Archives for category: Ads

The season of travel is revving up, and the hotel booking websites are fighting it out for our dollars. Our challengers are: Booking.com, Trivago, and Hotels.com. As I’ve caught most of these ads on my TV lately I decided to compare them to see which one I like best.

 

BOOKING.COM

When I land on Booking.com I’m greeted (or yelled at) by a schmörgesborg of things to click on. No organization, well some actually. But let’s think about this, if I’m not savvy with surfing the World Wide Web would I really know what to click on? There is a box in the left corner of the screen that allows me to enter my details, which is good, well… it’s the status quo for any site like this. But the rest of the home page is boring and seemingly unorganized. There is also nothing about the website that excites me to book with them, or even travel in general. In fact there is not even one high quality scenic picture to salivate my travelling appetite. Although when you get into the thick of their website it does have a lot of information.

Now onto the ads, Booking.com is going for a younger market or at least young at heart. The first ad clearly uses “Booking” as a substitute for everyone’s (or most people’s) favourite F-word. The first time I hear it, I laugh, the next time a little… and then on the 6th time it’s over done. Way over done. The rest of the ad is great too. I love the insight that you picked right. That dilemma we all face “will this hotel live up to my expectations” is what every traveller faces, and it’s why we love hotel chains so much: we know what to expect. The copy is great, but I feel that the epic-ness that comes from the announcer gets tiresome. It’s too much. I’m trying to book a hotel, I’m not about to make a big speech to my rag-tag team as we’re about to try and save the world from aliens. Deep down the ad conveys a great insight that would make me want to book with them, but it’s lost with all the theatrics.

 

TRIVAGO

Trivago‘s website is simple. Like Google simple. It’s just a search bar. Nothing complex. I like that. But I also would like some travel-porn. Some shots of beautiful scenery, or a sandy beach. Get me excited Trivago. Sadly that’s their downfall. They’re boring. Which is kinda good. I would trust them more. But they seem too boring, so even though I may trust them more, I may not remember them because my mind will be distracted when their ad comes on. Their one key selling-point is never creatively addressed in their advertising. They promote how you can pick from several different sites. So whoever offers you the best price wins. So why not exploit that? It pains me to see a great insight that is communicated in an uninspired way. I feel like it’s a training video, and those are never exciting.

 

HOTELS.COM

Mascots annoy me. Why does every company feel they need a mascot? However, Captain Obvious is not bad. I can see a lot of ads coming out of this, but Hotels.com has to be careful to not make me hate him. Use him sparingly and not in ways that will make me not want to visit your site. Speaking of their website, I like it (Pay attention Trivago and especially you Booking.com). I’m greeted by the Captain, and some travel-porn. Wow! 3 websites and only 1 actually puts up a picture of where I want to go. I realize stock photo sites aren’t cheap, but come on. The site is simple and has only the necessary details. This one has found a nice balance.

Their ads are great. They’re not boring, and they don’t repeat the same punchline over and over until it’s not funny anymore. Their jokes are great, and fit within the narrative. They’re set up with out me seeing them coming. Everything that was on the brief is addressed in a clever way. And in the end I walk away liking what I experienced.

The key is to always pull people into the ad, “Get them hooked” as they say. By pulling them in and engaged you have their attention to make your pitch. This ad from Samsung does exactly that. At first it is intriguing, then you wanna see what happens and then the USP is subtly and cleverly introduced. After that it is all entertainment, like a reward for the viewer for sticking it out, and to encourage them to share it with their friends because they know they’ll get the same rise out of it as they did.

This gem of advertising can barely be called an ad. There is no product being sold. No agenda. No persuasion of any kind. The message is simple, direct and honest. Todd Helton, a first-baseman of the Colorado Rockies, bought this print ad in the Denver Post on the last day of the regular season. The Colorado Rockies had not much to celebrate. They missed the playoffs again, and one of their fan-favourite players was retiring: Todd Helton.

Helton has been a mainstay in Colorado. His entire career has been played in the mile high state. He took out this ad to demonstrate his appreciation to his fans. What I like about this is that there is no agenda. Such a simple idea that we should see more of in our world. Sure most of these statements are made publicly in front of journalists and cameras (and Helton is no exception) but the permanence and thought of the gesture of a full-page print ad shows class and respect that Helton most definitely has for his fans.

Helton_ad

…copywriting of course.

I stumbled across this gem while on YouTube. It’s selling the oddest product, but with some great writing it makes a splash. The second video is the now infamous Dollar Shave Club.

Although these aren’t the 1/2 hour infomercials that grace cable’s airwaves in the middle of the day. They are very similar containing product demos and a strong pitch to drive you to click on through to the check out.

As always its about the relationship, fostering it, caring for it – like a child – if you constantly make your presence known they’ll resent you for it and want you out of their lives. So use a light touch so that each time they see you it is a enjoyable one.

 

Criticism sucks. As do the hours and constantly redoing things. Which begs the question: how did I end up here?

It all started by me paying attention during commercials. When every one else would be paying attention something else when the ads would come on, I didn’t. My younger self would wait for them when the break would come on. Like how one would wait, fingers crossed, for the DJ to play their latest favorite song on the radio. I would wait for my latest favorite ad.

And that’s exactly why we do the things we do, because we want to become what impresses us the most. So bring on the criticism and long hours, because I want to make something that will impress people the way these ads did:

I was watching YouTube today. As per-usual there was an ad before the video started. Normally (like everyone else) I sit through waiting for the first chance to skip it. But instead I used that time to text a friend and sat through until the end. The ad was for MiO Sport. At the end they intrigued me with “secret videos”.

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As you can guess I clicked on the secret videos. The idea was that I had to watch the commercial again and find secret videos hidden in the ad. It was simple. They used the annotations that YouTube channels use to link to additional material. In this case when you clicked on a certain thing the secret video you find is an extension of that theme. So when he shoots the paper ball into the garbage can, you can click on him and find a hidden video of him competing with some one else for a glass of MiO.

This is a brilliant creative use of YouTube. It gets the viewer to go through the commercial over and over trying to find secret videos. It’s like every client’s fantasy.

Take a look, and have fun trying to find those secret videos.

Apps, you gotta love ’em. There are apps for almost everything. Probably sometime soon there will be one for heart surgery too.

One of my favorite apps is The Simpsons Tapped Out. If you have never played it, don’t. It’s addictive. So addictive that you might even end up writing a blog post about it. The premise of the game is that Homer blows up Springfield and he has to rebuild it. So basically it is a Simpsons version of The Sims.

simpsons-tapped-out-thanksgiving1

A large portion of the game is free. It is free to download, free to do almost everything, but of course there are things you can only get by converting real money into virtual money in the form of donuts.

What I’m here to talk about is the very very subtle form of advertising that exists in the game. No not the blatantly obvious form that everything in the game is The Simpsons. But instead what the sole purpose of this game is: to get people to watch The Simpsons. (As a side note there is a guy on WordPress who has an excellent blog about this game it’s called: The Simpsons Tapped Out Tips http://tstotips.com/)

Before downloading this game I hadn’t watched a Simpsons episode in years. I used to like the show in its early years, then the writing changed, Family Guy became popular, then redundant, and I just started watching other shows other than The Simpsons. In the game certain things happen to promote that week’s coming show. For example a week or so ago Moe gets a “new lease on life” and he is given a suit and tasks, and of course the gamer is given curiosity about that week’s show.

That is exactly how these kinds of apps should work, and to a greater extent how advertising campaigns should be. They should engage the audience in one medium and then point them towards another. In the case of The Simpsons, the primary medium is the television show, all other media they use to promote their show should encourage the audience to watch the show. Their Tapped Out game does exactly that. It encourages and intrigues people to watch the show, and it makes people who rarely or used to watch the show fall back in love with the characters and their antics.

In my opinion this is exactly the kind of advertising that is going to exist on mobile devices in the near future. Ads in content are annoying, although some are done very well. But a great use of mobile apps to promote a brand could really help drive people to it.

Not that people need another way to tell everyone the mundane things that they are doing, now they can do it on fire.

I was on Twitter this afternoon and found this tweet in my feed:

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.57.43 AM

The tweet (in case you can’t read it) says: “Your name. In flames. Click here to make it awesome.”

It is a simple tweet that caught my attention. Even better for Doritos because I don’t even follow them. Their subtle tweet-ad caught my attention because it sounded cool. Like who wouldn’t want to see their name in flames? So this is what I found when I clicked through.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 12.07.25 PM

You simply type your name into the box and it turns it into flames. You can then share it with friends via Twitter or Facebook. The only problem with this is that if you write anything more than 9 letters long it cuts it off. So if you have a long name you’re kinda screwed.

All in all it is a great tool that has a shelf life of about a month before everyone gets bored with it. But during that time it is going to increase the exposure of Doritos’ new flavour. I think it is a good idea, although it won’t last long it will serve its purpose well. It would be nice to see a longer type box that is longer than 9 letters. Also if they can extend the “burning” idea a little further it would be better.

You can check it out here.

This is the trap that social media advertising falls into, or better yet dilemma. People will find this interesting, but then annoying. There is no middle ground when it comes to things like this. The trick is hoping it gets popular quick, then dies out before it gets annoying. Once it is annoying people aren’t generally thinking “hmmm, I could go for some Doritos right now.” They’re thinking, “Again!” It would be great for Doritos to extend this campaign gradually. Thus bringing people back because there are new features and things that it can do.

But in the end I have two final things to say: first is that Doritos Inferno nachos are pretty tasty, and secondly is that I would like to know where I can find a flame font?

Volkswagen is one heck of a successful company. They have V-Dub clubs all across the world. That’s actually surprising if you think about it: VWs are everywhere on the road. They are a common car that has a loyal fan base. Usually car clubs are reserved for rare cars like Porsche or old muscle cars. Not everyday vehicles.

So how did it all start? Well yes with the Nazi’s, but let’s focus on when it came to America. The challenge posed to DDB with VW was that this is a German car with WW2 still fresh in the minds of their audience.

The ads merge both strategy and creativity into the core benefits of buying a VW Beetle: durability and affordability. Before ads were more like sales pitches that got old quick and gave no one a reason to listen, unless of course they were actually in the market to buy. What amazes me is that this concept is still new to most companies. People don’t buy into things easily: you have to pay them in entertainment. By paying them in entertainment you can address what ever it is you want to say. I could easily list several examples here in every medium, but I’d rather not put that on my blog. Instead I’ll show what I mean with a great example.

If all advertising was like this then people would pay attention to it more. Saying that people actively avoid advertising is a lie. YouTube is loaded with ads that get thousands of views. The Superbowl is a great example of people (who don’t care for the game) wanting to watch commercials. Creative advertising grounded in strategy works. That fact is shown both in award shows around the world and in sales.

The most important thing is that above having a good strategy, creative idea and the entertainment factor all rolled up into one ad, it has to relate to the target. This is why I love copywriting. That puzzle that must be solved for each an every ad. Of all commercials here is my favorite.

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