the integration is the message

Have you seen these billboards?

They’re all over the place:

Been wondering what the hell that’s all about, maybe?

Well, answer #1 goes like this:

Hope people have been seeing the billboards that I have put up around town. I think its important everyone knows how much Sarah Marshall SUCKS! How she does look fat in those jeans! How my mom never liked her! How over her I am!

So, I used the money that I spent on her engagement ring to buy every available billboard around town. (That’s right Sarah I was going to propose to you. I was just waiting for the right time. I guess that time is never O’clock in the month of Nev-ruary).

Sarah, I really hope you are un-happy for the rest of your life – that you understand how totally over you I am.

That said, you should call me if you want to talk, I can have these things taken down.

Answer #2 goes like this:

While driving home I saw a billboard that read “You Suck Sarah Marshall”. At the bottom of the message I saw the URL so when I got home I jumped on my computer and checked out the website. [It’s] a blog that is currently being written by a loved obsessed 26 year old guy who is YouTubing videos about how infatuated he is with his hot TV star girlfriend.

Well, as it turns out this website is the launch of a new marketing campaign for a movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall“. I have no idea if this movie is any good although it is brought to us by the guys who gave us the 40 Year Old Virgin. On a quick side note I can not recall seeing the R rated warning on the billboard but if I had I would have known right away it was a movie.

The point of this post is to point out the way this movie is being marketed. They are utilizing a combination of vague yet somewhat shocking billboard ads to drive people to a Google Blog thats incorporating YouTube videos as a way to create buzz. It should be interesting to see how it works out.

And answer #3 goes like this:

At OMMA a few weeks ago the theme was “Welcome to the Machine.” All the panels and presentations were framed around the question: How to prepare for the kind of dubious advertising that would be in store in the “Machine”-mediated future? (At least that’s what I think the theme was supposed to mean.)

The model for creating advertising has, in general, been pretty conglomerative. The media department buys the adspace, the creative department puts stuff in the adspace, the “new media” department does….who knows what, and the whole process is as compartmentalized as an assembly line. You know, it’s funny. There’s now hypersonic sound technology, which can be used to literally beam audio ads DIRECTLY at individuals in its path, yet we still insist on referring to the internet as “new media.” And that kind of segregated perspective may be part of the problem.

In strict media buy terms all that’s going on in the IHSM campaign is a grip of outdoor and a domain name, you could even say that is a kind of “microsite” I suppose, or maybe an “adverblog,” but are any of those elements individually responsible for the effectiveness of the campaign? While there’s certainly no shortage of ads out there that make a play on our curiosity, the IHSM billboards are the first that immediately struck me as possesing a deliberate, blatant, “What the hell is that about? Oh, I’ll just check it out on my iPhone,” quality.

There’s now more and more people carrying the internet around in their pocket. What does that mean in terms of how we approach Mobile, Online, Experiential, Outdoor, or Out-of-home media–all together! Then multiply all of that by the coefficient of search.

From Boinboing:

Cabel Maxfield Sasser recently went to Japan and noticed an interesting trend in advertising there: search boxes have replaced URLs. Picture 1-160

Within minutes of riding on the first trains in Japan, I notice a significant change in advertising, from train to television. The trend? No more printed URL’s. The replacement? Search boxes! With recommended search terms!

An ARG–which stands for Alternate Reality Game–is defined as: An interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants’ ideas or actions.” Which could also serve as both a philosophical definition for marketing in general, and a more advanced version of what the I Hate Sarah Marshall campaign has started to touch on in a very basic, accessible way. The opportunity is now there to create advertising that works not by managing to take our attention hostage for an instant, but because it’s able to move between media the same way that our attention does.

“Integration” may be getting primed to become the next “viral” when it comes to overabused industry buzzwords, but it’s more than just a trendy new widget. The next phase is not about defeating some monolithic “Machine.” It’s about figuring out: How do we create messages that cater to the way technology lets us interact with all different media? Meanwhile, the paint-by-numbers, assembly-line approach is still trying to figure out which department’s responsibility it is to come up with the answer.


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