Thursday, November 6, 2008

The New and Improved Advertising Extravaganza!

I've got four terrific lo-fat segments on advertising today! But are you buying what I'm selling?

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.

But, isn't it traditional to select a picture for the ad in which the model kept her eyes open?

Part II: Fred Meyer Thinks You Are Completely Amoral!

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!
Response: None.

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?
Response: None.

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!
Response: None.

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.
Response: None.

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.


Anonymous said...

You: on the right side of my screen, alluringly beige and horizontal. I was the one who paused mid-scroll. Love the interrobang, but quizzes scare me. Are those pigeons in harness? What are you selling, anyway?

Rebel said...

I'm overwhelmed by the internal irony of this post.

gl. said...

sven & i had a short-lived guerilla film group (make a film in one night based on who & what you have). our most successful film series was one based on missed connections: such a tiny drama in just a few words!

i think mrs.5000 has asked the right question though: what are you selling?

Yankee in England said...

Can I pay you not to advertise on your blog? How many advertisments are you taking and how much does each one cost. I enjoy the fact that you blog is not littered with clutter.

Cartophiliac said...

Unfortunately, your ad has been outbid by one of those "you could win an iPhone" ads.

d said...

i often read the missed connections ads just to comfort myself with the fact that i'm not as pathetic as those people. i've often wondered if those types of things are successful for them. i'm glad to learn they are not.

blythe said...

wow. you must have actual readers. i've got you and my mom. my boyfriend doesn't even pretend to keep up anymore.

Anonymous said...

I actually have TWO friends who found missed connection ads about them! (Neither responded.)

I'd like to hear how your campaign works out. I could use a boost in readership myself. Although... if I did advertise, I suppose I would need to, like, update blog regularly.

Michael5000 said...

@Mrs.5000: I dunno... what kind of girl would answer a personals ad?

@Rebel: You always know just what to say to make an amateur ironist happy...

@gl.: Oh, it's the right question all right. Got an answer for me?

@Yank: Certainly, you can pay me! Shall we discuss numbers?

I think I can (and certainly will) prohibit MOVING ads, so that should help.

@Carto: Last week, I was getting quality time for 6 cents a day or something. Suddenly, you're raking in five times that! RAKING! Also, can you help me score that iPhone?

@d: I proved it! Scientificly!

@Blythe: Actual readers? Well, when you told me the other evening of the sad, sad hits per day that you've dropped to, that was about double what I get. So, I'm not exactly ready for Oklahoma magazine. I'm not much of a big deal.

@mydog: Eh, both your friends probably saw my third one and assumed it was about them.

margaret said...

I think you should smudge out the Rivermark logo in the billboard when discussing how much you hate the billboard. I mean, Why give free advertising?

And re: missed connections. I read them all the time, and had I seen yours, I would have heartily guffawed and read it aloud to whomever was around. I love how every one's a plot point.

Michael5000 said...

@Margaret: We talked about this before when I've critiqued advertising -- I don't think of these posts really constitute advertising for the great rates and the terrific customer service you'll find at the Rivermark Credit Union. And I certainly deny any suggestion that I have been paid to subtly spread the word about Rivermark's amazing Rewards Savings account program, with it's fantastic rate of interest and a secure financial footing that you can put your trust in!

mhwitt said...

Is there some clever reason you numbered the sections in this post I, II, III and IIII [sic.]?

Anonymous said...

I am taking a screen shot of one and am going to figure out how to post it as a link on my blog. I should probably pay you though. It will be more cache for me than for you!

Jennifer said...

I'm a little late, perhaps, to fully catch the moment, but I didn't know two weeks ago about these medieval personals (or "personals") that would make me think of your post:

(I like the idea of writing personals for my favorite historical and/or literary characters. . . )

Aviatrix said...

FYI, I found you from the "Victor" banner on Rex's crossword blog. That indicates that you should skew contest winnerhood towards readers who have popular blogs of their own.