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post 2 on Saturday 20th January 2007 at 13:49

Do You Beat Your Wife?

My deadlines at University are so close. I can't believe I have left it this late. If I fail this year I will now know how NOT to do it for ANOTHER year. So I'm trying so hard to work diligently.

But not too hard. I went to the football last week for the first time ever. I was so surprised by the serenity of the place. I was expecting bottle smashed faces and cattle crushes but no, only a poster; quite obviously nestled amongst its target audience, posing the question everybody wants to answer "do you beat your wife". Dear me. What a world of stereotypes. You have to laugh.

tags: [ advertising ] [ career ] [ culture ] [ university of teesside ]
post 44 on Monday 3rd September 2007 at 07:55

How To Get Rid Of Internet Advertising

Wipe the page cleanThe first ever piece of software to effectively "wipe clean" advertisements from web pages is rapidly gaining popularity. It sounds great, with the only downside being that the product is only available free of charge to Firefox users (IE7 users have to pay – and aren’t guaranteed equal effectiveness).

I’m actually spluttering into my cup of tea over this news. What about the foretold recent online advertising boom, and the consumer interest in interaction with online advertising? The sticky, viral, user-driven advertising that the web does so well, that an entire business model had been built upon, where big companies are falling over themselves to pour money into the online advertising revenue pot?

Will this saviour of web user sanity be able to differentiate between the adverts we enjoy to interact with, and the irritating, and oft times flashing, 2 bit advertisements of old?

With the boundaries between advertisement and entertaining interaction becoming increasingly blurred, let's hope so – lest millions of browsing folks miss out on a full spectrum of web offerings.

This does follow the lead of other web censoring methods so it's certainly not the first time online marketeers have been curtailed: just look at how common spam filters, net nannies, and the ubiquitous pop up blocker are for everybody nowadays. And the software does slide into the unwritten web rule of antagonist-protagonist where it comes to standards. You know, you’re in one camp or the other: Microsoft or GNU, Internet Explorer or Firefox, that kind of thing.

Regardless, it would seem the big daddies of the webnet are for now ignoring what could clearly start a potential phenomenon, and end with them rocking in the corner, sucking their thumbs over lost dollars. With 2.5 million users of Adblock Plus worldwide, it’s not popular enough for Google, Microsoft, et al, to sit up and listen.

So maybe we’d better get using it then.

tags: [ advertising ] [ online ]
post 46 on Friday 21st September 2007 at 21:24

Nectar: Trick Or Treat?

Nectar, they play treek!Be wary, sweet loyalty card investors, of Nectar’s recent ploy to coalesce with consumers through its recent misleading, but wonderfully inventive, promise of a free gift.

Tonight, I came home weary from work, thumped down into the seat at my desk, and saw there a bright shiny package from Nectar. Kicking off my shoes, and thinking the evening was about to get perhaps a single percentile more interesting, I hurriedly tore open the letter to be presented with not only a new card, but the promise of a free gift – just for being me!

Leafing through the glossy treat brochure they’d helpfully enclosed served to heighten my sense of urgency for the kind of gratification only the words "free" and "gift" can satisfy. So my fingers eagerly scurried the required five centimetres from the shredded envelope to the keyboard, where I typed in

The brightly coloured site presented me with a range of "adventure" activities and "treat" activities, and I plumped for the latter (yes - I'd like a treat), clicking on the cucumber-eyed woman, who lead me to the free facial page: "fill in the claim form" the site persuaded – "we'll do our best to send you the treat you ask for, but if it's unavailable we'll send you an alternative that we're sure you'll enjoy!"

Alarm bells are already ringing. But I leave the form in the safe storage of the web site, thinking that perhaps it will be tomorrow now before a representative will spend some time hunting down a nice spa or beauty parlour just for me.

Suspiciously soon, I receive an email. Surely Nectar’s representatives didn’t find me a salon this quickly?

"We're very sorry but we've been unable to offer you your chosen treat. Don't worry, we thought you might like this one instead!"

Let me clarify. I asked for a free facial or, as a second choice, a free Reiki session: and I actually ended up with "Killhope Lead Mining Museum" in County Durham. The name says it all. I think this is perhaps the most devious marketing scheme I’ve ever come across.

Credit though to Loyalty Management UK Limited, the promoters of this scheme - as I bet this really works for Nectar in getting rid of all of those free venue tickets for places nobody cares to visit, whilst simultaneously increasing their exposure and their "oh that’s nice of them" factor.

As someone who takes perhaps an unhealthy over-interest in advertising and marketing practices, I am probably overly suspicious. But with no contact link anywhere to be found on the entire site, what’s a girl to think?

Call me bitter, but I’m thinking Nectar doesn’t taste as sweet after all.

PS: If I do take them up on the free trip offer, I can't wait to see what the "Jigger House" is all about.

tags: [ advertising ] [ domestics ] [ nectar ] [ online ] [ rants ]
post 47 on Thursday 18th October 2007 at 11:05

Making Life Seem Greener?

Making life seem greener?So grandparents' favourite Sainsbury's want to buck up their green cred and be seen as an environmentally conscious retailer, enlisting fish-lipped TV gastro-arse Jamie Oliver in a new television campaign; their MARKETING director crying piteously, "we've been too humble".

You'd think all the do-gooding, Daily Mail reading morons would have tugged on JS's coat tails and lamented "why are you not offering green loyalty points?"

Well maybe these customers are clever enough to already know Sainsbury's is doing *so much* for the environment (guffaw), and are sensible enough not to make a fuss about it? Or maybe the truth - more likely, they, like most sensible people, realise that green loyalty points don't make a flying fuck's worth of difference.

Perhaps they ponder "surely it's the plastic they drive into landfill every year, rotting our earth from its delicate core" or "the fuel miles clocked up shipping carrots from the Netherlands because they're cheaper than carrots from the UK".

One thing's for sure - it's a stupid consumerist society where marketing executives are the new politicians. And I'm not buying it.

tags: [ advertising ] [ domestics ] [ food safety ] [ rants ] [ sainsburys ]
post 53 on Thursday 7th February 2008 at 22:05

Fire the Graphic Designer!

Stupid, just stupidI pity the company that hired this piss poor signage creator. Does the pitiful excuse for a logo in the circled bit look at all familiar? It may well do - because it's the default logo that Microsoft Office used to provide in their standard templates within Word, Publisher, etc.

Not only does this attempt at a logo feature the formless pyramid graphic, it also still has the default word "Organisation" written beneath. Worse, they changed the font as if to make a further mockery of uniqueness.

Poor old Prodrive. As you can see, their main logo is a bit Publisher as well. They really should reconsider their choice of graphic designer. I'm really embarrassed for Prodrive. Their graphic designer is either a total newb or clearly saw them coming. With a logo that shit, happenchance they'll be the only people who'll see them coming.

tags: [ advertising ] [ boro ]