By Kirk Littell
A heavyweight ad battle continues to rage during commercial breaks across America. It’s a somewhat equitable battle in terms of dollars spent but my scorecard shows AT&T getting drubbed by Verizon in terms of creativity.
AT&T continues to advertise in “damage control mode” after Verizon’s recent onslaught of ads, with a new spot featuring actor Luke Wilson. If you watched any TV over the weekend you invariably saw him standing in the middle of the US map where he tosses postcards to all of the locations covered in AT&Ts 3G network. This spot is very tedious as he slowly reads city names one by one and adds odd “fun facts” as he throws the cards. The initial ad gains some momentum when you see a second commercial where he continues to throw cards until the map is bursting with them. Kudos on that media buy, but this pair seems like a big “so what”.
All of this was of course brought on by Verizon’s choice to deride AT&T’s coverage areas in multiple ads that coincided with the release of it’s new 3G phone, The Droid. They turned the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” line into “There’s a map for that” and started attacking the largest US phone company with said maps. This ad (seen in the photo above) uses a classic holiday special to compare the networks. But as entertaining as these commercials are, comparing the maps side-by-side isn’t exactly fair. Or at least that what AT&T argues in their lawsuit against Verizon, saying that they do have 2G coverage in the areas that are not 3G-ready. (Verizon’s map for AT&T only depicts the 3G areas and nothing more; they’ve omitted the 2G and 2.5G coverage areas.)
Bloomberg.com reports: “U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten said that while the ads, which use maps to compare the companies’ third-generation networks, might be “sneaky” or “clever,” they are “literally true.” AT&T will have another chance to ask the court to prohibit the ads in a Dec. 16 hearing. Batten said AT&T is unlikely to prevail.”
Stay tuned, and if you read this blog with your 3G device just stay out of Death Valley, I don’t think either wireless carrier covers it – yet.
By Kirk Littell
This is a TV spot AXIS recently created for the Pittsuburgh Public Schools to help promote the “Pathway to the Promise” to ensure that every student is “Promise-Ready”, meaning that they are academically eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year towards their post-secondary education (college, vocational school, etc.) This is one part of a larger branding strategy that AXIS developed for PPS around promoting this program to the community. It is their commitment to build a culture of expectations, promote aspirations for higher education, and ensure that students are on course to be eligible for Pittsburgh Promise scholarships.
By Kirk Littell
Consider this. Your website is more green if it is black. In January of this year, Mark Ontkush wrote a blog post that claimed if Google changed their page background to black, they would save 750 megawatt-hours a year. As Mark says:
As noted, an all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. I thought I would do a little math and see what could be saved by moving a high volume site to the black format. Take at look at Google, who gets about 200 million queries a day. Let’s assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. That turns into a global savings of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that’s $75,000, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.
By Kirk Littell
When the almighty “they” speak of a ‘paperless society’ it’s typically in reference to paper — you know, office paper, correspondence, forms, spreadsheets, etc. I for one still see that model being a long ways off (have you ever tried to read 30 continuous pages on-screen?). What is practically imminent though is the newspaper-less society. Yeah, I know the Boomers still like their news physically in front of them (and don’t forget those Sunday coupons!) but show me a tween, college student or young professional reading a newspaper that they had to buy — you can’t.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the New York Times stopped a feature last month called TimesSelect where one had to have a print subscription in order to access certain areas of the website (the Op-Ed pieces and the archive sections). With the practice of SEO driving more and more people to news portals it makes more sense, if you’re the Times, to give the masses full access to your content. In today’s media, having a big audience is what counts because those metrics can be turned into ad revenue. BuzzMachine put it like this: And TimesSelect cost the paper much more in the internet age: It took the Times columnists out of the conversation and reduced their influence in America and worldwide. Worse, it diluted the paper’s Googlejuice. Even as the Times acquired About.com, the company shut off some of its content from Google’s search and bloggers’ links. That was its greatest harm.”
American Express seized an opportunity to take credit for the paradigm shift (see circled copy in their ad on the right) and not only did they benefit, but it looks like the Times has, too. Website traffic is up dramatically: “The Op-Ed section reached 560,057 unique visitors last week, up from 245,942 for the week ending 09/15/07, while overall site traffic hovered around 3.8M, up from 3.4M in the same period. Op-Ed columns have also driven major viral traffic, claiming 4 out of 5 Most E-Mailed stories in today’s online edition.” Source Looks like a win for everyone, well, maybe the loggers aren’t too happy. What are we ever going to do with all of these damn trees, anyway? 🙂
The Iraq War, Health Care, Tax Reform, Social Security, Terrorism, Global Warming. All issues to debated until the elections determine who wins the 2008 Presidential Election, for sure. But none of those topics come into play in this forum. What matters here is the design of the political campaign logos — these identities are as varied as the candidates themselves.
In my opinion, the logo that stands out initially is John McCain‘s. It’s black, his name is featured prominently and the swash of yellow sits nicely afoot the only logo with an identifiable element — the military star. There’s no doubt the star represents his military service and compared with the generic stars and stripes found in the other marks, this element is very distinguishing. If you didn’t know anything about any of these candidates prior to seeing these marks you could deduce that McCain had served his country.
Another element that caught me was the green swoosh in John Edward‘s logotype. His website uses this color as an accent, and given the ‘green’ world that we live in these days I’m surprised no one else has utilized it. The direction of his swoosh is important in that it’s a rising star, not one that’s falling. Conversely,Mitt Romney‘s swoosh looks like it has morphed into a wingless bird that has been injured and is fighting for survival. The US Postal Service‘s bird would eat this one for lunch.
The most egregious design element has to be Bill Richardson‘s fractured star. Bisecting this shape in an American political arena really seems to be shortsighted. I hope they don’t drag Old Glory through the dirt at any of Bill’s rallies.
The Barack Obama logo is the most progressive and elegant one of the group. The concept and execution found within this logo are years ahead of the others — maybe even 4 years ahead! In his logo, I immediately see concepts: hope (a sun seems to be rising in the center of the “O”); unity (the circle forms a nice communal element); and progress (the left-to-right moving stripes represent the flag but also form the “land” when combined with the aforementioned “sun”.) The light blue found on either side of his name really ties this one together nicely. And in the year 2007, how did none of the other logos include the website address, like this one managed to do? Amazing!
Hillary Clinton‘s seems to be safe and looks “Presidential”. Joe Biden‘s is nice, but mostly forgettable.Rudy Guilani‘s is alright, but I think I would have liked to see an “08” next to it for context, otherwise it comes across as an element better suited for his autobiography. (John McCain would have benefited from this approach, too.) Chris Dodd‘s? I look right past that mark every time. Go ahead, try to study it for 5 seconds — you can’t!
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