Zack.

Tampax Girl Parts

Meet Zack, the star of the most disturbing online campaign EVER created.

The premise is that Zack went to bed one night with “guy parts” and woke up with “girl parts,” although he remains a guy in every other aspect. Throughout the videos Zack only expresses mild confusion, never close to FREAKING out like most guys would be.

On his site, Zack16.com,  you can read his diary and watch the very professionally produced videos of this transformation.  Check out his diary entry from Day 9 where a copywriter had the time of his life crafting these beautiful and touching words –

It happened so fast. C’mon, I just was just dealing with my newly acquired girl parts. And I had no choice. They just showed up. I didn’t even get a 30-day money back guarantee. Then BAM! I get hit by the menstrual express. I didn’t even have time to give my new girl parts a pet name like “Fifi” or “Alexandra.” No, we had to rush right into menstruation.

In the Day 9 video you’ll see the Tampax vending machine – voila after 9 freaking days of girl parts, vagina, PMS and menstruation talk we finally get a product placement that lets up know who to thank for this this “viral” series.

So thank you, I am now scarred for life. Is this as contagious as swine flu? Can I wake up one morning with “guy parts” or is this a guy to girl only type of thing? Why doesn’t Zack seem more concerned? Is this some sort of super strength STD that I need to be on the look out for?  Or does this prove that you can “lose it” if you don’t “use it”? Why hell isn’t he freaking out?? If I think Zack is cute, am I a lesbian? Ugh, you may have made me feel better about “Menstruation Island” but now I’m questioning my sexuality. Gee thanks Tampax!

Didn’t viral used to mean it was low budget and at least attempted to look like it was consumer produced? I wonder what the bill was for this because I see a part two where Zack wakes up with robot parts! Or his Fifi meets another Fifi and we learn about transsexuals. Or we follow around a girl who wakes up with “guy parts” and dribbles out apologizes to for every stereotypical guy cliche and then shaves her new balls, sponsored by Gillette.

You can read more about it on AdAge or if you’re like me, you can curl up into a ball and cry over the state of advertising.

Reputation.

My very Southern Grandma Norton once wisely told me that “the only thing a girl can own is her reputation.” True, but hardly applicable to just women these days. Brands need to step up and listen own their online reputation becuase there will always be someone out there calling you a douchebag or a slut.   

81% of consumers read online reviews before purhcasing duringtheir holiday shopping according to MarketingCharts.com and Neilsen Online. While only a fraction of consumers will post reviews or submit complaints a whole lot more will read what those people are saying. If there are consistenly bad posts and no response from you, consumers will seriosuly consider buying from you.  

Do you know what your consumers are saying about you? Are you checking review sites such as Yelp.com as well as the niche review sites (like DealerRater.com for local dealerships)? Do you have a Google alert set to your brand or industry? Do you regularly check to see if Facebook/MySpace groups have formed for or against your brand? Do you monitor Twitter, Brightkite, Friendfeed and Blogs to listen to what your consumers are saying about you, your competitors and your industry?

While social media is fun, display ads easy and search is cheap, online reputation management is a bit more time consuming and harder to grasp. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of brands unwilling to take the lead and spend their time seeking out reviews and taking control.  

Lemming.

As the end of the year approaches every blogger out there is throwing down their 2009 predictions; I’m jumping off the cliff to throw down my own thoughts on the new year.

But don’t worry is isn’t some haughty predictions list, but merely a top 10 list of my hopes for marketing and technology in 2009. 

1. MySpace will die. Enough of the glitter backgrounds, 10 mintue page downloads and endless random friend requests from half naked teenagers. Most of the cool kids have left anyways. 

2. Everyone will stop hating on Twitter. You know you want to, like that one time in college. Get drunk and blame your experimental tweets on the booze. In four years if you’re not into it anymore you can just say you were going through a phase. Then you can follow me here

3. Spammers will learn correct grammar and proper English. Maybe more people would respond if they could read your spam emails or they contained plausable stories. Really I won the lottery in Nigeria, I didn’t even buy a lottery ticket?!

4. Mobile marketing will finally take off. The last few years have been predicted as The Year for mobile, please finally get big so the masses will figure out what the next big thing will be.

Death.

Apparently as the market tanks and layoffs run rampant and the sky crumbles around us, several bits of the internet have been pronounced dead. 

First up, Google’s SearchWiki has killed off SEO.

Google has made the SearchWiki function a permananet fixture on Google Search. So now you can organize and make comments on your search results. Your organized results will populate and influence future searches while your comments are made visible to other users who search on the same terms. Read more about how it works from The Telegraph.

SEO is thus ended as consumers have the power to rank and comment on results. No longer can back end tweaks, text edits and SEO the heck out of webpage. Or so some people think. I really don’t think it will have a negative effect on SEO, just force folks to stay relevant, informative and honest. Web 2.0 is all about being social and interactive, so embrace the change and SEO will live on. 

Banner ads have also been pronounced dead (yes, again)

Silicon Valley Insider thinks Banner ads are on their way out of digital media buys and I agree (sort of). As the billboards of online, its hard to measure their effectiveness (even with click throughs and impressions), they tend to only be effective for brand awareness and direct response. There are a bazillion articles and studies that discuss the types of people who click on banners. Lower income, serial clickers, people who know those lips belong to.

So few brands really can utilize banners for much good. I don’t think they’re going away, but there will be a lot more inventory available.  

The End of the Ad World 

I’ve seen a post or two about that. But I’m hoping to keep my job so I will not be promoting that one :)

PJs.

Time to discuss another comercial that annoys me…

ClassInMyPJs.com has a spot that runs constantly on every morning on most of the MTV channels. While these media buyers got it right in traditional media, they are incredibly lacking with their online integration and the creative is insanely annoying.

The spot features a girl walking around the screen talking about how great it is to go to class in her pjs. Apparently she never went to high school or college, where people go into brick and mortar class rooms in their pjs.

If you’re trying to appeal to someone attempting to get a degree online, their motivation is most likely ease of use and time. Most of those seeking online degrees work full time or have other obligations (like a family), they don’t go to school online to stay at home all day. I highly doubt their target is so easily swayed or so lazy to pick their school based on which ones they can do in their “pink, fluffy slippers.”