Thursday, February 09, 2006

Substance over Style

The Super Bowl ads are all over the Internet now. My favourite, however, by far, is the Sprint ‘Crime Deterrent ad. It is just too good.

Super slick eye candy may be nice to watch. Famous music can drill that ad into your head. But all in all, it’s all expensive, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars.

Either way, in the end, it is going to be the ad with the best concept that will always win people over, regardless of production value. I mean, really, how much could it have cost to make this ad. Two actors, a locker room, no music, even the super looks cheap. But it is such a funny, great idea.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Holey Soles Take The High Road

Surely you’ve seen them by now. Holey Soles are those brightly coloured, comfortable and distinct foam shoes that have started to appear on the feet of doctors, nurses, gardeners and boating enthusiasts. They are hard to miss, and if nothing else, they are defiantly unique.

Holey Soles may seem similar to their competitors at first glance, but once you get to know them, you will quickly see the difference. Holey Soles is a one-of-a-kind footwear company. Where other companies lose interest once the shoe is off the assembly line, Holey Soles steps in with a social conscience and a mission to treat all of their customers equally and with respect.

True to the Canadian persona, Holey Soles is a kind and gentle company - with a big heart. During the Tsunami in Thailand they gave much needed cash to aid relief efforts and recently donated $260,000 which put shoes on 13,000 victims ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf States. Holey Soles also donates to North American children’s charities.

When all is said and done, one of the differences between Holey Soles and the other look alike shoes will come out in the wash, or washer in this case. Holey Soles has improved its shoes by adding a washer between the strap and shoe of both the Explorer and Provider models to create a smoother mechanism between the strap and shoe. This, along with the new boomerang strap design results in an innovative, versatile shoe that can be adjusted for different uses depending on how you position the strap. This feature truly differentiates Holey Soles from the others, and ensures that its shoes do not infringe on patents anywhere in the world.

As well, there are other, better additions upon the already sleek and attractive design.

The foam compound is now more resilient to help provide greater support. This also extends the life of the shoe. As well, by listening to its customers, Holey Soles has tailored a design better suited for the people who wear them every day. Holey Soles responded to customer feedback and designed its new models to be slightly narrower, ensuring a better fit.

Be sure to keep an eye on this holey little company based out of Canada as it steers clear of the jaws of competitors to go on and do great things for its customers and those in need.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Going Bananas

Animal rights group The Chimpanzee Collaboratory is in an uproar over the exploitation of chimpanzees in the ad that aired Sunday on the Super Bowl.

The Chimpanzee Collaboratory asked to remove the apes from its ads back in 2005, but they have continued to use them nonetheless. In the past companies such as Keds, Puma, HomeUSA Warehouse, and Honda pulled ads featuring great apes after learning of the cruel training practices.

When chimpanzees are used for entertainment purposes, they are snatched from the mothers at a very young age, leaving lasting psychological damage. Then, it has been documented that chimpanzees are treated very badly in their 'training'. There has been reports of incidences where the apes have been hit and beaten, sometimes with hammers and mop handles. As well, when their 'star career' is over, they are left in shoddy roadside zoos and abandoned.

While films can use the American Humane Association's stamp of approval that 'no animals were harmed in the making of this movie', the same does not apply to television commercials. For this reason the manner in which these chimpanzees were treated is uncertain. The Association is also limited in its protection, as it does not examine how animals are treated in pre-production, where most of the abuse takes place, or how they are taken care of after their careers. Many apes are used as animal experiments, packed into cages in rows or left in shady zoos, as they are considered 'psychotic' and do not mix well with the other apes.

Ironically, the American Humane Association is the only major animal protection organization that has not called for the end of the use of apes for entertainment purposes.

The Chimpanzee Collaboratory has applauded Peter Jackson for not using any real apes in Kong, however it seems that they have ways to go in order to spread awareness of the mistreatment of apes to the public. The Collaboratory is urging concerned consumers to contact Careerbuilder directly to let them know they are disappointed that they would continue to use chimpanzees in their ads after being informed of the cruelty inherent in their training.

Is this effective?

Just a few days ago Conmcast Cable contacted the Chimpanzee Collaboratory to inform them that they would no longer be using chimps in their ads.

Bob Dunn of Bob Dunn's animal services was the trainer of the apes for last year's campaign, but has since retired his apes from the business, to good homes in Florida. The treatment of the apes in this year's campaign is uncertain however -

I decided to call up Peter Krivkovich, president and CEO of Cramer-Krasselt, the ad firm behind the Super Bowl ad to find out what he knew about the treatment of these animals. He wasn't available for comment, however I spoke briefly with Richard Castellini, Vice President for Consumer Marketing at and he directed me to the Corporate Communications Manager, Michael Irwin.

At this time, I do not have an answer as to how the animals were treated, however, I will keep you posted as this unfolds.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Taking Market Reseach to the Streets

It is interesting to watch ads in a crowded bar. Normally, the ads are background, mostly visual, and really have about as much affect as the flashing Budweiser bottle.

But introduce the Super Bowl and you have a focus group in action. The reactions to an ad from a bar filled with half-cut, burly, loud and easily distracted football fans who drive Jeeps, drink Bud, and wear Levis is pure gold.

Because, even if they don't mean to, they watch the ads on the Super Bowl. Everyone does. And sometimes they laugh. Sometimes the whole bar will laugh, really, really loud.

This ad brought down the house at the pub I was at Careeerbuilder Celebration.

Now that is an effective ad. Not only are people paying attention to the whole ad - it is creating a reaction, amongst a large group of people.

Other ads completely flop.

To advertise on the Super Bowl is not cheap. It can be as expensive as $2.6 million for a 30 second spot. And no company invests that much money in one ad without focus grouping it to death.

But how many of those agencies actually ran focus groups in a bar filled with half-cut, burly, loud and easily distracted football fans who drive Jeeps, drink Bud, and wear Levis

You can analyze it, and say it's good or not, but only the true target market experiment can confirm its immediate effectiveness.