Google – now showing banner ads in search results

October 24th, 2013 6 Comments By Mof Gimmers

google caterpillar logo 300x146 Google   now showing banner ads in search resultsOnce upon a time, Google had a lovely, simple search engine. Things have become much more sophisticated and, at times, a bit of an eyesore.

This week, Google confirmed that they would be sticking banner ads on top of search results, which is something of a departure from their previous promises to users.

In 2005, Google said: “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or Web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”

Alas, this is no more, and some users will have seen a banner ad for Southwest Airlines, which looks like a search result, rather than an obvious commercial and it takes up nearly the whole screen.

A Google spokeperson has described these “informative visual elements” as part of the company’s evolution and progression in content-rich ads.

However, these new adverts push away all other links and focus exactly on what your looking for, without offering decent alternatives. Looks like Google is moving toward a more intrusive advertising, which may well upset a number of users.

[nytimes]

ASA to ban zombie bus for being too scary?

October 22nd, 2013 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Zombie+bus+ 300x164 ASA to ban zombie bus for being too scary?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 vs Persil – it’s WAR

September 18th, 2013 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

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.

fairy persil 184x300 Fairy vs Persil    its WAR

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.

Smartphone bins, banned

August 13th, 2013 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

smartphone bin 300x165 Smartphone bins, bannedTracking 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.”

New plans to make Ryanair even worse

July 30th, 2013 10 Comments By Lucy Sweet

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.’

michael o leary 300x224 New plans to make Ryanair even worse

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?

1374668551 244 ASA rule against Brewdog slogan but Brewdog couldnt care less

Potty mouths, yesterday.

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

 

a child on the internet 300x182 Horrible future to hold talking train windows and TVs that can touch you

‘The Future’

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.

Argos Aliens want you to name their baby

June 26th, 2013 228 Comments By Mof Gimmers

argos aliens 300x200 Argos Aliens want you to name their babyYou’ve seen the Argos Aliens who, basically, are Outnumbered with even colder, deader eyes. Now, they’re reaching out of the television set and asking you to interact with them on Twitter.

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.

They announced the pointless news with this status: ”Hello Earthlings! We’d love for you to #NameOurBaby. Tweet us your best suggestions with the # and we’ll put our favourites to a vote. ^Mum”
So, of course, this is your chance to air all your Argos based problems through a competition where you probably won’t win anything. Crowd-sourcing always works best when people hijack it for their own puerile needs!
Do your worst.

Irn Bru mock Coca Cola’s named bottles

June 24th, 2013 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

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.

irn bru 500x404 Irn Bru mock Coca Colas named bottles

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.

fat kids 300x225 Kids are still being bombarded with junk food ads

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.’

Pamela Anderson is deemed offensive

June 6th, 2013 18 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Amazingly enough, women like to be taken seriously at their jobs and stuff – rather than being seen as yet another decorative deposit for the wank bank.

But nobody told domain hosting company Dreamscape Networks, who are advertising their boring services in the only way anyone seems to know how – with norks, bikinis and jets of cream. And these are Pamela Anderson’s norks, no less – those Baywatch orbs that made the world’s balding IT guys go all funny way back in the 90s, when their winkies were even smaller than they are now.

The ad shows Anderson being all businesswomany at a meeting, wearing a revealing suit that displays her knockers, causing the pathetic sexual arousal of her ugly bugly male colleague. As she embarks on some silly womany work talking, Pam’s big boobed assistant enquires whether she’d like cream in her coffee. The slack-jawed bloke across the table then embarks on a graphic fantasy about them both writhing around covered in cream (that’s a visual metaphor for SEMEN, English graduates!).

He is snapped out of the fantasy by Pamela calling his name. Then her assistant, who also has a massive cleavage (do keep up with the complicated plot) enquires whether he’d like cream too, and everyone probably goes off for a ‘lie down’. It all makes Benny Hill look like Ingmar Bergman.

The Advertising Standards Authority have banned the ad before 9pm, saying that although it is meant to be tongue in cheek, the scene gave the impression that the man viewed women as sexual objects.

‘Because of that’ they added, ‘We considered the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it was sexist and degrading to women.’

Maybe one day, can we live in a world where it isn’t necessary for women to wear cheese wire thongs and smear themselves in Elmlea to sell webspace? One day?

Xbox could pay you to watch adverts

May 29th, 2013 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

xbox reveal 540x303 300x168 Xbox could pay you to watch advertsMicrosoft 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?

beardvertising 239x300 Company launches Beardvertising like utter toolsBeards eh? Quirky people grow long beards and carry on like they live in the 1890s (as expertly dissected by Portlandia) and people coo and trill at them as they knit their own butter made out of tattoos. Or whatever.

And now, some thundering berks have launched something called ’beardvertising’ where people who own an “epic beard” can use it as advertising space. They can earn money from it too.

Advertising agency Cornett-IMS is offering men “up to $5 per day” to wear clip-on adverts on their faces, with their website adding: ”Do people stare at its awesomeness? Of course they do. Do you wanna get paid for having an epic beard? Join the world’s first Beardvertising network.”

“It’s simple – turn your beard into a business. Hang a BeardBoard (Patent Pending) in your beard. Sit back and get paid up to $5 per day.”

Company exec Whit Hiler reckons: ” I think it’s the next big thing. Everybody loves beards. We’re getting a ton of emails from guys with epic beards that want to host beardboards and we’re actually in talks with some brands that want to be Beardvertisers.”

“I think we’ll probably be seeing some ‘beardboards’ in the wild before too long.”

Next week: Beard trimmer sales soar as people go gonzo on people advertising Veet in their beards.

Kerry Katona payday loan ad banned

May 8th, 2013 15 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Ever since Warrington-born sausage roll botherer Kerry Katona came on the scene brandishing with her relentlessly chirpy coke habit, she’s been in a shedload of trouble.

Now, her new ad for payday loan company Cash Lady has been banned for being a blatant attempt to encourage daft young lasses to get into debt. (Cash Lady offers a gobsmacking APR of 2000%).

;

‘We’ve all had money troubles at some point, I know I have.’ drones a pissed-sounding Kerry. ‘You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan … So if you need extra cash go to http://www.cashlady.co.uk. Fast cash for fast lives.’

Responsible, eh? Well the ASA didn’t think so, and it got pulled after receiving 29 complaints. PDB UK, who trades under the Cash Lady, defended their decision to use Kerry, saying their customers would be able to relate to her. (Yikes!)

Katona, who was declared bankrupt in 2008 after she spent all her money on Aston Martins, marching powder and chicken jalfrezi, is the perfect poster girl for debt, but the ASA upheld complaints that it encouraged others to be as stupid as she is. Changes must be made before the ad can go out again, they said.

Perhaps the new ad should instead show Kerry in disarray, the wind whistling through the hole in her septum, raking through some bins at the back of Iceland for a stray prawn ring and 250 Hoisin duck filo parcels?