Saturday, October 27, 2007

Apple Commercial Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

DIY Advertising, also known as consumer generated content, is becoming more prominent. Agencies' clients pay a large sum of money to grab your attention so you can do the same to others by creating an advertisement that is relevant to consumers like yourself.

Apple and their agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, are doing something a little different; marketing employees at Apple found a 30-second video about the iPod Touch and wanted that to be their next commercial. The video was edited in Final Cut Pro and produced by Nick Haley, an eighteen year-old freshman from the University of Leeds in England. He's an Apple enthusiast, having received his first Apple computer when he was three years-old.

The spot is quite similar to something TBWA/Chiat/Day and Apple would produce, so it's no wonder the video matches their taste. The music, 'My Music is My Hot, Hot Sex' by Brazilian band CSS, is expected but fits very well with the fast tempo walk-through of the iPod Touch. Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Portugese for 'Tired of Being Sexy', will be playing for Great Britain in December on their Christmas Tour. After Chiat contacted him via e-mail on his phone, he took his first trip across the pond and worked with agency creatives in Los Angeles to produce a similar HD broadcast-ready version.

Nick Haley spot

TBWA/Chiat/Day + Apple spot

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facebook Lures Advertisers

Mark Zuckerberg has something up his sleeves for November 6th, but he's keeping whatever it is under the table until then. Facebook sent advertisers and agencies in New York a little invitation in the form of a Lucite brick: "You are invited to a discussion with Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team as we unveil a new way of advertising online." There's a big rumor that all the de-classified information you provide on Facebook will be available to advertisers. Already, nine companies -- Apple, CBS, Chase, Coke, Condé Nast, General Motors, Nike, Sony, and Verizon -- have jumped on board and will pay at least $300,000 each to be "Landmark Partners". Another rumor is that, somehow, Facebook will be able to target non-Facebook users on other sites. Internet marketers salivate as the countdown begins.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

College Kids and Brand Influence

Fifty years ago, I doubt that you would see event flyers posted on walls in residence halls or on bulletin boards around campus. Today, you can't escape them. Recently I've been paying attention to the influence brands have on my friends here at Kansas State University.

Almost all of us are on Facebook and believe it should be added to the dictionary as a noun and an adverb. Unlike Tom on MySpace, Mark Zuckerberg won't allow you to be his friend. If Facebook didn't exist, I wouldn't have been able to make a connection with the moderate similarity of new colors on our hallway with the social networking site.

We visit YouTube at least once a week to find hilarious videos, whether it's for ten seconds or ten minutes -- it needs to captivate some part of us. When something great is found, it will be shared via e-mail, Facebook, or by a friend coming into your room and making you watch the video.

One video on YouTube, in particular, has made a big impact on our floor, which has been deemed "Gregg's Place". Old Gregg is a twisted hermaphroditic merman, featured on the fifth episode in the second season of a British show called The Mighty Boosh. The episode is appropriately named "The Legend of Old Gregg". Old Gregg's character is played by Noel Fielding. Old Gregg quotes, like "It's attached to your rod, mothalicka", and "Do you like me? ... Make an assessment" are fervently repeated up and down the hallway. Shouting "I'm old Gregg!" has been the favorite.

Not only do I live in "Gregg's Place", but our study room is called "The Man Cave", possibly named after Alltel's concept, or possibly because we're all men. If it's the former, that would be pretty cool. Is Alltel getting more reach from the idea?

The residence hall I live in had a Floor Wars last week. Our floor won every event, and after the informal award ceremony, we ran upstairs with balloons and the large flyers that advertised each night's event. Displayed on one of the cabinets is the set of clothing we made for Project Runway. The event wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the TV show.

Pepsi-Cola is the offical carbonated beverage of K-State. Pepsi products are in the dining halls and in the convenience stores on campus; you will not find Coca-Cola products anywhere, until you go off-campus. If requested within a sufficient amount of time, free Pepsi products can be given to distribute out to students for a hall function.

Nike is the official sponsor for our athletic department, covering all varsity sports. Players wear Nike shoes and apparel. This isn't grade school though. We know their shoes don't make them jump higher or run faster, and we know it won't do any good for us either. But we have a relationship with the team. We come to the games alert and aware of what's going on.

Do these brands (and others) involuntarily affect how we think, leading us to purchase a product or recommend them to a friend?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Permit Pests, Prevent Fires

K-State reminds all residents that it's time to recognize our uninhibited friends who walk next to us on the way to class.

National Fire Prevention Week is also this week -- a little more important than swerving for suicidal squirrels (but still a good thing to do). These critters won't rescue you from a fire, but they may start one. Northern Idaho ground squirrels, for instance, like fires.

Join the Great American Fire Drill, so you'll be prepared. Schools, families and offices are invited to share their experience on YouTube.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Can You Tell Me How to Get a Design Job?

Personally, I can't tell you, but I discovered some great tips for students who strive to be designers. The best thing -- it's Sesame Street themed!

Amtrak Arrives Late

Better late than never, right? Amtrak introduces ARTE, the Engineer. "ARTE" looks like an acronym, and that's just what it is -- Amtrak Recognizes The Environment. Since when did "the" become an exception as part of an acronym? ARTE's mission is " to encourage environmental awareness — turning passion for the rails into passion for the earth" (Amtrak). They created events in Washington and Philadelphia this past week with childen to plant seedlings of 1,500 blue spruce trees. Does that make things better for us? Not necessarily. Is Amtrak doing this because they really care about the environment, or are they finally squeezing their way into the packed money train?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

All Dressed Up, Nowhere to Go

While visiting a friend two days ago, I saw a Seventeen Magazine in her room and asked to borrow it.

Why look in a girl's magazine? For one, I like ads. Secondly, research. The KSU Ad Club has volunteered to work with a student who is a Senior in Apparel and Textile Design; she will be opening a lingerie boutique in Rochester, New York sometime next year and has asked for some assistance developing a marketing strategy. We're privileged to work with her and have this opportunity.

Browsing through page after page of the publication and evaluating the effectiveness of the ads, I saw part of JCPenney's "Every Day Matters" campaign. The spread shows some teen girls at a dance posing for the camera in dresses that JCPenney is selling. I'm a guy, but I know when someone's hairstyle looks terrible. Theirs does, especially the girls on the far left and right. This is an important detail that JCPenney or its agency has missed. The lighting is also very poor. The copy is okay.

Going through some more pages, landing on a Dillard's ad, I saw a face that looked familiar. I had to do a double-take and go back to the JCPenney ad. She has the same facial structure. Yep, the caucasian brunette is the same model for JCPenney and Dillard's. (You may compare and contrast below.) Is this a bad thing for either company, or is it irrelevant?



The Dillard's ad has much better dramatic lighting for the occasion. The modeling and hairstyles are also better.

Are both concepts too similar? The ads are only 29 pages away from each other, in a magazine that has 173 pages. JCPenney is feeling free and having fun. Dillard's is intimate and elegant. Both spreads are scenarios headed to the same place.

BRAVIA Bunnies!

The newest Sony Bravia advertisement is out. First, there was 'Balls', then there was 'Paint'. Now, there is 'Play-Doh', featuring 2.5 tons of plasticine in 1:30 of stop-motion. "Devised by Fallon [London] and shot over three weeks in New York, the commercial employed 40 animators from Passion" (Sony). The spot also included 189 2' bunnies, 150 1' cubes, a 10'x20' purple wave, one giant 30' rabbit, and six cameras.

Watch the Teaser

Watch 'Play-Doh'

For better quality, watch the video on Sony BRAVIA's site. It takes a little while to load, but you get to read some colourful facts while you wait. Update: Don't wait and watch it here.

The Website has more. First, put your headphones on. Colour your own on the personalized Colourwall, walk through sharp blades of grass, listen to calming music, fly through a tunnel, drip a droplet, and bounce a ball on some walls to drop psychedelic sounds and ripples of colour. You can download the old BRAVIA spots, wallpapers and images. Also, check out the colour experiments and some info on the singer-songwriter José González ('Balls').

Friday, October 5, 2007

Learn How To Speak Teen


Communications company AT&T has put an insert in today's edition (Oct. 4) of the USA Today and previously on Sept. 25, part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The insert features a cell phone with an indecipherable message. (I sometimes use text messaging, and the ‘teen lingo’ makes no sense to me, even after reading the supposed translation.) On the side of it reads, "Do You Speak Teen?" in a large, eye-catching font. The backside has information and a small quiz to see if you know your teen. Attached to the insert is a tear-off with more information. All but one side has links to either or

Both days the insert has run, it has caught my attention. Both times I have seen them on the floor, dropped and disregarded by students getting their daily dose of headlines. The first time I picked the ad up, it was pretty dirty, so I threw it away. Once again, and in the same location (dining center), it was on the tile floor.

Is this really necessary? I don't mean is this necessary for the advertisement to run, but is our society so disconnected that parents need to be taught by a corporation how to talk to their kids? All of the 'Action Items For Parents of Teens' disturbs me, except for the third, which is only a little troubling.

“• Pick up your teen's mp3 player and go to the "Top 25 Most Played" section. Listen for references to alcohol, drugs or other risky behaviors. Then talk with your teen about what you heard.

• Visit social networking sites like, and browse the profiles of teens your child's age to see what they say, what their interests are and what they are doing online.

• Can you name your teen's favorite TV show? Watch it with him or her and discuss story lines.

• Go to a video sharing Web site and type in "smoking weed." Watch some of the videos. Did you know that your teen might be exposed to these images?”

Let's start at the top and work our way down.

1) My mp3 player does not have a “Top 25 Most Played” list. How do you know if listening to a song is harmful? We all know “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver, and “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul & Mary are references to smoking a blunt. I don’t know anyone who has said John Denver or Puff and Little Jackie Paper introduced them to pot. Bob Marley can be an exception. "Chronic-what-cles of Narnia" is from a skit on Saturday Night Live. It's a popular skit with teens and young adults, but it doesn't make me want to roll a doobie.

2) Stalk or lurk other children’s online communal space to build a stereotype of how your child is. Why not talk to them up front instead of peering over their shoulder?

3) This is good, for the most part. Spending quality time with your child is very important. Discuss story lines, right. How about this? Be genuinely interested and talk with whatever you want to talk about with your child, and whatever your child wants to talk about with you.

4) Parents have to go to a Web site to understand what “smoking weed” is? Doubt that. I’m pretty sure that teens have been exposed to images of marijuana. But does it make them go out and smoke it? That’s really subject to your child's moral values and susceptibility to peer pressure.

It is important to talk with your child/pre-teen/teen/whatever about drugs. Drug usage can destroy families and future generations. I’m glad to see support for the livelihood of teens and my peers working to be motivators.

Part of the tear-off insert reads, “Teens may be a hard study, but knowing more about their world and the influences around them will help you connect better with your teen.” Your kids should not be research projects but should be an individual masterpiece ‘in progress’. The tenor of the advertisement reads as if teens are just a statistic. And that’s especially what your son(s)/daughter(s) don’t want to be labeled today.

I’m a little confused as to who the demographic for this campaign is, because it’s parental advice from a company that may run your cable and is in the pages of a national newspaper. The idea people have of USA Today readers is subjective, so that doesn’t count. Maybe it’s toward the businessmen and women who wake up at 5 a.m. to commute two hours to work and hardly get to see their kids. Suggestion: I would rather have my parents spend an hour with me than spending an hour searching for profanity, connotations, etc. Don’t be anything but yourself, mom or dad.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

NEXT Phones Arrive Too Soon

While browsing the news headlines at this early/late hour, I was linked to from Drudge. At the top right of the page is a banner ad for Verizon Wireless Next series of phones. The banner ad has no animation. The two identical ads on the right at the middle of the page do, however. They go through each phone and then show the whole family together.

First of all, why two of the exact same ad? Do they think that the reader will not click one but give the other a chance? Maybe there's something I'm missing. Update: It has dawned on me that both ad spaces are taken because another tenant would distract from what Verizon is trying to sell.

The timing is way off, for those people who have laptop computers (smaller screen) at least, like me (15-inch). Sorry, my parents did not carry on the gene of reading a few hundred words every five seconds. I don't see the animation, so I have to refresh the page and scroll down. The average person is not going to do that.

What if there were a sensor to detect when the user has scrolled down to where the ad is located? The animation can then attract the reader's eye, doing what it's supposed to do. Scrolling over the ad itself is a good avenue to reach them, which is being used today. Seasoned current event lovers may train themselves to walk the fine pixelated line of not touching any ads or clicking, and that's why a sensoring program, code, or something, would capture more interested eyeballs.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.