You are currently browsing the archives for January, 2012.

Teaser Ads for Honda, JCPenney, Century 21

I love Matthew Broderick and all, and it’s a fun idea for Honda to bring back Ferris Bueller (now driving a CR-V instead of his friend’s dad’s Ferrari), but is it such a good commercial that I want it to be two-and-a-half minutes long? Not really. But what’s length matter, I guess, if the teaser and leaked commercial attract a few million viewers on the web in advance of its Superbowl debut.

Speaking of teaser ads, what’s up with the new JCPenney campaign?! A brand new CEO plucked from the senior ranks of Apple and the company screams at us for 30 seconds? Oh dear. (More here.)

And this one from Century 21 featuring Deion Sanders. I can hardly wait for the third quarter.

One-third of Online Display Banners Don’t Have a Chance of Being Seen

Comscore set out to count the percentage of online display ads that never get the chance of being seen by human eyes — ads that are below the fold or are visible for less than a second before the viewer moves to another page. Turns out, 31% of banners fall into this unfortunate bucket. From Ad Age:

The company said at an event this morning that it tested out the software over the last two months on campaigns for 12 big brands, including Kraft Foods, Ford, and Sprint. One of the key findings: 31% of the 1.7 billion ad impressions were never in view. The number is probably not a shock to many in the space, and is the main reason why so-called remnant inventory sells for a fraction of the space above the fold.

In this on-demand world, television ads aren’t faring much better. Perhaps worse. In 2010 the UK’s Guardian published researching suggesting that 86% of DVR users always skip through commercials. More recent research conducted by TV Guide and PaidContent found that people are watching more TV than ever, but they’re migrating viewership to online and DVRs — and among people watching on a DVR-enabled TV 96% now say they are fast-forwarding commercials.

Market research firm Yankelovich estimates that someone living in a city 5 years ago was exposed to 5,000 ad messages a day, up from 2,000 per day 30 years earlier (NY Times). That’s a scary number until you consider that we skip the ones on TV, don’t see a big percentage of the ones on websites, and tune out much of the rest of them. As supply of ad inventory approaches the infinite — on billions of websites, across more and more TV channels, and on every other stretch of public space from urinals to eggshells — it’s easy to find cheap media. As the cost of entry goes down, the percentage of crappy ads is going up, and with it consumers’ motivation to use technology and their brains to ignore more of them.

(Art credit: David Shannon.)

Kraft Uses Facial Scan Technology to Keep Kids Away From The Jell-O

Kraft is using facial scanning technology from Intel to estimate the age of potential customers so that they can turn away kids attempting to sample the only-for-adults new Jell-O sweet. From Springwise:

In trial campaigns both in New York and Chicago recently, Kraft has used a vending machine that reportedly can determine the user’s age by scanning his or her face and measuring features including the distance between ears and eyes, for example. When the machine concludes that the visitor is a child, it shuts down and asks the child to step aside.

I wonder what happens to kids who have a premature gap between their eyes and their ears? Or adults who have that compressed childlike look?

The full video, including some sad scenes of kids getting Jell-O blocked:

Update via Will Scullin:

Cigarette vending machines in Japan have been using facial scanning since 2008 — looking for wrinkles, saggy skin and bone structure — to determine whether a potential buyer is over the legal age (in Japan) of 20. A spokesman for Fujitaka, maker of the technology used in Japan, estimates the machines are accurate about 90% of the time.

SOPA/PIPA Protest Rock: The Day the LOLCats Died

I was considering making ChasNote go dark today, but then I realized there was a good chance I wouldn’t know how to revive it. So instead: A political protest song I found at Techdirt.

Update: NOTCOT rounds up some of the best acts of SOPA / PIPA discontent.

Cruiseline Ads Next to Capsized Cruiseliner

For the Awkward Adjacency file: Swedish newspaper Angermanlanningen runs cruiseliner ads next to an article and photo of the recently capsized Costa Concordia. More at Copy Ranter. (I found it via @ToddWasserman.)

Fotoshop by Adobe

Rolf Mortenson sent me this spoof beauty-products ad in response to my post last week on Taylor Swift’s unbelievably luscious eyelashes.

Where can I get my hands on some of that Fotoshop?!

Truth In Advertising: Hamburger Edition

Awesome images at Alphaila compare real fast-food burgers to their advertised selves. Taco Bell, Jack In the Box and Burger King don’t perform so well on the truth-in-advertising scale, even when Alphaila “fluffed up the cheese” for them.

The winner, without much competition, is the McDonalds Big N’ Tasty.

Advertising that exaggerates a product’s virtues certainly is not new or uncommon. It may not be especially ethical, but you can see the logic in it. The point of advertising is to create an appetite for your stuff, so to speak. It’s only embarrassing (and perhaps a liability to your brand, if your brand affinity relies on consumer trust) when customers are presented with reality versus advertising at such close proximity. Ironic, then, that fast food restaurants make it so easy to do this visual comparison yourselves — as you eat their burgers. Again from Alphaila:

People around the world know fast food as one of the most reliable distributors of disappointment ever produced by the business world. We know that if we ever feel the need to complain about something, we can just grab a page out of a coupon booklet, adorned in pictures of juicy burgers, go to a fast food place, then have a party. Why, the places themselves usually plaster their walls with pictures of juicy burgers — often hanging right over your table — so you need only open your eyes to find something to compare your food with, while you eat it.

A little harsh, maybe. If we’re all so disappointed, why do we keep going back for more? I wonder if the popularity of fast food, despite the large apparent “disappointment gap” between their advertising images and the real items, is merely evidence that advertising need only get us in the door, and from there it’s our tastebuds (not our eyes) that will turn us into repeat customers. Marketing’s job ends at the restaurant’s parking lot; Product’s job picks up when you place your first order. If that’s the case, the argument for truth in advertising will fall on deaf ears. Lie, cheat and steal, if you must, to get people to try the product. If they don’t come back — if they’re disappointed — it’s not the fault of the advertising campaign.

Carnival Cruises Uses Bears and Lions to Drive You to Sea

From AdFreak:

Since many Americans are curbing their expenses by visiting places within driving distance, Carnival wanted to show what a bad idea a low-cost, land-based vacation can be.

I hope the US National Park Service will counter with commercials featuring sharks and eels.

Should Google Ban Itself for Paid Link Violation?

Google’s recent online ad campaign for its Chrome browser appears to violate its own policy around buying links that might affect a company’s rank in Google’s search results. Google blames its agency, the aptly-named Unruly Media.

From Search Engine Land:

The arrow points to a link leading to the Google Chrome download page. This is a straight link, not blocked with nofollow. It only appears in this post because the post is part of a sponsored campaign by Google, as noted at the bottom of the page. Therefore, both the author and Google itself are in violation of Google’s guidelines and risk being banned by Google….

Paid links drew much attention last year, after Google penalized JC Penney, as well as Forbes and Overstock for using them. Google even banned BeatThatQuote, one of its own companies last year over the issue. In 2009, Google penalized Google Japan for its own search results for the same issue, not removing it but reducing its ability to rank for 11 months.

Potentially, all this means that Google will have to ban the Google Chrome download page over paid links. That would suck for Google, since it’s busy running ads for Google Chrome, which will in turn prompt people to search for it. Right now, the page appears at the top of results for searches on google chrome….


UPDATE 3:26pm 1/3/2011. From All Things D:

Google, which says it had no idea it was paying bloggers to promote its Chrome browser, is punishing itself for doing so. The search giant tells Danny Sullivan it will penalize the “pagerank” of for “at least 60 days.”

Adblock Plus No Longer Blocking Good Ads

Last month Adblock Plus changed its default settings. The browser extension will still block most online ads, but it will now present its 10 million users with “acceptable ads” when it finds them — banners that aren’t blinking, offensive or generally annoying. Full story at the New York Times.

From a PR perspective, the timing of this development is unfortunate, given that the organizer of the Adblocker open source community, Wladimir Palant (and his partner Till Faida), took outside investment and turned the project into a business called Eyeo last summer. Despite promises that they’re not “selling out,” they do admit that this new approach is part of an emerging business model:

Mr. Faida has left open the possibility that some big Web sites will pay his start-up as part of the new service; small sites will never be charged, he said. In an e-mail [to the New York Times], he wrote: “In the long term, we of course have to think about how to make our movement sustainable — including larger Web sites that will increase their revenues by partnering with us in the costs of maintaining the project seems to be a way that will work.”

I’ve never been a fan of Adblock Plus. We all love the free-ness of the web’s content, which means advertising is generally the sole source of income for the content creators. Consuming the content without the commercials feels, to me, kinda like stealing. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike advertising that’s annoying, deceptive or poorly crafted as much as anyone else. But indiscriminate ad-blocking punishes the good alongside the bad.

Adblock’s new system gives advertisers a path to redemption. Make better ads, they say, and we won’t turn you off. It’s an approach — like Google’s Adwords algorithm or Digg’s DiggAds product, both of which get more expensive for advertisers that are less popular with users — that reinforces what our brains (to some degree) do anyway, block out the bad ads. Why build technology that will bankrupt free media, when instead you can give users tools to ignore, and/or direct their hostility at, only the lame advertisers? With the latter scheme you may end up with better ads and better-funded free content at the same time.