Tag Archives | Advertising

A Celebration of James Garner’s Polaroid Commercials

James GarnerThey weren’t the best thing he ever did, or the one which we’ll cherish the most. But with the sad news of the passing of James Garner, it’s worth pausing to remember the commercials he did in the late 1970s and early 1980s for Polaroid. And–this being Technologizer–it’s how we’ll memorialize him here.

When it came to celebrity spokespeople, Polaroid wasn’t stingy: Laurence Olivier did the first ad for the SX-70 camera, and Danny Kaye touted the ill-fated Polavision instant movie system. Hiring James Garner was a similarly classy move, but the ads he appeared in weren’t like anything which Polaroid had done before. Or anyone else, really.

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The Galaxy Note Get Samsung’s Apple-Bashing Ad Treatment

Samsung’s Super Bowl commercial for the Galaxy Note, directed by a Farrelly brother, is like a fancier, less entertaining parody of its earlier Apple fan-bashing spots:

While the first ads featured the Galaxy S II phone, a direct competitor of the iPhone 4S, this one is for the Galaxy Note. With its huge screen and pen, it’s both an anti-iPhone and one of the most distinctive phones on the market. So the gag feels a little muffled, and the Note doesn’t get enough explanation.

I’m still curious how the Galaxy Note will do–it strikes me as neat, but a niche. But the fact that Samsung plowed money into a Super Bowl spot presumably means that it thinks the phone can be a mainstream hit.

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The Times of Kodak’s Life

So Eastman Kodak has declared bankruptcy. Right now, Twitter is like a wake for this most beloved of American companies. I refuse to speak of Kodak in the past tense, though: bankruptcy protection is not a death sentence, and when it says, as it does in its press release, that it intends to “emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company,” I’m rooting for it to do exactly that.

But like everyone else who grew up shooting Kodak film–often in a Kodak camera–I’m feeling wistful about the brand and what it’s meant to me and the world. How about watching a few vintage commercials, including two versions of the once-famous tear-jerker “Turn Around” and ones starring the Nelsons, the cast of Bewitched, Michael Landon, and Bill Cosby?

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Google Makes a Mess With King Arthur Flour

[UPDATE: Google isn’t just eating crow about this, but is also punishing itself, by demoting Chrome in Google search results. According to a company statement:

We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users. While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.

As I explain below, I think that the possibility of skewed search results was only one iffy aspect of this campaign, but it’s good to see Google hold itself accountable.]

Yesterday, Aaron Wall and Danny Sullivan reported on an odd Google marketing campaign–okay, a troubling one–that apparently involved Google paying bloggers to publish posts that embedded a Google video featuring Vermont flour maker King Arthur Flour. The effort got mentions of Chrome onto hundreds of blogs–albeit hasty, lame references in at least some cases–and also looked like it might have been designed to juice Chrome’s Google rankings.

Today, Google is disowning the campaign, which it says was conducted without its knowledge by a company with the apt name Unruly Media. Unruly says that it didn’t intend to affect search rankings. But even if it didn’t, the notion of Google products being promoted through subsidized blog posts–abysmal subsidized blog posts–is painfully cheesy.

(It reminds me of Ogilvy’s plans to pay bloggers to write about LG Electronics, which I wrote about recently.)

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It’s Selectric! IBM’s Classic Typewriter Turns Fifty

Do you remember typewriters? Of course you do. But do you remember the last time a typewriter was exciting and futuristic? That would be 1961, when IBM released its first Selectric. It went on sale on July 27th, which makes this Sunday its fiftieth anniversary. (IBM is celebrating its own hundredth birthday this year, making the Selectric a nifty half-way point in its long history.)

The result of seven years of research, the Selectric went on to become one of the best-selling office devices ever. It’s been so archaic for so long that it’s tough to remember just how remarkable it was in its day–and there’s no better time than right now to give it its due.


Microsoft’s “NuAds” for Kinect: Hey, Whatever Brings the Content

Microsoft’s got more ideas in store for Kinect, the motion-sensing Xbox 360 camera that launched last fall. This week, the company announced a lofty goal to create interactive advertising powered by voice and gestures.

Microsoft is calling them “NuAds,” and has walked through a few examples on the Microsoft Advertising blog. During an ad for Coke, for example, the user can say “Xbox Tweet” to share the ad on Twitter. An ad for Toyota might allow the user to say “Xbox Near Me” and find nearby dealerships, and an ad for another TV broadcast might let the user schedule a calendar reminder by saying “Xbox Schedule.”

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who feels queasy at the sight of more intrusive ads in the name of “audience engagement” and “social advocacy,” but there is a silver lining here: If this is what helps Microsoft lure advertisers — and by extension content providers — to Internet television, then it’s all good.

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Ad-Supported Kindle’s a Hit, and Now It’s 3G, Too

Turns out, people will gladly stare at an occasional ad on their Kindles to save a little money.

Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers, an e-reader that shows advertisements and discounts on its home screen, is now available with a 3G connection. Like the Wi-Fi model, the 3G Kindle with Special Offers is $25 cheaper than its ad-free counterpart, selling for $164. The Wi-Fi version sells for $114.

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Twitter Tests New Text Ads

Twitter is continuing to monetize its service, and yes, that means more ads. They’re now appearing below the trends listings, in the section that has up until now been reserved for promoting various features of the company’s service or its own products, points out Tech Inspiration. The new ads also break with Twitter tradition by not clearly labeling the content as advertising: the only evidence that they are comes from the HTML code of the page.

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A Ghost of Ad Campaigns Back

If you’re bummed out about Cisco axing the Flip, don’t visit San Francisco–ads like this one (in a photo I took yesterday) are a sad reminder of how recently the product appeared to be an extremely viable entity.

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