The reason agencies should monitor social media…

For the recent Australian free to air premiere of Mad Men agency Razor and creative offshoot US released some far from subtle banner which featured, off all things a strobing “CLICK ON A VICE” message. Had this creative just taken up residence across large broad-reaching site (ninemsn, yahoo, fairfax etc etc) it may have gone relatively unnoticed. However Razor opted for a buyout across Mumbrella (a great placement for Mad Men) which puts this banner immediately in front of the most aware audience on earth. Ad folk.

A brief look through the comments of various articles on the mumbrella site will lead one to find a variety of posts taking a stab at the creative and making various references to epileptic fits. A glance at Twitter brings up much further discussion regarding the banners in question. In addition to this Tim from Mumbrella has been passing back the reader feedback (according to a comment he left on mumbrella).

If the only feedback noticed by the agency is the direct email(s) from Tim(I don’t know what level of detail he has passed back to them), then it is potentially feasible they believed it was a few sensitive ad folk having a dig. However had they been present on Twitter, or active users/browsers of the comments section they would have surely seen the level of negativity these ads have generated.

This ad has been running for 2 weeks 5 days* and the conversations surrounding it have all been negative. One would think that an agency, knowing the power of the social web would amend the creative to meet the demands of viewers, or at the very least post some type of response to this criticism explaining their stance.

The fact that this creative got made and approved is unbelievable enough, I would have honestly thought most sites would reject the creative as many of them do not accept flashing or strobing creative, but the fact that after a large amount of complaints have been made there is still no action is terrible.

I am sure both Razor and US do fantastic work. Unfortunately this time they have missed the mark.

*thanks for correcting me Tim


7 thoughts on “The reason agencies should monitor social media…

  1. Reminds me of those annoying old banners on MySpace desperate to get your attention. Its the equivalent of the local chicken shop putting a cheap flashing light on their shop to grab drivers’ attention, blinding them so they crash into a busload of nuns.

    Good example of one facet of execution ruining an otherwise decent banner. Its nothing spectacular, but selecting a vice and seeing who it lands on is kinda cool.

  2. Hi Joely,

    It may feel like two weeks, but it’s actually only been five days – the ads started running last Thursday to coincide with the beginning of the series on SBS. They’re booked for a week, so come down at the end of tomorrow.

    For what it’s worth, I took the feedback seriously, and we did pass it along in a phone call to the team at Razor / Us at the end of the week.

    One point to make is that I was delighted to carry the ad – it’s a brilliant brand fit for us. And my view is that Mumbrella having accepted and approved the ad (which I did), the agency is entitled to stick with it in its present form if that’s the strategic choice they make. The responsibility for the subsequent – and real – annoyance of users is mine.

    But I’ve learned from the feedback and will be applying a more rigorous level of pre-approval for future advertisers, so it won’t happen again


    Tim – Mumbrella

  3. I agree with you about the banner. I think the idea of clicking the vice and it bringing up the amount an individual indulges in said vice is great. The execution of it is flawed, had they had the vices themselves take a central position it would make the strobing text redundant.

  4. Thanks Tim,

    I also agree that a Mad Men placement on Mumbrella is an absolutely perfect fit and as stated above I actually like the idea of the creative.

    I am by no means attacking yourself or the agency behind it. My point is simply to highlight that the echo chamber of social media has a way of amplifying these things and that through listening agencies have a good oportunity to nip these things in the bud.

    (I will also rectify my 2 weeks comment, it really does feel longer than 5 days.)



  5. Pingback: Pages tagged "mad"
  6. This is a really interesting discussion, and I have to give great credit to Tim for both knowing that the ad was a great fit for his site, and having the humility to take the criticism in stride.

    Truth is, creative will always be a bit subjective. It’s a matter of taste and opinion, and it ultimately matters if it drives the business objectives of the advertiser. The beauty of monitoring and listening, of course, is that the decisions related to all those things can be made while taking into consideration the very real voices and feedback of the community. I love the idea that agencies can refine and better target their efforts by talking in depth with both their clients, and the people that their clients are trying to reach.

    Great discussion.

    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community, Radian6

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