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.

Ad Post: CW The Secret Circle Entertainment Weekly Insert

by Amy Yen

The CW: The Secret Circle print insert
Agency: CW promotions department

Check out this elaborate print insert from the CW in the September 9th issue of Entertainment Weekly promoting their new fall show,The Secret Circle. The two-page insert opens up to an interactive ad of the show’s witch characters holding a candle, which the reader can light up by touching metal disks embedded in the ad. Touching the disks also activates an audio commercial for the show. The instructions on the ad tell the reader to blow out the candle to “protect [their] secret.” Sure enough, blowing on the ad activates a wind sensor in the ad & turns off the lighted candle.

An impressive, no doubt hugely expensive placement, it’s certainly attention-grabbing, with the insert bulking up the issue & the hardstock paper and various interactive components difficult to miss while flipping through the magazine. The CW is clearly putting a lot of promotion behind The Secret Circle, which is debuting behind their biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries, also from creator Kevin Williamson & also based on LJ Smith novels. I’ll definitely be giving it a shot, because of the good will Williamson buys, although honestly, despite the fact that the CW has successfully gotten my attention with its promotion, I don’t find the previews themselves to be particularly compelling. Watch a 6-minute preview here.

Instructions on the CW's interactive print insert for The Secret Circle (click to enlarge)

Ad Post: FOX – Fringe Moves to the Friday Night Death Slot

by Amy Yen

FOX 1:00 spot
Agency: FOX Marketing & Special Ops

This is a few weeks old, but I really wanted to give FOX some kudos for this clever & rather brave promo they released in response to the outcry over the recently announced move of Fringe to the supposed Friday Night Death Slot (as opposed to where it was before, otherwise known as the most competitive timeslot on TV). The 1:00 spot tongue-in-cheek threatens to “reanimate” Friday nights while actually quoting from the numerous blog and media posts lamenting the demise of the show. While, as a fan, I’ve been in the exact same state of emotion since the announcement—something in between unreasonable anger & self-pitying resignation—& as a pretty close observer of media trends, I cannot buy the idea that FOX can actually attract the teen demographic they are claiming to be going after, as an advertising & marketing junkie, I really admire FOX’s guts in putting out an ad like this.

As for Fringe’s chances of actually reanimating Fridays, I’m actually still clinging to a bit of hope. It’s no secret that the consensus is that this is Fringe’s best season yet creatively & it has a ton of critical support right now. I also think it’s pretty reasonable to think that its audience will follow it to Fridays, considering that, since they abandoned all notions of being a non-myth-arc-based show this year, the only people left watching are the die-hards anyway. As expected, the producers are spinning the move as positively as possible, but I do actually believe them when they say they’re still getting a lot of network support for the show. So, when Kevin Reilly says it’ll be a big win for FOX if Fringe can hang on to its existing (low) ratings on Fridays, I believe him. This is, after all, the man who renewed Dollhouse & gave Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles a full 22-episode second season. I also think that, with Fringe’s pedigree (I do think JJ’s name pulls some weight in this situation, particularly because Abrams’ Alcatraz is among FOX’s fall pilots), the idea that FOX might tell the producers up front that they’ll get a fourth season & it will be the last, for sure, isn’t out of the question.

At the very least, I expect FOX to give the writers enough notice to wrap up the story this year if it comes to that. And that will have to be enough. After all this, the move to the Fridays isn’t the one that upsets me. It’s the one to Thursdays, which I still don’t think should ever have happened. But what’s done is done & we might just have to be happy with three seasons of a great show. Let’s hope it’s four though.

Ad Post: NFL on FOX – It’s Good to Have a Ring

by Amy Yen

NFL on FOX :30 spot
Agency: Fox Sports Marketing

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback & current NFL on FOX analyst Troy Aikman is a promotion veteran, selling everything from Samsung phones to Acme Bricks, but for all the times I’ve seen him sell stuff, particularly living in Dallas, this is the first time I laughed out loud.

Part of FOX’s series of ads, which also feature Aikman’s broadcast partner Joe Buck, being a good sport about being insulted by Dr. Phil & watching Troy party with Usher & Hugh Laurie, this spot also uses Buck’s exasperation as the punch line (“Can I just get a water? Somewhere?”). Another spot features Buck slumming in line at TSA while Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long & Jimmy Johnson cruise through the special red carpet “Super Bowl Ring Holders” line (with Jimmy almost-but-not-quite getting stopped for carrying a samurai sword…or is that a machete?). Very funny stuff.

Ad Post: Dasani PlantBottle Plantable Print Ad

by Amy Yen

I loved this print insert from Dasani, advertising their new sustainable PlantBottle, which is “made from up to 30% plant-based materials derived of sugar cane and still a 100% recyclable bottle.” Maybe the single coolest print ad I’ve ever seen, the simple, vivid image of the bottle enveloped in leaves also includes a removable leaf made of seeded paper, which can be soaked in water & put in soil to grow real wildflowers! Awesome.

The ad, which Dasani & parent company Coca-Cola also point out is made of 100% recycled paper, is part of the launch of PlantBottle in the western US, which is in turn a pilot program for Coca-Cola, who will now start adapting PlantBottle for its other brands. The program is being watched closely, as the bottled water industry has long been criticized for its environmental impact, highlighted by tap water awareness campaigns such as UNICEF’s Tap Project & What’s Tappening? Using plant-based materials for the bottle will reportedly reduce PlantBottle’s carbon emissions by 25 percent.

Dasani also partnered with eco-fashion designer Erica Domesek of PSIMadeThis.com, who made limited edition green caps (mirroring PlantBottle’s green caps) from reused & recycled materials, benefiting Ocean Conservancy. Launched in late 2009, Coca-Cola is aiming to produce 2 billion PlantBottles by the end of this year.