Humor

Geico “You Can’t Skip These Ads”

Viewers hate YouTube preroll ads, those irksome commercials that run before you get to watch the real YouTube video you want to see. One survey revealed that 94 percent of viewers will hit the “Skip Ad” button as soon as it appears. But advertisers keep sticking their commercials up there, presumably in the belief that the few they don’t annoy will embrace their message fondly and run out to buy their product.

This brings us to the Geico preroll, created by The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia. In a YouTube ad campaign that can only be viewed as experimental, the car insurance giant crammed its ad message into the critical first five seconds, and then spent the next 60 seconds having the main actors freeze motionless, while absurd actions happened around them. The only mention of Geico was the brand name that stayed on the screen. I didn’t get it, but thought it was funny anyway. I watched it three times to see if I was missing a deeper message. The only thing that annoyed me was that a preroll ad for another product ran before I could watch the Geico ad. I hit “Skip Ad” on that one as soon as it let me.
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Advertising

What Pet Cats and Great Athletes Have in Common

At first this commercial for Temptations Tumblers cat treats by [email protected]/London seemed like a brazen effort to hook viewers in by combining two of the most popular subjects on YouTube — top athletes and adorable cats. The first half of the “Time to Play Ball” Temptations commercial did look like an ad for Nike or Adidas, with not a furry paw in sight. But then the shared attributes of jocks and cats came into focus. The athletes looked steely, determined, alert and focused. Even the hairs on their neck stood at attention. The cats, presented in elegant slow motion, exhibited the same kind of single-minded concentration. Nothing distracted them from the tiny Temptations Tumblers tossed their way. The comparison came together nicely and worked. (It didn’t hurt to be able to feature cute cats and buff jocks either.)

Advertising

OPI: Made You Watch!

Oh, how marketing has changed since YouTube came into being in 2005. On the whole, online commercials are more entertaining and longer in length than the 30 and 60 second spots shown on television. This video for OPI fingernail polish titled “Instinct of Color” is like viewing a mini stage performance. Sensuous and mesmerizing, this video features a dance challenge between a beautiful thoroughbred named “Lady in Black” and four talented dancers – all to promote fingernail polish. Created by DAN Paris using music “Down the Road” by French DJ’s C2C, the 2 ½ minute video ad doesn’t display the actual OPI nail polish bottles until the end and mostly shows the best-selling colors in the OPI line on the hooves of the horse and the dancers’ apparel. The commercial is without voiceover or marketing spiel. You watch it for pure enjoyment. This is the push-pull difference between TV and Internet. TV ads push their message in front of viewers by ”barging” into hit TV shows. Online advertising videos have to pull viewers to their site by offering the promise of fun and amusement. They need to give viewers a reason to seek them out and tell their friends so their message will go viral.

Advertising

A Big Hand for Honda “Hands”

Clocking in at two minutes, this Honda commercial would be a very expensive ad buy on prime-time TV, but thanks to the accessibility of YouTube and Vimeo, audiences are seeking it out online. The Honda “Hands” ad starts with a cog, just like its award-winning Cog commercial (see July 24 post below). This time Honda teamed with Wieden + Kennedy London to “celebrate the curiosity of Honda engineers” who have made Honda the world’s largest engine manufacturer and racing company since it was founded in 1948. Through “slight of hand” and brilliant animation, the cog morphs into a dazzling array of products, from motorcycles and jet planes to solar-powered cars and robots. The making of this video, directed by Smith & Foulkes and Nexus Productions, is a technological feat in itself. For brands that think they don’t have the budget for such an ambitious production, consider this: Is it better to do something middle-of-the-road and run it on prime time TV or to create something awesomely original that people will “google” to see on their own. If it is good, it will go viral.

Motion Graphics

Gangnam Style Flipbook Animation

Not much is known about the artist who created this Gangnam Style video, except that he goes by the moniker “etoilec1” on YouTube. The hand-drawn images are synced precisely to the music, making this animation fun to watch. Some report that the audio had to be removed for copyright issues, but it is up now…for how long, we don’t know.

Viral Marketing

Experiential Marketing Unlocks 007 in Commuters

For Coke Zero’s joint promotion of the new James Bond film “Skyfall,” Belgian ad agency Duval Guillaume Modern set up an elaborate stunt in the Antwerp central train station. It began when unsuspecting commuters walked up to a Coke vending machine, which displayed a promotional offer that came with a hitch. They could win two free tickets to a special screening of “Skyfall,” if they could get to the vending machine on Platform Six within 70 seconds.

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Interviews

Maira Kalman on the THNKR Channel

THNKR is a new YouTube channel launched by Radical Media last July. It gives viewers access to extraordinary people, stories and ideas that are transforming the world. Its programming lineup is divided into four categories – Bookd exploring noteworthy books, Prodigies profiling young geniuses, Podium exploring the art of public speaking, and Epiphany featuring renowned thought leaders. Each episode presents provocative thoughts intended to “change your mind.” Here, Maira Kalman, visual columnist for the New York Times, talks about the differences she sees between thinking and feeling, emphasizing her points with her delightful illustrations.

Viral Marketing

Striptease Powered by Water

Drink plenty of water and get lots of exercise is the message behind this video by Contrex, a metabolism-boosting French mineral water owned by Nestle. Made by Paris-based agency Marcel, the Contrex ad posted on YouTube and Facebook features a row of hot pink stationary bikes connected to power a 3D projection map. A number of attractive young women step out of the crowd and hop on the bikes. Their peddling is what sets the neon-lit male stripper in motion. Finally, he takes it all off, except for a sign reading “Congratulations! You’ve just burned 2,000 calories.” The tagline says “Slimming down shouldn’t have to be boring.”

Book Excerpt

Jonah Lehrer’s Five Tips for
Reaching Your Creative Potential


From the bestselling author Jonah Lehrer comes “Imagine: How Creativity Works” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Lehrer explains that his latest book “is about our most important mental talent: the ability to imagine what has never existed. We take this talent for granted, but our lives are defined by it. There is the pop song on the radio and the gadget in your pocket, the art on the wall and the air conditioner in the window. There is the medicine in the bathroom and the chair you are sitting in…” He gives real world examples from Pixar and Second City to Bob Dylan and Yo-Yo Ma. He goes on to say that “creativity is not a gift possessed by a lucky few; it’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.” Here he offers five tips from his book on how to increase your creative potential.

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Advertising

An Ad That Has London Buzzing

The winter of 2009-2010 proved disastrous for registered beehives in London. About a third of the registered bee colonies collapsed, poising an enormous threat to food growth in the United Kingdom. According to U.N. statistics, the decline of the honey bee population in Europe is now between 10 and 30 percent; in the United States, it is at 30 percent, and in the Middle East, up to 85 percent of the bee population has disappeared. This is worrisome. Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.

London recently teamed with LIDA Agency and M&C Saatchi to launch a Capital Bee Campaign to raise awareness of how human behavior is endangering local bees. The campaign includes a series of billboards and YouTube videos to change public beehavior.

Humor

Online Video Ads Come of Age

According to industry forecasters, online video ad spend is expected to top $1 billion in 2011 and keep on soaring upwards. Even in the depths of the recession in 2009 when overall online advertising fell, online video spend grew by 41%. For good reason. Some of the most creative and memorable ads today are video ads found on YouTube and Vimeo that get tweeted and fanned virally. They run the gamut from the infomercial-like Blendtec video with the company’s CEO Tom Dickson liquefying an iPhone to JC Penney’s hilarious classic “Beware of the Doghouse,” which won the 2009 World Retail Award for Best Digital Retail Advertising Campaign. With the ads typically running more than a minute to nearly five, there is time to create an engaging storyline and no fear of being forgotten when the real TV program returns. Consumers click on it by choice and stay because it holds their attention. They recall the brand, the message and they like it.

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Viral Marketing

Moleskine’s Viral Strategy

Moleskine is a product that you are unlikely to see advertised on television or in print, but If you do a search for Moleskine on YouTube and Vimeo, lots of videos will pop up. That’s the way Moleskine customers like it. Moleskine has a cultlike following among designers, artists and writers enchanted with the idea of preserving their sketches, profound thoughts and poetic musing in the same kind of little black notebook used by Van Gogh, Matisse, Hemingway and Chatwin. No spiral-bound steno pads for them. No perfed sheets only good for writing down meeting minutes and grocery lists. These oil-cloth-covered black journals are meant to capture inspiration at its birth. If you believe the fans, Moleskine isn’t just a notebook or a bound sheaf of papers, it is a blank canvas for the creative mind. So, naturally this mystique lends itself to a viral marketing strategy, with new products launched on YouTube and spread through fan blogs and tweets. A Moleskine site called Detour gives viewers a voyeur’s peek into the personal Moleskine journals of well-known designers and artists, an inspiration in itself. Recently Moleskine celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pac Man with a limited edition notebook and a clever YouTube video. All of this gets linked and forwarded (as it is here), giving customers a sense of discovery and being part of a select artsy circle. Mass advertising on TV or marketing Moleskine as you would reams of copy paper and pencils would diminish its cachet. Viral marketing isn’t a strategy that works for all products, but it is right for Moleskine.

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