Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Super(?) Bowl

Following the scintillating touchdown kickoff return by the sensational Devin Hester, the Coronation of King Peyton (yawn) was surrounded by even more yawn-inducing advertising at this year's Super Bowl. In what is suposed to be Madison Avenue's day to score big points, we were left with questionable calls and fumbles. Don't take my word for it, see the lackluster reviews like this one.

IMO, FedEx submitted the most creative ad for the 2nd year in a row, following up the dinosaur delivery episode with an out-of-this-world sci-fi spot.

But the show was most definitely stolen by a mini-mercial by CBS featuring a David Letterman snuggling on the couch with his arch nemesis, "The Oprah."

Best effort in a losing cause ad goes to K-Fed, for painting himself the pop-sensation-cum-fry-guy.

Interesting metrics posted here. Did you know Neilsen is counting DVR playbacks now? According to Neilsen, the ROI winners were Career Builder for biggest web traffic spike, while Anheuser-Busch won "20 percent of all post-game online discussion."

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ads this year were the proliferation of "aggregator sites" like YouTube and iFilm that pulled the video onto the web for later viewing. This of course means that viewers don't have to go the company's own web sites to see one ad; they can go to one site to see them all. These aggregator sites present a missed opportunity for marketers, Ad Age opines.

PS Our local Portsmouth product, "It's Hard to Say Goodbye," came late in the game, as is appropriate, and it hit the mark nicely, although it did seem to be rushed a bit in its final edited form, didn't it? Ooop, I see that it was in fact a bit different, according to this story in the P-Herald.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wow. Talk about a brouhaha! An imbroglio. A cock-up. A tempest in a teapot. Call it what you will, but everybody's buzzing about a guerrilla marketing plan gone awry -- or, perhaps, even better than planned, depending on your perspective. It's now what will be forever known as the Aqua Teen Hunger Farce '07.

See, there's this show on Cartoon Network about a shake, fries, and a meatball. No, seriously, I'm not making that up. I've seen it; it's actually pretty funny. Aqua Teen Hunger Force airs late nights on "Adult Swim" -- a bunch of avant garde cartoons not meant for little kids, basically. Apparently, they're (Turner Broadcasting, owns Cartoon Network) making a movie of the show. In keeping with the off-center theme of the show, not to mention its audience, they hired a guerrilla marketing firm to do some old-fashioned buzz-making for the upcoming film on the streets of major cities. So far, so good, right?

This group comes up with the idea of installing, randomly within the cityscape, what are basically Lite-Brites (you remember Lite-Brite, doncha?) that glow the face of a character from the show. The problem comes in when someone mistakes them for... (gulp)... bombs!

Much chaos and bedlam ensues -- not on the poor unsuspecting public's part -- but rather on the part of the expert anti-terrorism powers that be in our government, from police to Homeland Security.

The whole thing points out so many different issues of the day, it's hard to know where to start.

  • There's the generational gap, discussed quite brilliantly in the Globe here by Michael Levenson and Maria Cramer.
  • There's the hyper-sensitized nature of the government, but not necessarily the populace, in our post 9-11 world.
  • There's the government's ability to crack down on Lite-Brites, but not to respond to hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • There's the revival of the old "Banned in Boston" tradition, because this marketing campaign had been going on for several weeks in 9 (count 'em, nine!) other cities without incident. In fact, Boston is now a bit of a laughing stock nationwide: "Stephen Colbert reported that Boston was besieged by what were "clearly the Lite-Brite doodlings of terrorists."
  • There's art (these would be defined as a cross-genre public installations and graffiti, I guess) and freedom of expression vs. public decency and safety.
  • The artistic aspect of it, my friends at Dynamic Internet www.dyni.net have bailed out the artist behind the creations -- his web site crashed under the weight of the interest surroundnig this story, but James and his crew got them up and running again as you can see athttp://www.zebbler.com/. NOTE: You can watch the 2 dudes actually installing the Lite-Brites on the video posted there -- click "Past Events" and you'll see the link.
Finally, as a long-time afficiando of guerrilla marketing, I applaud Interference Information Network. I'm not sure if Ted Turner considers the cool $2 mil he had to drop on Mayor Menino's lap for the flap to be money well spent, but he should -- a Super Bowl ad* couldn't have garnered him a fifth of this publicity!

*I'll blog the ads soon, don't worry! Stay tuned.