News in the Ads #5

A short and snappy low-down of 4 stories in Adland that I think are worth hearing about this week-

1) Ad watchdog to investigate TripAdvisor
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed it is investigating hotel review website TripAdvisor following a report that claims the site is failing to screen defamatory and unreliable reviews.

-> To anyone who has used TripAdvisor, the number of critical reviews (bordering from petty to “absolute outrage”) should be familiar. However, the ASA has now stepped in to investigate the validity of these reviews following claims by, an online management firm, that suggests that TripAdvisor has “contravened its own guidelines” on screening every review before it is posted and has also ignored its own rules concerning “zero tolerance on fraudulent reviews”. This thereby creates a danger whereby potential customers are relying on fake and malicious reviews, at the detriment to many businesses and their own holiday. The moral of the story is therefore to read TripAdvisor with caution and a healthy dose of skepticism!

2) ING Direct Lures Teens With Cash, MacBooks, iPods
ING Direct is dangling both cash and Apple products as bait for teens to register interest in Money, which launches Sept. 24. Ten teens will each win $1,000 cash, which will be deposited in their accounts. Ten others will win MacBooks and 20 more, iPod Touches.

-> As part of a $10million campaign in America by new agency Berlin Cameron, teens (or more alarmingly children given this picture) are being offered “prizes” to sign up for a for a new debit card/online bank account called Money, and even in the process appear on a new digital billboard. Lucky kids, but perhaps also sounds a bit too good to be true? Whilst, this apparently represents an attempt to “speak to teens in a language they understand”- the account has no minimum balance requirement and is also accessible through mobile banking apps (very on trend), it also sounds remarkably like blackmail. That and I’m jealous of the fact that, back in the day, I only received a free travel card.

3) UK Radioplayer launches on Facebook
UK Radioplayer, the joint industry online player, has launched its service on Facebook for users who want to listen to the radio and recommend stations while interacting with friends online.

-> As if facebook was not a big enough daily distraction, plans are now ahead for Radioplayer to appear as an app on the site, with users able to listen to friends’ recommendations and those based on where they live. Information about the station they are listening to will then get posted to their wall (avoid embarrassing selections then!). This represents a strategic move and sign of strong development by Radioplayer, who launched at the end of March with 157 stations from the BBC and commercial radio. There are now more than 250 stations available, many of which have fan and group pages on Facebook already.

4) M&S goes Hollywood this autumn
Marks & Spencer has signed Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds and Burberry model Rosie Huntington-Whitely as the faces of its autumn clothing campaign out on 1st September.

-> In what I think is a slight snub to Jamie Redknapp, Twiggy and co. (the happy sing-along M&S crew), the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds and Transformers star Rosie Huntington-Whitely, alongside models and actresses Sophie Byron, Suki Waterhouse and Louise De Chevigny and the David Gandy (great casting!), have been chosen to front the autumn print and in-store activity for the brand’s premium Autograph range. This decision is due to their ability to encapsulate the “contemporary, beautiful and exclusive look” of the brand, which is all very well; but somehow M&S doesn’t immediately spring to mind when I look at them. Nevertheless the campaign gives much needed eye candy and injects this quissentially British brand with a bit of global stardom.


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