How Native Advertising is Tricking You

Native Advertising is evil, and John Oliver grills it in this comedy routine

Native advertising is crap
Native advertising is crap

I started my career as a journalist. Warren Rogers, my editor and a well-known Washington D.C reporter, created a literal wall between the Georgetown Courier’s editorial department and the advertising team… it was wooden and about 4 feet tall. He taught me the importance of not having editorial pander to the needs of advertising. No lofty reviews of restaurants that took full-page ads out in our newspaper.

Sure the newspaper folded in about 6 months. And sure I now work in advertising. I still have a pet peeve about “native advertising,” which is basically advertisements that masquerade as content. You’ve seen them:

  • An apparent news story on a website that’s actually an ad for some diet product
  • A section of a magazine that, on closer inspection, is actually “advertorial” content (sponsored)
  • A tweet or Facebook post that’s paid content even though it’s designed to look like a post from a friend

We need to know when a commercial interest is impacting our news or entertainment. And it’s not often obvious. I don’t like search-engine results that are ads pretending to be organic. I don’t like product placement without credit/transparency. And I don’t like hitting a news website expecting to read an article, but it’s a poorly veiled attempt to pitch some crap.

Ads can do their job even when we know they’re ads. But news and entertainment cannot do their jobs when we have to worry about whether they’re ads or not.

So I took some pleasure in John Oliver (Last Week Tonight) absolutely ripping “native advertising” a second asshole. Enjoy…

Black Poisonous Snake on Windshield in Australia

G'day, mate. It's hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?
G’day, mate. It’s hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?

So these Australian mates found a red belly black snake on their windshield.

Bloke named Ben Lehmann turned on his windshield wipers on the viper, but that didn’t work. The snake manages to slither along the driver’s side window, and holds tight even as the car begins to pick up speed.

The video is titled “Red Belly Black vs. Leemon in the UTE part one…” and part two. And here’s the coverage in the Telegraph. The UK’s DailyMail has the best coverage here.Just love this crap. Just love it. Watch the language… it bites.

So that reminds me… a guy was at a movie theater last week to see the Catching Fire debut. He notices what looks like a snake sitting next to him. “Are you a snake?” asked the man, surprised. “Yes.” “What are you doing at the movies?” The snake replied, “Well, mate, I liked the book.”

 

2011’s Dumbest Quotes: Read Like Poetry

It’s the dumbest quotes of 2011 read as poetry. Here’s the video, and the copy is below. Read along with the Mrs. and me, why don’t you?

The great poetry and quotes of the United States of America in 2011. Read alone BELOW. Read by Jo and Kevin Nalty (Wifeofnalts and Nalts).

Great American Poetry of 2011

Can’t Process by Charlie Sheen
I don’t have time for their judgement and their stupidity and you know they lay down with their ugly wives in front of their ugly children and look at their loser lives and then they look at me and they say, ‘I can’t process it’ well, no, you never will stop trying, just sit back and enjoy the show. You know?

Ring Those Bells by Sarah Palin
He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.

Intellect Causes Crime by Georgia Prosecutor Patrick H. Head
“I think you could spend an unlimited amount of money on education and it will never eliminate crime. We have crime committed by people that have no respect for human life; we have crimes committed by people who have no respect for property.” He went on to say, “[criminals] will use that education and they will use that intellect in order to commit their crimes.”

Obamagasm by Esquire’s Steven March
“Can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement?”

Friday by Rebecca Black
Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards
I don’t want this weekend to end

Goofy Run by Ray William Johnson
What kind of running game is this if you can’t get this goofy ass f’ing alcoholic to run straight. What does he have an inner ear infection? Why are you even on the track team if you run this f’ing goofy? He does in fact run like a Welshman

Journey Through Time by Annoying Orange
Hey dinosaurs. Meteors. Hey Benjamin Franklin, lightening. Hey. Hey, uh, Titanic. I forgot what I was going to say. Oh yeah- Iceberg.

Webcams for Seniors by Bruce and Esther Huffman
K: (Monkey face) Oh look at the monkey.
J: Did I… did it capture? Why didn’t it take it. I put it on capture.
K: That’s a pretty good monkey
J: Hmm… okay wait a minute.
K: I don’t think you.. I don’t think you
J: Okay now. Do it again. What’s it say here. Take a photo snapshot. Okay.
K: Loud Yawn. Hello my darlin hello my baby. Hello my god don’t go.

Black Swan-Gate Coverup Revealed: Natalie Portman’s Face Digitally Placed Over Sarah Lane

How much of Black Swan’s ballet dancing was actually Natalie Portman, and not the secret “stunt” ballet girl, Sarah Lane?

Journalists became suspicious based on this poorly altered photo in the "Black Swan" press kit, which was later recalled.

Below is a video that shows how Black Swan’s directors and producers digitally placed Natalie Portman’s face over “stunt” dancer Sarah Lane, then tried to conceal that fact during Oscar-buzz season. The film producers allegedly hushed Lane, an American Ballet theatre soloist, and even reedited a public F/X reel to conceal some of the facial replacements. Lane says Portman actually did about 5 percent of the full-body dance scenes (see EW article linked in below image).

The real deception is the math: 80% and 5%, and how they got there

Darren Aronofsky said he had his editor count, and of the 139 dance scenes in “Black Swan,” only 28 are Sarah Lane, who was not credited in the film as a stand-in. That math is a bit misleading, however, since the number 139 includes lots of simple things like wiggling arms in front of a mirror.

What’ya think? Oscar coverup?

Microsoft Catching Up: Bing and Video

Thanks to “Seeing Through the Windows” author Preston Gralla and SFGate’s Matt Rosoff for pointing out what I’d missed.

While YouTube/Google retains its massive lead in online-video viewing, Microsoft is catching up.

I’ve written about comScore’s newest rankings, but failed to recognize that Microsoft quietly crept from #7 (last month) to #2. That fact went largely unnoticed by many of us… is it a variation or a trend? Neither Gralla or Rosoff offer, from my perspective, a solid explanation for Microsoft’s sudden ranking. Perhaps people are using Bing’s video search engine? But why?

This hardly makes sense to me. Today the Bing video site featured Jessica Black (Friday) song. It might have been titled, “search what was popular on YouTube last month.”

Today’s Stars in Pre-Fame Television Commercials

A slightly younger and thinner Jack Black pitches Pitfal (the 10-pixel video game)

It’s hard for stars to hide from cheesy pre-fame television commercials when there’s YouTube, right?

Let’s enjoy a few of their early advertisements, which I’ve spent most of New Year’s Eve compiling for you (winner that I am)

  1. Jack Black doing Pitfall! (best ever)
  2. Lindsay Lohan in a Jello commercial in around 1996
  3. Keanu Reeves doing Kellogs Corn Flakes in 1980s.
  4. Seth Green doing a Nurf ad in 1992 (my favorite)
  5. Dick Van Dyke for Kodak film
  6. Greg Benson’s montage before Mediocrefilms/RetardedPoliceman fame
  7. Ronald Reagan Chesterfield cigarettes (photo not video)
  8. Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) in Burger King ad
  9. Tom Selleck sponsoring Right Guard
  10. Brad Pitt in Pringles ad (shirtless of course)
  11. Dave Spade and Chris Farley doing DirectTV (not exactly pre-fame)
  12. Jack Benny doing Texaco (too early of a reference for ya?)
  13. Leonardo DiCaprio doing Bubble Gum ad in 1988
  14. Ben Affleck doing Burger King delivery
  15. John Travolta doing a Safeguard soap commercial and promoting Tokyo Drink in this 1980s commercial (obviously he had already established some fame by then)

And two bonuses. Some actors better known for their television commercials than film or television careers. And David Letterman as a pre-talk-show weatherman.

Sources: Commercial Breaks (AOL), LiquidGenerationTube,

Who is the Target Lady?

Maria Bamford helped turn our anxiety about the holiday rush into a playfully self-aware celebration of the insanity we call Black Friday.

Target’s Black Friday campaign staring Maria Bamford spawned loads of “word of mouth,” and captured AdAge’s attention by ranking #2 on the AdAge Viral Chart with more than 1.5 million views in a week. Sure that’s still far below my definition of “viral video” (I’m thinking the new definition is 4 million views in a few days). But the campaign, by Portland, Oregon agency Wieden & Kennedy, clearly has become more than a 2010 footnote. Here’s Target Lady’s highlight reel, which culminates in the fantastic shot of her running through target wearing a parachute to slow her down.

Naturally Steve Hall (AdRants) hate’s it, but TV Critic Roger Catlin gave it a “an hail Target ad lady Maria” review. AgencySpy was most impressed with the Rocky IV tune. But the real surprise, to me, was when my wife said: “wait- look at this…everyone’s raving about it on Facebook.” According to ClickZ, some sponsored ads fueled that Facebook fire.

Click here to see YouTube’s Target collection, ranked by most-viewed.

Some of these spots are good enough to stop you from fast forwarding TiVo. Maria Bamford has a wonderfully crazy and self-deprecating style that makes even ME feel sane. She’s not new to Target — check out her subtle “Target” reference in this video from years ago (below). She’s funny in standup (effinfunny.com), but translates even better to web video and was a perfect fit for this wonderfully insane Target campaign.

I hope to see her back, since I think she’ll appeal to Target’s target customer. We’ll still need our “cool” target ads, but this is distinctive and fun, and a refreshing departure from me-two department store ads (wow we’ve got deals… zzzzz). I could honestly see the Target Lady pulling a mini Old Spice video-reply campaign with personalized videos… the mad rush for holidays is far from over, but there’s not likely time for a new campaign. Hey Wieden & Kennedy- if she’s answering questions I’d like to know how many cups of coffee she drinks a day and how many hours of sleep she gets. I’d also savour, like fine wine, some behind-the-scenes outtakes from the commercial shoot.

If you like Target Lady, write WK agency (contact information) or be sure to write Maria’s mom. Mothers need affirmation sometimes, and maybe she’ll let Maria out of the attic to reward her. Or heck, pick up a piece of no-soap made by her dad.

YouTube “Butt” Guy Sues Southpark

Brownmarkfilms sues Southpark for stealing its “What What In My Butt” YouTube video. Seriously? This is about the highest complement you’ll get in your career.

Hey Southpark… you have my permission to use anything you want from my Nalts channel. It all sucks, but that didnd’t stop you here.

Okay can I insult this video without offending gay people? Because I really think if my favorite sport ever was butt plunging, I’d still find this video pointless.

Best Buy Goes Walmart

Business Week wrote about Best Buy’s increasing influence, which worries several major electronics companies (not the least of which are those formerly of Circuit City). Seems Best Buy’s influence is beginning to take a Walmart tone.

“We used to call them the 800-pound gorilla,” says the executive of one company that sells televisions and other products to Best Buy. “Now with a lot of competition gone, they’re the 1,000-pound gorilla.”

Barry Judge, the CMO of BestBuy, blogged about the article, to surprising support from his readers.

Meanwhile, don’t try to fetch an iPhone4 as a BestBuy walk-in, even if you received an e-mail announcement the day prior:

P.S. This and any articles about BestBuy in the foreseeable future reserves the right to be negatively biased due to my $85 ticket for videotaping a Geek Squad van (see video). The black eye hurts too.