSCG, talking to Campaign magazine about advertising agency startups.

Jul 18

Sony Bravia blog – a missed chance

Updated: they’ve now added moderated comments,and are regularly updating. Thanks Ed for the response.

Via Adweek, I see that Sony have being listening to their consumers (at least one bit has…still not sure about their music/DRM section), seen the enthusiasm for the bouncing balls and are going to let the bloggers follow along the making of their next commercial.

Online viewers will be treated to exclusive content here on this site including video blogs directly from the ad shoot. Bloggers will be supplied with Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras to film themselves, each other and the action straight from the set. Seeing it first, means seeing it here!

Look, they’re even going to to let bloggers on the set, give them tools to film the filming and create online buzz all by themselves.

Now, I admit there’s a nice piece of film on the site about the making of the previous comercial (I always like behind the scene stuff) but isn’t this all a little one way? A select few will be allowed to film (I’m going to hazard a guess that they may have to sign some kind of promise not to diss them too much?). But the rest of us? I can feed back about what I like the site, but only via a set questionnaire. Are they going to share the comments from that? There’s no open comments, no chance to ask questions and challenge them….and no chance to build a relationship and rebuild some potential bridges. Now i could be charitable and say, from previous experience, that the lawyers said no to open comments and they do not have the funding to pay for full time moderation. But with the bashing that Sony have taken in the past in areas – and the great buzz they got over the Bravia ads – surely it’s a missed opportunity to take a small step to an open conversation.

Jul 17

Client Agency meetings

From Advergirl (via Adrants) the perfect description of a meeting between big client and big agency.

Agency account planner who has a “new media definitions cheat sheet” that she clipped out of Ad Week folded in her wallet: Well, I was thinking that we could try some “user generated media” – that means we would ask consumers to send in their own videos or art projects or commercials. They could really talk about how they experience the brand. Like a community.

The new CMO who works on gut instinct and a short attention span, who makes seat-of-the-pants decisions with little or no information and holds the agency accountable for not giving him all the details when the ill-conceived projects bomb: Ok, ok, I’ve heard enough. Here’s what we’ll do – customers will send in videos of how their dogs experience Cola. We’ll advertise on Friendster and Myspace. And, we’ll give away two Labrador pups to the winner – maybe a guest appearance at that big dog show my wife is always talking about – Westchester, or whatever.

Big corporates seeing the message control slipping away, not quite sure what to do (but they have to do something) but hemmed in my fear and lawyers and a (oten real) risk of litigation.

Jul 17

Pirates and advertising

I went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean film yesterday and really enjoyed it. It was fun, had me laughing a lot and was a perfect ‘lose yourself for a few hours’ film. It;s definitely not high ar

The website has all the typical features of an entertainment property – starting with lots of flash! Trailers and games are the key components. I’d not come across the digital trading cards before, but they look fun. As you keep digging and clicking, you come across wallpapers, IM bots, screensaves etc. It’s a far more interactive way to get the usual stuff and a way to keep people longer.

On Saturday the first film in the trilogy played on telly. Watching all the commercials breaks I came to the conclusion that every single ad break had a advert either from the company I’m currently working with or from my previous company (and sometimes one ad was both at the same time!). And ‘;d seen most of them so many times in the office I could tell my flatmate about the alternatives. So that’s why I spend far too much time online – to get away from them 😉

Jul 17

Heat warning

It’s too hot and I don’t have air conditioning in the bedroom (I was not supposed to be here in New York this long, planning on leaving before the weather got horrible). And now the city is under 2 warnings – heat and air pollution. Stay cool, drink lots of fluids, don’t be too energetic. I can cope with this – except I’d prefer to be on a beach somewhere, under an umbreall sipping rum punch rather than commuting in a sweltering underground. But at least it’s not London – the trains here do have AC

Jul 14

Sunsilk Launches

Last night I went along to the New York launch party for Sunsilk shampoo (one of the brands I’m working on). It’s a well known brand for me but is just being launched in the US..and the Unilever are pulling out all the stops. The voice of the brand on all the comercials is Mario Cantone, who was the star guest at the party. There were a lot of other ‘celebrities’ but I’m obviously not up to speed on the New York social life as there was no one I recognised. Even when i was told their name. However, I’m pretty sure photos will appear, as there were plenty of press and cameras there.

The party also launched the Hairapy Guys onto the world. They’ve been pretty busy on the PR circuit and will be doing htings like appearing on the VH1 Best Week Ever tonight.

The team here have been working hard on the web stuff and the main site launches next week. In the meantime, check out Micah’s Hairapy blog, Micah being one of the HG’s. The writing gives you a good indication of what he’s like in real life..great fun.

Jul 13

Royalton Service..or lack of it

Richard is in town from London at the moment, so last night we had dinner at his hotel, the Royalton. On the surface, a typical New York hotel with a lounge/bar in the reception room, cool furnishings, cool people, good cocktails. I had a great pomegranite marguerita that was far better than the one I had at the Rosa Mexicano the other week. the food was also pretty tasty. But everything would have been far better is there had been service, of any kind. We were obviously not the right type of people, as the waiters continously glanced past us trying to order new drinks. After ordering a glass of wine with the food, they whipped away the glass withpout even trying to offer me another one. Next time, we’ll go somewhere which can pay us slightly more attentions

Jul 12

The Grudge Game

I’ve gone and joined a variety of Chinwag mailing groups, one of which is used to announce various ‘virals’ to the world. Perfect fodder for posts.

So the first one to discuss is ‘The Cursed Room‘, a ame in the style of the Crimson Room to support the release of The Grudge 2 (and I keep writing that as grunge). According to the mail..’it’s gone ballistic’ (although 20 posts on Technorati and 10 google links is not necessarily indicative of viral buzz, maybe these exclusives are driving a lot of traffic?)

My first impression is the long load and then the tinyness of the playing area – it’s not conducive to actually seeing things


But once you get over that the game is actually quite good fun, if you like them (and I do). I’m just normally very bad at them, so the forums that have been set up are quite helpful to work out where to click and how to combine the elements. This one is a hit for me.

Except for the fact that actually, I have no idea what the film or product is about and I’m still not that interested – I’m just playing the game. So I think may be not so much of a hot for the product

Jul 11

Links bad

The last time I looked the web was links. Navigate by links, get better search ranking through links, links fuel the hamsters that drive the wheels. But not if you are Gartner, who have sent a C&D to James Governor for providing a link to one of their studies. Not exactly what the reason to put things on the web….hiding it from everyone. Now, I’m guessing that the link was to a study that Gartner wants you to pay for, but they failed to manage their own IP by not firewalling it well.

Jul 11

A credit card to match your Mini

If you’ve spent time on the Mini design your own car site, you can now extend your design skills. You can now design your own mini and get it on your own personal card from Platinum Visa. Taking the user design just one step further, match everything…so all you need now is the design your own Matchbox toy car.

As manufacturing becomes more flexible, we move further into the production runs of one. Have your designed car, PC, phone, MP3 player. Make it match your lifestyle and the features that you want – no more and no less. And this should bring along flexible prices as well.

Jul 11

Make your own Ad for Kayak

Dave Weinberger links to Kayak.com, which is running a build your own ad campaign. Kayak is a travel comparison site, for flights, hotels and all the other things you need on trips. I love the way it also pulls together all the reviews for hotels as well as all the prices.

The company is now starting to run national ads and is looking for further input from the fans of the sites, with a competition to build your own add wither through a tool kayak provides or on your own. The winner gets a trip to New York and their ad prefessionally remade and then used nationally. The sense of humour comes through strongly on their own ads, so there is plenty of scope…and the instructions make it clear what they are after:

* You must be funny. If you are not funny, don’t try to start now.
* You must own or have rights to the images you submit.
* Keep it clean; no porn.
* Keep it cleaner; no swearing, either.
* Don’t use our tool to make us look dumberer.
* We get a copy to post (it IS our tool and our brand).
* Oh, yeah. You must be funny.

Looking at some of the ones submitted to date, it looks like people are playing within the rules.

Kayak joins the growing number of companies that are asking for this kind of involvement from their users, with varying degrees of success. It depends on the level of respect that exists between the users and the brand, in both directions. This camapign looks like it is moving from a good starting place.