What do you think of the new Apple "genius" ads running during Olympics 2012 TV coverage?

The internets are a-flutter with critics of these new Apple ads. I'm not crazy about them. They feel like they're for Best Buy or something, not Apple. I do wish they'd just bring back John Hodgman. (via @nytjim)

Top 10 corporate theme songs

The first offering has lyrics by famous advertising copywriter Salman Rushdie. The second is a version of U2's One created for Bank of America, titled One Bank. By the time you get to The Gazprom Song, you will have already gone quite mad. [popbitch]

Plumber's butt, transcended

I challenge you to un-see this.

I asked photographer Markus Mueller about these hilarious and semi-disturbing shots on his website:

We shot these in different locations in berlin. one day three motives, three locations, a nice and very funny crew and work. we took the portrait pictures from the girls separately some days before. that are original prints on the t-shirts .....nothing with photoshop!

It was a ad campaign for the german client "Das Handwerk" (it is a German union for handcraft companies)
Agency: scholz&friends Berlin
Art Direction: Michael Johne

 

Gut gemacht gentlemen!

Women beat 18-34 men for tech adoption and purchasing power

An interesting piece from The Atlantic's Alex Madrigal points out that the coveted 18-34 male demographic is no longer the most important force in technology consumption and purchasing. He quotes Intel anthropologist and all-round awesomesauce dispenser Genevieve Bell's research, which shows that women lead tech adoption in "internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, mobile phone location-based services, text messaging, Skype, every social networking site aside from LinkedIn, all Internet-enabled devices, e-readers, health-care devices, and GPS. Also, because women still are the primary caretakers of children in many places, guess who controls which gadgets the young male and female members of the family get to purchase or even use?"

Of course, the neglect of women -- and other groups of systematically disenfranchised people, like gblt people and people of color -- is a recurring theme in the history of business. And periodically (generally in the midst of a recession that makes the previously unthinkable into the inevitable), some industry will figure out that there's a group of people whom they've ignored or held in contempt with a lot of money on their hands, and you get a new boom of targeted products, media and advertising. And exploitation, of course. Lots of exploitation.

Terry O'Reilly's "Age of Persuasion" podcast has done some good episodes on these turns in advertising history -- here's one on women, one on people of color, and one on gblt-targeted ads.

How can an industry get its market so wrong?

One huge reason is the relative lack of women at major venture capital firms, startups, electronics makers, and Internet companies. The other huge reason is the historical erasure of women's roles in the history of technology, as Xeni Jardin pointed out in response to a New York Times article that overemphasized the role men have played in the creation of the Internet. When you look around, it *seems* as if technology is by and for dudes, but the reality is much more complicated than that.

But even if you are the biggest sexist in Menlo Park, even if you believe that only men create technology, even if you are real-life Jack Donaghy hell bent on profits alone, you'd still want to change your approach to women as technology consumers. Follow the money and follow the users: you'll find yourself in a female-dominated landscape.

Bell concludes: "So it turns out if you want to find out what the future looks like, you should be asking women. And just before you think that means you should be asking 18-year-old women, it actually turns out the majority of technology users are women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. So if you wanted to know what the future looks like, those turn out to be the heaviest users of the most successful and most popular technologies on the planet as we speak."

Sorry, Young Man, You're Not the Most Important Demographic in Tech (via /.)

GM to end display ads on Facebook

The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors will soon stop advertising on Facebook "after the auto maker's executives determined their paid ads had little impact on consumers' car purchases." GM will, however, engage in Facebook's "pages" that allow marketers to display promotional content at no cost. The news comes just days before Facebook's planned IPO.

Psychedelic ad for Peace Corps, 1968 (video)

Image Link. Boing Boing reader MewDeep, who has an awesome Flickr stream of '60s-'70s ad scans, points to this YouTube clip of a notable television commercial from 1968: it's a promo for the Peace Corps, set to "Age of Aquarius." As MewDeep excerpts here, the ad is mentioned in The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, by Thomas Frank.

Sad Schlitz Beer Clown is Sad (vintage ad)

Image Link. From the excellent Flickr collection of MewDeep (lots of '60s-'70s ad scans), via BB Flickr Pool.

Unraveling a baroque, snarled, multimillion-dollar porn-ad clickfraud scam


Panos Ipeirotis, who writes the aptly named "A Computer Scientist in a Business School" blog, describes how he made national news by unraveling a multimillion-dollar "clickfraud" enterprise that used hidden frames, pornographic traffic brokerages, clever misdirection and obfuscation techniques, traffic laundering, skimmed traffic, and other techniques from the shadier side of the Internet's ad-supported ecosystem to extract anywhere from $400K to $5M to date. The monetary losers were pornographic sites, but a number of high-profile "legit" sites were implicated, unwittingly used as "laundries" for the traffic. The scheme itself is awfully baroque, and Ipeirotis does an admirable job of laying it out, while introducing all these marvelously weird terms describing the modern practices of Internet grifters.

At this point, we now know how this person makes money. Clearly, there is click-fraud: the scammer is employing click-fraud services to click on the pay-per-click ads "displayed" in his parked domains. If some of the ads are also pay-per-impression, he may also get paid for these invisible impressions that happen within the 0x0 iframe.

Why the parked domains though? Why not doing the same directly within the porn site? The answer is simple: Traffic laundering.

What do I mean by "traffic laundering"? First, the ad networks are unlikely to place many ads within a porn site. On the other hand, they have ad-placement services for parked domains. Second, the publishers that get the traffic from the parked domains see in the referral URLs some legitimately-sounding domain names, not a porn site. Even if they go and check the site, they will only see an empty site full of ads. Nothing too suspicious. Hats off to the scammer. Clever scheme.

You think we are done? No. There is one more piece in the puzzle. How does the scammer attract visitors to the porn site?

The other interesting part: The porn website does not really contain porn! There are a few images but most of the links are to other porn website that actually host the video. In other words, the scammer does not even pay the cost of hosting porn!

Uncovering an advertising fraud scheme. Or "the Internet is for porn" (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

North Dakota tries to be cool, fails

We all probably had at least one friend who attempted to reinvent themselves after high-school in a way that was so not them that it just made you feel pity. You know what I'm talking about. Like the goody-goody who tried so hard to change their squeaky clean reputation, but would clearly never be a badass cool kid, no matter how many times they told you that they got "sooooo drunk" last weekend.

That's what this ad reminds me of.

Somehow, North Dakota has managed to create a tourism ad that is simultaneously offensively sleazy and desperately uncool. It's trying to make a wink-wink, "women are objects" lad mag joke. But it looks like your really dorky, incredibly square uncle's idea of a wink-wink, "women are objects" lad mag joke.

It's sleaze as designed by people who have no idea what sleaze is supposed to look like. They've just heard about it third-hand from someone who went to Vegas once.

Lego's old line of toys for girls

 

A couple of weeks ago, Mark told you about Lego's new line of products aimed at girls. It includes new minifigs that look more like dolls and cutesy playsets with names like Heartlake City. This week, Cory introduced you a little girl who is very frustrated with excessively gendered toys.

I played with a lot of Legos when I was a little girl. And, while I certainly liked dolls, that wasn't really what I used Legos for. (And, frankly, going shopping, playing house, and being "just like me" wasn't what I used dolls for. In my experience, games of playing house tend to involve a lot more violent interaction with pirates, Darth Vader, and Nazis than advertising to girls would lead you to suspect. First you put the baby to bed, then you defend her with your mad karate skills, right?) Ads like this old one from 1981 appeal to me a whole lot more than modern girlvertising. I've seen this ad passed around the Internet before. But the contrast with those recent reminders of who advertisers and toymakers think girls are strikes me as particularly timely. 

Thanks, L0!

TOM THE DANCING BUG: What Message Did We Receive From Outer Space??

Attention Earthlings: Visit the TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE, and follow RUBEN BOLLING on TWITTER. End transmission.

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EXCLUSIVE: photos of BofA's new #OWS-themed ad campaign

I have no idea who shot these, or who is responsible. Update: here are some daytime shots, from the San Francisco Mission district.

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Patriotic advertising: selling with war


Sociological Images has a nice gallery up called "United We Buy," showcasing the use of war and patriotism in advertising from WWII up to the present day. That's some weird-ass WD-40.

United We Buy: Using Patriotism and War to Sell Products

Public papercraft ponies

Dry the River - No Rest: 3D paper-crafted horses.jpeg A U.K. ad agency created these 3D papercraft ponies to stand out from the usual flyposted fare. [Ads of the World]

God Watches Mad Men

godvertising.jpg

One might be tempted to ask: Can God make a signboard so big that even He can't illuminate it? Spotted in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, otherwise known as the Center of the Universe.

I am the photographer, and I approve this use of my image.