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22 posts from December 2005

The Mudds are countered by Hurra Torpedo

051229 The Jeep web site featuring fictional Jeep-loving family The Mudds has been admired here, but I think I like Ford's campaign even more. Instead of inventing a strange group of people, they hooked up with the adorable Norwegian pop group Hurra Torpedo, who play their music on kitchen appliances, zippers, concrete and other everyday non-musical instruments. Those videos are really engaging.

Autoblog: Ford tries yet another tactic to sell some Fusions by Erin Mays

The site offers readers the chance to win a Fusion, as well as view "rockumentaries" (read: mockumentaries invented by J. Walter Thompson and Kurt Gunn and Associates) featuring the trials and tribulations of Egil, Aslag and Kristopher on their U.S. tour... plus ample opportunities to watch the guys hammering apart crappy American kitchen appliances.

Game Ads let your Interact--Murderously

051228c I had heard about this campaign but put off posting it here until I found out how it's working. Apparently, it's killing. - Betting on the Web Works for AKQA by Christopher Lawton (subscription required)

Your phone rings. On the line is a woman called Joanna Dark with a message. The job is done, she says, check your email. In your email box is a picture of a corpse, identified as someone you know.

No, it isn't the plot of a horror movie. It is an elaborate ad, part of a marketing campaign for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game, "Perfect Dark Zero," about a secret agent. Designed by San Francisco ad firm AKQA, the campaign is intended to spark chatter among gamers who can sign up by visiting the Perfect Dark Zero Web site. Gamers interested need only provide a phone number -- for Ms. Dark to call them on -- and a list of friends who don't mind getting emails about their "slaying."

The campaign appears to have hit the mark. Thousands of people have played along with the marketing exercise in the two months since it started; the game itself, which hit stores a month ago, is one of Microsoft's three biggest selling Xbox 360 games out of more than 15 published.

Brands Plug into Customer Concerns


Over at ChiefMarketer, they have a wonderful set of followup stories for some of their most popular stories of 2005. The Mitsubishi story (free gasoline) and the Bluefly story are both particularly sharp and unusual examples of companies drawing their audience closer. What Happened Next: Following Up Some of the Year's Stories by Tim Parry (image is snipped from a photo by Buck Ennis, copyright Crain's New York Business Photo Gallery)

[Bluefly CEO Melissa Payner] also discovered that customers want to communicate with brands. Two e-mail surveys asking customers "why do you shop" had excellent clickthrough rates, and both were answered by more than 85% of openers. The direct and cable/print campaign had a financial impact for the retailer, too. November sales were up 60% vs. the previous year, and October sales were up 53%.

Ads on the School Bus: Missing Opportunity

051227c Some people are upset about school districts selling advertising on school buses, but I think districts and advertisers should recognize they have a special opportunity. If an advertiser wants to show their support of the community and education, they can develop special ads. Unfortunately, what's more likely to happen is ordinary transit advertising, as pictured here. Advertisers Catch the School Bus by Emily Bazar

“This will spread across the nation, because there's so much money that will come into schools as a result of doing this,” says Daniel Shearer, director of transportation at the Scottsdale Unified School District. The Arizona city just outside Phoenix began displaying ads on the sides of its buses last December. Advertisers include real estate agencies, a local toy store and an ambulance company. The district anticipates the ads will bring in $300,000 this year and up to $900,000 in a few years. But some consumer groups and parents are alarmed. They say America's children — already bombarded by ads — shouldn't become captive audiences on their way to and from school.

Hotels Showing Off their Appliances

051227b Appliance and furniture makers are getting into the hotel business as a way for consumers to try living with their products, and hopefully falling in love with them. How Much Is That Faucet In the Honeymoon Suite? by Cheryl Lu-Lien-Tan (subscription required

Attorney Ashley Young says she became a Viking fan after spending a weekend at the [Viking Range-owned] Alluvian [Hotel] last month with some friends. Ms. Young took a cooking class at the hotel, during which she and her friends spent four hours swilling wine while chopping, blending, roasting and baking -- all in a kitchen outfitted entirely with Viking appliances. "We had so much fun we all said we wanted to go back and bring our moms," says Ms. Young, who lives in Jackson, Miss. "I definitely want Viking appliances now."

Fun and Useful Marketing

051221b In addition to one of the most beautiful corporate sites I've seen recently, Ann Arbor-based Enlighten web agency has a charming viral marketing web site for creating excuses for not attending Xmas parties.

In my opinion, the essence of viral marketing is not about promoting the brand, but promoting fun. If the brand is conveyed, it must not get in the way. Viral success achieved here! (via Out to Launch)

Florida Destination Travels to Prospects

051221a I wish I could see the beach on wheels, but I doubt they will send it to Houston. However, I think creating a mini recreation of a destination in a trailer is a terrific idea. Maybe we should make a 'Houston experience' trailer and send it out.

MediaPost Publications - Out to Launch by Amy Corr

Lauderdale's "Beach on Wheels" rolled through Chicago Dec. 10 through 16. A glass-enclosed "beach" was mounted on the back of a 22-foot truck and features sand from Greater Fort Lauderdale, palm trees, and a replica of Greater Fort Lauderdale's Wave Wall and promenade. Next stop for the beach on wheels is Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Washington, and Boston.