Category Archives: advertising

Nike iD provides ultimate customization…even on Display Ads!

I’ve designed a couple pairs of shoes via Nike iD in my unheralded “stylist” career. One pair was inspired by the 80’s Lakers and the other by a desire for sneakers that don’t look ready made for a space exploration. The value proposition of the Nike iD product is that the user maintains creative control in an extremely easy, user-friendly experience. I managed to pull of my shoe executions despite the fact I have as much design savvy as the guy that commissioned “Whiskey Pete’s” outside of Vegas and the poor soul who designed these below. (And no, it’s not me! )


Recently, Nike’s digital agency, Razorfish collaborated with Watercooler Sports and Federated Media to translate the product’s level of customization to their display advertising efforts. (Disclosure: I work for FM) The Watercooler platform enables television and sports fans to connect. Over 20 million users have joined Watercooler fan communities on leading social networks including Facebook, MySpace, etc.

Nike ID tapped into these communities’ individual identities by having the display ads automatically reflect the team colors. Note the screenshots below where ads served on the New Orleans Hornets and San Francisco 49ers Watercooler Apps featured Nikes complete with team colors. (red and white for 49ers, teal and white for Hornets) Nice to see advertising dynamically reflecting product attributes!


Old Spice’s Swagger Campaign helping “nobodies” such as myself optimize their “search equity”.

Old Spice has recently launched an innovative online campaign that allows one to populate the web with content that significantly enhances one’s achievements and overall “swagger” which is colloquial language for having “game” or in meathead dude parlance, “the ability to score chicks broseph!”

Display ads across “guy” sites featuring virile 18-24 year old males invite users to enter the Old Spice factory.

Banner Ads Invite you to gain some "Swagger"

Banner Ads featuring Isaac from "The Love Boat " invite you to gain "Swagger"

You Optimize your attributes in an Old Spice branded environment

You Optimize your attributes in an Old Spice branded environment

After building out your profile and entering your name, email address and uploading a picture you are now ready to trick the Internet a’ la Jayson Blair.

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The Genius of American Apparel

Recently, my group of friends were confronted with the task of obtaining costumes for Bay to Breakers which is an annual event in San Francisco that is essentially one long, crazy alcohol infused block party. The theme of our group was “Sesame Street” so naturally, everyone flocked to American Apparel for their outfits?!? There appeared no logic in this purchasing decision whatsoever. Yet, the store was packed with the prized 18-34 year old demographic in a line usually reserved for bread lines in Communist Russia. All were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to consume short shorts, tube socks and t-shirts at severely inflated prices. (In truth, besides my group, they really weren’t many in the 30+ zone, but please indulge me) It was also ironic that none of us ended up looking like Sesame Street characters. Additionally, nobody seemed to get my “Mexican Count”. Thankfully, amongst the other 30 odd people in our group they were a few legitimate costumes.

Despite or maybe because of a CEO that has been rumored to conduct interviews with attractive female applicants clad only in his briefs; American Apparel continues to thrive as one of the most distinctive and identifiable brands in existence today. The edgy clothing retailer has now become an afterthought as the go to destination for t-shirts, hoodies, leggings, or if you simply wish to look like you live in Brooklyn and love Tom Waits. Put it this way, if you play in a kickball league you immediately know where everybody is going to get your team uniform. Ditto if you’re an Internet start-up and want to make a company sweatshirt. This phenomenon all started as incredibly savvy, well positioned marketing strategy that properly targeted the influencers and hipsters on both coasts. The combination of a borderline pornographic ad campaign, which cheekily used store employees as models and the increasing popularity of all things “indie” fueled the conversation regarding the brand amongst tastemakers. The eventual migration into the mainstream’s consciousness was inevitable and continues to be amplified to the masses via good old fashioned, word-of-mouth marketing. In the trendy Marina in San Francisco that fateful morning, one can clearly envision hordes of twenty-somethings asking their peers where they were purchasing costumes for the big event and all receiving the same ubiquitous response of… “American Apparel.”

The funniest part is that American Apparel does not sell anything unique. One could easily mistake their clothes for Hanes except made to fit Smurf sized humans. Their catalogue contains mostly simple, basic items in a wide variety of colors that are made to fit either heroin junkies or a 20 year old Brit rockers, which I guess is really the same thing. The adoring public continues to pay incredible premiums on v-necks just for the opportunity to purchase it from a guy with an ironic moustache, who secretly despises you. However, there I stood, anxiously waiting in line ready to pay $50 for some tube socks and green “Prefontaine” shorts. Many came out with a befuddled face like my friend Ali below who paid $20 for a headband. However, deep down we both know we’ll be back because we’re that dumb and American Apparel is that smart.

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Dr. Marten – Leading Innovation from high school hallways at lunch

Dr. Marten is one of those brands that will always have a significant cult following. It’s safe to say that as long as there are disenfranchised youth somewhere, Dr Marten will have a solid constituency. Recently they have become a little more aggressive in their marketing by placing ads on such hip sites as Pitchfork Media, MocoLoco and NOTCOT. It’s those quiet kids that roman the hallways that become the designer, musicians and architects of the world, I guess. The ad unit actually allows you to begin custom designing a boot for a few seconds, within the banner, before eventually taking you to the Dr. Marten site where you can complete the process. It’s nice to see such a storied, iconic brand take an innovative and fun approach to their marketing. Below is the actual unit as well as one I created with that one of my heroes, Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel gracing the boot.

Save the Bees!

Recently at FM, I had the opportunity work on the “Graffi-bee” contest held on the social application, “Graffiti”. This particular contest was sponsored by Haagen-Dazs, who have been very proactive at helping in the fight against colony collapse. Recently, the top 150 submissions were selected from the contest which garnered over 5000 entries, 1 million votes and over 800 “friends” during the 2 week run of the contest. Click image below to check out some of the mind blowing creations. Thus far, companies such as Dell, BMW and Wacom have taken advantage of the robust Graffiti community (9 mm+ members) to have people conduct enjoyable interactions with their brands. Graffiti initially gained popularity on Facebook, and has recently launched on MySpace and Hi 5 as well.

Great Moments in Advertising History

I generally tend to find advertising focused on targeting “bros” or your general neighborhood douchebag (Affliction t-shirt, Ed Hardy, Real world cast member, etc) annoying. So any body spray, beer/energy drink commercial usually results in a rolling of the proverbial eyes and wondering how so many people from the agency down to the brand signed off on such an asinine concept for the campaign. I’ve got to hand it to Amp Energy Drink however, they still managed to target the usual dumb mammal but did it in a witty, entertaining manner. However I am biased, because of my soft spot for all things that reference the “Walk of Shame”. Speaking of douchebags, I also included a clip of my favorite Real World cast member ever, “Joey” who should be on the fast track for his own reality show platform soon where we can all witness him binge drink, chow down protein shakes and inevitably, perish. Amp should underwrite his eventual demise.

When Expectations equal Hype

Much has been made about the migration of eyeballs online and the impending reality that the majority of media will be mostly consumed via the Internet. I, myself am a staunch proponent of this theory as much of my day is spent trumpeting the tremendous benefits of advertising online. Consequently, I must also admit that on rare occasions the result does not quite live up to the hype. The below is definitely NOT one of those times. My colleague Mac Delaney summed the below interactive ad up best when he stated that “softcore meets soft shells”. This is simply innovation at it’s best. Traditional media suffers yet another blow and kudos to Taco Bell. First the Mexican Pizza, now this. Click image below to start your shoot!

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“You Give Blog A Bad Name…”

For some reason modern society has a fascination with pedophilia or at least the people who are afflicted with the disease. It’s easily the most offensive and inexcusable of crimes, unless you can moonwalk and take Webster as your date to the Grammy’s. The fact that this did not receive greater outrage at the time is ridiculous. I mean imagine if Justin Timberlake brought….hmm…I’m getting so old I don’t even know midget child stars anymore, but you get the point. Thanks to NBC Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator” however, we are all much better educated about the topic. For instance, whenever the shows comes up in casual conversation, it is inevitably followed by cries of gleeful disgust with the ubiquitous statement, “I love that show”, immediately followed by a bad impression of the show’s uber wasp host. Misanthropy Today had a funny post about this trend. I guess the segment’s success can be attributed to sort of a car wreck type phenomenon where viewers can revel in the deserved, utter humiliation of depressingly sad, pathetic individuals as they hit rock bottom.

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It was only a matter of time until this subject entered the blogosphere as Jack McClellan was arrested for lurking outside a UCLA day care center yesterday. The perv had received occasional press over the last few years this for his blog that openly displayed his lust for extremely young girls including pictures he took at playgrounds and other public venues. Due to the fact that he had never been caught acting on his intentions he had never been previously arrested. It’s a standard cliche that when child molesters and mass murderers are caught someone remarks that they did not appear to look the type. McClellan is the exception to the rule as he truly looks the part. One can easily imagine him spending countless hours in his parent’s basement researching sex tours in Thailand while listening to Slipknow and slurping down Big Gulps. Although, I must admit he is not as creepy as the dude with the khakis pulled up to his armpits who falsely claimed to kill Jon Benet Ramsey. That guy might possibly be the scariest thing in hagar slacks since Mr. Kozart, my algebra teacher in 9th grade. They should add the guy from “Silence of the Lambs” who put the lotion in the basket and get the band back together.

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This latest incident will undoubtedly lead to the traditional media blowing up the topic and a number of talking heads on Fox and CNN talking about the implicit danger of blogs and social networks. The irony is of course, is that if this ass clown had not posted maintained his blog as way to most likely purge his guilt; law enforcement would never have been privy to his nauseating yearnings and illicit desires. I guess I’m guilty of buying into the impending hype as well by posting a blog about it but something tells me that Bill O’Reilly’s and Nancy Grace’s respective staffs are allready whipping up a piece that will strike as much fear as a Karl Rove spin tactic. After all, the media is at somewhat of loss at the moment as Nicole Richie appears to be ingesting food and Lindsey Lohan will probably not have access to an 8 ball within the next 14 calendar days. Vegas currently has 2 to 1 odds that within 2 months one of the seven Law & Order series or 8 CSIs has a plot-line about an overweight, pasty blogger who uses web 2.0 technology to lure his unsuspecting prey. Come to think of it maybe David Caruso could play the perp as well based on this pic. Here’s hoping that McClellan ends up in the slammer and gets jumped by some Piru Bloods.

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