Ray-Ban recently launched a campaign for their new line of Wayfarer sunglasses. The Project Colorize ads and products were designed by five New York artists (Tara McPherson, Scott Alger, Queen Andrea, Ron English, and Toofly) and have been featured in Marie Claire. The billboards, which will run in New York, are expected to 16 million impressions each month (via: Adweek). To kick off the promotion, Ray-Ban sponsored a stunt near Herald Square in which paid actors donned their Wayfarers to stare at one of the billboards (via: Style Wise). Click here to see a couple of pictures from the event.
Wayfarers are back in a big way. I just purchased a pair over the weekend. Although, I love the Project Colorize styles and was really looking forward to getting the ones designed by Tara McPherson, I opted to get a more subtle color. Last year, Ray-Ban introduced its Never Hide campaign, which emphasized consumer involvementthrough its online community and gave a lucky few the opportunity to feel like super-models. If you attended the Project Colorize marketing stunt, please send me pics or tell me your thoughts. It would be much appreciated!
It seems Wall-E has taken product placements to new heights with its many references to Apple. Pixar, which made the animated film, used to be owned by Steve Jobs (via: NYT’s “Wall-E: An Homage to Mr. Jobs“. There are many subtle and clever nods to Apple products and SlashFilm.com is currently keeping track of them. Click here to add to its growing list of Easter eggs.
Click here to view Mediaedge:cia’s CEO, Lee Doyle discuss the growing trend of consumers canceling their cable service due to hard financial times. During his presentation at the ARF conference, Doyle notes that “economically challenged” viewers are turning to online video entertainment and no longer consider cable television as a necessity. He goes on to state that a whopping 40% of commercials are not being fast-forwarded by consumers with DVRs and attributes this to Americans’ “conditioning” to advertisments.
Doyle pretty much described my television viewing habits to a T. I watch a lot of television and have subscribed to digital cable and DVR service for years. Recently, however, I cancelled my Showtime and Starz! subscriptions to save money. I found that between watching videos online and catching up with my recorded programs, I just didn’t need the extra channels and expense. Also, skipping ads gets to be kind of annoying and often times I even forget that I’m not watching live TV. I guess I’m one of those “passive” viewers that Doyle described.
AHHH! My jaw just dropped and my heart skipped a beat. After years and years of anticipation and campaigning from fans, Nike will release the sneakers Marty McFly wore in Back to the Fututre: Part II. However, the sneakers look NOTHING like the pair seen in the classic film. There has undoubtedly been a lot of hype about the shoes, but Nike really dropped the ball by making them, as PSFK‘s Dan Gould states, “…just a limited edition Hyperdunk that’s inspired by the movie version” (via: “Nike To Finally Release Back To The Future Sneaker“). I feel absolutely cheated.
I wasn’t expecting the McFlys to tie themselves, after all, it’s 2008 and flying cars are nowhere in sight. I was however, hoping that Nike would keep the authenticity of the original design. This is really a “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” moment. My Puma El Roos look more like the McFlys than that slab of leather Nike is set to drop.
In recent months, HBO has been airing the Back to the Future films, which I’m sure not only increased demand for the sneakers, but also introduced them to an entire generation collectors. I’m sure many people will be clamoring to get these, but I will not be one of them. No official release date has been set, but they are expected to hit shelves sometime this Summer (via: slashfilm.com).
The Federal Communications Commission may begin taking steps to regulate the growing use of product placements on television shows. According to a World Advertising Recesearch Center report, the FCC wants broadcasters to make it easier for viewers to know when they are being marketed to. The number of “embedded advertisments” increased 13% in 2007 (via: Reuters) and are commonly seen as a way to reach elusive viewers in a TiVo-filled world. Currently, programs are only required to disclose sponsors at the end of show, to which commisioner Jonathan Adelstein states:
“You shouldn’t need a magnifying glass to know who’s pitching you. A crawl at the end of the show shrunk down so small the human eye can’t read it isn’t really in the spirit of the law.” (via: WARC’s “FCC TO REVIEW PRODUCT PLACEMENT RULES“)
A strick ruling from the FCC could require programs to post notices before or after a product placement occurance. Its unclear how this will be done without disrupting show content or if it will even be welcomed by viewers. It’s no secret that most marketers have taken to product integrations to improve brand awareness and receptivity. While the inclusion of real products/brands adds to a program’s verisimilitude, certain tactics can be rather deceptive.
Product placements are real hot-button issue and marketers and studios have come under fire from not only the FCC and watchdog groups, but the Writer’s Guild of America as well. For years, the WGA has asked the FCC to regulate the use product placements because it views the weaving of ads into storylines as unethical and impedes on the creative process.
I worked for a company that monitored engagement with product placements in prime-time shows and have written extensively about the topic in the past. I can’t wait to see how this develops.
During a recent episode of Family Guy on TBS, Bill Engvall appeared on screen with a remote control and paused the show. Engvall then proceeds to promote the new season of his show as Family Guy remains frozen in the background. What the audience didn’t know was that when Engvall appeared, the show had begun a commercial break. In the past, TBS has wonderfully and seamlessly integrated commercial content into its programming, (the “Very Funny” ad campaigns, for instance) but this time the cable network sought to be deliberately intrusive.
In his Ad Agearticle, Brian Steinberg states:
TV networks have gotten extremely aggressive with the bottom corners of the screen. Some cable outlets even let pieces of promotional flotsam, known in the industry as “snipes,” rise from the corners and take up the bottom third of the TV screen. More recently, however, these animated promos have become decidedly more intrusive, blocking action as it unfurls on the screen or even competing with spoken dialogue.
Giving the spastic nature of Family Guy, the promo may not annoy people as much as it would if had aired on a show such as Lost, which commands a significant amount of audience attention. I think viewers will be seeing a lot more aggressive snipes in the future, especially on syndicated shows in reruns where broadcasters may assume that they are already familiar with the content and plot. The sneaky TBS tactic has already generated quite a bit of discussion, but too bad the effort was wasn’t on such a sub-par show as Bill Engvall.
AKQA, London’s latest endeavor for NikeiD seeks to take mobile marketing to a new level by attempting to deepen the interaction between the consumer and brand. NikePhotoiD, the latest service offered by NikeiD, allows users to customize Dunk high-tops on the fly by simply texting an image of their surroundings with a camera phone. The application then selects the two dominant colors of an image and sends participants an example of a customized sneaker superimposed over the original image they took along with a link to share or purchase their creation. NikePhotoiD will only be available in Europe, but AKQA is working on expanding the product selections and service to other regions.
Paulo Tubito, Nike’s Director of Brand Connections, states, “Where past use of MMS in mobile marketing campaigns has typically focused on short-term, one-way interactions between brands and consumers, Nike PhotoiD opens a genuine creative dialogue between the brand and its audience” (via: Contagious). I’ve always found most mobile marketing attempts to be rather one-dimensional despite being highly user-controlled and initiated. Although NikePhotoiD includes a viral aspect, I doubt designs will be widely shared on a long-term basis. Perhaps its because the NikeiD website has such boring color and material selections, but I’ve never enjoyed viewing the sneaker designs of other people. This really seems like a neat service and when it arrives in the states, I’ll definitely try it out, but it strikes me as nothing more than a gimmick that will lose its appeal after customers satisfy their curiosity. Ross Cidlowski makes a great point when he wonders if Europeans use cell phones differently and questions whether this campaign will have any significant impact on people’s behavior.
I love customized sneakers and appreciate how Nike is inviting customers to capture the environments that inspire them. The creative process, however, is severely limited by the lack of color options and ability to actively design the sneaker. Perhaps a more effective way for Nike to strengthen its mobile communication with consumers would have been a relaunch of the NikeiD website with better navigation and palettes that allow visitors to create custom colors and patterns.
The polls will close at the end of June and a new soft drink will join the Mountain Dew family. In November, PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew, teamed up with WhittmanHart and launched an exceedingly interactive ad campaign to revitalize the brand. The campaign consists of several phases where players of an online game design their own Mountain Dew drink. The user-generated beverages were then narrowed down to three flavors (Supernova, Voltage, Revolution) and are currently being sold for a limited time. The packaging instructs customers to visit Dewmocracy.com and vote for their favorite flavor. It goes without saying that Mountain Dew is playing off of the excitement of the national elections and even displays results from each state.
“Dewmocracy” is the first large-scale web marketing campaign by Mountain Dew that targets teens and Millennials, who have grown up with the Internet. In 2007, the brand ended its highly-successful “Do the Dew” and “extreme sports” approach to end being labeled as an energy drink like Red Bull. Ending its long-time partnership with BBDO and opting to collaborate with WhittmanHart has so far demonstrated impressive results. The agency has incorporated many opportunities for consumers to be entertained and collaborate into the media it created. The “Dewmocracy” website in particular contains experiential features where visitors can post messages and create there own 20-second campaign commercials to share on their social-networking profiles.
In addition to the website and multi-player game, WhittmanHart created a 4-minute short filmto provide “Dewmocracy” with a back-story. The power to design a drink is framed as an act of defiance against evil corporations seeking to eliminate people’s freedom to make their own choices. This sort of rhetoric that addresses cynicism toward corporations is similar to how Mountain Dew appealed to “Gen Xers” in the 90s and will likely make the campaign a success. Although members of “Dewmocracy” may not view themselves as full-fledged counterculturalists, they look for outlets of self-expression and the site provides exactly that. In March, WhittmanHart reported “Dewmocracy” drew 70,000 visitors that spent an average of 26-28 minutes on the site.
To promote the three flavors, PepsiCo has been giving customers free bottles and 12-pack cans at several supermarket chains. I’m sure the soft-drink giant is hoping to get people hooked on a particular flavor and so they will visit Dewmocracy.com and become brand ambassadors campaign supporters. Overall, the interactivity of Mountain Dew’s new marketing strategy is top-notch and engaging. Voting-centered ad campaigns seem to be popular and enjoyed by consumers. In 2003 and 1995, M&Ms drew a lot of attention and participation when the company asked customers to select a new color for its candy.
This interview with Scott Patt reminded me of the little known fact that Converse is owned by Nike. In it, Pratt states his job as CD entails “ensuring our product continues to represent the iconic and authentic nature of the brand.” Throughout its history, Chuck Taylor All-Stars have been embraced by greasers, punk rockers and other sub-cultures, which led to the shoe emerging as an “anti-establishment” symbol. Until recently, Chuck Taylors were the kicks people wore in protest of the mainstream and Nike’s use of sweatshop labor. Despite its iconic status, Converse experienced lagging sales during the late 90s and was purchased by Nike for $305 million in 2003.
In a very smart strategic move, Nike avoided “beaverizing”Converse and instead allowed the company to operate as a separate entity, but changed its marketing and sales approach. Much like other sneaker companies, Converse established customer loyalty by becoming part of culture. Through customization options, new colors and styles, Nike capitalized on Converse’s brand equity and introduced Chucks to new audiences without compromising its symbol as a form of expression.
Patt refers to Converse as an art brand and states, “…the All Star itself is the greatest mobile blank canvas ever created, next to the classic white t-shirt” (please read my Threadless piece). Even though Chucks have gone “mainstream” and are made by what many people view as an evil corporation, Converse is poised to maintain its fan-base, because its design and marketing teams seem genuinely in-tune with the company’s history and customers.
I must confess, I was a little amused when I spotted a subway poster that read, “You do look fat in those jeans Sarah Marshall.” My head did turn when I saw another declaring, “My mom always hated you Sarah Marshall” further down the platform. I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that I logged on to ihatesarahmarshall.com as soon as I arrived at work even though much of my curiosity was diminished when I noticed the MPAA rating. It was that moment I realized I was tricked! These scribblings weren’t some poor sucker’s way of dealing with a bad breakup, a cheating girlfriend, an itchy STD, or all of the above. Nope, they were the latest addition of viral campaigns sweeping the marketing industry.
Even though the Forgetting Sarah Marshall campaign is generating a lot of buzz from ad execs and audiences alike, it misses the mark on many levels. The website/blog for example, provides way too much information and makes me long for a case of magnesiaamnesia. You don’t have to be the swiftest deer in the forest to figure the film’s premise or predict which way its humor will blow. Also, compared to the simple billboards, the site comes across as overdone. The potential interactivity of the site is negated by how visitors are bombarded with youtube clips and unable to leave comments.
Overall, my biggest complaint about the campaign is its tranparency. It had so much potential to hook audiences and create genuine curiosity and word-of-mouth. Seeing these ads, I can’t help but think about the 2006 Cartoon Network billboards featuring phrases such as, “I pooted” or “My boogers itch.” There was no hint of a URL to a gaudy website on these ads. Instead, they were shrouded in mystery and required observers to Google the terms or wait a couple of weeks before characters and the CN logo were revealed. There’s a lot to be said for discovery; it gives people a sense of knowledge and accomplishment that spoon-fed information fails to provide. While web content and an online presence is quickly becoming a part of many marketing strategies, it’s important to prevent all the bells and whistles and streaming video from becoming too much too soon. By its very nature, the Internet is already an interactive and viral medium, so perhaps the most captivating and memorable experiences are the ones people participate in creating themselves.
I’m sure the above title will be overly used and isn’t that original, but I couldn’t resist. Despite having invested $45 million in a single-source measurement attempt, Nielsen and Arbitron have decided to end their Project Apollo program. The endeavor (another cheesy space reference) began in 2005 with a $20 million investment by Proctor & Gamble and was slated to track 50,000 households. However after supposed “infighting, politicking, brink-teetering and corporate footdragging,” the January 2006 pilot only covered 5,000 homes. Project Apollo was slated to be the first national research service to track media consumption both in and out of the home. Although the information the program could have provided would please any marketer looking to create more effective campaigns, Project Apollo failed to secure enough clients.
It goes without saying that as the media environment continues to become even more complex, cross-platform data will, as Linda Dupree (Arbitron’s Executive Vice President, Portable People Meter, New Product Development) stated, “bridge the divide of marketing strategy and media planning.” The media industry is drastically changing and although Project Apollo was positioned to provide the marketplace with the much coveted single-source data, perhaps the concept was lightyears (sorry, another space reference) ahead of its time. Audience measurement has turned into an extremely competative business, and with the likes of TiVo, DirecTV and Google throwing their hats into the ring, marketers may feel safer investing in the specialized data these companies offer.
Reebok couldn’t release a decent pair of sneakers if the instructions were written on the heel. The company’s latest attempt at whetting the palates of sneaker collectors is an ill-conceived collaboration with Kool-Aid. Their line of Kool-Aid scented sneakers, which are available in grape, cherry, and strawberry, was released earlier this month. For the burgeoning fashion victims fashionistas that enjoy coordinating their outfits, matching hoodies, hats and t-shirts are available and will most likely be hitting the clearance rack the second they’re unloded off the truck.
If these sneakers were geared towards children, I’d forgive the bright colors and figure Reebok is capitalizing on their love of sugary, artificially flavored drinks. However, the Kool-Aid kicks are part of the company’s 2008 “Your Move” campaign, which tries way too hard to portray Reebok as a brand that embraces individuality. Granted, I’m not all that familiar with Reebok or its products, but I have seen a couple of its recent spots, and I must say, the ads are definitely lacking authenticity.
Reebok is obviously trying create a space for itself among sneaker heads, but it fails to realize sneaker-collecting culture was created by the consumers. Nike, Adidas and Puma know this and are able to make campaigns that come across as collaborative, not phony. Another reason why Reebok will never be fully embraced by collectors is its lack of a solid brand identity and history. Several years ago it rebranded itself as RBK, a move that reminds me of KFC’s disturbing (and somewhat true) urban legend. It’s really hard to establish a long-term relationship with a company that undergoes identity crises and encourages shoe-sniffing.
I saw the following job posting while browsing NYU’s CareerNet.
Employer: cip marketing Corporation Division: East Title: adidas Brand Coach Description: Objectives:
adidas America and cip Marketing Corporation have partnered to create an exciting opportunity for students. As one of the leading brands in the world, adidas is aware of the value of the relationship with retailers and consumers. We are looking for students to assist in our mission to inspire adidas retailers and consumers. Students who can inspire by sharing the passion, authenticity and innovations of the adidas brand.Duties and Responsibilities:
Must be a self starter with strong self management skills. Must have flexibility to work with short time lines in a fast-paced environment.
• Ensure sell-through of adidas products
• Increase Accounts’ Sales Associates knowledge of and passion for adidas products, marketing initiatives and technologies
• Brand representative at events
Qualification: • Above average MS Office skills
• Excellent communication, presentation skills and ability to interact at all levels within an organization
• Ability to lift 60 lbs
• Ability to travel within Metro area
cip is currently handling several retail and event projects for Adidas. It seems as though Adidas is looking to engage retailers as well as consumers, thus adding a whole new level to its marketing strategies. It really impressive to see how in a relatively short time Eric Liedtke has managed to revitalize the company’s image after its declining sales in the late 90s. I might apply to the job; Lord knows gambling debts don’t pay off themselves and I’m not one to welsh on a bet.
A lot has been going down in the world of Adidas and being an avid sneaker collector, I’m excited! Following a month-long renovation, the Originals store in SoHo reopened during Fashion Week and set the stage for the company’s new Celebrate Originality campaign. To promote the launch of the redesigned store, a giant adidas Originals shoebox was placed on Broome St. Adidas, 180 Amsterdam and Hill & Knowlton have been generating a lot of buzz over their viral and interactive marketing strategies, which includes the release of an animated film about Adi Dassler on YouTube and implementing various blogger/social-networking outreach methods.
The Celebrate Originality campaign introduces the miOriginals concept, which allows customers to design their own sneakers through interactive, in-store workshops. According to Andrea Corso, an Adidas spokesperson, “It’s special for Originals because it’s now making this design component available to more consumers with more products and turning it over to them so they can bring their creative to life.” During a time in which people do not only consume, but rather render brands and products as part of themselves, the new Adidas campaign will most likely succeed. Adidas introduced sneaker customization–a phenomenon that has proved successful for both Nike and Puma–in 1984 with the release of it Adicolor products. Through the use of a brand model that treats customers as active, creative partners and participants, sneaker companies function much like a culture.
Adidas has embraced the promotion of digital media and interactive events in the past. In 2006, the company created several short films on YouTube for each color in its re-released Adicolor series. For this campaign, Adidas opened a secret showroomin NYC’s Chinatown that prompted a lot of online discussion over its location. To compliment a website it created for user-generated content, Adidas put up white billboards that encouraged people to tag them with graffiti.
With a new Atelier retail design and special section in its stores for customers to relax in and be inspired, Adidas is not merely executing their latest advertising campaign. Celebrate Originality serves as an example of how companies are seeking to increase brand loyalty and engagement by using marketing methods that encourage experiences.
I’m thinking about doing a Funniest Ad post every week. This Lay’s Potato Chips ad originally aired in January. Whenever I hear the words, “baby I want you…baby I need you,” I literally run to my TV to watch it. I’m not sure what agency worked on it, but it is by far more entertaining than any spot that aired during the super bowl. There’s also been quite a bit of on-line discussion about the actress’ resemblance to Natalie Wood. Personally, I don’t see it, but regardless, the look on her face at the end is priceless!