Posts tagged “advertisement”

To win, deliver relevance

HP recently ran a series of full-page newspaper ads for its TouchPad. The different ads trumpeted different aspects of the product. Here’s one:

This particular ad focuses on the movie-watching benefits. Unfortunately, they ad begins poorly: The all-new HP TouchPad with the HP MovieStore powered by RoxioNow(TM).

The classic tech marketing mistake: brand soup (with a base of presumed relevance). Who is Roxio? Yes, readers of this post probably know, but let’s agree that most people don’t, and those who did haven’t heard of them for 5 years. What the heck is RoxioNow(TM)? We can infer that HP has struck a deal for some ingredient technology. Wonderful. But they shouldn’t presume that adds credibility to their offering. In the same way “HP MovieStore” is not a known brand and isn’t exactly dripping with credibility. At least you can figure based on the name that it’s somewhat like that other Pad company’s SomethingStore.

But it gets worse. Here’s the promise

It’s Hollywood’s recently released big screen movies and current TV episodes on your HP TouchPad. Catch up on something you missed or get hooked on something new.

But in this ad, where they can show whatever they want to highlight the compelling benefits, what movies do they display?

The highlighted films: Knockout, 8 of Diamonds, Being Michael Madsen, 3 Backyards, 30 Years to Life, Baby on Board, Mistaken Identity, and Kalamity.

Okay, anyone? 3 Backyards is a very recently released indie film. IMDB tells me 30 Years to Life is from 2001. Where are the recently released Hollywood big screen movies (note: direct-to-video doesn’t count) that I can get from the HP MovieStore powered by RoxioNow(TM)?

Next time you are sitting in a meeting and someone brings up Apple and wonders how it is they are so darn innovative, remember this example. This is how their competitors behave. This is their advertising – where they actually promise a wonderful experience; what does this portend for the actual delivery of the experience in the product itself?

Forever in authentic blue jeans

Intersting recent ad for Lucky Jeans

Two details of the ad:

I am impressed how the overall aesthetic of the ad just oozes authenticity. There’s real craft and attention to detail, leading to a strong sense of quality. But all these details they are calling out are examples of manufactured fakery: making new jeans look like worn jeans. They’ve taken inauthenticity to such a level of quality that it becomes authentic in its own way!

For more on this theme, see my recent interactions column with Stokes Jones, On Authenticity

Semantics of Skin

A recent ad for Blackberry, showing every bit of the otherwise neutral device covered in imagery that references the richness of the life of someone who uses it. Evoking the strongly the aftermarket skins that enable a similar sort of customization. The ad is using the visual as a metaphor but it’s actually quite close to a product that other firms make to address the relative monotony of consumer electronics products.

Collateral Damage

I got this thing in the mail from a company called Veer. The cover slip said: “A giant hand. Angsty Cats. Rioting Models.”


How could I not open it?


It turned out to be a huge advertisement poster. It was so big that once I’d unfolded it, I had to lay it on a chair.

It looked like such a pain in the ass to fold it up again that I left it lying there and went and made coffee.

I was standing in the living room again a few minutes later deciding what to do with my Saturday morning, and I started absentmindedly reading some of the copy on the poster.

It was like I’d created a Veer billboard in my living room.

There was a picture of a sweatshirt I thought was kind of cool. Turns out it’s for sale at Veer’s website. (Veer’s primary business is selling stock photography, fonts, and other graphic design resources.) Then, a description of an animated short that sounded interesting, free to view on the site.

Next thing I know, I’m on my way to Veer’s website, looking for the sweatshirt and the film. Wow. They really got me, didn’t they!

In consideration of the web’s enormous power and ubiquitous presence as a commercial tool, I think this is a testimony to the continuing importance of things you can touch, that interpose themselves in our three-dimensional spaces.

But the story’s not over…


Veer’s website is down.

At this point, I’ve been so adroitly manipulated from being a complete bystander to actively seeking out this company that I’m sure this shutdown itself is also part of the strategy: a way to get me to come back on Monday and talk to someone at Veer, hooked in just a little deeper by thinking I’ve serendipitously ended up with this 10% discount opportunity.

Now I’m caught up in this interesting meta-story–curious about Veer’s tactical moves, wondering if they are being as deeply strategic as I’m imagining?

This whole interaction is an object lesson in the complexity of moving a potential customer back and forth between realspace and webspace, and how many interesting ways there are to go about pursuing this objective.

We’ll see if I use the 10% discount to buy a sweatshirt.

The bear that saluted me

I thought this advertising bear in Shinjuku was cool, and so stopped to take a picture. The bear saw me and posed with the typical Asian two-fingered V-gesture. After I took the photo, I did my best gaijin attempt at a bow. The bear returned the bow, and then saluted me.

Without a common language (indeed without a common species) we had an interesting opportunity to share our knowledge of each other’s culture in gestures. And although I rarely salute my friends and family, I understood its intent as a gesture-of-Western-origin.

Japan is quite impenetrable to the outsider, and it’s easy to subsist on a parallel layer, free from the possibility or opportunity for everyday interactions. In our two weeks that moat was crossed less than a dozen times (i.e., the couple in a cafe who smiled and waved at me when I peered in the window and inadvertently triggered the sliding door, letting in some very cold air; the couple who saw us eating Taiyaki (cooked sweet batter filled with bean paste in the sahpe of a fish) and explained what it was, what is was called, and compared camera models) and each time was rewarding in its own small way.

But making this connection with a bear, in the land of kawaii, was briefly and intensely magical.


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