This Banner Sucks

This banner ad for Vax vacuum apparently "identifies the bad cookies on your computer and cleans them out", although I wish I could actually see the cookies it lists. Still, pretty cool.
- via agencyspy

Review Schrute Farms on TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has a page (just featured in NYT) where people can and early do leave their impressions of Schrute Farms owned by, who else, Dwight Schrute from The Office.  Kind of like Kayak selling tickets for Oceanic 815.

Book: How To Design Marketing Games

Just got a note about the newly published Game-Based Marketing (on Amazon for around $16), a guide to designing loyalty programs and other game-like marketing programs based on the understanding of gamers' typologies and psychology.  Very much look forward to my copy; can't believe it hasn't been written sooner. And if this book sounds like fun to you, check out an excerpt from a book that covers some of the same ground.

Update [March 2011] - I've read the book and posted a review.

The Appstorization of Everyday Things

I got my iPhone finally upgraded to 3.x.x and went on a buying spree, filling an entire screen with all sorts of photo apps that range from nifty (QuadCam) to awesome (DSLR Remote). And then I'm sitting there, thinking:  if printers can have app stores and so can digital pens, why not digital cameras? All these apps that turn the iPhone into a usable camera -- what if they all lived inside a device that was actually designed to take pictures?

Camera manufacturers keep competing on megapixel counts,  but that's largely a dead end. I'd take an ability to customize the device with a custom interface and features to suit my needs over a meaningless handful of extra megapixels every day.

AdAge ran a great piece the other day about the coming Internet of things.  The appstorization is another part of the same trend; it's about enhancing every day consumer devices with third-party software purchased through the devices themselves that turn these devices into something slightly new.

That's the real magic of the iPhone -- its endless pliability. It doesn't really look like a phone, it doesn't have any of the traditional phone's affordances.  It's a screen and a button, and every new app you download from the store turns the device into a completely new thing: a Scrabble board, an air hockey table, a TV remote, an ocarina.

I don't know if I want my camera double as a Scrabble board, but I'd try this app.

Update (May 3, 2010): "Wireless Industry Partnership lists 68 known application stores (up from 34 only a few months ago)." - GetElastic

Burger King Puts Puts Ads On Digg's Empty Searches

As promised, Burger King is now running ads on Digg's search pages that return no results. Pretty cool, although not as cool as ASCII images in Digg's source code for Inferno.

CAPTCHA Advertising Closer to Reality

Two enterprising dudes from Germany are trying to patent CAPTCHA advertising, with a twist: the CAPTCHA message will be contained in a video ad. "User needs to pay close attention to the advertising video clip in order to gain access to the requested content. This way, the user cannot use advertising blocking programs, close the advertising or ignore the advertising, if the user wants to gain access to the requested content."

They look pretty serious about it, too -- this website must be theirs. Stateside, they will be competing with and  And with Microsoft, for that matter, who has submitted a similar patent application last year.

But ha!  Five years too late, I say. How about some well-documented prior art? Not to mention an existing working WordPress plugin or an actual product?

[And check this out: the website where I found the first patent adds a link to itself to your clipboard as you right-click/copy the text, at least in Chrome. Nifty.]

Hey, @PeterKim - Have You Seen This?

Not only can you add hashtags to your blog headlines, you can also add @'s, and that, too, will get picked up by aggregators like this one (or, if you have an RSS-to-Twitter set-up, that).  Which gives you an interesting new way to pitch your blog post to someone you want to read it; in my case, Peter Kim, the managing director over at Dachis (hi, Peter).

Addressable blogging, so to speak.

Hope I haven't just put a nuclear suitcase into the hands of the dark side of the Make Money Online crowd.

#Hashtags in #Blog #Posts #About #Advertising

Let's find out if the #hashtags in this post's headline will show up in the tweets by aggregator bots on Twitter.

Stay tuned.

Update: Yup. Works. Check this out.

The Last Inaccurate Video on Earth

Look, ma, another graph that has nothing to do with reality! (There's a whole book of those.)

FITC would've been better served by commissioning a remix of the Downfall clip, or a Trololo spoof, or pretty much anything else instead of this scaremongering The Last Ad Agency on Earth ridiculousness.

And what's up with this bathroom shot?  It either should look, um, used to show that the guy was vaporized on the can, or the magazine needs to be pushed aside to show that he finished, flushed and left, and then was vaporized.

Future: Camera Suggests The Best Shot

How far is the day when my digital camera has an always-on connection, recognizes the picture I am about to take, compares it to the highest ranked most similar photo in an online photo repository such as Flickr, looks at the EXIF data, and suggests an angle and settings that would produce the best, according to the prevailing social tastes, picture?

For objects and landmarks that are frequently photographed from every possible angle, like the Eiffel Tower, this day can't be too far at all.

Or is there an app for that already?

Cardboard Record Player As Direct Mail Piece

Grey Canada took an obscure ancient device called Cardtalk -- a foldable record player made of cardboard -- and brought it back to life as a direct mail piece for Griffiths Gibson and Ramsay Productions. Jealous?  Then head over to our retromedia department, there's still plenty of forgotten goodness left around. May we recommend carboard records on cereal boxes, ad games on vinyl disks, and paper ringtones.

- via

Technology Behind Wired's iPad Magazine App

Cult of Mac wondered last month about how Wired would be able to pull off its sleek magazine app for iPad built with Adobe Air, which, like Flash, doesn't work on Apple's i-devices.

The answer: with the Adobe CS5's packager that publishes your stuff as native iPhone/iPad apps.

Funny, though. This month's Wired has a cover story about how tablets will change everything featuring this (not family-friendly) quote from Fake Steve Jobs: "Do you really think saving newspapers is just a matter of putting your old crap on a new device? Because from what I can see, The New York Times sucks just as bad on a Kindle as it does on paper. That, in fact, is the real problem with The New York Times: It sucks, and everyone knows it, except, apparently, the dumb fucks who write for The New York Times, which is, oddly enough, the heart of the problem."

My question about all the publications with their lofty plans to replicate and enhance the printed page experience on iPad and other tablets -- who's gonna do it?  As in, if you are cutting your headcounts, who is going to produce, lay out, and code all that additional custom-built awesomeness designed for readership that is a fraction of the regular print circulation?

Guess we'll see soon enough.

Spam Serialized

Maybe this is, like, email marketing 101 (and if so, please leave a comment), but the introductory series of four emails American Airlines sends to its new frequent flier members struck me as unusual. Wonder what it does to open rates.

P.S. It wasn't technically spam --  I consciously subscribed for AA's mailings -- but these guys are very prolific writers.

Timing Visibility of Display Ads on a Page

This is pretty nifty. An ad network called World Web Network created launched technology that "monitors the visibility time of each banner on a Web page. [The technology] measures the amount of time that a banner is visible on the page and the web surfer is active. Time is only tallied when the script detects a regular mouse-keyboard activity. After ten seconds of idle time, the tool will pause until activity returns, ensuring a reliable metric." (source: press release).

Try the demo and see for yourself: it detects when you are below your screen's fold and can't see the banners.

I don't know if this has any real application in ad sales -- it matters little how "visible" the ad is if the average fixation (dwell) time for a banner is about one second --but I see it being useful in page content analysis. Too bad the tech is proprietary.

Correction: The technology was created by Alenty, not WWN who licenses it from the creators.