Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The UN Voices Project: Print Advertising That Talks

A truly groundbreaking advertising campaign titled 'The UN Voices Project' was launched by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia earlier this week. Tailored for the United Nations, the new campaign combines innovative creative thinking with cutting edge mobile phone and image recognition technologies. According to Saatchi & Saatchi The UN Voices Project is probably the first attempt to make outdoor posters and press advertisement voice communicating with their targeted audience. Here is how this is done according to and four examples already printed (Click images for high-res versions).

"The campaign features outdoor posters, print and online elements. These are combined to reinforce the message of giving a voice to those whose plight normally goes unseen and unheard."

"People around Sydney are encouraged to take a mobile phone photo of the featured person’s mouth and send it to a number on the poster as a text message."

"Using digital image recognition technology and an Australian first call back service, the sender receives a return phone call with a pre-recorded message from the person they have photographed, giving a brief insight into how they live and highlighting some of the issues they face."

"The message then directs people to a UN website where visitors can leave their own comments and thoughts, turning the original seven voices into thousands."


Product: United Nations
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney
Creatives: David Nobay and Steve Back (Creative Director), VINCE LAGANA (Creatives), Steve Jackson (Creatives)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Popping-Up: 6 Remarkable Guerrilla Retail Projects

Technically speaking, the idea of guerrilla retail has been around for many years. In the Middle East, for example, the word "Basta" is common Arabic slang for a temporary stall located in the market or in the street. Residents of cities across the world are familiar with their local basta versions. Americans love their garage sales. Yet, the modern concept of guerrilla stores, also known as pop-up retail or pop-up stores, is everything but and nothing like the familiar Middle Eastern basta. Aiming for the high-end of trend consumers, guerrilla stores are temporary sales points open for a short period of time, usually between a few days to one year. They spend a minimal amount of resources on interior design and are often located away from mainstream fashion hubs, yet they still look awesomely trendy. Guerrilla retail has been of the hottest trends in retail marketing ever since it emerged in 2003. Following are 6 remarkable guerrilla retail projects.

1. Song in the City: 9-week lifespan store

One of the earliest documented pop-up stores belong to the Song airline company. Opened in the New York SoHo in November 2003 the 'Song in the City' store was announced to be closed on 22 December 2003. Opened only from Thursdays to Sundays, this 9-week lifespan store featured samples of Song's in-flight menu, sold travel gear, let visitors experience the various in-flight entertainment options and even sold tickets. Later on during the year many other pop-up retailers joined the show.

2. Comme des Garçons: Thrilling Retail Experience

Above: Comme des Garçons Cracow, March 24, 2006
Below: Comme des Garçons Warsaw, September 26, 2007

In February 14, 2004 the Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons became of the first brands to make the guerrilla store concept international when it launched its first guerrilla shop in Berlin. The shop was an immediate success and more have been opened and subsequently closed by Comme des Garçons in more than 20 locations including Reykjavik, Warsaw, Helsinki, Stockholm, Athens and other, making Comme des Garçons a prominent player in the field. With the most extraordinary location being Beirut (July 3, 2007) and the most successful ones located in Cracow and Warsaw (Poland), Comme des Garçons' guerrilla shops may look strange the ordinary shopper. Yet, with many others their eccentric urban spaces help turning a boring commercial practice into a thrilling experience. Photos by blogsorbeta via Flickr.

3. Vacant: Limited Editions. Small Quantities.

Vacant is an exclusive retail concept and exhibition store that opens for one month only in empty spaces in major western cities. From New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris to Berlin, Stockholm Tokyo and Shanghai Vacant showcases a range of limited edition small quantity products from known and emerging designers. The above pair of Kenzo Minami Rbk Instapump Fury, for example, is limited to 500 pieces worldwide and includes a special edition packaging. Interested? New Vacant store locations are announced by email to Vacant Club members only moments before opening.

4. Adidas Popup Truck Store: Grown-ups Ice-cream?

This cool pop-up truck from Adidas was captured on December 2, 2007 in Union Square. To me, this mobile device look a lot like one of those ice-cream tracks I used to run after when I was a child. Is this grown-ups ice-cream? (by skittlbrau / Racked Flickr Pool)

5. Coffee? Try this (free) NesCafe Popup

Coffee? How about some free hot one from this Nescafe pop-up store captured by Kolya Miller (Kolya) in Sydney, Australia on August 14, 2007? Making any change with people's coffee habbits is known to be a very hard task. Perhaps this can actually work.

6. Earnest Sewn's: Rotating Popup Cast

The folks from, a famed blog about shopping, neighborhood stores and the New York City retail scene, thought the Earnest Sewn store at 821 Washington Street is one of the best uses of a weird, extraneous room they have ever seen. Here, an extra 400-square-foot at the left rear of the space was turned into a venue for a rotating cast of pop-up shops. Above photos are from the Trovata showcasing with most items , in case you wonder, under $300. This guerrilla store was just open January 9th this year but if you are interested you should know it's already too late. This is guerrilla retail. February 9th 2008 was the last day any Trovata stuff could be purchased there.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Two-edged Media Sword: 10 Examples of Counteradvertising, Commerce Jamming and Propaganda Remixes

A plan to allow "domestic view" of data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can "see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers" has been recently approved by the USA government. For the good and bad of it, Information age enhances the ability of states to control citizens and of business corporations to enlarge leverage our privacy into profit: better security means more information in corporate hands and less privacy. Furthermore, Information age allows business corporations and states to deliver their message more efficiently than ever before. This means more products, more advertisements and less free public space. Yet, Information age also allows activist groups and their counter messages to be heard by millions. Following is a fresh collection of popular and particularly interesting strategies, case studies and resources demonstrating the two-edged sword face of new media - where counteradvertising, commerce jamming and propaganda remixes make a stand.

1. The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

According to AdBusters Media Foundation, publishers of the most popular subvertising magazine in the world and a leading activist group based in Vancouver Canada, well made subvertisments need to efficiently "mimic the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic 'double-take' as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped". With a list successful media projects such as the TV Turnoff Week which was aired on CNN, the Buy Nothing Day videos of 2006 and 2007 and a series of viral TV subvertisments titled The Product Is You, AdBusters continue to demonstrate how TV commercial language can be altered and manipulated to "cut through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality" and reveal "a deeper truth within."

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot sneaker, designed by John Fluevog, is Adbusters' recent Commerce Jamming project, a first Anti-Brand and your chance to "unswoosh Nike's tired old swoosh and own one of the most Earth-friendly shoes in the world": 100% organic hemp upper, recycled tire sole, made by Vegetarian Shoes in a European union shop including a hand drawn (!) logo plus.

2. Busting Phillip Morris: Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?

In fact, some culture jamming ads carry indisputable facts about their targets making some disturbing unfamiliar truths to be a little more familiar to the public. "Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?" showcased a list of popular food products owned by Phillip Morris, the world's largest cigarette company: "...Chances are that you've been helping to promote Marlboro cigarettes without even knowing it. You can withdraw that support by personally boycotting these products" the ad said. "It's like giving money to a health organization that is working to find a cure for cancer - but in this case you are taking money from a corporation that causes it. So next time you go buy food- try it. You'll like it."

3. The Reality of War: Vertigo vs. Australia's Department of Defence

In March 2003 Australia's Department of Defence has withdrawn advertising from all student media across the continent in response to a controversial full-page parody of Defence recruitment advertising published on Vertigo, a student newspaper at the University of Technology, Sydney. The spoof ad satirically portrayed the Department of Defence as "a political tool of an Australian government intent on participating in an unsanctioned invasion of Iraq" and was followed up and reprinted by other student publications.

This act of solidarity was like a golden medal to the Vertigo activists who saw the fact "students are no longer being inundated with inaccurate representations of the Defence Force" as a great victory. Vertigo spokesperson, Jano Gibson argued that "the 'exciting', 'inspiring' and 'feel good' Army ads that appear in uni diaries, on billboards and television differs extremely from the reality of participating in a war" and that Vertigo's parody "simply corrects the omissions of the Department of Defence." For a larger version download the pdf here.

4. Volkswagen vs. a Sick Joke: The Suicide Bomber Polo Driver

Sometimes facts are not the issue neither is the spoofer's opinion and the busted ad is made either "for" a non-existent product, or with a real one simply as parody of advertisements. Rarely, a familiar brand language is mimicked so well that the entire world is successfully fooled. In January 2005, managers at German car manufacturer Volkswagen found themselves in the center of a global row after a meme hack sick video joke featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber in a Polo car was virally distributed across the world via the internet.

The spoof TV advert showed an "oriental" looking man stepping into a Polo car wearing a keffiyeh scarf, known as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. After driving around the city for a while the driver stops near a resonant populated with lots of innocent civilians and detonates, yet leaving the car intact.

The video was punched-lined with the familiar style slogan announcing "Polo: small but tough". Check it out and see for yourself: Even though it is not very clear which "deeper truth" is actually being revealed here, this culture jammer was mimicking the familiar Volkswagen language so well it simply got people to believe it’s a real one.

5. Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank? Dave Ward vs. Hammer

"Please download the large version and pass it along to forums, websites and other people who might appreciate it. Spread the meme!" – Those were the words of Dave Ward, a professional photographer who in 2005 created two anti-Hummer spoof ad campaigns. Suggesting the real reason behind the ongoing blood shed in Iraq is to support America's oil demand fueled by manly Tofu hater ego-driven cars of the Hammer type, Ward's anti-war eco-friendly spoof ad became almost as popular as the originals and were massively and virally distributed on Internet.

In July 2006 the second Hummer ad titled "Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank?" showed up on Ads of the World, a commercial advertising archive for the best and most interesting creative work worldwide. I bet they didn't like this so much at Hammer's headquarters but in light of recent developments in America's approach to international global climate responsibility you might say this culture jamming attempt might have had some part in making a change.

6. The Madeleine Spoof: Extremely Hurtful and Not Funny

Not all ad spoofs are made with humanitarian causes in mind and some are made for profit or publicity and leave a very bad taste behind. An 'advertising' spoof published in a German satirical magazine named The Titanic included an allegedly double-spread ad for a supermarket, depicting a number of products promoted with the image and name of Madeleine McCann's. This poor-taste parody was later described by Madeleine's parent's spokesman as "extremely hurtful". Not much to say about this one. Perhaps just that it's a good example for a 'not very funny' spoof.

7. Doctors Ought to Care: I smoke for smell

Other spoofs can be very funny and can hardly defined as unjustified by anyone, that is unless you are a lung cancer tycoon. The idea to sabotage the interest of cigarette corporations using their own media weapons is far from being new and came up almost 30 years ago when the Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) organization was pioneered countered development and jamming tobacco ads. In a 1980 paper published in JAMA, DOC founder Alan Blum, MD, wrote that "humor can be an effective tool" in this war. Thus, in one of its poster series, the DOC parodies the classic I smoke for taste advertisement with a picture of a similarly defiant, macho character with a cigarette dangling from one nostril and the caption I smoke for smell.

8. Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

A very popular form of adbusting, sometimes referred to as Billboard Modification or Billboard Liberation, takes the form of alternation of public space commercials and billboards to make a spoof or parody of the original corporate or political message. Usually it is the company that pays for the advertisement that is being under the attack. In some cases, however, the target can be the medium itself.

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

It was August 1, 2007, when the deadline for all billboards in the city of Tacoma, Washington to comply with a (ten years old) law requiring the removal of all (well defined) disruptive billboards. Three days later Pranks, a popular blog by Joey Skaggs dedicated to culture jamming and reality hacking published this follow up about hundreds of billboards in Tacoma which "have sprouted a scary blue and red message reading "Constitutions Matter". All adbusted billboards were left carrying the name "Clear Channel Outdoor", a company of Clear Channel Communications and one of the world's largest outdoor advertising corporations. Photos are taken by Pranks from a local city blog named

9. The Li Peng Story: Step Down to Appease the People’s Anger!

Politics, anti-war and freedom fighting were always of the most inviting countermessage battlefields for artists and writers. The story of the Li Peng poem is an extraordinary example of how mass media can be hacked to deliver political counter-messages even under extreme media control standards as practiced by Chinese government. In March of 1991 the overseas edition of the People’s Daily - China’s Communist Party newspaper - featured the following patriotic homesick poem, written by a graduate student from Los Angeles aliased Zhu Haihong. Apparently the poem was a brilliant "qianzi shi" also known as "inlaid-character" poem. Thus, when read diagonally from upper right to lower left the words "Li Peng must step down to appease the people’s anger!" could be interpreted. Li Peng, for those who don't know, was the Premier of China between 1987 and 1998 and the "chief architect" of the 1989 Tiananmen square massacre.

10. The Propaganda Remix Project: YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!

Lastly, and with no intentions of getting into any blue-red American politics, here is another great example for political counter messages targeting war propaganda: Micah Ian Wright is an American author who works in film and television and also the person behind YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!, a compilation of his Remixed War Propaganda with introductions by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut.

Other books from Wright include If You’re Not a Terrorist... Then Stop Asking Questions! and Surveillance Means Security! and hundreds of posters are available on his site The Propaganda Remix Project. When you are there, make sure you don't miss Wright's amazing collection of Hate Mail. All typos, errors, odd word choices, logic leaps, ad hominem attacks, homophobia, and delusions are claimed to be "quoted verbatim". I've found myself spending some time reading there. It's nice to see some folks know how to take some criticism :-)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Red House Living Condos: Tied up

The Lindenburg and the Salzburga are the first two projects from Red House Living's four-building community in a place named Northwest Calgary in USA where many luxury homes have "stunning city views and access to large regional parks". Even though it's very far away from Northwest Calgary and I have no intentions leaving it anytime soon, I do have my own private yard and garden to take care of. I even have one of those colorful light chains to put up from time to time so their ad managed to grab my attention. Body text says "Escape the yard. And all that work that goes with it. Let a new Red House Salzburg condo take care of everything - inside and out."

  • Advertising Agency: Creative Intelligence, Calgary, Canada
  • Creative Director: Ernest Burden
  • Art Director: Brian Allen
  • Copywriter: Sean Mitchell
  • Photographer: Noah Fallis
  • Published: November 2007

[Via AdsOfTheworld]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Smart ForTwo: Eurobest 2007 Print Grand Prix Campaign

By now, it's clear that being environment friendly is not enough. Delivering the message properly is also a major requirement. It should therefore not be much of a surprise for anyone that Eurobest's winning print campaign for the year of 2007 went to Contrapunto - a Spanish advertising agency from Madrid for their innovative Smart ForTwo campaign. Smart ForTwo is a micro compact car by DaimlerChrysler designed primarily for urban use in European cities. With 0.6L, 0.7L (petrol) and 0.8L (diesel) engines their are quite a few car models with lower carbon footprint but perhaps none with more creative advertising agents.




  • Category: Cars
  • Title: FOREST
  • Product/Service: SMART FORTWO
  • Entrant Company, City: CONTRAPUNTO, Madrid
  • Country: SPAIN
  • Advertising Agency, City : CONTRAPUNTO, Madrid
  • Country: SPAIN
  • Executive Creative Director: Antonio Montero
  • Creative Director: José Mª Cornejo / Fernando Galindo
  • Copywriter: Fernando Galindo
  • Art Director: José Mª Cornejo
  • Account Supervisor: Eva Mª Alvarez
  • Advertiser's Supervisor: Oscar Rubira/Marisol Vadillo/Jaime Olalquiaga

Monday, November 26, 2007

The end of advertising as we know it

According to a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study titled The end of advertising as we know it, and based on IBM global surveys of more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising experts, it seems the Advertising industry is about to be changed completely in the near future when: "spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats" will surpass traditional, one-to-many advertising channels and a "significant share of ad space will be sold through auctions and exchanges".

Furthermore: according to the study, Advertising will be viewed and acted on an "ad, and pay based on real impact" rather than "estimated impressions". Consumers will "self-select" their advertising and "share preferred ads with peers". User-generated advertising is also expected to gain more attention becoming "prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots."

Thanks to Greg Verdino for his useful lead.

Download complete IBM Institute for Business Value study (302KB)
Download executive summary (104KB)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Social Media to the Power of 7 Squared

Greg Verdino of the Crayon marketing company and of my favorite marketing bloggers gave this presentation today within a PR News Online webinar on social media public relations. Titled "Social Media to the Power of 7 Squared" his part of the event focuses on the "basics of blogger outreach and some simple ways to use social media channels and tools to connect with both influencers and consumers."

It has been a long time since I posted twice in one day but this presentation and the post that contains it were so nicely edited and simple to understand (especially using this cool widget from slideshare...) that I just had to share it with you folks. Don't be lazy and follow this link to Greg's post as there are some very useful links there which relates to the above slides. In case you don't there is also this pdf annotated version with some speaking notes. Its a 2MB file and comes downloads a bit slow so be patient as it worth the wait.

I particularly liked the following paragraph from the "Commitment, not campaign" slide:

"Any blogger can tell you that the post is just the beginning of a conversation that can and will continue (sometimes for months) through the comments thread. As a PR professional, you need to make sure that you (or your client) stays part of that conversation. Be prepared to comment, address points head on and engage in constructive professional debate with both the bloggers and their readers."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Magicmirror: Enhanced consumer experience

As Internet begins to fulfill the expectations it failed to answer prior to the dot com crisis of 2000, brick-and-mortar retailers feel threatened, not say pushed to the wall. Thus, after long years of "easy life" retailers need to consider some new ideas such as this Magicmirror for example, from an RFID retail installations company in Italy named Thebigspace.

Expected to appear in a select group of retailers’ stores early next year, this hi-tec mirror provides "an enhanced consumer experience” by playing tunes and displaying "promotional graphics" for the particular item in try, product information and suggestions for matching items. Put your finger on the touch-sensitive glass and a salesperson will be right at your service with a different size or color.

I agree with that there might be some privacy issues and concerns here but also that people will get used to it. I remember when visiting Japan in 2004 it looked funny how things were talking to me everywhere I go... People will get used to it. Via

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mediasnackers age: an unsnacked observation


"It’s time to acknowledge that in a truly multimedia environment of 2025, most Americans don’t need to understand more than a hundred or so words at a time, and certainly will never read anything approaching the length of an old-fashioned book. We need a frank reassessment of where long-form literacy itself lies in the spectrum of skills that a modern nation requires of its workers." (from What is the worth of words? By Michael Rogers Columnist Special to MSNBC Sept. 21, 2006)

I've been tagged by Neil Perkin on the MediaSnacking meme. According to Jeremiah Owyang, who started this meme, Mediasnackers are people who "consume small bits of information, data or entertainment when, where, and how they want." Thus, those who provide the media snack feed need to respect that and learn how to speck its language.

Triggered by the above (90 second, what else?) clip from MediaSnackers, Owyang Mediasnackers meme explores the ways modern bloggers cope with the new requirements. Owyang, a famed Web Strategist from San Francisco, argues that business people of actually any age are "also busy, get information from multiple sources, and need filters" and should therefore fit into this category. I couldn't agree more Mr. Owyang. Allow me to add that I think it's not only business people but also, to some extent, everyone on the Internet.

Movie buffs, for example, seem to prefer the short review format offered by hot movie review killer start-up Criticker as well as being semi-automatically matched with friends by computers. The bloggers themselves are very much of that type. Aren't we all enjoying the jumping from one interesting blogger page to another using the snacky presentation of our favorite blogging community platforms? Isn't being snacky and digested the basic point of successful StumbleUpon blogging? Everything from how to squeeze every cent of profit from your Pay-Per-Click marketing to how to defeat brain drain is being dressed with what I call the new "tips and lists" style.


Lastly, to answer Owyang's question about how I cope with the Mediasnackers age: As you can see I am not doing very well. My problem has always been enjoying the suffering of writing and having just a bit too much to say about everything. Took me years and graduating journalism school to even make me sentences shorter. I also think that in the bottom line, one just has to read. Unless we want to stay stupid as we go out from high-school there is just no way around it.


Oh yes, other than failing in making my posts shorter, I also respect my Mediasnackers readers with the best "kind of" relevant visuals or movie clips I can find such as the above one of Swatch from Neil Perkin @ Only Dead Fish - the nitty witty advertising and media blogger who tagged me for this subject in the first place. You can always find something interesting in Neil's joint. This was also the place that introduced me to some of my favorite marketing and advertising webspots. Some of what I do just has to be right as I make great new friends. Also my Technorati ranking and Google PR are generally trending up. for what it counts.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

gPhone goes for advertising and Linux

Continuing months of speculations, rumors and global buzz, more details of Google's secret plan to dominate the mobile phone industry have been revealed by The New York Times yesterday. While Microsoft charges mobile phone companies a licensing fee for their Windows Mobile system, Google goes for advertising. If this is true, and the NY Times is not usually easy to manipulate, this might indeed be the large scale Google plan to rival Microsoft's Windows Mobile and redefine the mobile media world.

The most significant aspect of gPhone is that, as opposed to Apple's iPhone and countless of other products using the currently in lead mobile operating systems, it not likely to be another "what a bummer" proprietary, closed environment, mobile device. Even though nothing has been official confirmed by Google it is pretty clear that Google has developed their mobile OS based on Linux kernel for the operating system. As of last talks with folks at Google, the gPhone's user interface is still being finalized and the phone reference design will be open source, using the Apache license. This reference design will be an unlocked, neutral environment.

Dozens of references

Earlier this summer reports from India stated Google is "currently in talks with India's first and third largest telecommunications companies, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar about the Google phone." It is also believed to be in talks with some Indian companies to offer "data, content and platforms including Instant Messaging (IM) and Search functions".

The buzz around gPhone gains interest for its own making some of us wonder how much of it is planned by Google and how much is out of control. Dozens of references to the gPhone project in both online and traditional media channels collected by Search expert Danny Sullivan of SearchEnglineLand are just a very partial list. Google offer 2,820,000 results for gPhone at their major search and 193 entries in the past month within their news search section. By now Google has refused to confirm any plans for the GPhone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

VideoEgg: overlay video advertising

(Ad: Microbounce, Adidas)

And while we are on the subject of the mass media world engaging with the new generation of media users, here is some extended information about a company who does just that very successfully and mentioned in my previous post.

With approximately 30 million unique viewers each month VideoEgg is a rich-media advertising platform specializing in social networks. The company says their innovative advertising format "enhances, rather than disrupts" the viewer experience. Here is a bullet list from VideoEgg website describing the main points of their approach and technology:

Starts with the user, invites the viewer into a dialog
Supports virtually any Flash player, widget application or web page
Helps increase video consumption on a publisher's site
Provides powerful targeting options
Allows for any combination of overlay, pre-roll and post-roll
Offers plug-ins for remnant providers
And has tremendous momentum in media and advertising communities

Check the above video and let me know what you think. Note you can also click the Menu button to see how the advertiser message was integrated at the end of the video. Click the video window in the bottom left corner to view the ad. More clips using the same "video carrier" but with different advertisement available on

In addition to the above and through partnerships with Facebook third-party applications, VideoEgg also supports media community rich, innovative ad opportunities on Facebook third-party application pages. Shown in the above image, this VideoEgg implementation comes in the form of expandable Flash banner offering advanced creative options and millions of Facebook impressions per day.