1. Do you try to avoid ads? Sorry, of course you do. We meant to ask: Do you try to avoid ads that are trying to sell you stuff that isn’t relevant to your life? Then you’re going to love Ad Swap, recently introduced by the online video service Hulu. Subscribers now have the ability to choose from a number of ads during a commercial break. The company (which doesn’t yet operate in Canada) says Ad Swap is a win-win for both viewers and advertisers, claiming a 27-per-cent improvement in brand favourability for advertisers because people are less resentful of ads for products or services they might actually buy. And since you asked: No, for the moment, there’s no option to watch no ads.
2. Relevant ads seem to be all the rage these days, and not just for our species. The fur has been flying since Nestlé announced it was airing a TV spot for Beneful dog food – aimed at dogs. The ad, running in Germany and Austria, uses a series of three different high-pitched squeals which are said to attract dogs’ attention. It follows a campaign last year in which small posters and other out-of-home displays for Beneful were sprayed with the scent of the dog food to attract strolling canines. But considering what our pooch usually does to street posters – hello, raised leg! – we’ll bet the dogs who sniffed the ads were disappointed when their masters brought home a bag of Beneful, and they found it smelled only of Beneful.
Watch Beneful's German ad targetted at dogs
3. Speaking of dogs fouling the streets, have you been to Montreal lately? (We’re kidding; that’s Paris.) Because in May, 2012, the great minds at the hot-shot agency Sid Lee are “curating” a three-day conference in Montreal for business leaders to explore what it is calling “the relationship between creativity and commerce.” Featuring immersive exhibitions, a creativity boot camp, and special presentations from Cirque du Soleil, the conference aims to give participants some practical advice to shake up their businesses. So far, the list of speakers includes 12 men (former Disney chief Michael Eisner, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, etc.) and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington. Knowing the way Ms. Huffington operates, we’re betting she’ll have all 12 guys working for her by the end of the conference. For free, of course.
4. A quartet of young women did some work for free recently that we’d say we greatly admire, if it didn’t make us sound a little bit skeevy. The fearless foursome were volunteer models who hit the streets of downtown Toronto to advertise the annual breast cancer fundraiser known as Boobyball, taking place Friday night. And they used guaranteed attention-grabbers to do it: eight almost-bare breasts. Hatched by the local office of the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the stunt saw the gals go topless except for pasties and messages scrawled on their chests. (“Bras aren’t the only support they need,” read one such note.) They pulled in quite a crowd. And, near as we can tell, not a single person asked to see a different ad instead.