Entries Tagged 'Life on the Net' ↓

Jeans Billboard and 1800’s Gentleman

An enterprising photographer has taken a photo of the Plugg ™ jeans billboard in Times Square. You know the one: there were rumors that it was too raunchy even for the new Times Square, and that it would never be displayed.

Apparently not, because there it is, just over the shoulder of what one blogger called an 1800’s gentleman.

The gentlman is George M. Cohan (1878-1942), the old time Broadway actor, and prolific playwright. He’s the man portrayed in the James Cagney movie, Yankee Doodle Dandy.

The billboard behind it does conjure up old Times Square, though. (Frankly, I think the pigeon on Mr. Cohan’s head is more annoying than the billboard.)

British Ad Agency Websites Reviewed

Several major UK agency sites are reviewed by The Independent. There’s a “geek report,” “obligatory platitude” and “excruciating moment” for each website. The geek report rates the usability and look of the site, while the other two rate the those lofty lines and flubs that agencies sometimes create to sell themselves.

Some examples of platitudes: “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…”, the page filler –“Greek” text — left up on the Budweiser page by Cake Media; “the power of one” from Euro RSCG; “consumer chemistry” from RKCR/Y&R .

Someone should rate American ad agency sites the same way.

Go to this website TV scam

Have you seen those work-at-home TV spots, the annoying ones that require you to watch the commercial and read the url, because the address is never given in the voice over? The numbers the give on the site for the “home-based busineses” are ridiculous, $10,000 a month, $20,000 a month. Huh?
The spokespeople are good — upbeat, but not cracking up from the overpromise in the copy.

OK, lately they do say the website in the voice over. (The website address keeps changing. One step ahead of the law or just tracking which commercial or which time slot worked better?)

I fearlessly went to the site expecting some snake-oil pitch about the amazing profits to be made in real estate or mail order. Instead, the site simply asked me for my contact information. I gave it to them, slightly edited.

But here’s the kicker. That’s all that happened. They assured me they would be in touch. The whole site is two pages, apparently. There are no jillion dollars per month promises, either, just general talk about the joys of being your own boss.

So the whole thing is trolling for addresses, street or email. Very creepy. Read an expose of all the details of this source of fresh meat for someone’s spam campaign here.

Japan bans Tivo ™ ad skipping?

There is a story on a blog that Japanese advertisers — worried about the effects of Tivo on their TV commercials — have influenced the Japanese government to ban fast forwarding through commercials. Read the details for yourself.

Apparently, skipping commercials is a violation of Japanese copyright law. (Washington, are you listening?)

I personally find I am more aware of the products being advertised when I fast forward. I watch the screen intently to catch the resumption of the program. (Not that I am aware of the commercial content, just the advertiser.)

Paris Hilton TV Spoof

There’s a new spoof of the current Paris Hilton Carl’s Jr. TV commercial.

To me, it demonstrates what good sound track can do to improve anything: bad costumes, bad dance routines, or even bad casting.

The spot advertises Accolo, a recruitment company.

One version of the real Paris burger spot is pretty riveting, too. It’s an “internet only” :60 version. Washing a car never seemed this spicy before.

More on Ad Songs

Let’s continue the online voting results held by Slate for least favorite ad songs. Next is Creedance Clearwater Rivival’s Fortunate Son paired with a Wrangler jeans spot. The problem is the spot is patriotic, and the song , while you can dance to it, is a defiant, anti-capitalism polemic. The music fights the visuals.

Third in this contest of inappropriate music is the use of Janis Joplin’s classic Mercedes Benz to sell the German cars. The song really is asking God to buy you some luxuries because you are totally down and out.

It’s a great song, and probably is used in this way because many of those Baby Boomers who grew in the Joplin era, Janis not Scott, can now afford the MB brand.

Visual Thesaurus?

A company called ThinkMap has invented a Visual Thesaurus, a kind of road map of word meanings — with word dots linked by straight lines.

It’s looks useful, practical, efficient, usable, but my online trial lasted two lookups which is hardly enough to demonstrate its usefulness. (Oops, apparently the trial limits the daily uses to two.)

There’s another catch for me, at least. The language is very British, both in written and spoken forms. (There is an audio pronunciation feature. But because I’m American, I really don’t speak like that.) Then, too, a synonym for dessert is “afters.” Say what? Again, this is British English. It might help me translate British to American English.

It found “copywriting” was related to “copy editing” as well as “typewriting, ” and distantly “employee.” (This last word looks like a full day’s drive from “copywriting.”)

As Truman Capote said of Jack Kerouac’s work: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” (I don’t view “typewriting” as a close synonym of “copywriting.”)

I will consider this as a possible addition to my huge Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale. The Visual Thesaurus may equal Rodale, but I don’t think it can beat that dog-eared old friend.

Prices? The online version of the new product is $20 a year or $3 a month; the product on your desktop with no internet connection needed is $30. At those prices, it is worth trying out, if you live in the UK or want to talk as if you do.

Ad hoax du jour

Apparently advertising hoaxes on the internet are going around.

DDB France has put up a site promoting an undersea train called Transatlantys with 8-hour travel btween Paris and New York.

Though this engineering project will take eleven years to complete, you can register to be the first on this miracle ride.

But the fine print reveals your trip must take place before the end of this year. Not only that, but the visual shows a windowed submarine and yet the copy says it’s a tunnel. (Somehow the thought of seeing the ocean whizzing by at 400 m.p.h. makes me seasick.)

There’s considerable discussion on the internet about this and most think it’s a hoax.

Someone has commented the passenger shown in the futuristic drawing looks terrified. That’s true, but maybe he’s travelling faster than the speed of light to go back in time 11 years?

Safire on Pop-up Ads

William Safire, of The New York Times , has written an enlightening little history of pop-ups, both online and off.

In it, he traces the pop-up ad back to children’s books of yesteryear as well real paper-and-glue pop-up print ads.The first mention he finds in the Times, is May 4th, 1967 when the Butler Manufacturing Company ran a pop-up ad in Nations Business.

I thought it was rather limited of Mr. Safire to simply review references in his own newspaper. But now I see why: Internet search engines do not know about print ads that pop up when the page is turned, only those pop-ups on the net.

Safire finds another early use of pop-up in describing the menus in Apple’s Lisa computer (Remember them? Think of a Macintosh’s ™ mom.) John Markoff wrote of this in InfoWorld in July, 1983.

Last month, Rep. Markey of Massachusetts decried the use of pop-up ads on the Internet. He has introduced a bill called the “Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass” act.

Why the bad translation sound? It’s called the SPYACT, for short.

New blog print mag is hoax

There were many postings last week about the new print magazine, Blogerity.

Unfortunately or not, it is now revealed to be a hoax. See Sean Bonner’s blog.

Oops, to quote their own site, “Blogerity is not a hoax.”

Whatever it is or will be, I’m sure it’s a way to turn this publicity into profits.