Tag Archives: advertising

Koodo using crappy game to get attention

Interactive Koodo ad at Peel metro

Interactive Koodo ad at Peel metro

Last weekend, some metro station platform ads were replaced by a television screen inviting people to “train” with some Koodo-branded games. Koodo, you’ll recall, is the Telus-owned “discount” cellphone service which competes with Rogers’s Fido and Bell’s Solo Mobile services. It unexplicably uses cheesy 80s workout clichés as the basis for its branding.

A user interacts with a Koodo ad at Berri-UQAM metro station

A user interacts with a Koodo ad at Berri-UQAM metro station

Lo and behold, it worked. People on a metro platform waiting for a train are a notoriously bored bunch (even if they’re in a hurry). Shiny things with buttons will quickly find people willing to press them.

Unfortunately, the games themselves weren’t that good. In fact, one wasn’t even a game, it was just a menu filled with information about Koodo’s cellphone plans. The only actual “game” is a Where’s Waldo-style search game that requires the user to “scroll” through the map because it doesn’t all fit on the screen.

The game had clearly not been usability tested, because I couldn’t figure out how the scrolling worked. Tapping near the corner caused it to slowly scroll in that direction by about an inch. Dragging a finger toward the corner caused the screen to quickly scroll in that direction and then quickly scroll back. Dragging a finger away from the corner caused about the same thing to happen. (UPDATE Aug. 27: I’m not the only one to notice this failure.)


Unexpected click gives a 404 error

Unexpected click gives a 404 error

I’m not quite sure how I did this, but I somehow created a new tab in Internet Explorer (which this apparently runs on) and sent it to a page which doesn’t exist.

Closeup of Koodo ad 404 error

Closeup of Koodo ad 404 error

So apparently these ads are running on Windows servers using a two-year-old version of the Apache web server. (On the plus side, the system resets itself after a minute or two of inactivity)

I have to give Koodo credit for this one. After all, I’m blogging about it, which was the point. But it doesn’t make me want to get a Koodo phone plan any more.

168 fonctions différentes*

Speaking of how music is everything for dramatic video, it also (combined with a no-shots-last-more-than-a-second editing philosophy) can turn regular police officers into cool cop heroes.

*My horrible transcription skills combined with horrible grammar had the headline originally as “168 fonctions différents.” My apologies to the French language, though I still think it’s stupid of you to assign gender to inanimate objects and concepts.

I’ve always wanted to see in HD

I’m seeing these ads on TV for HD Vision Wraparound sunglasses, which are designed to allow people who wear prescription glasses to have the awesome HD technology that only HD Vision sunglasses can allow. Thankfully, their top scientists and fashion designers have come up with this new product that people can wear over their existing glasses that will not only make them look cool with their “modern European style,” but will also enhance people’s vision by bringing them to full 1080p high definition.

This is something I’ve been seeking for a long time. Much like watching Heroes on my 13-inch standard definition TV, I’ve become annoyed at having to watch the world in daylight with my tiny standard-definition eyes.

Thanks HD Vision.

Rates matter

The Gazette finally has its advertising rates posted online. If you check out its rate card (PDF) and do the math, a full-page ad (10 columns by 292 agate lines) will set you back about $10,000. If you want a colour full-page ad at the back of a section on a Saturday, that number is closer to $20,000.

Or, if you’re interested in online, rates are $15-30 CPM for the website, and the ad spots on HabsInsideOut.com are $750 a month each.

Or if you really want to throw your money away … why not just give it to me? I’ll totally whore myself out to your product.

Cars sell

This week, my job has taken me closer to cars and driving, which is ironic since I don’t have a driver’s license.

Sunday night was the last night of production of the Gazette’s Grand Prix special section, much to the delight of exhausted sports editor Stu Cowan, who worked tirelessly for eight straight days putting together sections that were anywhere from six to 26 pages long. (At last report he was at home in the fetal position mumbling something that sounded like “need another sidebar Randy”)

Yesterday, I spent my shift working on the regular Driving pages, which appear three days a week in front of the classifieds.

Some might wonder why newspapers focus so much on cars, but one look at the Grand Prix section gives the obvious answer: Ads. Lots of them.

It’s one of those subtle pressures that advertising places on editorial. No direct dictation of content, but the understanding that if a newspaper focuses on a certain subject, advertisers will follow.

Unfortunately, as newspaper budgets shrink, the power of this advertising force becomes stronger. As the news holes are shrinking for foreign news, feature stories and books sections, the cash cow sections for cars, homes, employment, electronics and movies are maintained.

That means pages of stories lauding the new Ford Focus and very little talking about global warming (unless an oil company has a new marketing campaign about it), poverty, fine arts, science, religion, or anything else that can’t be used to sell people overpriced stuff.

It’s a problem not just here, but across the entire newspaper industry, and will spread to the blogosphere once that industry matures.

The question is: Where should the line be drawn? How much should the money-making sections be used to subsidize the money-losing ones?

Where’s the line between union and journalist?

Last week, MédiaMatinQuébec, the Journal de Québec locked-out/striking workers paper that I’ve discussed here many times before, decided it would refuse ads from Quebec City’s administration, which is involved in its own labour issues. The city paid for ads in MMQ that explained its points in its negotiation with its union. But because that union supports MMQ, the paper decided it could no longer take advertisements that served to attack its allies.

Was a line crossed here? It’s one thing when MMQ refuses to take ads from Le Soleil, which has a vested interest in making the Journal conflict go on for as long as possible. But Quebec City has nothing to do with Quebecor.

Then again, the entire raison d’être of MMQ is as a union pressure tactic. Should we expect a union-produced newspaper to betray those who support it?

I guess it comes down to a simple question: Is MédiaMatinQuébec a newspaper, with a duty to be objective, or is it a union pressure tactic, whose content should further its ultimate goal?

Smoke for Hour

I find it a bit funny that Hour, the alternative weekly newspaper that decided a while back that it needed better standards and imposed strict rules for its back-of-the-paper sex classifieds (which is why there’s a stark contrast between it and the Mirror when it comes to those starry-eyed escort service ads) celebrated Quebec’s new anti-smoking law with four full-page, full-colour ads promoting cigarettes (offset by a single full-page ad from the government about the new law).

Which is more immoral? Selling women’s bodies in the newspaper or promoting smoking to the 16-29 demographic?

Think about it

Why does this ad for a “special projects coordinator” for The Suburban’s advertising department have a picture of a woman leaning on something in it?

  1. The woman runs the advertising department at The Suburban
  2. The woman is what a typical advertising salesperson looks like
  3. The woman is a stock image designed to attract the attention of readers
  4. This ad is directed specifically at the woman in the photo, whom they can’t identify or locate by other means
  5. Who cares? She’s hot. Can I get her number if I sell ads for the Suburban?
  6. Holy shit! That’s me!

Anglo ads on franco websites?

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but some astute francophone bloggers are noting English-only advertisements on French-language websites like Cyberpresse and Le Devoir.

Assuming it’s not a technical malfunction or clueless advertising agency, should it be a scandal that an ad on a French-language website be in English? A lot of anglophones read French newspapers, watch French television and go to French websites when they can’t find what they need in English. Why not put forward some ads that cater to them?

For example: If The Gazette put a TV ad on RDS during a Habs game to promote its Habs Inside/Out website, in order to reach anglophone Habs enthusiasts who can’t watch the game on another network, or francophone fanatiques who want to immerse themselves in everything about Les Glorieux, would that be so bad?

Or if an anglophone school board had ads in French promoting… oh wait, they already did that. And people are pissed.

Worst. Kerning. Ever.

Seen at the Berri-UQAM metro:

Horrible kerning

Horrible kerning (2)

Looking at the website of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, I admit it’s possible this comically awful kerning job was done on purpose. But if so, it looks silly.

And the fact they misspelled “québécois” inconsistently (note a missing accent on the second version), I’m thinking maybe Astral Media was just incompetent designing these ads.

Insurance companies aren’t heroes

Insurance Bureau of Canada ice storm ad

This ad ran in the paper last week from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. It talks of the 10th anniversary of the ice storm, and the recovery efforts that brought everyone together. It also notes how proud the insurance industry is of the “vital role” it played in that recovery.

It’s along similar lines to this letter from a couple of weeks ago, talking about the heroic insurance adjusters who processed hundreds of thousands of claims in the weeks that followed.

OK sure, it was a lot of work and I’m sure those insurance people had to work overtime. And unlike airline pilots or police officers, insurance adjusters rarely have moments of great triumph in their profession. But this ad makes them out to be heroes, just for processing some forms and cutting some cheques.

Had the insurance companies gone out of their way, above and beyond in compensating policy holders, I might have let them shamelessly suck in the pats on the back. But they didn’t. Instead, they warned people without power not to leave their homes unless they were forced to by the government, saying they wouldn’t be compensated for additional living expenses. A class-action lawsuit is still being fought to get policy holders compensated.

Perhaps instead of spending so much money on advertising masturbation they could settle the lawsuit and give their clients the money they’re owed.

RDS goes black, will it go back?

In one of those moments that marketing geeks wet their pants over, RDS apparently agreed in December to cut out the visual feed for 10 seconds of its Sports 30 recap of a Canadiens game, replacing it with an ad for the Quebec Foundation for the Blind which was mostly a black screen. The audio feed was left as is.

I can find no news coverage of this feat, nor anything from RDS, so I’ll just have to take the word of the marketing agency that this actually happened.

I suppose with all the product placement, pop-up ads and other junk that increasingly attacks our television viewing experience, something like this is inevitable. Let’s just hope this idea isn’t expanded to commercial advertising.

(via iPub)

Relive the 90s with kitsch Québécois commercials

 There’s something about late-80s early-90s television you can’t help but admire. And by “admire” I mean “wonder how we as a society could have produced such crap.” When it comes to Quebec commercials from the time though, you have something extra special that deserves to be preserved.

Fortunately, some people have taken it upon themselves to do just that. There’s even a blog, Publicités poches du Québec, that has tasked itself with that mission, uploading recordings of these ads to YouTube.

Here are some of my favourites: