Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Don't Feel Like Dancing

My roommate sent me an email with a link that led me to probably the best advertainment I have experienced since creating this blog. The video loaded and as the elevator doors opened, two performers' bodies danced out on to the screen: one of my head and the other my friend's head. I was hysterically laughing the entire time watching my head on this tiny woman's body performing a perfectly choreographed dance with my friend. While watching, I could change the hair color and style of each performer...the afro and pink pixie wig were among my favorites. Of course, I immediately created my own and sent it to my mom, brother, and friend at a different college. If the video had that immediate effect on me, I can only imagine how quickly this hilarious advertainment has spread.

After watching the video, the first thing I said to my roommate was, "What is this advertising?" (Hoping I could have some fabulous blog material). We looked at the bottom of the page and the video was in fact promoting an American band called Scissor Sisters who are under the disco/glam rock/pop I dont tend to listen to, which is probably why I had never heard of them.

I created videos for all my friends and previewed the video so many times that I memorized the catchy song "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" and had it stuck in my head all day. This is an effective method of advertising because consumers have such a fun time listening to the song because they are the stars of the music video. Subconsciously, they are forming positive assosciations with the band and will be more likely to purchase a Scissor Sister song or album in the future.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Travelistic- The YouTube of Family Vacations

I recently came across a new website via the Marketing VOX Blog called Travelistic where people can post videos and share travel experiences and tips using social networking features such as tagging and user profile pages. The goal of Travelistic is to become the YouTube of online travel.

The website is divided into four sections: videos, places, people, and upload. The site's homepage contains the most recent videos, a list of the most popular tag words, the most popular producers, and a casting call for a weekly host for Travelistic's podcast series. The video section of the website is divided into featured videos, most viewed, top ranked, and new uploads...very similar to YouTube. The "place" section has the map of the world with tags on countries that have travel features (the number of features of that country is included in the tag). The people category contains links to the most active commenters, the most traveled people, the most popular producers, and the people whose videos are the highest ranked.

The map feature is my favorite part of the website because I will be studying in Spain next semester so I dragged the mouse over Spain on the map and it turns out that there are 12 videos for Spain, 2 of which are Barcelona--where I will be studying! Now I don't have to rely on cheesy tourism websites that shape your trip for you. This website shows the side of travel people are really looking for. There are videos that still show the typical sites that tourists like to visit when they travel, but they also show the night life that you never get to see prior to arrival.

According to an article on MediaPost Publications, Travelistic is relying on an ad-supported business model that includes video ads from marketers including Accura, Procter & Gamble, and Days Inn. There is advertainment everywhere here...first of all, cities all over the world are getting free publicity through entertaining home videos. This way consumers probably will not get as annoyed when they see an ad for Accura as they would when they are watching the travel channel and have to watch 30 second TV commercials.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Walmart Crosses the Line

I found a very interesting post on the Marketing VOX Blog about a controversial Walmart microsite called Toyland where animated Elves encourage consumers (most likely children) to select Walmart's new toys for Christmas. According to the blog, the consumer group Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is outraged saying that "Walmart is ruthlessly coming between parents and children and actively encouraging kids to nag for their holiday gifts." Children do not need their parents permission to enter the site so they can spend an unlimited amount of time being exposed to Walmart's cool new toys.

I visited Toyland and it is full of bright colors and exciting animations. Before the microsite loads, you are on a fast paced journey to Toyland through the perspective of a child on a ride of some sort. Once the site has loaded, you are in Santa's Workshop greeted by two cool modern looking elves, Wally and Marty, who wear hooded sweatshirts and headphones. They present the consumer with new toys that are available and give the option of clicking yes or no. If the consumer chooses to add the toy to their wishlist, the elves applaud them. If they reject the toy, the elves complain that they will be out of a job and it gets sent to the dump truck.

Walmart defends their microsite saying that Toyland is the same thing as a wishlist written on paper. However, websites such as Internet Retailer and strongly oppose the idea. I believe in the idea of balance: Walmart should not be required to shut down their microsite, but they should take some responsibility and require a parent's permission to enter the site.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nestle's Lantern Project

Nestle has a current interactive campaign during Ramadan called Ramadan Kareem. The purpose is to have vistors of the campaign website virtually light lanterns on the map of the Arab world. Each time a participant "lights" a lantern, Nestle will donate 1 Saudi Riyal to the Red Crescent Society. The goal is to light 100,000 lanterns which will be an equivalent of 21,000 Euros worth of gifts donated to orphans helped by the Red Crescent Society. So far 91,000 lanterns have been lit so Nestle's goal has almost been accomplished. Instead of Nestle donating the money directly, they incorporate consumers to generate positive brand recognition. Two Nestle products are involved in this charity drive: Maggi and Nestle Condensed Milk. Another cool aspect of this website is the "Ramadan Daily Menu" section where healthy recipe suggestions are offered for those celebrating the month of Ramandan.

I found this campaign on Ad Blog Arabia where I registered to light my own lantern. After filling out the required information to register, I was told that I was not elegible to donate a lantern because I did not live in an Arabic country. At first I was offended that they would not let me dontate because I was from America, but then I realized that if the campaign allowed participants from any country donate, Nestle would be responisble for donating millions of dollars to this fund. I bet they calculated how many internet users there were in Arabic countries and based their donation goal on that figure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Virtual Halloween Costume Collection

I thought I was excited about Halloween, but I got even MORE pumped about celebrating the holiday after checking out a website I found on A Japanese retailer called LOFT just launched this new website showcasing their halloween costumes in the most unique way I have ever seen. The first page is a mosiac of retro halloween tiles that are all links to the costume page. There is smokey black and white lighting, only emphasizing the costume and model in color. Each costume that you preview has a model on a catwalk to make the outfit desirable. What other halloween costume webpage has a runway show to display their outfits?!

In the background there is a catchy Hip-Hop beat with subtle lyrics encouraging the viewer to "buy all the costumes--buy the whole store." Every so often there is a halloween-appropriate sound effect--but nothing that takes away from the site's cool sexy image. The urban music puts the viewer in an excited state, as they should be in when they are considering making a purchase. The big problem is, there is no option to purchase the costumes on the website. I clicked on the store information link and I don't know what the Japanese characters said, but the English text did not say anything about a check-out. It's too bad because I had my eye on the shiny waitress ensamble.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Evolutionary Musical by Absolut Ruby Red

I wanted to avoid using another alcohol example for advertainment, however, I could not ignore Absolut's eccentric musical film staring a grapefruit that I found on a blog about online entertainment. I had to wait several minutes for the media to load which was a little irritating, however, Absolut did its best to keep me entertained by presenting a drink recipe while I waited. Finally, the content loaded and the Absolut Ruby Red Evolutionary Musical was ready to be played. The music begins and you are instantly on the Grapefruit's bizzare journey to find its purpose in life. Suddenly the musical comes to a halt and you are asked to make a decision, which will determine the way in which the grapefruit will evolve. After four chapters of deciding the Grapefruit's fate, we finally reach the end of the journey where the Grapefruit discovers its purpose in life is to be the flavor that enhances Absolut Vodka! Fireworks light up the screen and there is a big celebration among all the characters and creatures introduced in the musical.

The musical was so over-the-top and eccentric that I had to play it twice to understand what the purpose of producing it was. I got the picture the second time since I wasn't as distracted by the crazy animations and song. The main point is that grapefruits are frequently neglected and not a traditional flavor used in alcoholic beverages. Therefore, there was a need for the nobel grapefruit to go on a quest to search for its purpose in life. I appreciated the amount of consumer interaction the video required: not too much, not too little. Absolut maintained its unique and stylish image throughout the game so loyal customers would still be able to identify with the product.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Johnson & Johnson Targets Moms Through Advergame

Johnson & Johnson has just launched a new online game called Buddies Scrubbies that targets mothers instead of children in effort to increase their product sales. If all ten levels are completed successfully, the player will receive a Johnson & Johnson product coupon. The player has two minutes to bathe a certain amount of toddlers using the company's product line. When the toddlers are sufficiently bathed, the bathtub lights up and a father enters the room ready to dry the toddler off. One may think that interactive games can only be targeted to teenagers, however, according to a Consumer Electronics Association study, 65 percent of women 25-34 play video games. The game reflects Johnson and Johnson's company image which is based on care and trust. According to their website, their new ad campaign demonstrates the company's interest in the parent-child relationship and reinforces the belief that "having a baby changes everything."

When I first discovered Johnson & Johnson was marketing an online game to mothers, I was skeptical because I have been researching advertainment for a while and all the advergames seemed to target teens and tweens. As my maternal instinct began to kick in while my character was running around to bathe multiple children, I knew it was properly targeting at mothers. However, I did not have the energy to complete all ten levels as I did not share the incentive a mother would have stick it out for the product coupon.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prep-Unit Tea Partay

Smirnoff has produced a gansta rap parody that is floating around youtube in effort to promote their new drink Raw Tea. The video makes fun of wealthy "wasps" from New England who play croquet, eat finger sandwiches, and of course drink Smirnoff. A group of conservative white guys called the "Prep-Unit" rap about thier posh lives vacationing in Cape Cod and getting "down with the ladies" at tea parties. The video is a little cheesy but definitely worth checking out.

At the end of the video an announcer quickly tells the viewers to drink responsibly and visit I obeyed the announcer and visited the website where I had to enter in my birthdate to verify I am of legal drinking age, as any responsible alcohol company should do. Smirnoff's Raw Tea website has the Country Club Rap that is on Youtube plus more advertainment. There is a link called the Prepsta Guide which is a Tea Partay Handbook teaching one how to throw the proper Tea Par-taay. The guide clearly differentiates between "prepsta" and "gansta" so one does not get confused. After skimming through the entire handbook I was horrified to find my HOMETOWN New Canaan, CT in the book. It is located in the section of "what to listen to at a tea partay." A fake list of prep-rap tracks are listed and my hometown track is called: Inheritin' Ain't Easy by New Canaan New Skool. Well it is a good thing I don't take myself too seriously otherwise I would have just learned that my whole life was been a parody thanks to Smirnoff.