How do you reach white-collar professionals who routinely work 80-hour weeks? Ultimat Vodka offered one answer to that question, though it’s not clear how scalable it is.
The vodka brand dispatched a dapper-looking gentlemen in New York and Chicago to pose as a window-washer outside office buildings. Peering in from the windows, they shook the workers out of their stupor with an honest admission written on a placard: “You people are hard to reach.” The spokesmen then beckoned the workers to get out in the fresh air — preferably before 6 — and have a drink.
If the video above is to believed, the technique worked: The office drones cracked smiles and met the Ultimat pitchman later for cocktails.
Though sending Ultimat’s window washers out to recruit more fans would be challenging on a grand scale, thanks to the magic of YouTube, a million or so people have been won over since the video went up on July 26.
What do you think? Would you take Ultimat’s spokesman up on his offer? Do you give the brand points for cleverness? Let us know in the comments.
You might’ve suspected that a fat cat runs your bank. Now you know for sure.
A new ad from Affinity Federal Credit Union puts a real feline face on that well-known trope, creating a character that’s a mix between Grumpy Cat and Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead of helping you reach your financial goals, this plump pet would rather bleed you dry, using the spoils to set himself up with a tricked-out condo, a wheelbarrow full of catnip and an age-inappropriate girlfriend. Bad kitty!
Affinity, on the other hand, is “100% fat cat free,” the ad says.
The campaign from ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein, New York, is its first work for new client Affinity. While conveying the message that Affinity is not a traditional bank, agency executives also aimed to tap into the Internet’s ongoing kitty love.
“We wanted to personify that big bank mentality in a way that people would respond to,” said Tom Christmann, chief creative officer. “So we thought, ‘Cat video plus I-hate-banks equals fat cat,’ which might be the algorithm for a viral video.”
Even though the country is six years post-recession, consumer sentiment still leans toward the banks-are-evil mindset, he said. That creates an opening for a business like Affinity at a time when credit union membership is growing steadily.
Not to deflate the image, but the star of the campaign isn’t actually fat. The exotic shorthair kitty, named Elvis and chosen after a casting call of more than a dozen felines, bulked up with a custom-made fat suit, Christmann said. And those aren’t his paws, either. Puppeteers provided the tiny cat “hands” and gestures in the ad.
Nor is Elvis a greedy megalomaniac. He is, after all, just playing a character.
“He’s the Robert DeNiro of cats. He’s the sweetest guy, Christmann says.”
Look for another ad in this series, coming later this summer, where the “fat cat” tosses potted plants off a desk, mimicking another Internet sensation. It’s all about waste and how, of course, Affinity doesn’t use your money for needless overhead.
The campaign is focused mostly in New Jersey, Affinity’s home base, with cable TV spots and billboards. But its social media tentacles will reach much further, via online banners, search and YouTube. There will be a Fat Cat Tinder profile, and the character will take over Affinity’s Twitter account. Also in the works: a music video about Fat Cat and his paramour, Shailene.
Climate change is a critical discussion in this day and age, and communicating its intricacies can be a challenge. At the Mashable Media Summit we’ve added a session on telling the stories of climate change in the digital age.
The session, titled “Talking About the Weather: Telling Extreme Weather and Climate Change Stories in the Digital Age,” will be led by Mashable’s Senior Climate Reporter Andrew Freedman and will analyze the most effective ways to communicate climate change given the multitude of perspectives on the climate change issue.
Speakers joining this session include:
Neil Katz, Editor in Chief/ V.P. of Digital Content, The Weather Channel
Bernadette Woods Placky, Meteorologist and Climate Matters Program Director, Climate Central
Other previously announced sessions at Media Summit will include media experts like Pete Cashmore, Mashable‘s founder and CEO; Jill Abramson, Harvard University lecturer; Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine; and Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black in conversation with Larry Smith, founder of Smith Magazine.
The Media Summit is a one-day conference analyzing the impact of technology on the media industry, with an emphasis on the evolution of storytelling. Speakers will discuss media trends like the rise of big data and mobile, the impact of global social media campaigns, how to use visual platforms to enhance your story and much more.
For a full list of speakers and agenda, check out the Media Summit website. Ticket prices will increase on Thursday, so make sure to reserve your spot early.
President Barack Obama’s campaign is taking aim at Mitt Romney on Republican National Convention turf. Today, visitors to the Tampa Bay Times website will see a large expandable ad mocking Romney as a fat cat who outsources jobs away from the U.S. and avoids taxes by hiding his money in offshore accounts.
“Click to see Mitt Romney’s qualifications,” states the ad, which when expanded, mimics a desk cluttered with reminder notes. One suggests that Romney has a meeting with the Koch Brothers, and he should “Book trip to Caymans” to “visit money.”
The Koch Brothers are wealthy industrialists who have been vilified by the left in part for their behind-the-scenes support of groups backing conservatives and Republicans including Romney.
The ads, which appear to be delivered outside of Florida and possibly nationwide, were paid for by the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee.
The ad buy is reminiscent of many the Obama camp ran during the early GOP presidential primary races when splashy Obama ads ran on news sites in states including Iowa and New Hampshire, and could be seen by people across the country rather than just in those particular states.
The message has been reiterated in television spots from the Obama camp and outside groups seen often in key swing states such as here in Florida. While the Obama camp seeks to strengthen support among important voter groups like veterans, young people and LGBT rights supporters, it is also hammering away at Romney’s reputation in the hopes of convincing people that he is disconnected from the middle class.
The TampaBay.com ad links to a page on the official Obama site with video of an ad featuring Bill Clinton’s endorsement of Obama.
Meanwhile, Romney is also running ads on the Tampa site. They’re clearly aimed at his supporters convening here for the RNC. The display ads appear along the bottom of most pages of TampaBay.com and tout, “America’s Comeback Team.” Some encourage supporters to “Get your official gear today,” while some show the #GOP2012 hashtag.
What’s the secret to making a video go viral? It’s a question that bedevils all ad agencies these days as clients demand to be the next Old Spice or Evian.
While others attempt to devise an organic route to viral success, Toronto-based agency John St. has a better idea: Just pay interns across the world to endlessly click on your would-be hit video. Above, the agency outlines its “Buyral” program. It began with in-house “clickterns,” but expanded worldwide thanks to the “ip.propegator.” Now, Buyral encompasses the elderly and preschoolers.
“It’s simple. Now you can pay for the clicks you need to make your video go viral,” a voiceover explains. As an agency exec notes, “Once we bypassed the viewing process, our world opened up.”
Before you get outraged, consider John St.’s previous viral program, “Catvertising.”
You might think mid-summer is kind of quiet here at Mashable HQ, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This weekend was rip-roaring, rollicking and all those other “R” words — full of news, views, ballyhoo and woo woo, and we gathered all of it together right here, just for you.
So start your week right, check out all of our posts we did over the weekend here on the Weekend Recap, and then go out there and make it your best week yet.
In 1972, Intel moved into the jewelry market with the acquisition of digital watch maker Microma.
At the time, digital watches were considered seriously high-tech, selling for hundreds of dollars, so the move was not a surprising one. The anticipated market for such high-tech timepieces was 200 million units.
However, when competition saw watch prices drop to the $10 mark, Intel decided to apply its tech expertise to other areas, selling the Microma brand and assets in 1978.
It’s reported that Gordon Moore still wears his Microma watch, stating: “It is to remind me, if I ever find myself thinking of getting into other consumer products, of the trouble we’d be getting into.”
You may recall in 1997, Intel created a fun, iconic advert for the Super Bowl, which featured colorful, dancing Intel technicians in special suits.
These were nicknamed (and in fact trademarked) “BunnyPeople.” The characters frequently appeared in advertising campaigns for the Pentium microprocessor series from this date on.
However, the origin of the “BunnyPeople” dates much further back to 1973, when the “bunny suit” became standard Intel cleanroom attire.
Worn by Fab technicians, it was a dramatic change from the more relaxed procedures predating 1973.
One Intel employee recalls the suits were such a novelty that people used to find excuses to visit the Fab labs just so they could put a bunny suit on.
The bunny suit is now a part of Intel’s company culture. One year it even made for a classic April Fool’s joke: Employees were informed they would be able to choose from new designs, like “Camouflage Comfy,” “Polka Dot Parka” or “Miss Kitty.”
4. Intel’s Customized Champagne Tradition
As a company tradition, Intel has customized bottles of champagne made to celebrate special occasions and milestones.
The tradition dates back to the company’s early days, “when a circuit finally worked or a product was shipped for the first time, the news was announced over the paging system. Then, someone would break out the bubbly.”
One Intel employee recalls a time when so many corks were popped against the acoustic tile ceiling in the cafeteria that it had to be replaced.
In 1973, when Intel hit its first $3 million month, the then director of marketing ordered bottles of “Domaine d’Intel.”
The Museum of Computing also houses bottles in its collection that celebrate a Fields Sales Force success and the first $250 million quarter.
Once forward-thinking about the workplace, Intel is credited with helping to develop corporate America’s “cubicle culture.”
“There are no closed doors at Intel. Shoulder-high cubicles separate employees — even top management — from one another so that communication lines are always open.”
However, as younger companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google made changes in workplace culture, Intel’s offices were criticized for being a little dated.
Conan O’Brien had tons of fun at Intel’s expense during a visit to the company in 2007. After commenting on the grey-on-grey color scheme, O’Brien said of the cubicle farms, “This is good. It makes people feel that they are basically all the same, that there is no individuality, that there is no hope, there’s no sense that life has possibilities.”
Intel played a major part in making PCs consumer-approachable, asking both business customers and consumers to learn what’s inside their PCs, per the infamous “Intel Inside” slogan.
Before “Intel Inside,” though, was the “Red X” campaign. Created by Intel marketing guru Dennis Carter, the commercials were controversial, not just for the graffiti graphics, or for targeting end-users, but for actively dissing an existing Intel product.
Intel wanted to promote the 386 SX processor over the 286, so the company ran ads with a red “X” through the numbers 286, suggesting the 386 was a better option.
Competitors soon caught on to this pioneering marketing, and Intel, assuming the “386” and subsequent “486” processors were protected trademarks, tried to block similar numerical names for processors from other brands.
In 1991, this block was ruled out by the courts, so Dennis Carter came up with the now infamous “Intel Inside” slogan as a blanket alternative.
Carter’s work was a success. Alongside the likes of Coke, Disney and McDonald’s, the Intel brand is now one of the top 10 known brands in the world.
Intel has kept its corporate branding very tight over the years, with little change to its iconic logo.
The original logo featured an unusual dropped “E,” which was used for 37 years.
In fact, Intel’s dropped “E” logo was so familiar that Apple made a visual pun about it during Steve Jobs’ 2005 WWDC keynote.
After the announcement that Apple would make the switch to Intel processors, Jobs showed a slide that read “It’s true!” The “E” in “true” was dropped to resemble Intel’s branding.
Soon after the “Intel Inside” design was introduced, it remained for 15 years until the creation of the current logo.
Intel said, “With deep respect for the Intel heritage, the new logo embodies the Intel of the past, the present and into the future. Its dynamic forward motion captures Intel as a catalyst for positive change and as a driving force toward newer technological leaps.”
9. Intel on the Endeavour
In 1995 Intel announced some of its kit had been used in the “first ever real-time, PC-based personal conference from space.”
Astronauts on the Space Shuttle Endeavour used the ProShare Personal Conferencing software to share info with NASA flight coordinators at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
During the call, they “shared photographic images on the PC and annotated shared information with words and drawings,” which must have been pretty impressive for 1995 technology.
Beginning next week, businesses that want their products to appear at the top of Google search results will have to pay for it. Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade goods, will be among them.
The Brooklyn-based startup hosts shops for more than 800,000 sellers and has generated $500 million in sales so far this year. It’s investing more than $250,000 in Google Product Listing Ads through the end of 2012 “to make sure sellers aren’t negatively affected [by Google’s changes] during the holiday season,” a spokesperson for Etsy wrote in an e-mail to Mashable. All Etsy sellers with at least one active listing will be indexed — about 15 million items in all — at no additional cost to them.UPDATE: Only the listings of U.S. sellers will be indexed. Etsy could not provide an exact number.
In late May, Google announced that it would be rebranding Product Search as Google Shopping, and that organic Product Search results would be replaced by paid listings come Oct. 1 in the U.S., and in Europe and Asia next year. Results will still be ranked largely by relevance, “with bidding as an additional factor,” a Google spokesperson told Mashable. Natural results will still appear below sponsored results.
Here’s what Product Search looked prior to May (via Google):
Here’s what it looks like today (note the “Sponsored” tag):
And here’s how Google Shopping will look come Oct. 1 (via Google):
Why is Google making the change? In a blog post, Sameer Samat, VP of product management at Google Shopping, said the company believes that if merchants are paying to have their products appear, they’re more likely to keep their product information accurate and up to date.
Google is no doubt hoping that if it improves the quality of its product search results, shoppers will make Google — rather than Amazon — their first stop for online shopping. In a Forrester survey of 4,000 U.S. shoppers released in July, more than twice as many said they began researching their last online purchases at Amazon (30%) versus Google (13%).
Not all retailers are happy about the changes, of course — they are now being charged for a service they once enjoyed for free. The change may seem especially painful for small business owners, but Google says merchants can pay for listings based on clicks or on purchases made on-site, which does even the playing field.
Frank Harris, product manager for search and advertising at Etsy, says he’s been studying the traffic from Google Product Searches since May, and found that it was effective for reaching shoppers who weren’t previously familiar with Etsy. He isn’t sure if the investment will simply maintain Etsy’s current rankings or improve them, but he did say that “historically we were able to syndicate only a fraction of the marketplace, and now we’re working closely with Google to get the entire marketplace into product search.”
Shop owners will be able to track how their Google listings are performing in terms of click-throughs through an analytics dashboard (see above). If the ads perform well, it’s possible that Etsy could begin charging sellers for them later. Last year, the company introduced an ad product for its own site search, allowing sellers to purchase placements in highlighted sections on search results pages. Harris says Etsy “hasn’t decided on anything past spending a quarter of a million dollars for the end fo the year,” but said the company “will talk to the community in early 2013 about next steps.”
Cubicle Spy: Inside Etsy’s Brooklyn Office [PICS]
Etsy, the social commerce website, has called these Brooklyn offices home for just over a year. In terms of design and decor, the company practices what it preaches: “Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice. Live Handmade.” The writing is literally on the wall.
Hip Bikes, many fixed
In the warmer months, many Etsy staffers bike to work, many on fixed-gear bikes.
Glen the cat
Emily Bidwell, who works with Etsy’s Curation Team, keeps this porcelain cat, Glen, on her desk at all times. “Yeah. It creeps everyone out,” she says.
Each new member of the Etsy staff gets a $100 credit from the company’s website to decorate his or her workspace.
When Etsy “Talent Acquisition Specialist” (Human Resources Manager) Jonathan Basker went on vacation last month, he elected this assistant to work in his stead.
Google built its $38 billion business selling ads based on how people search and browse the web. Facebook, too, uses what it knows about its one billion users to sell targeted ads. But when it comes to what many advertisers value most — what people actually buy, or what they may want to buy soon — there may be no better data than the information in Amazon’s 152 million customer accounts.
Since last year, the world’s largest online retailer has been packaging information on what it knows about consumers so that some marketers can use it to make split-second decisions about where to buy ads online and how much to pay for them. This automated process occurs on real-time ad exchanges that sell ad impressions as a person loads a web page.
When this process began, Amazon used third-party technology, and its experiments were limited. Now it has developed an in-house platform for targeting ads to people who have visited and then left Amazon’s sites, making it likely that the company will open up these advertising services more widely over the next year.
“Today, if you’re browsing the web, you might see an Amazon advertisement based on Amazon’s data. Tomorrow, you may see an ad from Coca-Cola based on Amazon data, and it’ll run through the Amazon platform,” says Jeff Green, CEO of the Trade Desk, which helps guide spending decisions by ad agencies.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about its advertising business, and the company does not break out its advertising revenue. But it’s clear that compared to Google and Facebook, advertising has been a relatively small and low-key business for Amazon. It brought in about $500 million of Amazon’s $48 billion in revenue in 2011, Baird & Co. senior research analyst Colin Sebastian estimates. Mostly this came from selling ads on its own websites.
But Amazon could soon generate much more than that with an advertising network that reaches onto many other sites.
For years, Amazon has put algorithms to work in order to recommend products to people who are on its sites. Now other companies are eager to find out exactly how Amazon’s knowledge about consumers can help them find the best audiences for their ads, says Kip Voytek, digital innovation director at the advertising firm MDC Partners.
Amazon would be unlikely to directly give advertisers access to its trove of information about individuals’ browsing, purchasing, and product review histories, both because of its privacy policies and a desire to keep its valuable data proprietary. Instead, Amazon would create target audiences, such as people who recently purchased digital cameras. A marketer selling digital camera accessories could then use Amazon’s technology to bid for the ability to show ads to a person in that category.
Green points out that while Google might have more overall data about consumers, Amazon’s data could be more valuable for advertisers. Amazon has “a pretty clear understanding of the things I buy. They’ve learned a lot about me. Every time I’m convinced I have another medical ailment, I go to Google. But Amazon, what they have is really about my purchase intent,” he says.
Using its data to expand its advertising business could open up new fronts of competition with Google, which also owns a real-time bidding exchange and an ad-delivery network. But Amazon might be mainly interested in using its ad technology to help the retailers that sell products on its sites and through its Kindle tablets and e-readers. Voytek put it this way: “The question that is open: is this Amazon competing with Google or is this Amazon competing with Walmart?”