Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Microsoft Extends "I'm A PC" Campaign

Microsoft has extended their 'I'm a PC' campaign into the Web 2.0 world by inviting PC users to 'upload' themselves. I like the way Microsoft has opened up the campaign to its users' creativity—it's a nice extension to the campaign and brings in a great interactive element.

The key with any campaign like this is, will people participate? I think yes. The call for entries only requires you to finish an open ended sentence with whatever you like. The clips need only be 5 seconds long and low quality footage by the looks of their TV spots. Plus the chance to be in one of Microsoft's commercials that will circulate the internet and possibly national TV? I see a lot of PC using web celebrity wannabes 'uploading' themselves. Will you upload yourself?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pepsi Is Smiling

In the past few months we've blogged about new logo redesigns for Applebee's, Walmart and Best Buy, and it seems that Pepsi is now joining in with a new, smiling, brand redesign.

Pepsi has evolved it's logo a number of times in it's history, but this latest move is pretty drastic in the grand scheme of identity evolutions. Where did the white wave in the middle of the pepsi logo go? Oh, it turned into a smile. Yes, a smile, at least according to Pepsi that's what it's supposed to be. Sorry, never would have guessed that if I hadn't read it in AdAge. Apparently the 'smile' will change based on what product it is on. I'm not a fan of the new 'smile' mark, or the new, unnecessary name change of Mountain Dew to Mtn Dew. I do,however, like the super clean new packaging of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max, just not their new weird 'smiling' logos.

On the flip side, in this new age of digital media, where a brand's logo will be altered by consumers whether the brand likes it or not, Joseph Jaffe suggests in Join the Conversation that in this digital age, brands need to be more flexible with their brand standards. Part of me wants to scream no to that idea, especially when I see casual and prevalent use of drop shadows and badly set type, but another part of me understands the necessity to let go a little in this new media age. In that respect, I think this new approach from Pepsi is a nice step in that direction and works as a flexible mark. I just wish they hadn't messed with the wave, especially since no one is going to understand the new mark as a smile without some prodding.

What do you think? Do you interpret the new Pepsi logos as smiles? Do you think this new flexible brand approach will work?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Taking It in Stride on Friday

It's Friday, so I thought I'd give you something lighthearted to watch this afternoon. Maybe you've already seen some of Stride gum's ads. I just love the randomness of the lederhosen and the ram. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

Stride Gum - Parking Garage

Stride Gum - Office Park

Burger King Wants Everyone to Have It Your Way in Election 2008

Apparently not a week can go by without us mentioning CP+B. This time, I'm impressed. Their latest work for Burger King shows regular drive-thru customers ordering exactly what they want--no onions, can you cut the fries in half?--to symbolize the voice we all have, and use, every day. The voiceover then encourages us to have it our way while the screen reads "VOTE 2008." It's actually an engaging and thoughtful ad.

Keeping in Burger King style, they also have a Web site,, that supplies two Poll-a-rizer applications (one for Facebook, one for MySpace) that lets users take a questionnaire to see where on the political spectrum they fall. It then entertains by showing which "advisors" and "opponents" they might consider, and lets their friends see the results.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the video anywhere yet. If I come across it soon, I'll be sure to post it.

Click here to read more about this effort from Burger King.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Smurfday!

That's right. Smurfday. The little blue guys turn 50 today and in celebration the Smurfs have been touring around Europe all year, leaving little white Smurf figurines in arrangements all over each city they visit. Passers by are invited to take the figurines, decorate them however they like and enter them in the creativity contest online. Check out some of the videos from various cities and the fun (and abundant) white figurines set up all over the city. Such a fun way to celebrate a birthday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ride, Don't Drive For Our Polar Bears

Anyone even remotely paying attention to global warming knows that the melting of the polar ice cap is seriously threatening the world's polar bears. It's been one of the most publicized and earliest effects of global warming. Who doesn't love a polar bear?

The Environmental Defense Fund ran a guerilla marketing effort in New York encouraging riding the subway over driving to help stop the effects of global warming. It's a simple, but brilliant execution.

Check out Creativity for the credits.

(via ProductionQueen)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mac Laughs Back At Microsoft's New Campaign

Microsoft recently responded to Apple's long time Mac vs. PC campaign with their own John Hodgeman look-alike and proud-to-be-a-PC spots. We blogged about it quite a bit when they first came out. Well, as these wars go round and round, Apple has now fired back with a couple new Mac vs. PC spots. The core difference between the Apple and Microsoft campaigns is that Apple's ads, while maybe a touch mean spirited, hit the nail on the head in their pokes on Microsoft. Plus they're funny. So funny I want to watch them again and again. Microsoft's ads, while nicely executed, already bore me. I immediately tune out rather than intently listen and wait for the punch line as I often do with the Apple ads. Check out Apple's new spot below:

Apple also responded to Microsoft's new Mojave Experiment spots with another new Mac vs. PC ad. Check it out here:

Our COO Is Using Us As Guinea Pigs

But we're okay with it, because we are Thanksgiving Pie guinea pigs. We all strode into the Creative Department this morning to see a homemade Sweet Potato Pie and rating sheet to greet us. Our COO apparently wants to test out his Thanksgiving Pie options on us prior to the Big Day. It's a thankless job, but we're willing to take it on and dive in, even if it is 9 a.m. I'm hoping for more to compare it to in the coming weeks. (hint, hint)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, the Great Pumpkin!

Last Thursday we had a Creative Department excursion for a little creative fun and bonding between our art directors, designers and copywriters. We headed out to a local pumpkin patch, picked out our canvases and headed back to the office for some creative carving. Today, the rest of the office is voting on their favorites. Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Best Buy's New Understated Logo?

Yes, Best Buy seems to have jumped on the bandwagon of updating its logo to be cleaner and more modern. Similar to my post a few months ago about Walmart's new logo design, I can't say I'm a huge fan. They seem to have the same branding advisors as Walmart. Especially when the two logo shifts are eerily similar and only a few months apart. Can we now expect all brands to go mostly text with a little icon at the end? Is UPS going to downgrade it's shield to an afterthought like Best Buy's price tag is?

Granted, the price tag is a pretty lame visual conceptually, but its shape and bright yellow had equity. My biggest issue is that in the name of becoming 'clean' and 'modern' Best Buy has made their logo feel more generic. I was not a fan of their old font, old color or even the old shape, but I don't think this new logo is serving the brand very well either. It's lost most of it's visual equity in the transition. I agree it's cleaner and part of me definitely likes the new price tag, but as a whole it just feels so generic. I can't help but think there was something in between. The old font was terrible, so the new one is an upgrade, but wasn't there a way to do that without taking the whole logo as far away from the original as they have? What do you think?

Also check out Under Consideration's Brand New for further critique and a peek at their new store signage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Let's End Poverty As ONE

Today is Blog Action Day 2008—focusing on poverty. I thought I'd use today's post to call attention to the ONE Campaign, an organization who's goal is "to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in developing countries." Most people are familiar with (RED)—U2 singer Bono's fight against AIDS organization who's cross promotional products with Gap and Apple (to name a few) have taken off. ONE is a little similar with it's edgy look and celebrity endorsements (including Bono). ONE's signature look is black and white, with white wristbands to show support and less cross promotional products, although you can buy your ONE apparel here. Check out ONE's recent promotional video below and visit the website to find out how you can get invloved!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ad Council's Attempt to Dissuade "That's So Gay"

Last week, AdFreak reported that the Ad Council has come out with a new campaign trying to curb the use of the phrase "That's so gay." There are TV spots, print ads and a Web site targeting a young audience. Two of the spots use celebrities Wanda Sykes and Hilary Duff (below).

Do you know how I learned (very quickly) not to use the term "gay" to mean anything other than homosexual? By going to a liberal college where, if someone overheard you say, "That's so gay," he'd kick your ass.

So what do you think? Is it an issue of deep-seeded homophobia, or simply political correctness gone too far? Will Ad Council's campaign work?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Brooke Shields and VW Routan Team Up - For Sexism?

A couple weeks ago, I was driving around town and heard a new radio spot featuring Brooke Shields for VW. A day or two later, I heard the same ad and it bugged me just as much as the first time I'd heard it.

The ad speculates that women everywhere are getting pregnant in order to justify their purchase of the new VW Routan minivan. Women. Like it's a one-sided deal. Like women are mischievous and manipulative. Like our duty in life is to have babies and drive minivans.

Yeah, I know it's a joke. It's supposed to be a playful spoof on the "soccer mom" stigma. But I'm a college educated woman and, in fact, a mom. And though I don't consider myself a feminist by any means, as a Women's Studies minor sometimes things evoke a sense of sexism for me. And this is one of those times.

Last week, I saw the TV spot:

In her article in Adweek, Barbara Lippert critiques the spot for a few far-fetched connections, like those it supposedly has between the phrase "German engineering" and "genetic engineering," reminiscent of the tragedy Hitler caused, and the struggle with post-partum depression Brooke Shields had after her last pregnancy.

Listen, I'm not trying to nitpick here, but this one really does disturb me. It seems the "role" of women in our society is so ingrained that no one thinks twice about it. Yeah, I know they're trying to get past the label "soccer mom," but can't they do it in a way that doesn't offend educated women and career moms? It could be as simple as CP+B using the word "families" instead of "women."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Baz Luhrman Directs New Australian Tourism Campaign

Australian director Baz Luhrman, of Moulin Rouge , Romeo & Juliet and Everybody's Free (To Where Sunscreen) fame, is taking on Australia's tourism advertising with these new spots. As a big fan of Lurhman's (way back to Strictly Ballroom) I struggle a little with these ads. They're much more somber and missing the fast-paced editing and visual flair I'm used to seeing in his work. I never would have guessed it was directed by Baz Luhrman if I hadn't read it. It makes me a little curious what sort of style his upcoming movie Australia will follow. Other than that, it's quite nicely produced, though the general concept's been done for tourism a million times over. Come see us and find yourself. Eh. It doesn't really do anything for me. What do you think?

(via AdFreak)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Microsoft Goes Hidden Camera Too

Well it seems Microsoft has also jumped on the hidden camera band wagon in a campaign called the Mojave Experiment. (Will it ever end?) Okay, in this particular case it might actually make some sense. Microsoft's Vista has a pretty bad reputation. People hate it, openly discuss hating it and it's gotten to the point where people who have never used Vista openly discuss how much they hate it. Ouch! That's a pretty bad position for your product.

So Microsoft has decided to challenge that perception and try to remove the bias from the media and friends (not to mention those pesky Mac commercials). In theory it makes sense as a way to show the world they're unfairly biased against Vista. However, like any other 'hidden camera' commercials, you can't help but question how 'real' it is. In a campaign where the legitimacy doesn't matter, like the Office Max penny commercials, the technique works, but in this instance, the campaingn's success will hinge on people believing they're completely real.

My first thought was how extensively did the focus group use it? Was the focus group using it on a brand new, fast computer with a large hard drive? Or a computer that's a couple years old and loaded up with digital photos and mp3s? Did they focus group anyone who had used Vista and hated it? Or just people who assumed they'd hate it? Maybe I'm just a bit cynical. What do you think? Does this campaign encourage you to try Vista?

On a side note, please keep in mind that I've only watched the commercial above and although I did go to, I didn't/couldn't watch any of the videos. Perhaps there was more convincing material on the site, but I'm on a Mac you see, and to watch any of the video Microsoft wanted me to download Silverlight. (Okay, I'm going to rant here) Frankly I find it annoying when I have to download new programs to visit a website. Are you really going to make me download your own software to view your site? It struck me as frustratingly self-serving. I already have Flash and Quicktime, how many media players do you expect me to install? As a casual visitor, I'm more likely to leave your site than download yet another media player. True, there was an option to see the site without downloading Silverlight, but as I soon discovered, it wouldn't play any of the video. Thanks Microsoft.

One of All the Top Sites!

Congratulations, you're reading one of Alltop's newest blogs!

Alltop is a Web site and blog aggregator aiming to bring its users "all the top" sites from around the WWW. And recently, to our pleasant surprise, The Creative Cooler was added to the mix!

You can find us listed in the Design and Marketing categories at Alltop.

(Special thanks to the best blog partner for making the CC a standout! Thanks for all your hard work, Christine!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Hidden Camera Ad

I know we've been following the hidden camera trend in television ads lately, but I've been putting off posting about the Hardee's/Carl's Jr. fake restaurant spots because I'M SO SICK OF HIDDEN CAMERAS. It's gotten quite annoying, actually. Almost like they're wasting air time.

What gives? Is the creative team really that strapped for ideas that this is all they can come up with? Or are their executives feeling pressure to jump on the "hidden camera bandwagon" because everyone else is doing it?

At least Hardee's/Carl's Jr. has figured out where to reach people: They've created a Fake Restaurant account on youtube and have uploaded 16 videos, mostly director's cuts of their spots (which is equally annoying--who wants to watch a three-minute Hardee's ad?).

If you really can't get enough of the been there, done that hidden camera ad, here's one from Carl's Jr: