Apr 30, 2011

On Yer Bike! Pt.I:
Nike Livestrong Campaign 2009

I've come across several interactive campaigns over the last few years which revolve around the road bike / dirt bike. In this post, I'll discuss the first one.

Nike Livestrong Interactive Chalkbot, Tour De France 2009

Champion road-racing cyclist Lance Armstrong announced his return to compete in the Tour De France in 2009 after successfully fighting cancer. In doing so, he decided to send a message both to and for all the other people who face a similar struggle each day.

Joining up with sponsors, Nike, and the Weiden + Kennedy advertising agency, Armstrong developed the Nike Livestrong Interactive Chalkbot. This was a machine that was attached to an online laptop. It would receive messages from fans all over the world via its website, Twitter and other social media.

These messages were then sprayed by the Chalkbot on to the road throughout the course of the Tour De France long distance bicycle race. The messages were laid in the iconic Tour De France yellow gold - symbolic of the leading racer or the victor.

Many of the messages were personal, encouraging words of hope and support - all relating to the "Fighting Cancer" theme of the Livestrong campaign and the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support.

These were incorporated into the Nike Livestrong campaign with the strong yet simple tagline: "It's About You."

I find it interesting to see the interactive use of the racetrack or road as a canvas. A five-time Tour De France cycling legend such as Armstrong and his team had the power to be able to persuade the race authorities to allow this to go ahead. There also would have been a lot of work and development in creating the Chalkbot machine to be able to carry out the task.

It is now a feature of the race every year.

Apr 28, 2011

Bob Meagher offers ample advice
to SCAD students on GEICO

Courtesy: SCAD Advertising

I had the pleasure of attending a talk on Wednesday evening by Martin Agency creative, Bob Meagher. He addressed an audience of SCAD students at the Arnold Hall Auditorium. During his 22 years as Art Director and Copywriter at Martin, Meagher has worked on a number of campaigns for a range of clients - the most well-known of these would be GEICO.

Here are a few points I gathered from the GEICO story:

  • In 1994, GEICO came to Martin Agency with the goal to grow faster. At the time they were only a small player in the car insurance market.

  • At that time, GEICO and the car insurance industry had several barriers which needed to be overcome to establish the brand - car insurance is a low interest category, GEICO had low brand awareness, other insurance companies employed scare tactics to sell their services which put potential customers off and GEICO were seen to be a car insurance best suited for good drivers only.

  • The core tagline for GEICO was developed back then and hasn't changed:

    "15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance."

  • The key message in this tagline is that switching to GEICO is a simple process and is cheaper than competitors. Early TV ads in this campaign included "Squirrels", "Chatty Cathy" and "Tiny House."

  • The Martin Agency adopted a "Gilligan's Island vs LOST" philosophy where instead of the more traditional single brand message campaigns used by others (like the series Gilligan's Island), they would push the GEICO brand using multiple campaign storylines (like the series LOST) . This strategy built a modern, contemporary, multi-faceted brand.

The GEICO Gecko
  • The GEICO Gecko was developed and eventually evolved into a wise-cracking lizard with an everyday Englishman accent who was clever and self aware as an advertising icon.

The GEICO Cavemen
  • The Cavemen became another set of GEICO branded characters who are characterized as being sophisticated and smart but "stuck somewhere between 1986 and 1988". They appear to be offended by GEICO taglines that state "So easy a caveman can do it."

  • There was also a series of GEICO commercials which lay down a misdirection only to spring the line:

    "I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to GEICO."

    GEICO's "Kash"
  • Starting in 2008, two paper-banded stacks of U.S. bills with a pair of big, buggy eyes on top - known of "Kash", was used as another character who would remind people that:

    "This is the money you could be saving by switching to GEICO."

    GEICO's "Question Guy".
  • Other more recent well-known campaigns include the "Overly Serious, Hard-Boiled Question Guy" (played by actor Mike McGlone) who always follows up the key tagline with a rhetorical question (e.g. "Elmer Fudd", "Dogs & Cats"), "What you are about to see may shock you" commercials (e.g."Octopus") and the XtraNormal ads targeting twenty-somethings (e.g. "Grandpa", "Superheroes").

  • Eventually these campaigns became so well known they filtered into mainstream culture with references to the different taglines popping up everywhere and even attracting YouTube parodies (e.g. Matsuda, Googly Eyes) and a GEICO YouTube channel which engages the audience.

  • Meagher stressed that wear-out factors determine whether a campaign needs to be dropped and if an idea has run its course.

I found the talk quite entertaining, especially as someone who has only seen these GEICO commercials sporadically over the years.

And I can't believe there are people out there who think the Gecko is Australian. Are British and Australian accents really that hard to tell apart?

    Apr 25, 2011

    The Link-u-bater Pt. III:
    Advertising Blog Links

    Adding a few more links to my list on the right. In this blog post, I'll review several advertising blog links.

    adnauseous.com - A blog that defines itself with the following:

    ad nausea - "when you’re watching a whole night of TV on the same network and you see the same ad roughly 9387493 times, you suffer from ad nausea.”

    Unlike other blogs, Ad Nauseous focusses on the uglier TV ads which grace our screens.

    adteachings.com - Ad Teachings is an advertising and design blog by Suzanne Pope - a creative director at John St in Toronto, Canada.  Suzanne has been in the business for over 20 years and she now provides this blog to offer advice and instruction for young people interested in advertising.

    This is a well crafted blog that covers a wide range of topics (and media) within the advertising realm.

    bannerblog.com.au - A lot of online advertising tends to go unnoticed. Banner Blog shines a spotlight on banner advertising. The site is run by two Australian creatives in the industry. There are also contributions from creatives in the U.K. and the U.S.A.

    A great feature of this site is the search engine on the left hand side panel which allows you to browse any banner ad they have collated via agency, brand or category.

    adverbox.com - Adverbox is more of a submission-based archive. Users sign up for a free membership and can then access the full catalog, contribute as well as make comments. With over 1300 members, the site has a strong following and a wide range of advertising samples in its archives.

    theadmad.com - The Ad Mad! is a creative advertising, art and design blog. Running for five plus years, this blog celebrates creativity. This blog covers campaigns from the gamut of traditional and new media and covers agency work from around the globe.

    Apr 24, 2011

    Cesar's "doggelgangers"

    Several years ago, I came across several images which were quite intriguing. Back in the early 2000's, these images (or ads) that went viral were spread via email.

    Cesar Dog Food, "Kozmo"

    Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, the ads that I had collected were for Cesar Dog Food. The campaign cunningly pictured beautiful dogs alongside their doppelganger owners.

    Cesar Dog Food, "Sugar"

    Now whether they were real owners or models selected for their looks was never determined. But the people photographed bore a striking resemblance to their hounds.

    Cesar Dog Food, "Fido"

    The advertising spoke directly to dog owners and all lovers of mutts everywhere. It literally played up the idea that masters look like the spitting image of their four-legged friends - right down to the attitudes on their faces.

    Cesar Dog Food, "Trixie"

    For each ad in this print campaign, the portrait of the look-alike individual sits alongside the photo of their faithful pooch. The body copy in each ad reads,
    "He/She might look like you. But he/she doesn't have to eat the same food".

    Cesar Dog Food, "Rex"

    The campaign was developed by ad agency Almap / BBDO, Brazil, and was launched in January, 2000.

    Cesar Dog Food, "Fluffy"

    The creative team were Roberto Pereira (copywriter), Valdir Bianchi (Art Director), Fernao Cosi (Account Supervisor), Ricardo Oltramari (Advertising Supervisor), Eugenio Mohallem (Creative Director) and Manolo Moran (Photographer).

    Cesar Dog Food, "Spot"

    Aren't they great?

    Cesar Dog Food, "Spike"

    Apr 22, 2011

    "Mr. W" finds new breezy purpose
    for EPURON

    The viral video clip, featuring "Mr. W", won many awards and offered new perspectives.

    Watch and see why and how below.

    The two minute video, which was also used as a TV commercial on business and news cable channels, is for German renewable energy company, EPURON.

    This clip, titled "Power of Wind", dates back to 2007 but it only happened to chance across my radar this week. And I have to say it blew me away.

    The concept and delivery is quite powerful. It doesn't take long to figure out that the Marceau-like figure, Mr. W, is the personification of wind. In this highly intelligent and sophisticated portrayal, Mr. W is cast as a forlorn, lonely and isolated figure with no recognition or true purpose. He is only someone who gets in the way and makes a nuisance of himself. Finding a way he can work to be productive is the final twist at the end.

    "Mr. W"

    During my initial viewing, I gathered he was the wind fairly early on. I just assumed this was some arthouse film noir style short film somebody had linked. The piano accompaniment in the background really gives the video a European style feel. The linking to wind power generation at the end quite was striking.


    Epuron combined forces with the German Federal Ministry of Environment to create this. The Power of Wind ad was developed at Nordpol+ Hamburg, Hamburg, by creative director Lars Ruehmann, copywriter Matthew Branning, art directors Bjoern Ruehmann and Joakin Reveman.

    Filming was shot by The Vikings and are also represented by Big Fish, Berlin, and Rokkit, London.

    Power of Wind won a gold at Cannes in 2007, three gold at the 2007 London International Advertising Awards, a gold at Epica 2007, Grand Prix and Gold at Eurobest, two golds at the International ANDY Awards, gold and silver at the 2008 Clio Awards, and gold at the 2008 Golden Award of Montreux among others.

    Apr 20, 2011

    If you only read one movie tagline
    this summer...

    People often forget that a lot of advertising work goes into promoting movies. This is not only the slick production of the trailer but also the voice-over and the copy. This comes into its sharpest focus in the movie tagline.

    Below I have compiled a list of what I think are the top ten movie taglines within my lifetime (the last 30 odd years).


    1. Alien (1979)
    "In space, no one can hear you scream."

    2. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
    "The longer you wait, the harder it gets."

    3. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
    "Does for rock and roll what 'The Sound of Music' did for hills..."

    4. The Big Lebowski (1998)
    "Her life was in their hands. Now her toe is in the mail."

    5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
    "One man's struggle to take it easy."

    6. Finding Nemo (2003)
    "There are 3.7 trillion fish in the ocean. They're looking for one."

    7. Erin Brockovich (2000)
    "She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees."

    8. There's Something About Mary (1998) 
    "Love is in the hair."

    9. Schindler's List (1993)
    "The list is life."

    10. Cool Runnings (1993)
    "One dream. Four Jamaicans. Twenty below zero."


    Alien 3 (1992) - "The bitch is back."

    Edward Scissorhands (1990) - "His story will touch you, even though he can't."

    Dazed and Confused (1993) - "See it with a bud."

    Thanks to Internet Movie Database for the images.

    Do you have any favorite movie taglines?

    Apr 16, 2011

    Will & Kate
    in the Royal "House Of Love"


    Dress Rehearsal for the Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William at the end of the month.

    Watch below.

    OK. So it's not the real Royal Wedding.

    All In The Royal Family.
    It's actually a viral video called "Wedding Dance" that was just launched this week by T-Mobile UK as part of their "Life's For Sharing" campaign. You may have gathered this if you watched the video clip all the way to the end.

    Ad Agency Saatchi & Saatchi used royal phoneys to help advertise T-Mobile's phones.

    They are cashing in on the hype and lead-up to Will & Kate's real wedding at the end of the month. The original viral video from 2009, "JK Wedding Entrance Dance" became an international phenomenon amassing over 64 million views to date. It was parodied quite successfully in Season 6 of The Office.

    "With this T-Mobile Ring, I thee wed."
    The song used in the vid is East 17's 1993 dance hit "House of Love."

    "Chuck" and "Camilla" bump 'n grind down the red carpet.
    Most of the look-a-like actors do have a striking resemblance to the people they portray. The "Archbishop of Canterbury" and "Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall" are almost dead ringers. This particular version of "Prince Charles" had a little too much chin, too much hair and not enough ear on show. The mismatched and amateur choreographed dancing works with the awkwardness of the characters themselves. Unusually, "Prince Harry" seemed somewhat restrained, but "Will" & "Kate" sell their parts well.

    Below is a "Making Of" video showing behind-the-scenes footage. The London church used in the filming, St Bartholomew's Church, was also used in the movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

    Now, alot of the common folk of Greater Britannia may cringe and cower at the attention this might receive. Perhaps many find that anything to do with the Royals is cringeworthy. The real upcoming royal wedding will give the Queen's British subjects a chance to celebrate their serfdom in true style. How often do you get to throw a wedding laden with pomp & circumstance that you would normally never be able to afford?

    T-Mobile's spoof wedding could prove to be a lot more entertaining, shorter, sharper, and with a lot more punch than the long drawn out actual wedding / possible yawnfest. One thing it will definitely be is a darn sight cheaper than the real one at the end of the month - which in a time of "British austerity" could be a good thing.

    Apr 15, 2011

    Unilever's Dove Goes Sleeveless and Hits the Pits

    Dove's new advertising has created a body anxiety that many women probably didn't even know they had and then sold them the solution.

    But first the back story...

    The Dove Ultimate Beauty Care line, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, just recently launched their new "Go Sleeveless" campaign.

    This clip won first prize for Dove at the BFI London Film Festival's Unilever Consumer Creative Challenge. In this minute-long commercial, titled "Go Sleeveless", we see a girl cutting off all the sleeves to her tops in an act of joy because she now has the confidence to show off her underarms after using Dove Ultimate roll-on deodorant.

    This led to the recently launched Dove campaign featuring Jessica Szohr, star of Gossip Girl.

    Raise your arms if you think your armpits are ugly - Jessica Szohr shows off her pits for Dove.
    Quoted from the print ad:

    "Rocking sleeveless styles makes me feel powerful and feminine."
    Jessica Szohr, Actress

    What Unilever and Dove have done is raise an anxiety through the use of fear. Unilever claim a survey they undertook in 2010 of 500 women showed an almost unanimous response (93% from an anonymous online poll) which revealed they had a negative opinion about the look of their armpits. But this is probably a surprise to many women in the marketplace.

    Employing a strategy of unique selling proposition, Dove then addresses this anxiety by claiming that only their brand of deodorant can make your armpits both look and smell good, giving women "softer, smoother underarms in just five days."

    Dove Ultimate Beauty Care - the only cure for your fugly armpits.
    We wonder why some advertisers are held in low regard... why some consumers hate us, but then we don't question silly campaigns like this. Is this a question of ethics? Is creating a fear out of the ether and then presenting your product as the miracle cure (an age old tactic) really a strategy worth pursuing in a heavily saturated and highly competitive market?

    Stephen Colbert, on Wednesday night's edition of his show, The Colbert Report, addressed Dove's hairy predicament and  found a humorous solution to their "breakthrough shame-o-vation" dilemma, solving it in a way that only he can.

    Here's hoping Unilever grow a modicum of a conscience and rethink the future of the sleeveless campaign before their target audience begin putting Dove Ultimate's line of products at arms length.

    Apr 14, 2011

    The Link-u-bater Pt. II:
    More Interesting Advertising Links

    I have some more advertising sites of interest which are worth a browse.

    As I review them in my blog, I will add them to a link list on the RHS column >>>

    The sites I review and add will only be current, active and of course, only the best.

    - the website for the long-running trade journal publication that relates to all things regarding visual communications.  This includes advertising, graphic design, photography, illustration and interactive design.

    The Communication Arts site also features new and innovative projects from around the world and cutting edge work from people, firms and agencies. There is also a competitions and awards section - which is highly renowned, and even an industry job search and portfolio browsing resource section.

    A must-go-to site for any advertising professional.

    fastcompany.com - the website for the highly popular Fast Company magazine - which chronicles how changing companies create and compete, highlighting new business practices, and showcasing the teams and individuals who are inventing the future and reinventing business.

    A very informative site covering the ever evolving convergence of advertising, marketing, technology, design and leadership.

    - a similar site to Ads Of The World, in that it covers advertising from around the globe and across a wide cross-section of media.

    This ever expanding collection is a huge archive of the best and most creative ideas in the advertising field. Continually updated around the clock.

    bestadsontv.com - The name implies the site only covers top creative in broadcast but don't let that fool you. "Best Ads" covers global advertising across all the major media - broadcast & TV, print, outdoor, interactive and radio. The site also allows for ad searches by product category.

    Updated weekly and contains a great user rating system which can be broken down according to agency & branch, client or country.

    brandchannel.com - Their slogan is "Always branding. Always on." and that sums up what  Branding Channel are about. Launched by global branding consultancy, Interbrand, this site acts as a global online exchange about branding. Discusses news stories and issues that are affecting brands now and in the future.

    Brand Channel also offers tools and information to assist branding professionals such as global listings for conferences, courses and careers as well as other valuable industry resources.

    All of these sites are free to join and browse, and can be easily monitored and followed using popular social media services.

    Apr 12, 2011

    Rend(er) It Like Beckham

    A YouTube Video popped up on my radar in the last few days.

    First, take a look for yourself.

    Here, we see international football star and former England captain, David Beckham, having several highly skillful pot shots with some soccer balls on a beach in Los Angeles. Beckham spends time in LA as he is signed to the LA Galaxy team in Major League Soccer.

    So what exactly is this 69 second viral video all about? I had to watch it a few times before I figured out where the product placement was.

    It's not the soccer balls. There's a few different brands there.

    It isn't the clothing he's wearing...

    Or the beach he's at...

    Straw deal?

    It's the can of Diet Pepsi in his hand - which he sips at before and after taking those "amazing" kicks.

    A few points arising from this:
    • Who drinks a can of Diet Pepsi with a straw?
    • Who comes to the beach with three soccer balls?
    • Is Beckham really that good?

    I can't answer the first two questions definitively. But as to the third, it is quite obvious that some visual effects or CGI is being deployed here. If Beckham really was that talented, even at his career peak, he would have booted England to successive World Cup victories off his own (bare)foot!

    But neither he (nor England) are that good.

    Beckham sweats over the "Latina Heat"

    Apparently, Beckham was on the LA beach filming a TV ad spot for Diet Pepsi's new skinny cans with Modern Family star, Sofia Vergara. Diet Pepsi, under the stewardship of ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, decided to shoot this viral video component and add it to their campaign.

    It's yet to be seen whether this viral video attempt will generate any buzz (and I realize I'm raising its profile by talking about it here), or if this film will die in the can.