Monthly Archives: May 2012

Unusual places – unusual spaces

Consumers see hundreds of ads and promotions every single day! Much of it occurs in the usual places such as ads in the morning paper, television commercials, radio pitches, billboards, bus stop signs and more. From the time we start our days with a morning cup of coffee, to the late night programs watched before we retire to bed each evening, consumers are inundated with messages and images. There’s a ton of clutter surrounding consumers.

This of course brings challenges to marketers. What are new venues for promotion? Where can we break free of the pack and have a consumer’s attention? Some crazy examples used have been:

  • Billboard Magazine placed seven strings and an amp inside a urinal to people could make music when they pee.
  • Publicis Mojo Auckland used a ketchup packet and sauce for an award-winning campaign against land mines.
  • Accounting firm Ernst & Young pasted its logo on kids’ faces using a service from
  • Folgers’s Coffee placed stickers over manhole covers so that the rising steam appeared to come from a cup of piping hot coffee.
  • Advertising on the gates that guard parking ramps.
  • QR codes on the rooftops of buildings.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Have a 2-minute drill: Divide students into teams of two or three people (sitting by each other). In two minutes, have them list ALL the places they have seen advertising, especially unusual places.
  2. Show examples for unusual placements as noted in the Ad Age article:
  3. Click on the links in the Ad Age article to view the media placements.
  4. Encourage students to think out-of-the-box. What would be wild places that ads could be placed?
  5. Have students do a quick Internet search for “unexpected” or “unusual” ad placements. (Make sure they expand their search boundaries outside of the U.S.)
  6. Have students examine the Web site: to learn of an unusual business by two broke college students.
  7. Have students practice their skills. Give them a list of common products (e.g., Tide, Coach purse, Nike shoes, Hershey’s Chocolate, Jockey underwear, etc.) and have them come up with three very unusual places for advertising the products. Be creative!


Source:  Ad Age Daily, 4/30/12



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Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart

This activity is guaranteed to keep students engaged with the content.

Every week Advertising Age, in conjunction with company Visible Measures, publishes a list of the week’s top performing videos. The weekly chart highlights viral video ads that appear on online video sites. Each ad measures viewership of brand-syndicated video clips as well as social video placements that are driven by viewers around the world.

Visible Measures uses a measurement called True Reach™ to quantify the total audience that has been exposed to a viral video campaign, no matter where the campaign videos travel online. The measurement combines data from brand-driven seeded video placements with results from community-driven viral video placements – spoofs, parodies, mashups, and more.

There are three key factors required to achieve viral video success:

  1. Reaching the tastemakers
  2. Building a community of participation
  3. Creating unexpectedness in the video

Check out this week’s top videos at

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Ad Age’s weekly Viral Video chart:
  2. Have students examine how the ads are measured by Visible Measures.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an ad on the top video chart and analyze the ad.
  4. What is unusual?
  5. Who will it interest?
  6. What is the key message?
  7. How effective is the ad at getting the company’s brand and message across to viewers?


Source:  Advertising Age – weekly update each Thursday morning


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Privacy lost

Earlier this year, Mozilla Corp. CEO Gary Kovacs gave a Ted Talk where he discussed our loss of privacy when using the Internet. Sure, most of us know that companies keep track of us when we visit. They track what we buy, size, color, price and more. Amazon knows what types of books we like to buy, Zappos knows our shoe shopping habits, Nike tracks our sneaker purchases, and countless other sites “remember us” when we visit their sites; many of them are quite happy to suggest future purchases that might interest us. Most of the time, this is fine. As savvy consumers who frequently use the Internet, we expect companies to gather data to use in their marketing and analysis. And, as marketers ourselves, we know there is gold in the databases.

However, has behavioral tracking gone too far? In this fascinating video, Kovacs introduces a new Firefox add-on program called “Collusion.” Collusion gives the user the visual capability to “track the trackers” – in other words, watch how often our online traffic is monitored by parties to whom we have not given express permission to do so. The scope of the behavioral tracking will likely surprise even the most experienced Web user.


Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Play the video on with the Gary Kovacs speech:
  2. Next, bring up the Mozilla explanation of data tracking and Collusion:
  3. Class discussion topics: What are the ethical implications of behavioral tracking? When is it useful to companies? Useful to consumers?
  4. What are the responsibilities of companies to their users? Should they ask permission? Or do users give implied permission just by visiting the site?
  5. What are the laws or regulations that affect this type of behavioral tracking? What should the laws cover?
  6. Ask students if they would be willing to install the application and report on what happens in a future class.

Source:, May 2012

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