Friday, August 24, 2012

Shatner's back

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And I get to be right once a year.

Back in January, I wrote...
"My guess is that the marketing executives at Priceline, much like Pamela Ewing, will wake up from a year from now to find William Shatner's character in the shower, ready to go for another season. And this will all have been just a bad dream."
Well it hasn't been quite a year and it's on a beach not a shower, but here he is, alive and ready to resume his place as the spokesperson for Priceline.

Or is he?

My guess is yes, but not in every spot. He'll come around often enough to keep the connection alive, while they create other spots around other ideas hoping to find a campaign that can outlive the character who just won't seem to die.

Until then if all the Negotiator spots are as good as this one, I'm going to enjoy having him back.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seinfeld's back

Not the show. The comedian.

And not on NBC, but the web.

I guess if you're a millionaire celebrity who doesn't need the money, you can indulge yourself and create a second show about nothing...


It's not must-see TV for everyone, but I like it.

It features interesting cars and the kind of conversations only friends can have. It's nicely shot and edited. And it's not interrupted by advertising. Because it is an ad.

It's an original series designed to attract viewers to a website called Crackle is Sony Pictures Entertainment website that lets you watch movies and tv shows for free – if you don't mind watching ads.

Around since 2007 but not available in the U.S. until last year, Crackle is to Sony what Hulu was to NBC. It's a place to put their existing content and serve it up to people who want to watch old movies and TV shows but don't want to pay Netflix.

In addition to up to 10 commercial breaks per film, you also have to be willing to put up with a very limited selection. Currently there are only 307 forgettable movies and 81 TV series, much of it anime. Yes, they have 34 of the original Three Stooges shorts, but until there's more there I probably won't be spending a lot of time on Crackle watching shows (and commercials).

I'll catch Seinfeld's new show on its website here: Comedians in Cars getting Coffee.

Unfortunately Crackle is just another bad product with a great ad campaign.

Addendum: You can read a nice interview with Jerry Seinfeld about the series on Huffington Post.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not everything online has to be a "conversation"

This week AdAge, that venerable record of all that is newsworthy in advertising and marketing, finally decided that the McDonald's Canada online video series was worth writing about and attempted to suss out why it has been so successful.

For the most part the article is pretty good.

This campaign works because it answers questions people actually have about McDonald's and confronts myths that have been swirling around the brand for ages. It does so in a fairly transparent, straightforward manner. And finally, it does so in a controlled environment.

The marketing folks at McDonald's of Canada, unlike their Southern compatriots, seem to understand that it's okay not to let the brand's detractors hijack their communications. There is no "dialogue" here. Questions are asked and answered. End of story.

Which makes this comment in the article from a social media "expert" so laughable.
Stuart Schwartzapfel, VP-audience insights at social-media agency Big Fuel, warned, however, that too much control is not a ‘better practice.’ McDonald's Canada did not allow users to comment on the YouTube pages, which he said ‘implies dubious intentions,’ as it gives users no space to talk to the brand.
McDonald's intention isn't dubious. It is clear.

They will not allow those who hate McDonald's for whatever reason to undermine this campaign.

It's their brand. Their site. Their Youtube channel. They are allowed to manage the "conversation" and their brand. If someone disagrees with them and wants to say so, they can create their own rebuttal site.

Bravo to McDonald's for showing that brand management is alive and well in the age of "consumer control."