Ad of the month: December 2011

Summary – Microsoft release a new television advert to show the world what the future is for the Kinect.

The fight for Christmas advert of the year is almost as vicious as the fight for Christmas number one and the prize at the end is well worth the months of hard work.  Every year in the advertising world there is one advert that gets the most publicity, the most column inches and  is the most widely talked about and that is the John Lewis advert.  Any advert with a very cute kid in it is always going to tug at the heart strings especially if it tells a beautiful story with a surprising twist.

This is just about everyone’s advert of the season (if not ad of the year) and it would have been mine to if it wasn’t for a brilliant last minute entry from Microsoft. I’m not usually a fan of their adverts, I find them a little too cheesy and you’ll find they’re almost always imported from America. This wouldn’t usually be a problem but I believe if you release an advert you should always tailor it for the country you’re releasing it in – or at least sync the lips and voice together most imports look like badly dubbed Japanese movies. Apart from that I love everything that Microsoft stands for, their slogan for Windows is perhaps one of my favourite pieces of copy – Windows a life without walls – and it is this simplicity that makes their new advert for Xbox Kinect so brilliant.

The idea of motion control isn’t new and Nintendo have been the front runner in this genre ever since releasing the Nintendo Wii. But with great success comes even greater competitors who will stop at nothing to steal your number one slot. Although unlike Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have had a hard time convincing their fans to put down their controller since their consoles are aimed at gamers whereas the Wii is all about family fun. So it was about time someone showed that their technology had a bit of sustenance to it. As a gamer and avid tech geek I have been waiting for something that could break the boundaries of reality and dip into what we have only seen in film. The possibility to play instruments without them actually being there, to scan through a persons body for medical research, improve learning, expand our knowledge and control a robot on Mars?

The advert has to be taken with a pinch of salt and the word “possibility” should be underlined severely in red. The Xbox Kinect can not do these things, yet, but they are in development. Industry professionals are taking the time to create something truly special from something that started as a one up to Nintendo. At the end of the day this ad is more surprising than a child giving a gift at Christmas. It has given us an insight into the future of technology and given Microsoft a smug grin because perhaps this year we’ll bring out our newly bought, inspiringly brilliant, future cello playing Kinect out its box rather than dust off the Nintendo Wii to watch mum shake it like she’s Lady Gaga.

Whilst Microsoft bank your £109 remember that when you open your Kinect on Christmas day that you are holding a piece of the future in your hands. All be it you can’t preform heart surgery but you can slay a dragon with your fingertips and turn your console on and off with your voice. The immediate might not be as exciting but when you see the ad again in January you can match the Microsoft grin with one of your own and say to your Sony fanboy friends “I have one of those.” Bragging rights included in every box.

Watch the full advert here.

Social media and the consistently changing world of online advertising.

In the past five years I have watched the social networking world go from miniscule obscurity to infinite famanity. It is almost like the big bang effect, what was there before social media existed? It’s almost hard to think back to a time before we updated our every waking second on facebook and then reiterated it on twitter to then blog about it on tumblr and write about blogging and twittering and facebooking about it all on wordpress (heh). With this vast online world just a browser click away it would be mad for advertisers not to jump on board of this social conquest.  However there is a graceful way of getting on the wagon without looking like this is your first time getting into a sports car. Unfortunately, advertisers seem to be stumbling into said car and snagging their dress on the door on the way in. No one wants to go to all that effort getting in and out of the car only to find when you arrive at the party everyone has paid for you not to be seen or worse ignore you like you don’t even exist.  This is the harsh reality advertisers have to face, their adverts are so annoying and droll that people would rather pay a certain amount a month for them to be cancelled out completely, or download powerful ad blockers so that your lovely bright orange flashing banner ad now looks like nothing but white space. The argument is that not everyone can afford to pay just to have their adverts blocked and those ancients who have older browsers can’t get access to ad blockers. But what kind of world do we live in where the vivid, shiny, ever changing world of the internet has boring, tacky, useless and downright slightly confusing adverts (I’m looking at you old lady with the miraculous anti ageing skin)?
Shouldn’t we, as advertisers, take this opportunity to make adverts more appealing and interesting to the public?

In 2011 The World Internet Usage Statistics reported that over 30.2% of the entire worlds population are using the internet. This is a staggering percentage that advertisers across the globe must find it hard to wrap their head around. But it is just a number, a number of people scrolling, surfing, clicking, browsing, looking, seeing, thinking, feeling and hearing on their computers-some of them everyday. This is an opportunity for advertisers to set up a whole new division dedicated to the online world of advertising. What can we, as a company, do for our client to make them more online savvy? Before you older more “mature” companies hide behind your broadsheet newspapers your audience are just as likely to use the internet as their children are. Creating a twitter is a free way of promoting your product to an audience of millions, it also gives your company a social modern standing amongst other businesses. On this said twitter think about sales promotion and giveaways, think of updates and new product information that will entice your followers and remind them of your brand. Just advertising on television, radio and newspapers isn’t enough anymore because you’ll find that most people have their eyes glued to their computer screen or mobile rather than their television or newspaper.

The online world isn’t as scary as one may think and there are plenty of companies – some you wouldn’t expect – leaping into a whole new world ready to explore what prospects it may hold for their brand. Companies such as Tipp-ex the brand who makes correctional fluids who have been around since 1959 smacked into the 21st century with an online viral success that has given a whole new image to the brand. A hunter shoots a bear white and rewrite-an online interactive video where viewers could type in whatever they wanted and see a variety of different outcomes-became a huge success, through the power of twitter and facebook it gained over a million views within 32 hours. The advert originally launched just in the UK, Germany and France but due to the enormous response it was quickly shared to people all over the world to China and beyond. To add even more free advertising to the mix, newspapers, television shows and radio starting talking and promoting the advert – from all over the world. Within 100 days the tipp-ex experienced gained over 35.5+ million views and the average brand exposure was over 5 minutes. With that one campaign tipp-ex has become one of the top branded channels on youtube but more importantly at the end of the campaign sales for tipp-ex had increased in Europe +30%.

The power of the internet is vast but the power of the people is much bigger. If one person likes your advert guaranteed if they shared it on their social media their friends would like it to and if their friends shared it then the social cycle would go on. The internet has the ability to change and adapt and will never stay the same so advertisers have to get moving with them in order to keep up and keep people interested. The most important thing to learn about the internet is people are watching, they are waiting for something new and exiting to happen so they can talk about it on their blog. This is a world of endless possibilities, blank spaces looking to be filled with imagination, this is your time-average joe company-to make your business known get yourself an @twitter plus a facebook slash and if you plan it right you could be the next big thing.