Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads?

"Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads?" from Dial M Films on Vimeo.

The story of the charming, honest ad campaign DDB created for VW… universally acknowledged to be the greatest and most influential of all time.

This is brilliant, both the ad campaign and the documentary. If you’re not old enough to remember these, just enjoy the idea that this was a revolution in advertising.

Note: I had a lot of VWs, from bugs and buses. I bought them cheap, worked on them, and used extras for parts or working models. How to Fix your Volkswagen for the Compete Idiot by John Muir was my bible.


Worn Wear testimonial

Patagonia, the clothing company has a brilliant marketing campaign: Worn Wear which I posted about before.

Here’s an excellent testimonial by Rain Noe over at Core77: The Sweater Stone, Patagonia, Product Longevity, and How to Keep Customers for Life.

I’ve liked this company ever since it started. It’s founder, Yvon Chouinard is both a historic figure in Yosemite climbing and world mountaineering, and a brilliant designer of outdoor gear. Years ago he spun off the hardware piece of Great Pacific Iron Works into Black Diamond and kept Patagonia, the clothing company.

He’s famous for closing down the office if the surf is particularly good in Ventura, California so he can “let my people go surfing.”

What I’ve noticed over many years of buying and using outdoor gear is that Patagonia comes up with innovative design ideas and other companies (North Face, LL Bean, REI, etc.) copy them. As a person who makes things, I try to make it a point to reward originators of ideas with my business, when I can.

Launching the “worn wear” campaign and attempting to make it “cool” to wear older, beat up stuff is another brilliant piece of design and marketing that’s as much about philosophy as it is about rewarding long term customers.


This is a brilliant advertising piece by Google that I found embedded in the following article on Medium: Why did Google make an ad for promoting “Search” in India where it has over 97% market share? by Himanshu Gupta.

The gist of the Gupta piece is that Google is all about getting everyone, including mobile users to use browsers for everything, including running apps. This makes sense, they get to serve up ads and control quite a bit of the back end of what we do with browsers. However, on mobile devices people use connected, client apps as well as browsers and Google has no control in this arena.

This is the same struggling going on at Twitter now: Twitter would like to make it tougher for third party client apps to use its service because those apps can filter out ads and Twitter would like to make money serving ads. So, if you use Twitter via a browser or via an “official” Twitter client app, you’ll see ads and Twitter will be happy. Otherwise, no ads and you’ll be happy. Google, Twitter, and Facebook, among others, are struggling with this stuff right now.

The funny caption under the image at the top of the Medium article also caught my eye and it underscores the idea that in mobile, it’s about apps: “Why didn’t you just Skype with me Dumbledore?” Brilliant.

The outrage and sadness of Google Reader’s demise

The outrage and sadness of Google Reader’s demise

More broadly speaking, Reader’s ultimate fail is the latest major rebalancing of the internet’s legacy symmetry of “push” and “pull.”

RSS has always been a useful time-saver for voracious internet binge consumers. Rather than circling among dozens of websites and suffering through tiresome page loads at each URL, RSS adherents can skim headlines at the hub of a giant content wheel, and in many cases (depending on how the feeds were configured) read entire articles without leaving the RSS service.

The whole arrangement, particularly that last part, was terrifying to publishers, who saw an ad-revenue future burned away in a stark landscape of text-only syndication.

Another well written piece on Google’s decision to close down Reader but also on RSS (vs. Twitter) as well.

That last paragraph is an important piece of this: RSS applications aren’t showing entire web sites with sidebars with ads, they’re just showing new posts in the body of a web page. Advertisers would rather you went to a site directly so they can serve you up ads. Another reason to love RSS and feed readers is they allow you to avoid loading web pages just to see headlines, you can browse those in the RSS reader only clicking through to sites you want to visit.

Think Different

Steve Jobs narrates a “Think Different” ad for Apple: The Crazy Ones.

The Think Different ad campaign really appealed to me as both an artist and someone with a learning disability.

Here’s some more history of the campaign: Apple Think Different Campaign. Note that this campaign was developed by Lee Clow at Chiat Day when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990’s.

[via Daring Fireball]

The Federal Trade Commission tackles online tracking

What if There Was a Do-Not-Track List for Online Browsing?

For those who want to abolish the Federal Trade Commission, maybe things like this should make you reconsider.

On Wednesday, [the FTC] turned up the heat on the technology industry – and browser makers specifically – to move more quickly to create simple, universal controls to let people tell advertisers and data brokers that they may not collect information about their Web browsing and buying habits.

It’s complicated but its good to know someone’s looking at it.

It does creep me out when I visit B&H photo and find a rotating ad for a pair of boots I just looked at at Zappos. The cookie that does this is called a “beacon” and its in use all over the place. Easy to disable but just as easy to step into again.

If this topic interests you I highly recommend listening to this: Online Tracking: Creepy Commerce?. This was an excellent show and Julia Angwin of The Wall Street Journal gave a great overview of how all of these behind the scenes technologies work.