Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Allerca Lifestyle Pets

Friday, 9 February 2007; 10:00

At a price of $4,000 to $6,000 per kitten, it is pathetic that Allerca uses YouTube to distribute its video content. Can Allerca not afford a decent web designer? At least they are not using rehashed 30-second commercials, but instead 2-3 minutes segments from the three major networks’ morning and evening news programs.

And, somewhat as an aside, The Distillery can only wonder when Google/YouTube will begin charging firms for purely commercial video distribution. Rest assured that day will come.

Home page:  Allerca Lifestyle Pets




Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 20:19

Few know it, but before Trek came along seven-times Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, rode a Litespeed titanium bicycle. In fact, he liked the company’s bikes so much that he paid for his own custom-built Litespeeds instead of riding the standard team issue bikes supplied for free by another manufacturer. For those few hardcore cyclists out there, let us have a look at this interview and what Litespeed is up to these days.

Home page:  Litespeed

Approximately $10,000 and it’s yours! (Roche Laboratories)

Monday, 5 February 2007; 10:38

Unless you look a little closely, you may not recognize that is brought to you by Roche Laboratories.

(By the way, have you noticed all the penguins being used in advertisements these days? Clearly, the little fellas have become a very hot item on Madison Avenue as of late.)

Home page:

Hillary for President

Tuesday, 23 January 2007; 8:57

This is indeed a very different era. We are witnessing changes with politics and the internet as profound was the first televised presidential candidate debate between Nixon and Kennedy. We now have at least three presidential candidates who first disclosed their presidential aspirations via not traditional media outlets, but the internet instead. Of those using the internet, let us first look at Senator and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

In a nutshell, Hillary’s people fully get the internet. Senator Clinton’s web site is replete with video and interactivity. In fact, video can be found on every page of the section About Hillary. And, we’re not seeing rehashed TV commercials, either. We’re witnessing a true understanding of the internet and its audiences. It appears we can take Senator Clinton at her word. She is not only beginning a bid for President, but even now is having a “conversation with the American people.” Yes, Hillary gets the internet–and The Distillery’s vote.

Home page:



Wednesday, 10 January 2007; 18:35

There is something very wrong, and possibly a little evil (and definitely indicative of cluelessness) in advertising when the only multimedia content at a corporate web site (i.e., KFC) is targeted toward kids. Shame on you Col. Sanders.

(And that’s all I have to say about that. ~Forrest Gump)

Home page:  KFC


Chevrolet Volt (electric car)

Monday, 8 January 2007; 9:14

Some firms just aren’t getting it. One car receiving a great deal of attention at the current Detroit motor show is the Chevrolet Volt, an all-electric concept vehicle that looks really cool. Given the automobile and the sensation it has created, one would think Chevrolet might also make certain to provide the car a decent web site. Wrong!

Instead, we get a web site for the car that is as silent as a church mouse during vespers. Get a clue, Chevrolet! You have also made another mistake The Distillery too often sees with Flash-powered sites–no images which can be easily linked and displayed. Now wouldn’t it be nice if readers not only heard about your head-turning concept car, but could also find a picture of it here?

Home page:  Chevrolet Volt

Image not readily provided by manufacturer! Duh!!!

Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System

Wednesday, 20 December 2006; 12:22

Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System is something my mom might have preferred. I understand she had one helluva time teaching me how to tie my shoes–and I still do it quite differently than anyone else. However, technology has all but rendered the art of tying shoe laces essentially moot–at least for kids. It seems many young children’s shoes now come with Velcro straps instead of shoe laces. However, Velcro isn’t right for most shoes. And, old-fashioned laces have their disadvantages, especially in some of the more demanding activities and sports.

Enter the Boa Lacing System. (The Distillery even likes the name.) Instead of tying shoe laces (which have not been fully eliminated–just yet), the Boa system depends on dials around which “cables” are wrapped in such a manner that users need only dial the lacing of their shoes either tighter or looser. And in fact, the Boa system has passed one of the most demanding of tests–the Tour de France. (Can you imagine a professional bicycle racer having to stop and tie his shoes as his competitors speed up the mountain?)

However, what about the Boa web site itself. As should often be expected these days, the site opens with a multimedia presentation. However, when it might serve the product’s purpose to continue as a richly informative information source about a new product with sights and sounds, it begins to come untied.

The How It Works portion of the site eschews any sort of multimedia presentation or information that might keep less than fully involved consumers interested in a new and untried product. That is an error in dire need of correction. On the other hand, Boa does not make the mistake typically seen at Flash-driven web sites–no images which the consumer can download and/or share with others. Kudos to Boa for that nice touch–even if not on purpose.

One caveat, however, from personal experience. The Boa system can break, and unlike good ol’fashioned shoe laces, a fix is not simply a drive to the drug store and replacing a lace. My personal experience has shown the dials can break, leaving the shoe’s wearer essentially with a shoe which cannot be properly tightened around the foot. In fact, some retailers even keep extra dials on hand. Given that, and although the web site addresses the issue by saying the product will not break, I’ll continue to tie my shoes in my own unique and effective way. YMMV.

Home page:  Boa Technology

Aston Martin

Tuesday, 12 December 2006; 10:06

It is everything British. It was the first car uniquely “modified” by Q for James Bond. It is the Aston Martin.

And very likely, at least to most Americans, the Aston Martin is synonymous with 007 agent, James Bond. However, is it a car Americans might prefer in and of itself? Maybe, but The Distillery doubts it will be the Aston Martin web site that convinces them of that. It is not a badly designed site, but it simply doesn’t convey (although there is great attempt) the mystique of the Aston Martin brand. That might have something to do with Aston Martin now being owned by Ford.

The site is thoroughly modern (by British standards), but suffers from a certain lack of originality and cachet. Yes, we find the now expected driving videos. However, and with all due respect, the music in at least one of them nothing more than glorified Muzak. It almost gets in the way more than it holds one’s attention. And in another video, one is left with a decidedly negative impression of Aston Martin that not even the video’s ending can eliminate. (Well, that was The Distillery’s reaction.)

In that one video, at the very same time the word “evil” is spoken, a less-than-friendly looking driver seemingly captures and crushes a butterfly with his bare hand. Granted, a few seconds later he stops the car and releases it, and there is a disclaimer that no butterflies were harmed during the making of the commercial, but by that time I suspect more than one viewer experienced the same visceral reaction as I. “Why is he killing the butterfly?!” (I don’t think Aston Martin expected that particular reaction. Maybe the firm will use a focus group next time.)

And once again, we find a classic online media/advertising mistake–a microsite, this time for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster, but with absolutely no audio. Having no audio commands the viewer’s attention for maybe a few seconds, but not much more. Conversely, we have seen that just the correct few notes and bars can transform a quick click by the viewer into a few minutes of wonder. Then again, maybe Aston Martin thinks this downloadable sound of the DB8 engine suffices. It does not. It seems the firm does not recognize that sight and sound together work far better than either alone.

In sum, it is unfortunate Aston Martin cannot instill in its web site that same sense of wonder we have when watching a Aston Martin driven by James Bond–machine guns, water cannons, ejection seats, or not as standard equipment.

Home page:  Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB 5
Aston Martin DB 5


Monday, 11 December 2006; 14:15

Something weird seems to be happening. And, it is YouTube-related. (Isn’t everything these days?) What is it? It appears some firms have decided that the best and cheapest advertising, viral or otherwise, begins [and ends] with YouTube.

Pinger is an excellent example. Via YouTube, the founders of offer this video introduction to their new business model. (Look to the lower-left portion of your screen. Then click “video” under “Learn More.”) How does The Distillery feel about using YouTube as a primary advertising medium? We are not certain. It seems both right and wrong. Let’s explore that assessment a little more.

YouTube is an excellent fit with what is suspected to be Pinger’s primary target market–younger-aged text messengers. On the other hand, and keeping recent survey findings in mind, using YouTube will not be the best vehicle for what is assumed to be another Pinger target market–older adults more accustomed to voice and phone, but have not yet adopted text messaging. (Note: Pinger combines voice with text messaging and your cell phone. It supposedly offers the best of both worlds.)

Is YouTube Pinger’s only advertising medium, other than any viral or word-of-mouth from the YouTube video? The Distillery would appreciate if its readers let it know where else Pinger ads have been found. Yes, there are the press releases and very likely some public relations work, but will they be sufficient?

 We also see Pinger aligning itself with–again emphasizing a younger target market. Does that mean Pinger is eschewing older users who might actually find this form of “text messaging” not only fun, but useful? Only time will tell if a YouTube-focused advertising campaign is sufficient. But until then, you might give Pinger a trial–regardless of your age.

 Home page:  Pinger

Pinger logo

Pearl Harbor Survivors Project

Monday, 11 December 2006; 12:19

They are battle-weary members of America’s “greatest generation.” They are also now growing far fewer in numbers with each passing day. They are the U.S. survivors of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

With each of their deaths, a little bit of history dies. Such is the reason causes like the Pearl Harbor Survivors Project are all the more important. Although many government leaders apparently have not learned the lesson, war is hell, and these remaining members of the greatest generation leave no doubt about that as you watch them tell their stories.

Thank you, veterans of Pearl Harbor and veterans of wars everywhere. After all, all sides fight “with God on their side.”

Home page: Pearl Harbor Survivors Project
Site page:  Survivors’ videos

USS Russell passes in review.
USS Russell’s pass-in-review before the Pearl Harbor survivors

Pantech & RAIN

Thursday, 19 October 2006; 12:16

Okay, so I’m actually looking for a new cell phone after having the present one for five years. One brand I saw compatible with my carrier was Pantech, which is new to me. So, what about its online advertising? I decided that would determine if Pantech would be among my evoked set at purchase time. So, in search of a cell phone . . .

The Distillery instead found RAIN’s first Chinese M/V with Pantech. Also found is one soulful Japanese crooner and a superb dancer. I’ve read mixed reviews about Pantech’s phones, but this promotional music video is absolutely superb. And, how often do you get to select either simplified or traditional Chinese as your subtitles? (Anyone having luck getting into the Chinese version of the site? Although the video is perfectly clean and wholesome, maybe it’s still being “sanitized” by the Chinese government.)

Folks, this one really works. I’m almost ready to diss all the mixed reviews for Pantech cell phones simply because I’m listening to a well-chosen and very pleasant soundtrack right now. Michael Jackson, you may have brought us the moonwalk, but The Distillery is forecasting RAIN. (And yes, that logo below is just the way it was found. Anyone else notice an “E” missing?)

By the way, those interested might also wish to have a gander at the Pantech’s Russian “Your Phone is Too Fat” microsite. Isn’t it becoming a wonderfully small world?

Home page:  Pantech
Home page:  Pantech and RAIN M/V Promotion Site


Dassault Falcon 7X & Dassault Aviation

Tuesday, 17 October 2006; 9:54

One kind reader of SippinWhisky’s Distillery has commented on the apparent love of jets here. Yes, The Distillery loves jets, but that’s far from the complete story. Highlighted here are many products one will never see in other advertising mediums, especially those offered to the general public. Factors creating that sparcity include very small target markets, complex products, traditionally expensive advertising costs, etc.

However, the internet and broadband have changed the means and costs by which information about very expensive and relatively rare products can be promoted to consumers, even those not likely ever to be customers. Thus, the frequency of postings about jets. That explained…

We have the Dassault Falcon 7X. You will not see this airplane advertised on television. However, it may well have been included in the in-flight magazine for the Concorde when it was still flying. Maybe ads for it are seen in some first class sections of the world’s finer airlines. Regardless, you are no longer left grounded simply because you do not have access to any particular promotional mediums.

Enjoy imagining yourself owning and flying the Falcon 7X. Aeroplane aficionados may well enjoy this page linked to videos, sounds, logos, 3-D drawings, and historical photographs from Dassault Passion.

Home page:  Dassault Falcon
Of Interest(?): Interactive Product Tour

Dassault Falcon cut-away graphic