30 07 2010

Remember this commercial?

You didn’t think they’d actually do it, did you? Neither did I. But with the help of some high school-aged rocket scientists, they did.

Soon the Discovery Channel will be chronicling the adventures of 8 high school students chosen to participate in Sony’s Rocket Project. The stories are inspirational, the filming is very well-done, and overall, it’s a moving experience. Check out the video below for a glimpse.

However, in the teaser, Sony does imply that their laptop will be used to launch a “real” rocket. Though the opportunity they’ve given to the students who help build their rocket is amazing, I can’t help but think that it was a cutesy way for them to avoid having to actually live up to their claim. The rocket the students build is impressive- 1,110 lbs., and manages to get 147,000 feet into the air at a speed of Mach 2.8. The students have been offered jobs and scholarships to some of the best schools in the country. But does Sony actually keep their promise? And most importantly, what is this going to do for their brand?

I’m all about the Make.Believe campaign. I think it’s inspirational, creative, and speaks to the capacity to make imaginary things real that technology affords us. However, they’re not well-publicized ads, and they haven’t gotten the viral claim to fame that other brands have (*cough* Old Spice *cough*). Thus, this project, while, as stated before, very touching, probably won’t serve to increase sales or even really brand awareness. Which further begs the question: why was it worth it? What are they hoping to accomplish?

Perhaps I’m speaking too soon. We’ll talk after the documentary airs on the Discovery Channel, but in the meantime I’d love to hear what you think. Until then, loyal readers- nothing is impossible, so make believe!


Shaving Off the Innuendo

29 07 2010

I have to admit, if I was a man, I’d be pretty conflicted by now.

AdAge’s Viral Video chart for this week shows an intense face-off between Old Spice’s “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” commercials, and a new campaign by Gillette called “Perfect Length.” What’s it about, you ask? Check out the videos below.

While the ads themselves aren’t incredibly well-made and don’t share the same copywriting genius that the Old Spice ads are famous for, they nevertheless play off of an integral part of human nature, and one that is increasingly becoming a double-entendre norm. Plus, they’re just entertaining. Over the last week, Gillette gained 123% in views of their campaign (up to 2,159,215 views) while Old Spice declined by 70% (to a mere 11,309,342 views). In today’s world of viral madness, no one can expect to be famous for long.

Imagine the Possibilities

26 07 2010

Imagine a drama in which thugs chase teddy bears.

Frightening? Not so much.

Scary? Depends on how you see it.

Really, really cool? Heck yes.

In a follow-up to their “Voyeur” campaign launched by BBDO New York, HBO has possibly created the coolest Web site ever.

The site is set up in the grid shown above, and users can watch short films, read “police reports” view mug shots, hear police radio broadcasts, etc. It all adds up to an adventure tale in which thugs, yes, perform a teddy bear heist. It’s engaging, intriguing, and extremely fun. BBDO has truly outdone themselves in creating “The Affair.”

Check the site out for yourself at www.hboimagine.com, and feel free to browse some screenshots below.

Consumed by Friends

23 07 2010

Let’s start today’s post with the video we’ll be discussing.

The iPad itself has long been touted as the end-all “consumption” device. Users can look at, use, and interact with as much content as is available on the World Wide Web; however, they can’t necessarily create it. This has led to many perceptions of the iPad as the “ultimate consumer device,” a “glorified iPhone” that lets us consume, but not create. The repercussions of this aren’t seen as yet, since most of the available consumer market uses their iPads as a sort of supplement rather than a means in itself; however, the app above- Flipboard- will change this sort of content consumption in an entirely new way. By turning social networks into a condensed type of magazine, users will not only be able to see, read, and interact with content that their friends post on all the networks they use, but they’ll also be able to keep up to date with almost everything happening on the web. It’s the ultimate updater, especially if one uses it for topics he/she is interested in.

Notably, however, the narrator in the video above says explicitly that you can use the app to read information that your friends post, but you can’t really upload your own content (presumably because you’ll be so busy looking at theirs). I have to wonder what this means for the general market- both for news sites who are facing declining profit margins, and for advertisers who target their marketing efforts to key “influencers” or “opinion leaders” within their consumer base. How will this change the definition of what it means to set a trend, or lead an opinion? Will the overwhelming amount of content suffocate those who have a large number of friends/followers, to the point where they stop using these networks altogether? Does the iPad really have, or will it potentially gain, that much power over how we interact on social networks?

And, most importantly, who’s going to be creating if the rest of us are consuming? 


What Just Happened?

22 07 2010

Watch the two videos below, and you’ll find out why I asked. Nissan has officially turned one of my favorite commercials ever into a parody of destruction. I say this in only the fondest of ways, of course, but when you compare the two commercials I have trouble deciding whether TBWA was being original or just plain facetious. Do you have an opinion on this? If so, let me know.

This is the original commercial, created by Fallon a few years ago for the launch of the Sony Bravia TV, in a campaign entitled “Colour Like No Other.” An utterly fantastic piece of work.

And then we have Nissan’s version, launching the upgraded Qashqai. Amazing or terrible, funny or depressing? Who can say?

Beware the Feminine

21 07 2010

An amazingly insightful “White Paper” by AdAge discusses some interesting trends in today’s changing consumer base. Entitled “The Reality of the Working Woman: Her Impact on the Female Target Beyond Consumption,” it examines- as you’ve probably guessed- the increasing number of working women in American society, and their impact on brands, shopping habits, and interestingly enough, our preconceived notions of what constitutes “domesticity.”

It’s an understatement to say that this paper is worth reading. Though marketers have long been aware of the clout that females hold in the marketplace (for specific numbers, see the report), they haven’t realized as yet that their female customers are, more likely than not, employed in some manner outside the home. Yes, they may have kids, and the article cites this as the working woman’s constant struggle between a work-home balance, but marketers insist on placing women in ads featuring domestic products, in domestic settings, doing domestic things. In some ways, during commercial breaks it’s like the feminine revolution never happened, though shows such as “30 Rock,” “House,” and “24” feature women in positions of authority quite often. The refusal/denial of marketers of their changing female demographic is what will (and sometimes already has) lead to the downfall of many, and mixed opinions rage over ads for products such as Swiffer, in which a woman in generic “sensible” clothing is always featured. The study itself suggests that men now do just as many household chores as women; however, the failure of marketers to quell this stereotype only serves to propagate it, to the shaking heads of women everywhere.

I myself not an avid feminist by any means, although my career, as you may have noticed, is extremely important to me. But I do have to admit that I’m always a fan of commercials that feature independent, professional women, and I can’t help feeling an intense revulsion to commercials that imply the fact that I should be making someone a sandwich.

How can marketers integrate these changing perceptions into their campaigns? I think it will take a lot of re-analysis, and probably an entire re-evaluation of their carefully-established market demographics. It’s no longer a question of should they do this, but when they will- because products that originally catered to the concept of the 1960s stay-at-home mom just plain won’t work anymore.

Below is a short film by JC Penny that aired during the holiday season in 2008. It doesn’t feature the concept of “working women” as discussed above, but it does show the reigning power over men that our kind maintains, and in a smart, very funny manner.

Marketers, you know you love us. Now all you have to do is bow down. Or else.

Life, in Print

20 07 2010

If your life was a research paper, how would it look? HP brings research to life in this super fun and “aww”- inspiring (see what I did there?) short film. The music is pretty great too. Check it out below.