News in the Ads #26

A headache from too much exercise is a new sensation for me, but I write this in that state – my mind hopefully alert to the stories in advertising and communications that might take off, catch on or create controversy. That said, here are my top 5 from the last week –

1) Facebook splashes $1bn on Instagram acquisition
Facebook has snapped up Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, for $1bn (£623m) in cash and shares and sparked a major backlash.

-> Facebook leave us alone – that seemed to be the general consensus on Twitter over the announcement that Facebook has bought Instagram to strengthen their photo-upload offering. Apparently the deal has infuriated both sides of the mobile pond – iPhone users lamenting the loss of their “exclusive” app and potential changes in privacy and advertising on the site, and Android users (now able to use Instagram) saying that they prefer other alternatives. In other words, Zuckerberg is getting too personal and meddling for many peoples’ liking.

2) Adidas invites Brits to ‘take the stage’ in biggest-ever UK campaign
Adidas is rolling out its biggest UK ad campaign to date with the aim of showcasing British talent and encouraging UK consumers to ‘Take The Stage’ in 2012.

-> When I first saw the hashtag “Take the stage” on Twitter my first thought was the release of yet another talent show… turns out it was Adidas. The 60-second TV ad created by Sid Lee features The London 2012 Games Team GB athletes Victoria Pendleton, Louis Smith and Tom Daley, as well as TV comedian Keith Lemon and musician Example. It tells the story of how to go overnight “from the top deck of the bus to the top of the charts” which is veering on the too cheesy side for my liking. I also find narrative rather stretched, and the British stereotyping slightly infuriating. However critique over, I enjoy the celebratory nature of the advert even it is too early for the cheers and party hats just yet.

3) Legoland Places Miniature Billboards Made of Legos Around London
Lego and ad agency DLKW Lowe created some fun mini-billboards touting a new hotel and other attractions at the Legoland Windsor resort in England. The 12-inch-high signs, made of Legos, were placed around London, and folks spotting the small wonders—guided by Google Maps—could share photos on Twitter using a special hashtag.

-> I am slightly disappointed not to have seen these signs, but perhaps they were just too small for easy spotting or someone ran off with the Lego. Even way it marks a witty way to portray the brand – emphasising its mini world feel and sense of fun. More images can be found on Adweek.

4) C4’s Undateables campaign attracts 20 complaints
Channel 4’s ad campaign for its dating documentary ‘The Undateables’ could be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after the ad watchdog received 20 complaints.

-> I watched this show last week and it left me feeling touched, inspired and more open-minded; and I was not alone. Logging on to Twitter I found peoples’ reactions to the show to be largely positive – illustrating that despite the show’s dubious and erroneous title, the content of the programme was well-thought out and very personal. The series follows people with challenging conditions such as Aspergers, Tourettes, facial disfigurements and brittle bone disease as they try to find love. A mission hard enough in itself… but being ‘undateable’ not a preconclusion. Complaints were subsequently raised the programme being offensive to people with disabilities and reinforcing negative stereotypes. However, having watched the programme, my mind is blank as what else the show could be titled.

5) Snoop Dogg Pimps Rolling Papers With Smokable Book of Lyrics
Snoop Dogg is promoting his new line of Kingsize Slim Rolling Papers with a unique smokable book. Created from rolling papers printed with his lyrics and bound with hemp and twine, it’s the perfect promotional item to reflect Snoop’s glorious career.

-> It takes a sufficiently A-list star to pull a coup like this off, but Snoop Dogg has taken “living and breathing the brand” to the next level by creating “A Smokable Songbook”. Designed by ad agency Pereira & O’Dell, it is not explicitly stated that the book is for rolling joints, but you can draw your own conclusions based on the Dogg’s reputation (and his arrest in January for marijuana possession) – Snoop’s promo for the book is well worth watching. As they say there’s no smoke without fire…

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