In marketing, what goes down well in the office ideas pod might actually be a teensy bit dodgy in real life. Like this alleged campaign by Intelligent Marketing Solutions (the clue is in the name), who are apparently paying people to pose as shoppers and demand that Typhoo is stocked in more stores. By generating a fake demand for it, they obviously hope that sales will increase.
But, er, isn’t this all a bit dodgy? Take for example, the email from IMS to its secret shoppers:
‘We have been asked by our client to contact Sainsbury’s by the following methods [email, Facebook etc] to ask why they no longer stock Typhoo tea in a specific store (the stores will be listed) and to ask if this product can be restocked. Rates of pay are £1.50 per call, with the exception of the letter and telephone assignment, which are paid at £2.50.’
The online ‘assignment’ involved stores all around the country, and shoppers were asked not to identify themselves as marketing lackeys. But the plan is now apparently on hold after the media got wind of the email.
It’s still not clear whether IMS is working for Typhoo, or on behalf of some crazy tea head who is willing to pay thousands to see their favourite brew back on the shelves. What’s the betting it IS Typhoo? After all, it tastes like pond water, and the only person who ever buys it is your gran.
Since Facebook took control of Instagram, it was clear that, at some point, the photo-sharing app was going to have to earn its keep. It didn’t take long for an announcement about adverts appearing on people’s timelines of sunsets, dead-eyed cats and dreary vistas of nights out.
Ads will begin appearing in users’ feeds this week and in a blog post, showed what they’ll look like. They picked two artsy-fartsy ads, but you can imagine ones for penis growth pills and weight-loss regimes won’t be nearly as tasteful. That said, IG will be hand-picking the early advertisers, with Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s first in the queue.
The main difference is that these commercials and normal photos is that, in the right corner, users will have a blue arrow icon and the word “sponsored”, just so you don’t get confused. You’ll be able to tell IG to hide it or tell them why you don’t like a given ad.
Is this all a bit intrusive, or is it a fair trade-off for a free service?
The Advertising Standards Authority is looking at banning a bus thanks to a load of wimps complaining about an advert on the side for being too scary. The complaints relate to Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest, which is currently on over one hundred buses.
Stuart Beare, organiser of the Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest event, said: ”The image of the zombie girl on our advertising is no worse than many images you’ll see at this time of year in newspapers and magazines, on the Halloween costumes in the supermarket aisles and even on kids’ TV programmes.”
“We have been running our Halloween events for over 15 years, and they are extremely popular, with up to 5,000 people a night going through the six haunted houses and rides.”
“We are waiting for the Advertising Standards Authority to come back to us with their judgment to see if we have to take the ads off the buses.”
An Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman said: “We have received three complaints about the Tulleys Farm Halloween bus ads so far. We had complaints about the same ad last year, and we did not find that there were grounds for an investigation. While it’s possible the outcome will be the same this time, we will thoroughly assess each complaint we receive at this point until a decision has been made.”
Some people deserve to be frightened to a very literal death for being too wimpish, so we can only hope the ASA ignore this pointless bluster.
Fairy Liquid’s age old claim that it lasts twice a long as other brands has been contested by its closest rival, Persil, who say that the latest ads for Fairy are false and their claims are unsubstantiated. But the ASA has overruled Persil, after they found that Fairy really DOES last twice as long.
Persil got in a lather over its new campaign, featuring the slogan ‘Fairyconomy’, and a picture of bottle of Fairy with an equals sign – followed by a photo of two bottles of the ‘next best-selling brand.’ According to Nielsen data, that brand is Persil.
Persil challenged the ads, saying that it was an unfair comparison, and no mention was made of the actual size of the bottle of Fairy.
But the ASA threw out the complaint, saying that Procter and Gamble could prove it: ‘We sought expert advice on the robustness of the evidence provided by Procter & Gamble. The expert considered the test reflected the practices of consumers and demonstrated that Fairy lasted at least twice as long as Persil. On that basis, we considered the claims that Fairy lasted twice as long as the next best-selling brand had been substantiated.’
Is this the beginning of washing up liquid war? Will there be a Persil Challenge? Either way, things are going to get nasty, and er…bubbly.
Tracking service, Renew London, had fitted their devices into 12 bins to collect footfall data by tracking signals from people wandering past with their phones. These smartbins are around the City of London and obtain a unique identification number (or a MAC address if you’re into that sort of thin) for anything nearby that has WiFi switched on.
With the information, advertisers can then send out targeted commercials on the bins.
However, people weren’t keen on this and privacy campaigners – Big Brother Watch – raised concerns to the City of London Corporation and asked them to put an end to these bins. Despite the strict cookie laws, tracking phones is still a legal grey area in the UK and many think that it is an invasion of privacy.
As such, they’ve been binned off.
Renew’s chief executive Kaveh Memari said the company had “stopped all trials in the meantime” and added that the devices had only recorded “extremely limited, encrypted, aggregated and anonymised data” and that the bins were just “glorified people-counters in the street.”
Just when you thought Ryanair couldn’t get any eye rollingly tacky, they’re now introducing plans to turn planes into flying billboards. As a spokesman explained, in typical Ryanairspeak, planes are going to double up as ‘Britain’s largest – and cheapest – advertising medium.’
The move comes after Ryanair announced an uncharacteristic 21% dip in profits last quarter, which the airline say was related to rising fuel costs and the early Easter. Michael O’Leary, never one to miss a money making opportunity, is frantically trying to claw it back. As a result, businesses will be able to advertise on the plane’s fuselage and its wings for 12 months at a time.
In another money saving bid, Ryanair pilots have also been asked to fly more slowly to preserve fuel and reduce costs by 15%.
So picture your next holiday. It takes you a day and a half to get to Fyzyzyzczyk airport, (300 miles away from your destination) because you’re going at 3 miles an hour. Not only that, but you are crammed into a tin can with ‘Barry’s Red Kola’ written on the side and ‘Carpet World’ on the wings.
Not exactly the golden age of travel, is it?
Finally, something to do with the ASA that isn’t just another example of Price-Drop TV misleading customers.
Independent brewery Brew Dog this week featured in the ASA rulings following a single complaint made against them that language they used on their site was offensive. Phrases used included:
BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery
Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination
…and everyones favourite…
Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards
WHAT HAVE MY EYES JUST SEEN?! Just appalling. Vile. Repulsive. These guys should just apologise to that affected person and make assurances to the ASA that this type of despicable language will NEVER feature on their site or be associated with their brand in the future. According to the Herald Scotland, BrewDog co-founder James Watt had this to say in response to the ruling:
We actually just took down the statement on our website to make room for the equity for punks stuff. Soon, we will be putting the statement back on our website.
We believe in freedom of speech and artistic expression. We don’t believe in mindless censorship.
As for the ASA – those mother f*ckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.
This clearly raises many questions about censorship and context. Is it fair a company such as BrewDog can have the ASA dictate what is acceptable following a complaint by just the one individual? Does it make any difference that this individual was visiting a page dedicated to a brewery?
Do let us know and if you want to get involved in the discussion with BrewDog, their Twitter page is alive with thoughts and opinions. #KissMyASA
The future is a dark and horrible place, thanks to two inventions that are being flaunted around by absolute madmen.
First off, is Microsoft’s new touchscreen that can touch you back. The screen mimics how physical objects feel by offering ‘tactile feedback’ to users (which will make pornography a whole new frontier).
Microsoft say this haptic technology “[does] for the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision.”
The continue: “The force-feedback monitor responds to convey the sensation of different materials: The stone block “feels” hard to the touch and requires more force to push, while the sponge block is soft and easy to push.”
Naturally, Microsoft aren’t thinking of bongo films, but rather, they’re hoping this will be useful for the medical profession, with one of the engineers saying: “I could see an image of the front of a brain and pushing a finger through the layers of the brain to travel through the data. I could imagine receiving haptic feedback when you encountered an anomaly, such as a tumor, because we can change the haptic response based on what you touch.”
The rest of us meanwhile, will be pretending to finger cam girls.
Elsewhere, a German firm want to give us all talking windows, presumably for awful adverts, which will give the sensation that the sound appears to “come from inside the user’s head” when passengers lean against them. Brrr. Train rides are going to grim when you’re minding your own business trying to have a kip.
The Talking Window campaign idea was shown off at the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes last month with developer BBDO saying they’d received “highly encouraging first reactions” from those who tested it.
BBDO say: ”Some people don´t like advertising in general. But this is really a new technology. [It might] not only be used for advertising, but also for music, entertainment, mass transport information, weather reports and so on.”
It’s only a matter of time before these two technologies are combined, putting voices in our head while our touchscreens grope our nether-regions into a pulp.
At the ArgosAliens account, they spout limp nonsense and all the stuff you’d imagine a marketing drone to find cutesily amusing… but now, one of the aliens is pregnant and they want you to name the baby.
Irn-Bru has started to sell personalised bottles of drink, in response to Coca-Cola’s irritating and ingenious marketing campaign which turned everyone into free billboards for the brand (noticed how many people have been giving Coke free advertising because a bottle has their name on it?)
Irn-Bru bottles feature Scottish names like Rab and Tam and, of course, Fanny, which featured heavily in their own tongue-in-cheek commercials.
A spokesman for Irn-Bru said: “We hope our fans enjoy our limited-edition bottles of Irn-Bru, celebrating well-loved Scottish names which mean a lot to us. Deliveries have been made across the country for Scots to get a taste of Irn-Bru that they can call their own.”
The World Health Organisation are totally in a McFlurry with fast food companies, who they say are finding underhand ways to get round the current rules on advertising junk food to children.
While the ASA have clamped down on junk food ads during children’s programmes, kids are still exposed to the dubious delights of the KFC Ring Zinger or the Domino’s Hot Dog Hoop Pizza during ad breaks for shows like Britain’s Got Talent and the X-Factor – which have 1 million child viewers.
Food companies are also making themselves known on social media networks and on websites popular with younger audiences. Kids are also being drawn in by ‘Advergames’ – ads with interactive content from fast food and confectionary companies.
‘Children are surrounded by adverts urging them to consume high fat, high sugar, high salt foods, even when they are in places where they should be protected, such as schools and sports facilities.” Said Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of WHO in Europe.
The problem seems to be that the way children are consuming culture is changing. 85% of children aged between 8 and 11 are regular Internet users, and one in eight
spoilt bastards kids in that age bracket also own a smartphone. Which means that just clamping down on ads between kid’s shows is obviously not enough.
The WHO report suggests that despite regulations, ‘children in the UK appear to be exposed to just as much food advertising as before full regulation.’
But how can we protect our children? Bombard them with adverts for cabbage instead?
Or maybe we could just say ‘No, Kyle, you can’t have 25 packets of Wotsits and a KFC Krushem with extra Maltesers. Have a banana and shut it.’
Microsoft have filed a patent which could reward users for watching advertisements. The patent is called the ‘Awards and Achievements Across TV Ecosystem’ and it could well be tied in with the new Xbox.
The details released about the Xbox One mentioned the console’s use for TV, along with the new Kinect system.
The patent stated: “Traditional television viewing experiences tend to be passive and do not frequently provide opportunities for a viewer to engage with the programming.”
It added that the “proliferation of digital video recording devices” makes it difficult for advertisers to “introduce their advertisements to viewers.” By monitoring the viewing habits of viewers, this new system could “encourage a user to watch one or more particular items of video content” by offering “awards and achievements.”
Of course, using the word “achievements” suggests that Microsoft won’t be doling cash out, but rather perhaps, in-game unlockable content, free gamer trophies or rewards like “coupons for an advertised product or service, or an actual product.”
What do you make of that? Direct rewards for watching adverts? Does that seem like a fair trade?