by Chris Shugart
Someone with a flair for Hollywood marketing came up with this clever up-to-date movie trailer. The style is right on the money.
by Chris Shugart
I’m happy to inform you that the Aflac duck is back, so all is right with the world once again. Ever since comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired for making insensitive jokes about the Japan tsunami disaster on his Twitter page, Aflac had been on a recruiting mission for a new spokesduck. It would appear they’ve found him. (see the video)
Shortly after Gottfried was fired, the blogosphere reacted. There was a considerable backlash of criticism that Aflac had overreacted, had no sense of humor, and that Gilbert Gottfried’s tsunami jokes were at worst, a minor infraction of bad taste. Certainly nothing so objectionable that it should get someone fired.
Fortunately for this duck-endorsed insurance company, sensible men prevailed. Rather than bend to the whims of the internet peanut gallery, Aflac did the only thing an established and publicly prominent business could do. They fired the guy. The only thing that surprised me was Gottfried’s reaction. He didn’t seem to see it coming. Anyone with any understanding of corporate culture knew it was inevitable.
And thus the Aflac duck saga reminds us that multi-billion dollar companies are not here to provide online spectators with their daily yucks. And if you’re a company spokesperson, it would be best to remember that you represent a professional organization whose first responsibility is to their customers and shareholders. They care little about your Twitter followers your Facebook “likes” or the number of views on your YouTube page. Social media can be entertaining, even informative. But business is still business.
by Chris Shugart
If there’s such a thing as a Truth in Advertising Award, I nominate the Dead Space 2 commercial that bluntly declares that your mom will hate it. The ad shows distraught, disgruntled, and disgusted mothers expressing their objections to the horror shooter game that involves, among other things, dismembering reanimated human corpses called Necromorphs.
The TV commercial is more than just a gimmick. The moms featured in the ad are from a focus group of honest to goodness real moms each reacting to the virtual video carnage. In fact game developer/distributor Visceral Games proudly declares, “Over 200 moms were subjected to some of the most disturbing footage in video game history.”
A video game that claims to upset disapproving mothers is no idle boast. The Entertainment Software Rating Board has rated the game “M” which means it has “content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.” The rating also suggests that such games in this category “may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.”
Now I’m not necessarily convinced that such marketing candor will be ultimately successful, but Visceral Games certainly thinks so. They’re sponsoring a Your Mom Hates This Sweepstakes that asks players to record their own moms’ reaction and post it on Twitter to win a Play Station 3. One tweet reports that their mom threw up after viewing the gory mayhem. If nothing else, I guess you could say that the Dead Space 2 promotion has added a new dimension to the idea of “going viral.”
It’s hardly the first time an advertiser has taken a negative and turned it into a positive. And the strategy here is neither mysterious nor complicated. It’s a simple message that’s resonated with adolescents since the beginning of civilization: If your mom hates it, it must be cool.
Anyone who watches NFL football in the postseason is well accustomed to the pre-game puffery that precedes each game. NFL officials on the field can’t even flip a coin until Terry Bradshaw and Dan Marino have weighed in with their amusing trifles, locker room banter, and over-thought analysis. By the time the Super Bowl arrives, the pre-game show has taken a life of its own, a veritable pageant of everything football that’s guaranteed to last longer than a Brett Favre deposition.
When it comes to Super Bowl hype, we can’t leave the TV commercials out of the conversation. For many viewers the ads have become as important as the game itself. Maybe more. So why not a pre-game show that focuses on the advertising? The material is certainly available to anyone who wants it. Just go to www.superbowl-commercials.org for this year’s line up of advertising players.
Super Bowl veterans like Pepsi and Doritos will surely be fired up and ready for game day. But what will rookies like Best Buy have to do to make an impact in its first Super Bowl competition? And there’s sure to be some gridiron action coming from the roster of car companies this year going head to head for market superiority. After 60 minutes in the trenches, who remains standing? Will it be Audi, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, or perhaps the upstart Carmax who’s making its debut as a national advertiser?
While we’re making ad prognostications we ought to consider the Las Vegas betting lines that are sure to follow. Bookmakers could be handicapping consumer response point spreads, calculating over-under totals on market share, and turning multiple product parlays into some interesting betting combinations. I’m already getting excited.
If football fans can watch beer bottles run a few scrimmages in the Bud Bowl, we’re certainly ready for James Brown breaking down the advertising strategies and tactics we’ll be seeing during official game timeouts. So let’s get with it Fox Sports (this year’s TV network host). Is there anything more competitive than Madison Avenue people facing off in the NFL trenches? I can almost hear the roar of the crowd as the announcer declares, “And now a word from our sponsor.”