A Fun Game Between the Superbowl Ads (And I’m Not Talking About Football)

Ok. I admit it. When it comes to sports, I could frankly care less. I didn’t even know who was playing in the “Big Game” until this afternoon (sad, I know).

But I still get super jazzed around this time of year…for the commercials!

Last year, I created a survey (I know, I’m a dork…I get it) to poll the party I attended to find out what people thought of the ads. What started out as a tremendously nerdy exercise on my part ended up being the catalyst for some very interesting debates (Rodney, I’m not going to let you throw Frito’s at people you disagree with this year!)

If you’re like me, you may want to partake in the fun. Here’s the list I came up with last year. Take this list to your party and let me know what you and your friends think by posting a comment below. Additional categories welcome. 🙂

  • Best Use of a Celebrity
  • Most Controversial
  • Most Effective
  • Best New Product/Service/Idea
  • Funniest
  • Best Tagline
  • Biggest Waste of Money
  • Most Likely to Be Blogged About/Talked About Around the Water Cooler

Or, you can skip the whole “fooseball” thing all together and just attend an “Adbowl” like the one hosted by the Richmond Chapter of the American Marketing Association 

Either way, have a safe and fun Superbowl Sunday!

Does a Mac Make You More Creative?

mac-haircut.jpg
The other day I was typing away at a local coffee shop when a stranger approached me and asked me what I did for a living. When I responded, “I’m a writer,” he furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “But you don’t have a mac,” he replied with sincere disbelief. “How can you be a ‘creative’ and use a PC?”

Simple. I’m a writer and I need one program – Word. That’s it. No fancy schmancy programs like graphic designers need. When I first went out on my own and needed a computer I looked at several different options. At the time, my PC was about a third of the price of a mac – which is quite a difference when your operating capital is hovering around $12.

I’ve known some apple-heads that won’t buy anything unless it’s been blessed by Steve Jobs. However, using a PC does not make me any less of a ‘creative’ than these zealots. A computer is a tool and it’s only as powerful as the mind behind it.

I’m sure I’ll get some comments about how I’m wrong and apples are the best thing since the invention of the wheel, but I’m still not convinced. In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch mac commercials as a part of my daily entertainment. 🙂

Related Links

The Cult of Mac Jr

A Video of a Guy Who REALLY Hates Macs

A Blog about Why Macs are the Best Choice

Update: I wrote this post before I took the new job. As my sister-in-law pointed out in her comment, my new job requires me to work on a mac. Oh, the irony.

Hometown Heroes: Martin Agency Puts Richmond, VA On the Advertising Map

Being a Richmonder, when I opened this month’s issue of Fast Company to see the extensive profile of the Martin Agency I couldn’t have been prouder. I’ve walked past their offices more times than I could count. They were the inspiration for me getting into marketing & advertising in the first place.

So when the company I’ve been profiling since I was almost a kid landed the $580 million Wal-Mart account, I felt like my hometown team just scored the winning touchdown.

Congrats to you, Martin Agency – and if you need some creative talent to help you with your new project, you know where to find me. 😉

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Love for All: Chemistry.com Taps eHarmony’s Rejects

rejected_picture.jpgMy friend Angela tried her hand at online dating last fall. She began her quest at eHarmony.com, mostly as a result of their compelling “Dimensions of Compatibility” campaign.

She logged on, spent about an hour taking the test, and to her surprise, received a “rejection” message.

No matter how kindly eHarmony worded it, Angela was crushed. She wondered what it was that made her inadequate. Was she too picky? Too needy? Too ambitious? Why wasn’t she “good enough?”

While eHarmony.com’ s tactic is one way to ensure quality control, it has opened a floodgate for their competition. In a recent press release, Chemistry.com announced their plan to target eHarmony’s “rejects” with a campaign that “playfully satirizes the exclusionary nature of eHarmony by depicting men and women who wonder aloud why they have been ‘rejected’ by this site.”

What’s at stake here is more than just the “rejects” – it’s the new users who may not be willing to invest in an hour-long test if there is the potential for rejection. In this game of love – it’s war.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Interactive Ads – Make me notice you on ABC.com

As a Grey’s Anatomy fan I’ve been relying on the interactive player at ABC.com to get the latest gossip of McDreamy & McSteamy. I like watching episodes online better than TiVo a) because I travel and don’t have to worry about being home b) don’t have to schedule anything & c) limited commercial interruptions.

Over the past few weeks, a couple of ads caught my attention – not because they had the latest and greatest graphics – quite the opposite actually. While most ads featured the same streaming video I had seen on normal TV, Fidelity Retirements and Florida Orange Juice implemented simple flash players that relied on interaction from the viewer. The result? I noticed.

Fidelity Investments had a funny “easy” theme – including an interactive quiz, “the wheel of easy” where you spin and it randomly selects an “easy” task such as blinking an eye, and a trivia quiz that consists of questions such as:

Dogs are covered in:

a) fur
b) sequins
c) cat

After the ridiculously easy questions, the end of the flash program states, “We’ve also made retirement planning easy. click here to learn more. Don’t worry your show’s not going anywhere.”

Florida Orange Juice’s campaign began with a video of a children’s party where breaking a pinata resulted in exuberant children going nuts over celery as if it was candy. It proceeded to a game where you the viewer “break” an interactive pinata. The final commercial break was an interactive quiz about OJ and its health benefits. Although I enjoyed the quiz, I found the game a bit disappointing. After 10 unsuccessful attempts to break the pinata, I resumed my show feeling unresolved.

The point? Take into account the end user’s point of view. How can you engage them? Will inteacteraction result in interest?

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Yet another sign of the death of traditional media

In today’s Wall Street Journal Suzanne Vranica comments on the decision of Nike to leave their long time agency Wieden & Kennedy. The reason? “Dissatisfaction with the agency’s digital expertise.” Take note –  times are changing and you can either embrace new trends or get out of the way. Click here to read the full article.

Could you win Richard Branson’s $25 Million Dollar Prize?

Richard Branson & Al GoreSir Richard Branson, the quirky and exuberant executive of Virgin (airlines, mobile, records, and the list goes on…) announced today a $25 million reward to the first scientist who can create “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.” For details, you can check out www.virginearth.com


Branson, a PR guru, has demonstrated a valuable lesson on how to capitalize on your philanthropy. Rather than simply stroking a check, using an innovative approach to a cause that you believe in (who doesn’t love a contest?) is a sure-fire way to generate buzz.

Now, you may be saying – I don’t have $25 million to promote my business. That’s not the point – it’s the ingenuity I’m pointing out. Think outside the checkbook and notice what motivates people.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

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A number of people have left comments asking me to contact them about their submission for this contest. I am not affiliated with this contest and my blog was mearly a commentary on the publicity tactics of Richard Branson. To enter, you must visit http://www.virginearth.com. Click on terms and conditions for contest details.

Best of luck.

Andrea Morris
Write Ideas Marketing