Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unsafe at any speed?

In 1965, activist Ralph Nader wrote a book titled Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile.

This issue is taking on new life today, emerging in the form of arms reach electronic gadgetry in cars. Here's a key frame from a current commercial for one brand, but this marketing emphasis is seen throughout the automobile industry.


The parallel structure of the commercial demonstrates what is called a navigation and entertainment system. To use it, the driver must look down and away from the road ahead. There are many things to read and buttons to find and push.

The commercial concludes with the pushing of the car's starter button, but the demonstration of the features clearly takes place while the car is driven on a busy city street.

On December 6, 2009, the New York Times carried a story concerning the distractions of cell phone use when driving. The story focused cell phone advertising and marketing as related to promotion of phone use while driving.

So the questions of distracted driving go far beyond what you bring into the car. The question arises now as to whether the devices being built into cars are making them unsafe at any speed. And in the marketing of these devices, there are clearly legal issues relating to failure to warn.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shareable Advertising

Hamsters are small and stout. They have little furry ears and short legs with wide feet. They have stubby tails that are bare.

They also are nearsighted, so hamsters benefit greatly from their good sense of smell and acute listening skills.

All this makes hamsters very attractive as creatures of the media.



It's a charming commercial, providing a surprising demonstration of the product benefit. This charm is also evident in the Zu Zu Pet craze.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Avatar and Cultural Conversation

Buzz is building on AVATAR, James Cameron's 3-D epic spectacular opening on December 18.

To accelerate this buzz, Cameron has reinvented the very concept of the movie trailer. It is a desktop application you download to your computer. The trailer is dynamic, with multiple "hot links" bridging moments and characters in the trailer to expanded features.

AVATAR appears poised to become a popular culture phenomenon. Here's a quick look at a small portion of the trailer.



Here's where you download the AVATAR desktop application. It is an easy download and works brilliantly on my iMac.

This desktop application approach gives you much more than a seductive introduction to the movie. You can easily, as I did, buy tickets to the movie. But, the wide range of connectivity to news and social network services can establish an enduring relationship to the cultural conversation about this film.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Social Media Map

I spoke to the Edina Chamber of Commerce today about the growth of social media services and how businesses can successfully participate.

Here's one of my 20 slides. It shows my condensed typology for thinking about the dynamics of communication in the public sphere.


Conversations among consumers, stakeholders, and members of the general public have always been the forum where people make decisions about the products they buy, the policies they will support, and the life choices they make.

Now, the new social media have accelerated the dynamics. It is an exciting time to be in the communication business and many business opportunities present themselves.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Advertising Future

For quite some time I have been telling my students, "In the Information Age, you will make your living by adding value to information."

This underscores the importance of advertising. It is the discipline, that when effectively carried out, can make things happen faster in the economy and society.

Advertising is about showing people how opportunities connect to their values, interests and needs.

Today's New York Times column by economist Thomas L. Friedman points to the importance of creativity in business. He also speaks to the value of having an education that teaches you how to develop new ideas or recombine existing technologies.

This is what the best advertising professionals have always done. They "resist the usual" to envision a future, conveying to others how their lives can be different and better.

Advertising programs in journalism schools play a critical role preparing young people to succeed in business. Premised on the critical thinking skills of the liberal arts, the advertising curriculum focuses on concepts and methods to promote original thinking leading to productive solutions for business problems and opportunities.

This foundational perspective in the liberal arts is a vital distinction from a "business as usual" education. Success, even survival, is premised on always going forward.

Educated advertising professionals take us there.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Injustice and Public Opinion

The police in Gwent, UK have recently released a video on texting while driving. Their hope was that "the film will become part of the core schools programme across Wales and ultimately the UK."

Gwent Chief Inspector John Pavett said, “Making and receiving calls and texting whilst driving is still happening on roads not just in Gwent but all over the country. Seeing a scenario, like the one Cassie goes through, played out right before your eyes makes you realise how extremely dangerous it can be and what devastating consequences it can have."

The four-minute Gwent Police PSA has been widely viewed on YouTube. Here's a key frame.


The PSA as generated controversy and commentary about the role of fear appeals in advertising, particularly in communication programs directed to youth audiences.

However, the UK commercial not only speaks to individual risk but to responsibilities drivers have to others. The child who dies in the PSA was not texting.

The Gwent PSA not only portrays individual risk, but also the injustice of the horrific consequences that can befall innocent others.

So there is another perspective on this PSA worth considering. It is the role that perceptions of injustice play in social change.

In the United States, there is currently a national debate about the safety of drivers using devices that distract from their paramount responsibilities. Without a sufficient public sense of injustice in this matter, the debate will fall short when it comes to legislative action.

The Gwent PSA makes any driver think, on a number of levels.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Surprising Demonstration

When it comes to getting attention and making a selling point few approaches are as charming and effective as a surprising twist to a product demonstration.



There is a bit of "hyperbolic" in this commercial, for sure. But, the durability point is made with charm and of course any buyer of a $400 camera will read the specifications.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 is waterproof to 10 feet and can be dropped from five. Oyeh!

The work was done by the Campaign Palace in Sydney, Australia.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Propensity to Share

The human social propensity to "seek and share" is fundamental. This propensity is amplified by electronic communication, and can produce dramatic effects in the viral context of the Web.

We tend to share items that will please and surprise our friends. A notable example is the wedding march video posted by Jill and Kevin Heinz, of St. Paul, MN. Their video was posted on YouTube on July 19, 2009. Within a week it was viewed over 10 million times and garnered over 51,000 comments.

By Tuesday, July 28, 2009, viewership continued to grow at a rate of about 1 million views a day on YouTube alone. Comments continued at the rate of about 5,000 each day. As of July 31, viewership reached almost 13 million with over 65,000 comments.

As of March, 2015, total YouTube viewership for this video was approaching 90 million with 175,000 comments.


Why have so many sought and shared this video? What conceptual lessons can be learned about public response to viral communication?

Clearly there is a classic reversal of expectations. Most of the people in the church were not aware of what they were about to experience.

The door is closed. The first notes of “Forever” bring expressions of joy to faces throughout the church. The ushers extend the surprise by dancing their way down the aisle. Two bridesmaids then set the stage.

The narrative of the song becomes apparent as members of the bridal party take turns interpreting. The groom makes his entrance with a promise to his angel. The bridal party mystically prepares the altar and then turns to the bride for her entrance.



This video demonstrates the basis for sharing. People want others to have that same feeling of unexpected joy.

A combination of psychological responses underlies the desire to share. The figure below identifies six factors commonly associated with how we respond to what we see in media. It is my Index of Viral Sharing.



We share Jill and Kevin’s video because of the originality and clarity of the storytelling. But it is not just any story… there is activity, enjoyment, empathy and realization in their video. We see the wedding march in a new and enjoyable way. That’s the substance people really want to share.

For further reading, see my article "Profiling User Responses to Commercial Websites" published in the May-June, 1997 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research. It has been cited by 230 articles and books about Internet advertising and provides the conceptual basis for thinking about information distributed on the Internet, whether by websites or viral sharing.

Many thanks to Scott Shellstrom – art director extraordinaire – for letting me know about this video.

For more on the psychology of advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Toyota Creates New Font with the iQ Minicar

Toyota is using the intersection of creativity, communication and cars to introduce its new iQ minicar to the European market.


An overhead camera was employed to film tracking lights placed ontop of the iQ minicar while it was driven in the patterns of the letters and symbols needed to create the new iQ type face.



It's an inventive way to create interest among the urban innovators who will lead the way to this car. You see the car and how easily it maneuvers. Then, if you are a creative person, you also want to download and use the font.

It was easy to download it. I'm sure the iQ font will make an appearance in at least one PowerPoint presentation next semester.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Source Credibility

The two most credible people in advertising died this week. Billy Mays at age 50, and Karl Malden at 97.

How were they such powerful spokesmen? They simply believed in what they were selling, and their belief came through.

Here's Malden in the classic American Express commercial from 1985. The construction of this commercial rises to the level of Aesop's Fables. It is a simple tale with a moral, delivered with conviction.



Both Billy Mays and Karl Malden spoke with belief and authority.

Decades of persuasion research have pointed to source credibility as perhaps the key source of variance in message effectiveness.

There is a value in always telling the truth.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Credo for Corporate Advertising

An earlier post about effective advertising has sparked interest.

On May 11th, I reflected on the advice George Olmstead once wrote in a house ad for Young & Rubicam. George was the master of print advertising, yet his advice applies to all advertising.

Here's a look at the tear sheet for the ad. Boleslaw (Bob) Czernysz was the art director.


George wrote:

"Corporate advertising can pay off for your company in lots of ways.

If it's good corporate advertising. Unfat, unfuzzy, unstuffy, and uncomplicated.

Is there a key to corporate advertising that's sharp and effective? We think so.

Do it like product advertising. With all the same unforgiving disciplines you'd follow in selling toothpaste or dog food or seats on airplanes.

Disciplines? Start with a clear definition of exactly what the advertising is to accomplish. And exactly how you plan to measure it's success or failure.

And exactly who it's talking to.

Then remind yourself that no one really wants to read advertising. You have to make your ads so compelling that people can't help themselves.

Which means telling your story - any story - in terms of the reader's self interest. They want to know, 'What's in it for me?'

Talk like a person, one-to-one. Not preaching, but conversing with a friend.

Keep things simple, too - the way good product advertising does. (Just because it's corporate advertising doesn't mean there is room for the kitchen sink.)

Of course Y&R believes in corporate advertising. When it's hard edged, focused, and disciplined.

Like the best product advertising."

George Olmstead wrote this advice in the late 1970s. Given the state of business today, his words are even more important.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Caution on Click Through Testing

Direct response methods have tremendous potential. The promise really is to introduce the scientific method to choices advertisers have to make. The trick is to have a complete model of consumer response, and to get the measurement right.

On the Web, this is not as simple as just tossing up a variety of ad executions and counting the clicks for the differing promotional offers.

Indeed, studies have shown that extrinsic rewards, such as promotional offers, can erode the intrinsic motivation underlying consumer intent. Here's the top-line on one recent study.


So the risk is that by "buying consumer interest" as demonstrated by a click-through response to a sales promotion offer, marketers may actually demean the value of the brand in the eyes of consumers. It is vital that the entirety of consumer brand response be modeled and measured, and not just the click-through rates.

Advertising should always have a well-conceived communication strategy that is based on a leverageable consumer insight. It also helps to have a Big Idea based on the strategy.

Of course direct response methods are critical to success, but scattered testing of discount offers to promote click-through rates can erode the brand's vital value proposition.

Data mining should always take place in the context of smart strategic thinking. Said another way, you don't have a science unless you are testing a theory. Here's a link to more on the study shown in the chart.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Valuation of FaceBook

There is a lot of discussion about the valuation of social networking companies such as FaceBook and Twitter.

Sky Technologies, the Russian IT investment organization, just purchased almost two percent of FaceBook. This translates to a $10 billion valuation for FaceBook.

The preferred stock acquired by Sky Technologies confers special rights and so maybe $10 billion is an over-estimate. But various sources have speculated on the valuation and contrasted this most recent purchase to the earlier investment in FaceBook made by Microsoft.

It is important to recognize that the most valuable commodity on Earth is attention. So an alternative valuation approach might start with that foundational perspective.

Today Facebook reports that it has “over 200 million” active users on a world-wide basis. The Nielsen Online chart gives the latest on the size of the FaceBook audience within the United States.


In April, there were 53.8 million active FaceBook users in the United States. This amounts to 34.8 percent reach of active Internet users in the US and 17.5 reach of the total US population.

The United States audience for FaceBook averaged about 2 and a-half hours on the site in April. This amounts to about 5 minutes per day.

Coming back to attention as the most valuable of commodities, it is within this 5-minute average daily window that the valuation of the company must make sense.

And, looking at it a slightly different way, the $10 billion evaluation equates to $50 per each member of the currently active audience for FaceBook. So it is within those 200 million five-minute daily “attention structures” that the advertising model will have to pay out for FaceBook. It is an intriguing challenge for sure.

For more perspective on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Global Internet Use Down in April

Nielsen Online provides helpful information each month on how the online world is growing and changing. One of their most interesting charts shows global use of the Internet.

Today they up-dated the chart to show growth through April.


Interestingly, you can see that growth eased somewhat in April. The number of online sessions, domains visited, web pages per person per month, all declined somewhat. The active digital universe was also down about a percentage point for April.

This may reflect global economic conditions. People may be spending less on Internet access time, or they might be deciding to use their time differently for various reasons. Up-dated survey research could help uncover changing perceptions of time use and motivations.

Here's the link to Nielsen Online. You can follow their monthly chart on global Internet use, as well as charts showing some country-specific information on the most popular parent domain names, such as Google, Yahoo!, and FaceBook.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nearly half the US population uses social media every week

Yesterday Knowledge Networks released results of an online panel survey of the marketing impact of social networks.

The company reported that while 47 percent of the "full U.S. population" uses social media on a weekly basis, less than 5 percent say they turn to social media sites for guidance on purchase decisions.

Of course people turn to social media for social purposes. The question is, "What happens when they get there?"

Over 100 years of survey research have well documented that people turn to their friends first for the most credible information about what they should buy. This underscores the importance of interpersonal communication, including social media.

So, the important finding of the study is the 47 percent figure for weekly use of social media. The company also reported that 34 percent said they used these media more often then they did a year ago, while 18 percent said they used them less.

The bottom line really is not changed by this study. Organizations that do not productively embrace social media will fall behind competitors that do.

My earlier post today shows one way McDonald's is doing it.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Co-Op the Photo-Op

Summer vacations are underway, and that means plenty of photo and video sharing on social media.

Here, a mother takes her daughter's photo in front of the McDonald's animated outdoor display in Piccadilly Circus, London. The Charlie Chaplin hat is being shown at the moment, but the display will quickly change to many others.


The daughter sees herself appearing to wear the hat and smiles.


Doubtless that photo, and those of thousands of other tourists will be shared via Flickr, FaceBook, Myspace, YouTube, or even Twitter.


Here's the McDonald's viral video promoting photo and video sharing.



This demonstrates the inextricable link between mass communication and interpersonal communication. Clearly all of these people are "Lovin' It" and "sharing it" with McDonald's.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Difference in Detail

"From the assembly line to the road" is a familiar story line for automotive advertising.

Yet this new commercial from Ford shows how details can convey a strategic message in a fresh and confidence inspiring manner.



The precision of the Mission Impossible inspired assembly, the breath of life to install the air bag, and the brand reveal as the car emerges from its protective bath, all these details work to evoke an emotional response of confidence in the car.

The kiss to the brand mark seems a fitting transition to the road scenes.


The commercial was done by JWT Shanghai.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sense of Purpose

Brand loyalty is ultimately based on core values shared between the brand and its followers. In this commercial for Calvo tuna every step along with way is infused with a sense of purpose.



Indeed, the music has a percussive flamenco insistence. This commercial asks for the order in every frame.

The commercial was done by Publicis España, the Madrid agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Future Looking Advertising

Iberdrola, S.A. is the world's largest operator of renewable energy generating systems. The company is based in the Basque region of northern Spain.

Here is the company's latest television commercial.



The commercial is creatively and strategically brilliant in its support of the business plans of the company. If you are in public relations or advertising or business leadership (or even politics) the larger significance of this commercial is well worth reflection.

The music, of course, is Carly Simon's Academy Award winning song. "We're coming to the edge, running on the water, coming through the fog your sons and daughters. Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation. Come, the new Jerusalem."

In the commercial, the swimmers depart from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. This is the point where Columbus set sail for America.


The artist Evaristo Dominguez depicted the departure of Columbus. The Rabida Monastery, where Columbus met with Franciscans to plan his expedition, can be seen in both the commercial and the painting.


The commercial was done by Publicis España, a Madrid agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sustaining Brands

This 1959 Volkswagen commercial looks back on the 1950s to position the brand against the excesses of competing brands. The commercial speaks to brand sustainability based on improvement of utility.



It is a humble commercial demonstrating a profound business truth. That truth is to always plan for long run social sustainability.

Most economic models marginalize the things that matter in the long calling them "externalties." The thought was not lost on Keynes.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Creative Ambiguity

Advertising creativity calls for a frame of reference. It must be to a purpose or the work can be questioned.

This week's 50th annual Clio Awards show has sparked some discussion along these lines. Here's the work that won the Grand Clio for print for CLM BBDO, a Paris agency. It is a charming page.


Here's how art director Bill Taubin presented Alka-Seltzer during the creative heyday of that brand. Bill's name is in the Art Directors Hall of Fame (1981).

This spot was on Bill's last reel.



Of course the commercial is of another era. Yet its content reminds us of David Ogilvy's bottom line advice, "No sell, no eat."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

YouTube Portfolio

Here's how to use the latest technology to propel your career forward as a creative person.

In this video, freelance artist Evelien Lohbeck demonstrates her original thinking and artistic talent. You'll see four vignettes in which she plays with our expectations.



This work is more than technique, Lohbeck can surprise us, charm us, and make us think. She lives in the Netherlands making videos and commercials. She released this video on YouTube about a week ago.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Godzilla Saves Copywriters

In times of crisis Godzilla always shows up to save the world. He also regularly saves advertising copywriters.

In 1984 Godzilla showed up to save Dr Pepper.



In 2009 Godzilla returned in a new form to assist another beverage.



Archetypal action heroes can be good for advertising.

The 1984 Dr Pepper commercial was done by Young & Rubicam, then the world's largest advertising agency. Lou DiJoseph's group did historic work for Dr Pepper in those days. The 2009 Oasis commercial was by Mother, the agency in London.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Original Advertising: Never Dull

There's a story in the news today about a major brand's search for its advertising roots.


It reminded me of the advice Richard Olmstead once wrote in a house ad for Young & Rubicam. He was the master of advertising writing, and his advice applies to all advertising.

Dick Olmstead wrote:

"Disciplines? Start with a clear definition of exactly what the advertising is to accomplish. And exactly how you plan to measure it's success or failure.

And exactly who it's talking to.

Then remind yourself that no one really wants to read advertising. You have to make your ads so compelling that people can't help themselves.

Which means telling your story - any story - in terms of the reader's self interest. They want to know, 'What's in it for me?'

Talk like a person, one-to-one. Not preaching, but conversing with a friend."

Dick Olmstead was a perfect writer. BTW, the visual is not from the original house ad, its just my spin on a good old brand.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Performance Advertising

You can't have a new idea if you only have one idea. That is the basis for creativity. Collide ideas to create new ones in surprising ways.

Some idea "collisions" are pleasantly surprising, others can be strident, yet sometimes surprisingly productive.

Spreading steadily on the Web is a pleasing combination of Love Story (Taylor Swift) with Viva La Vida (Coldplay). The latest from Viral Video Chart shows 615,014 views of the video and 610 blog postings over the past 30 days.


In the 8 minute video, music arranger John Schmidt performs his "mish/mash" arrangement with cellist Steven Sharp. If you have a Bose sound system connected to your computer this 3-minute excerpt will definitely "activate your subwoofer."



This is a good example of what I call "performance advertising."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Circulation Advertising and the Web

Advertising in conventional mass media can play a role in driving traffic to websites. Yahoo! demonstrated this approach early on.

But "circulation advertising" centered on current editorial content is a long-standing method used by magazines and newspapers. Now we see it driving traffic to the Web, and from the Web to conventional media.

Here, BBC Two uses viral circulation advertising to drive traffic to a current television program.



The spot captures our interest and transfers it to their television show. We want to see the surfer's emergence from that monster barrel wave.

Medium to medium "excitation transfer?" Possibly.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hot Hot

Creative people sometimes encounter writer's block. Some of us called this "glass elbows" when I managed the creative department at Y&R in New York. My break out advice was always, "Think of the most arresting demonstration you can muster, we can always dial it back."

Creating an arresting demonstration of the benefits of the product attributes is a productive pathway to transformational advertising.



This work was done for the McIlhenny Company by Duval Guillaume, a Brussels advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

The Viral Distribution Process

Susan Boyle's video from Britain's Got Talent appeared on April 11. The latest report from the Viral Video Chart shows the video spread rapidly and now has moved into the "Long Tail" phase on the Web.


This video has set the standard for rapid and extensive viewing. As of today, the Viral Video Chart reports 135,153,354 viewings of the video, as well as 12,575 blog posts and 460,658 comments.

Here's a look at their chart in the fashion of Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations. This is the actual distribution, however, not a Normal Distribution as used in the Rogers typology.


At Phase Change 1, you can see the suggestion of an early inflection point and rapid acceleration. Phase Change 2 involves the transition to a continuing lower level of blog posting interest. This pattern is often described as the Long Tail phase of the diffusion process.

It took about three days for Sara Boyle's video to undergo a phase change to highly accelerated diffusion. The peak occurred in about seven days. The phase change marking the beginning of the transition to the Long Tail took place in about 10 to 12 days. The video has been a phenomenon and its diffusion pattern provides a basis of comparison and reflection when thinking about the role of blogs in the diffusion of viral videos.

The points of comparison involve the timing and slope changes seen in the two phases identified in my chart. The timing and extent of the peak point is also a key consideration. Of course, there are many other factors, such as the audience involved and the video content.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Advertising as Aspiration

Advertising is aspiration, and never is it more so when given responsibility for a majestic brand.

You can experience this in the newly released video for Chanel N° 5. Viewership is spreading rapidly now on the Web. The video stars Audrey Tautou in a wonderfully crafted story of romance and the Orient Express. You'll find one-minute and four-minute versions.

But, in the video below the director of the commercial speaks of his work. Jean-Pierre Juenet captures the majesty of the moments a perfume can bring. He also captures what advertising can be, and why we seek to do it at such a level.



Jeunet speaks of the joy involved in a meticulous creative process.
Among his remarks, Juenet says, "I put the bottle in the story, since it was a sleeper train. We could get reflections from the bottle. My wife puts her perfume on a small cabinet and the bottles refract light creating lovely reflections. At the end there is a mosaic of the two Cs in the Chanel logo."

Jeunet also speaks of the discovery process and complications of filming in Istanbul and on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait. He reflects as the video ends, "It brought me four months of happiness... There were so many magical moments."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Social Propensity to Share Joy

T-Mobile's advertising idea "Life's for Sharing" perfectly reflects the human social propensity to "seek and share." This propensity is of course amplified by electronic communication, and can produce dramatic effects in the viral context of the Web.

On March 4th I wrote about T-Mobile's success with its mob dance viral videos. When people experience unanticipated joy they act to share it with their friends.

Last Friday T-Mobile released a new video. The latest results from the Viral Video Chart show it to be spreading rapidly.


About 13,500 Londoners were drawn to Trafalgar Square under the guise of participating in another mob dance. Instead, they found themselves to be participants in a spontaneous rock concert.

Two thousand wireless microphones were handed out, song lyrics were displayed on a giant video screen, and the crowd sang various rock anthems as 22 video cameras captured the event.

There were surprises too, including Pink singing "Piece of My Heart."


Here's the viral of the crowd in Trafalgar Square singing "Hey Jude" as released by T-Mobile.



T-Mobile is showing how brands can use the Web in an idea-driven way that is strategically, creatively, and socially smart. It will be interesting to see how viewership builds for this newly released video.

Saatchi & Saatchi, London is the advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Simply Natural

Here is a simple story...this cordial orange drink is all natural.

A wren-like bird instantly establishes itself as a personalty. We get a charming bird's eye view on the choices we make and they lead us naturally to the brand.



The commercial is at once simple and complex. There are layers of discovery that come to us from repeated viewing. It is a good example of "rich media."

This commercial was done by BBH, a London advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Fractal Pattern of the Web

Much has been written about the "Long Tail" concept in connection with audience interest in materials placed on the Web. The long tail is sometimes modeled with the Poisson or Pareto distributions.

Here's a look at about 10 months of viewership data for a short video that I posted on YouTube and then left for observation.


Notice the long tail pattern for the entire time period. After a period of initial interest the pattern settles down to a lower level. Notice also the Pareto distributions in the fashion of fractals (self-similar patterns).

The onset of each fractal was occasioned by different blogs that briefly featured the video. In many ways bloggers can be viewed as gate-keepers taking us back to Katz and Lazarsfeld's "two-step model of mass communication."

The "Theory of Least Effort" provides one psychological explanation for the fractal pattern. "Marketing influentals" are willing to expend more effort and are more motivated to share what they have found. In the early phase, they make finding a source easier for those who are unwilling to expend the same levels of effort in seeking and sharing.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

High Definition and High Elaboration

A Samsung viral is challenging YouTube viewers to figure out how they made the viral with no edits using the latest Samsung High Definition camera phone.


To meet the challenge, of course you have to closely examine the high definition picture.



As of today, over 630,000 have viewed this viral, with 1,500 making comments on how it was done.

Great advertising should make you think. That's an important lesson shared by the Elaboration Likelihood Model of attitude change and advertising professionals.

This work was done by the:viral:factory, the agency based in London and Santa Monica.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eighmey's Viral Sharing Index

Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent has become a viral video phenomenon. It is by far the most viewed video this year.

As of today, the Viral Video Chart reports over 88 million views and 8,500 blog postings of this video.


Why have so many sought and shared this video? What conceptual lessons can be learned about public response to viral communication?



Clearly there is a reversal of expectations. An unknown person stands alone and vulnerable on the great stage. The audience takes her measure, and then she takes them away.

Therein lies the basis for sharing. People want others to have that same feeling of unexpected joy.

A combination of psychological responses underlies the desire to share. The figure below identifies six factors commonly associated with how we respond to what we see in media.


Susan Boyle's viral video exemplifies high performance on all six factors in my Viral Sharing Index.

For further reading, see my article "Profiling User Responses to Commercial Websites" published in the May-June, 1997 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research. It has been cited by 230 articles and books about Internet advertising and provides the conceptual basis for thinking about information distributed on the Internet, whether by websites or viral sharing.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's off to work we go!

Walt Disney saw how new communication technologies could be used to share simple human truths more widely and more deeply.

One of those basic truths is enthusiasm for work. Nothing expresses this better than the classic work song of the Seven Dwarfs in the animated movie Snow White. "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go!"


This joy is brought to life in the latest commercial for Hershey's Kisses. They've named the commercial "Off to work we go!"



One would hope that people might see more than a joyful commercial about an enjoyable product. It is a charming commercial, but it is also the needed outlook of our times.

When I worked in New York City, there was a New Jersey Transit conductor who whistled this tune as he walked up the aisle taking tickets. I am sure his sense of humor was noticed by more than a few, and the lesson was not lost as they went off to work in the Big Apple.

And, let's be sure we remember the lesson of Walt Disney. The media business is always about human truths, successfully communicated with the latest technology.

That is exactly what Walt Disney did. And there is a future in it.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Energy to Remember

Idyllic romance is always a charming setting for advertising. It can help reinforce a brand's core value relationship with its followers.

But, what might bring energy and memorability to such advertising?
I wonder.



Boursin comes to us from Normandy. The work was done by the London agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crisis Communication and the Domino's Incident

For consumers, brands serve as risk reducers. They help simplify decisions in a world of complex choices and increasingly busy lives. Consumers depend on brands to deliver on their promises.

For companies, the brand itself can become the most valuable asset. The number of “brand followers” and the strength of their loyalty is where wealth resides.

Today’s Domino’s incident is a powerful demonstration of the importance of these principles and the risks to both consumers and companies. Two Domino’s employees made and posted on YouTube a video of themselves nastily contaminating what appear to be two sandwiches being prepared for a customer.


What will happen to public perceptions of the Domino’s brand? Indeed, what will happen to public perceptions of all organizations that provide prepared food to the public?

Domino’s has moved swiftly to bring charges against the two people involved. But, this incident is now about crisis communication with proactive action to restore consumer confidence. The restoration of trust involves material actions that consumers will see as an effective response to their risks so vividly demonstrated in the employee video.

Twenty-five years ago, the OTC drug industry took a substantial proactive step in response to a series of product tampering incidents. The packaging was improved to remove the tampering risk and restore public confidence.

Accordingly, going forward, the Domino’s incident points to the vulnerability of both food service practices and the public communication environment. Food preparation can be trusted to the extent that it is transparent. Therein lies the long-term solution, for consumer trust in brands and protection of brand value.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Inspired Work

Jotun is a world-wide manufacturer of paints and coatings based in Sandefjord, Norway. The company's latest advertising for washable interior paint will "take you away."



It's so easy even her significant other could do it. But it took the family dog to call attention to the goings on.

My students know this genre of advertising as what I have named "When in doubt, rock it out." Popular music provides a vast realm of what I call "emotive narratives," many quite germane to positioning the core values and selling propositions of brands all over the world.

In this case the band was a-ha (from Norway of course) and the song was "Take on Me." Here's an "a-ha moment" for those who recall the highly popular 1984 video for this song.


The Jotun advertising was done by Try Reklamebyrå, an Oslo agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 13, 2009

FTC and Blogger Remarks about Brands and Products

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently moved to up-date its Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (16 CFR Part 255).

Advertising regulation is always a challenge for the FTC. There is a lot of advertising, and the technology of advertising always moves forward.

Not surprisingly, one part of the proposed up-date addresses the growing range of product and brand commentary on blogs, bulletin boards, and non-electronic communication such as "street teams."

It is important to recognize that the FTC regulates only actions that are "in commerce." This means a blogger or ordinary citizen with no material commercial connection to a brand or product does not fall under the law enforcement umbrella of the FTC.

Here is the link to download the pdf of the FTC proposal published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 28, 2008.

The proposal process is important. Congress established the FTC as an agency of experts on commercial practices responsible for maintaining a fair and efficient marketplace and for protecting consumers. The proposal, public comments, and subsequent hearings by the FTC are all part of a review and discovery process leading to regulatory policies that keep pace with the times.

In advertising and consumer research, we have long known that consumers give first priority to interpersonal information, especially from friends or others perceived to be as friends. This points to the importance of regulation concerning the presence and possible effects of material commercial relationships in what otherwise might be perceived to be unbiased interpersonal communication.

It is all about maintaining an effective marketplace for discerning consumers and scrupulous businesses. We even look to the needs of the foolish consumer as well.

Deceptive or untrue information has no value in the marketplace. It hurts consumers, businesses and undermines advertising credibility.

And... a disclosure of my own... I once served as Deputy Assistant Director for National Advertising at the FTC.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Viral Distribution Patterns

The Viral Video Chart provides a picture of the attention being given to the top 20 virals. This organization scans "several million blogs a day." They count the number of times each video is linked and the number of times each is embedded.

Here's their current chart on Samsung's "Extreme Sheep" viral video.


The chart shows the classic "long tail" Pareto distribution pattern. There is a rapid rise, momentary peak, and then a somewhat rapid decline leading to continuing interest at a lower level. See video @ my March 30 post "Motivation to Share."

This is the current chart for vtm's "Search for Maria" viral video.


You can see interest develop a bit more slowly for this viral. Perhaps this is due to a different strategy in seeding the viral. And of course the content of the two videos is different leading to differences in the "seek and share" process. The decline appears to be rapid, and it will be interesting to follow the pattern over the next few weeks. See video @ my April 6 post "The Search for Oneness."

Many lessons can be garnered from the information provided by the Viral Video Chart.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Early Light Breaks Through

Something caught my ear this morning while sipping coffee, reading the NY Times, and sort of listening to the CBS Early News on television.


This commercial is about 10 years old, yet it is timeless in the way it joyfully captures the centering benefit of it's product category. It was good to see it again.

It reminded me of another classic Folgers commercial. The sense of category joy is extended with "Everyday I wake up, pour myself a cup, of that rich Folgers aroma, the best part of waking up."


This commercial, also close to 10 years old, has struck such a resonant cord that people now make personal video homages and release them as virals. These virals extend the brand community in a spontaneous, self-generating way.

Here is one released on YouTube in 2006 by four college students in Seattle.


The students express and extend the brand personality in their joyful performance. As of today, this video has only 19,840 views on YouTube, yet it powerfully demonstrates the resonance of the Folgers advertising.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Brand DNA

A brand's DNA is rooted in the core values of the frequent users of the brand. It is a cultivation process, and the brand grows to the extent it reflects the values of the leadership group among its consumers.

The latest work for Timberland romanticizes nature as a benevolent force toward those who follow the path of the "Earthkeeper." As such, the commercial reflects the values of many who use the brand's more environmentally friendly products.



An earlier commercial in this series employed a humorous approach demonstrating that the forces of nature can sometimes be less than helpful as well.

It all depends on core values.

The work was done by Leagas Delany, the London agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Search for Oneness

Last Tuesday, a television network in Belgium released a viral mirroring the T-Mobile flash mob dance videos that gained world-wide attention earlier this year.

The television network, vtm, used the evident viral attractiveness of flash mob dancing to promote their fall television program "The Search for Maria." On Wednesday, they began a television program about the search for the actress who will play the role of Maria in the fall.


The vtm flash mob dance was staged in an Antwerp train station with 200 dancers and 10 camera people. The station sound system was filled with the cheery perfection of Julie Andrews singing "Do Re Me."

The dancers and bystanders clearly enjoyed the event, and the video is rapidly gaining an audience now on the Web.



Why is it these flash mob dances garner such attention? I think it is because the videos are such a clear demonstration of the sheer joy of community. The pace of life can act so as to keep people apart. Hence, there is joy in spontaneous cooperation. The virals extend this joy to those who watch them. And, we share the joy by telling others.

Dramatist Gene Roddenberry once spoke about the significance of music and the human spirit. He noted the importance of moments when people "combine into symphonic oneness."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Evaluation of Viral Messaging

Much attention is being paid to which viral is getting the most attention and for how long each viral continues to play out on the Web.

But, ultimately virals must be evaluated in terms of their individual strategic purposes. What is the target market? What is the competitive frame? What is the strategic message argument?

This point is well demonstrated by a new viral for Samsung computer drives. The viral shows how to make "the world's most powerful consumer computer."



The Web is of course rich with the members of the target market for the featured Samsung computer drive. And, the narrative of this viral exudes the core values and outlook of the target group.

Storytelling, actors, setting, and music, all are presented in a manner that draws us in and holds our continuing interest. We concentrate our attention and "elaborate" the message argument in the classic terms of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of attitude formation.

Viewers are also placed in a good mood, activating "attitude toward the ad" as well as our receptiveness to new information.

Students in the auditorium for my Psychology of Advertising class let out a bit of a gasp when they saw the computer load all the MS Office programs in a half a second. "Wows"were heard when the computer quickly loaded over 50 programs. There were whoops when the computer transferred a huge DVD file faster than the DVD could be tossed out the window.

I think there is a way to evaluate virals: Ask who the viral is intended for, and did the viral engage that audience in "active processing" concerning a strategic message argument? That's the way to do it.

Aggregate reach is interesting, but in the end it comes down to "engaging the relevant audience in active processing of a strategic message argument."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Front Row Seat

"Car drives down the road" is the stereotypical car commercial. But, the road to great advertising is to take a stereotype and break it.

Here's a front row seat on how that is done.



This commercial places you in the front seat not only by view, but also by the overheard conversation. You cannot help but be involved.

And, what you see takes your involvement to a visceral level. You really see the new Mini and you think about the car. Consideration begins.

This work was done by 19:13, an agency in Munich, Germany.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Motivation to Share

The "Elaboration Likelihood Model" has become a popular psychological perspective on the processes of persuasion. The model focuses on "motivation to process" the information in persuasive messages. "Strong verbal arguments" are said to be the source of the strongest persuasive effects.

This recent viral commercial for Samsung suggests "motivation to share" may be a more promising concept these days. Persuasion is not so much about making "strong arguments" as it is about making a human connection.



This work was done by the:viral:factory, the agency based in London and Santa Monica.

That was a nice touch dotting the "i" in "fin" at the very end.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Burning-In" the Brand

It used to be that media accumulated audiences and brands hitched a ride (meaning they purchased space or time in the media). Now, some brands accumulate their own audiences.

Geico's Gecko has his own channel on YouTube.


People continually seek the new. The psychologist Wilhelm Wundt demonstrated this well over a century ago. No one wants to be what they used to be. So we seek the new and share it with our friends.

Today, brands hitch a ride on the "Wundt Curve" by paying attention to how their icons and ideas connect to the current cultural conversation.

For example, here the Gecko and his wingman "Kash" hitch a ride with Gary Broisma's now famous video homage to Mysto and Pizzi's version of the 1984 hit single by Kennedy Gordy (aka Rockwell).



This video is already finding a large audience. It demonstrates the meaning of the concept "brands as channels" and how brands can become media in themselves.

It also reveals the evolving meaning of the concept of persuasion. I've always thought the notion "low involvement learning" was a misnomer. What some researchers call "weak arguments" are really highly involving ways to burn-in those brand associations.

This work is by the Martin Agency, the Richmond advertising agency.

For more on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Future Hopping

Comcast's new advertising campaign presents an idea-driven jingle. It tells the ways community members can benefit from the brand.

Many product features are shown. The idea of the jingle is to invite you to be "always dreaming, never stopping" and to leap into the future.


Leaping into the future is visualized in a highly creative manner by "future-hopping." Space-suited people happily hop to their futures bouncing down the information road using exercise balls with handles.



In the literature about memes and the cultural conversation, this visualization is called a "self-replicating" concept. It will be interesting to see what comes of future-hopping.

The campaign was done by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the San Francisco advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Advertising @ Art

A new video from Nokia rises to the level of performance art.

In its art, the performance depicts a communication model and invites us to reflect about the meaning of everyday human communication.

It is becoming something more rich and creative.



The video ends with "Beautiful Connections" and a URL. The website shows how to add artistic capabilities to cell phone conversations.

This work was done by Wieden + Kennedy in London.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to Succeed on the Web by Really Trying

T-Mobile's current advertising campaign has drawn much favorable comment. "Life is for sharing" speaks strategically to telephone use. It also connects powerfully to the "seek and share" imperative of social currency by cell phone users and on the Web.

The T-Mobile flash mob dance video made on January 15 has drawn well over 5 million views on YouTube. This is a scene from the event at London's Liverpool Street train station.



T-Mobile has released a series of additional dance videos onto YouTube. They all extend the hoopla of the the January 15 event, continue to build favorable brand associations, and guide viewers to the T-Mobile website where they discover how to make their own dance videos to share with their friends.

Here's the T-Mobile "instructional commercial" on how to do Part II of the dance. This is the part everyone wants to do.



Web-based promotions come and go. Many are questioned. T-Mobile shows how to use the Web in an idea-driven way that is both strategically and creatively smart.

This work guides the audience to the T-Mobile website demonstrating web centricity for brand communication. Saatchi & Saatchi, London is the advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Break

Spring break is just two weeks away. You are probably thinking this is none too soon, and your travel plans were set long ago.

Here is an instructive classic when it comes to tourism advertising.

Each sentence invites you to experience the culture of the place. Each sentence asks for the order. It was written by Mary Wells Lawrence.

Bill Taubin was the art director. His name is in the Art Directors Hall of Fame (1981).



Mary Wells Lawrence has written a book that is recommended reading for all students of advertising. A Big Life in Advertising was published in 2002.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Public Mood

Today the Conference Board used the term "plummets" to describe the February level for their widely cited Consumer Confidence Index.

The Conference Board news release included just the last nine monthly reports. Here is what the last 19 months look like (since August, 2007).



The index now stands at 25.0. The index base of 100 is keyed to the year 1985. The current level of 25.0 is the lowest level recorded by this index which was started in 1967.

The Conference Board employs a leading research firm to sample 3,000 households representative of the U.S. population. Survey participants respond to five questions concerning current business conditions and their expectations for the future.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Advertising & Hard Times

Advertising is always most compelling when it speaks to core values.

This spot from Shelter, the UK housing and homeless charity, employs the house of cards metaphor, a somber tone, and the viewpoint of the commuter train ride through a cityscape to bring home the reality of the housing crisis. The music is by Radiohead.



The commercial was done by Leo Burnett in London.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Advertising & Energy Drinks

It started with Dr Pepper... "the most original soft drink ever in the whole wide world." Then came Mountain Dew and Red Bull. You know the story. Energetic beverages combined with energetic advertising.

Here's the latest from Pepsi. The work was done by BBDO in Paris.



The umbrella was a nice touch.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Advertising & Mood States

Psychological studies indicate people in positive mood states tend to do a better job of integrating new information than people in negative or neutral mood states.

It is also reported that people in positive mood states may tend to engage in heuristic thinking rather than systematic thinking.

This commercial from Fiat shows how a highly improbable message can ask for the order in a charming and almost intuitive way.



The spot was part of the 2007 relaunch of the brand positioning this "city car" to the youthful and discerning market segments.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thoughts about Brands & Valentine's Day

It is the the thought that counts. But, it has to be the right thought presented in the right way. This leads us to brands that help us reduce the risk of going astray. That is, after all, what the best brands do.

This Hallmark commercial for Valentine's Day demonstrates how the simple gesture of a greeting card becomes a gift of a lifetime with the assistance of a valued brand.



This commercial was done by Y&R New York in 1984.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Emotion in Advertising

Emotion is the current topic in my Psychology of Advertising course. When it comes to feelings and advertising, the audience knows what is real and relevant.

Here's a key frame from a classic Johnson & Johnson commercial.


The idea for the commercial was to film that most emotional moment when babies are first handed to their mothers in their hospital rooms.

That's the emotion. The strategic purpose of the commercial is to position certain J&J products and, importantly, to communicate the core values of the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Credo.



The commercial invites you to become part of the J&J family. It was done by Y&R New York. A classic, it ran in the early 1980s.

Claire Dalton commented on the J&J work (please see her comments below) and recommended a new Gerber commercial for it's similar strengths. Many thanks go to Claire for pointing out this spot!



Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Eggs-cellent!

The Cadbury classic and viral commercials drew the most attention last week. Erin Lamberty commented on the "Here today, goo tomorrow" campaign and asked about the agency doing the work. Thanks Erin!

The "Goo" campaign is done by Saatchi & Saatchi in London. Here's the latest work. They show that advertising need not be on the Web to be involving and interactive.



Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Commercials

Warm emotion secured two of the three top spots in the USA Today AdMeter poll of the 2009 Super Bowl commercials. The Budweiser clydesdale horses got our attention with two aspirational stories to reinforce the core values of the brand.

Doritos claimed the top spot with slap stick humor. But, with a sample size of 288, does an 8.46 score on the AdMeter really differ from 8.42?

A 60-second commercial for hulu was shown during the hyper-exciting fourth quarter of the game. It appears to be below average on the AdMeter (6.29 vs. a 6.66 average score for the brand sponsored commercials), nevertheless this spot shows us what advertising can be.



The hulu advertising agency is Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Also during the fourth quarter of the game, a GE spot spoke to our shared concerns about energy use and GE's role in the technology to manage energy grids more efficiently.



GE's spot is both charming and strategically smart. It was in the middle of the likability ratings, but it positioned the company quite well to the broad reach audience.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cultural Conversation

Advertising should always place the brand at the center of the cultural conversation.

This spot for Heineken speaks to how men can view a sophisticated brand of beer. The Heineken brand can hold its own in a parallel structure with expensive shoes.



Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Sunday Preview

KARE did a Super Bowl advertising report on the 10 p.m. news today. That's the NBC television affiliate for the Twin Cities.

Here's the first part, with my prediction on the overall sense of the commercials this year.



You can view the rest of the story on the KARE news website.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ask for the Order

Advertising should always ask for the order. This 1984 commercial by Y&R New York asks for the order in the very first frame, and then asks again and again and again.

In automotive advertising this commercial has yet to be surpassed.



The art director was Cary Lemkowitz wrote it. The art director and producer was Joe Puhy.

Their work is a textbook on how to make effective advertising.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Metaphor

Speaking of Cadbury. This commercial dates from the 1980s, back when I was in the creative department at Y&R in New York. It demonstrates the power of unexpected metaphor.

The collision of two metaphors demonstrates high level advertising creativity. You can't create a new idea if you have only one idea.



Right now I can't recall the name of art director and the writer. But, I am checking and will up-date this post as soon as I find out. The voice over in this commercial is by Mason Adams.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reward Theory of Communication

As I stated in an earlier blog post, attention is the most valuable commodity in the society and economy.

Viewers, listeners and readers give their attention. In return they must receive value. This leads us to the Reward Theory of Communication.

As advertisers we must provide information that is perceived as having more value than the time we borrow from the audience.

Cadbury's latest commercial is exemplary. It captures our attention, delivers enjoyment, and reminds us why we value the brand and its products.

I am pretty sure Grant Wood would have appreciated the visualization.



Many thanks to Aaron E. for finding this commercial. It is very viral.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Power in Icons

The latest work for Coca-Cola is brilliant.

Basically, it's Rorschach meets Pavlov.

The spot takes the risk to be dramatically different, and pays it off with a brand insistent story that reinforces the iconic symbols of the brand.

Here's the spot. How many times do you see iconic Coca-Cola symbols? Let me know.



The spot was done by Weiden+Kennedy, the agency based in Portland.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Humor in Super Sunday Commercials

Just seven days until Super Sunday. For advertisers in the United States, it is the last of the largest reach audiences.

There are many news stories about the cost (said to be $3 million for 30 seconds this year) as well as the advertisers who are in or out. Last Friday, the online New York Times used an interactive timeline beginning in 1984 to show the advertisers and types of commercials each year.

I made a graph out of the percentage of spots the NYT said employed humor in each of the years. It shows growth in the "theory of liking" as an approach to creating advertising. Everyone wants to be liked, and effective humor can deliver attention, liking and memorability.


GE is preparing a Super Sunday commercial this year. It features a "spokes-scarecrow" for GE's eco-imagination campaign. I'd watch for this one as an effective use of humor.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.