In some sort of odd cultural twist, ugly white babies appear to be omnipresent in ads in the mostly black city of Goma, Congo in Africa. What message this sends, if any, we have no idea. We just thought we'd pass it along for you to discuss. Bigger image here.
You know, it's always a bit disconcerting to arrived at the house of your daughter's friend and find her proverbial "playdate" glued to the television watching some trash talk show of some movie clearly made for adults so this stat does not surprise. What does surprise is parent's lack of control and judgment over what their children watch on television and how long they are allowed to watch. One "playdate" who spends time in this house can't even sit still in front of the television (on the two weekend nights it's allowed here) because his brain has been so ADD'd by constant television watching at his house since birth he doesn't know how to follow a plot.
Taking advantage of this generation's mad text messaging, LocaModa has launched technology that takes all that social blather and slaps it up on a screen for all to see. Of course, LocaMode describes it more verbosely calling it the world's first in-location blogging platform for what it calls "The Web Outside" which enables in-location messaging, social networking and blogging along with entertainment applications for use in out of home networks cafes, bars, clubs and other public places. This technology, StreetMessenger, coupled with something called Wifiti (cute) which LocaModa lovingly refers to as "wireless graffiti," takes all this communal socialization and displays in on a large flat panel display at the location and also onto the web for others to vicariously experience whatever's going on at the location.
We turn the page, you add an insert. We ban billboards from our state, you fly banners over our beaches. We hang up on your telemarketing, you call back with answer machine message leaving auto-bots. We install an email spam filter, you send spam to weblog comments and trackbacks. We stop reading comment-spammed blogs, you launch spam blogs whose sole purpose is to peddle your crap. We block your pop ups, you fuck with technology to serve them anyway. We stop watching TV to spend more time with online gaming, you plaster our games with advertising. We skip our ads with our DVR, you plaster commercial graphics all over the screen during programming. We become immune to advertising, you launch a hoard of buzz marketers on our ass.
Celebrity Vision is using eBay to auction off space on its illuminated billboard located on the Northwest Corner of Canal Street & Hudson in lower Manhattan adjacent to the Holland Tunnel entrance. Bidding will start at $25,000 for 700 seconds per hour for six months. For that time period, the rate card rate is $263,000. Who needs a sales force when you have eBay.
Anheuser-Busch will use its Super Bowl commercial time to launch a direct-to-consumer network called "The Bud Screen." The network will offer all manner of programming, branded content and advertising delivered to the desktop or an iPod. The brewer intends the network to be long-lived and to eventually be named "Bud TV." We've said it before and we'll say it again, the middleman - the networks - just aren't needed any longer. When a brand or program producer can deliver content directly to the consumer, there's no need for the current TV network set up. Oh sure, big changes are years away but it's happening and it will continue to happen faster and faster as more brands and content producers realize they can have their own channel of distribution.
With baby boomers not really babies any longer and quickly becoming a predominant and "old" audience for marketers to reckon with, both agencies and marketers are wrestling with the notion that it ain't all about the 18-34 year old any more and have begun spouting misleading terms such as "over 35" when they really mean "over 50." But, "over 50" is so uncool and just doesn't gracefully roll off the tongue of the typical 20-something, 30-something agency/marketer type.
Companies have tried to re-brand their older-focused companies towards younger audiences and have alienated existing, older customers. Companies have re-branded upward but have focused to a 35 year old when their audience is really 55. And some say the whole age-focused thing is just the wrong way to target and it should be more about psycho graphics. There's a lively discussion in the Adrants discussion group right now. Are we marketers handling the age thing the right way or the wrong way?
The NFL has announced it will place all Super Bowl ads airing this weekend on its video on demand NFL Network, on NFL.com and on Sprint phones. Budweiser will optimize its five minutes worth of ads for the iPod and make them downloadable from Budweiser.com. GoDaddy, of course, has been pushing its ads online for years. Pepsi will have BrownandBubbly.com. Burger King will have the Whopperettes. Who needs an actual television anymore?
Clinging for it its own life at the expense of the lives of others whom it feels should perceive smoking as a glamorous activity rather than the killer it is, R.J. Reynolds in launching a fancy new brand of cigarettes called Marshall McGearty and supporting the brand with a hipster lounge in Chicago. As if completely oblivious to the past 20 years worth of research highlighting the killing qualities of cancer sticks, Larry McGearty, CD at RJR agency Gyro Worldwide told Ad Age, "No one has done this before. Nobody has tried to create romance in the industry and take it to the next level." McGearty and the other pompous soul who's name is on the brand, RJR stench guru Jerry Marshal cooked up the idea several years ago realizing many other categories of social vices had high end brands that were successful and figured why should cigarettes be left out of that game.
Oh sure, everyone should be free to choose their on manner of death but at least in American society, the whole smoking thing is over. It had it's day. It's done. Clearly, it's not a healthy thing to engage in and eradicating it from the earth wouldn't be such a bad thing. Oh wait, then everyone will want to ban alcohol, coffee and all those other pleasantly mood-altering but health challenged substances we all enjoy from time to time. That said, we just don't think this one's going to go very far. You can see two of the ads here and here.
Coinciding with the launch of China CEO Tom Doctroff's book, Billions: Selling the the New Chinese Consumer, JWT China issued a press release with the headline, "Understanding and Embracing China's Different Worldview Is Main Theme of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer, by JWT's Tom Doctoroff," which offers 12 facts about the "Confucian Consumer." While the release may seem like yet another harmless attempt by a marketing entity to neatly lump together the traits of billions of people and slap a cute title on it, some who watch the country's culture closer have taken issue with the oversimplification and incorrectness of the 12 facts.
The main complaint is the trotting out of Confucius to "frame the market for American business people" writes the China Herald weblog that doing so "creates the illusion that there is one driving force in the Chinese market you can use as a beacon in an often chaotic situation." In an article on Danwei written by Jeremy Goldkorn who works in the Chinese ad biz, he offers a a point by point analysis of the release and ends with "bullshitting is part of the game in the advertising industry." While we have no idea who's right and who's wrong on this whole Confucian Consumer thing nor are we equipped to make judgement, we do know Goldkorn's statement is as true as the Earth is round.