Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will soon open advertising hellmouth From ’10 Great Tips to Reduce Belly Fat’ to irritating photos of Fitflops and exotic holidays, Facebook ads rank highly on everyone’s s***list.

So you may be interested to learn that Facebook is changing the way it tracks and shows ads. ‘Hurray!’ you cry, ‘No more crappy ads!’ Well, er, not quite. Because the two changes that they’re introducing appear to contradict each other completely.

The first new feature is quite useful. Firstly when you get an ad in your feed, you’ll see a blue arrow at the bottom. If you click on the arrow you’ll see a menu with a tab called ‘Why are you seeing this?’ It allows you to understand the Facebook tracking process – for example, maybe you ‘liked’ a page about sinks in 2008 and now you’re always seeing ads for sinks, etc.

You can then adjust your settings to opt out of ads for sinks by removing sinks from your list of interests.

So far, so good. But you’re not going to like the next new addition at all. Facebook said yesterday that they are going to do a Google on you and start tracking your web and app activity, then show you tailored ads.

If that makes you feel paranoid and itchy, you can opt out by adjusting the tracking settings on iOS and Android. However, Facebook might not be that interested in telling you about that, and annoyingly, they have said they will not be honouring the ‘do not track’ option, meaning you might get ads anyway. Hmm, wouldn’t want their users personal privacy to get in the way of a nice revenue stream, eh?

So the upshot of all this is that Facebook is about to get approximately one million times more annoying, but don’t worry – there’s a little blue arrow that you can constantly press to get rid of ads.

GREAT!

firefox 300x288 Mozilla: Killing off advertisements... for nowOnce upon a time, Mozilla’s Firefox was the browser for the indie kid. Lately, it has all been going a bit wrong, with OKCupid boycotting them and then people getting narky about the introduction of adverts.

We previously reported Mozilla’s plans for ‘Directory Tiles’, which would offer “pre-packaged content for first-time users.” Some of the suggested content would appear in paid-for advertisements.

That didn’t go down too well and now, Mozilla have said that they’re abandoning the idea altogether. Kinda.

Mozilla honcho Jonathan Nightingale says; “A lot of our community found the language hard to decipher [re: Directory Tiles], and worried that we were going to turn Firefox into a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit.”

“That’s not going to happen. That’s not who we are at Mozilla.”

They obviously want to make some money though. So now, Mozilla will “experiment” with “tests on our pre-release channels to see whether we can make things like the new tab page more useful, particularly for fresh installs of Firefox, where we don’t yet have any recommendations to make from your history.”

These experiments will now deliver links to “a mix of our own sites and other useful sites on the Web” and won’t involve people bidding for placement, yet.

“Sponsorship would be the next stage once we are confident that we can deliver user value. We’ll experiment on Firefox across platforms, and we’ll talk about what we learn before anything ships to our release users,” concludes Nightingale. “And we’ll keep listening for feedback and suggestions to make this work better for you. Because that’s who we are at Mozilla.”

Everline is Wonga under a different guise

May 12th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

If you live in London, you might have seen some nice ads on the tube for a quickie loan company called Everline. Their clean design and helpful, understanding text is very appealing, offering to give a hand to people who are just struggling a bit with cash flow – like small business owners, or the self employed. Maybe you should phone them, because they seem like a fairly decent bunch.

everline 300x187 Everline is Wonga under a different guise

BUT WAIT! It’s only bloody Wonga, in Guardian broadsheet fancy dress. And of course, Everline don’t want you to know they’ve got anything to do with that so-called ‘toxic brand’, so there’s no mention of Wonga either on the ads, or the website. Unless you scroll right down to the teeny weeny print at the bottom, where there’s a cryptic acronym ‘WDFC’, which stands for… ‘Wonga Digital Finance Company.’

Everline came to the attention of investigative journalist Willard Foxton, who decided to dig a bit deeper and found the connection – and also found that their MD wanted to ‘differentiate the two brands’. YA THINK?

MP Stella Creasy has called Everline’s ad campaign and enigmatic branding ‘like putting lipstick on a pig’, but even so, there are plenty of satisfied customers – just like Wonga – who borrow and repay their short term loans without running up huge debts.

But to be on the safe side, if you’re a small business in a cash flow crisis, don’t be taken in by the ad. Their APR is 180%, so if anything goes wrong, you could soon find that your small business will be selling your own kidneys from the back of a Transit van…

M&S insists that clothing sales are up

April 10th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

M&S have been in the wars of late, reporting wishy washy figures and falling sales over 11 consecutive quarters. Are other stores just doing it all better – or cheaper?

MS campaign 300x300 M&S insists that clothing sales are up

Whatever is wrong, they’ve reported that like for like sales fell by 0.6% in general merchandise over the last quarter, blaming heavy discounting over the last six months.

BUT, they’re also keen to point out that there’s a silver lining. Despite nobody knowing who those people are on the adverts, apart from that woman who may or may not be Annie Lennox, and a heavily airbrushed Emma Thompson who looks a bit like a bloke, M&S clothing sales are up by 0.6%.

M&S don’t normally separate their clothing figures from their general merchandise, so you could deduce that they’re desperately clutching at straws.

Still, they have to find a way to justify their million pound ad campaign and design overhaul somehow.

But there are other positives, too. Even though the British public seems to have gone cold on Marks and Spencer, internationally their rep is glowing, with overseas sales up 4.7%. And online sales aren’t too shoddy either – rising by a very healthy and un-Twiggy like 12%.

CEO Marc Bolland, waving his hands about and yelling ‘look over here!’ said that womenswear was showing ‘clear signs of improvement.’

Still, whatever you do, don’t mention the word ‘Next.’

Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

April 9th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Wonga is in hot water again, this time for an ad that claimed that their flabberghastingly high APR of 5853% wasn’t really that important and you should just forget about it – la la la.

wonga ladies 300x282 Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

The rubbery puppets of doom are shown ‘simplifying’ the terms of Wonga loans, thus: ‘Right, we’re going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won’t of course – that’s just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed £150 for 18 days, it would cost you £33.49.’

BUT, 31 people complained to the ASA, saying that they were misleading customers with a confusing message which encouraged them to disregard their insane interest rates.

Wonga said that they were only trying to give a transparent example of a typical Wonga loan but they regretted confusing customers.

However, the ASA said they understood that APR did not apply for the time period for a short term loan, but banned it anyway, because it irresponsibly encouraged people to take out loans without considering the APR. They said:

‘We considered that, though it attempted to clarify the costs associated with a Wonga loan, the ad created confusion as to the rates that would apply. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was misleading.’

Maybe if Wonga are looking for an example of a representative loan, they could show the puppets struggling to make ends meet and turning to rubbery prostitution to pay it back?

We all know that alcohol creates a very specific kind of self confidence. The kind of self confidence that makes you pull your pants down, draw two ‘W’s on your butt cheeks, and flash your bumhole to people on a motorway bridge.

WKD Blue WKD ads banned on Facebook for promoting fun effects of alcohol

But the ASA has banned WKD’s Facebook ads for linking alcohol with self confidence with their so called ‘Wicked 8-ball predictions’ – which stated ‘You will refuse to do karaoke- at first.’ In their ‘About’ section they also said: ‘Where there’s good times, there’s WKD. We’re all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself – especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved.’

The Young Alcohol Council are angry that the company behind the disgusting blue elixir implied that alcohol is capable of altering mood and that the presence of booze was the key to having a good time with your friends. (Which of course, it is – they’re always a bunch of boring bastards when they’re sober).

Beverage Brands UK Ltd., who own WKD, said they hadn’t breached Facebook’s guidelines, but that it would remove certain posts. The ASA acknowleged that no alcohol was shown being consumed, but that their mascot – an idiot in a hat called ‘Head of WKD Weekends’ – implied that a successful weekend could only be achieved with the addition of WKD.

Of course, we all know that’s not true. It can only be achieved with the addition of beer, vodka and a nice crisp white wine. Oh, and drugs.

Cupcake dispensing ATMs, everyone

March 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

People who occasionally eat cupcakes are fine, but those cupcake fetishists are the scourge of the Earth. There is no-one more irritating than someone who dribbles on about cupcakes. These people probably share nothing but cat photos online and have a Pinterest dedicated solely to their wedding, which will never happen.

These wretched swine in polka dots who go to swing classes and have Nyan Cat wallpapers on their phones, are ruining it for everyone.

And now, over in New York, there’s a bloody ATM that dispenses cupcakes for those of you who are unable to walk into a shop and buy some.

This CakeTM is something to do with Sprinkles Bakery in NYC and when this thing appeared on the street, it “remained at a consistent 12-15 customers deep throughout the entire day as customers waited to punch in their orders on a touchscreen and watch a mechanical arm snag their delicious dessert treats,” according to a report.

Bring back national service.

Crocodile marketing scares everyone witless

March 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

National Geographic have done an advert of a 3D crocodile which is making people poo their pants with terror.

Of course, it is one of those optical illusions that looks rubbish from certain angles. However, when you’re going down an escalator in Brazil and it is at the optimum viewpoint, there’s a very real chance that you could do a small about of wee.

crocodile 322x500 Crocodile marketing scares everyone witless

The ad, shamelessly swiped off Reddit (thanks SAT0725), is a marketing ploy for ‘Mundo Salvagem de Richard Rasmussen’ (which means, roughly, ‘are you ready for adventure in the Brazilian forests? Wild world with Richard Rasmussen’).

You have to say, as marketing goes, this is frighteningly good. Until some old person keels over and dies of a heart attack.

Advertising: Now with interactive hair

February 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Following on from British Airways’ planespotting ad, it seems like interactive is now quite the thing for advertising and consumer brand engagement.

The pharmacy brand Apotek have fitted out subway adverts in Stockholm with ultra-sonic sensors that react to when a train is arriving or departing the station.

The ads feature a lady with nice hair that swishes about in reaction to the trains.

Apotek Hjärtat – Blowing in The Wind from Ourwork on Vimeo.

Fancy that!

‘Sexy’ e-cig ad makes 1,156 people gag

February 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Another day, another dodgy advert that treats women like sex dolls, this time for VIP e-cigarettes. E-cig advertising is controversial anyway, without making an ad featuring a quite angry looking and aroused woman saying ‘I want to see it. Feel it, hold it. Put it in my mouth.’ HAHA, she’s talking about e-cigarettes, but it’s hilarious because you – yes, you, the saddo on the sofa with the joggies that smell of rotten vegetables – you think she’s talking about your knob!

The classy folks at VIP did a male version (for, you know, balance) with him very helpfully asking: ‘Do you want to see it? I can get it out if you’d like. You can feel it hold it, put it in your mouth and see how great it tastes.’

THEN, the piece de resistance of awfulness was the tagline – ‘if you wanna vape, then vape with VIP’. Geddit? We’re assuming ‘vape’ refers to ‘vapours’ but hey, ‘Vape’ also rhymes with RAPE. HAHA, clever, eh? Someone find that copywriter and give him (let’s hope it’s a him) a huge congratulatory kick in the balls for that one.

Anyway, there have been 1,159 completely justified complaints to the ASA due to the overtly sexualized nature of the ad, which was broadcast in the ad breaks between ‘I’m A Celebrity’ last year.

Clearcast originally cleared the ad to appear after the 9pm watershed, and said that they didn’t think it was demeaning or sexist, it was just suggestive. While the ASA haven’t banned it outright, it can only be broadcast after 11pm.

How about just throwing it in a landfill with all the e-cigarettes?

Angry Beavers ad ban

February 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

While nobody would have particularly high hopes for a strip club called ‘Beavers’, there have to be some standards, or society will just fall apart in an avalanche of G-strings, Monster energy drinks and legal highs.
beaver Angry Beavers ad ban

So it’s lucky for the morals of our nation that the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in to ban an advert that Beavers ran in that most prestigious of er, organs, The Watford Observer.

The ad featured a standard stripper bum with the strapline: ‘Sorry baby, the car broke down.’ Thus hinting that men were stopping off there for a dirty lapdance while the old ball and chain sat fuming at home over a baking tray full of burnt chicken dippers.

The ASA ruled that the text was ‘demeaning to women’ and was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

The decision to make a stripper’s bum take up a third of the ad was also deemed to be ‘irreponsible’ and Beavers was warned not to use filthy pics and hideous Jim Davidson style sexist headlines in a family newspaper.

Ah, if only the ASA had to the power to tell that to The Sun…

Firefox – now with loads of adverts

February 13th, 2014 10 Comments By Mof Gimmers

firefox 300x288 Firefox   now with loads of advertsMozilla’s Firefox browser isn’t the powerhouse it once was, thanks to Google putting the scuppers on it. It could be getting worse too as it will soon be accepting advertisements.

The company is trying to win back users by personalising the overall experience, but also, by embracing ads after years of ignoring them.

In an official blog post, Mozilla said that they’ll be sell ads through a new Directory Tiles initiative. Basically, there’ll be nine rectangular tiles in a new tab. When you open a new tab in Firefox, you’ll get nine blank tiles across the page. Those will fill up with your most-visited and recently visited websites. These tiles will also show “sponsored content.”

“We are excited about Directory Tiles because it has inherent value to our users, it aligns with our vision of a better Internet through trust and transparency, and it helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project,” said VP of content services, Darren Herman.

“While we have not worked out the entire product roadmap, we are beginning to talk to content partners about the opportunity, and plan to start showing Directory Tiles to new Firefox users as soon as we have the user experience right.”

Of course, other browsers have adverts in them, but if you’ve been sticking with Firefox because it is ad-free, then this will be irritating news.

Bum burgers turn out not to be a good idea

January 3rd, 2014 3 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Burger buns. They’re made of bread. Lovely sweet ‘n’ savoury bread, with sesame seeds on top. They’re not – repeat NOT – made out of women’s arse cheeks, because that would be weird, not to mention a little bit unhygienic.

good time burgers 300x168 Bum burgers turn out not to be a good idea

But try telling that to Australian company Goodtime Burgers. Their ad for a new store in Bondi Beach shows a woman with literally all the fixings, plus burger patty, wedged uncomfortably between her buttocks. Like the worst Christmas poo EVER. The tagline is: ‘The Freshest Fun Between The Buns.’ We can only hope, for everyone’s sake, that it’s Photoshopped.

It’s almost too damn STRANGE to be offensive, but the Australian Advertising Standards Board have acted on a number of complaints against the objectification of women, and the ad has been banned. Goodtime Burgers were adamant it wasn’t sexist (‘what’s wrong with being sexy?’) and countered that it could easily have been a man’s bum.

OH WELL THAT’S OK THEN.

Think I’ll just have a salad.

Typhoo marketing ploy in hot water

November 25th, 2013 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

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.

typhoo logo 300x211 Typhoo marketing ploy in hot water

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.

Tesco have announced that they’re going to be getting really creepy and installing screens at 450 petrol station forecourts which allow advertisers to use facial recognition software while filming your face, so they can glean information about you and tailor which adverts are shown while you queue at tills.

This technology is being deployed in conjunction with Amscreen, who just happens to be owned by Lord Sugar. And you can see their dead-eyed pitch below.

This Minority Report style meddling is known as OptimEyes and it films you before feeding all our faces into a data stream which advertisers can then manipulate.

Defending his technology Sugar said: “Yes, it’s like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible. The OptimEyes does not store images or recognise people but just works out gender and sorts customers into one of three age brackets.”

Changing the face of British retail? Maybe we should all change our faces with masks to muck up this snide device? Either way, Tesco will have this Amscreen deal in place for the next five years.