The Sheraton Hotel is continuing its foray into the world of social media. Back in April, the hotel launched The Lobby, a blog ab out travel trends and featured destinations. Today, Sheraton has relaunched its corporate website to include travel stories submitted by anyone whether or not they stayed at a Sheraton hotel during theit travels. Called Our Global Neighborhood, asks people to indicate where they traveled to, where they stayed, to share a picture and to write a short summary of their experience. The summary then appears on a map so other travelers interested in checking out particular locations can read what travelers have experienced.
With this effort, Sheraton is specifically moving away from typical hotel sites which are transaction-based and towards a more complete travel experience. While there's no lack of places on the Internet people can go to check out other's travel experiences, placing these experiences on a major travel brand's site just makes it that much easier for people to find and participate with.
Does any right minded person actually think MySpace will continue to grow once it's littered with advertising, sponsorships and corporate pages born out of partnerships such as the recent deal between Seventeen and MySpace? Wasn't the genisis and the success of MySpace based on its homegrown qualities? Perhaps the guys don't mind the giant boobs on all those True models and maybe the girls will want to wallow in the importance of Seventeen's crucial editorial issues. Perhaps MySpace users will become immune to these new ad tactics like they've become immune to most other online marketing tactics and MySpace will continue to grow in size despite its commercialization. Perhaps it's all irrelevant. After all, AOL used to be where the cool kids hung out and that monstrosity is still around.
Here's an amazing commercial from MTV that captures all the humorous elements of a boyfriend coming over to his girlfriend's house to pick her up and facing the wrath and annoyance of her family as well as his girlfriend's embarrassment over the confrontation. It ends in the usual way with the girl grabbing the guy and running out of the house as the family continues to berate. But, there's a twist to this ad. The boyfriend is black, the family white and they, not the black guy, speak "beatbox" which, in a stereotypical twist, the black guy can't understand. The ad ends simply with "Speak." It's a powerful message in many ways. It encourages communication on many levels. Parent to child. Child to parent. Family member to family member. Family to boyfriend. Girlfriend to boyfriend. Without one understandable word, the ad communicates better than most ads that carry understandable words.
We're thinking the CSX headline for a college student focused railroad track safety campaign "Girls Don't Like Flat Guys" would have worked much better as "Guys Don't Like Flat Girls." But, then again, we wouldn't want to be sexist or break any political correctness rules now would we? Nope. Let's just twist that headline around from what we know was originally conceived to be the "Flat Girls" version and we'll be all good with the client and bitchy cause groups that can't take a joke.
Along with that unfortunately manipulated headline are drink coasters which read "If you're thinking about walking on the tracks, don't" accompanied by the image of - oh, the horror! - a squashed fly. There's also a card with the image of a CSX freight train on the front and the statement "Trains don't make a asound when they come up behind you" on the back. That is if you're deaf. One of those Exit agencies did the work.
Jake Levine, who's from Cherryfield Maine, a place we've actually been to believe it or not and where a great uncle of ours once owned a big company there called Stewart's Blueberries, was selected by Snickers to become the an ambassador for the candy company and Burton. It's an effort by Snickers to smartly reach an audience immune to traditional media. Called The Rover, Jake will traverse the country for a year leading every sk8ter boi's dream; an all expenses paid position as board sports ambassador, hanging with riders and boarders, attending events and drooling over Gretchen Bleiler. Oh, and he'll be blogging the whole thing too. Unsupervised and Unedited we're told. They're will also be podcasts. And, in a bonus, mud wresting appears to be part of the deal too. There's more campaign info here.
Kevin Faddis points us to yet another odd Zambia-based Harvey Tiles billboard which reads, "A roof without HARVEY TILES can't make your mind free the same as sex with a baby can't cure HIV/AIDS." Initially, one might react to this buy saying...oh...WTF but there's a reason behind the choice of words on the billboard. The man who wrote the copy explained on an ESPN site saying, "There is a myth some people believe that if you have sex with a virgin, you are bound to be safe from AIDS. It's a rumor that started up here about a year ago. And then they started bringing people in to the police because they had been sleeping with babies. The slogan is to remind people not to sleep with babies. The owner sells tiles and, at the same time, he educates people."
OK, then. Gross but, then again, it's a different world in Zambia than it is in many other parts of the world and if it takes a shocking headline like this to stop people from having sex with babies then we say "good job" Harky Tiles.
We're not a teen and we're not going to try to pretend we know who will.i.am, Fergie, Taboo and apl.de.ap are because, well, we're already only almost sorta hip and we don't want to slide over into the tragically un-hip column. So we're just going to tell you that Atmosphere BBDO has created teen-focused Instantdef.com, a video series site for Snickers in which pits old school hip hop against new (or bad?) hip hop.
Marketallica points to Flickr user Russel Davies who's placed a photo of some books on his Flickr page and added notes about the books with a link to Amazon if anyone wants to buy them. Of course, he uses his Amazon affiliate ID number so he makes money if anyone does choose to purchase. Not that anyone wants Flickr overly commercialize but since marketers have taken over MySpace, it makes perfect sense for them to upload images of all their products to Flickr, tag them with notes and add a link to a more detailed product page of to a place where a person could quickly buy the product. Watch it happen. Because you know it will.
Ad babe Advergirl, who we are beginning to like more and more, found this ad for car maker SEAT Altea in which a pregnant woman is pictured sitting on the hood of the car. Advergirl mentions this trend towards making pregnant women look hot can only lead to the next advertising oddity, making "diaper-bag-toting, exhausted, mother-of-a-two-year old hot, too." That might be interesting to see and, of course, would be the next logical step in America's progression toward politically correct nirvana.
Those Europeans sure do love their football and this massive and unique outdoor board from Adidas placed over a bridge construction site is a clear representation of that love. The board features German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn making a killer save. If Americans displayed their love of things this way, we'd have a gigantic image of Tom Cruise jumping over a highway shaped like a couch or a floating Army of inflatable paparazzi chasing Britney Spears and she dropped her baby from the top of the Empire State Building. Thankfully, we're just not that creative.