Archive for June, 2006

Toyota Land Cruiser (China)

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 17:07

Don’t even think about asking me anything regarding Toyota or the content contained within this presentation. One thing I do know is that it’s no small journey. So much for that proverbial first single step. We’re driving SUVs! And although the soundtrack is repetitious, just try to enjoy a quick glance at the unknown and The Silk Road Expedition.

Addendum: A click here; a click there. Things turn up. Let’s visit Adventure Park with the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado. (Why do I get the impression this is an educational video on what a SUV is and can do?) And let us not forget that camels were a very reliable form of 4×4 transporation along the Silk Road long before the Romans had their first chariots. (You did see the camel, didn’t you?)

(But who is buying these things in China? Members of the ruling communist party who wish only prosperity and equality for China’s billions of high-income citizens? From bicycles to SUVs….)

Toyota China logo

Landcruiser graphic Prado graphic

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Wal-Mart

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 14:11

What is this?! Wal-Mart “gets” the internet?! Yes, it appears so. From Wal-Mart’s Soundcheck we first have an exclusive in-studio performance from Nelly Furtado. Nice. Very nice. (By the way, has anyone else noticed just how much this recording release has been promoted? It’s everywhere I look, it seems.) It appears Wal-Mart is out to sell some music, doesn’t it? It certainly has The Distillery reevaluating its perceptions of the firm that puts mom and pop stores out of business wherever it shows up.

We then travel back to Wal-Mart proper and find its Video Center. (Exxon, it’s time to take notes. This is how PR is done.) And being the All-American company that it is, we are not surprised to find videos supporting U.S. troops, kids, and Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year. However, Wal-Mart is more about business than anything else and that explains our finding videos highlighting its distribution centers and its expansion into Asian markets.

One lesson many firms might take from Wal-Mart is the use of video scattered throughout its web site, such as those found on its Environment, Community, and People pages. In fact, relatively few pages are entirely static. What The Distillery sees overall from Wal-Mart is both an understanding of its basic retail roots, but also a vision of its future.

So once again, Exxon (#1 on the Fortune 500 List) take heed of what Wal-Mart is doing. Wal-Mart may be behind you at #2 on the Fortune 500 List, but it is certainly far ahead of you at knowing how to use the internet. Maybe some Exxon marketing execs should pull their heads out of the sand and have a look around.

Wal-Mart store interior

Wal-Mart logo

B.B. (1955-2006)

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 9:26

Goodbye, B.B., my dear friend. You fought a good fight. How you remained so positive right up to the end escapes me. You will be missed. (Oh, and I’ll be certain to keep an eye on M. for you. You have my promise. He’ll be okay.)

Exxon Mobil

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 9:19

One little mistake and you are forever damned.* That is the position Exxon Mobil finds itself in many, many years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill (text only). Also, oil companies as a rule are thought to be taking undue advantage of oil supplies and politics as gasoline reaches and exceeds $3.00 per gallon in the U.S.A. Those reasons, and likely several more, are why we see Exxon primarily focusing on public relations in its most immediately accessible online video. However, it is boring. If Exxon is out to win the hearts of customers with that video, it has again run aground.

Looking more closely at Exxon, we uncover a video library that contains no videos! Surely with those decidedly obscene oil revenues and profits, they could have found a few dollars for even a modicum of online rich media content. But then again, maybe they don’t care. After all, fuel is very price inelastic and Exxon may perceive no need for actual end-user promotions. We are going to drive, regardless of what Exxon charges.

Thinking there must be black gold somewhere at the site, we drill deeper and tap into Exxon’s Univation Technologies. There we find little special except for an Options link in the lower-left corner. Click on it to see options for normal vs. full screen views, sound on/off, and even image quality. The last, we assume, is for older and slower computers without the graphics-handling power needed for the very best display quality. That is something not before seen here at The Distillery. But again, if that is designed to restore a still tarnished image, it simply doesn’t work. Exxon Mobil’s corporate image remains very rusty.

Fill'er up!
Exxon Mobile logo

* Who am I to cast stones after initially posting “Mobile” instead of “Mobil?” Exxon, I feel your pain!

Samsung – “Imagine Freedom” & Helix and Nexus

Friday, 16 June 2006; 16:14

Sorry my good friends, but I am still swamped with work. I am reminded of what one of my graduate school professors said when once I practically swooned over the load of academic work expected of us, the students. His words still ring in my ears, “You’ve got to stop wasting those hours between midnight and six AM.” Please consider this another obligatory entry. After this weekend, life should become…well, different. And you thought I was going to say easier, I know. Nah, I should be so lucky.

Back to business…

I know they have to be out there somewhere because I have read they do sell, but where are they? Oh, you’re wondering what I’m talking about, right? iPod competitors, that’s what. I don’t see them on the buses. I don’t see them on the street. I don’t see them in anyone’s hands. But most of all, I don’t see their ear buds in anyone’s ears. Yet and still, Samsung offers the consumer Imagine Freedom and its Z5 digital audio player. (Digital audio player? Somehow it just doesn’t have the ring and likely staying-power, pop culture-wise, of 8-track player. Oh well….)

Something else has also caught my attention. The so-called music at the Imagine Freedom site is the equivalent of cheap clip art. I just don’t get it. Sites which do not promote music-related products often have excellent music, but the sites that actually sell music-related products are all too often devoid of anything catchy or tracks from well-known artists. Why is that? ‘Tis another puzzlement.

In fact, we have even more “more of less” at Samsung’s Helix and Nexus micro-site. The site appears on the screen–and then you are deafened by the silence. But wait! I get it now! The music doesn’t count! It’s all about looks. Who cares if the music is crappy as long as the player looks cool. Right? It seems so. But even with that revelation, where are the contenders to Apple’s iPod and its sleek and Spartan appearance?

Do firms, aside than Nike, not realize that with Michael Jordan it was his shoes?! It was all about looks. That’s why kids were killing other kids for them. I tried a pair of his shoes and could not even dunk the ball while standing directly under the basket, more less from the free throw line. And with this revelation, The Distillery offers this advice to pretenders to the throne–remember it’s the shoes. That is, style trumps substance. But that aside, how about some decent music when you’re trying to sell me a music-related product? You might then get my attention.

Z5 digital audio player graphic Samsung Nexis XM satellite radio receiver image Samsung logo

! Artastic Designs !

Thursday, 15 June 2006; 15:49

A purely obligatory entry…

! Artastic Designs ! is a very cool site advertising a rich media content creator’s services.

Sorry folks, but that’s likely it for today. I am swamped. Too many bad guys and too few good guys (luckily enough for me).

Artastic Designs image

Tony Hawk Foundation

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:37

Here’s da man! Tony Hawk! (If you are finding yourself unaware of this name, you’re getting old.) This guy has almost single-handedly brought skateboarding into the big money. His skateboarding video game is great and has sold millions of copies. And, he has started the Tony Hawk Foundation which:

Since 2002, the Tony Hawk Foundation has awarded 291 skatepark grants, worth more than $1.3-million. The Foundation’s Board of Directors meets twice annually to review grant applications from municipalities and community groups pursuing public skateparks. The Board favors projects that demonstrate the greatest need, significant involvement of skaters at every step of the skatepark process, and a commitment to hiring experienced skatepark specialists to ensure a quality park.

Is there a skatepark in your community? If not, then your kids very likely need one. It may not even cost as much to build as one might think, given grants specifically for such skateparks are available from the Tony Hawk Foundation. And you wonder why this guy, if you’ve heard of him, is a hero to skateboys and skategirls everywhere?

Tony Hawk Foundation logo

Ollie Pop Bubble Gum Co.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:05

Yea, I like rap. So what’s it to you? To Ollie Pop Bubble Gum, it’s a great background beat with several different songs selected by D J Pain for a very cool skateboarding-oriented web site. (Yea, I’m an ol’skool skateboarder. As I tell the kids, they weren’t invented just yesterday. And as I tell too many adults, remember to never grow up.)

If the site played through the entire playlist instead of endlessly repeating whichever beat/song picked, it would be more engaging and likely to hold its intended audience’s short attention spans. The repetition eventually wears thin if one stays at the site to see all, albeit relatively little that is dynamical, that is there. However, different music is only a mouse click away. If I were still a “skateboarding-is-my-life” kid (vs. occasionally as an adult), I’d definitely have the Ollie Pop Bubble Gum among my favorites/bookmarks.

A few relevant excerpts from the Ollie Pop site:

Ollie Pop infuses the confectionary [sic] industry with new life with its cool skater image. Also, our sponsored riders are influential icons to today’s young consumers. Yesterdays [sic] role models were athletes like Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, and Eric Dickerson, while the youth of today emulate Sports Action figures like: Tony Hawk (upcoming at The Distillery), Eric Koston, Todd Richards, and Kelly Slater. Numbers don’t lie, over 10 million kids now participating in boardsports globally.

Ollie Pop’s mission is to encourage the expansion of board sports as a positive outlet for today’s youth, represent skateboarding in a truthful manner, and provide exposure for core companies that have fostered the growth of board sports. Building customer loyalty by providing top quality bubblegum and connecting the consumer with the world of Action Sports is our number one priority.

One last thing: I very much like Ollie Pop’s wallpapers featuring their cartoon spokesperson, Johnny Pop. The advertising does not leap out and bite you. As advertising to kids goes, it pretty much passes muster until one clicks on Free Stuff —> Giveaways. Tucked elsewhere and not at the registration point, Ollie Pop’s privacy statement reveals:

We sometimes share the personal information you provide with companies not owned or affiliated with Ollie Pop who want to market products or services to you. If you want us to stop using the personal information you provided in this way, please contact us at sales@olliepop.com.

Tell me. What kid, even if restricted to those over thirteen years old, will bother to read that–if they see it at all–before quickly giving up their e-mail address in hopes of winning an undisclosed prize? Parents, are you paying attention?

Ollie Pop logo 01

Chris Lambert, 5-0 backside grind image

Land Rover & Go Beyond TV

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 8:34

First, I apologize about no postings yesterday, but I could not get into WordPress.com–at least whenever I had a few free minutes. That said…

Land Rover’s Go Beyond TV is the future here now. This is fully immersive internet-based advertising. It is light-years beyond advertising as we have historically come to know it. Beyond TV is a true 21st century marketing hybrid with elements of traditional TV, an online video magazine, an infomercial, educational videos, a travel channel, and information about the product. Even more, it’s an experience.

Quite frankly, The Distillery cannot believe more firms have not yet arrived at the understanding of today’s online possibilities shown by Land Rover. Why haven’t more Fortune 500 firms begun their own internet-based TV channels? Yes, there are firms such as Feedroom and NarrowStep which likely provide economies of scale and turnkey solutions, but even Land Rover does not have a LandRover.tv URL for its Range Rover videos and others. What’s up with that? With the boom in online video, when will more firms realize that a .tv suffix may well be their best way to reach tech-savvy consumers who now do not have separate TVs and computers, but integrated media centers?

Oh, and be certain to watch Bolivia Death Road. That’s the way?! No way!!!

Range Rover LR3 image Range Rover Sport image

UNICEF

Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:59

It is with immense pleasure that The Distillery brings you UNICEF. As has been noted here before, it is nice to see not-for-profits sometimes kicking for-profit corporations’ butts. And with respect to understanding today’s world, the internet and its capabilities, UNICEF is among the leaders. UNICEF’s site is exceptionally rich with video content.

Might UNICEF officials understand that emotional responses and appeals are frequently a function of several sensory inputs, with audio and video being at the forefront in impact? Apparently so. Have a look at the UNICEF.org home page (same link as above) for immediate access to multimedia content, and then have a look at this UNICEF video “white paper” from Japan.

UNICEF - baby image UNICEF child labor image

FIFA – Fair Play Programme

Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:00

The Distillery has indeed found a new love in FIFA. It strives to be much more than just football/soccer. An example is its Fair Play Programme.

Two excerpts from FIFA Fair Play:

The generic concept of fair play is a fundamental part of the game of football. It represents the positive benefits of playing by the rules, using common sense and respecting fellow players, referees, opponents and fans.

The most hotly debated topics of our times, such as equality, peace, children’s rights, health, education and the environment, do not escape the attention of FIFA. The fight against discrimination, racism and child labour and for better health, equal education opportunities for boys and girls, and the integration of handicapped people in society, are some of the priorities that FIFA has been concentrating on for many years. Today, FIFA supports a growing number of charitable activities and will continue to do so in the future.

How do such ideals translate into real life? Look us look at the smiles on the faces of football tifosi from one of the western hemisphere’s poorest countries with Brazil-Haiti: “Football for Peace”.

About the video:

In the next seven minutes prepare to be moved to tears while watching the following film recorded by the Brazilian Federation (CBF) during their “Football for Peace” visit to the troubled Caribbean island of Haiti on 18 August [2004].

If the wide smiles of Ronaldinho [sic] and Roberto Carlos listening to the locals’ unbridled sounds of joy as the Brazilians are driven through Haitian streets in U.N. tank-like vehicles does not moisten the eyes, then the shy look of the lucky boy standing in front of Ronaldo as the teams line-up surely will. Sit back and witness the passion football creates.

Barry Bonds and other American athletes, take note. (Yes Dixie, my old college buddy and now NBA marketing V.P., I recall and will one day highlight the NBA’s Africa initiative.)

FIFA Fair Play logo

WordPress.com & Akismet.com – Thank you from The Distillery

Monday, 12 June 2006; 12:13

This has nothing to do with The Distillery’s usual content per se. However, very warm thanks are due both WordPress.com and Akismet.com for keeping The Distillery’s comments clean and spam-free now that it has caught the attention of many new readers.

Yes spammers, that means you are just wasting your time. Mine, aside from this message to you, is not given the excellence of the implemented solutions here and my trust in them. Have you not noticed your comments never appear? And, the false positive rate just as well be absolute zero on a temperature scale. Now, go find easier targets.

Thanks again, WordPress and Akismet.

Akismet download button (non-functional) WordPress logo