Monday, May 29, 2006

Dasani Appeals to Doggy Style

Dasani has a ad featured on their Web site that was too raunchy for TV. The spot is from the campaign featuring people dressed as animals touting their water. It's just as good as the other spots in the campaign, but Dasani probably told the agency, "not on TV, but you can put the dirty one online."

The spot ends with a French poodle saying, "Dasani appeals to my doggy style." Clever, even though it falls under the category of sophmoric humor. But, the point is that Dasani didn't kill the ad. It might not be on TV, but they gave it life on the Internet.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Lucky Minnesota and the Collective Unconscious

To promote the Minnesota State lottery, Colle+McVoy created a town called Lucky, MN. Not a bad idea, but quite a familiar one. Barkley, Evergreen & Partners of Kansas City, Missouri promoted the Missouri Lottery with a very similar fictional city named, "Luckytown."

The boys over at American Copywriter like to talk about the "collective unconscious," although they put it in the context of advertising rather than Carl Jung's original psychological context. In advertising, this theory is the notion that two people working completely independently of each other can come up with the same idea.

New ad campaigns will always resemble their predecessors, lending credibility to the old adage, there are no new ideas in advertising. But what about the exact same idea with a different execution in a different state only a few years later? I think I know what Barkley Evergreen would say.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nothing is Impossible for Adidas

Lately, everyone wants to resurrect figures from the past for commercials. For the most part, I think it comes off as cheesey and in poor taste. However, a new Adidas commercial promoting the upcoming World Cup has me rethinking the issue.

The commercial features two little boys picking their "impossible" fantasy soccer teams. The picks are a who's who in today's international soccer scene. Then, one of the kids picks Franz Beckenbauer, the legendary German international player.

Most of these commercials don't really need the resurrection, they just want to capitalize on the a legendary image to move product and be cool by association. However, there was more than enough star power in the spot without Beckenbauer. It also is less creepy because Franz Beckenbauer isn't dead, so his likeness probably had his blessing. Beckenbauer ends up being the twist in the commerical, which fits in nicely with Adidas' "impossible is nothing" campaign. It's also a nice touch to bring back a German player, since the tournament is in Germany.

Final verdict: Adidas' resurrection of Beckenbauer works well. It was released internationally, and even has en extended German version to play to the home crowd. It's well done, and well timed. Plus, Adidas needed to get on the ball to compete with Nike's World Cup ads.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Keep Political Speech Unregulated in Blogs

This is an opinion piece I wrote for my First Amendment class.

Blogging is a new form of social media that provides a forum for the opinions of many and connects people from all around the world. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, at least 8 million U.S. adults have their own blogs and 27% of Americans read blogs. In fact, blogs became so important that in 2004, bloggers attended both the Democratic and Republican parties’ national conventions. But, the freedom of these bloggers to express their political opinions, as granted by the first amendment, is unjustifiably being called into question because there is no clear precedent in regulating political speech on the Internet.

On March 28, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) won a great victory for the first amendment and political speech on the Internet. The FEC voted unanimously to adopt campaign-finance rules to keep most political speech on the Internet unregulated and protect the rights of individuals to freely express their political opinions through the Internet.

The strides the FEC made to secure these rights is only a temporary solution, the issue is still under evaluation and the public has until June 3 to weigh in on the matter. However, a proposed bill from U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling seeks to grant these essential rights to bloggers for good. Hensarling wants Congress to keep bloggers immune from the campaign finance reform regulations that the traditional media must heed. This keeps bloggers from needing to tag “paid for by whomever” onto each post to avoid legal consequences.

When Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, they were right not to place regulations on the Internet. However, it was wrong not to take it one step further and guarantee the free speech rights of bloggers. The reform act simply clumps all speech under the tag of “public communications,” but Congress and the FEC must exclude the Internet from that sweeping generality to protect Internet speech. This protection includes bloggers and other political commentators, but does not protect advertisements. This could unfairly restrict the speech of bloggers from political interest groups because it only protects uncompensated individuals using their own publicly available computer equipment.

People who read blogs do so because they find the content interesting, respect the bloggers’ opinions or because they hate the writer and seek to justify their hatred. This being the case, it is illogical to restrict speech or require blogs to disclose any endorsement from political parties or candidates. If a blog sells out and makes every word a pitch for a candidate, the readers will know. And if they disagree, they will stop reading the blog. However, the readers likely read the blog because they agree with the stance the blog or organization takes, and likely sought out these messages.

Political speech on the Internet has not been regulated in the past, and for good reason. The Internet is a medium where the user seeks out the information they want. So if they want to read a blog praising one candidate or another, it doesn’t matter if the endorsement was paid for or awarded on the basis of merit. No one in their right mind would go to a left-leaning blog, such as, seeking praise for George W. Bush.

In the Branzburg v. Hayes case, which dealt with the requirement of journalists to appear to testify and identify their sources, Justice Byron White said, “Freedom of the press is a ‘fundamental personal right’ which ‘is not confined to newspapers and periodicals.” Had this ruling occurred today, Justice White would likely specifically list the Internet as an extension where free speech must be protected.

First amendment philosopher Thomas Emerson would also advocate the protection of political speech on the Internet. Emerson believed political speech must be protected at all costs because it enabled democracy. He maintained that government derives its power from the people so these people must have full and unabridged freedom of expression. This would certainly include bloggers, especially those addressing political issues.

Blogs are meant to be forums for opinions; all the more reason the first amendment must be extended to protect their political speech. If this fundamental right is taken away or bloggers are forced to disclose all outside interests and input, there would be more disclosure than free expression. Congress must protect the right of political expression on the Internet, especially for bloggers. There is no precedent for limiting political expression on the Internet, but the long-standing philosophy of Emerson serves as the path to free expression in this matter.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Don't be this guy

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wal-Mart's Smile Goes Down in Flames

Wal-Mart put their agencies, Bernstein-Rein and GSD&M under review, because they want to promote a new image. No longer are they just promoting low prices. Now, they want to be known for the quality of their products. This means that "Captain Smiley," as I'll call him, won't be swashbuckling his way into your hearts and rolling back prices any more.

So if Wal-Mart is phasing out "Captain Smiley," why are they fighting a legal battle to preserve him? They are suing some guy in France who claims to have the trademark for the smiley face. Seems like a waste of money to protect an advertising icon that is going the way of Mr. Whipple and the "time to make the donuts" guy.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Hyundai Lets Fans Tag Buses

To promote the upcoming World Cup, Hyundai let users submit and vote on the slogans that will adorn the sides of the buses for each of the 32 countries.

Some of these slogans are good, some bad, and some are just plain weird. The United States voted for the cliché but inspiring tagline, "United we play, United we win." However, Switzerland opted for a more humorous approach in the ever-popular "2006, it's Swiss o'clock." Either that, or it's a bad translation.

This is a good little strategy involving consumer generated content. Get the fans involved in something they care about. Blow it up, and put it on the side of your bus. Then drive the actual team around in at the biggest tournament in the world.
Well done Hyundai.