Archives For Advertising

Remember when Christmas ads and promotions started a couple of weeks before Christmas? Then year by year, the ads would start earlier and earlier. Soon we’ll have Christmas ads starting on July 5th.

Last year, Volkswagen got the Super Bowl advertising party started early, and got 10 million views of their great Darth Vader ad before game day. Despite that, Chrysler won in my opinion, with a strategy that included no pre-game teaser, hype, contest or social media engagement.

This year, more brands got the party started early as a way to justify spending $3.5 to $4.5 million. This is making two kinds of ads become part of our beloved cultural institution – The Surprise Ad and the The Hyped Ad. What’s better? Nobody knows until well after the Super Bowl.

But one thing’s for sure. Super Bowl ads were once relegated to game day. Then the started to stretch out well after game day. We are very much in “before” game day mode. But how long will the new “before” last?

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These are bourbon ball makers. It makes four ice cubes. Four huge, whiskey-loving ice cubes, just one needed per glass.

These are bourbon ball ice cube makers. It makes four ice cubes. Four enormously huge, whiskey-loving ice cubes.

It’s simple. Give away exclusive cool stuff, for free.

That’s one way how Maker’s Mark puts the customer first. This short video blog shows three cool gifts I’ve received just by signing up for the Maker’s Mark Ambassador Club about five years ago. It’s a really cool loyalty program that rewards customers with exclusive perks. The letter that came with the gift this year encourages folks to go to the Maker’s Mark Facebook page to “share the laughs.” (Although it doesn’t look like a lot of folks did.)

Word of Mouth.org calls it one of the best fan clubs of all time in this great story. They’re right. Maker’s Mark is making a huge number of fans feel special just by doing things a little differently. This disruptive tactic goes a long way to build not just long-term customers, but long-term fanatics. And hey, volume was up 16% for the first half of 2011 according to Nielsen. (See their entry into the Ogilvy Research Awards.)

Here’s Maker’s Mark website where people can sign up for the Ambassador program. And here are some neat photos from Maker’s Mark fans over at Flickr.

At a record $4 million-plus, advertisers are way past counting on the element of surprise to make their ads a big deal on Super Bowl game day. Most brands are trying to get their money’s worth by starting the conversation early. Oreo already got their Super Bowl ad hype machine going. It began in October. Ads will be pre-released, there will be contests. Lincoln asked fans to contribute to their script via Twitter. Paramount’s ad for “Star Trek Into Darkness” will be enhanced if you download an app.

Advertising genius/dropout Alex Bogusky got great hype already for SodaStream by cleverly getting the ad banned. In Britian. For “denigration of the bottled drinks market.” But the ad strategy is brilliant, and SodaStream could be one of the biggest financial winners among Super Bowl advertisers. They likely lead in brand impressions at this point because of the ban.

CBS Chief Les Moonves called it “probably the biggest day of the year for this entire corporation.” Shyeah. Let’s see, $4 million times about 60 available ads = $240 million for CBS. Yes, that’s a good day.

I’ll be having another Super Bowl ad party here on at the Idea Bucket. Stay tuned. Meanwhile here’s an excellent scorecard summary on this year’s ads.

Nike 1, NHL 0

January 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

Welcome back NHL. Dozens of people missed you. While you were busy trying to make more money, Nike showed you how selfish you are. Could be that this ad is the most memorable thing about the 2012-2013 NHL season.

Young monsters looking for an excellent post secondary education should strongly consider Monsters University, says the beautiful new recruitment television ad. It’s a place “Where those who embrace their history become those who create it.” Potential applicants can learn more about MU at a nifty new website.

But wait – the ad isn’t meant to recruit monsters to go to a real animated university for real animated monsters. The ad’s job is to promote the Monsters University movie, premiering June 21, 2013. It’s a spot-on parody of the awfully scary, terrifying ads for colleges that we’ve all seen. Some are gouge-my-eyes-and-ears-out-awful. Hey Appalachian State, you are not, in any way, hot hot hot. Sorry.

But wait – the website’s job isn’t merely to sell movie tickets and toys. It’s to boost the whole Monsters franchise, which is smaller than Cars and Toy Story. The movie Monsters, Inc. will be 12 years old when the sequel comes out, so the website will give the whole franchise another thing for fans to talk about, which helps Pixar, which helps Disney. Oh, happy anniversary Disney. It’s almost seven years to the day since you and Pixar got married.

The Monsters University campus map.

The Monsters University campus map.

It’s a great website, spoofing education communications really well. At the Alumni page: “Seeking intern or employee talent? Don’t forget MU’s ‘Monsters Hiring Monsters’ initiative.” Easter eggs and surprises are baked in, and the writing pimps the platitudes of communications in academia. There’s a login feature, but it goes nowhere. Gotta be a tease for future functionality as we get closer to the premier.

Back in June 2012, this Monsters University trailer was released, but it was just a typical, average trailer, and the site was launched back in October to little fanfare. That’s a pretty fractured and boring release strategy. But this parody spoof campaign seems new, and really smart.

The movie is an animated cartoon for kids, right? But wait – the recruitment ad and the website aren’t targeted to kids. Hey, the recruitment ad broke during the Rose Bowl, which doesn’t exactly pull in the youth market. And kids won’t get the parody of the ad, or the website. Disney/Pixar’s target is old people, like me. The strategy here is “get adults into Monsters University.” That’s smart business. 

It’s a really great ad. It’s shot, edited and acted flawlessly. (Way to go TBWA.) That’s Jeff Daniels with a perfect VO. The ending looks were perfect, despite them being totally fake and probably computer-generated because in real life the Williams sisters probably would have been much crankier, and something would have been tossed. Hey, a famous Williams grunt would have been funny too.

And as an Apple ad, it shows more sizzle than steak. Most Apple advertising, at least under Steve Jobs anyway, is all steak, showing nothing but features. This ad features just one simple and not-so-awesome feature, the Do Not Disturb button.

Regardless, it’s probably Apple’s best iPhone ad. Unfortunately for Apple, the feature that’s being promoted here doesn’t work for everyone. There is an iOS 6 bug because of the calendar switch to 2013 making the feature wonky. Apple is on it, saying this morning that it’ll fix itself January 7th. You’d think they would have tested the hellllllllll out of this before releasing a new ad. Huh.

I wonder if the Tim Cook era of Apple is more of a software philosophy of “release it now and we’ll fix bugs later,” versus a Steve Jobs hardware philosophy of “release only after you test the hell out of it – twice.” Because the tiny little buggy things seem to pop up more frequently with Tim than Steve. Maybe Tim’s all like “Don’t sweat it man, the iPhone 6 and iOS 7 are right around the corner!”

So is Tim more okay with buggy stuff than Steve?

Celebs: Regis, The Trump, Dione Sanders, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld
Animals: an Alien

Was that selling something?

Props to Chrysler for sticking to last year’s strong message. They added to it meaningfully this year with a great Clint delivery. They grabbed the spotlight by the horns.

Animals: Dog and cat for Doritos; dog for Volkswagen; shark-jumping polar bears for Coke.
Celebs: Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders for Bridgestone; Jillian Whatsername and Danica Patrick for GoDaddy.