mADwoman advertising

December 20, 2009

Marketing Evil: Why My Kid Won’t Be Wearing Adidas

Filed under: advertising,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 2:21 pm
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Over at Mashable is a post about a marketing campaign Adidas is launching in January to promote their new Star Wars-inspired line.  Instead of aligning the product with the positive, heroic figures in the familiar tale, Adidas is integrating Facebook with Google Maps to create a sort of ‘game’ called the Star Wars Death Star Superlaser, in which participants are encouraged to emulate the evil Darth Vader.

The game opens with a video in which you see the street you live on — thanks to the Google Maps app, you see the buildings on your actual street — reduced to rubble.  The app then allows you to subject the streets your Facebook friends live on to similar destruction at your will.  The cutesy-sociopathic tagline that appears at the video’s end: “Hitting your street in January 2010.”

It’s been less than a decade since the 9/11 terrorist attack reduced a significant portion of lower Manhattan turned to dust, with the loss of several thousand innocent lives.  The vast majority of Americans consider this real-world act evil, just as they considered the imaginary, vicious actions of the fictional character Darth Vader evil.

Normal people find it troubling, not amusing, to contemplate the destruction of particular people and places they care about.   Normal people don’t think it’s fun to visualize the destruction of their friends’ lives, homes, and neighbors.

If the market Adidas is going after consists of sociopaths and would-be terrorists, this is one dandy promotion.

If, however, Adidas hopes to sell sneakers to normal people who cringe at the thought of terrible things happening to their friends, they may want to use another approach.  Unless and until they do, I can promise you that my kid won’t be wearing Adidas.


December 18, 2009

Advice to the Farmer Trapped in a Tweet War

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 10:56 pm
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On the My Ragan blog, one of the bloggers, a marketer who’s also a part-time farmer, alleges that she was libeled by a Twitter user.  She asked My Ragan readers for advice as to how to respond to this, in addition to having her attorney send the offending party a note.

Here’s the response I posed:

First, thank you for being a farmer — for the hard work and the care that’s so often underappreciated.  I had no idea how hard farmers worked until I met my husband, whose family were Vermont dairy farmers.

Here’s one possible approach:   why not set up a Facebook fan page for your family’s farm?  A farmer in AL does this, and posts charming video updates from his cell phone every week or so — more often when there’s calving and the herd increases.  If his farm weren’t 2000 miles away, I’d be buying my milk from them, just because his videos are so honest and so ‘real.’

While it’s tempting to address a public attack publicly, this might not be the best course of action.  Perhsps it might be better just to show and tell the truth, using Facebook.  Especially with its photo and video upload capabilities, this might be a more effective medium for presenting your perspective than Twitter.  You can then use Twitter to post links to your FB updates, thereby getting out the info you want, without being drawn into discussions that don’t move you closer to your goals.

I wish you and your businesses all the best during this Holiday Season, and in the New Year!


Laurie Morrow
mADwoman Advertising
Montpelier, Vermont

October 16, 2009

In-Your-Face Facebook Advertising

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 5:12 pm
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Just how many times must I mark an ad on my Facebook page “offensive” or “misleading,” before Facebook stops posting it on my home page?

When I first started using Facebook, I was impressed by their apparent embrace of “permission advertising.”  Facebook appeared to understand the “What I Want, When I Want It” nature of 21st-century marketing.  Each advertisement on my home page solicited my approval or disapproval of the ad.  If you indicate you dislike an ad, they even provide an easy-to-use checklist of objections, so that the user can offer specific feedback as to the problem – that one found the ad offensive, or misleading, or repetitive, or irrelevant, etc.  It seemed they were trying to put match the ads on Facebook users’ home pages with the individual preferences of the users.

I thought this showed great good sense in marketing, that somebody at Facebook was reading their Seth Godin—until, that is, I sent in a negative response regarding an ad campaign I considered misleading.

I followed FB procedure, indicating the ad was “misleading.”  The ad immediately disappeared — and was replaced a few seconds later by a nearly identical ad for the same company.  The content of the ad, which was the problem, was unchanged; what did change were the colors and the font.  It took 3 reports until the ad disappeared.  But a few hours later that day, when I returned to my Facebook page, the ad I thought I was rid of had returned.   I did another “Dislike” report, and was again subjected to the same cosmetic, not substantive, changes.  Perhaps, I thought, it just took a day or two for Facebook to catch up with these reports.

A couple of days later I logged on again.  Like Freddy Kreuger, the ad again arose before me. I upped the ante, now labeling this ad “offensive.” I repeated the reporting procedure the rest of that week.  And the next week.   Still now, months later, despite my consistently and repeatedly reporting I find these ads misleading and offensive, they appear every day on my home page.

This experience has significantly altered my opinion of the company doing the advertising.  They had a clever TV ad I used to enjoy.   Now, I loathe this company.  I long to read that they are in bankruptcy proceedings.  If Facebook ran ads for VooDoo dolls bearing this company’s logo, I’d buy a case of them.

Had this company simply posted their ads, with no feedback mechanism, I would’ve glanced at their advertisements, vaguely disliked them, and not thought about them again.

What stokes my anger is the pretense that my opinion matters, that I have some sort of influence over which ads are presented to me.  I apparently have as much influence over the ads on my Facebook page as I do over who tucks a flyer under my windshield wiper.

When a new pizzeria in town does this, I don’t mind.  It’s the best they can do with the tools they have.  If it’s a nicely done flyer, I’ll probably even order a couple of pizzas.

But Facebook’s advertisers can, and should, do better.  Advertising that solicits, then ignores, individual consumer preferences does no one any good.

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