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May 31, 2005
McD: what's the fruit buzz?

McDonald's is running a six weeks online campaign to promote its new Fruit & Walnut Salad and target African-American women. ClickZ reports the creativity is by ImagineThat which together with McD's multicultural marketing agency Burrell, developed a series of engaging rich media that include a quick and easy gaming mechanism.

The first results are pretty good despite the rather intrusive format the food chain has decided to use. In particular, McD is using the United Virtualities' Ooqa-Ooqa branded-browser takeover which replaces the page standard navigation with a McDonald's themed navigation. This format is exclusively running on Bet.com however, once again the only supported browser is Internet Explorer so I cannot see how this technology works :-(

May 31, 2005
Banners & advergames: roll over and play

Last week, I blogged about Kellog's banner with an advergame inside and I thought wow, this is really cool and innovative, I've never seen this before! Well it is not that I've changed my mind about it, but I've found out that also here in Europe some agencies have come up with similar ideas...

For example Agency Republic has created a banner campaign for the mobile operator O2 with a banner containing three mini online games. As New Media Age explains, when visitors roll over the banner, three hot air balloons appear, promoting the O2 Pay & Go option, and challenging people to play and win free minutes and sms.

In France (thanks Damien) IBM and Roland Garros have created a wonderful interactive banner: when it expands, you are invited to join an online tennis game. You create your own player, choose the playground and then invite another online gamer to play with you. Unfortunately I haven't been able to see the banner in action but the idea, as described, sounds really cool.

Video ads for Charles Schwab

Founder and CEO Mr Charles Schwab, sorry Mr "Chuck" Schwab, will "star" in a series of online videos for the Schwab "On the side of the investor" campaign. Havas' Euro RSCG New York has created seven video clips in which Mr Schwab promotes the use of financial services focusing, in particular, on ethical conduct and sound investments strategies. If the idea proves successful, more videos will follow.
Adweek reports print advertising will also be part of the effort.

Branding online for the IHT

The International Herald Tribune has launched an online branding campaign targeting business users in the UK, Germany and France. The ads, featuring animations of the dingbat which composes IHT's logo, will appear on other international news sites such as The New York Times, Reuters and Bloomberg, as well as on national online publications like the Faz.de, Times Online and The Telegraph.

Brand Republic reports the creativity is by Lean Mean Fighting Machine.

The shape of Heineken

heineken_bottle.jpg

[Link via De la Pub, Rien que de la Pub]

May 30, 2005
Happy Birthday

birthday.jpgI almost forgot to tell you Adverblog is now two years old (even if there's only one candle on the cake).
I'm so proud of having so many nice and important readers!
Thanks everybody :-)

Btw: today is also my birthday. Wanna make me a present? Offer me a job...
But an e-card will also be fine :-)

Axe: test your seduction skills online

Sex sells. Don't waste your time saying this is not true. And the game Axe, a deodorant bodyspray for men, is about to launch confirms marketers strongly believe a beautiful, sexy woman (no matter if real or virtual) appeals to young men online. The brand owned by Unilever will has presented last week Axe Mojo Master, a fantasy game in which the player challenges his playboy skills in a series of virtual venues from NYC to LA. Adage explains the female characters have an artificial intelligence and will have specific reactions to different players' choices. The article also adds Axe has invested a huge amount of money in the game, which has a graphic which resambles to The Sims and features a gaming mechanism which should grant hours of play.

mojo_master.jpg

Axe Mojo Master will debut on June 20, but on the site screensavers and wallpapers of virtual game characters are already available.
(warning: the game is intended for a mature audience ;-)

Volkswagen and the 100 Million Mission

vw1000.jpgVolkswagen is celebrating the production of its car number 100 Million with an online game named 100 Million Mission. On the company's portal Internet users and fans of the Beetle can play in five languages, competing in the production of the next 100 million vehicles. Their skill, speed and knowledge of cars are put to the test. All players that register for the game automatically will take part to a draw which will assign a Golf worth 20.000 Euros.
I tried to play, but it's too difficult for me... you know, I'm just a woman ;-)

The 100 Million Mission game is available also on mobile phones: just send a text message with the word VWGAME to the number +49 173 51 000 82 and download it.

Take off with 7UP

Adfreak reports about an unusual campaign 7UP (the soft drink) is running in the US: they are holding a promotion which will allow a lucky winner to get a free ticket for a space trip. Just visit the 7UP site to find out how the competition works.

Affiliate marketing for Yahoo! Europe

Yahoo! Europe has signed a deal with Tradedoubler to run an affiliate marketing campaign across the Old Continent. Netimperative reports the agreement aims at driving traffic to Yahoo's search site, as well as to Overture and Kelkoo. The affiliate programs will be initially launched in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

I must say I didn't know much about affiliate marketing until a few days ago, when I started considering the option to run ads here on Adverblog. I thought there would have been a limited series of advertisers, but on the contrary I found that a lot of brands and e-commerce sites actually use these instruments. Since affiliate programs are usually based on a pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale program, it ain't easy for publishers to earn some money. On the contrary, for advertisers, despite the fact they do or don't create sales, the branding effect in having their names on small sites is granted.

May 29, 2005
Getting ready for the Lions

cybergold1000.jpgAdvertising is growing or advertising agencies believe the they've done a better job with respect to last year. Entries are up 18 percent at the upcoming Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival with 22.101 campaigns competing for the Lions.

The entries in the Cyber Lions category entries are up 21.5 percent. The panel headed by PJ Pereira, Executive Creative Director at AKQA San Francisco will have to assign the awards selecting among 1897 entries. Let's wait until June 21 for the shortlist and June 23 for the winners.

May 26, 2005
Vote for the best advertising and marketing blogs

MarketingSherpa is collecting votes for the 2nd Annual Readers' Choice Blog Awards. Voting starts today and ends on June 8th. Adverblog has been nominated in the "Individual's weblogs on general marketing and advertising topics" category. If you like this blog, please consider voting for me by clicking here. The competition is fierce, there are a lot of other interesting blogs to discover and vote, don't be shy!

BTW: last year Adverblog received an honorable mention as "Best blog on online marketing".

Wine company starts podcasting

Random Culture blogs about Centennial Fine Wine & Spirits, a Dallas based chain of liquor stores, who has decided to start podcasting. The first podcast is an interview explaining "How to find the right wine".

Wine companies usually appear to be kind of old-stylish in their marketing approach, but this initiative clearly explains that no matter what's the product your're selling, you can be smart in any case.

If you're interested in podcasting, BusinessWeek has an interesting series of articles on the topic.

Playstation and the "Summer of Freedom"

sony_freedom.gif"Summer of Freedom" is the new digital campaign by Sony Playstation created by Greenroom Digital. As Julian Smith, analyst at Jupiter points out on his blog, innovation and integration are the main characteristics of the effort which is focusing on the video blogs idea.

Sony is currently selecting four bloggers who will post on the initiative's site their video ideas of freedom. Check the "About" section to learn how to submit your candidacy or just visit the site to see a good example of online marketing by a company that listens to its customers.

SEM booming in the UK

Search engine marketing has grown by about 70% in the UK and is expected to bring in revenues of £598m during 2005. Localised ads based on PPC model are leading the way, but organic will also play a role, a report by E-Consultancy explains.

The new Doctor Who in an advergame

New Media Collective has created an advergame for the BBC to promote the new "Doctor Who" series currently on air. Digital Bulletin says the game is attracting players from all around the world, providing an amazing feedback both to the Tv channel and to the agency behind it. If you want to give it a try, this is the link.

Nokia and Lycos promote the 3230

Nokia is promoting its 3230 model in Italy with an online marketing effort together with Lycos. The Lycos chat (which counts on 800.000 registered users) will be personalised with the Nokia's brand, and will promote in particular the "Street Stuff" tour which will present the 3230 smartphone around the country. Rich media ads and leaderboards as well as email marketing will be part of the campaign.

[News via Pubblicità Italia]

Vertu picks Agency.com

Agency.com has been appointed by Vertu to handle its digital account. Vertu is luxury a mobile phone manufacturer which has recently presented its new website (by Agency.com) and the exclusive special edition Ascent Pink phone, especially designed for women.

The launch of the new site should be the first step into online marketing by Vertu. Luxury brands usually don't invest in online advertising, the only good example that come into my mind is the one of Porsche which run an Internet campaign last year in the UK.
Do you know about other campaigns?

Planner, follow the prospect online

Aegis, the media buying agency, is reporting a significant increase in ads placed on the Internet, as alternatives to television and radio advertising. According to The Times the company expects to double its revenues from online ads, generating more than $200 million in 2005, with a rise of about $100.
Consumers are changing their habits: less tv and newspapers and more Internet, so planners need to follow them online.
As a lot of well known marketers use to say: listen to the customer, he will tell you what to do. If he says I don't watch tv, I'd rather surf the Web, than advertise online and maybe also consider opening an online shop.

Wanadoo starts online campaign in the UK

Life is too short not to have broadband: this is the message Wanadoo is delivering through its first online campaign created by Dare Digital. As it's easy to understand, the promotion aims at acquiring new broadband clients in the UK.

The Clio Awards winners

The "Subservient Chicken" campaign created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky has been voted the "best of show" at the international Clio Awards. The campaign was awarded for the was for excellence in the brand building and its fresh approach. If you go on the Clio Awards site is not so easy to exactly understand who has won what. Anyway I tried to do my best to find out which were the best campaigns.
Dentsu Tokio has won the bronze in the "self-promotion" category for its Interactive Salaryman. Crispin Porter + Bogusky Miami won the silver in the "Fresh Approach" category also for the MINI Robots campaign and the bronze for Virgin in the "Banner Ads" category. R/GA New York won the bronze in the "Fresh Approach" category for Nike Lab, the bronze in the "E-Commerce" category for Nike ID and again a bronze in the "Brand Building" category for Nike Lab.

Continue reading... "The Clio Awards winners"

May 24, 2005
Videogames advertising: get ready

Do you want to reach young males? Advertise in videogames, that's the best place to get their attention. The Seattle Post has a good article by Gary Gentile reporting on the recent E3 videogames trade show where it has become clear that the biggest players in the industry have discovered another revenue stream: the money payed by brands to have their logo placed in the games. Advertising is coming to videogames, and research firms are trying to adapt their methodologies and technologies to measure the players behavior. Of course in-game advertising is not for everybody, but big corporations with a lot of money to spend won't loose the chance to impose their ads even there.

Continue reading... "Videogames advertising: get ready"

Real estate ads move online

Real estate advertising in 2005 will reach a total value of $1.8 billion, representing the 15.9 percent of total investments in advertising in the industry. eMarketer expects the expenditure in online ads will represent one third of the total spending by 2009.

Suddendly, the real estate sector has understood interactive works. However it would be interesting to go into further details and investigate what kind of online advertising works. I believe we should look at search engine marketing, in particular the keyword advertising model with the localization of ads.

Which value do online competitions bring to a brand?

Online competitions are one of the trends of the moment in consumer marketing. Recently I’ve been posting a lot about online quizzes, sweepstakes, on-pack promotions connected to a Web site, advergames with prizes, contests, lotteries etc...

No matter what’s the target audience, it seems that giving away prizes is one of the only ways brands are able to find to engage their prospects. Creativity and originality in the game idea are not expressed at their best in most of these initiatives, which appear to be brilliant and trendy only in the prizes they are awarding: iPods. And this takes my analysis to the question in the title: what’s the value for a brand of setting up an online competition? In my opinion, if you give away iPods, the only brand which takes advantage of the fact is Apple.

Why consumer brands don’t give away (mostly) their own products? Aren’t they valued to be “cool” enough as prizes? I don’t think this is positive…

Continue reading... "Which value do online competitions bring to a brand?"

May 23, 2005
Kellogg's: a banner with an advergame inside

rmg:connect Australia has developed an interesting campaign for Kellogg's Nutri-Grain. It' a rich media ad with an advergame inside. As Ashadi Hopper, creative director at rmg:connect, explained me, they have transformed a standard banner ad placement, which would normally give an advertiser maybe 30 seconds of exposure on a page and a rather static engagement with their audience, into a rich entertainment platform that keeps the audience engaged with the brand for three to five minutes at a time.
The game can also be played following this link while if you want to see the banner in action, visit Eyeblaster's showcase. Too bad it doesn't work if you have a Mac.

Mitsubishi rebrands as "J.Cool"

Mitsubishi Motors debuts this week in the United States with an advertising campaign to promote its new Eclipse sport coupe and present its a fresh look for its brand. The company's new tagline is "Driven to thrill" which is designed to communicate to consumers that Mitsubishi is a company that is "driven to thrill" in every aspect -- from its engineering, to its product design, to its people. Mitsubishi tries to reposition itself as a "J.Cool" (Japanese Cool) brand, following the cultural phenomena currently engaging young Americans.

Continue reading... "Mitsubishi rebrands as "J.Cool""

Dear agency, wake up!

Is the Golden Age of advertising over? Reading today's article by Stuart Elliott on The New York Times, I guess the answer is YES and I should probably look for a job in another industry.

To tell the truth, the situation is not yet dramatic, but agencies need to wake-up and understand they need to develop a new approach. Clients have smaller budgets and look for new, better ideas. Certainly not the best situation for an advertising agency, but this is it: adapt or die.
The article reports the opinions of several advertising experts, more or less complaining about the changes in the industry (I liked Linda Kaplan Thaler, saying that "Creativity used to be, 'Think inside the box.' Then it was, 'Think outside the box.' Now, there's no box").

But there is also something positive to read: it's the BBDO experience with the GE account. They understood (and GE explicitly told them) that something was going wrong, so they changed their approach (and also their senior creative leader) and adapted to General Electrics was looking for: interactive campaigns.

The online advertising prophecy

Today The Wall Street Journal has an interesting (and free!) column by Robert Guth about the new media industry. He talks about the hypes and lows of what we once used to call the New Economy. Basically he says that opportunities come and go extremely fast. Only the best survive and sometimes not even them.

For what concerns Internet advertising, undoubtedly big brands budgets are heading online. However we need to keep in mind they are "moving" from other sectors (Tv, radio, print), it's not that more money is being invested in promotions through the Internet and, "if the advertising budgets shrink, the online guys will likely get hit just as hard as any of the traditional media outlets".

Is this a prophecy or just a cautious warning?

Rexona for Men, fun and blogs

Have a look at this funny commercial Rexona for Men has launched in The Netherlands. The full version of the Tv spot is available only online on Rexona.nl. A part from the fact the video is really funny, the cool thing about Rexona's marketing initiative is that the spot is promoted with a series of ads on influential Dutch blogs (i.e. Retecool).

Again, the idea we need to follow is: go where your target audience is. And if your target audience reads blogs, then advertise there.

The only thing I miss on the site is a "send to a friend" button. Since the video is nice, why should Rexona miss the opportunity to generate a little bit of viral effect?

[News via Marketingfacts.nl]

May 22, 2005
The ads of the 3(G) generation

In the United Kingdom, 3G carrier Hutchinson has announced it will start offering mobile video ads. As a good article by Mike Masnick on The Feature points out, the benefits of this service are, for now, questionable both, for advertisers and for subscribers.

The first video to watch will be the trailer of the new British cult film "It's all gone Pete Tong" but it will be available only to the first 100,000 customers. Furthermore it's curious to read the trailer can be watched "for free". Are we now expected to pay for advertising?

Singing frogs to promote Budweiser

Budweiser has signed a deal with JibBJab (remember This Land?) to create a funny (?) video and promote online the "king of beers".

Google takes it personal

Google has launched its personalised homepage. I must say I'm not impressed. For now you just have 12 content categories to choose to build up your personal interface. The graphic is in line with Google's brand: plain, almost poor. At the moment there are no ads, but we can surely expect AdWords to appear soon.
I have a My Yahoo account but I never use it. Working with bookmarks's page and with an excellent RSS reader like Bloglines is way enough to keep me updated.

If you want to hear some better opinions about the new Google personalised homepage I suggest you reading the posts' of these guys:
- Charlene Li (Forrester Research)
- Bruce Carlisle on Digital Axle
- Jeremy Zawodny
- John Battelle on Searchblog

iCoke, attempts of interactive youth marketing

New Media Age reports this week Coca-Cola is getting ready for the global launch of iCoke, an highly interactive youth marketing program. The initiative has already debuted in China and Canada and should be supported by on-pack promotions to drive traffic online.

icoke.gifiCoke Canada is basically a loyalty marketing initiative which invites young users to collect points in order to gain prizes.
The Canadian website features a competition which instantly gives away a Sony LCD Tv by inserting the PIN code found on the can. There is also a co-marketing section, the "Games Lounge" together with Sony Playstation. The "Download" area will offer mobile content such as wallpapers and ringtones but it's not active yet... It has a sad "coming soon" message which is one of the best move you can do to disappoint your audience.

Continue reading... "iCoke, attempts of interactive youth marketing"

May 20, 2005
Clerasil punishes the 2 idiots

In Belgium Clerasil has launched a rather disgusting viral campaign to promote its products against pimples.
clerasil.jpgLuc and Sara star in the "In your face" video. They're two (idiot) teenagers full of pimples, because the don't use Clerasil, who have to be punished by the public. Young users visiting the Clerasil.be site are presented with series of possible punishments to choose. The most voted option will be featured in the video the following week. The initiative lasts three weeks and allows voters to win a wide range of prizes.

The campaign has been created by Axes2, the digital division of McCann-Erickson Belgium (good to see their latest news is dated October 2004...)
[News via Digimedia]

BA Makes Travel Easier with an interactive guide

British Airways has launched a new series of online services and Agency.com has created an interactive guide to explain customers what has changed or improved. E-Consultancy explains the demonstration named "Make Travel Easier" shows customers how to use ba.com website and the self-service kiosks at the airport.

british_airways.gif

The interactive guide is a good idea to educate clients about new services, and it's also pretty well done. The problem is that it's hidden inside BA's site. There is a small, sad, banner on the homepage, but unless you know about it, you won't understand smart guide it is supposed to promote.

Interactive accounts of the week

FCBi has won the interactive account for Motorola.
Cadbury Schweppes has appointed The Digital Edge (TDE) to handle its future digital campaigns for its beverages brands, Dr Pepper, 7 UP and Snapple among the others.
Sony Pictures has selected Spinnaker for its digital marketing activity in the UK.
British Telecom has shortlisted four agencies for its online media planning and buying account (the account was previously handled by I-Level).

Deutsch loses Monster

monster.gifAdWeek reports Monster has decided to change its advertising agency, saying goodbye to Deutsch. Both parts declined to provide details about the decision, but we can expect Monster to announce its intentions in the upcoming weeks.

Grab. Gulp. Win for Nesquick

Nestlé has partnered with m-Qube to launch a mobile marketing initiative connected to its Nesquick brand. The cross-carrier campaign will run in the United States targeting teens and young adults with an instant-win game connected to an on-pack promotion.

The idea to go mobile was facilitated by Publicis Dialog/Los Angeles, whose Managing Director, Mary Puls, commented:

Mobile is an impactful and relevant communications channel for teens and young adults, and Publicis Dialog is pleased to have helped Nestle capitalize on this new and exciting promotional channel
.

May 19, 2005
3 gets smart and targets MSN Messenger users

With a smart move 3 UK eventually starts targeting younger segments of the mobile market launching a series of Critters characters adapted by Meme Digital. 3 has also decided to start an online marketing push by sponsoring the latest release of MSN Messenger with these characters. The version has been already downloaded by 10.000 users.

I very much appreciate Hutchinson move and I hope they will update their marketing approach in Italy also... Here they're only able to run pathetic TV spots starring second class testimonials.

Sony Ericsson presents "The Shame Academy"

Sony Ericsson is promoting its K300i with the "snap, send and shame" idea, an invitation to students to send embarrassing photos of themselves and their friends taken on their phones. Young mobile users will then be able to vote the best, or worst, pictures depending on the point of view, and win a K300i phone.

The Shame Academy site will launch tomorrow and will be supported by a guerrilla marketing drive by Campus Group.

The idea is nice and certainly engaging given the target audience. I wonder how they will manage the privacy issue... I'm sure students will send "very" embarrassing MMS pictures of their friends...

Viral video for Audi

A viral video is main promotional concept Audi has created to promote its new A4 model. Revolution Magazine points out that Audi has decided to prefer online advertising to TV spots to push the new car (smart decision).
The Internet Audi film has been created by 20:20 London.
This is the link to the video (thanks Bjoern).

Ogilvy PR wins "Best Non-Profit Online Campaign"

The Web Marketing Association has awarded Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) the "Best Non-Profit Online Campaign" in the 2005 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards. Ogilvy PR won for its interactive marketing campaign that promoted Oxfam America's HungerBanquet.org.

Organic and TMX Communications won the 2005 Top Agency Award.

The full list of the IAC Awards is available online on the competition's website.

Nescafé and the "Cappuccino Mystery"

nescafe.jpgThe Nescafé website in Belgium has a new look & feel created by i-Merge. The site presents a series of pictures of happy people in which a red spot is highlighted. If you click the red button you find out more information about Nescafé products.
But the most interesting thing of the site is the "Cappuccino Mystery" an online competition connected to a mysterious story taking place in Venice. The prize is a week-end for four people in Venice with a SN Brussels Airlines flight in V class (the flight lasts 1h35m)... why do they tell all these details? ;-)

Saab targets young (rich) families

In the UK Channel 4 is hosting an exclusive online campaign from Saab promoting its new 9-3 Sportwagon due to be launched in July. New Media Age (reg. req.) explains the agency behind the ads is Draft London which decided to develop the theme "choose your own adventure" to target young, active (and rich...) families.

May 18, 2005
Easy Fridays for Nivea

Skive Creative is behind the new online marketing initiative by Nivea. The cosmetics brand is advertising its moisturising cream for young women through a microsite that allows girls to create a personalised "invitation" for a night out with friends. As usual, the viral touch is included.

New campaign for LA Gear

davidandgoliath has created the "Discover Team" campaign for LA Gear. ClickZ reports the initiative targets women in their twenties, and consists of roadblock on Yahoo! Mail homepage, a new web site and a series of rich media ads.

3M: interactivity at its best

3M UK has launched a massive integrated digital campaign with online advertising, email marketing and online PR, plus a dedicated website: www.3meverywhere.com. The site showcases 3M's products but most of all hosts an online competition with an advergame to be played watching an interactive film. The game idea is lovely, it engages and entertains while showcasing 3M's products. It's one of the best examples of interactivity I've ever seen.
3M's initiative is particularly attractive also because it's the first of its kind in the B2B sector where usually, as pointed out by Daniel Bonner, creative director at AKQA, advertising tends to be rather bland.

3mgame.gif

As said, the excellent creativity is by AKQA (Congrats!!! I loved the site).
[news via E-Consultancy]

Online advertising revenues for news sites get shaky

Advertising programs like Google's Adsense have revamped the PPC model and provided new revenue streams for news sites. Apparently we are now living in a perfect world where even small publishers can earn some money serving contextual ads, and advertisers can deliver targeted messages to their prospects. How long is this going to last? Not much predicts Bill Virgin in his yesterday's column. Virgin claims that as soon as advertisers gain more experience, they will learn much of their advertising budget are wasted, and this take us to the end of free online information, and therefore to the death of many news sites.

Continue reading... "Online advertising revenues for news sites get shaky"

O2 promotes the Pay&Go; Sim online

UK carrier O2 is investing in online advertising to drive customer acquisition. New Media Age reports the mobile operator will take over for a day Yahoo's homepage (it should be today, but I'm not sure ;-), with ads also running on AOL and MSN. The initiative aims at selling the Pay&Go; Sim, the nice thing is that users will be able to sign up directly from the banner.
The creativity is by Agency Republic.

May 17, 2005
Sony, like.no.other

Sony has launched in the UK the online version of its "like.no.other" campaign, designed by Fallon London to promote the new range of Walkman Mp3 players. The creativity focuses on the fact that Walkman's batteries last longer than the iPod's ones. Revolution Magazine reports ads will run on UK portals such as Lycos, Yahoo, Tiscali and Wanadoo where Sony sponsors the music channel.





Even if the battery life is an issue with my iPod, I must admit I decided to buy it because it was innovative, stylish and, last (and maybe least), useful.
I appreciate Sony, as a second mover, tries to position itself in a different way, not competing on the style field but rather looking for a new segment of customers. Apple's got the early adopters (who, by definition, aren't very demanding when it comes to testing innovations), Sony is going for the first majority, once again a challenge for Steve Jobs to stay on top...

If you're interested in learning more about early adopters, first and late majority and about marketing the innovations, I suggest you reading Everett Rogers, who wrote "Diffusion of Innovations". It is exactly a marketing book, but it's indispensable to read in order to understand how to build a strategy to market a new technology.

Paypal launches competition in Italy

Paypal has recently launched its service in Italy and is therefore trying to get people's attention with an online competition. The initiative will kick off next week, allowing Italian users to win 10 iPod Mini and 10 iPod Photo, plus a Sony home-theatre system. In order to enter the competition, people just have to sign-up for the service and use it at least once. For those who are already subscribed, making one transaction will be enough to enter the draw.

The Mazda "Car Wars"

carwars.jpgDMC London is planning, seeding and tracking a new viral buzz for Mazda. The campaign, called "Car Wars" features a web-exclusive film created to raise brand awareness and boost demand for the Mazda B-Series pick-up.

The video shows three men trying to impress a sexy sophisticated woman by flashing their car keys (one driver owns an Aston Martin, one has a Porsche and a guy has a Mazda B-Series). Who will she pick and why? I know you can guess the answer, but watch the video anyway, it's funny!
[QuickTime or Windows Media Player]

Sticky marketing for Sixt

"Sticky" used to be a buzz word in online marketing a few years ago. Now Sixt comes up with a "sticky" idea to promote its rental service in Germany. As you can see from the picture below, the outcome is certainly attractive even if the advertising text could have been better. It says: do it only with a top quality glue (which is not included in our extremely low renting prices).

sixt_sticky.jpg

[News via Guerilla Marketing Blog]

Nivea launches text to win competition

To support its new Aqua Cool Spray for Men, Nivea has launched a text to win competition targeting movies fans. The game has been created by Text Marketer together with Nivea's marketing agency Makari which planned also a free product sample distribution in 101 cinemas. Mobile phones owners are invited to send the word AQUACOOL to a special number in order to win a 7 day skiing trip for four people.

May 16, 2005
One Show Awards: and the pencil goes to...

The One Show Awards have been assigned! Here are some of the winners...
Best banner campaign:
- gold award to OgilvyInteractive/Sao Paulo for CNA-English School
- silver award to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco for Hewlett-Packard, and to OgilvyInteractive/Frankfurt for Playstation
- bronze to Fallon/Minneapolis for The Islands Of The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism and to Crispin Porter + Bogusky/Miami for Virgin,

Best promotional advertising web site:
- gold award to Hi-ReS!/London for Lions Gate Films
- silver award to Framfab Denmark/Copenhagen for Coca-Cola Nordic
- bronze award to Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners/Sausalito for Converse

Best integrated branding:
- gold award to Crispin Porter + Bogusky/Miami for Burger King
- silver award to SS+K/New York for Qwest, to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco for Hewlett Packard
- bronze award to Syrup/New York for SonyStyle and Crispin Porter + Bogusky/Miami for MINI

The One Show Interactive Pencil Winners list is available here (opens .pdf).

[email protected] R&D; dept. launched

Looking for fresh creative ideas, Saatchi UK has launched an R&D; department to help clients developing new products and most of all marketing them.
AdWeek reports the office will be run by Vicky Moffatt, who is managing director and director of strategy at Saatchi's London office.

Podcasting makes condoms' marketing easier

durex_logo.gifMarketing condoms is not an easy job. The target is young and therefore it's difficult to get its attention, furthermore the product is "delicate", because of ethics and religion. Trojan did great last year creating the award winning viral campaign "Sex Olympics", now Durex is trying to do something as innovative buying advertising spaces in podcasts.

Advertising Age explains the decision allows Durex to directly connect with its target, which is represented by people who spend more time online than watching Tv. Furthermore the solution sounds pretty inexpensive and, most of all, it enables Durex to avoid FCC strict regulations about what you can and cannot show/say when promoting condoms.

Video advertising: a new way to connect with customers

When a magazine like Business Week picks up a story about a business or a trend, you can bet that trend is getting serious. It has happened a few weeks ago when the article on blogs (that will change your business) was published and it's probably happening again with this feature about online video advertising. As the article points out, ""advertisers view online video as a laboratory for new ways to connect with customers".

Continue reading... "Video advertising: a new way to connect with customers"

Send a Sheep Mail

sheep.gifAdvergamer has created a nice viral idea to promote the Toast Festivals which will take place next June in London, celebrating New Zealand and Australian food, wine, music and culture. Sending a Sheep Mail to your friends (fleece your message on the sheep), you can win a chance to meet "Kath & Kim" (two Australian comedians) and tickets to Toast Australia.

Store Wars: the Organic Rebellion!

The Organic Trade Association is running a viral campaign with vegetables starring in a Star Wars parody. The idea is to promote healthy food, produced without using toxic and persistent pesticides which poison water, soil and, of course, food supplies.
To learn more about organic food, click here, to join the "Organic Rebellion" and have some fun, visit www.storewars.org, you'll find the video and the movie poster.

Concept and production by Free Range Studios.

Lipton Ice Tea launches "rich" campaign

In Switzerland Lipton Ice Tea is getting ready for the crucial season for its sales with an advertising campaign which includes Tv spots, billboards and in-store promotions. Persoenlich (in German) reports mobile marketing is also part of the effort, with a "text to win" game which gives away an incredibly rich series of prizes: 5 yellow DaimlerChrysler Voyager branded Lipton.
Given the prizes, you can really tell the initiative runs in Switzerland...

The agency behind the campaign is JWT+H+F.

Framfab acquires Oyster

Framfab has probably become the UK largest interactive full service business following the acquisition last week of Oyster Partners. Both companies have competed in the UK market for several years. Now operations in Oyster and Framfab UK will be fully integrated following the acquisition.

Continue reading... "Framfab acquires Oyster"

Rich text&win; game for Lipton Ice Tea

In Switzerland Lipton Ice Tea is getting ready for the crucial season for its sales with an advertising campaign which includes Tv spots, billboards and in-store promotions. Persoenlich (in German) reports mobile marketing is also part of the effort, with a "text to win" game which gives away an incredibly rich series of prizes: 5 yellow DaimlerChrysler Voyager branded Lipton.
Given the prizes, you can really tell the initiative runs in Switzerland...

The agency behind the campaign is JWT+H+F.

Levi's makes life uncomplicated

McCann-Erickson's TAG youth-marketing unit has created two excellent viral videos to promote Levi's 501 line of jeans. As explained on AdCritic Interactive, the idea is to position the jeans' model as the antidote to metrosexuality.
The video I watched is entitled "World Gone Pretty", and stars a sort of Barbies' Big Jim trying to change his life to meet the society's expectations. At the end we understand social networks are too demanding, life is becoming too complicated, therefore Levi's makes it uncomplicated... 501uncomplicate.com... and the viral effect is granted...

Guerilla ice marketing

A definitely fresh guerrilla marketing idea for Volkswagen. The new Polo is promoted in London with any icy car parked in the city center. As we can guess from the picture below, the air conditioning works pretty well :-)


polo_fresh.jpg


[link via Marketing Alternatif]

May 13, 2005
Toyota promotes the Aygo through Yahoo!

Toyota has signed a deal with Yahoo! to promote its new Aygo car with the online sponsorship of the Yahoo! Music Festival Guide. According to Netimperative, Yahoo is launching a microsite featuring all the information about music events during the summer in the UK.
Given the target market the Aygo aims to appeal, the deal looks like a smart move to generate awareness.

FedEx targets Europe with an advergame

Pick the parcels, transport them to the airport and then get ready for their delivery. Simple and perfectly in line with FedEx business, this is the advergame CWA has developed to promote the brand and the delivery services from Europe to the United States. The advergame is localized with 13 different versions, developed to target, among the others, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Denmark.

Fresh look for Heineken in Italy

heineken.jpgHeineken has just refreshed its online look in Italy, putting online the new site created by rmg:connect. Two hands dominate the navigation which takes users through corporate content and a few goodies like the e-cards. A special section is dedicated to the Jammin' Festival, one of the most popular music events in Italy sponsored by Heineken.

MSN explores RSS marketing

MSN and Fox Sports are targeting sport fans with an opt-in service which allows users to receive scores and news alerts via RSS and MSN Messenger. DMNews explains this idea will allow MSN to offer advertisers with extremely targeted marketing opportunities.
The technology will be provided by MessageCast which has already reached extremely positive results delivering beauty ads to L'Oreal's subscribers in Britain and Germany.

Xbox runs promotion full of interactive videos

AKQA has created a special website, launching today in 11 European countries, to promote the new Xbox Forza Motorsport videogame. Digital Bulletin explains the site is packed with interactive video content. The game is pushed an online campaign (rich media) but also with press, TV and cinema advertising (by McCann Erickson) that invites users to visit the FMC site.

May 10, 2005
The future is rich (media)

On Mediapost Joel Gehman (senior vice president of client services for Refinery) writes an interesting column about the role of rich media in online brand marketing.
Nowadays banners still hold a relevant position in media planning, but in the near future they will be abandoned giving space to higher interactivity, which means rich media will take the lead. As Gehman sees it, rich media create a great brand impacts, banners are no longer able to deliver. On the other side, in the online advertising world, search no doubt works to provide immediate results, that's why he suggests to spend online advertising budget on only two things: search and rich media.

I tend to agree with Gehman, I just would like to add rich media will prove successful if we keep them "simple" in the sense we don't make them too intrusive like, for example, floating ads are. Rich media can create excellent online experiences and deliver the brand messege, but if they become annoying than the negative effect affects the brand perception also.

Philips targets affluent adults

Philips is again online (and offline) with a corporate campaign to promote its approach towards technology characterized by "Sense and Simplicity". Daily Media (in Italian) explains the pan-European campaign targets affluent adults over 30 years old. DDB London did the creativity, while Carat managed the planning. In Italy, ads will appear on portals like Virgilio and Libero and on news sites such as Repubblica and Il Sole 24 Ore.

Infotainment for Nestlé

Nestlé has launched in Italy a new infotainment web site to promote healthy foods and, of course, its cereals brands. On www.cereali-fitness.it visitors can find information to stay fit and beautiful, exploring three different sections: "Fitness&Relax;", "Beauty" and "Nutrition". According to Pubblicità Italia, the site will be updated monthly.

To tell the truth the site looks kind of poor, it's just an online presence, nothing more, nothing less. No interactivity, no animations, just a plain, stupid test which can has been developed in five minutes. Just a few information and a graphics which looks nice at first sight (but only at first sight). I'm disappointed, I would have expected a smarter approach, there are thousand of things you can do online, Nestlé has just decided to take no risk, and invest no money. But what about the results? The site gives you no reason to visit it again...

A (copied) virtual bartender for Bavaria

Bavaria Beer has launched a viral interactive video to promote its brand in Brazil: interview a sexy bar tender. Unfortunately, as Marketing de Guerrilha points out, the idea lacks of originality...
The original virtual bartender is here - the Bavaria's copied bartender is here.

Nissan goes online in Sweden

Last month Nissan has introduced two new car models (Pathfinder and Murano) in Sweden. To support the launch the automaker has asked web agency Paregos to create its first online campaing in the country. Although there are certain differences between the two models, they have different communication concepts but the current promotional effort shares a mutual campaign strategy. The campaign sites are largely based on emotional appeal, as well as the personality and brand name of the cars. Daniel Ilic, creative at Paregos in Stockholm, gives us further details on Paregos' creative approach: "We’ve introduced two explicit car models without actually showing them. They are always in the focal point, but mostly for the effect that they have on their surroundings. We picture the Murano causing a big sensation out on the street; the Pathfinder is a driving experience, and users don’t have to go further than the banner to find that out."

These are the links to the two sites:
- Pathfinder http://www.nissan.se/pathfinder/
- Murano http://www.nissan.se/murano/

The Buildy Game for Siemens

Siemens has launched in Italy the "Buildy Game" an online game targeting business professionals. The game, created by an advergame specialist like Adacto, is a simulation which takes users through four different scenarios, presenting them with the whole range of Siemens' business products. Playing the game users can collect points and therefore enter a draw to win small prizes. The initiative will be online until October.

Viral promotion for teen movie

"Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" will debut on June 1st, but in the meantime two "virally enhanced" sites are supporting and promoting its release. Richness and interactivity, these are the keywords to describe the online effort by Warner Bros, which has also decided to put some mobile content just too be cool (it's not much, just wallpapers to download and SMS alerts). Warner Bros tries to keep advantage of an "enjoy & share" concept, giving young visitors the possibility to send to friends any piece of content on the site. In particular, as explained on ClickZ Electric Artists has created www.friendshipquiz.net, where users can create a quiz and send it to their friends in order to win prizes such as an iPod Shuffle.

If you visit this site (the official one), you might also notice the Levi's product placement in the homepage picture.

May 09, 2005
The next generation of ad networks

Jupiter's analyst Gary Stein blogs today about ABC and WorldNow which presented the "Local Media Network" (LMN) an ad network that will serve ads on 147 local television websites affiliated to the ABC, generating a traffic of over 20 million people. Basically the idea is to enhance (behavioural) targeting by sharing information about users. The larger the network, the better the ads served. As Gary points out, we are probably entering the new era of ad networks.

Lost Boys acquire DAD

DAD, probably the top Belgian agency has become part of the Lost Boys network. DAD is being sold by Belgacom, its majority owner since 1997. Belgacom had a 85% share in DAD. The acquisition of DAD will be completed with a combination of cash and shares. With this acquisition, Lost Boys are going rule the Belgian online advertising market, as Robert Pickering, CEO of LB Icon confirms: "Combined with our other Belgian subsidiary Winsome, acquired in March 2004, we now are the no.1 player in the Belgian market for digital marketing and technology solutions".

The decade in online advertising

DoubleClick recently released a cool paper entitled "The decade in online advertising" (opens .pdf), an analysis of the trends in the first ten years of the industry. It's a good reference work for anyone interested in studying not only the past but also the future of online advertising

Cool advergame, poor corporate site

Dutch auto-service company Carglass has launched an advergame as part of a multi-channel campaign to promote its new Mobile Services. Emerce reports it has already been downloaded over 160,000 times over the first week it was online. The advergame is a rich racing game which challenges users to register, drive and try to win a series of prizes. The agency behind the campaign is XXS, while the game has been developed by Mad Multimedia.

It's nice to see people investing in an advergame as a promotional tool but, at the same time, it's weird to see the low quality of Carglass' site: www.carglass.nl.

Online advertising in Pakistan

Internet advertising in the entertainment and telco sectors is set to explode in Pakistan. An article on PakTribune reveals details of a study of the Internet and Online Association (IOA), which has estimated that the number of Internet users will go up to 100 million by 2007. Given such numbers, the IOA expects online advertising will grow exponentially.

The (Audi) A4 sum of the parts challenge

While visiting Reuter's website, I've found out of Audi's "A4 Sum of the parts challenge". It's an online competition challenging users to find and collect nine different banners that compose the new A4. There are two ways to play: you can heavily surf the Web trying to bump into one of them or you can decode all of the clues to collect the banners. The competition ends on May 15. The top prize is a two year lease on all new 2005 Audi A4 2.0 T, but you can also win PalmOne smartphones and Bose's stereos.

This competition idea by Audi USA is really cool and innovative. It's a perfect example of online marketing taking advantage of interactivity. As the pay-off on the Audi site says "Never Follow", a concept we can apply to Audi's marketing approach also.

Mobile coupons help viral marketing

Paper discount coupons start looking rather old-fashioned and "annoying" in South Korea, that's why Hyundai Department Store, the nation's largest department store chain, has started issuing mobile coupons targeting you.ng customers. Telecoms Korea reports Hyundai will send mobile coupons to 300,000 customers aged 17 to 30.
The nice thing to note is the viral essence of the initiative. Coupons in fact can be forwarded to friends, giving Hyundai marketers the possibility to reach a wider number of prospects. Of course there is the risk of spending a lot of money to support the discounts, but the positive, viral effect should be granted.

May 05, 2005
Webby Awards winners announced

The winners of the 9th Annual Webby Awards have been announced (opens .pdf) this week. Over 200,000 people voted for the People's Voice awards, which have been assigned, among the others to Boing Boing (best blog), BBC News (best news site), 101 Cookbooks (best personal website), Vogue UK (best fashion site). The list of winners is very long... I suggest you clicking here to see them all.

The soap search challenge

Colgate-Palmolive is going to implement search engines strategies to promote its brands and dedicated web sites through Europe. The company has just appointed Agence Virtuelle to run campaigns in the UK and 13 other European countries, in eight different languages.
Read more on Netimperative.

A viral movie for BMW

Steve Hall posts about the film "Respect" launched by BMW to promote its new K1200 R motorcycle. I would say "Respect" to BMW for such a brilliant idea, engaging, entertaining and why not, innovative. Creating a movie for a motorcycle might appear expensive, but think about the huge amount of ads out there. People just don't care/remember of tv spots, you need to attract them with something new, a product placement in your own advertising movie sounds so brilliant to me. Even if I won't buy that motorcycle, my perception of BMW as a brand has increased and I'm happy to spread the word...

Vespa starts blogging in the US

Steve Rubel announced this week on his blog that Vespa, probably the world's most famous scooter, has launched its own corporate blog. Vespa is an Italian brand which probably became famous in the US through Fellini's movies, and after a long difficult period on the market, decided to relauch in 2000.

As explained on Vespablogs.com "Piaggio USA feels blogs are an ideal way to connect with Vespa brand loyalists and encourage them to become online evangelists". What the FAQ point out perfectly summarizes the blogs' marketing potentials creating a link between brands and consumers as well as providing cost effective evangelization.

Personal touch needed in email marketing

The solution to get better results with email marketing? Add a touch of personality! According to Jupiter Research, the vast majority of email marketers are getting poor results because they fail to target engaged customers, not sending personalised email based on factors like Web pages viewed, time spent per page and shopping cart abandonment. Futhermore, personalisation is usually limited to inserting the recipient name in the salutation, absolutely not a key factor in influencing the purchase behaviour.
Read more on Mediapost...

Big brands not so smart online

Online advertising is perceived as important, but only a few brands do their best using new media channels. New Media Age (reg. req.) reports about a study by OgilvyInteractive, which surveyed big brands asking them to rate their performance with online marketing. Most of the surveyed marketers acknowledged they have to improve their online effort, finding a better integration with existing channels.

US marketers exploring new advertising channels

A new five-year forecast from Forrester Research says online marketing and advertising in the US will represent 10 percent of total advertising spending in 2010. About half of the marketers plan to decrease their spending in traditional advertising channels (magazines and direct mail), rather investing more budget online.
Forrester also points out that search engine marketing will grow by 33 percent in 2005, and marketers are increasingly interesting in the new advertising channels such as blogs, RSS and mobile devices.

May 04, 2005
O2 pushes MMS in Ireland

Digital Bulletin reports 02 Ireland has launched an interactive campaign with a competition to promote MMS. The creative, by Agency Republic, invites user to give their own interpretation of a famous movie title, representing it with an digital mobile picture. MMS have to be sent to a shortcode in order to win a fabulous trip to Hollywood.

Online campaign for RAS Insurance

Italian insurance company RAS has launched an online campaign to present its new car insurance options. The creativity (by Nurun) is focused on the idea of "moving protection" and the ads will go live on Virgilio, MSN, Libero and Tiscali. Patrizia Clò, Internet marketing manager at RAS explains on Daily Media that their goal is to acquire new customers, driving them to the site and inviting them to ask for a preemption. RAS is one of the few Italian insurance companies that strongly believes the Internet can be effective in its marketing strategies; usually they invest online 50 to 70 thousand Euros for each campaign.

The Peperami Noodles Army for Unilever

AKQA has created an insane microsite for Unilever to promote its Peperami Noodles and virally push the new brand extension. Revolution Magazine highlights the innovative aspect of the campaign which features exclusive online video content. The videos present an unlikely Peperami Noodles Army in a series of apparently funny situations. I know the Italian sense of humour is not like the English one (as well as the idea of pasta ;-), but I personally did not enjoy the site, which I found rather silly.

Are looking for more cool interactive ideas? Check the archives


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