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Archives: May 2009

Why Not Pay for Bad Press?

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In the aftermath of the Gawker poopiness it now seems pertinent to look at what can be learned. When BloodCopy became a “part” of the editorial body (despite being an advertisement for HBO’s True Blood), it sort of prevented the edit staff from disemboweling the campaign as they might normally &#151 don’t bite the hand that feeds etc etc and so on. But the real questions are, why not let the edit staff run rampant and what would happen if they did?

The coverage of this story has been breathless and except for whatever Gawker Media was paid, free. Much of what we’ve seen, short of Nieman Lab’s fellatio piece, Adweek’s focus on the “campaign” aspect and ClickZ calling it a case study for PR (which kind of misses the point)it’s all been negative-ish &#151 or what we’ll call bad press. Generally, bad press is always free and stems from an attempt at good press. So, why don’t we all just stop trying to do this thing right and go for bad? I think there’s a case to be made.

Especially these days when a) banners are overly abundant b) no one gives a shit about good ads anyway and c) bad press is mostly free &#151 all you have to do is plant the seed.

Maybe that was Gawker’s genius plan all along &#151 but I doubt it, unless they intended the coverage to be mostly about them. And c’mon, Chris Batty isn’t that smart. It doesn’t take a genius to say, “let’s sell the one thing we have that no one else will sell, our editorial space.” That’s the golden goose, but the problem is that once it’s sold, it’s gone. It’s like having sex with your drop dead gorgeous cousin &#151 wrong.

And there’s nothing funny about fucking your uncle’s daughter. Cue Batty: “If we’re around in three or four years,” he told Nieman Labs, “the majority of our advertising revenue will be in sponsored posts like this we’ll still be pumping Pam.” We made that pumping part up, obviously &#151 but for the purposes of our simile, it was a necessary modification. Don’t sue me.

That’s not the future of advertising, at least as it pertains to publications that want to matter. And though I might eat my words on this, I’d rather be wrong today than admit it’s OK.

So what can be done? How about we start offering bad press as a sales space. The agreement would be something like this: Brand X pays for and designs a really crappy banner and Gawker posts it. Then one of the eds goes to town on it, merely for being crappy or whatever. It’s not guaranteed to get attention from Gawker’s writers &#151 and by that I mean there’s no obligation that it be written about &#151 but someone somewhere is bound to say something about it. Blood Copy is a decent case study.

I’m not sure bad press can be harnessed but it just seems logical that if a company wants to advertise with a publication dedicated to revealing BS, they should be open to the same kind of ridicule that publication is known for. It happens every day, anyway, without their control so why not light the match intentionally. Hell, it’s worth a shot.

Update:
Fair is fair &#151 Gawker’s edit staff did make some remarks about the campaign. And though we’ve linked to each of these stories already, I’ll list them once more.

More:Gawker’s Blood Copy Campaign is a Messy McPieface

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Called It: Ace Hardware Goes to GSD&M

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GSD&M wins Ace Hardware &#151 not a bad month for the Austin based advertiser, which has been mired by internal struggles, many of which we’ve published here.

Tribble Via Statesman

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Ace Hardware to GSD&M?

Most Popular Stories on AgencySpy from the Last 7 Days

Crispin Just Sold Their Interns for like, a Million Dollars

Twitter just told us that the CP+B interns went for $17,655. Extra money for them = good ($465 per person, I think). Now, on to the work, intern slaves!

Gawker’s Blood Copy Campaign is a Messy McPieface

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After we posted yesterday about the hullabaloo with this HBO’s True Blood + Gawker Media + Campfire campaign, things just started getting wonkier. Here’s how:

Gawker Media called us to say they didn’t have control over a post on BloodCopy dot com that was, until earlier today, claiming the site had been purchased by Gawker Media. When you boil it all down, that one sentence(“Gawker Media realized that they simply could not live (so to speak) without having BloodCopy dot com on their roster of websites…As of next week, we will officially be under the Gawker umbrella…”) pretty much broke the “this crosses some sort of line” rule. There was nothing to clarify that this was a ruse, and though Gawker Media claims they had no control over that post, they are capable of reading and should have known better.

Today things got messier when a post was added to Gawker’s homepage. It popped up in the standard below-the-fold ad spot Gawker has used for other, more normal ads, under the “introductions” category. In the past we’ve noticed that when an ad is in that box, the category is instead listed as “advertisement.” No such notation here. No-no number 2.

Not that it’s really important but there are three links in that box and until this afternoon none of them worked &#151 probably because bloodcopy dot com was being transitioned to the Gawker execution you can now see. TPI, things were disorganized.

Anyway, since the box was improperly categorized, a follow-up post was added noting, “That post down there labeled ‘From Bloodcopy’ should have been labeled something like ‘Paid Advertising.’” Agreed. Moving on.

Adam Pash
of Gawker-family blog Lifehacker did what we hoped someone would &#151 called the campaign what it is.

“BloodCopy is not a Gawker Media blog, and unlike other real Gawker blogs, the editorial staff at Lifehacker has no control over what ads masquerading as crossposts appear on our site. You can read more about it if you’re interested in the details, but the short story is this: Our advertising department made a bad decision, and now the editors and&#151more importantly&#151readers are paying for it. Apologies for the interruption. Who knew the recession would get this bad?”

Though he was sort of alone in making public comments, we’ve heard that generally the editorial department at Gawker is pretty miffed about the whole thing. Oh, that is except for i09′s Meredith Woerner, who posted a trailer for the show. Interesting &#151 we thought maybe they’d want to stay from anything even remotely close to promoting the show, given they’re already knee deep in oopsies on this one.

Dear Gawker editorial and ad sales, please have a meeting where you’re all in one room talking. Yes, meetings take time away from parking in front of crazy people’s homes, but they do help avoid problems. Like this one.

More:
Gawker Media and the Blood Copy Campaign

How to Make Your Billboard Work Again

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Sometimes you have to just come out and f*ck with people to get them to see your billboard. In this case, we’re mildly happy with the execution pictured above &#151 for ABC Australia’s show, “The Chaser’s War on Everything“. Thanks to FishbowlLA editor Tine Dupuy for sharing.

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More:Fiat is So Full of Sh**, For Real

Let it Rain: Ritz Promises to Create Song if YouTube Clip Gets 10k Views

Sharpe Blacke Euro RSCG have struck a semi-interesting deal with client Ritz that stems from comments on an ad the agency recently created for the snack company. Here’s how it went down.

SBER creates the ad you find after the jump, including a 30 second song that’s kinda nice to listen to. Commenters on the YouTube page where the ad (called “Let it Rain”) is posted ask where they can find the song. SBER creative director Ron Tite makes the video above explaining that they’ve heard the comments and made a deal with Ritz.

It goes like this: if 10,000 people watch the video by June 10, Ritz will pay the artist to complete the song (a full 3 minute version), and it will be posted on iTunes, etc. All the proceeds from folks who buy the song go to the artist. Nifty.

So, why are we posting this? Two reasons:

1) It’s cool that Ritz/SBER are responding in, basically, real time to their customers.

2) Only 10,000 views? Is that what constitutes a viral these days? Maybe setting the bar low is a good thing, since those numbers may better reflect the sector of Ritz lovers who like the ad (which is posted after the jump) and who happen to be savvy enough to find it on YouTube.

But if 10k views is all it takes to become “viral” enough to impress a brand, well then the industry may have a bigger opportunity with online video than seemed obvious.

More:Ha ha, Who Knew Blood Pressure Could be Hilarious

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ECD Kash Sree Leaves JWT After His Team

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During a creative meeting at JWT New York yesterday, Harvey Marco informed the department that ECD Kash Sree resigned from the agency.

Sree, who joined the agency in spring 2007, worked on the Diamond Trading Company. Much of his team, we’ve learned, were among those let go to make way for those senior level creatives we told you about last week.

We haven’t heard where Sree is headed.

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More:JWT Changes Things Up

The Client Vendor Relationship, in Real World Situations

How Not to Place Products: In a PussyCat Dolls Video

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The PussyCat Dolls have a new song called, “Hush, Hush” and of course all the kids are crazy over it. But what drove us crazy was the confluence of terribly placed products in the music video, including Campari, a Nokia cell phone, an HP laptop and oh, Perez Hilton.

Just a day after being published on YouTube, the video above has more than 80k views &#151 which is precisely what the above mentioned brands wanted. But let’s break down the placements and why it’s a perfect storm for marketers, despite looking really bad.

The video consists of a few different scenes, all of which include mostly-naked PussyCat Dolls and then some kind of product. The least annoying of those was Nokia’s. At 30 seconds in, we see a bathing pussycat looking at her phone and it’s barely noticeable that it’s even Nokia. Fine.

A 1:37, an HP notebook enters the scene. It’s carried through “the club” by some random faceless dancing extra who delivers it to the DJ, who immediately opens up the pink-flowered laptop and begins futzing with it. C’mon dude, you’ve got spinning to do! A better execution might have been a passover of some random chick who is sitting in the club in sweats and a high school running t-shirt &#151 playing on the laptop. She thought this was a Starbucks, but it turned out to be an annoying club &#151 and now her daily blog post will have to wait.

At 1:52 we see flashes of Campari &#151 bottles, labeled glasses and even the booze itself, all brown and tasty looking. But where’s the Jack, Bud Light and obligatory “soda”? Alas, this isn’t a real club, it’s one paid for by pretentious liquor and out-of-place computers.

The final installment of the strange placements, and arguably the most important one, is none other than Perez Hilton himself. He’s hard to spot at first, but can be spotted at 2:26 wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Hush Hush Featuring Perez.” Might not seem like a big deal except that, of course, Perez posted the video right there on his site. And in a day it’s garnered some 80 thousand views.

As bad as all these placements are (well, excluding Nokia), the whole thing is packaging genius. Who knows if Perez was paid for his time on this (though I’d bet he was), but his site was the launch vehicle for the video and that alone was probably enough to get Campari, HP and Nokia salivating at the opportunity to throw their products into the mix &#151 no matter how out of place they seem.

Update: A friend notes that the laptop/DJ scenario really makes no sense because the DJ is already spinning. So what, is he checking his e-mail?

More images after the jump.

More:Why Advertising on Perez Hilton Beats the Hell Outta TV

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