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5 Products that make you say What the?!

Here is a compilation of REAL products that make you wonder what was going through the minds of the “inventors”.

Imagine being the agency that get these products to create advertising for. Yikes. The best part of these products is watching the infomercials for them. The complete discomfort of the user prior to their purchase is priceless. Who knew that blankets can be such a hassle! I had no idea that using an ordinary mop was so difficult and confusing! Frustrations abound!!

I know that somehow, the Snuggie has been successful. But modifying it for dogs, c’mon. I love the video (here), especially the part where the whole family is at the ball game and giving high-fives. I’m sure they get invited to the neighbourhood BBQ’s. Great for college? Sure, but you will find yourself awfully lonely on a Friday night if caught wearing this thing!

The other products are no better. Take Shuffles. The video shows the horror of having to use a mop like the old days. Now cleaning can be fun! All I foresee is someone trying to figure skate with these and twisting an ankle doing a triple sow cow.

It is amazing the though process of some people. There is an abundance of the weird products out there. Stay tuned for more. Do you have any that you have come across?

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How do you spell eco-friendly?

Picture 1With everybody pitching in these days offering effective ways to environmentally responsible, a Dutch company (Spranq) has constructed an eco typeface. Built by removing up to 1/5th of a letter using tiny circles can sustain readability while reducing ink usage. It doesn’t sound like a lot of savings, but over time can make a difference, however marginally. They have noted that it works best at 9-10 point size, which is what most people use as their body copy. Obviously it does not work at larger sizes, perhaps an updated offering will allow scaling while still using the small dots.

Skeptics are out there. They state that is built around a less-than-sexy typeface and is unsuitable with Serif fonts or cheap printers. But at least the idea is there. Is it just a gimmick that will quickly disappear? Will you download it and give it a try? Download it at www.ecofont.eu.

Facebook is being sneaky again. Tsk. Tsk.

42-16217443Working in an agency I am a bit on the fence about the latest backlash that Facebook has been getting. I had been given the heads-up that Facebook has now put together a new “Facebook Ads” feature. The site states:

“Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules.”

The issue I am struggling with is: It’s great to be able to tailor advertising as specific as possible, while on the flip side, how much collection of personal information is too much? Is it made even more suspicious because the opt out option nicely tucked away? It’s under: Settings > Privacy Settings > Facebook Ads > Appearance-None. Definitely not a section I visit regularly.

So what is your take? Will you allow the ads or opt out?

Where do you fit in?

ManThinkingWhat does your social network usage say about you? I found a great article that breaks down consumer’ interests and habits based on whether they use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or Linkedin. After conducting surveys on 5,000 individuals, Anderson Analytics has collected some interesting numbers and facts that can help businesses target potential consumers.

Here is an abbreviation of an already condensed version of the findings. I have taken out the obvious points and kept the interesting goodies:

Facebookers

  • There are 77 million Facebook users, according to the study, and Facebook users were almost completely average in their level of interest in most areas.
  • They are more likely to be married (40%), white (80%) and retired (6%) than users of the other social networks.
  • Facebook users skew a bit older and are more likely to be late adopters of social media.
  • Extremely loyal to the site — 75% claim Facebook is their favorite site, and another 59% say they have increased their use of the site in the past six months.

Twitterers

  • They especially like pop culture, with music, movies, TV and reading, ranking higher than average.
  • They’re more likely to buy books, movies, shoes and cosmetics online than the other groups.
  • They are more likely than others to use the service to promote their blogs or businesses.
  • Some 31% buy coffee online, far above the average 21% of other social networkers.
  • 43% said they could live without Twitter.

MySpacers

  • They are the young, the fun and the fleeing.
  • While MySpace users skew younger, they also said they’d used the site much less in the past six months.
  • They’re more likely to have joined MySpace for fun and more likely to be interested in entertaining friends, humor and comedy, and video games.
  • They’re less into exercise than any other social group but seek out parenting information more than any other.
  • They are also more likely to be single (60%) and students (23%).

LinkedIn users

  • LinkedIn has the only user group with more males than females (57% to 43%).
  • They like all kinds of news, employment information, sports and politics.
  • They also more likely to be into the gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis.
  • Excluding video-game systems, they own more electronic gadgets than the other social networkers, including digital cameras, high-definition TVs, DVRs and Blu-ray players.
  • How do they unwind? Here were two surprises among the things they’re more interested in than the others: gambling and soap operas. Some 12% seek gambling information online (vs. an average of 7%), while 10% go online for soap-opera content (vs. an average of 5%).

Check out the full article from AdAge here. There is some great intel here.

Can you spare $10?

With the summer blockbuster movies in full swing, comes the big budget, adrenaline stuffed, CGI overloaded must sees. Movies nowadays are costing in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but do you need to break the bank to get a cool idea out there?  Movies are becoming dependent on high-end graphics to make up for content.

I found this killer video via Gizmodo for Bang-yao Liu’s senior project at Savannah College of Art and Design. And a packet of Post-its only cost $10 for a 5 pack. It goes to show that great ideas needn’t be dependent on flashy executions.

Calvin Klein can get you laid

The latest controversial billboard for Calvin Klein has people talking. The gigantic ad—located in Manhattan—“ shows a young woman lying on top of a man, while kissing another man. All three models are topless. Another male model reclines on the floor with his jeans unbuttoned.” – Marketing Magazine.

They say that any publicity is good publicity, but at what stage does it just turn into negative backlash?

People say that sex sells, but CK has me wanting to buy a Playboy rather than jeans. Plus I am sure that I will not get into one of these scenarios if I was wearing these jeans, nor would I look as good…

What do you think? Hot or Not? Does anybody have a cigarette??

Calvin Klein BIllboard

BC Ferries just can’t win

BC FerriesThere is an article in the Times Colonist today about how BC Ferries is not planning on adding earlier and later sailings during the Olympics. There are 19 events in Whistler and 12 in Vancouver that are too early for ferry-goers as well as 8 men’s hockey games that end too late to make the boat back.

This is where BC Ferries is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If they extend sailings, that requires additional staff and dealing with unions. They can’t guarantee that the ships will be full enough to be profitable, that could mean subsidies from the government (read: your taxes).

If they don’t extend their times, that means ticket holders will have to find accommodation in Vancouver (read: pricey and hard to find.) as well as the bad press from Islanders about not being able to get off the Rock.

BC Ferries has worked hard to make everybody happy. They have improved their fleet, upgraded amenities, tightened up scheduling, and yet they always get the flack. I think the real problem is how much event tickets cost. How is BC Ferries going to get out of this one with the least damage? What is your opinion on what they should do?

Alright! SuperBowl 43!! Who’s playing?

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A lot of people are aware that NFL Superbowl 43 is right around the corner. Based on a non-government funded survey, 33.85% of my closest friends will be watching the Superbowl just for the American commercials. Most of them don’t even know a thing about football, let alone who is playing.

What does this mean? In a world of the looming death of TV commercials—thanks to PVR—it is surprising how much a hot commodity Superbowl ads are. It means that it pays to advertise, no matter the price.

Some 97.5 million people tuned into the game last year, reports the Nielsen Company. That is some great face time with a whack of people.

According to a NBC spokesman, as of Jan. 12, a whopping 90% of the 67 slated openings have been purchased. Not bad for a country wrack with economic turmoil. This year a 30 second spot will run you $3 million. That is a lot of zeros. But it is paying off for the folks that can find the funds. A few more interesting stats to note (based on Nielson information):

•    Collectively, Super Bowl 2008 advertisers saw a 24 percent increase in Web traffic after the big game last year.

•    Super Bowl ads in the last three years generated an average of 31% higher break-through and 93% higher likeability, compared to the typical ad on television

•    After last year’s halftime performance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Billboard reported that the band’s catalog album “Greatest Hits” made a 196% jump in weekly sales.

•    Super Bowl commercials placed on YouTube received over 6 millions views in two days.

For a complete breakdown of what the Superbowl really means, jump to: http://www.nielsen.com/media/2009/pr_090123.html

So enough stats, let’s hope the game is going to be exciting as the commercials. And pass the nachos.