20 August, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery…as long as you don't suck at it.

At this point, you’ve probably seen commercials or trailers for the upcoming movie spoof, Vampires Suck. Now I'm not usually into these silly kind of movies, but this one in particular caught my attention. Finally, I thought, our vampire-crazed world is now mocking the blood-sucking sagas of Twilight, True Blood and too many pale, insomniac upstarts to count. It's about bloody time.

So I did a little research and learned the popularity of the film brought to you by "the guys who couldn't sit through another vampire movie," has gone up by 1,150% in the past week, according to IMDb.

Now that's something to look into.

It turns out the Internet buzz for this movie is coming from lovers and haters of the original films. The funny or unfunny – however you may see it – trailers for the film that's hitting big screens this weekend has both fans and non-fans talking vampire. And that kind of attention is a marketer's dream.

However, recent films by writer/director team Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer--Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie--have made money, but have earned less and less at the box office with each release. And earlier this year, another spoof-film, McGruber, garnered tons of buzz and had critics raving, but it turned out to be a huge flop.

So both Twi-hards and not are anticipating this film. Question is: buzz is one thing, but will people actually venture out to see these new vampire hotties and notties?

Will people go because vampires are just hugely popular right now? Maybe this film will mark a resurgence in the spoof genre? Maybe the waning genre will once again yield another box office flop, signaling an end to this silly comedy ride? Or maybe the film will be the sloppy, lip-bitten wet kiss that helps us finally begin to get over our vampire crush. With another Twilight film on the way – probably not.

Team Edward. Team Jacob. Or team none of the above. I won't be ordering a glass of True Blood, but I will be buying a ticket. I could say I'll only be going to see if it lives up to the hype, but I think it looks hilarious. Now I just hope the movie doesn't...suck.

--Cristina Burke, Buzz-Bitten Creative Department Intern

Intern Sweatshop: Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery…as long as you don't suck at it.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 August, 2010

Season 2 of PitchMen Premieres Tonight!

Tonight is the premier of the second season of PitchMen, starring direct-response marketing guru Anthony Sullivan, and replacing Billy Mays will be his son Billy Mays III. I came into this show expecting not to like it. I'm not a fan of reality TV, and although I liked Mays as a pop culture icon, I still didn't know much about him as an ad man. I expected to have turn down the volume, and honestly, not much else. What I got was a show that's both an interesting and educational exploration of today's advertising world.

Here are a couple clips from episode seven of season one that reveal a few interesting and touchy angles on the advertiser/client relationship.

When Mays passed away last summer, I'll admit the thought crossed mind that I'd seen the last episode of PitchMen, so kudos to Discovery Channel for picking up the second season of a pretty enlightening show, despite the fact that it would no longer have it's energetic star power. Hopefully it will turn out more like The Hogan Family than News Radio.

Now Mad Men is an intriguing, tightly structured, well-written examination of the business world and societal structure of the 1960s. While PitchMen is a direct look into a monstrous part of the advertising industry that rakes in billions every year. Matt may be attempting to hurl a stapler down the hall as I write this, but if I had to choose between the two, I'll take some ad lessons from PitchMen and ask my parents about the 60s. Besides, Matt doesn't have a stapler. He always walks down the hall to borrow mine.

Tune in to Discovery Channel tonight at 9 p.m. Warning: You might learn something.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

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18 August, 2010

PETA Ruins Primate Advertising for Everyone

Came across this gem on the Consumerist this weekend, so it may be a few days old. But there's one question nobody is asking, and it actually makes me kind of sad.

PETA was apparently put in a tizzy by a recent Dodge commercial, produced by Wieden + Kennedy, featuring a chimpanzee pushing the button on a confetti cannon. So Chrysler took a page from George Lucas and did the only logical thing.

The original.

The Digital Remaster.

And according to this LA Times blog post, Dodge also decided to pull the accompanying print ads.
On one hand, it's actually an improvement--like when an actor's improvisations make a hohum script look like pure genius. On the other hand, although PETA has failed to ruin eating meat for the world, they may have just ruined animals on film.

One commenter, claiming to be a PETA member noted, "Yeah. I'm a member of PeTA but I have to ask, don't you guys have some horrific pet stores or university animals experiments to shut down? Can't you leave Hollywood alone, since laws have been made and complied with for many years now?"

Another wondered if PETA will be going after KIA for their questionable use of giant hampsters.

And many others noted, Nice work PETA, now that monkey is out of job (and this may hold more truth than you think).

Those comments were obviously meant as jokes, but in truth, no one has noted if this particular chimp was abused or not, and digitally removing the animal from the spot really doesn't fix the issue. It's really more just Dodge saying, Okay, now will you shut up? And that's generally what PETA looks for with these high-profile requests and frequent naked protests: Attention. PETA will tout this as a victory, but the one entity who wasn't protected in this instance, was actually this chimp. After all, they didn't go back and unshoot the commercial or release him into the wild.

And in all seriousness, after all this blowback, and with other company's following suit, that chimp's next job may not happen. As an advertiser I'd be leery of pitching anything with animals to most clients, for fear of similar reprisals. So it makes me think, is this the death knell for primate advertising? No more e-trade. No more careerbuilder. No more Suburban Auto Group Trunk Monkey. Today the chimp, tomorrow the lemur, Friday the three-toed-sloth. Will I have to file away all those great spots I've written in my head staring monkeys in smoking jackets; monkeys hugging hobos, and a monkey playing badminton with (dare I say it) Bruce Campbell? Sadly, probably.

I think Dodge made the best of the situation and came out with a more entertaining commercial, but I shudder to think what kind of awful CGI they'll now need for the remake of Every Which Way But Loose. If you've seen the recent Marmaduke debacle, you probably threw up in your mouth a little just now.

Mark my words, August 2010, we saw the end of an era. "Right turn clyde?" Never again. Animal advertising has gone extinct.

On the bright side, the market for monkey robots just skyrocketed. I have some spots to revise.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

PS Apparently, pulling campaigns featuring higher primates is a real sore spot for me. I blame my dad for taking me to Every Which Way But Loose when I was 6 months old...and for my separated shoulder.

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03 August, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: It's an iWorld and We're Just Living in iT

So by now I’m sure you’ve all heard of the iAd from Apple—the new mobile advertisement network that merges the interactivity of online ads with the emotional elements of television ads, or so Steve Jobs would have us believe.

The way it works is banner ads appear on most free Apple applications. Click on the banner then open up (cue booming voices) “THE iAd EXPERIENCE.” Then you shake, tilt, scroll, and search the “app-vertisement” however you like, just like you interact with many other apps.

The “revolutionary” iAd experience has participating companies paying $1 million to join and others, such as Nissan, up to $10 million for exclusivity. Wouldn’t you love to borrow a couple seeds from their money tree?

But wait, iAds are only available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners, who total about 85 million users, and only represent a small quantity of the much larger Smartphone population. Furthermore, the selective group of these people who may come across the ad may pass by and possibly (re: probably) not even click. And Apple even offers an alternative for those who want to avoid the ads altogether—purchase the full version of the app.

So with a questionable audience size and ROI, why are these companies even signing up? Well, being associated with one of the most well-established companies doesn’t hurt, for one, and puts youthful Apple eyeballs on your products. It’s also a longer time with the audience than traditional TV advertising. And the caliber of people who own these expensive gadgets, mostly have a sizable amount of disposable income.

My take: That’s a good, specific audience, but a small audience for your $10 million - never mind the question of whether or not people will even click, which makes me think Apple has totally conned businesses into buying into the iAd platform. And they’ll continue to do so. But soon will Google create a competitive alternative for its Droid platform? When will Windows follow suit? Or will they leave it to Apple to rake in all the revenue? If you don’t see these competitors jumping on the wagon, it’ll be because it really isn’t worth the investment.

As an iConsumer, I think these ads are especially annoying. But as an advertising student, I see Apple simply basking in their inenious innovation as they rip off some of our country’s most recognizably wealthy brands. But hey, that’s their fault if they’re not as smart as a 20-year-old college student. Excellent play Steve Jobs. Where do I send my resume?

For more information on the iAd experience: check out the video demonstrations.

--Cristina Burke, Creative Dept. iNtern

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01 August, 2010

6 Foursquare badges that should exist

I've been mulling over a post on social media pet peeves, stuff that people do on any number of channels that annoy me by cheapening, spamming, or otherwise bumming out the social web. But I realized that most of my gripes lately have been with Foursquare offenders.

So I sat down with my wife - a bonafide Foursquare junkie - and we put together a handful of badges to celebrate the sins of the socially intrepid. We've all been guilty of one or more of them at some time. Or many times.

Liar, Liar:
You big, fat cheater. This is you're 10th check-in at a venue you're more than 1,500 meters away from. Is life really that empty?

Overworked: More than 50% of your check-ins are at your place of employment. You need a raise. Or a life.

Why Spy?: 9 out of 10 check-ins are "off-the-grid". OK, Jason Bourne. We get it. You're secretive. Here's a suggestion: if you don't want people to know where you are, stop using a social network whose key function is to tell people where you are.

Working Lunch: This is the 100th restaurant check-in that you've also broadcasted to your LinkedIn status. Unless you work for Zagat, maybe you should rethink telling your professional network every time you eat at Rita's Jambalaya Shanty.

Home, Sweet Huh?: Congratulations! You're mayor...of your house. Along with being king of your bird feeder and magistrate of your tool shed, you've really accomplished something. Celebrate by deleting your Foursquare account.

Bo-Ring!: More than 75% of your check-ins are at venues with little or no relevance to your network - or anyone else. Tip: No one needs to know every time you pump gas at a Sunoco or pull into every train stop between Baltimore and DC.

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? Share your Foursquare pet peeve badge ideas in the comments.

Other posts in the neighborhood: Please to be robbing me.

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