Category Archives: Ad trends

Laughing babies = Advertising Gold?

Yet another YouTube video has made its way into a television commercial, and quite effectively I might add. BMW popularized the trend with its use of a home video depicting two ecstatic children who just received what is apparently the greatest gift ever. The commercial got its point across, equating the pure joy of the children with the joy of BMW ownership. Now AIG, a financial services company, has released a new commercial of a  cute and very amusing laughing baby that was a hit on YouTube. “Laughter can add eight years to your life. So live longer, retire stronger. Never outlive your money,” the commercial proclaims. The commercial flows nicely and it’s hard to argue with a laughing baby, just ask anyone who has visited YouTube recently. Laughing babies have seemingly turned into a phenomenon. Simply enter “laughing baby” and an endless array of giggling infants appears. Or look at the numbers: as of this entry’s writing, 35,839,310 people have watched the most popular laughing baby clip entitled “Hahaha”. AIG certainly took notice of these numbers and capitalized on this popularity.


Link Roundup for 1.25.2008
A very cool, simple app that lets you create embedable flyers and business cards to put on blogs, social networks, websites and emails. Via: TechCrunch

Best Internet Marketing Blog Posts of 2007 – Techipedia
A VERY extensive list of the best and timeless articles of 2007 about internet marketing, broken up into categories like specific social networks, blogging, content generation, etc.  Via: Greg Verdino

Using Social Media to Create Social Media Training
A wiki for social media training. Via: Social Media Marketing

The Interactive Media Mix Series: Part 2 – Banner Ads


This post is part 2 of The Interactive Media Mix Series. In the series we plan to go over the basics on each of the tools that marketers can use in interactive campaigns, such as microsites, banner ads, streaming audio, online video, mobile marketing, podcasts, email marketing, search engine marketing and social media.

Dear Interactive Marketers,

When banner ads (AKA display ads) were first introduced, they were hailed as one of the greatest advances in advertising, because unlike billboards or TV ads, they could interact with the audience AND their effectiveness could be measured by way of click-throughs with a great degree of accuracy. But then, the advent of flash animation created an unfortunate side effect: “hit the monkey”, “shoot the spaceship”, “trap the mouse”, and “the dancing baby” banners became too annoying and ubiquitous to be effective at all. And so, the banner ad fell from grace.

It finally appears that the age of the dancing baby is over. Today, studies are showing that various campaigns become more effective when display ads are added to the mix and new design technologies like rich media and video are allowing banner ads to become increasingly more interesting and usefullevis-banner-ad.jpg

Lets hear from the experts:

  • Tessa Wegert, from ClickZ says that banner ads allow marketers to visually imprint their image on the minds of consumers in a way other forms of online media don’t.
  • Jason Fittipaldi, from iMedia thinks that expandable banners—which use a new technology that allows the banner to expand when the user rolls over them—are fresh, exciting, compelling, highly interactive and rewarding to the viewer, and they provide an effective foundation for viral marketing and brand extension.
  • Lydia Estrada, also from iMedia, claims that the interactive space provides the capability to reach consumers on multiple levels (rational, emotional) and it is important to take advantage of that as often as possible.
  • And finally, examples cited in both Media Post Publications, by David L. Smith, and in BusinessWeek, by David C. Churbuck, show that banner ads used in conjunction with other channels increase the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

So What?
Banner ads have made a comeback and have become the centerpiece of the interactive media mix. Used wisely, they can be helpful and entertaining for your customers and an entryway into your company or brand’s web presence.


Internet Advertising Bureau UK – Display Ads

DoubleClick – Best Practices for Optimizing Web Advertising Effectiveness, May 2006 (Available for download)

BizReport – Europeans Click with Video Ads, Kristina Knight, May 2007

BizReport – Large Ad Formats Popular with European Marketers, Helen Leggat, May 2007

Media Post Publications – TV and Web, Working Together, David L. Smith, Aug. 2007

BusinessWeek – Google and the Rebirth of Banner Ads, David C. Churbuck, April 2007

ClickZ – Do you buy Banners? Tessa Wegert, Nov. 2006

ClickZ – Interactivity with a Mission, Tessa Wegert, July 2006

iMedia – The Seven Principles of Effective Online Ads, Lydia Estrada, Sept. 2005

iMedia – Three Ways to Improve Banner Ads, Jamie Roche, Nov. 2006

iMedia – 5 Targeting Success Stories, Robert Moskowitz, Oct. 2006

ClickZ – Making Video Advertising Accountable to Consumers, Jeremy Lockhorn, Sept. 2006

iMedia – Extreme Makeover: Banner ads Redux, Jayson Fittipaldi, April 2007

BusinessWeek – Levi’s Fits its Ads to the Web, Steve Rosenbush Oct. 2006

iMedia – How better display ad targeting is changing internet advertising, Tim Brown, Aug. 2007

Marketwire – Marketers can Buy Blog “Buzz”, Nielsen Reports, July 2007

Yukonbiz (blog), Do banner ads still work? Geoff Harries, Oct. 2006

GigaOM (blog), Why Google bought DoubleClick, Om Malik, April 2007

ClickZ – Mobile advertising goes graphic, Rebecca Lieb, Jan. 2007 – Brand Marketers Return to the Web, David Kesmodel, May 2006

And here are a couple of examples of great video banners

The Google/Saturn banner video

A “Get a Mac” campaign banner

(knife image: ©, Levi’s banner ad courtesy of Avenue A | Razorfish. See all of them here.)

The Interactive Media Mix Series: Part 1 – Microsites


This post is part 1 of The Interactive Media Mix Series. In the series we plan to go over the basics on each of the tools that marketers can use in interactive campaigns, such as microsites, banner ads, streaming audio, online video, mobile marketing, podcasts, email marketing, search engine marketing and social media.

Dear Marketers,

If you want to launch a specialized campaign for a company or brand or a new product, centered on an idea that is set apart from the overall brand, a microsite is one of the most interesting and compelling ways to do so.

One way to use microsites is to do what Coke has done. In addition to its regular site, Coca-Cola also has specialized microsites for specific products, such as the new Coke Zero. Since Coke Zero has its own concept and campaign that is separate from the broader Coca-Cola brand concept, its microsite allows audiences to further connect with the campaign by maintaining the same look and feel, and featuring games and activities related to the campaign.subservient-chicken.png

But microsites are also often used to support a new campaign for a brand. Burger King found a fresh way to communicate its traditional slogan, “Have it your way”, by creating a microsite called “Subservient Chicken”, (credited with launching the microsite concept), where visitors could type in commands for the person in the chicken outfit to perform on the screen.

Well-executed microsites such as the BK’s “Subservient Chicken”, OfficeMax’s “Elf Yourself” (only available during the holidays) or Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” (with online videos such as Evolution) often also serve a double function, since they are excellent viral marketing assets. Entertaining, innovative or exciting microsites will be shared and forwarded millions of times.

So what?
Microsites are an excellent way to engage your audience with a new product or campaign online and does double duty with potential viral success.

Interested? – The history of microsites

iMedia Connection – Go Micro for Macro Results

ClickZ – Microsites and SEM: A Proof of Concept

iMedia connection – Offline-Online Unity

Marketing Sherpa case study – How Microsite & Video Lift Consumer Leads 13.54% for Home Builder

And for more examples of microsites check out:

The Weather Channel – article and review
Land Rover – review
Toyota (autoshow) – article
Audi A3 – review
National Geographic – Inside the Mafia – review
Reebok – RBK Pump – review
Verizon Broadband – review
Cartoon Network – review
Warner Home Video – “Kiss Kiss, Bang Band” DVD release – review
Lexus 2007 ES – review
MINI Canada – review
Twentieth Century Fox Corp. “24” – review
Mountain Dew – review
Reebok – G xt II – review
Sony Electronics – Mobile DVD Dream System – article

Integrated Interactive Campaigns with Microsites:

Arctic Cat – Mediums: TV spot, microsite
KFC – Mediums: TV spot, microsite
Old Spice – Mediums: TV spot, microsite
Range Rover – Mediums: TV spot, microsite
Fox Atomic – “Turistas” – Mediums: MySpace, YouTube, blogs and microsite – Review
The Simpsons Movie – Mediums: MySpace, Flickr, Xbox contest, JetBlue Contest, merchandise, be in an animated episode promotion, 7-11 to Kwik-E-Mart makeovers, Vans custom shoes – Review (blog post)

UPDATE: Check out this presentation for an overview on microsites and some great case studies!

(knife image: ©

Online video for small business


Dear Small Business Marketer,

YouTube along with other video sharing sites have caught the attention of more than just at-home movie goers. A predominately print and infomercial advertiser, Oreck vacuums recently joined the video sharing community in October airing its XL21 Vacuum Cleaner commercial online through the Oreck Direct YouTube Channel. The ‘home of the 8lb vacuum’ appears to have gotten its weight up in the realm of diverse marketing by branching out to social networking forums as well. You can now find Oreck age/gender-targeted ads on Myspace by logging on as 26 year-old woman, for example. You will find a flashing Oreck banner on the top of the screen advertising its Professional Table-top Air Purifier. Through video and social network advertising, Oreck hopes to ‘suction-up’ more than just dirt.

On a tastier note, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant in Lake Stevens, Washington is saying buenos dias to online video advertising. La Hacienda has included a video ad on its listing via Superpages Video, a new feature from Superpages. La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant’s listing pops up with not only its address, phone number, reviews and website, but also its own personal commercial giving potential customers a virtual sampling of la comida before heading out and possibly running for the border.

Loome Book Sellers
has used YouTube to reach out to customers informing them of the closing sale of their Loome Antiquarian Booksellers store. Customers were confused as to why the sale was only for walk in customers and not available on the internet as well, and Loome cleverly used the YouTube video comments to clear everything up.

The YouTube video, added on December 12, 2007, has already had 7,386 views, proving that this marketing tactic is a must-use for small businesses.
(image courtesy of



These are the articles and campaigns that rocked our world this week.

“Non-Traditional Revenue” is dead. Long live “New-Traditional Revenue”
Mark Ramsey argues that we must focus less on business which matters only at the margin and more on business that will constitute the center of radio industry revenue in years to come.

Philips Electronics Simplifies Shopping With Another Non-Intrusive Campaign

NBC Universal to offer interactive ads via TiVo
NBC is the first major broadcaster to make a deal with TiVo to receive their detailed ratings data and to offer an interactive feature on ads, where viewers can click on an icon to get more info on a product.

Hear Voices? It May Be an Ad
An ad for “Paranormal State,” a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E is using a technology to transmit audio from a billboard that you hear inside your head.
The Basilica of Saint Mary’s in Minnesota used a similar tactic to promote its block party in October.

Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog: 7 Trends that Defined 2007

Virgin America – Experience Marketing

(image: ©

Making it Spread: How Digital Assets Make Campaigns Effective

keep a child alive

Dear Viral Marketer,

When you are creating a campaign designed to spread virally on the web make sure to follow Johnny Vulkan’s lead and create digital assets.

Johnny Vulkan of New York agency Anomaly designed an effective campaign for Keep a Child Alive. Check out the video here. Wearing a “Keep a Child Alive” T-shirt, Vulkan was first in line at the SoHo Apple Store on the day the new iPhone was released. In order to launch this campaign, he went to the where the media was—rather than inviting the media to come to him. And it worked. The media took pictures of the whole experience – and the campaign received millions of media impressions as a result. What made the campaign particularly effective is that Johnny Vulkan produced digital assets—pictures that the press and bloggers could use in telling the story—and made them widely available.

Creating digital assets like this is not entirely new. Many companies have press kits on their sites for this purpose. But to create assets made especially for a particular cause, and then make them available and highly visible on sites like Flickr and YouTube, is a new and effective spin.

The idea of creating viral videos has also been recently adopted by a number of companies. Blendtec, a company that makes powerful blenders mostly used commercially to make smoothies, created a series of videos called “Will it Blend?”. The short videos of a Blendtec guy blending everything from a light bulb, to a “movie night” (a can of Coke, some corn and a DVD), to even an iPhone (which was sad to watch), were showcased on a microsite made specifically for the series, but they were also put up on YouTube.

And if you’re not creating your own videos, follow Mentos’ lead (Coke took too long to come around!) and make sure to take advantage of user generated viral media using your product (check out the videos here).

So What?
Next time you launch a campaign designed to spread virally, makes sure you have digital assets in place. And go to where the story is.