Nobody likes you, Erin

Well, maybe some people do. Probably too much.

Early Esurance commercials were animated featuring a pink-haired female spy named Erin Esurance, who posed as an auto-insurance agent. The goal was to juxtapose a widely disliked business, insurance, with a popular superhero archetype. In her first three years, the character was used in over 30 commercials. The character was also used on an episode of Who Wants to be a Superhero?. Esurance stopped prominently using the character in its advertising in June 2010 because the character was unpopular in surveys compared to the average for other corporate mascots such as Microsoft’s Clippy, with the exception of her top score in the “sexiness” category. Despite the unpopularity, in an example of Rule 34, pornographic fan art of the character—”some with a remarkable degree of verisimilitude to the real thing”, according to CBS News—appeared frequently in results for Internet searches of “Erin Esurance”, also likely contributing to the decision.

Facebook Ad Targeting About To Get More Specific

This Mailchimp post talks about their latest feature: advertising to your mailing list subscribers directly on Facebook. Facebook will soon let you create advertising campaigns targeting specific people by email address. So if you have an email list, you can have a campaign where you send an email, create a Facebook ad, and generally make it so that your subscribers will see your message multiple times.

As a marketer, this is pretty cool and useful. As a regular person who uses Facebook, I feel like pulling out my teeth and living off the grid.

I Look At Ads: Christian Mingle


INT: Offices of Christian Mingle. Meeting room. Executives are in the middle of prayer

Exec 1: And Lord, please bless the offices of Christian Mingle and this strategy meeting, for us to better spread your love and your word. Amen.
All: Amen.
Exec 1: Brothers in Christ, allow me to introduce this new face at our table. This is brother Gregory.
All: (Nice to meet you, Gregory / Hi Gregory / Such a pleasure to have you here, Gregory)
Gregory: Uh, yeah – hi everyone. Please just call me Greg.
Exec 2: We are blessed to have brother Gregory join us at Christian Mingle. Gregory comes to us from Zynga, the Sodom and Gomorrah of Internet companies.
Gregory: Yeah, I guess you could say I was lost, but now I’m found, right?

Greg nervously laughs

Exec 3: Yes Gregory, and we at Christian Mingle are fortunate to have found you.
Exec 2: We can’t wait to hear your ideas about how to increase new registrations this quarter.
Exec 1: We believe that to best spread the message of Christ there is no better alternative than…what shall we call it? …hmm. “Cultural Eugenics.”
Gregory: Yeah, ok. Well, why don’t we start by talking about why registration rates have been on a steady decline?
Exec 1: Of course, Gregory. This has been a conundrum for some time. Every night I pray, hoping that our Lord may help me find an answer to this question. But alas, he has provided me no insight.
Exec 2: It is as if our lord has forsaken us.
Exec 3 (angered): NO! Did he forsake Daniel in the lion’s den? Did he forsake Abraham? Did he forsake Noah?
Greg: …I don’t really know. I’m not reli—
Exec 1: Even bible scholars debate these questions today. I believe we have not been forsaken, for we now have the insight of brother Gregory.
Greg: Like I said before, “Greg” is fine—
Exec 3: Brother Gregory, what new perspectives do you bring?
Greg: Well, over the weekend I reviewed Christian Mingle’s branding and other outreach methods.
Exec 2: I suspect you found them all top-notch. We baptized the laptop we created the landing pages on.
Exec 1: But that broke it, so we had to dip into our venture funding and buy a new laptop.
Exec 3: Yes, the cleansing waters of God’s love are too strong for electronics, particularly ones involved with the sinful viewing of pornographic material.
Exec 2: I confessed my sin!
Greg: Gentlemen, have you ever thought of what makes a good dating site? Where did you meet your wives?
Exec 1: Well, CHURCH of course! The church raffle fundraiser.
Exec 3: As a priest I am not allowed to have relations with a woman. I think of this sacrifice every day of my life.
Exec 2: I am not married, but my born-again girlfriend and I have been engaged for seven years. She has been through a lot. Crack addiction, prostitution. But God’s everlasting love brought us together.
Exec 1: Indeed. This is blessed news.
Exec 2: Well, it has not been perfect. I wonder if God is testing me. We sometimes argue about why she pushes our marriage so far into the future, or why she only visits when she needs money. Honestly, I look forward to losing my virginity to her on our wedding night…But lust is a sin and the flesh can wait. I’ve been waiting seven years. I can wait seven more.

Greg opens his briefcase and removes some printouts, placing them on the conference table

Greg: Gentleme—BROTHERS! Have you ever looked at the banner ads we run?
Exec 1: Of course. We designed them ourselves.
Greg: I suggest we redesign them. I believe they are entirely inappropriate for a dating site.
Exec 3: But this is a CHRISTIAN dating site!
Exec 2: What better way to let people know that than with our current banner ads featuring imagery of Jesus on the cross?!
Greg: I don’t think that’s the right message to send. Not for a dating site.
Exec 1: Well, we do! Right off the bat! BOOM! Christian imagery. Christ on the cross.
Exec 3: And right underneath, copy that reads, “He died for your sins.”
Exec 2: Yeah. That tells people, “Click this for Jesus. He died for your sins, but he loves you and wants you to be happy with other Christians.”
Exec 3: But strictly for procreation!
Exec 1: Flirting isn’t a sin.
Greg: I think we need to do something different…we need to make the ads…sexier. Maybe feature some of our female members.
Exec 2: But then people will think—people will think this is a HOOKUP site! We may as well change the name of the company!
Exec 1: Our mission is to unite people in the pursuit of making more Christians.
Exec 2: Ok – COMPROMISE. We remove the image of Christ, but maybe we put up an image of some hooded monks or something.
Exec 3: That CHANT album from 20 years ago did that and they sold boatloads!
Exec 1: What about if we make the ad about the end result? Beautiful Christian children! We can put little halos atop their heads so people will know they’re Christians!
Greg: If we put up some female imagery we can attract some male clientele.
Exec 1: But then how will we know they’re Christians?
Greg: Simple. We ask them…right in the profile. And if they say they’re muslim, agnostic, or jewish or something else—
Exec 2: Like PAGAN?! Or WICCAN?
Greg: Especially Wiccan – then we simply don’t allow the registration process to continue.

Silence as the team thinks this through

Exec 1: …you know, this could work. Maybe a little message comes up saying, “Christ loves you, but not this much. Come back when you’re a Christian.
Exec 3: And then we cookie their computer, block it, and excommunicate them.
Greg: Yeah, okay, sure. But the main thing is we need to put up some sexy Christian women on the advertising…sexy, but tasteful. And we target men on Facebook.
Exec 1: And on the landing page we ask two questions. #1 – “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” And #2 – “Would you like to meet some Christian chicks?”

Exec 2 raises his hand

Exec 2: …what is the Church’s position on someone in a committed relationship signing up for the service?

Facebook Home ads show Facebook at its worst

Facebook Home™ – Because most people would rather be someplace else right now.

Josh Elman:

…when I saw the actual ads for Facebook Home, I was appalled. The “Dinner” and “Launch Day” ads show Facebook at its worst. Rather than enjoying a family dinner, or Zuck talking to celebrate the team, we see people tuning out and being as distracted and un-present as possible. Ignoring your family to watch drumming at dinner seems fairly rude. A few minutes to celebrate a launch with your favorite CEO should be especially fun for a team rather than something to avoid and watch your friends’ videos. (Also why put the CEO in a commercial if you are going to make him look boring and let him drone on?) These distractions end up completely taking over the scene, which just doesn’t seem like the image Facebook would want.

Myth No. 53

Adobe Marketing Cloud ad

INT – Adobe marketing offices

Adobe exec 1: I love it! Gotta say, I love this new ad!
Adobe exec 2: Yeah – we named this one “Myth 53” – I wonder if people will try to find the other 52.
Adobe exec 1: Probably not, but it doesn’t matter, does it? It really GRABS you – ya know?
Adobe exec 2: You mean that headline?
Adobe exec 1: RIGHT! I mean, right above the fold – “YOU CAN’T TRUST MARKETERS!” Makes you stop and read it.
Adobe exec 2: Yeah, because it’s rooted in truth, right? People come to that page, read that headline and think, “FINALLY! A company that ACKNOWLEDGES that marketers are completely full of shit! It’s about time. I wanna do business with them!”
Adobe exec 1: Exactly! But then we say you CAN trust marketers!
Adobe exec 2: …but, I just thought we said we can’t.
Adobe exec 1: …uh, well—YOU CAN NOW is what I’m saying. Because of…er
Adobe exec 2: Metrics?
Adobe exec 1: Yeah – that stuff!
Adobe exec 2: So, when someone goes, “hey, did that ad work?” and then the marketing person says “No, it didn’t, and here’s how we know!” they’ll be pointing to the Adobe Marketing Cloud?
Adobe exec 1: Yuppers!
Adobe exec 2: …how are we measuring this ad?
Adobe exec 1: Whaddaya mean?
Adobe exec 2: Well, we want to prove the ad works, but there’s no special offer code or any sort of landing page for this ad. Just a twitter handle.
Adobe exec 1: Well, that’s easy – we just measure the increase in followers to that twitter handle!
Adobe exec 2: But how do we know THIS ad did that?
Adobe exec 1: Because…the – cloud. The cloud does it. Somehow.
Adobe exec 2: How?
Adobe exec 1: It just does.
Adobe exec 2: This isn’t the only ad we ran, is it?
Adobe exec 1: I don’t know – I’m not in marketing.

The Woman(!) Behind GoDaddy’s Tasteless, Effective Super Bowl Ads

Jeff Bercovici interviews Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy’s Chief Marketing Officer, for Forbes.

FORBES: A lot of the criticism of “Perfect Match” accused it of reinforcing certain negative stereotypes. Did that bother you to hear?
BARB RECHTERMAN: I’m not sure what negative stereotypes it reinforced.
FORBES: I guess it was the idea that beautiful women are dumb and need men to help them, that beautiful, dumb women and rich, unattractive men go together.
BARB RECHTERMAN: Interesting. I had not thought of it that way. But I can tell you the goal here was not to stereotype at all, but to make it about two things: to make it acceptable for a beautiful woman to kiss a nerdy guy who might have money, or to make it acceptable for a nerdy guy to kiss a beautiful woman. The goal was to demonstrate our edgy heritage and make it smart, and I think it did that.

I also don’t see how that ad is sexist. It’s kinda gross, but sexist? I don’t think so.

If you want to know what a sexist ad looks like there are plenty of good examples in GoDaddy’s past. If anything, “Perfect Match” was GoDaddy growing up.

Sandy Ads

Rather than gathering an exhaustive catalog of Sandy-related advertising, I thought I’d share three typical examples. Strategies varied. Many, many companies helped out during the storm, and some used advertising to show off what they were doing. Some businesses specifically advertised supplies and services people might need following the storm. And finally, some brands just ran crass Hurricane Sandy promotions.

I also received a bunch of emails, mostly from banks/credit card companies saying “If there’s anything we can do…” which really means “we can loan you money at high interest rates while you recover, and there’s a higher chance you’ll take our crapy deal because your basement is flooded and you need our money now more than ever.”

“Dude, It’s Awesome”

Yesterday I received an email from from Oracle. The headline said:

Architecting Business Continuity Essentials for Enterprise Applications

Eager to find out how my enterprise applications could be architected for business continuity I read on.

I learned that I could…

Facilitate capacity planning and performance tuning. And effectively consolidate and virtualize enterprise application environments.

All I can say is, if you’ve never virtualized your enterprise application environment, dude it’s awesome.

Streaming Music’s ‘Flavor of the Month’ Problem

Good argument on how streaming music services face sustainability problems as they add more advertising and face competition from new services.

But I’ve been sticking with Spotify, even with the obnoxious ads, because it works better to me. Discovery happens on Spotify. Listening happens in iTunes.