Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Rise of the Machines Rises Again

Zimmerman's Pick-n-Click might have met its Bride of Frankenstein crushworthy counterpoint in the debut of Blip.TV's DIY ad-making service. The service is designed to help Web content makers make promos for their content and is being tested by Make magazine.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


A big ol' boo and hiss is sent out to Skycontrol, an "international magazine" of aviation and aerospace news.

I recently received an email from them, and because I've never signed up to receive anything from them -- and don't want to -- I followed the instructions at the bottom of the email to unsubscribe from whatever list they had me on. This is what I got in response:

This mailing list is currently not accepting unsubscriptions.

Huh? Isn't that... illegal? I've contacted the company directly to request removal. We'll see what they say in response.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rest in Posts

The AdJab team is calling it quits. Coverage of the ad industry will continue in TV Squad.

I've appreciated your work, folks. May this change bring only the best and brightest to all involved.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boston Bombshell

A marketing stunt pulled off by the Cartoon Network and New York-based marketing company Interference Inc. went haywire this week when almost 40 blinking electronic signs promoting the cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force were mistaken for bombs.

The signs, slightly reminiscent of and perhaps inspired by the Space Invaders tile graffiti, raised quite a ruckus. Law enforcement agencies closed down highways, bridges, and part of the Charles River. Two men were jailed and later released in connection with the stunt, which was replicated in nine other cities to no hubbub.

Community leaders in Beantown showed little sense of humor in response to the campaign. My favorite remark was made by Congressman Ed Markey, quoted in a MediaDailyNews article: "Scaring an entire region, tying up the T and major roadways, and forcing first responders to spend 12 hours chasing down trinkets instead of terrorists is marketing run amok. ... Whoever thought this up needs to find another job."

Personally, I think the use of electronics -- and the urban installation approach -- is intriguing. But it seems the stunt backfired. If the campaign was intended to inspire word of mouth marketing, it seems limited to bad mouthing -- even if the too-proper Bostonians overreacted.

(On another note, does Frylock look like Jim Mahfood or what?)

Subliminal Messiahs

I'm watching the 1980 movie Agency tonight. Directed by George Kaczender and based on the 1974 novel by Paul Gottlieb, the movie focuses on a series of intrigues at an advertising agency.

Lee Majors plays the firm's creative director, who begins to get suspicious when the staff of the agency -- recently acquired by a man with no advertising experience (played by Robert Mitchum) -- begins to agressively turn over. What finally persuades him that something is awry is the mysterious suicide of a colleague, who'd been acting increasingly paranoid.

I won't give away too much of the plot, but in the end, the movie is about the insidious insertion of subliminal messages in advertisements. There are some quite comic moments, including an opening sequence of a surreal goth-meets-hippie dance number staged for an underarm deodorant featuring a breathy musical chorus of "No sweat," a scene in which Majors's character points out that a print ad for Scotch includes a subliminal death mask in the ice cubes, and the scene in which Majors's character sees the real ad behind the ads.

The print of the DVD, issued by a division of PMC Corp., isn't that great. There are some momentary glitches in the very beginning, and the audio is marred by some amount of hiss and overly boomy voices.

Regardless, if you're at all interested in advertising, it might be a movie worth watching.