Archive for the ‘crisis in ad-land’ Category

And was the guy in the grassy knoll from Madison Avenue?

November 4, 2009 1 comment
The Hathaway Shirts man revealed
The Hathaway Shirts man revealed

An article by theatre critic Richard Ouzounian in Tuesday’s Toronto Star, (Time in a Mad Men World) travels the well-tread ground of blaming Madison Avenue for pretty well every ill confronting the modern world.

Having attended “a scholarship Jesuit boys’ prep school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan” during the early to mid sixties, he and his friends “wore jackets and ties and moved within that bubble of artificial but attractive sophistication that was Manhattan in the 1960s.”

It was during this time that the “real-life equivalents of Drapper and company at Sterling Cooper” force-fed Ouzounian and his friends with the lies that would scar each of them for life. Read more…

Categories: crisis in ad-land

• Product business vs. marketing business

October 11, 2009 2 comments
Note -- this is not one of my twins who plays bagpipes in China.

Note -- this is not one of my twins who plays bagpipes in China.

I just talked to my twins on the phone.

I don’t hear from them too often, and see them even less, because for the past three years they’ve been earning their living by playing bagpipes in China.

That’s right. Bagpipes. China. Earning a living.

During our conversation, John (or was it Aragorn) mentioned the difference between “product business” and “marketing business.”

“Marketing business is based mostly on your marketing efforts,” he said. “Product business is based mostly on your product.”

Of course, all business requires some degree of each, but I could see his point.

To illustrate it, he compared Starbucks with Tim Horton’s. Read more…

Categories: crisis in ad-land

• Ikea’s advertising guerrilla ordered to clean up after itself

Guerrilla advertising: a form of advertising which skilfully keeps the consumer unaware of what product or service is being advertised.

No, thats gorilla advertising -- were talking about guerilla advertising

No, that's "gorilla" advertising -- not "guerrilla" advertising

I’m sure by now that everyone in the industry has heard about the magnificent gaffe pulled by the good folks at Ikea. Still, it’s so delightfully idiotic, brain-dead, and outright stupid that a recap is almost mandatory.

Anonymous TV spots

In order to promote the publication of their new catalogue, Ikea’s creative agency, Zig, launched a “guerrilla” advertising campaign called Any Place Can Be Beautiful. The television spot shows an unmarked cardboard box sitting on a sidewalk. After a moment, hundreds of pieces of yellow paper, which look like Post It notes, erupt from the box and form a square on the ground around it. At the bottom of the screen appears a URL ( Although there is no indication of its purpose, the URL links to a contest in which people can upload photos of rooms they would like to have beautified. Visitors vote on the photos, and the winner receives a $15,000 remodelling by Ikea. (I’d link to a Youtube video of the ad, but there doesn’t appear to be one — a surprising oversight for a well-run viral campaign.) Read more…

• Internet as a game-changer for business: some hard data

The following was previously posted as part of a running argument in the comments section on The Ad Contrarian. Having gone to the work of finding and putting together the statistics, I figured I might as well share them here as well. (First rule of a writer: recycle material whenever possible.)

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An early ad proclaiming the benefits of internet marketing

An early ad proclaiming the benefits of internet marketing

Has the internet “changed everything” to do with retail sales?

Since 1999, the Department of Congress (DOC) has been keeping figures for online sales separate from those for catalogue and mail order, making the tallies more accurate. From these we find that in 2000, total online retail sales accounted for 0.7% of the total $747.8 billion in retail sales.

To put that another way: in 2000, less than a penny from every consumer dollar was spent online. Read more…

• After reaching an audience of tens in Second Life, Coke expands its social marketing plans.

Now, can anyone see a problem with consumers making their own ads?

Now, can anyone see a problem with consumers making their own ads?

The World Advertising Research Center (WARC) reports that Coca-Cola is stepping up its social marketing.

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, plans to increase its use of social media around the world, as it seeks to put consumers “at the heart” of its business, according to Jonathan Mildenhall, the company’s vp of global advertising strategy and creative excellence.

Just what, exactly, is the “heart” of Coke’s business? Will they be bringing in consumers to bottle the product in their plants? Invite them to sit in on strategy sessions? Put them in scuba outfits and dump them in tanks of the secret formula? Read more…

• Who says you have to listen to the “conversation”?

Cute joke, or vile slander against motherhood?

Cute joke, or vile slander against motherhood?

As part of their “ongoing series assessing the future of the Internet,” Information Week‘s John Soat looks at the risk of brands being attacked online in “Reputations at Risk” (Information Week, June 1, 2009).

As an example, he opens with the unexpected ramifications of a handmade sign posted at the exit of a Home Depot store in Las Cruces, N.M. Seemingly innocuous, and potentially helpful, the sign encouraged disgruntled customers to voice their complaints before leaving. Read more…

• How social media can damage brands

Ah, the early days -- before she was turned on for not Twittering enough

No, Oprah! Look out! Step away from the Twitter!


I should be upfront and admit that I don’t like Oprah.

I can’t say why, exactly. Maybe it’s her ostentatious displays of generosity. Maybe it’s her insistence that everyone show exactly the same upbeat attitude she purports to have. Maybe it’s the feeling that her conversion from shock-show host to moral leader of the multitudes and maven of modern literature was predicated on sagging ratings. Maybe it’s just that I distrust anyone who can sway the feelings and opinions of millions of people.

Whatever the reason, it certainly isn’t because I feel she has somehow personally betrayed me. Read more…