Friday, January 06, 2006

Advertising for Sustainable Buildings

Well, it is nice to see North Vancouver pave the way for the rest of Canada in terms of sustainability. The 16th storey Silva Building on the 100th block of West 16th off Lonsdale has received its LEED certification, almost a year after its construction. This is Canada’s first LEED certified residential building, but will be far from the last.

At only 1.7% more costly than a standard building, the $20 million Silva Building had no trouble selling its 67 rooms to residents. Besides the comfort afforded by the environmental integrity of the design, sustainability measures involved in the water and electricity usage also mean a savings of $16,500 per year. The building uses 60% less water and 14% less electricity. This is a sign of things to come for building developers as demand for sustainable accommodations continues to rise.

Being situated in North Vancouver, Creative Wonders is nestled nicely on the edge of the water, squarely between Vancouver and the gateway to the 2010 Olympics in Whistler. Here we are well positioned to witness firsthand North Vancouver’s pledge to make it as sustainable a city as possible.

This is where the job of advertisers and media come into play. How many people are aware what LEED even stands for? What are the benefits of sustainable building practices? How does conserving resources affect the bigger picture, beyond the community to the planet as a whole? It is advertising, along with journalism and public relations on which the responsibility of educating the public resides.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Advertising Aims its Sights at the Male Mental Environment

Strategy Magazine is going to hold a conference in Toronto entitled 'Understanding Men: Metro or Retro?' The aim of the conference is to best learn how to drill down on the target market that is men.

As a part of their email to entice me to event they have included the following snippet of wisdom:

“Men may be more sensitive than we give them credit for. The greatest insult to a guy is "he'll never amount to anything" (29%), while "everyone laughs behind your back" is a close second (24%) and the third most despised snipe is "you're stupid" (21%).”

Ah, the things they research in the advertising industry.

A common question I hear when I am looking for new business is, “Do you have experience advertising for school programs for Americans in the Northwest?” or “Do you have experience making advertising campaigns for bit processors for men in the 35-45 target market?”

But the truth is, people are people, everywhere in the world. We work in the communications industry, so we specialize in speaking a common language that will resonate with people in general. Because people usually don't want to hear about your product, they want to hear about themselves.

Sure, research will occasionally open up a few gems into human nature. Vim determined that women see cleaning the bathroom akin to being in prison, Money's solved the mushy mushrooms at the bottom of your plastic bag problem.

Basically, what I am saying is that advertising is mostly about trusting your gut. It is instinctual. Intuitive. And some people are more tuned into the nuances of human behaviour than others. But in the meantime, researching the most effective ways to push men's buttons only seems to contribute to what Kalle Lasn describes as an assault on our mental environment, with no positive repercussions.

At one point, I would love to conduct an experiment to determine whether it is envy (look at all these happy, smiling people that you wish you could be like), shame (What have you done? Why aren't you doing something with your life?) or wonder (curiosity to try new things and take on new adventures and challenges) that is the primary motivator for human behaviour.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Syndication Nail in the Mainstream Coffin

This blog will now be syndicated through the American Chronicle across 21 American news sources.

It is an interesting phenomenon.

What does it mean for the future of journalism as a paid profession and the accuracy and validity of the news as the blog slowly replaces the mainstream press?

As one entertainment medium that acts as a vessel for advertisers replaces another will the line between news and advertising be completely disintegrated at last?

Is this a good or bad thing?

As advertisers begin to create their own entertainment mediums, the need for traditional vessels manufactured for commercial investment will become obsolete. Why invest in art or entertainment to sponsor with ad revenue when you already have on staff everything you need to create your own?

With the Internet, this is becoming easier and easier. Some examples of this are Channel101 and Rocket Boom where videologs (Vlogs) are replacing traditional news and TV sources.

Why? Because people are getting sick of traditional, mainstream television that is basically terrible commercial kak.

And with the heft carried by commercial advertisers with a strong investment in the religious right and the status quo (namely Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Hobby Lobby) the media will do anything in their power to keep it that way.

The viral email, personalized website, blog and vlog may have started as underground phenomenon - but they are slowly replacing the traditional means in which we seek information and see the world. And ironically enough, while the gateway and accessibility may be reckless (anyone can post) reputation becomes currency more than ever before. This is a welcome return to traditional media, before they compromised their reputation for fairness and objectivity to the acquiescence of major sponsors.

It reminds me of a conundrum faced by a television channel in the Infinite Jest written by David Foster Wallace. In the book, an advertising agency creates an ad for a migraine pain reliever that is so effective that it induces pain on all of those who witness it (the ad features self-portrait impressionistic paintings of people suffering from acute migraine pain - featuring violent images such as nails hammered into their heads and so on) the result upon viewing is so disturbing that it causes people to immediately get an intense migraine. Sales for the migraine medicine go through the roof. The migraine medicine company is now able to spend so much on advertising that they own all of the adspace on the major networks. As a result the public ceases to watch network television and the stations crumble, until people become interested in underground stations and the process repeats itself…

Advertisers are one step closer to reading your mind

From the big screen to your car stereo, invasion of privacy through marketing is more alive than ever.

The science fiction film Minority Report took a scary look at how intrusive advertising can become in the future. In the film, scanners would read the retinas of people's eyes (which also double as identification passes) to determine exactly what kind of ad would be effective at exactly that moment in time. These 'interactive' ads are then projected on the wall with captions like 'yes, a Guinness would be great right now'. In another scene a virtual Gap employee stands outside of the door and greets Tom Cruise by name and asks him if he enjoyed the sweaters he bought his last visit.

MSN is not that far off. All of your behaviour on the net is cross-referenced with the personal information you put about yourself when you signed up for an account with Hotmail. In this way, marketers know exactly what target market you belong to, and how to best sell to you by your previous shopping tendencies.

Now Sacramento based Smart Sign Media has taken the invasion of privacy one step closer to Minority Report.

As you drive down the highway, these 'intelligent' signs pick up on the radio station that you are listening to in your car and then select an ad that would be appropriate to the same target market. In other words, if you love classic oldies radio, you will be seeing a lot of signs for wrinkle cream and golf courses.

The next step will be consumers receiving specific ad promo offers and coupons directly to their mobile phones. Scary, isn’t it?

Monday, January 02, 2006

LOHAS advertising news scraps

Happy 2006!

Here are some sustainability news scraps for the week.

For the first time in history, Pepsi has overthrown its arch-rival Coca Cola.This is big news for those interested in lifestyles of health and sustainability. It was Pepsi’s choice to introduce healthier lines to fit a society more concerned about diet and obesity that has put it to the top.

Another ethical advertising dilemma. To the chagrin of some of its volunteer writers, Wikipedia is poised to make the leap into advertising.

Product placement after the fact. The latest craze is to insert virtual product placement into a film or television show, after it has already been cut and edited for the screen.

Alcohol advertising works! But it seems to also be a bad influence on the youngin's. See mixing with the wrong crowd.

Cities to vapour-ize of the word. To thank the milllions of excited fans who have already downloaded their newest release before it hits the stores, the Strokes are going to put on a show for climate change.