On April Fools’ Day, as is always the case, there were a few interesting items sent to us from agencies. One such joke came to us from Crispin Porter + Bogusky on behalf of Fruit of
the Loom. The agency created the "Undie Iron," a tiny iron designed to be worn on one finger while, yes, ironing your undies. It's USB powered and we are told it will go on sale in 2022. Check it out
here. It's yet another innovation from the brand which has given us the reinvented boxer brief for men and the ladies’ cotton panty.
Another great April Fools’ Day gag came to us from RPA which created the Honda Fit Kit for those "tinkerers" who like to build everything themselves. After using the “build and price” feature to configure their Fit online, customers are offered the choice of building it themselves or taking delivery of a "Honda-assembled vehicle" at a Honda dealership. With the build-at-home option, now...ahem... in beta, customers will receive a detailed instruction manual and DVD along with a complete set of parts to assemble a 2015 Fit. With over 200,000 parts, we're guessing the assembly process will be a bit more involved than the IKEA furniture assembly process.
Oy Vey. Sadly, this is not an April Fool's joke. A&E will air an eight-episode unscripted docu-series entitled The Herbert Brothers, which will center on the lives of five siblings who start their own ad agency together. The Herbert Brothers follows five brothers in Batesville, Ind., who won a contest to create a Doritos commercial to air during the Super Bowl, and use their $1 million prize to start their own ad agency in their home town. As if The Pitch weren't bad enough, now we have to listen to a bunch of brothers and a sister bitch at each other on a weekly basis.
Change is the
new normal over at FCB. Global CEO Carter Murray is in the process of completely revamping the agency with a name change, a rebrand and several key hires. His latest hire is Bryan Crawford, who
will become vice chairman of the network. Crawford has been chairman and group CEO of FCB Australia and New Zealand (formerly Draftfcb) for the past eight years, an agency group that has received
global recognition for its award-winning creative campaigns. Crawford joins the global management team and reports to Murray. He will retain his current role as chairman and group CEO of FCB Australia
and New Zealand.
In other agency shufflings, Gustavo Martinez, global president of JWT Worldwide, announced the appointment of Lynn Power as a managing director of JWT New York. Power will partner with Claire Capeci, who was named managing director in December 2013 to lead the agency's flagship New York office. Power was most recently with Arnold New York, where she served as president and managing partner. Both Power and Capeci will report directly to Martinez.
For the past day or so, it seems impossible to escape from a Google News alert that isn't filled with that story about popular Indian celebrity Aishwarya Rai, who appeared in an ad for Kalyan
Jewellers elegantly dressed with a dark-skinned child holding an umbrella over her head. Many have called the ad racist.
An open letter from a consortium of feminist, child and human rights groups says the ad appears to "be representing aristocracy from a bygone era -- bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head."
The letter, which shares several examples of 17th- and 18th-century images that would now be considered racist, continues: "We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product...we, therefore, urge you to do the right thing -- cease to associate yourself with this offensive image by ensuring that further use of this advertisement is stopped."
In response, a statement from Aishwarya pretty much shirks any responsibility and blames the creative agency for the debacle. The statement read: "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment (picture of Aishwarya without the child holding the umbrella) of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again."
Kalyan Jewellers has pulled the ad.
On Wednesday at the LSA|15 Conference in Los Angeles, the Local Search Association announced the winners of its second annual Ad to Action Awards competition. LSA received 91 entries across 10
categories and the winners were revealed on the main stage at the event.
The competition focused on celebrating the most innovative "local" marketing products or solutions that facilitate consumer actions such as calls, clicks, store visits, etc. The winners demonstrated the greatest potential for driving local consumer engagement and best addressed current market needs.
The judging panel -- made up of 18 companies including Twitter, Foursquare, Yahoo, MapQuest, xAd and more -- evaluated these products and solutions. Each judge reviewed a subset of entries and no judge reviewed any entries where there was a potential conflict of interest.
In the Platforms and Services category, Chicago-based Rise Interactive, which likes to refer to itself as an "interactive investment management firm," won the top spot. And we can see why. Any agency that can spin the fact that they buy online advertising into "interactive investment management form" is worthy of praise.
For, oh, at least the past 7-10 years, every prognosticator has gleefully been promising "this is the year of mobile!" to the point where it's become a joke. Now, certainly, mobile has matured and
has become a viable medium for many things including advertising. But AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto isn't completely convinced.
In an interview with The Drum, Inamoto said, “To an extent I think the promise of mobile in relation to marketing has been exaggerated. The biggest misconception about mobile and the biggest mistake that advertisers make about mobile is to treat it like an advertising channel. Instead we should use it as a way to provide service not to provide a message.”
And, being the smart guy that he is, he's right. Rather than forcing old models (*cough* ...banners) through mobile devices, brands should embrace new services. Many have. Love them or hate them, Inamoto cites Uber as a brand that's fully embraced mobile, not as an advertising medium per se but, rather, as a platform for doing business.
So, yes, mobile has finally arrived. But my hope for the medium is that we can skip past all the missteps we took forcing old advertising models onto the internet and treat mobile very differently and more effectively. Like the personal service it has become. Not a pipe through which to shove ads.
In an audit of the 1,000 posts that BuzzFeed deleted from its site, three were deleted because advertisers complained. Yes, it's true. Don't like what someone writes about you? All you have to do
is bitch a little and get it removed.
In 2013, BuzzFeed published a post about an Axe body spray ad that was, it seems, not very positive. The brand's agency at the time didn't like what they read, complained and it was removed. Also is 2013, the publication chided Microsoft about its Internet Explorer browser. According to BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith, the post was deleted because its author "had worked on a Microsoft ad campaign, and BuzzFeed's chief revenue officer complained about the post to me."
A third post, published in January 2014, which discussed what brands had planned on Twitter for the Super Bowl was pulled because it was critical of what Pepsi had planned and -- oops, the brand's Twitter account was handled by BuzzFeed staff at the time. Of that decision, Smith said: "We'd never previously considered the case of an editor that would be writing about an ad that was produced by our creative team, but we decided it was inappropriate and deleted the post." Really?
Remember when advertising and editorial where separate entities? Yeah, neither do I. We've all been pummeled so hard with native advertising bullshit over the past few years that it's practically become -- much like the banner before it -- invisible. Not to mention the over-the-top, incessant use of ridiculously sensationalistic clickbait headlines that achieved nothing but to quicken the tactic's invisibility.