Posts Tagged ‘Advertising Fail’

Ok, so I probably should have posted this last night immediately after the Saints’ victory, but I was lazy and a bit drunk. But I did take notes and I still want to share my POV on last night’s barrage of ads, the good, the bad, and the Megan Fox. At first I figured, I’m only one of a million to post something like this at this point, so why bother. Then I said to myself, “David, stop trying to dissuade yourself, you know you’re going to post it anyway.” So here it is, without further ado:

The Aerocles SuperBowl 2010 Ad Awards (and Fails!):

Funniest Ad Award goes to Snickers for their use of Betty White. There’s nothing quite like watching one of the Golden Girls get knocked, face first, into the mud. Though, I would have liked the spot better had the Snickers bar just transformed her into Super Betty White who would then proceed to destroy her opponents, as opposed to reverting back to that dude, but whatever. Betty white is the shit. So is Abe Vigoda for that matter.

Runner Up in the Humor Category goes to e-Trade. Most of their ads were only so-so, but I personally found the one with the philandering baby caught cheating via webcam to be more creative and funny than the rest.

Cleverest Ad – VW Punch-buggy. Not only are their reviving a classic childhood game, but that last bit at the end with Stevie Wonder and Tracy Morgan was actually pretty damn funny. It even comes with a social media component!

Best Targeted Ad (and my personal favorite) was, without a doubt, the Sony Vizio spot featuring the succession of Internet Meme references. Clearly, they know their audience – the tech geeks. Maybe Middle America didn’t get the reference to chocolate rain, or the Mayahe guy, but I did. And if you’re reading this, my guess is you did too. So kudos to them for understanding their audience and the niche consumer market to which they should be, and have successfully been, catering.

Best Call To Action: For me, this one went to the new PS3 game, Dante’s Inferno. Seconds after the spot ran, I logged on to Gamefly and added it to the top of my queue. First thing this morning, I received an email from Gamefly telling me they’ve shipped the game. A series of events that is, in my opinion, indicative a realistic execution on the real time nature and expectations that have come to define this generation of consumer-brand interactions.

Runner Up: Dockers. As much as this one didn’t quite cater to my tastes, despite the fact that it used a gimmicky free sample tactic or that they portrayed a drove of pantsless men running wild through nature, I do have to admit that it seems to have been effective. People have and will always flock to the free shit brands give away. I don’t know if it will inspire any brand loyalty or what, if any, long-term effect this maneuver will have. But in the short term, they managed to successfully drive traffic to their website, even if it cost them a Millions in advertising and free pants to do so. So ROI aside, their call to action was effective.

Least Creative But Still Quasi-Effective Award goes to Motorola for putting Megan Fox in a bathtub. Why? Well, sex still sells. Why not? Because I was too busy trying top picture Megan Fox’s body underneath those bubbles that I have no idea what product they were selling.

Best Interactive Ad: Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) of CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” Holding up a sign in the stadium with his phone number. If you called, as I did, you got a recorded message of the one NPH inviting you for drinks at McLaren’s Pub in 6 years. Suit up!

Biggest Disappointments: The Entire Beer Industry, Doritos, & KGB

Runner Up: Coke & The Simpsons It was cute, not certainly no “Mean Joe Green.

Most Confusing Ads: Anything Sporting Men Running Around In Their Underwear. Everything With Beavers.  WTF? Was there some industry meeting in which all the ad execs decided this would be the year of unattractive people running around without pants or jumping through hoops for nuts? Was there some Forrester study that highlighted the American consumer’s newfound affinity and fondness for CGI Beavers? I must have missed those meetings. Right – a beaver looking for a job as a violist – so hilarious I forgot which online job board it was promoting.

Worst Ad: The Who’s 30-minute musical plug for CSI. Sorry CBS, but now I associate all your crime dramas with Pete Townsend poor excuse for a performance and the accompanying image of whatever that was we saw when his shirt opened up toward the end of the performance…and we both know that’s not a good thing. I think I speak for all of America when I say, we’d take Janet Jackson’s nip slip over any exposed Who body part.

Ok – You want a real worst ad? Try the Oprah, Jay Leno, and Davit Letterman group plug for The Late Show. – You’d think that 2 of the highest paid “comedians” would be able to come up with something funny, but clearly they got the same writers from The Jay Leno show to script this commercial, because it was a complete dud, in fact, it was probably the least funny of all the spots that aired last night. All it did was remind me of how industry screwed over Conan and reinforced my desire to boycott late night comedy until his presumed September return. GO TEAM COCO!

Ad requiring the most analysis: Google.

So, my initial take & first reaction was one of genuine disappointment. There was – nothing innovative or groundbreaking about the spot coming from a brand that is known for those very qualities. If Google was going to break tradition of stoic and near-nonexistent TV advertising, it had better be to unveil a new feature or launch some wondrous new technology. Alas this was not the case. Which made me wonder – what was the point?
I took away two things from the ad:
1 – Google has feelings. They are a sympathetic organization, not the emotionless, lifeless corporate robot, embodied and epitomized by their rivals, like Microsoft.
2 – There has been a plethora of recent ads touting alternatives to Google – like Bing’s Decision Engine, and KGB, that offers “Answers, Not Links.” I think this ad was intended to remind us why we use Google, and why will continue to use Google. They are not flashy or pretty, or overly complicated, like Bing. They are free and fast – unlike KGB. They are the minimalist but efficient search engine that gets us through life on a day-to-day basis. It reminded us why we “Google” Things, instead of “search” for them.
In that respect, I think it was effective and successful. I wasn’t blown away, but I don’t think that was Google’s intention.

Most Unremarkable Ads Intel. I dunno about you, but I thought their Tech & Talk theme was funny the first time I saw it, then it got a bit old. As for their 2 guys who grow up together and eventually work at Intel together – I’m not sure what message they were trying to convey there. It was boring too. #Fail.

Biggest Missed Opportunity: Dove – Strong, funny opening. It generated buzz in its subtly misogyny and blatant emasculation and then…nothing. What did it have to do with their new line of men’s products? Nothing? Was it targeting men? Their wives?

Best Rebranding: Hyundai They succeeded in depicting their cars as classy and reliable. Perfect timing given Toyota’s current debacle. While we’re on the topic, I think KIA has also done a pretty solid job at revamping their advertising and branding efforts.

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So…By now we’ve all seen or heard about Burger King’s New “Shower Cam” Microsite. If you haven’t yet, well, check it out, but not at work.

My first instinct was, a simple, “wow, I can’t believe they did this” reaction. Followed by a “wow, this is getting some incredible buzz, brilliant!”

That’s problem with transitioning from PR to Advertising – two internal, often conflicting, perspectives on these types of stunts.

So, in order to reconcile these to ideologies, I often pose questions to myself, to gauge the success of such endeavors. For example:

BK Shower Cam

What purpose did it serve?

Does this site aim to generate buzz? If so, has it been positive or negative? Or does that not matter?

Was the site designed to drive traffic to stores, and with it sales? If so, did it succeed?

How did the campaign affect public perception of the brand? Is the stunt consistent with the brand’s previous messaging?

I’m sure perception of the site will differ based on gender, so I can only speak from a guy’s point of view, but I can clearly understand why men and women alike would consider this to be a tasteless & misogynistic ploy that in no way relates to the brand.

Yes, Burger King is known for their controversial stunts, like when they offered free burgers to Facebook fans who unfriended people, aka the Whopper Sacrifice. But this, IMHO, crosses the line as it alienates 50% of the population (women).

Furthermore, as a branding strategist, I have to ask, yes, guys (and some girls too) love watching women take showers – with or without bikinis on – and I’m sure plenty would love to win a date with the Shower Babe – what the fuck does it have to do with burgers? I see absolutely no connect to the brand’s core goal of increasing store traffic & selling food, thus reducing this site to a cheap, desperate stunt, predicated on the exploitation of women and sex. So why stop there BK, why not dive headfirst and have her go bikiniless – that certainly would have generated even more of the same buzz, and clearly you’re not afraid of backlash and/or employee zero women with any clout or influence on decisions. And no, I won’t take “well, this was launched in Europe, so you have to consider the cultural divide” bullshit. That doesn’t fly when you launch a website internationally viewable  – regardless of the “.co.uk” in the URL.

So, back to my questions. I’m still at a loss as to what purpose this site serves, other than to create buzz and incite some feminist groups.

Yes it generated a ton of buzz – but around what? This isn’t a new product launch. There’s no breaking news or promotions affiliated with the shower babe.

Are there any deals available through this site not available elsewhere? Not that I know of…but correct me if I’m wrong.

As for the public perception of the brand – I’m not a frequent patron of the chain, but if anything, this distasteful maneuver would discourage me from partaking in any whopper related foodstuffs in the future.

Adage’s coverage of the stunt included this tasty little quote:

Sarah Power, marketing director U.K. and Eire for Burger King, said in a statement: “Our shower-cam gives hungry Brits the chance to watch the BK Shower Girl singing in the shower every day to help them work up an appetite for our fantastic new breakfast range.”

Um…so you’re an idiot? That’s all I took out of that statement.

Maybe I’m overreacting here – But I really don’t see the point of the site, other than incurring some modest hype and with it, backlash. I don’t foresee any positive impact on store traffic or sales – making it an ROI fail.

It doesn’t promote or achieve anything that couldn’t be done without begging for the negative press.

If the objective was to create semi-pornographic that has absolutely no place in the brand’s larger messaging and digital strategy, well then I suppose they’ve succeeded, but perhaps they are unaware of billion or so other websites that have showcase ACTUAL pornography.

So again, what added value does this site offer? It’s not innovative content or entertainment, it’s doesn’t drive sales, and it doesn’t inform. If you can think of any please let me know.

Here are some thoughts from my twitter friends on the issue. As usual, please weigh in; I’d love to hear your thoughts and counterarguments.

Sorry To Break It To You Sears, But Putting Brett Favre In Your Commercials Would Have Been A Better Idea 4 Years Ago

A Proven & Long Standing Method of Branding has been to align your brand with a celebrity. An icon whose image you aspire to emulate or whose image you’d like consumers to associate with your brand.

I could mention a few examples, but there are so many I wouldn’t know how to choose. Athletes, Hollywood Stars & Starlets, Models, Musicians…Even Lindsay Lohan in the crux of her fall from grace, found her way into a Fornarina Spot (Whatever Fornarina is).

Bottom line – Iconic, Celebrity Spokespeople can do wonders for selling you brand and your product. But choosing the right person to endorse your business – Identifying the persona to which your target audience will relate & figuring out who you want associated with your brand – Therein Lies the Difficulty…Apparently…

It doesn’t seem like such a tough thing to do. I didn’t think it was. But Sears has proved me wrong. This past Sunday – Amidst My 8 Hours of Football Fandom (Jets HUUUGE Win over the Pats & The Terrible Cowboys Loss to the Giants) I saw, several times, as Sears’ Electronic Blue Crew (terrible name, IMHO) attempts to sell a one, Mr. Brett Favre, Legendary, Record Holding QB, Formerly of the Green Bay Packers, Formerly of the New York Jets, And Now Of the Minnesota Vikings, a new TV.

For those who’ve been living in an igloo up in Siberia for the last few years, Brett Favre has retired and unretired from the NFL what feels like 2 dozen times in the last few years (hyperbole acknowledged). Yes, I get that they’re playing off this fact in the spot by having Mr. Favre act a bit wishy-washy on his decision to purchase the TV and ending with a “No Regrets” Line”

I think that line of thinking is topical, relevant, and creative. The only problem is that when I see Brett Favre, I no longer think of someone who I respect and admire. I see Indecisive, Fickle, Desperately-Trying-To-Stay Relevant Douchebaggery.

Even Vikings Fans don’t seem to like Favre These Days (Feel Free To Correct Me If I’m Wrong). The Man Is A Legend Who Has Spent The Last Couple Of Years Tarnishing His Own Reputation With Ongoing Capriciousness. These ARE NOT QUALITIES I WOULD WANT TO REPRESENT MY BRAND.

Maybe you disagree…maybe you see the sears commercial and say, “Oh Brett Favre Wants to Buy From Sears…Oh, The Sears Blue Appliance Crew is Helping Ol’ Fickle Here Make Up His Mind…I’ll Buy From Sears.

But For Me – I see Brett Favre, and it evokes frustration, disappointment, even a bit of anger & lost respect. Now, I associate these emotions with Sears…

So where do you stand? Bad Play Calling By Sears to Star(t) Favre? Or Will Consumers Look Past His New-found Personality Flaws To His Glory Days – Making This A Win For Sears?

Update: July 2nd

My Problem with this video, was that it was bragging about a feature that they copied from google chrome – a privacy setting known as the incoginto window, allowing one to keep ones browsing history, temporary internet files…etc. hidden. Basically – For Porn Purposes.

Now, as reported by CNET, PC World, and All Things D – Days After My Initial Post & the Ad Age Coverage I Might Add – The Video/Ad is being pulled after complaints over the excessive vomiting…SERIOUSLY? I had to search for another file to embed with the video after the one from my earlier post, below, was disabled. Thankfully, I’ve got one back up.

Personally, I don’t know what all the hype is about. The video, Directed by the one and only Bobcat Goldthwait, is probably the funniest in microsofts entire advertising and marketing repertoire. If anything, they should be furthering the spread of the video, not hindering it’s potential viral explosion by disabling the embed code and taking it off their site.

What do you think?

Original Post

This may very well be the funniest IE8 Promo Video (There are a lot of them) To Date. Adage’s Abbey Klaassen discusses the latest bunch here, but the one below is really all you need to see. I give Microsoft some credit for attempting to revamp their corpo-anonymous image with a newfound edgy humor.

It’s too bad the feature they’re touting in this video was a Google Chrome Innovation known as the Incogninto Window…

Anyway, Just Watch & Laugh…

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Courtesy of eGuiders, this is just the latest in a growing serious of Videos and Websites Spoofing Apple’s Mac,  iPod, iPhone, & App Commercials…

Another you might want to take a look at is App For That.

The Apple Marketing/Advertising Campaigns were so recently beloved…They were quirky, innovative, humourous, edgy (in their direct assault of the competition), and they were fun…

My Question is…Have they gotten stale? The same way a song can be overplayed on the radio or how all the popular songs released by some artists all kinda sound the same and blend together…

IMHO this is happening to Apple’s campaign…Yes, sometimes this type of parody is really a testement to the success of the endeavor…It was, and still is, but it’s getting old. Aren’t we all getting sick of the annoyingly upbeat and bouncy music that somehow mainstreams after a serious commerical blitz (See: Yael Naim: New Soul). Aren’t we tired of Justin Long’s tireless I’m a Mac Attacks on the Poor PC Shlub?

Is it time for Apple to take a new approach? I Think So…and think that the neverending parodying of Mac/iPhone ads has evolved from “Playful Spoofing” to – “Enough Already…We Get It…Give Us Something New”

Which Begs The Question – What is the shelf life for today’s commerical advertising campaigns? How many times can we see the same commercial, whether exactly identical or simply stylisticly similar, before it loses it’s effect…before it has the opposite effect and begins to turn us off…before we begin to see through the marketing propoganda and say things like “Justin Long Doesn’t Really  Give A Shit What Computer We Buy” and “They’re Just Playing This Upbeat Music So We Associate It With Their Product.” Not That these were secrets to begin with, but after a certain amount of repetition…that’s all we see…and just like an overplayed song, even the best, most well designed and excecuted ad campaigns become sickening…

And then there are the commercials like this INCREDIBLY ANNOYING IO Digital Cable/Optimum Triple Play spot:

To Which I Ask: How Did This Ever Make It Onto TV? What Idiot Focus Group Gave The Execs At Optimum The Idea That This Would Be At All Successful? We Have a Standing Policy in Our Apartment to Mute or Change the Channel Whenever This Commerical Appears…In Fact, We’ve Even Called and Complained About It…to no avail, of course. Yet…Somehow…It’s Still Airing…Can Someone Enlighten Me PLEASE?

But Back to the topic at hand…in this age of ADDesque attention spans that have paved the way for Tivo/DVR & Platforms like Twitter…How Many Times Can A Commerical Air Before It Loses Its Potency? Do Advertisers Need To Rethink Their Strategy…? Would We Be Any Less Sick Of Apple If They’d Diversified The Style Of Their Commericals & Ads…?

Please! Let Me Know What You Think! Share Your Thoughts! My Blog is Your Blog!

Taste The Poop

Brought To You By The One & Only Gawker…Click Here For The Full Story

See Here For Ken’s Complete Coverage – Adage Solves The Mystery

UPDATE: ADAGE’S KEN WHEATON REPORTS: THIS VIDEO WAS PRODUCED BY PLAYBOY, NOT QUIZNOS

“Watch the video until the end and you’ll see that it was produced by Playboy. Or, you know, pick up a phone and call Quiznos (or, in my case, have someone else pick up a phone and call the sub shop). According to Quiznos spokeswoman Allison Riley, the company had nothing to do with the video. It didn’t produce it. It didn’t pay for placement. Nada.”

Special Thanks To: Emily York & Maura Hernandez