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For when I need more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing, media or message.


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FLASHBACK: Remember Ellen Feiss? From Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2011. I’m reposting as a courtesy to the readers who arrived here after googling Ms. Feiss. 

It’s amazing the distractions a student can find doing research on YouTube. I stumbled on one of Apple’s 2002 “Switch” adsTBWA\Chiat\Day‘s followup campaign to 1998’s “Think Different.” The “Switch” ads, directed by Errol Morris, supposedly featured real people who had switched from a PC to a Mac, “telling their story in their own words,” according to the press release. The ads were simple, shot against a white background, and were ripe for parodying

In this clip, high school student Ellen Feiss tells us how she lost a “really good paper” while working on her PC. And although the success of the “Switch” campaign has been debated,  it’s nine years later and I remember Ellen Feiss and her paper. I bet others do, too — which should settle any question over the campaign’s success.

Consider this: It’s hard to remember in 2011 how difficult that sort of imprint would have been to achieve for Apple, despite its re-emergence in the market the late 1990s with the iMac G3. PCs still ruled in 2002; the iPod — having been released only in late 2001 — had not yet saturated mainstream society. There was no iPhone. Tech was not that personal yet. The term “viral marketing” wasn’t used in everyday conversation. YouTube was still three years away. Even so, Apple and Morris got our attention and piqued our curiosity: “Have you seen the new Apple ad? What’s up with that girl? Is she real? Is she high?” Despite the speculation, we were interested in what she had to say — and we knew the brand she was promoting and still do.


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Look, Ma! Do-it-yourself MacBook Pro repair

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About six months ago, I tripped on a running shoe and stepped on the case of my MacBook Pro, cracking the glass. The MacBook was less than a year old at the time, and a repair through Apple was going to cost me more than I wanted to spend.

 

I’m going to fix it myself!

 

Years ago, I was a systems analyst, which was a fancy name for a girl geek who did everything from software training to server upkeep. I also maintained more than 50 laptops for a national news organization, so I had seen my share of abused laptops; they usually weren’t mine, though. If I had cracked my display in 2003, I would have fixed it myself. So why not now?

I did some googling, found a place that sells MacBook glass, bought the panel, a tool kit and a special suction cup. Then I let all that shit sit in the Amazon boxes for three months — until the other day when I got up the nerve to do the repair.

I watched a couple of YouTube videos that explained the complications of replacing the displays on the Unibody models, and I finally settled on one by Small Dog Electronics, an Apple reseller and Mac repair shop in Waitsfield, Vt. The tech in the video was clear, concise and careful. She was precise in her message, explaining this was not a beginner’s repair and urging caution and patience. She was right; it was not. Although I succeeded in replacing my glass panel, I did not need to replace the LCD — and if I had, I’m not sure whether I would have attempted it. If you do, and if you’re thinking of replacing it yourself, heed the advice of Small Dog Electronics and consider having a pro do it. Watch the video, which has a second part, and see for yourself.
 


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REWIND: J’adore, tu adores: Charlize Theron for Dior’s J’adore

ED’S NOTE: This post was originally published December 2011. It reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising, search-engine optimization, and viral marketing. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

In what is a nice break from the nearly insufferable, panic-inducing holiday ads of the season, EDITED 11-30-2012 Prime-time viewers are getting an eyeful of glamour, thanks to Dior’s J’adore “film” by Jean-Jacques Annaud, that features the always-gorgeous Charlize Theron, and co-stars such greats as Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe.
 

 
The commercial, which was filmed in the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles, isn’t new; it was released in early September. However, it’s getting airtime this holiday shopping season, as it should, because the spot easily and smartly appeals to both sexes: the women who want to be Charlize Theron, and the husbands and boyfriends who want to be with Charlize Theron.

What caught my attention was the music that propelled the viewer through the couture-show setting: 2009’s Heavy Cross by Gossip — with Beth Ditto‘s punk princess vocals and Brace Paine’s hypnotic bass riff — was compelling enough to make me grab my iPhone and Shazam it. (I have since played this song to death.)

At the time of this writing, this clip on YouTube had 1,211,325 views, 4,404 likes, 84 dislikes, and 474 comments.

From the YouTube comments:

I have a theory, each of the girls represent a perfume:

Grace Kelly (Miss Dior Cherie)
Marlene Dietrich (Hypnotic Poison)
Marilyn Monroe (Dior Addict or J’adore)
Charlize Theron (J’adore obviously)

❤ Dior!
 

~ franzchick66,
YouTube member

 

Nice theory, franzchick66. I can’t afford to smell that good, so I’ll have to take your word.

The subscribers to Dior’s YouTube channel are active and enthusiastic about the “films.” I’ll readily admit that I know nothing about couture, but even so, I still remember Dior’s 2007 smokin’ hot, 30-second “film” that has Charlize striding through a mansion, elegantly disrobing as only she can to Marvin Gaye’s 1978 Funky Space Reincarnation.

And that, kids, is what they call an impression.
 

 
About the Dior Channel
(As of Dec. 13, 2011)

  • Total Upload Views: 3,535,200
  • Joined: Oct. 14, 2005
  • Subscribers: 7,288


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Allstate’s Mayhem: A study in car maintenance

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising and social media marketing. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers. No agencies or products are endorsed.
 

 

You know you need new wiper blades, so why don’t you take 10 minutes to replace them?

 
It’s an irritating task that we never do when we’re supposed to, and the ad folks for Allstate (Nasdaq: ALL) know this. So in a new 30-second ad, posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, Allstate’s Mayhem is our worn-out wiper blades that leave us defenseless against the torrential downpour we’re guaranteed to encounter just hours after we say to ourselves, “I need new wiper blades.”

Worn-out wiper blades represent a self-imposed risk we take when we procrastinate, a mark of our stupidity — not necessarily Mayhem in its truest form.

But when we look at the Mayhem ads with a more critical eye, we see they’re funny and engaging, but nothing that happens is really devastating. A kitchen fire is kinda funny. A dryer fire? Hilarious. And really, who among us doesn’t love it when a drunk football fan runs in front of our car? No, Mayhem isn’t that ominous, which is why the character Dean Winters portrays is a great product character: He sells insurance that is supposed to help us when shit happens — without making us fear the possibilities of kitchen and dryer fires, or bad referees who run screaming from the stadium.

You all know this stuff, and it’s obvious that I do. That’s why this is my last post on the Mayhem character. What began as a roundup of clever ads that caught my gnat-size attention evolved into an experiment in search-engine optimization that ultimately hijacked this blog and its theme: I ended up focusing solely on funny advertisements, and even then, I wasn’t able to write about them as critically or in-depth as I would have liked. As it happens, my time is to blog is very limited these days, and I can’t spend it writing about Mayhem. I’m grateful to Allstate and the users of YouTube (and Facebook) for all of your support, but it’s past time for me to focus on other campaigns, other marketing elements. (That last part is code for: I’m ready to geek out over product packaging and placement! Who’s with me?)

That said, I’ll conclude this post like I’ve concluded the other Mayhem posts, with a nod to Mayhem’s popularity: At 6:30 p.m., about five hours after it was posted on Facebook, the video had 8747 likes 232 comments, and 773 shares.The timestamp on YouTube says the video was posted Sept. 26, 2012; as of 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27, there were 341 views, 0 likes and 0 comments — but it was early still.
 

EARLIER: A roundup of 2011 Mayhem commercials

 
AGENCY: Leo Burnett, the agency that brought us product characters such as the Marlboro Man, Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam.


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Toyota Venza girl angry about Triscuits

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.
 
Our heroine from the Toyota Venza commercial can be seen in the new Triscuits commercial.
 

 
That’s all I have to say about that right now because I have to go to dinner.
 

Like this commercial? Hate it?

 

Tell me why! (No registration required.)

 

Like the ad? Show Allyn Rachel the love on her Facebook page.

* * * * * * * *

RELATED: Toyota Venza Girl plugs eBay

 

EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl on Yahoo!

 

EARLIER: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial

 

EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’

 

RELATED: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 


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Allstate’s Mayhem: A quick case study in bad DIY

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising and social media marketing. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers. No agencies or products are endorsed.
 

 
Why haven’t we seen this before? In a 15-second clip, posted on YouTube on Aug. 5, Mayhem tries to use an electric buzzsaw. (Phhhht.) At the time of this writing, it had 303 views, 56 likes, and 1 dislike (though I might click the thumbs-down myself.) At 9:48 p.m. Aug. 5, the clip had been posted on the Mayhem Facebook page for about an hour, during which 2,091 people liked the ad, 496 had shared it, and 66 people had commented on it, including Amie who said:
 

Crushin’ on Mayhem! 🙂

 
No one ever crushed on the Geico lizard, did they?

 

EARLIER: A roundup of 2011 Mayhem commercials

 
AGENCY: Leo Burnett, the agency that brought us product characters such as the Marlboro Man, Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam.


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Allstate’s Soya La Mala Suerte: Claw game spot

Allstate’s Hispanic counterpart to “Mayhem,” Soya La Mala Suerte, has a new 30-second spot that puts an unlucky driver at the mercy of a child’s toy won in a claw game. (You know, the merciless machines at Chuck E. Cheese and supermarkets that steal your money, hope, and sanity as you try to retrieve a cheap toy with mechanical claw that looks like it’s an artifact found in the depths of  medieval torture room.)

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. The kid wins a ball that looks like a black cat. (Oooh! A black cat! They’re bad luck! Get it?!?!) On the way home, the sweet-faced child falls asleep in the back of the minivan, and the black cat ball rolls from his tiny little hand to the floor and then to the driver’s side, where it’s lodged under Dad’s brake pedal.

Can you guess what happens next? Well, try. Or watch the clip if the suspense is killing you.
 

 
Soya La Mala Suerte leaves the scene of the accident, cheerfully tossing the black cat ball.

And of course, the ad closes by asking:

¿Estás en buenas manos?

 
At the time of this writing, the clip on YouTube, posted June 25, had 106 views, 2 likes, and 1 dislike. There were no comments, but it’s early still.

In a previous post on Soya La Mala Suerte, I quoted a YouTube commenter, jackrubyuk, who said, “I like this one; he’s more sinister that the Anglo Mayhem. Subtle.” I don’t speak Spanish, but I can pick up tiny bits of dialog and the visuals do most of the work. Even if you don’t understand the clips’ script, you can still tell a difference comparing the Soya La Mala Suerte spots with the Mayhem series.

The commenter was right: Soya La Mala Suerte is more subtle, more ominous. Dean Winter’s Mayhem (which we all love) is goofier, not quite as scary. All the bad things that Mayhem makes happen certainly suck, but they don’t put the characters in the same grade of danger as the characters in the Soya La Mala Suerte ads.

The Soy La Mala Suerte  (“I am Bad Luck”) Facebook page also has a more sinister tone (the threat of the falling air conditioners will certainly strike fear into almost any urban dweller). Even so, the public loves him: At the time of this writing, Soy La Mala Suerte had 124 likes on Facebook. That’s up from 99,284 on Jan. 25, 2012.
 

EARLIER: Soy La Mala Suerte: Billboard

 

RELATED: Mayhem is the Sexiest GPS Alive