Friday, February 29, 2008

Freaky Kittens Sing for Bank

Whoa. There's much to be said about a PROPERLY done viral. And this ain't it. Although there's no doubt Australia's BankWest is paying homage to OfficeMax's Elf Yourself, sometimes imitation isn't the best form of flattery.

Here, instead of your 5-year old niece and nephew shaking her elfin moneymakers, you're treated to a grainy, YouTube-esque video of 3 kittens singing and spelling out your name. But that's only if you listen for it.

On my first go, I couldn't make out a single word being said. The throaty lead kitten could just as well have been voiced by Ronaldo Martinez (you know, the guy with a hole in his throat from the anti-smoking ads) and the left kitten barely pronounces each letter (Was that N-A-O-M-I or A-A-E-E-I?).

If you're going all out with a web viral. At least do the following: a) be relevant, b) have a point that ties into your main message, and c) be quirky in a way that fits your brand. What do kittens on a porn set have to do with banking? Beats me. Maybe I'll just have to visit Australia.

Try it for yourself here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

There's a Roach in My Pizza! Oh Wait, It's an Ad.

I'm a huge fan of unconventional ad placement, but this takes the cake... or pie.

After finishing a nice meat lover's pizza, imagine finding the following extra food group:

But wait, that's not a real roach...'s an ad for pest control! Phew. But considering we each eat an average of one pound of insects a year, this isn't that out of the ordinary.
[Photos from Nulovka]
[Via Adrants]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McCain: Like Hope, But Not

Great spoof on Obama & Will.I.Am's "Yes We Can" viral. Target: Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain. See, democrats can fear-monger, too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Puma Perfume Running Around Warsaw

This was interesting. Puma launched an outdoor guerilla marketing campaign featuring a virtual runner projected on the faces of buildings in Warsaw, Poland. As the vehicle holding the projector moves, his image races towards a bottle of Puma perfume, creating the illusion that he's running across passing buildings. As neat as this seems, I can't help but feel for the poor folks living inside the windows of his "racetrack." I know I wouldn't want someone beaming a 2ft arse into my window at 3 in the morning.

Masturbation is Groovy

Gee whiz. I'm glad I was still a piece of fairy dust when ads like this were circulating TV. This is an old, albeit excrutiatingly awkward PSA of a mom catching her preteen son, ahem, playing pocket pinball.

Her reply?

"Excuse me, Ricky. Ricky, I saw what you were doing. It felt good, didn't it? It's alright, we all have feelings like this sometimes. I'm just glad you're doing this in the privacy of your own room."

Um, versus Shabbat dinner? I'm wondering why she hasn't run out the door screaming at this point. It's as though she's been spying on poor Ricky for weeks, carefully rehearsing her "masturbation is groovy" monologue until the time is right. And then there's Ricky, with his deadpan face innocently blinking away thoughts of Goldie Hawn or Marie Osmond... or whoever kids fantasized about back in those days. His mother does exit and apologize, not without letting Ricky know that they'll soon have "a talk" about how he can control these urges in the future.

I give credit to those ad men from the '70s. What else can you do when you're handed a creative brief on juvenile masturbation? Although it would have been interesting to see a Schoolhouse Rock version air after Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

Eat My Words: Ads on Spoons

I try not to make eating out a habit. Especially since the choices in Midtown aren't exactly affordable. But with my train station exiting on 32nd and Broadway, it's hard not to get sucked into the bright lights and pungent smells of Koreatown and its fishy pickled goodness.

Which brought me to Chung Moo Ro, a narrow unassuming Korean restaurant that’s relatively new to the block compared to mainstays like Gahm Mi Oak and Kum Gang San. And “new” in more ways than one. As soon as my waiter set our table, I noticed a little wax paper “shirt” wrapped around the bowl of my spoon. I thought it was a safety precaution at first. Like having the wrapping around chopsticks. But upon closer inspection, I realized the spoon was already used, and that the paper was a carefully placed advertisement for Charmsoju, a brand of soju, or Korean rice wine.

What? Spoon advertising? What has this world come to?-- were my initial thoughts. What’s next? Toilet paper and potato skins? Then I realized that this kind of invasiveness/pervasiveness is probably not a huge deal in Korean culture. The street outside the restaurant is brimming with neon and electronic signs and ads from the ground to five stories up. Brand messages are expected, and perhaps welcomed, in the densely populated metropolis of Seoul, not to mention small pockets of real estate like Koreatown. Koreans are used to having their senses assaulted from every angle—is a little logo on a soup spoon that big a deal?

I doubt I’ll return to Chung Moo Ro. But the spoon isn’t to blame. In fact, the spoon will probably be the most memorable tidbit from my meal.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jawbone Headsets Pummel, Asphyxiate and Mercilessly Murder Noise

Who knew Bluetooth technology had real teeth? At least in its advertising. Aliph decided to celebrate its latest Jawbone Bluetooth headset with a microsite featuring film shorts from director Sam Bayer. Each piece centers around Jawbone and its ability to eliminate outside noise—so you don’t have to worry about being disturbed by that pesky great white attack in the hotel pool or the two drunken rugby blokes making out next to you at the bar. Brilliant.

But one film really twisted my stomach into knot (see above). Here, an arrogant, racist businessman tears his elderly Chinese dry cleaner a new one right in front of his family, “Medium fucking starch,” he repeats over and over again, “You’re gonna starch my fucking shirt while I wait. Who says I don’t like Asians? Is it betta if I talka at choo lak dis? Oh yeah, me love you long time.”

We’re then interrupted by a ringing cell phone belonging to another patron sitting in the corner. As this second man puts on his Jawbone headset, we’re swept into his loving conversation with his wife while the dry cleaner’s teenage granddaughters jump over the counter towards the businessman, wrap a plastic laundry bag around his head, and administer the hardest, bloodiest, most graphic beatdown ever witnessed outside American History X. Mind you, the violence is completely mute and all we hear is the Jawbone conversation, “I’ve got a surprise for you, baby. I love you when you talk like that.”

I’m not sure if R-rated carnage is any way to sell Bluetooth headsets. In fact, I barely remembered what was being advertised. I was too busy being utterly offended by the businessman’s remarks, which was replaced by nausea at the sight of the his quivering face suffocating in a plastic bag. I know Aliph was trying to go for the shock factor here, but I think they kinda sorta stepped over that blood-soaked line. Is this what advertisers have to do just to be viral nowadays?

Don’t expect me to wait around for the backlash. I think I need a shower.

[P.S. - It's interesting that Aliph/Jawbone decided to host their films on a microsite versus YouTube. That's very BMW circa 2001 of them. I'm pretty sure the above YouTube clip was posted by someone unaffiliated with the campaign, so it would be interesting to compare the traffic between a film campaign done from a microsite versus one done on YouTube. On one hand is sexier and crisper, but YouTube is embeddable and more viral.]