Category Archives: Advertising

This would never fly in the US


I have to give this ad execution points for being clever. Once just highway signs and boards on top of buildings, out of home advertising has become a wasteland of wild postings and “guerrilla” tactics that are generally not visually appealing or even relevant.

But this is good. An ad for a gym in The Netherlands displays the weight of people sitting on a bench in a bus shelter. New? Check. Interesting? Check. Kind of messed up? Definitely.

Sadly, this would never work in the U.S. where we struggle with our shame at being at the top of the global list of obese citizens alongside our need to be equally tolerant and forgiving of those who may not fit some sort of social ideal.


3-D Mania


What’s old is new again. So too with 3-D technology, the relic from the early 50s. Not just sequestered in science museums and IMAX theaters, 3-D is making a huge comeback, and it’s been a long time coming. The New York Times predicted a return of 3-D back in 2002. Last month, NYT revisited the topic after it got a lot of attention at the CES Show.

Last weekend’s SuperBowl highlighted just a few examples of today’s resurgence of 3-D technology. Here is a sample of the latest offerings from TV, movies and advertising:


  • My Bloody Valentine 3D (out now)
  • Coraline (opens Friday)
  • Under the Sea 3D (Feb. 11)

Check out MarketSaw for a complete list of upcoming 3D movies.


  • Chuck episode in 3-D (NBC, aired Feb. 2)
  • A post on Craigslist in NY claims to be producing North America’s first 3-D show
  • Panasonic announced they would like to begin making 3-D TVs in 2010


Sweet Coraline

coraline_posterEverything about Coraline is a delight, from the story to the movie adaptation to its promotion.

Coraline is a spooky tale about a girl who finds a doorway into an alternative universe inhabited by strange and sometimes terrifying creatures, like a man made of rats and a couple who look just like her parents but who have shiny black buttons for eyes. Although the content seems a bit gruesome, the book is targeted to 9-12 year old readers. I read the story when it was first published in 2002 and was delighted by the imaginative creepiness of it, on par with Nightmare Before Christmas or Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books.

Now the story of Coraline has been made into a “stop-motion horror fantasy” movie from the director of Nightmare Before Christmas and starring the voices of Dakota Fanning as Coraline and Teri Hatcher as Coraline’s mom and Other Mother. The promotion of the movie includes the standard fare: TV commercials, an interactive website, and a collection of accompanying merchandise on

But the best promotion elements are less mainstream and celebrate the enigma and intrigue of the story:  50 mysterious boxes that were sent to bloggers and Coraline keys that have been placed in public areas in New York and Chicago (the keys have gotten attention on Craigslist and listings on eBay). You can follow the posts made by the bloggers who received boxes here.



HBO’s “Web of Secrets” clever but not original


Web of Secrets is HBO’s new site to promote “Big Love,” the critically acclaimed series about a polygamous family. The site is quite clever and allows visitors to read anonymous people’s secrets by clicking on linking words in each quote.

For example, you might stumble upon the secret “I dropped out of college 2 years ago but I still get financial aid.” If you then click on “I” you might find this secret morsel… “I’m going to marry someone I hate because it’s convenient.”


Anyone can submit their own secret by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. They have even set up a Twitter feed for those who want to get real-time updates on submitted secrets. The concept is both interesting and interactive, but it’s also strangely reminiscent of two other websites: PostSecret and We Feel Fine. According to AgencySpy, the agency for HBO approached PostSecret creator Frank Warren about using some of his postcards for the site. Warren said no and HBO proceeded with the idea anyway.



We Feel Fine

We Feel Fine

Web of Secrets is certainly not a new idea, but as a promotional concept, it’s a shinier and more polished version of things that already exist. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

adidas knows how to party


How do you get a show-stopping ensemble of pop culture icons to star in your ads? Throw a house party. To promote the 60th anniversary of the brand’s triple stripe icon, adidas launched a global marketing campaign featuring TV and print work from the adidas Originals House Party. Party guests included over a dozen artists and athletes including Missy Elliot, David Beckham, Russell Simmons, Katy Perry, and The Ting Tings. More elements of the campaign are expected throughout the year.

Last night, adidas brought the ad concept to life with a real house party in Berlin. Hosted at the adidas No. 74 concept store, the space was transformed to mimic an actual house party featuring a living room and kitchen with self-serve drinks, pizza delivery throughout the night, and plenty of music. The Berlin house party was more than just a venue to celebrate. adidas was also offering shoes for 19.49 Euros (about $25), which had a continuous line of fans waiting outside for most of the day.