Captain Obvious is the New Face of Hotels.com

It’s 2014 and it’s become essential for brands to change, revitalize, and evolve to meet the demands of the market. Storytelling in advertising has become even more important today than ever before because of ad-saturated media. It’s easy to forget simple and generic ads, so agencies are pushing to create those memorable characters that make consumers stop and watch. Hotels.com sought to capture the public’s attention by doing just this. While Progressive has Flo, Allstate has Mayhem, Geico has that Gecko, and Dos Equis has the Most Interesting Man in the World, Hotels.com aims to make its mark with Captain Obvious.

Phrases including Captain Obvious have been a part of our society’s language for a very long time, so this creative pitch is something immediately recognizable for the consumer. The concept of the ad is to say that booking hotels with Hotels.com is the obvious choice. The advertisers didn’t want their character to be perceived as dumb, but as simply stating what is apparent to most people. They hoped to craft a character that was both original and interesting. Check the television commercial out right here:

I found the commercial to be humorous and charming. I really like the concept of the advertisement and thought that it was clever. While I appreciate Hotels.com’s attempt to create a really dynamic character, there is something missing for me with the storytelling aspect of the ad. I liked the look of the character, but the fast-paced changing scenery made it a little difficult for me to create a relationship with the character and the actor seemed to be like a normal guy dressed as a captain of a ship saying obvious things. I don’t know if the character felt unique or really memorable. Like many other characters in other commercials, there is a certain aspect of their personalities that seemed kooky or weird or awesome. With Captain Obvious, I didn’t quite get that. However the ad did make me chuckle and it was quite entertaining so there is a certain success to the ad overall. I personally feel that the character lacked a certain punch. If this ad’s goal was to be memorable with a character, I feel that it fell short despite the raw idea. However it is important to note that this ad did try to relate to the audience and keeps your attention.

Sources:

Elliott, S. (2014, February 25). For Hotels.com’s Campaign, the Answer was Obvious. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/business/media/for-hotelscoms-campaign-the-answer-was-obvious.html?_r=0

Advertisements

Google: “We Want YOU”

While consumers are familiarizing themselves with Facebook’s new advertising changes, Google has decided to implement a similar change. It is important for Internet advertisements to seem more tailored to a specific segment; this segmentation can be enhanced through the use of a personal touch, or, in Google’s sense, shared endorsements. Shared endorsements will enable Google to use users personal information and implement that information in advertisements (Magid, Forbes). According to AdWeek’s Garret Sloane, Google has used their Google+ consumers to their benefit. When a consumer looks at a restaurant review, song to download, or video, they will see their friends endorsing the advertisement (Magid, Forbes).

The new advertising method will be implemented on November 11th (Miller, NYT). Google provides an example of this, “your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page. An the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad” (Miller, NYT). Google will place users’ names and profile information adjacent to ads and restaurant reviews in order to convince other consumers to try the product or service. While this advertising method is not new to many social media users, many are not embracing the change with open arms. Many find it is a violation of privacy and that previous ‘likes’ or endorsements were not made with the intention of being in an advertisement.

What does this mean for consumers? For one, mass-marketed ads will have a more personal touch. The ads will only be visible by those a Google user is connected with. It will add a personal endorsement to companies that your friends prefer. In turn, consumers will feel more comfortable with their choices and will opt for choices they may otherwise ignore. It will also allow Google users to feature in advertisements, in the sense that users have the power to recommend these products and services to their friends. This will additionally have a positive impact on the brands featured on Google. It is very important for marketers and advertisers to add a personal touch to such mass advertisements. The amalgamation of the two forms of advertisement, reaching a specific market with a personal recommendation and keeping the ads broad, will boost sales as well as advertisement prices for Google. What’s more, Google can better compete with Facebook by implementing a similar marketing strategy. This will also, however, pose a problem among Google community members. 

Image

 

References

Magid, L. (n.d.). Google May Feature You In An Ad With ‘Shared Endorsements’ (Unless You

Opt-Out) – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2013/10/11/google_feature_you_in_ad/

 

Miller, C. (n.d.). Google to Sell Users’ Endorsements – NYTimes.com. The New York Times

Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/technology/google-sets-plan-to-sell-users-endorsements.html?_r=0

 

Sloane, G. (n.d.). Google Updates Advertising Policies to Show User Images Next to Products |

Adweek. Adweek – Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/googles-new-ads-will-include-familiar-faces-153070  

 

Instagram Video is a Hit in the Ad World

Short videos posted on social media platforms are not new, right? Vine has been around since the beginning of this year with its 6 second loop videos. So, what is so special about video on Instagram? Christopher Heine offers up “5 Reasons Why Instagram Video May Cut Down Vine,” an article posted on AdWeek.com:

1) Longer videos

15 seconds could turn out to be a far more engaging length than Vine’s six-second clips. Not to mention, in terms of advertising, that’s the length of TV spots constantly employed by brands.

2) Cool filters

Anyone who has made a Vine knows that they are fun but kind of rough-looking. Instagram’s filters and cinema elements really seem to give it the upper hand here.

3) Brand Engagement

On the pure marketing level again, social media teams are getting stretched like crazy these days, as they have for a few years been trying to market items with Facebook, Instagram photos, TwitterLinkedIn, Google+, MySpaceFoursquare, Pinterest, etc. If brands can incorporate good-looking Instagram videos into their messaging via those channels, will they bother with Vine? It undoubtedly will be interesting to watch.

4) Built in scale and community

Instagram—as a photo-sharing app—has 10 times more users than Vine. Those folks are used to constantly updating the app, so consumers are going to start using Instagram videos in the next few days if not hours. It should not take long for it too overtake Vine in terms of sheer audience.

5) Oh yeah, and Facebook is also big

FB has a billion users who are likely going to start regularly seeing Instagram videos of children, puppies and random footage of things like street mimes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s huge platform should be an unusally strong advantage to the forthcoming Instagram video vs. Twitter Vine battle.

Heine also writes about marketers utilizing Instagram Video in another article on AdWeek.com titled “Brands Are Already Using Instagram Videos and Planning for More: Stoked marketers quickly whip up 15-second ideas.” He quotes the social media lead for Red Vines, the super delicious licorice candy, as saying the following regarding Instagram Video:

“It was wise to make them 15 seconds, because it allows for more engagement than the six seconds you get with Twitter Vine,” said Michael Kelly, Red Vines’ social media lead. “It allows you to tell stories that are at least a little more complicated.”

Marketers are hoping that they can utilize these 15 second videos to give consumers a more intimate look behind the scenes. There is a benefit in the homemade feel of these short clips because it puts the brand in the same creative space as the consumer: they’re all just a bunch of people using their smart phones to tell stories about the things they love. And the relatively unpolished Instagram Videos feel like home videos, so consumers can feel more connected to the products that they use every day. Here are a few examples that Heine shows in his article:

Maybelline

Burberry

Red Vines

Lululemon

Charity Water

Jenis Ice Creams

I will admit that I am not a fan of Vine. I had a project in another class that involved Vine and I just don’t see the point of it. Most of the videos seen on Vine feature teenagers doing stupid things that they think make them cool. Vine’s network isn’t as big as other social media giants. The benefit of video on Instagram is that the network is already built up, so users aren’t jumping into a new platform with no friends. They can share video with the friends, celebs, and brands that they already follow. And, the Instagram platform supports both photo and video, so you aren’t stuck with just video as you currently are on Vine.

It will be interesting to see how the video war plays out. What do you think?