Giant paint fight somehow promotes a new Samsung cell phone

Posted on Fri Oct 16 2009

Finally, somebody realized that paintball hurts—not just the indignity you suffer when your kid brother caps your ass, but the actual projectiles sting. (Haven't we all had the bruises to prove it? Maybe that's just me). The folks at Samsung and a bunch of rowdy Brazilians chose paint-filled balloons (much more civilized!) as the weapon of choice in a staged "fight" to promote a new mobile phone dubbed the Corby S3650. Teams met up in some industrial area, all Jets vs. Sharks-like, and starting slinging paint at each other. The results, predictably, are posted on YouTube. (How they came up with a winner, I'll never know.) Since the colorful touch-screen phone, aimed at the youngsters in the European market, is all about social networking, a stunt like this could drive home that message and spark some viral activity. At any rate, it's an entertaining waste of three minutes, especially the part where people start throwing entire buckets of paint on each other. Incoming! Where were those guys when I was under fire?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Motorola is back and really wants to be your friend with the Cliq

Posted on Mon Sep 14 2009

Motorola really hasn't done much in a while, and most would be hard-pressed to name a recent phone from the company, unless you consider 2005 "recent," in which case the Razr would fit the bill. Now, here's a promo video for Moto's big comeback phone, the Cliq, so named because of its social-networking features. (Tagline: "How social is your phone?") Indeed, the design seems to go the iPhone and BlackBerry one better by featuring all your friend feeds, including Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc., in one place. That feature, called Motoblur, is a good idea, but one that it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to adapt to other touch-screen smart phones. Still, we're glad Moto's finally back with a device that looks like it's from 2009. Where the hell have you guys been?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Boost Mobile's armpit-hair lady honored for grossing out viewers

Posted on Wed Sep 9 2009

Taking risks often yields positive results in marketing. Unfortunately for Boost Mobile, this ad with the hairy-armpit lady by ad agency 180 was a bit too hairy for viewers to enjoy. The commercial has gotten more than 190,000 views on YouTube since February, along with mostly negative comments about the woman with waist-length armpit hair trying to sell the provider's $50 monthly cell-phone plan. Boost thought it would be clever to have the woman point out how wrong it is for other cell-phone providers to charge hidden fees—even more wrong than letting your armpit hair reach unmanageable lengths. Sadly, most viewers didn't get the point and were grossed out by the whole comparison. Now, the spot has earned the title of worst ad in MSNBC's summer TV commercial contest. Given how it's been received, I assume Boost Mobile won't be bringing back the armpit lady anytime soon.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Seth the Blogger Guy jumps on his sword for the good of AT&T

Posted on Tue Sep 8 2009

You've gotta give AT&T some props. Instead of sitting by flat-footed as consumers bad-mouthed the brand all over the Web for its spotty service, it has sent a sacrificial lamb, a guy named Seth, out there on YouTube. "Look, we see the discussions on the Web, on blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook," says Seth the Blogger Guy, "so we thought it would be a good idea to take what's being said head-on." Seth (who isn't a blogger—he's so called because he does blogger outreach to tech writers in his role as a vp at PR firm Fleishman-Hillard) then goes through a list of excuses why AT&T service sometimes isn't up to speed: It's all those damn smart phones. They've created an "astounding amount of data demand" that can strain AT&T's network despite the company's $38 billion investment in it. Oh yeah, and MMS service for the iPhone? It's coming Sept. 25, even though the MMS-enabled iPhone has been out since June. Judging by the comments on YouTube, Seth only seems to be irritating users even more. "Is this a joke?" one asks. "Bunch of damn LIARS," rails another. Still, AT&T has its supporters. "Give them a break, 300% a year is a lot of data," adds one sympathetic commentor. My take: It was good to get Seth out there, but he should have gone out a lot sooner. But AT&T at least is over the hurdle: Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Pickpockets hired to carry out shady guerrilla campaign in U.K.

Posted on Mon Aug 24 2009

Pickpocket copy

If you've ever said, "Hey, that company just picked my pocket!" there's a stunt going on right now in London that should interest you. A mobile phone marketer called Talk Talk has hired a team of 20 "reformed" pickpockets to slip cash into (and not out of) the coats, pants and bags of unsuspecting Brits. The marketer plans to dole out about $200,000 in all, and is planning to expand the program to other cities in the U.K. next month. So, that's a win-win, right? Giving money back to recession-weary consumers and putting those light-fingered vagabonds to work on the right side of the law? Well, the local cops weren't too keen on the street-level marketing at first, figuring it might serve as a cover for real pickpocketing and could upset some folks who'd initially think they'd been fleeced (or felt up). But police have come to terms with it after talking with the advertiser and hearing the testimonial of Chris Fitch, the Fagan in this Oliver Twist-like experiment, who said, "Every time I put money back in someone's pocket, I feel less guilty about the fact I spent many years taking it out." All this and redemption too—that's a multi-purpose campaign.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Chimp longs to jam with Ozzy Osbourne in latest Samsung spot

Posted on Mon Aug 10 2009

What do you get when you put Ozzy Osbourne, a rocker chimp and a multimedia mobile phone in a room? This amusing ad for the new Samsung Solstice. The spot shows Ozzy at Samsung's R&D headquarters testing out the Solstice device. He's surprised to get an anonymous text from someone asking him to join a band, and it's soon revealed that the text is coming from a (probably aging and drug-addled) chimp in the R&D lab. As Ozzy monkeys around with the phone, he discovers various capabilities, including video—which shows the chimp rocking out on an electric guitar. While showing off these capabilities is the main point of the spot, you're left wondering if Ozzy has permanently embarked on a second career as a mobile-phone salesman, given the many ads he's being doing for Samsung.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Verizon Wireless carves image of test man into a giant corn maze

Posted on Tue Aug 4 2009

Benson-verizon copy

Apparently, the Verizon Wireless network is so vast and powerful that alien subscribers have come to Earth and created one of their infamous "signs" in a corn field, fashioning a 54-acre likeness of the Verizon guy. Or have Malachai and the other kids from Children of the Corn decided to channel their fury at AT&T? Actually, Verizon is sponsoring an attempt by Nebraska farmer Wayne Benson to set a new Guinness World Record for the world's largest corn maze. According to Verizon, Benson's 54.428-acre maze easily tops the 2007 mark set by a 40-acre maze in Dixon, Calif. Benson, who got McDonald's to create a similar maze on his farm last year, is waiting for Guinness's official sign-off. And yes, the maze is meant to look like the Verizon test man. Visitors to the farm will be encouraged to use their cell phones to get help navigating the maze. Can I hear you now? I can see you from space!

—Posted by Mike Shields

Virgin Mobile tempts New Jersey its own little kickback scheme

Posted on Tue Aug 4 2009


Virgin Mobile, playing off the notion of New Jersey as the most corrupt state ever, ran ads in Metro New York recently that humorously promote its "kickback program." Like the scandal that's tainted several New Jersey mayors, this one also involves chums helping chums, but all for good purposes, of course. Says the copy: "Sign up for any Virgin Mobile plan with no annual contract, then get your friend to do the same and we'll give you both free airtime." The difference, of course, is that "you can enjoy kickbacks without the handcuffs." Now, that's what we're talking about. Virgin Mobile's got your back! Toy, New York, did the ads.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

And you thought the new Palm Pre ads couldn't get any creepier

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Why pay $10 to see a horror movie? Watch this YouTube spoof of Palm's new Pre smartphone ads, and prepare to be creeped out. Hundreds of YouTube users who have commented on the video share the same opinion. The maker of the spoof took a Palm Pre commercial by Modernista!, featuring soft-spoken Canadian actress Tamara Hope, and slowed down the speech, manipulating the video in a way that breaks up its fluidity. To the already ghostly image of a browless woman (who resembles Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"), add some background piano music and strange references to a female juggler—and what you get is a horror movie in the making, not a phone commercial. Of course, the really scary part is, the original was just as eerie.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Samsung publicity stunt neither done publicly nor really a stunt

Posted on Tue Jul 28 2009

Samsung wanted a publicity stunt to promote its new Jet Phone, and having elephants bungee-jump into Piccadilly Circus from a flying saucer was certainly an ambitious idea. However, considering the physics involved, computer-generating the whole thing was their only option, and The Viral Factory did an impressive job of it. Publicity stunts that can't realistically happen in public are still weak sauce, though, which doesn't do the Jet Phone justice—it's named for the 800MHz processor inside and boasts an impressive camera, too, which was carefully pointed out just after the stunt. The lingering question is how people who couldn't see the hidden cameras focusing on every Samsung logo within 50 feet of the stunt will connect what they saw with the Jet Phone, because there's no obvious relationship between the two. They should consider that for their next round of high-tech hucksterism.

—Posted by David Kiefaber



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