Posts tagged ‘advertising’

Shower Partners

Found this on PaulinePauline’s flickr stream. It’s an advertisement in bath rooms for a dating site. Walking into a bathroom and seeing a full-sized perspectivally correct, naked lady should be pretty arresting. Or something like that…

November 20, 2008 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates

As part of a US$300 Million+ ad campaign, Microsoft engaged Jerry Seinfeld to do a commercial with Bill Gates. The commerical takes place in a shoe shop. It’s quirky, geeky, and well, actually, somehow honest about Microsoft.

Just a few weeks ago I had a discussion with Tom Acland, on why the hell tech brands (such as Dell, for example) try to be as cool and suave as Apple, when, in reality, they can’t pull it off. They come out with advertising and products that reek of copycat advertising and product strategy, which is not credible, and, even worse, kills the good stuff those brands do have. I guess their inability to develop their own strong brand purpose that is rooted in what people need and like about their brand creates a sense of reactive copying of another brand’s recipe. Problem is, you can’t copy Apple’s product and marketing innovation, you gotta come up with your own!

So how do you respond to Apple’s PC vs. MAC commericals when you are Microsoft?

I think they did a good job with Jerry (who somehow is a geek, too) and Bill does a good job of personifying Microsoft’s geeky brand character. After all, Microsoft is modeled after him, no point in pretending it’s something else. It has personality and of course, it has Jerry’s odd humor to transport it. Plus, it features little clues to Bill Gates trivia, such as a real (grinning) Mugshot of him in 1977 when he was arrested in New Mexico for a traffic violation, on the customer loyality card. Or, naming the shoe “The Conquistador” (repeated in Spanish by a Latin American family), as an obvious innuendo to Mircosoft’s corporate take-over plans. Nice.

I do think this might help Microsoft’s brand reputation in that it actually is truly a Microsoft thing to do. It’s honest, yet funny, and for once, doesn’t bombard you with boring product USPs. Microsoft personified, will still be the geek at the party, but at least true to himself and competent in his own right.

September 5, 2008 at 11:56 am 3 comments

Social Banners: can they save online advertising?

With traditional forms of advertising being under pressure more and more, it seems banners have been sold as the “digital” way to keep doing mass communication. Fact though is,  since banners also communicate single-minded propositions, just like a TV ad, they really are no different, except you can maybe target them better (which is actually not always done) and measured better (also not always done). However, the modus operandi these days still for agencies seems to be that as long as you slap the label “digital” on something, it’s easier to sell. But, let’s face it, it’s still just advertising.

Looking at banners closely from a people’s point if view, banner advertising is one of the most annoying forms of advertising, maybe even more annoying than TV-Spots because they interrupt people’s task flows. So it is only natural that their effectiveness has been questioned for quite some time now. If you look at digital marketing budgets and the percentage of how much of it is spent on media versus creating rich experiences where the media buys should lead, unforunately, usually only a fraction is spent on creating the experiences. The mindset of “reach” is still more prevalent than that of “relevance” and offering people value in exchange for their attention and time. Banners are just messaging, and rarely have included meaningful experiences.

According to Adweek, AvenueA/Razorfish is trying to change all that with a new format they call AdLife and have been testing with a roster of their clients. AdLife banners have built in social-media features such as customer testimonials.

Singh [global social media lead for Avenue A/Razorfish] said efforts like AdLife are part of an industry-wide effort to solve a critical challenge: How to attract consumers’ attention at a time when display ads are ignored and customers rely more on what others say than advertisers.

“What’s driving this is the recognition that social influence has a big influence on purchases and brand affinity,” he said. “Customers listen to other customers more than anything else. It makes sense for the ad unit to carry customer voices.”

This seems to make sense at first sight, and will probably improve CTRs and bring value to AARFs ad clients.

However, there are two things I feel weary about:

1. If the focus is still on the effort on how to attract consumers attention from the brand point of view, you are not addressing the issue that they want a value exchange for that attention. It’s advertising think. Focus what people want first, then on how the brand can make a meaningful contribution. Not the other way around.

2. It is true that people listen to other people more than to messages. However, if you carry a consumers voice in an ad, it is still an ad. Testimonial advertising isn’t exactly new, and therefore is just, well, advertising. Also, social media work best, not only when people create the content, but also have the feeling it happens in the context of a social community the call their own. Can a banner ever provide that context?

So, apart from AARF’s honorable quest to keep deliver innovative solutions for their client’s problems, how much of an innovation is this in terms of focusing on creating human brand acts as opposed to delivering new forms of ads? Not much. It’s a more like hitting the pause button on the undeniable fact that pure messaging media will have to become de-emphasized in the favor of building holistic brand experiences.

August 8, 2008 at 10:53 am Leave a comment


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