Tag Archives: Commercials

Gnarls Barkley Breaks Rules, Breaks Through

Gnarls Barkley - Run VideoI’ve never heard of Gnarls Barkley, and I probably never would’ve seen their video on MTV (does MTV still play videos?), unless I hadn’t see this on Yahoo today.

And Yahoo wouldn’t have bothered unless Gnarls Barkley had broken the rules (with crazy strobe light effects). They would’ve been just another band trying to breakthrough. It wouldn’t have been home page worthy.

In just catching up on the surface, I don’t think the band intended for their video to violate the Harding Test. It just happened that way, and now we’re hearing about it.

Is there a rule or accepted ritual you could break to get this kind of attention? Not a gimmick, or a ploy, but just good ol’ fashioned pushing of the envelope?

Here’s the video. It’s been viewed 258,000 times. Think that would’ve happened if they hadn’t broken the rules?

Advertising Is Not Dead

With all the praise for social media and New Marketing being everyone’s favorite blog topic, I think it’s important to not completely bury traditional advertising (broadcast and print, namely).

Advertising is not dead; however, . . . .

  • what was once expected from advertising is dead.
  • what was considered good advertising is dead.
  • what was considered the purpose of advertising is dead.
  • what was controllable about advertising is dead.

The reason traditional advertising is not dead is because people still watch TV, they still listen to radio, and they still read magazines and newspapers. Especially certain demographics that many products are targeted to.

At the same time, the reason most traditional advertising isn’t working as well is because it’s still being used in a traditional way.

What’s really happened is that advertising has been discovered as a tactic, a means to an end. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was the goal. Good advertising = successful product.

Now, you have to come up with other goals. Real goals. Then you have to figure out how to get there. If traditional advertising can help you get there, then by all means, do it.

Burger King has appeared successful in leveraging some of the newer advertising tactics in the last few years, finding ways to drive interaction to websites, engaging social media and even getting ‘The King’ into some video games. But I can tell you that, if I’m driving down the highway, starving to death, and I see a billboard with a Whopper on it, telling me there’s a Burger King at the next exit, I’m stopping. And it’s not because of those freaky King commercials or the Simponsize Me campaign. It’s because I received a relevant message at the right place and at the right time.

Which might be the simplest way  to define good advertising: relevant message + interested target + right place + right time = good ad.

If we can look at advertising as making an impression on the viewer, and then pointing to some next step, then it can still work. If we can advertise in specific media while not annoying the viewer, but rather somehow engaging them, I think it can still work. If we can accept that traditional advertising is going to cost more per conversion (due to Tivo and the mute button and shorter attention spans), then it can still work. If we can see advertising as only part of the process and not the whole shebang, then it can still work.

Most of all, if we can offer something worth advertising, and then find a way to communicate it the way the audience wants to receive it, then it can still work.

Update at 4:30 on March 3: Here’s a very relevant post by Paul commenting on a presentation by Les. Read both – they’re good and apply to what I’m trying to say above.

Lipitor, Pfizer Pulling the Dr. Jarvik Ad

You’ve seen these commercials. The ones with the creepy looking guy who had something to do with making an artificial heart, and now he’s a an assumed expert on cholesterol. I hate these commercials.

However, I’m in favor of what Pfizer is doing about them, and how they’re doing it. It seems the ads have been a little misleading, so Pfizer is pulling them.

I’m giving Pfizer the benefit of the doubt on this one. OK, so Dr. Gargoyle isn’t a practicing doctor. That doesn’t erase his credentials and accomplishments from the past, and that’s all the commercial has touted. Stunt double to row the boat? Maybe that’s a shot they added later when Jarvik wasn’t available.

They’re pulling it, no questions asked. At least on the surface.

Regardless, they’re doing the right thing:

The way in which we presented Dr. Jarvik in these ads has, unfortunately, led to misimpressions and distractions from our primary goal of encouraging patient and physician dialogue on the leading cause of death in the world — cardiovascular disease. We regret this,” Ian Read, Pfizer’s president of worldwide pharmaceutical operations, said in a statement.

Recession Marketing, Super Bowl Ads and Lesssons in Forgiveness

Excellent weekend of reading – enjoy

  1. Healing and Mercy: This is an excellently written story of a high school girl who was raped in 1989 and how she’s coped with it since and managed to find forgiveness and mercy. This happened in my home town when I was in middle school, so it definitely h it home to me. It’s a four part series – here’s a link to all the stories.
  2. Help! My Company is Replacing Me with a Doorstop: Too many executives see their jobs as to simply “keep the doors open.” Which is the very reason the doors are continually closing. Ubereye points out the importance of passion and vision from a business’s leaders.
  3. Pharmer’s Market: I’ve just discovered Tom Fishburne and his excellent cartoons. This one hits home to me, as I’ve often got hot opinions on the pharmaceutical industry, especially advertising something that requires a prescription. Don’t get me started . . . . .
  4. How to Correct an Evangelist: Most of us are dying for people to speak favorably about our product. But what happens when what they say isn’t exactly right? Jackie’s got an excellent model to follow on this post.
  5. 5 Tips for a Successful Freelance Writing Career: I’ve been browsing lots of posts lately on freelance writing – it’s just something that’s always interested me. These tips from Anna make sense.
  6. The Super Bowl in Review: Paul posts his takes on this year’s Super Bowl ads. I’ve got more coming on this topic myself, but this post is an excellent summary and commentary.
  7. Should You Lower Prices During a Recession: This is another one I’ll be writing on more in the future. So, we’re in a recession. What’s that mean for marketing? Most will make a mad dash to the being the cheap choice, but Drew cautions us in this post. As did Mark in advising that, during a recession, we “don’t drink piss.”
  8. Marketing Lessons from School Lunch: It’s important to realize that you’re marketing to a lot more people than your target audience, and they all have some form of influence over the other members of the group. This post explains this principle in an easy-to-digest way that might even be pegboard worthy.

Is a Super Bowl ad worth it?

I’ve got my own opinions on this, but I thought I would collect some of your opinions before digging into the topic myself.

Knowing that a 30 sec. ad during this year’s Super Bowl cost $2.7 mil., the question on the table is . . . .

Is it worth it?

Video Advertising is Not TV Advertising on the Web

Just read an article by Rory J. Thompson on advertising during online video content in BrandWeek discussing how video content is “expected to grow the fastest in 2008, according to eMarketer, New York.”

Makes sense, but this quote by Kris Oser, direcotr of strategic communications at eMarketer, doesn’t:

Mainstream advertisers are more comfortable with traditional ads, but they know eyeballs are moving online. Creating commercials is something they understand. Now they can just do them online.”

What we marketers often misunderstand is that a new medium (in this case, the web, and specifically social media/web video) doesn’t just give you a new joint to post your product, but it also requires a whole new approach, and maybe a whole new product.

FDR’s fireside chats were revolutionary because it was a new thing optimized for the medium (the radio).

JFK’s TV debate with Nixon was revolutionary because it was a new approach to campaigning that fit the medium (TV).

The only Ron Paul is still involved in the current presidential race is because of how his revolutionist message fits his revolutionist audience who can easily find him on the new medium (the web).

Seth Godin is appropriately calling this misunderstanding a Meatball Sundae these days, which feels about right (it’s a pretty good book – give it a read/listen).

You can’t just throw traditional commercials online and wait for them to work. There’s a reason we fast-forward through them on TV now – we don’t want to watch them.

You need a new approach to how you make commercials specifically for the web.

Viva Viagra?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the corniest commercial of the year:

Nothing manlier than sitting in a shed with a bunch of guys singing about what I need to put more lead in my pencil.

As of this post, the different variations of the ad have been viewed more than 200,000, and obviously parodied plenty.

So here’s my question to you: does Viagra and its ad agency think this is a legitimate commercial, or is it corny on purpose so we bloggers spread the word? Do you think it works?