Part I: I Hate This Billboard... a Little Less!
Sure, it continues the obnoxious pattern of happy-face advertising that I have complained of before with these people. So why do I hate this one a little less? It's the piggy bank. They have, at last, established a visual connection between the happy-face person and the service (saving money) that they have on offer. I'll take progress where I can find it.
I actually find this Election Day ad, for the regional Krogers-owned supermarket chain Fred Meyer, kind of shocking.
Here's the text: You're going to hear a lot about red states and blue states today, but what really matters is who can let you keep the most green in your wallet. You can count on Fred Meyer to deliver without a presidential mandate.
Am I crazy? I mean, more than usual? It seems to me that this ad offhandedly discounts, or even mocks, any semblance of ideals, community mindedness, patriotism, concern for humanity, team spirit, or good vibes you might have brought to the voting process.
And at the very least, it telegraphs a spooky corporate mentality. Do I really want to do business with a merchant who thinks that all that matters is maximizing the green at all costs? (Answer: Probably not. Fred Meyer went to crap after it was bought out by Krogers. I avoid it when I can.)
Part III: michael5000 Misses Some Connections
Ever wondered if anybody ever reads those "Missed Connections" ads in your local alternative weekly or online classified ads service? Hey, me too! To find out more, I placed a series of Missed Connections ads on the Portland Craigslist over the last few weeks. In the spirit of science, I present here the text of my ads along with the responses they provoked, for your independant assessment and peer review.
Ad #1: Friday on the #15 Bus
Our eyes met, we both smiled, but then it was my stop. I should have stayed on. Let's talk!
Ad #2: Near Miss, 28th/Burnside
Blue jeans, gray sweatshirt, red hair. I almost hit you in the crosswalk at 28th and Burnside. You shot me the bird and yelled that I was a "fucking asshole." You are totally hot. Can I make it up to you by buying you dinner?
Ad#3: East Side Fred Meyer, Friday Afternoon
In the produce section on Friday afternoon. I smiled at you; you seemed a little nervous. I found your indifference fascinating. Write me!
Ad#4: Providence ER, 1:15 a.m. Wednesday
Blonde woman checking into Providence Emergency Room, 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. We talked in the waiting room; I wouldn't tell you what was the matter with me. You are so beautiful! I haven't been able to stop thinking about you. I hope you don't lose the use of your arm. Would love to see you again.
Conclusions: Eh, obviously nobody reads those things.
Part IIII: MadisonAvenue5000
Over the past few weeks, I've been purchasing advertising for this very online variety magazine. That's right. I've been flogging the blog.
In setting up my campaign, I rejected the idea of contracting with the famous local firm Weiden + Kennedy, afraid they would still be mad about my intemperate remarks on their "Oregon: We Love Dreamers" work. Instead, I opened an account with the Project Wonderful service, which has a fun auction-based model for advertisers on a budget. It's kind of like promotional Ebay.
"On a budget," in my case, means on the budget of $5.00 (U.S.) that I allocated for the campaign with Mrs.5000's eye-rolling assent. I started with this ad:
...but as the hours passed, I became more sophisticated about "branding" and "market positioning," and graduated to these:
I started out looking for like-minded sites on which to advertise, but it's actually pretty hard to find a site that is like-minded to the L&TM5K, a blog so scattershot that even ~I~ am not sure what it's supposed to be about. So I quickly evolved to looking for sites that were dirt cheap. And, I'm happy to report that after more than a week of saturating the internet with literally dozens of ads, I still have more than $3.00 of my advertising budget available. (My "big ticket" bid, incidently, has been on Cartophilia, a blog that actually is kinda like-minded, takes Project Wonderful ads, and has sent plenty of internet explorers this way already through its blogroll.)
So, has it all paid off? Eh, who knows. There have been several dozen clickovers, but I imagine a lot of them are just blog owners trying to figure out what their new advertiser is trying to sell (an excellent question). The important thing is, a good time is being had by all.
Michael5000 Sells Out
The next stage of my goofing off is, I'm going to offer Project Wonderful advertising space on the L&TM5K itself. That's right -- for at least the next month, starting this weekend, your pleasure in reading this blog will be enhanced by the presence of commercial messages! It'll be fun! And, of course, I encourage you to hurl baskets of money at my fine sponsors, whoever they will be. Or better yet, at me.