Happy New Year

I hope 2009 is a great year for all of us.

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Quicksilver’s New Flagship Store in Tokyo

Sairis Group and Activate team up to deliver an exciting new Quicksilver branded mobile game for the launch of Quicksilver’s new flagship store in Tokyo. The Quicksilver surfing game uses the latest patented Mobiactions mobile interactive video and voice response (IVVR) technology where users can “dial in” and immediately be immersed in a surfing game where they can move around on the wave and pick up prizes using their phone keypad.
quicksilver
“With the advent of advertising in mobile games, consumers are now interacting with brands in a more engaging and meaningful way – something which youth marketers have found it increasingly tricky to do.” says Tim Smith of Sairis Group.

“Now we can enable advertisers like Quicksilver to engage consumers in a new and exciting manner, giving the consumer a unique and fun experience whilst at the same time the brand is remembered as an entertaining innovator”.

“In terms of memorability and value of experience this branded gaming concept far outranks simple web based, IM or SMS promotions.” says Gerald Gentemann of Activate.

“It is a totally non-invasive method of engagement, and we can provide a brand with an interactive experience that their consumer chooses to partake in. With over 100 million mobile phone users in Japan alone, we provide a key touch-point for a brand and literally put them in the hands of their target consumer.” says Tyron Giuliani, co-founder of Activate K.K.

The MobiActions patented platform seamlessly integrates synchronous call-to-action based game play, providing high levels of customer-brand engagement across multiple channels including mobile, PC and in-store. The experience is 100% “in call” and requires no downloads or additional applications on the handset.

The platform may be extended across any number of media, thus providing a 360 degree approach to brand campaigns. Users may experience the action on PC, mobile and in-store. At each point of contact usage statistics are gathered.

MobiActions also provides incentives to the customer since the ‘wins’ may be easily converted to in-store premiums. This makes it an ideal platform to enhance any loyalty or premium marketing program.

Mobiactions is built around specially integrated components and features the VEEDIA® Flash Gateway as one of the core systems. Sairis Group is an authorized reseller for VEEDIA® in Asia and Oceania.

The VEEDIA® The Flash 3G Video Gateway is a platform that permits mobile users to access Adobe Flash-based web applications with video and multimedia content by simply placing a standard video call from any 3G or SIP device. This means users can access live streaming webcams, pre-recorded and interactive video, games, animations and more. No WAP portal or installation is necessary.

2009 Business “To Don’t” List

While everyone is compiling their resolutions and focusing on all the things that they will “do” in 2009, I am putting together my “to don’t” list. These are the behaviors and actions I will hopefully stay away from in the new year. So, in 2009 I will NOT:

Set unrealistic or unfair expectations of myself. Say, “yes” to everything without first assessing the emotional, professional, personal, karmic ROI.

Solely focus on short-term benefits unless it is a pathway to accomplishing long-term goals.

Get complacent.

Count on anything before it is a reality.

Forget to network because it often benefits someone other than myself.

Stop critically thinking, and refrain from always shooting holes in others’ ideas.

Lose sight of the fact that I can replace my job but not my family.

Stress!

I am sure there are more,,,any thoughts?

New Pepsi Campaign is Flat.

Here’s “Wordplay,” the first TV ad from newly crowned Pepsi shop TBWAChiatDay. The animated montage features feel-good messages (“love,” “optimism,” “joy”) with the brand’s spanking new logo taking the place of the letter “O.” Also on display: Happy colors and upbeat music, the latter in the form of the jangle-pop anthem “Energy” by The Apples in Stereo. And the words “Happy 2009” appear in different languages.

It’s all aimed at millennials. The commercial works the whole “let’s have a positive new year!” routine a bit too hard. It’s a lot like the beverage itself: Sweet and slightly elevating at first (owing to the caffeine, in the case of the drink), but a bit too syrupy overall and liable to leave behind a bitter aftertaste.

Now don’t get me wrong; the spot isn’t actively bad. It’s just uninspired and, to extend the cola metaphor, despite its peppy visuals and soundtrack, perhaps a tad flat…let me rephrase that, after 48 years with BBDO and great advertising this is more than a tad flat, it is boring.

Luxury brands, QR codes and cell phone commerce

If you have any interest in e-tailing, e-marketing, marketing technology or fashion, check this out. An article in last Friday’s edition of Women’s Wear Daily (WWD)—the must-read daily newspaper of the fashion industry—announced that Polo Ralph Lauren is about to embark on selling its products through cell phones (presumably in the U.S.).

“Taking its philosophy of “merchan-tainment” to a new level, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. is breaking into mobile commerce — m-commerce — incorporating technology that allows shoppers to buy Polo merchandise from their cell phones.
gucci_ad_with_qr_code
To realize this, the company is incorporating Quick Response Technology codes in its ads, mailers and store windows, which potential shoppers can scan and download on their camera phones. Once scanned, the site m.ralphlauren.com allows a mobile phone user to enter the world of Ralph Lauren — not just by offering the limited edition 2008 U.S. Open collection, classic polo and oxford shirts, chinos, and even the Ricky bag, but also with exclusive video content and a style guide.”

A bit further on, the article goes on to say that “Polo is the first luxury retailer to tap into the QR technology, which is already popular in Asia and Europe.”

As the piece is written, readers could be forgiven for assuming that Ralph Lauren is somehow out in front of other luxury brands when it comes to cell phone e-tailing and technology adoption. But truth be told, here in Japan, a number of luxury brands have been operating cell phone commerce sites for some time. Open any of Japan’s top fashion magazines this month and you’ll see that Gucci is using QR codes prominently in its advertising right now—and is using a customized code design, the latest trend amongst design sensitive brands.

If you’re new to QR codes, they (and other emerging technologies), can be used by marketers in a number of ground-breaking ways. To see how they’re being leveraged as powerful marketing tools in Japan, read this Japan Marketing News article from early 2007.

AMC’s ‘Men’ Click With “Cross” Pens

AMC is teaming with the A.T. Cross Co. for an integrated marketing partnership involving its drama series “Mad Men.”
madmen cross
“Mad Men,” is AMC’s first original drama series and was created by Matthew Weiner, an Emmy winner for executive producing and writing “The Sopranos.” “Men” is set in New York in 1960 and revolves around the ruthlessly competitive men and women working on Madison Avenue.

The AMC partnership with A.T. Cross includes product integration and co-branded campaigns on-air, online and in more than 200 stores where Cross pens are sold. “This series offers a unique opportunity to showcase iconic brands like Cross in a compelling, entertainment environment,” AMC senior vp marketing Linda Schupack said. “The partnership with Cross provides AMC with the opportunity to build awareness for ‘Mad Men’ throughout their extensive network of stores.”

AMC said that as part of its marketing deal with A.T. Cross, the company’s pens were used on-set and will be placed in episodes throughout the series. AMC also will feature the Cross pen in a customized “Mad Men” vignette and online at amctv.com in a photo gallery section that features art from the show. A poster featuring a character from the series using a Cross pen with the tagline, “Our classic signature pen … A new signature series” will be displayed in more than 200 retail outlets nationwide where Cross pens are sold, AMC said.

Super Bowl Advertising Drops Due to the Economy

FedEx is punting on the 2009 Super Bowl, and the undisputed king of the Big Game — its agency, my former agency, BBDO — will be a lot more on the sidelines this year.

“Now’s not the time,” Steve Pacheco, ad director at Super Bowl stalwart FedEx, wrote on a company blog that the $3 million for a 30-second spot on NBC’s telecast wasn’t a prudent expenditure in tough economic times. “Make no mistake, our advertising presence in 18 Super Bowls since 1989 has strategically allowed FedEx to establish itself as a household name,” Mr. Pacheco wrote. “As a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide, there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back. … A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time.”

That news — along with the fact that BBDO has lost prolific Super Bowl advertiser Pepsi in the U.S. to fellow Omnicom agencies TBWA/Chiat/Day and Arnell Group — leaves the onetime MVP agency of Super Bowl advertising prepping only half the spots it did last year. BBDO will produce only three commercials for Super Bowl XLIII, down from six commercials produced for the 2008 Super Bowl, seven in 2007 and five in 2006. BBDO’s only spots for the 2009 Super Bowl will be a 60-second commercial for the National Football League, a 30-second for Monster.com, and one more of undetermined length for NBC parent General Electric Co. (The game is being broadcast on NBC on Feb. 1.)

It’s a surprising development for my old agency that over the years has produced a steady stream of memorable Super Bowl ads not only for Pepsi and FedEx, but for Visa, Pizza Hut, Frito-Lay, Gillette, Charles Schwab and more.

A BBDO spokeswoman referred calls to FedEx regarding the shipping company’s decision not to advertise during the Super Bowl. Asked about the agency being down to just three commercials during the game, the spokeswoman declined to comment.

I think it’s a blow to BBDO’s DNA. It’s who they are. BBDO, they were the king of the Super Bowl.
BBDO would be preparing the day after the Super Bowl for next year’s Super Bowl. I wonder if they will be back or has a combination of the economy and interactive web advertising killed the big TV buys forever.

Pepsi ads created by BBDO have won six of the 20 USA Today Ad Meter polls, in which readers judge and critique the Super Bowl’s commercials. But the agency hasn’t won the crown since a 1998 Pepsi spot featuring a sky-surfer and a goose. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser or Bud Light — handled by Omnicom sibling DDB — has won every year since.
BBDO created some eight and a half minutes of spots for the game as recently as Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 for Pepsi, Visa, Pizza Hut and Frito-Lay, which included the rollout of the “Joy of Pepsi” campaign.

In 1997, the agency persuaded Muhammad Ali to appear in a spot for Pizza Hut that would air during the 1998 Super Bowl, introducing the fast-food chain’s new pizza, “The Greatest.” Mr. Ali’s nickname was “The Greatest of All-Time.” The spot was produced with plenty of time to go before the big game, but Pizza Hut officials decided at the eleventh hour to postpone the launch of “The Greatest” and continue marketing “The Edge.” BBDO started on Dec. 15, 1997, to produce a spot featuring “The Edge,” and had it done in time for the Jan. 26, 1998 Super Bowl.

For that same Super Bowl, BBDO produced a spot for FedEx entitled “Apology.” The commercial featured no sound or pictures, only color bars and text — which told viewers they should be seeing an advertisement for a fictional company, but the company’s ad agency used another shipping company, and the ad never arrived.