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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

A recent study between Mac users and PC users found that Mac users are confident, happy with their computers and self-aware.

The study, which seems to have been conducted by people offended by the Mac vs. PC commercials, interprets these statistics as “arrogant, superior and more open” than the general population (meaning PC users). Apparently this is why the Mac character on the commercials isn’t annoying to Mac users. Personally I find the commercials hysterical, and I love that the Mac guy just lets himself be a foil for PC’s blundering. It’s understated advertising comedy at its best. But I am a Mac user, so I must fit the profile, right?

Found on AdAge.com

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A new ad for Commonwealth Bank begins with a confusing mix of punk koala bears driving Mad Max-style vehicles through the outback, a Crocodile Dundee guy making rebel yells and tossing a boomerang, and an over-the-top voice-over straight out of the movie trailers. Then comes the exploding logo – and camera pans out to reveal the “ad” playing on a flat screen tv in a conference room, several giddy agency guys patting each other on the back and dropping comments about the lengths they went to in order to make the comp – and the three clients sitting silently looking slightly shocked. In the end they say they like only the last two seconds, much to the dismay of the presenters.

Looking at the comments that have been made about this ad on YouTube, it appears that some people aren’t catching on to the sarcasm. It seems that the ad agency (Goodby, Silverstein &Partners) is making fun of ad agencies in order to show their clients as level headed, uninterested in overbudgeted exploding cliché-filled ads like this one presented by the ubiquitous “American Ad Agency.” Michael Bay, a director well-known for blowing things up and over-editing, is mentioned as having paid his own money to get the comp made for the clients.

Apparently there will be a continuation of this theme in a mockumentary style, following the clueless advertising team as they attempt to put together an ad the bank likes. My guess is this will culminate in a new ad campaign reflecting the message underneath the sarcasm, that this bank is interested in the “real” and not the glitz. For now, they’re stirring up emotion as Australians take offense at the blatant stereotyping. For my part, I find it refreshing to see a major agency making fun of itself – while at the same time making the point that bigger isn’t always better, and hopefully we’ll end up with a clean, crisp, succinct message at the conclusion worthy of the comparison.

Found on AdFreak.

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Sometimes I see something in an ad that catches my attention, and I turn my focus to it and watch it and look it over and think, “Wow. What a beautiful ad. But I just don’t get it.”

It’s a bit hard to admit, because I’m one of those people that likes to puzzle through things – but sometimes advertising can be just too hard to figure out to make it worth it. Case in point – today on Creativity, a new spot for Samaritans featuring a ringing phone, relaxing music and some incredibly gorgeous visuals. But what the heck does it mean? Obviously the point is to get people to sign up to answer phones at their support centers. But this can be worked out by looking at the very last frame – the rest of the ad is rather bizarre.

When flipping through a magazine, I am always impressed by the ads that can reach out and snatch at my attention, causing me to pause to figure them out, letting me participate in the advertising process. However, this goes a step too far when the message is lost in all the cleverness and I am left wondering, what the heck was that about? Cleverness in advertising is great – but make sure you’re still able to make your point.

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Cloverfield poster

I wrote a few months back about the ingenious trailer for the now-named Cloverfield movie, featuring a hand-held camera of a party which gets rudely interrupted by a mysterious large monster crashing through downtown New York. Giving only the date of release, interested viewers are intrigued enough to track down hints and clues on a variety of websites, set up forums discussing their findings and hypotheses, and basically work themselves into a frenzy over the upcoming movie.

Basically it’s the viral concept, carefully crafted into a marketing strategy that has been wildly successful in this instance. It helps that the man responsible for the movie is also well-known for his series Lost, who drops tantalizing hints onto websites, into episodes, on DVDs, online games and various other places to keep the storyline as complex and engaging as possible.

But I think the real discovery here is the idea of personal investment in one’s characters. In Lost, the viewer slowly uncovers the histories of the characters, and through personal effort (the “search”) finds out more about each person so that the character feels real to the viewer and also very personal. The triumph of solving a puzzle or searching down a clue involves the viewer and requires the kind of personal investment that puts them into the storyline, almost as if they really know the people involved and are trying to help them in real-time.

In Cloverfield, the viewers are able to find videos, photos and information about various characters and their relationships with each other, in real-time, leading up to the movie’s release so that by then they’ve been experiencing this storyline for months and can’t wait to find out what happens to their friends. Truly genius, and an important mantra for advertisers: get your audience personally invested in your product, and you’ve got a winner.

Here’s a very thorough recap of the entire marketing effort on Movie Marketing Madness. Very much worth a read.

Found on AdFreak via Twitter.

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Cadbury has released a new campaign featuring everyone’s favorite creme egg getting suicidal. Apparently the point is to get to the best part – the “goo” – as quickly as possible. Spots include the little egg shucking its foil wrapper before placing its fragile little body purposely in the path of falling books and meat tenderizers, catapulting itself into a wall using a trash can lid, leaping through an egg slicer, getting drawn and “halved” by a pair of horses, and melting itself in front of a blow dryer.

On the Cadbury website, the poor deranged egg is put through further self-torture behind the door of the “Goo-ology” Research Centre. First the egg throws itself under the knocker as the viewer tries to enter, and then it can be found on a psychologist’s couch while mini versions of itself find ever more creative ways to smash themselves in the background, tidily cleaned up afterward by an egg in an apron with a vacuum. A range of games, quizzes, contests and other “Goo”dies can be found by pulling down the “egg chart” and examining its various mental problems.

I find it all a bit grotesque, though funny – but I’m not sure it does the job of making me want to eat the creme eggs, even though I absolutely love the sticky sugar-bomb. I actually feel a bit sorry for the little egg, I wonder why it wants to end it all (besides the possibility that its life’s only ambition is to be eaten by someone who is more interested in the creme filling than in the chocolate on the outside).

So I wonder about this campaign – is it really a good idea to sell a food product in a way that makes the viewer feel sorry for it? Or will the off-kilter silliness be enough to get people to buy creme eggs for their Easter baskets in droves?

Found on Creativity Online.

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Ok so this isn’t quite fair… it’s not exactly about advertising, and I’m posting it mainly because I am totally addicted to this show. But anyone who has kept up with Lost for the last few years knows that it’s returning at the end of this month. While my significant other is making it a point to avoid all the teaser previews (think fingers in the ears La-La-La kind of avoidance), I am looking for any scrap of news that will give me my Lost fix until the season premiere.

So it’s not exactly cheating if I find one of those scraps on another advertising blog, is it? Earlier this week AdFreak posted an entry about a new promotional game called Find 815. It’s based on a set of characters that are not recognized from the show: a guy who used to work for Oceanic Airlines, and his search for his girlfriend who was a flight attendant on the doomed airplane. Her name is Sonya and I can’t remember if she was one of the survivors or not – but if the writers want to tie in the game to the show, they never hesitate to pull out some random new character and claim that they were extras the whole time. So of course I’m now checking in on this online flash game every day, playing the little puzzles, clicking on pictures and searching for all the little hidden goodies that no doubt someone smarter than me will find a lot quicker.

One clever advertising move – often the game spits you out onto their partner network site (ABC) to play one of the puzzles. Of course this increases traffic to their website and offers a chance to advertise other shows. Not all is lost when entertainment can pull double-duty like that.

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Ad Freak is holding a contest to choose the freakiest ad of 2007. Checking the list they’ve got so far, there were quite a few. Advertisers are always looking for new ways to get their products noticed, but some of them stoop to such low levels to get attention that I wonder how they thought it could possibly be good for their product image. From the creepy undead Orville Redenbacher to a guy licking bird poop off his car, the yikes moments turned me off to more than one brand. But it certainly makes for a fun look back at the year of advertising! Enter your votes here, and enjoy catching the few weird spots that you haven’t already seen.

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