Ad Post: Google Chrome – The Web is What You Make of It

by Amy Yen

Google Chrome 1:00 spot
Agency: Google Creative Lab/Bartle Bogle Hegarty

The latest from Google’s “The Web is What You Make of It” series promoting their Chrome browser, “Jess Time” is every bit as captivating & lump-in-the-throat inducing as their first spot, “Dear Sophie,” which remains one of my very favorite pieces of creative from 2011.

Both ads tell such touching, relatable stories — capturing the moments as you watch your child grow up, staying close to your kids when they go off to college (I thought there was also such a beautiful underlying sadness to the “Jess Time” spot, with saying without saying it that this is also a family in mourning) — it’s remarkable that both spots also somehow manage to demonstrate the features of the product in such an inspirational way. I love that it actually inspires imagination, without any sense of manipulation. Isn’t that what really great creative is supposed to do?

Google is notably new to traditional advertising, and has put a lot of promotion into Chrome, which finally overtook Internet Explorer (who themselves have a solid, if not as emotionally resonant spot in rotation) in the browser wars earlier this year. In addition to “Sophie” & “Jess,” the Chrome campaign includes spots with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber & “It Gets Better,” a chronicle of the movement that began with Dan Savage’s inspirational video message, which is an especially wonderful in that it’s a true life example of how technology can change lives.

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Xerox Personalized Direct Marketing Makes an Impact at PRINTEGR8

by Amy Yen

Just wanted to share this very cool piece of direct marketing I received at PRINTEGR8, a lunch seminar sponsored by Westamerica Graphics today on integrated marketing and print communications. Xerox, one of the exhibitors, gave out personalized calendars for everyone who pre-registered for the event. The calendars had each attendee’s name integrated into images on the pages for each month to create a unique takeaway for everyone who attended.

The piece backed up Market Development Manager of Graphic Communications Toni Schottenhammer‘s presentation, in which she presented case studies on using database marketing to increase the ROI of direct mail campaigns by personalizing the message to each recipient.

Check out Xerox’s personalized calendar (now hanging in my apartment 🙂 ):

A Branded Birthday

by Amy Yen

My birthday is this Sunday, something I’m trying hard not to think about as I get dragged with great reluctance toward late-twenties-dom. Happily, I have been getting some well wishes in the mail that I can actually get behind. Every year it seems, more and more brands jump on the loyalty program/club card train & thusly, I’ve been getting birthday gifts in the form of gift cards & special discounts from all my favorite brands for the last two weeks.

A free mascara kit here, $10 off a pair of shoes there, suddenly getting older doesn’t seem so bad. It’s actually been quite nice, getting a little gift from my favorite retailers & restaurants in the mail or my inbox every day. It really does kind of feel like an old friend dropping in with warm wishes, in the form of a free entree, on my special day. And it works…I mean, hey, I don’t need anything from Sephora, but as long as I’m there to pick up my free mascara, I might as well get myself some lip gloss, right? Look, nothing makes me feel more warm & fuzzy about your brand than giving me free stuff.

So what I guess I’m saying is, in this day of corporate Facebook pages & Twitter contests, direct marketing still counts for something. And just because I know I’m getting this lovely 40% off birthday certificate because you have my name in a database, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the thought.

Ad Post: Nike – Human Chain

Nike 1:00 spot
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Portland

I imagine that advertising geeks like me will never get tired of watching & going crazy over Nike advertising. Sometimes, I feel like it is as much art as any well crafted feature film. If I didn’t think it would be going slightly overboard, I would crank out a post like this every couple of weeks.

The newest ad from Nike & its longtime agency W+K is about adversity & resilience, two of the most popular themes for the brand in its self-imposed mission to celebrate athletes. The spot has so with an interesting stop photography trick & music—in grand Nike advertising tradition, they have found the perfect song. It’s called “Ali in the Jungle,” by the Hours, & it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of it.

“It’s not how you start/it’s how you finish,” it goes. “Everybody gets knocked down/how quick are you going to get up?”

As with one of my other favorite Nike spots, it features a variety of sports & in this case, both famous & unknown athletes. Notably, it also does not feature the Winter Olympics, despite Nike being an official sponsor of the Games. Despite its star sponsorees, Nike has never been about any one sport, it’s always been about the spirit of the athlete.

-Amy Yen

Ode to Good Customer Service

DMV-by Amy Yen

If there’s anything @ComcastCares & @RichardatDell & the other brands on Twitter success stories have shown, it’s that good customer service still feels like an anomaly & people never seem to get tired of praising it. My reasoning has always been that we’ve got to continue to encourage this type of behavior, lest the big brands think us ungrateful & go back to not giving me the cable & internet I overpay for each month.

Such is the reason why today, when I encountered excellent customer service in the least likely place on earth—the DMV—I felt the need to repeatedly, desperately thank each lovely, wonderful employee who helped me. I found myself literally trying to come up with the words to properly express my extreme gratitude that these civil servants, who work in what has to be among the most depressing environments known to man, went out of their way to help lil’ ol’ me FINALLY, almost a year & a half after leaving Boston, obtain a California driver’s license.

I won’t go into details about what they did, but frankly, I shouldn’t have been able to get the license today. Even I’ll admit that. The red tape was all set up to stop me, but a few feisty California-DMV Santa Monica office employees worked together to beat the system for no real reason except to help me out. To me, it felt like nothing short of a miracle.

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to take back my statements in the past, in which I believe I referred to the DMV as “what hell must feel like.” Also, Zita from the Santa Monica office, if you’re out there reading this by any chance, I forgot to tell you, I really like your earrings.