Puppy… wait… Puppy Tweets?

Some strange things have the ability to tweet these days… toilets, chairs, beds, shoes, etc.  Today, I was kind of shocked when I came across Mattel’s latest creation.  A USB device that allows your dog to tweet.  Yes, tweet.  No, I don’t know why Fido needs to tweet about the mundane activities of his day, but for $30 dollars, Mattel has found a way.

The “Puppy Tweets” device is attached to your dogs collar and a connection is made between the collar and the computer via USB stick.  You can create a Twitter page for your beloved pooch and voila!  While you’re away, you will know what the puppy is doing.

I don’t know why you want to know what your dog is doing, but in June, you will be able to.  The device includes a database of over five-hundred tweets that go off as your dog is going about his daily activities.

Has this gone too far?  Are “Puppy Tweets,” going to lead to the eventual downfall of Twitter?  How is Twitter going to be a legitimate blogging information source when mundane things like dog Twitter pages exist…?

That’s all I have for today, I could not honestly believe the story when I read it.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.  We promise we won’t tweet things like, “I bark because I miss you. There, I said it. Now hurry home,” or “Guess what I’m licking right now.”  I wish that last one was a joke.


Could this be our future?

The average American is exposed to over 3000 advertisements in a day’s time.  That is a lot of messages being shouted in your face.  Naturally, we’ve built up a shield for all these advertisements.  That shield is our “personal message filter.”  Usually we utilize RSS feeds, social networking sites, etc. to only expose us to the ads and content we want to see.

That’s why this video, created by a London architecture student, Keiichi Matsuda, revealing what our future might look like if advertising continues to dominate the way it always has is quite a shock.  This might be twenty-five years from now, if our “logo-culture” continues to thrive.

Take a peek at your future sponsored life.

Crazy, scary, freaky… and noisy.

What do you think?  Pretty weird if you ask me.  Though, I do like that there is an option to turn the advertising down.  How would you feel if you were exposed to all that on a daily basis?

Until next time, be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates!

The Controversy Bowl?

Ads were going for 2.5-3 million dollars per 30-second spot, but CBS announced that they were sold out on Monday.  The only spots that remain are very few available for pre and post-game.

The advertisers on the list this year include a few newbies: Kia, Flo TV, HomeAway, KGB, Focus on the Family, the US Census Bureau, and truTV.  Returning advertisers will be: Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Audi, Dodge, Cars.com, CareerBuilder, Coca-Cola, E*Trade, and Walt Disney, Paramount, and Universal will be promoting upcoming films.  Not on the list this year, a gay-dating website called mancrunch.com.  Last week, CBS announced that it was rejecting the advertisement.

I will not interject my personal politics here, I will simply say that I’ve seen the ad and it looks more like a publicity stunt.

What do you think?  Should the Superbowl be able to be used as a platform for politics and religion?  I want to hear your thoughts on this.  I’m really interested to know.

Until next time, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Toyota faces brand devastation after recall.

On January 21st, Toyota announced that they were recalling 2.3 million vehicles.  Then, on January 26th, they halted the sale of these vehicles and have shut down production of them until a resolve for the issue is reached.  The company is losing an estimated $400 million dollars a week as long as sales and production are suspended, according to an article on adage.com.

This comes in the wake of a recall announced Nov. 25 2009, of four million vehicles because of a similar issues that they are still attempting to resolve.  According to a press release issued by Toyota today, they are working on settling the issue of both recalls at the same time.

How can Toyota come back from this?  Can they come back from this?

“What’s made them a great car company is that their brand was all about consistency. Consumers always knew what they were getting with Toyota, and this has to give people serious doubts about what they are getting. This blows up that idea of consistency that has surrounded them for so long.” —Mark Hass, CEO and partner of MH Group Communications and the recently named president of Edelman China

The a fore mentioned article hearkens this event to the great Tylenol debacle of 1982.

Johnson & Johnson wrote the textbook on crisis communications when seven people died in Chicago after several bottles of Tylenol were tampered with and laced with cyanide in 1982. J&J’s prompt and proactive move to inform and reassure consumers with a national ad campaign remains the industry gold standard nearly 30 years after the event. Toyota’s comparative lack of response almost seems a textbook example of what not to do.  (Ad Age: Billion-Dollar Battle Ahead for Toyota to Rebound From Recall)

At the time, Tylenol only came back from the atrocity because of Johnson&Johnson’s proactive approach to the situation.  Toyota, for the most part, has remained silent about the issue of the recall.

What do you think they should be doing?  Why do you think they are not doing anything about the issue of their brand?  The view of Toyota in the past few months has taken a dive for the worst according to most analysts.  We can assume there will be short term damage, but what about long term?

We would really like to hear your thoughts on this.  What would you do if the brand you were responsible for took a hit as big as this one?

I hope everyone has had a great start to the semester, this will be my last one.  As usual, I will try to maintain frequent updates and as usual, I would love to hear your comments!  Give me something to respond to, your input is valuable.

Please follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Have a great semester everyone!

Missing the “Target”

I promise that in 2010 I will use more sources for my blogs.  I promise this to you loyal readers.  I know there is more out there, but Ad Freak always appeals to me.  I also promise to bring up public relations more often, as I attempt to learn more about the field.  These are my early resolutions to you.

And now for some holiday cheer, compliments of Target.

…awkward, uncomfortable, unsettled, nervous, just plain uneasy… do you commonly associate these words with the holiday season?  I do not, but someone thinks that it is a good way to set Target into people’s minds this time of year.  Target’s new ad campaign is anything, but expected.  This might be due in part to a new agency handling their advertising.

I will admit, Target’s advertising has never really stood out to me… it was usually a lot of products and people dancing across the screen with music set in the background (most notably to me, the “When you say goodbye, I say hello” track).  It got to the point where I could not tell the difference between Target, JC Penney, Kohl’s, and even Sears was getting in on the picture.  Target ads were easy to identify, until everyone else started doing the same thing.  The first time I noticed Target breaking out of the mold was with their Thanksgiving ads.

It was weird, it was freaky, it was so, very, not the Target we had come to know and love.  Did we like it?  It was kind of amusing, but mostly, creepy.  The ads bothered me, but I still shop at Target.  And then the Christmas season is upon us, and the agency gives us even more strange holiday ads… featuring things like the unwanted gift, the idea of thinking someone spent too much on you, holiday envy, Santa needing help, etc.  These are all common holiday things, but Target twisted it into a new, strange thing.

The Target Holiday 09 campaign is built upon a single, simple truth–the products you buy at Target are of such high quality that people naturally assume you’ve spent more on them that you did. Target helps Mom and Dad be holiday heroes, without having to compromise expectations or feel guilty for spending more than they should.

Weiden+Kennedy’s website

Oh, is that what they were trying to do…?  I think they missed the “Target.”  It seemed more like they were supporting the idea of parents being angry at each other for spending too much money and creating awkward situations for the kids, neighbors disliking you for all the money you have, buying your girlfriend something that is too expensive, etc.  I did find the spot with the kids recording their dad amusing because it reminded me of something that might happen on Christmas morning.

I can see now what the agency was trying to do, inform people that Target has low prices on great stuff and it might fool others just how great the deals are.  Although it did make the ads stand out to me, I was not necessarily pleased with the effect.  However, anything is better than the Gap holiday ads.

What do you think?  Questions and comments are welcome.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

I’ll be back next week with the best ads of 2009 and what to expect from the industry in 2010.  I wish you and yours very happy holidays!

HP webcam is racist…?

While doing my rounds, this story on Wired caught my attention.. “HP investigates claim of ‘racist’ computers.”  At first I was going to post this as an, ohmygod the PR team has a tough situation on their hands, better have that crisis management manual handy… and actually believe that it was a real claim.  But, then, I started to think….. this video looks suspiciously intentional.

Here is the story: “Black Desi” and his co-worker “White Wanda” are playing with their new HP computer.  Now, Desi is having an issue with the camera, it does not recognize his movements.  Why are his movements not recognized, because he is black.  Every time his co-worker Wanda (who is white) comes into frame, the camera follows her movements.  But, the moment Desi appears, the software stops working.  The camera refuses to follow his movements.  Desi is furious!  He bought this computer for his wife for Christmas!  He is going to come right out and say it, “Hewlett-Packard computers are racist.”

Why… in the world HP would do this…?  I have no idea, that is the only flaw in the possible, this might be an ad, part of my thoughts.  This is a PR firestorm, no company would intentionally influence an entire race to not buy their products, right?  It seems like no company would be that stupid.  But, I now know what the product is, I know how it works, I know who makes it and I know how to use it.  At the same time, I am appalled that it does not work on black faces.

I’ll come out and say it right here, I believe this might be a desperate advertising attempt from HP.  But, it would be rather unwise if it really is that.

I’ve done quite a bit of research on this topic since initially viewing the video, as far as I can tell, no one else has come to my conclusion, so it is possible that I am incorrect.  Like I said, it would be a terrible public relations move.

Read more about “HP computers are racist” at these sources:

Youtube: The actual video.

mashable.com: An interview with the creators of the video.

HP: An open letter to the public about the matter.

Do you have any thoughts on this video?  Am I completely off the handle to accuse them of a media ploy?  I might be… I’ve been wrong before… certain things about the video just seem suspect to me.  But, the fact that this is just terrible for their PR leads me to believe I am wrong.  Tell me what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Apologies for the hiatus once again…

The semester is over and now I can get back to the important things in life, blogging! Seriously though, I have been crazy busy these past few weeks, I do apologize to the loyal readers who have been hoping for new content.

I hope you have been visiting our Cafepress store to check out the latest merchandise. We enjoy the fact that our students always try to “Think Out Loud,” and want them to show it off. Visit the store here.

Today’s topic of choice is just for fun, but maybe for a bit of learning.  Have you ever wondered why popular things on the internet are so popular?  Why something goes viral and something else falls flat?  How certain videos get the Google-juices flowing while others sink rather than float?  One thing that we as advertising and public relations students need to be looking at is, in fact, the power of the internet.  We need to learn why these events transpire.  The better we understand why a video goes viral, the more likely we are to harness the power of the internet.

There is one, very important thing to remember… the internet is completely random and unpredictable and though people can understand how it happened, it is still quite hard to tell just why.

Check out the informative videos about situations that went viral on Rocketboom’s blog “Know Your Meme.”  Obviously, what they investigate here are viral memes.  A meme, according to Dictionary.com is, “a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.”  Examples of popular internet memes include, ‘David After Dentist,’ ‘Numa Numa,’ and ‘Boom Goes the Dynamite.’

We can learn from the viral ability of these memes.  By studying why something explodes into the internet, maybe we can get closer to understanding our consumers.  However, like I said before, the internet is not predictable… it is quite a wild beast.  Still, visit the links and check out the stories, it is quite interesting to see why these videos erupted into internet fame.

I offered a bit of fun today, Tomorrow and Wednesday I will keep you updated on the latest news, but Christmas is a time for relaxing with your loved ones and I will take the next few days, following, off.

Be sure to follow our Twitter for the latest updates!