You are currently browsing the archives for May, 2011.

Peugeot Print Ad With Functioning Airbag

This is fun: On the first page of a 3-page ad sequence, Peugeot invites readers to smack the grill of one of its vehicles — a fist impersonation of an oncoming car in a head-on collision. The impact triggers a mini airbag puffing out of the steering wheel on the next page, where a 2-page spread shows the Peugeot’s interior.

Sort of like the VW print campaign where you could “test drive” their new swiveling headlights by guiding your smartphone around the curvy road pictured in the ad. And much better than VW’s recent campaign in South Africa’s Auto Trader magazine that invites readers to eat the road.

(Thanks, Adverblog!)

VW’s Print Ad You Can Eat

VW Edible Print Ad

Forget ad blockers and Tivo, if you don’t like this ad you can eat it.

From Adweek: “VW South Africa has cooked up a lovely little ad you can eat — and placed it in Auto Trader magazine. ‘Eat the Road,’ reads the copy. ‘Seriously, eat it.’”

Hmm, seems like a lot of effort (and use of questionably edible ingredients) for a gimmick that won’t get much actual follow through by Auto Trader readers. How many of them will tear out the page and gobble it down?! More importantly, how many of them will come away from the ad thinking that the Golf R grips the road better than the competition? Unless Auto Trader readers also follow Adweek or ChasNote, I wonder how many will notice that VW’s ad is more special — it’s edible! — than any other display ad in that month’s magazine.

Instructions on how to eat VW print ad

Comment from Marcia Simmons:

Marcia Simmons comment via Twitter

BMW’s Very Long Banner

BMW's Very Long Banner Ad

According to Bannerblog, this BMW X3 banner is the world’s longest. I can’t verify that, since I didn’t make it all the way to the bottom, nor have I taken the time to scroll through and measure other absurdly large banner ads. I’ll have to trust that the patient people at Bannerblog did their homework.

WeTransfer’s Beautiful Ads While You Wait

Lady Gaga Wallpaper Ad on WeTransfer

File-sharing service WeTransfer works like YouSendIt — you upload a giant file to the cloud, and the person you want to share it with is emailed a link to the download page — except that WeTransfer serves the downloader really pretty ads in the background while you wait. I hadn’t heard of the company until I read about them on NOTCOT, where Jean Aw reported to loving the ads:

“I have a mesmerizing user-experience crush on WeTransfer right now. If I’m going to have to wait for ages to download files — it might as well be fun. There is an awesomely playful and elegant experience when I land on WeTransfer, and I actually love watching it download and excitedly await the next AD coming up.”

Wow. It’s not every day you hear a leading design blogger gushing about online ads.

Heinz Wallpaper Ad on WeTransfer

The ads are definitely pretty: Full-screen wallpaper units in high resolution, like beautiful magazine ads brought to a website. But that won’t be enough for WeTransfer to ring the advertising cash register in a big way. Current advertisers in rotation include TW Steel Watches, the Nalden application for the iPad, Resource Magazine, and Lady Gaga. Premium “channels” exist for Heinz and Ducati. With the exception of Heinz, that list doesn’t exactly read like the Who’s Who of Deep-Pocketed Brand Advertisers.

Beautiful (or entertaining or engaging) is one part of the formula that adds up to media revenue. To succeed as an ad-supported business, though, they’ll also need to figure out scale and targeting. There may be a path to targeting — matching ad campaigns with receptive audiences. Serving, say, Ducati ads to hip, adventurous guys in their 20s and 30s, and Heinz ads to moms with kids. (I’m guessing they’ll have a tougher time associating ads with content being shared, since that means they’d need to snoop inside the files their customers are sharing.)

I’m struggling, however, with how they build a large enough audience of customers using their service such that taking the 3% who are hip, adventurous guys in their 20s and 30s, dividing that number by 1000 and then multiplying by Ducati’s rate per thousand impressions (CPM) would add up to real money. I’m guessing the pool of prospective WeTransfer customers is comprised mostly of sales reps and PR folks.

But maybe they’ve created a tasteful and lucrative advertising model for a business like Dropbox. If Dropbox has mainstream success — convincing tens of millions of us to rent space in their cloud instead of storing stuff on our local harddrives — and if they add features that make it easy for us to share access to individual files inside our Dropboxes by emailing a URL to a friend (Update: A reader points out they already do! Who knew?!), they may find themselves with a highly-scaled population of people watching a “file is downloading” screen as they await movies, music, high-res photos to travel from the cloud to their iPads. Just as Overture dreamed up paid-search advertising only to see Google steal the market from them, maybe Dropbox will lift a page from the WeTranser playbook.

Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs Commercial

What a great commercial. Of course, when I tried this move myself I learned that my wife’s laptop runs on battery power, as do the iPhone and iPad my kids were playing with. But still: I love the sentiment. Oscar Mayer has me thinking that our family is overdue for a barbecue, and that can’t be bad for its brand.

Typical Lifespan of a Web Image: 2-3 Days

Image Entropy for April 2011

Pixazza’s chief scientist Anton Kast uses the above graph to illustrate his analysis of image entropy, a term he borrows from thermodynamics that, in this case, refers to the distribution of imageviews over time. High entropy on a particular image would mean its total imageviews are evenly distributed over time. Low entropy would mean an image gets all its attention over a short period of time, and after that initial burst is largely ignored. There are more than 3 trillion images online, and 200 million new ones posted each day to Facebook, but how should we track viewership or or engagement with those images?

“What is the real, practical scale of images on the web? Which images are people really interacting with, and how much?

“At Pixazza, we have a window into this question. Pixazza technology is applied to images that are viewed more than 100,000,000 times per day. We need to know which images are transient and which get stable traffic, because it is the basis for many of our statistics and optimizations, such as our ad targeting.”

It turns out — at least among the April 2011 data set — that most images get the bulk of their views in the first 3 days they’re online. But at the same time, taken together, there’s a gianormous amount of views on older images. Say one percent of those 3 trillion images is viewed once each day by one person. That’s 900 billion imageviews a month.

Wonka’s Movie-Inspired Candy Empire

Forty years ago Quaker Oats ponied up $3 million to finance the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in exchange for the rights to create and sell Wonka-branded candy bars. At the last minute production troubles prevented the bars from going into distribution but Wonka bars and candy eventually hit store shelves. Full story at Brandchannel.

Which of their commercials do you like best?

Laffy Taffy.

Oompas.

Nerds.

Buying Audience: Like Merchandising to Customers Who Are Already In Your Store

From Andy Ellenthal’s post at Digiday. He’s the CEO of semantic ad tech company Peer39.

“Considering how much attention, from the press and venture capitalists, is paid to audience-based ad buying, you’d think it would inevitably rule the roost — at the expense of old-fashioned content-based buying. You’d be wrong.

“The hype is a natural outcome of the fact that audience data has never had this scale and accessibility before. Buyers can now match their targeting criteria against huge pools if impressions. The concept is super cool: Displaying your message only to the exact group of desired consumers?

“But the reality reminds me of the difference between a retailer’s merchandising and marketing. Merchandising’s job is to sell once a consumer is inside the store, but marketing needs to drive them there in the first place. There will always be more prospective buyers and influencers outside the store, than shoppers with wallet in hand. If you only merchandised, at some point soon the store would be a very quiet and lonely place.”

Context Is Everything

76 Billboard on Side of Building

If I’m going to razz the contextual ad networks every time they put life-insurance ads next to killed terrorists or job-board ads next to news about Steve Jobs, I better do the same when I spot a poorly-placed billboard like this one. I love the new 76 campaign, We’re on the Driver’s Side. Unfortunately this billboard — “Maybe there’s a cop behind this billboard, maybe there’s not” — isn’t a stand-alone advertisement along a freeway behind which a cop might hide. It’s attached to a yoga studio in Bernal Heights in San Francisco. If that cop is in savasana, I’m not too worried he’s going to pull me over.

Interactive Images Now Serve Up Video Content Too

Pixazza’s information cards — which reveal content and links related to products inside the image — now allow for video content right inside the card.

Standard Pixazza Info Card

The first video to be distributed in a Pixazza info card is a trailer for Universal’s Bridesmaids. The trailer is incorporated into info cards that launch alongside pictures of famous couples on entertainment sites partnered with Pixazza, such as Access Hollywood, OK Magazine, Just Jared, Celebuzz, Gossip Center and others. Readers of those sites will still “Get the Look” when they interact with an image — the content at the core of each info card is products that are visually similar to those in the image, as determined by Pixazza’s community of category experts — and will also be presented with an embedded video in the sponsored section of the information card. User controls allow viewers to turn on sound and to expand the video player.

Video Card Sponsored by Bridesmaids

What’s behind our thinking here? Two trends that seem at odds with one another.

Recent developments show that marketers are so eager to distribute their video ads that they’ve starting to paying consumers to watch them. Facebook has announced its system to award Facebook Credits to members who watch video ads, and some industry-watchers say others will follow suit. At the same time, recent research from Accenture (among others) shows that the vast majority of consumers (at least 75%) are viewing and interacting with online video.

Maybe consumers don’t like the quality of advertiser videos. Some ads, certainly, are just plain bad. But plenty of others are the kind of entertaining content that compel us to share them with friends. So perhaps another issue is that the right video ads aren’t finding interested consumers at the right time. In other words, maybe it’s a targeting problem.

We’re hoping these video-enabled cards might help with that problem. If objects inside images (tagged by real, live humans) can create a relevant connection between an ad and a consumer’s intent — the right video to the right viewer, sometimes a video that was created by an advertiser — it might just turn into a channel where 140 million people watch video ads without anyone having to bribe them to watch.

Related article at Digiday, Are Photos the Next Stop for 30-Second Spot?.