Thursday, January 18, 2007
Thom Forbes, January 18, 2007, 11:30 AM
  • Super Bowl Is An Advertiser's Touchdown MSNBC

    Technology such as TiVo, which allows viewers to zip through commercials, is changing the way marketers allocate their ad budgets. But the Super Bowl continues to be a sure thing. Because it's live, the allure the big game holds for advertisers could grow stronger. Some experts say those who do record the Super Bowl may be doing so specifically to watch the ads again, while using the fast-forward button to skip through the game.

    Still, many major advertisers question whether they're getting their money's worth in traditional TV. Other companies are designing ads knowing that they might be watched more closely, more than once and on different platforms.

    FedEx ad director Steve Pacheco says the company's ads now need to stand up to being seen live, played back on a DVR, viewed over the Web or even downloaded to a portable device like a video iPod. "You've got to give it a lot more thought than you used to." Read the whole story...

  • Marketers Get Personal In Bid For Viral USA Today today launches, at which consumers can upload a photo, age the person 50 years and e-mail it to friends. Message: The stress of a bad job will age you. The move is part of a recent wave of personal viral marketing that gets consumers engaged with product messages.

    This week, Masterfoods USA's M&M's unveiled, where consumers can create likenesses of themselves as an M&M character in 27 million possible combinations and e-mail the results to friends. Over the holidays, OfficeMax allowed consumers to "elf" themselves at, where they could upload photos and have faces appear on a dancing elf that could be e-mailed to others.

    Marketers can no longer use "down-your-throat" ads that just push messages at consumers, says Richard Castellini, consumer-marketing head for As traditional advertising continues to lose power, he says, personalized marketing builds brand buzz. Read the whole story...

  • Time Warner Exhibit Showcases "Future"The Wall Street Journal (registration required)

    Time Warner Cable's "Home to the Future" road show opened this week in New York as the telecommunications giant seeks to create a stronger brand in a field that faces new competition from telephone companies. The company's first attempt at experiential marketing is designed to show consumers that it can supply a suite of services that will take competitors years to replicate.

    Though the installation's title may suggest futuristic, most of what is on display--such as high-definition digital cable provided through set-top boxes, a cellphone that delivers live television and "Startover," a video-on-demand technology that allows viewers to watch a program already in progress in its entirety--is already available or will be rolled out in the coming months. And that's the point.

    After three weeks in New York, the interactive display will travel around the country to 12 cities where Time Warner Cable has operations, including Los Angeles and Dallas. Time Warner is also using the exhibit to present digital products from other parts of the media giant, such as, a celebrity Web site operated by AOL and Warner Bros. Read the whole story...

  • Audi Pushes Marketing In U.S. Ad Age

    German car company Audi is putting the pedal to the metal as it revs up its marketing motor to build brand awareness in the U.S. The company is frustrated that it hasn't been able to break into the ranks of America's top luxury brands.

    Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi of America, says, "It's time for [us] to stop being so understated." To that end, the company plans to add more experiential marketing, including online, public relations, events and traditional advertising. Germany's Audi has identified North America and Asia as its two major growth markets.

    In the spring, it will introduce the second-generation Audi TT with the all-new R8 to follow in the summer. It is "really the year of emotion for us," says de Nysschen, adding that the company has given its online agency the green light "to take advantage of the anything-is-possible landscape of the Web." Read the whole story...

  • Find Success In Surreal Ads The New York Times's dancing silhouette ads may be crazy, but they may just be the lunatics successful marketers are looking for, to paraphrase Billy Joel. The company is one of the Internet's biggest advertisers and says the ads work so well, they won't disappear anytime soon.

    "Building a brand is often about being different," says Matt Coffin, co-founder and CEO of "If you keep seeing the same ads, that means they are working." The company's success hinges on buying lots of low-cost ad space on Web sites and then persuading users to click. "Our view is that people are crazy about saving money, and when they do save money they are very happy."

    According to TNS Media Intelligence, spent nearly $75 million on those ads in the first 11 months of 2006. Says one industry observer: "The last time I checked, advertising was designed to draw people's attention. On that level, LowerMyBills succeeds with a gold star." Read the whole story...