Playboy in Braille

This Braille Playboy post from Banterist made rounds back in December, but I thought now would be a good time to put it here because:

1. There's a big Playboy-related post on Billboardom.
2. It fits nicely with the whole "rethinking print ads" idea.
3. I just did a post on porn advertising.
4. It's Friday.

The Flip Side of Consumer-Generated Advertising

If you are following The Apprentice, you'll remember how a couple of episodes back the contestants where given a task to create an event for the dealers. You'll also remember how Chevy followed up with a web site where people can create their own version of a commercial by rearranging pre-canned clips, overlaying pre-recorded music, and typing their own titles over the whole thing. As Radar Waves found out, some conscious citizens used the opportunity to express their views that probably stray away from the official brand strategy. Here's one of those clips, and in case it gets deleted, below are some screengrabs.

[Update: April 1, 2006] It turned out to be a bigger deal, actually. Ad Age mentions it, and Daily Kos has discovered and captured more of the off-strategy videos. Very handy, because the original file on the Chevy site linked above doen't work any longer. Who is surprised?

Here's one of the many articles, by USA Today, that discuss the whole amateur advertising trend.

Advertising With Porn

Warning: the featured site is not work-safe at all.

If you are tired of semi-naked women lamely placed in ads to peddle everything from beer to deodorants but still think that sex has some selling power, this site is for you. A European fashion maker of the Shai line of clothing has published, a site where BMW films meet Victoria's Secret catalog along with One Night In Paris. It's a series of three Flash movies that are very elegant but also rather bluntly pornographic. On the top of the movies, they place green dots that open small pop-overs with info on that particular piece of clothing, kind of what Microsoft is trying to do with its video hyperlink ads.

The movies are downloadable in several formats, including PSP, iPod and mobile. The .mov file is multi-layered and also features the "hotlinks".

They are doing many other things right, making it the best interactive execution I've seen in a long time. They offer a "making of" video, an RSS screensaver and a bunch of downloadable goodies, including different versions of the kick-ass soundtrack (if you want more of their music, tough luck; it's been produced specially for this project by nventa). The song, called "No reason to be Shai", is also carrying the brand message.

(thanks for the tip, Ben)

Most Popular Commercials on YouTube

Here are the most popular video spots tagged as "commercial" on YouTube, judging by the view count. The actual view numbers are probably higher because of the duplicate files that are not counted here.

Honda's "Choir" Hits Three Million Downloads

Million Products Page

It's like the Million Dollar Home Page and the countless pixel-peddling clones, only cooler. 500 Gifts for Geeks is a collage of hand-picked product shots done in Flash, with explanatory notes popping up on mouse-over. Other categories include guitars, wacky packages, and cult movies.

Flashback: Megaphone Helmet

If you can't buy one of these two 1950's megaphone helmets on eBay, you can always make one yourself. Very handy if you work as a town crier.
-- via Music Thing

How to Advertise on Social Networking Sites

Jason Calacanis continues the conversation about why display ads don't really work (well) for social networking sites and suggests a few ideas of what could work. My take: throw in a recommendation engine. If people are to endure ads on their MySpace pages, at least let them and their friends pick the ads to see. If I know that my buddy is on the market for a new car, I'll think there's a better chance he'd appreciate a Toyota ad more than a random punch-the-monkey banner. And if a banner is funny or otherwise amusing (yes, there are amusing banners), people would recommend those too (just watch all these commecials uploaded on YouTube), eventually driving the overall quality of advertising up.

And here's Danah Boyd's academic take on why Friendster died.

Why MySpace Beat Friendster?

Choxpics Print on Chocolate

If you liked Choco Logo, you will love Chocpix. They say, "In every bar of tasty white chocolate is a hidden, detailed picture - revealed by simply holding it up to any bright light. All kinds of images can be captured in a Chocpix bar... detailed photographs, artwork, cartoons, logos. The intricate photographs are made up solely from the finely detailed thicknesses of chocolate."

Advertising On Chocolate
Chocolate Business Card

Picture Marketing

Here's an idea: building buzz with instant Polaroid pictures gone hi-tech. You take picture of someone on the street, hand them a ticket with a unique URL, they go to your site and see their snapshot in a branded environment and, you hope, send it around for their friends to marvel at. All from Picture Marketing In-A-Box. Gatorade, Ford, Toyota, Volvo and some other big names are on their client list.

Programmable Liquid Containers

Ipfini's technology allows consumers to select and customize the drink they want in their bottle on the spot by pressing a few buttons that release additives and paints. That's 32 flavors and one million possible colors. More info in this article.
-- via Gizmodo

Oh, and this is officially the 1000th post on this blog.

Agency: Advertising Science

A hat tip to someone else who's bridging the gap between geekdom and advertising, big time: "Advertising Science specializes in the advertising and marketing of scientific, medical, biotech and high-tech products and services. Ad Science staff are highly trained and experienced former scientists who have a flair for the creative and a feel for commercial advantage."

Microsoft Working on Video Hyperlink Ads wrote (back in January) that Microsoft is working on video hyperlink ads - a technology that will let people to click on products shown in online movies or shows. "For example, viewers of "Sex and the City" could click on Carrie Bradshaw's designer shoes or Kamali sweaters as she walks down a New York street and immediately be transported to advertisements for those products." Here's a press release.

iPod Ad Visibile From Space

So you people might have laughed at the idea of rooftop advertising, but some say Apple is taking it seriously and is launching an ad that will be visible on Google Earth and Google Maps. From "The sheer size of the publicity stunt is difficult to comprehend. It covers 893240 square metres; roughly equivalent to eighty football pitches. The ad, which depicts Apple’s flagship iPod product has been constructed on the site of an abandoned mineral mine in remote western Australia. It has been in development for almost two years." The image shows what it looks like on Google Maps.

Rooftop Ads Are Real Business

Study: Most Podcasts Never Make It to iPods

Design Technica: "According to a recent consumer survey conducted by Bridge Data, the relevance of portability to podcast usage has been vastly overstated. In fact, more 80% of podcast downloads never make it to a portable player or another device - they are consumed on the PC (or, worse, never listened or deleted)."

Google's Print Ads Experiment Fails

Business Week writes that Google's experiment to broker print ads has failed to generate enough interest among advertisers even at the deeply discounted prices. And it's not a good news for the print publications either. The magazine writes: "Google's struggle to transfer its online success to magazines doesn't necessarily bode well for the publishing industry. Hundreds of publications have contacted Google about the program, with the hopes that the online giant can extend their reach to Google's army of smaller marketers who otherwise would not consider magazine ads. But the weak performance may indicate that the true value of a page of print lags its list price -- at least in the eyes of Google's advertisers, who are used to high-return search engine campaigns."

Google: Pricing for Print Ads Will Emulate Search's
Google Extends AdWords to Print Media

Video Game in Urinal

I'm not even pretending to be breaking any news with this piece that's all over the internets by now, but I had to include it given our growing collection of urinal-based interactive media. Anyway, On Target is an art project that includes a urinal and a pressure-sensitive display screen. It's designed to, uhh, provide incentives for precision maximization, to improve the hygiene and cut on cleaning costs. But consider the flipside as expressed by this priceless comment left on the website: "So what if somebody put pornography on the sound and display - what happens to the aim then!"


Top Inventions of 2006

Among this year's top inventions (press release) named by the History Channel are these two that look inspiring if not outright useful for our industry.

image: MAKE Magazine

"Robert P. Slager, Hearing Business Distributor, Portage, MI. Liperator: The Liperator increases the possibility for better understanding of a telephone conversation by a hard-of-hearing person through use of sound from the phone line to generate realistic lip movements viewed on a screen by the listener."

image: MAKE Magazine

"Robert E. Fischer, CEO, Optics One Incorporated, Westlake Village, CA. Light Pipe: A new flashlight innovation that behaves like a kaleidoscope, creating near perfect light uniformity at the output end of the pipe."


Electro-Graf: Graffiti with Embedded LEDs

Graffiti Research Lab has a how-to video on electro-graf: a graffiti piece that uses conductive and magnetic paint to embed LED display electronics.

-- via BoingBoing, Evil Signtist

Flashback: First Ring Tone

This article from Popular Electronics dated 1956 reads: "Telephone users will welcome the news that the Bell Telephone Laboratories is experimenting with a new device that will eliminate the b-r-r-r-ing of present-day instruments. The gadget, using transistors, will produce pleasant musical tones resembling those of a clarinet. Sound emanates through the louvred area at the base of the set, shown in the photo with a white background."

Read the Modern Mechanix blog for more of these jewels. Love their tagline: "Yesterday's tomorrow, today." And as a Friday bonus, see this 1958 Popular Science feature on subliminal advertising and preconscious television.

John Battelle on Social TV

John Battelle wonders: "What if there was some kind of TelevisionRank that noticed, in real time, what people were paying attention to, right now? Where moments like the [Fox News' live coverage of trial] rose to the top of a television index in real time, so that at any time, anyone could ask of the web: What are people watching, right now? Wow. Now that would be powerful. Is it possible? Oh hell yeah, it is. And it's coming in the next five years, I'll wager. It's pretty much Technorati mashed up with Neilsen, YouTube, and Comcast. And when it happens, we'll never see television in the same light again. I, for one, can't wait."

If you read the comments to the post, you'll learn that some companies are either working on or already offering similar services.

Metaphorically speaking, the old TV model was that of a water stream - it would flow and you would have a choice of drinking and not drinking. You could also use a jug to put some of that water away and drink it later, and perhaps even carry it around and give away; that's when VCR came in. Today's TV is more like flavored ice cubes (or jello vodka shots, depending on what you are watching). You pick the ones you like in whatever combination you want, you melt them down, stir, drink, put them back in a freezer.

What Battelle talks about is already working on services like YouTube. How difficult would it be for TiVo to make a web portal with similar stats for live and recorded TV? Could they introduce a social network element to it and let friends recommend programming to each other? Or employ the Digg model where viewers push the most interesting even if obscure shows on the top of the chart? I'd say, not difficult at all.

The Rise of Remotely Social Television

Video Game Viewed On Holographic Projector

Ritual Entertainment got in touch with the makers of Heliodisplay, IO2 Technology, to see what their upcoming game SiN Episodes would look like projected into mid air. Here's the resulting video (a zipped wmv file, ~9Mb). More details on their blog entry dated March 22 (no permalink).
-- i4u

Honda's "Choir" Hits Three Million Downloads

W+K London says that their "Choir" ad for Honda Civic has been downloaded 3,000,000 times in a month since launch and that the iPod version of the spot has got into the Top 50 chart on iTunes. "The microsite had a record 679,000 unique visitors during the same reporting period. This led to Honda's highest level of test drive bookings ever."

Study: Marketing Hype Words Don't Work

David Cohn writes in Seed Magazine:
"A study examining the neural response to brand personality published on the American Association of Advertising Agencies website suggests that consumers aren't buying the hype. Researchers from the University of Michigan and Harvard University discovered that despite being told over and over again, the American public won't really be "lovin'" their meal at McDonald's, doesn't actually believe Disneyland is "happy" and isn't under the impression that United Airlines' skies are all that "friendly.""

Study: Marketers Think TV Ads Less Effective

AP/MSNBC: "Nearly four in five marketers surveyed believe that television advertising is less effective than it was just two years ago, according to a study released Wednesday. The joint survey by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester Research found marketers increasingly interested in exploring new ways of getting their messages across. Marketers from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Verizon and Colgate were among the 133 people surveyed."

Paper Dolls, Avatars and Advertising

It will take me a bit to figure out what exactly I want to say, but check this out: a collection of books by Tom Tierney with paper dolls of everything, from fashions to celebrities and presidents. How's that for an immersive brand experience? It's interesting to watch the migration of the paper doll concept into the virtual realm, first with IM avatar customizations and then with 3-D avatar celebrities. Somewhere in the middle, you will find this paper doll generator. It's like a bridge between the very old and the very new media, letting you customize your virtual presence but also producing hardcopy versions of your digital self.
-- via labazov (in Russian)

Interactive Print Revisited
Interactive Print Through Structural Graphics
Rethinking Print Advertising

KFC Claims Secret-Message Ad Successful

Wall Street Journal says (and Engadget kindly rebroadcasts) that the KFC's commercial with a secret message viewable only in slo-mo and rejected by ABC as subliminal made 100,000 people download coupons offered in the message and that traffic to KFC's site surged 40 percent the week after the ad ran. You can view the commercial here and see if you can spot the coupon offer.

US Mail to Approve Logos On Stamps

Boston Globe: "The US Postal Service is expected to decide shortly on whether to launch a test program that would allow advertising on postage. The test would be an expansion of an existing program in which authorized websites, including,, and, allow people to personalize postage with photos."


Offtopic: Tracking Dollar Bills

I just got and promptly registered my first bill, a fun project that started back in 1998 to let people watch their money changing hands and moving around the country. To make this entry even remotely related to advertising, I went to the local grocer's to see if they got any Blak Coke (not yet). Funny thing, I noticed that those plastic bags on a roll in which you pack your fruit and vegetables were replaced by nicer-looking but smaller ones. Don't smaller bags get fuller quicker and discourage you from buying more stuff?

Sort of related:
Advertising on Money
NBC Promotes Show With Ads on Dollars

Near Future: Personally Targeted Advertising

Remember those intimately personalized Gap billboards in Minority Report? It just occured to me that many of the pieces are already in place. We have people implanting RFID chips under their skin (the rest of us will be carrying RFID passports). A couple of years ago Microsoft has been awarded a patent for using human skin as a power conduit and data bus (read the news). Then, Korean researchers developed a chip that allows you to listen to music "using your forearm as the transmission wire for the audio signals" (CNet). See? Here is your technology for personally targeted audio ads.

Anyway, a few interesting pieces to read today:

Inside Wrapping Paper

Since wrapping paper is the first thing the person who gets the gift sees, you'd expect more thought would go into it. It turns out there's plenty of room for imagination. This paper from Suck UK looks innocent on the outside, but has very surprising imagery on the inside. And I don't know what this has to do with anything, but check out this museum of toilet paper curiosities.
-- cool hunter

On-Demand DVR Ads Hot This Election Season

The Hotline writes: "Comcast is selling On Demand political advertising as an environment for candidates or advocacy groups to "elaborate on their causes." Since DVR advertising is not bound by the same constraints as television or radio, it allows campaigns to run spots of up to 60 minutes and gives viewers the freedom to decide which messages they are interested in watching. Comcast has even established a clearly recognized "Election 2006" link, uniformly positioned in all 22 available markets to make it accessible to the viewer when they want."

The article, which is much longer and more detailed than this quote, includes quotes from Joe Trippi as a bonus.

Comcast Expands Ads-on-Demand Service
Comcast, TiVo to Insert Updated Ads in Old Shows

Slate Kicks Off Serialized Ad-Supported Web Novel launched last week a serialized novel "The Unbinding" to be written by Walter Kim in regular installments in real time. MediaPost quotes Slate's publisher saying that the ads for "The Unbinding" will be more creative than typical display ads. "We're actually talking about possibilities that would be pretty innovative and take full advantage of the medium in the same way that the novel does--special features that would only be available on the Web."

Advertising in Books
Advertising in Books Comes to the US

CMO's Pick Direct Mail As Revenue Driver

"Nearly one-quarter of [the chief marketing officers] recently surveyed by Targetbase said traditional mail had the strongest impact on meeting their growth goals. Asked the single most important metric they use to measure growth, CMOs primarily picked revenue (28%), profits (18%), or sales (15%)."
-- Directmag via Trylon

GoMonkey: Gesture-Based Interface

GoMonkey uses two cameras two capture gestures in 3D and back-projection beamers to create a gesture-based interface like the one they had in Minority Report.
-- i4u

Raytheon Creates 'Minority Report' interface
Another "Minority Report" Interface


All I can think of is a cheesy tagline like "propell your brand to the stars", but incidentally, that's what this German company says it does. Among other opportunities, their media kit on space marketing apparently offers to place your stuff on the International Space Station. Everything is in German, a language I don't understand much, but "Raketenbranding" speaks for itself.

Advertising (in) Space for Sale
Space Ads: Fools Rush In
Federal Aviation Administration Against Space Ads

Interactive Rear-Projection Transparent Displays

Sometimes, press releases have great stuff. Portuguese Edigma combines precision cameras for finger tracking, multimedia projectors and transparent material to create interactive window displays called Displax. Looks very cool, even though it's not technically a "holographic" screen as the company claims.

NBC: Ad Avoidance Greater in Non-DVR Homes

AdLab's quote of the week: "DVRs Don't Kill Commercials, People Do." Under this headline, MediaPost writes:

"Alan Wurtzel, president of NBC Universal Television Research and Media Development, said the problems with commercial avoidance were worse in non-DVR homes than in DVR homes. Wurtzel said the loss in commercial effectiveness was currently just under 7 percent in non-DVR homes, as compared to about 3 percent in DVR homes. The explanation focuses on old technology--regular TV remote devices. Television viewers have used TV remotes for years to avoid commercials--changing channels, muting, etc.--and TV remotes are in many more homes than DVR machines."

Audio Ad Production for Mobile Devices

Short format repackaged. Here's one audio ad production company, Pocket Spots, that differentiates itself by specializing in ads for mp3 players and cell phones. Here's a recent press release.

Tips for Podcast-minded Advertisers
Binaural Advertising

Movie Trailers Come to YouTube

That was fast. Clickz writes: "Deep Focus, a digital agency to film studios, reached an agreement with YouTube to promote its studio clients' trailers on the breakaway video portal. The first trailer promoted under the deal, for Dimension Films' "Scary Movie 4," was added to YouTube's "featured videos" section on Monday. Since that time, it has received more than 437,000 views. That figure rivals the number of times the same trailer has been seen on Yahoo!, where it premiered at the beginning of the month."

Commercials as On-Demand Video Feeds
Volkswagen Ad Hits YouTube
Google Enters Video Content Distribution

Fore-Edge Painting

Add "fore-edge printing" to the collection of interesting things you can do with print.

Martin Frost, who has produced more than 3000 such paintings since 1970, explains, "Unlike the spine and covers of a bookbinding, the page edges are not usually decorated, however…

A fore-edge painting is where the page block is fanned and an image applied to the stepped surface. If the page edges are themselves gilded or marbled, this results in the image disappearing when the book is relaxed. When refanned, the painting magically re-appears."
-- via neatorama

Commercials as On-Demand Video Feeds lists a few companies that are streaming nothing but ads to anyone willing to watch, AmEx and Nike Soccer among them. WebJungle and MicroPersuasion comment.

Also, check out this "vodcast" by BMW (is it me, or should be spelled "vodkast"?). The company also has a podcast and a series of audiobooks, as well as instructions on how to transfer content to iPod and PSP.

Xerox Colors Cartoon Strip


image: AdLand

Caffeinegoddess over at AdLand writes: "Xerox is showing the UK how injecting color makes a difference. A well established business cartoon titled "Alex" has been taken over by Xerox for six weeks. The comic, which has been running for 13 years in black and white, is about a stockbroker and runs in the Telegraph."

Web Standards Report:: PR Sites Are Bad News

AdRants points to a newly released findings by the Web Marketing Association of a decade-long study of web development trends. The Internet Standards Assessment Report is based on data collected from nearly 10,000 Web site evaluations across 80 industries.

Public relations sites scored in the bottom five on such factors as use of technology, design, innovation, content, ease of use, copywriting, and overall experience. With regard to copywriting, the report says, "These low scores for the PR industry may reflect the informal nature of the internet and a backlash for over-edited, legalized corporate-speak that can be found in many press releases."

Need Help Contacting Blogger Support

Update (March 16, 2006): Status update posted.

Offtopic and will be burried after expiring. If you know someone at Blogger support or have a blog read by Googlers, please help getting this message to them.

There has been a major problem with image uploads at Blogger (Google's software that powers this blog and a huge chunk of others) since at least Monday. The help forums are clueless, the status page is silent, and all requests sent to Blogger support are answered with form replies that don't help to resolve the issue.

It's no Kryptonite or Dell affair, but very frustrating nevertheless. I think everyone affected by the glitch would appreciate a simple status update, if only we could get someone's attention. Digging this post on Digg will help, as will linking to this post or maybe just waving hands in the general direction of the Googleplex.

Why MySpace Beat Friendster?

Because user pages on MySpace look like crap and harass you with music, and that's what teenagers happen to like. Offtopic but interesting. More at Business 2.0.

Visuses Coming to RFID Chips

"Three computer science researchers are warning that viruses embedded in radio tags used to identify and track goods are right around the corner, a danger that so far has been overlooked by the industry's high interest in the technology." More at Computerworld.

Also see:
METRO Future Store
US Issues First RFID Passports (March 13, '06)

TagZapper Neutralizes RFID Tags
Concept: Advertising with RFIDed Toys
Shopping Assistant Robot Ready For Field Tests
Bookmarking Retailers
E Ink: Digital Price Tags

Advertising with Temporary Tattoos

We've seen stamped advertising on hands already, and this temporary tattoo is a nice twist to brilliant concept. A Celtic pattern and a phone number of a tattoo parlor stamped at the doors of a New Zealand pub.
-- Frederik Samuel

New Gaming Media: Movie Theaters and DVDs

Two fairly "old" media are adapting themselves for gaming: DVDs (the ones that go into DVD players) and movie theater screens.

From David Edery: "You may be interested to know that DVD games [games that run on a standard DVD player, not PC DVD games] are a $400M category. There are 50 titles on the market, but only only the movie/TV trivia games are actually selling (with about a 65% marketshare on that platform)." Here's a link to a recent story on Money Central.

From Tech Web: "TimePlay Entertainment has developed consoles and software that integrates with digital projectors it will install at United Cinema International Odeon theaters in the United Kingdom within the next two months. The video game projected on the movie screen can support up to 70 players in the theater simultaneously." (via TechDirt)

Assvertising For Tires

What else do you post on a slow blogging night if not a picture of a butt converted into an advertising medium. This one is for a Russian online tire shop 6 Koles (six wheels).
-- infopub

Kodak's Assvertising
Human Bodies As Billboards
Update: Human Bodies As Media
Digital Assvertising With LED-powered G-Strings

First Ad on Rocketboom Goes Live

Last month, the video blog Rocketboom that claims to be viewed by 130,000 people eBayed out the first batch of advertising time - five consecutive post-roll spots - for $40,000 to (news). On Monday, the first installment hit the screen. Rocketboom retained creative control over the ad and holds a creative commons license for the ad content. Here's what We Are The Media has to say about the minute-long commercial:

"Rocketboom has created a new, spellbinding advertising format. [...] Because they are not limited to television’s thirty seconds, they have added subtlety and intruigue and a great narrative story to the advertisements that will make Rocketboom subscribers sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the next days advertisement."

You can view the video-cast with the ad here. Also note that Rocketboom is now offered through TiVo.

Rethinking Print Advertising

One time we (not the royal we, there are actually several people here) at AdLab get really excited is when someone uses a traditional medium in a way that takes advantage of medium's different properties. I already posted a few examples of plastic bags, and then there's Billboardom that tracks untraditional approaches to outdoor advertising. At the very bottom, you'll find links to technological innovations knocking on the doors of magazines and newspapers - geeky stuff like sound inserts, pop-ups, 3D printing. This post, however, is about how clever creatives translate different aspects of print media into advertising metaphors. How do most people see a magazine? It has color, it comes in a certain size and it is flat. Not the people who have created the ads below.

A magazine has staples.

MINI. Source: archive.

A magazine (newspaper) usually has pages that come in a certain sequence.

Unknown. Source: Creative Criminal.

One of the pages can be cut to create a layered presentation...

Uknown. Source: Coloribus. more ways than one.

Guinness. Source: Frederik Samuel.

Pages are usually flat...

Samsung plasma TV. Source: Creative Criminal.

... and look like slices of something else.

Wuesthof Knives. Source: Frederik Samuel.

A magazine can be turned upside down (try this with a TV).

Clark Hatch fitness center. Source: Frederik Samuel.

Pages are printed on paper, and paper can have different properties, too. It can be shiny or matte...

Nigrin car polish. Source: Frederik Samuel.

...or bumpy...

Veet razors. Source: Frederik Samuel.

...or transparent.

The Autoglass store. Source: Frederik Samuel.

Pages that are spread out look like what?

Ele Ela magazine. Source: Creative Criminal.

And what else?

Triumph. Source: Coloribus.

What if pages are half-closed and have volume?

Wonderbra. Source: archive.

Print publications have editorial content that has a consistent look that itself can be a metaphor...

Unknown. Source: Creative Criminal.

...for different things.

Nivea razor. Source: Frederik Samuel.

And yes, you can use pop-up effect to create three-dimensional presentations.

Uknown. Source: Coloribus.

You can use a page as a container for other physical objects that themselves use different properties of the medium.

MINI. Source: archive.

Other fun things you can do with print: