MONEY Advertising

Best ATM Ever Gives Away Free Trips to Disney, Flights to Caribbean

screenshot from TD advertisement

This viral "Automated Thanking Machine" video will warm your heart, despite the unlikelihood of any bank ever being this nice to you.

Visit the typical ATM and all you come away with is some of your own money, and perhaps a bitter taste in your mouth after coughing up a $3 fee.

Some very special ATMs set up by TD Canada, however, have been giving customers a whole lot more—like the opportunity to toss out the opening pitch in a Major League Baseball game, and a free trip to Disneyland for a single mom and her kids.

In this highly unusual case, the ATM acronym stands for “Automated Thanking Machine,” and TD Canada secretly recorded a bunch of customers on video while they’re receiving their very special gifts. It was edited and put into a YouTube ad that was posted last week and has generated more than 3 million page views.

It may seem like there are some privacy concerns. The bank bizarrely knows all sorts of intimate details about these customers’ private lives. For instance, it’s no coincidence that the guy who gets to throw out the opening pitch to Jose Bautista at a Toronto Blue Jays game just so happens to be a huge Blue Jays fan.

The robot-like voice emanating from the machine also gets into a deep conversation about how one elderly woman has a daughter in Trinidad who is stricken with cancer. Creepy, right? But when that voice announces that the bank is giving the woman a free flight to see her daughter, the heartwarming, tear-inducing scene that results apparently is enough to cast aside any qualms about invasion of privacy.

It turns out that the banks gathered information about these customers the old-fashioned way–with local staffers asking about their lives–rather than sneakily via reviewing Facebook accounts or scanning customer purchase histories. Most banks and companies use our personal information to try to sell us more stuff, but in this instance it was used to pick out the perfect, incredibly thoughtful gift. See for yourself.

TIME Advertising

Microsoft Gets Revenge for Those Old ‘Mac vs. PC’ Ads

Cortana vs. Siri, round one: Fight!

+ READ ARTICLE

Correction applied Tuesday, July 29

One of Apple’s first effective assaults on Microsoft’s tech empire was the Mac vs. PC ad campaign, which cast Windows computers as devices for schlubby nerds and Macs as tools for cool creatives. The battlefield has now shifted from desktops to smartphones, but Microsoft is taking a cue from Apple’s old campaign with a put-down ad of its own.

In a new pitch for Cortana, Microsoft’s digital personal assistant, the company pits a Windows Phone boasting the software against an iPhone with Siri. As Cortana effortlessly answers a user’s questions, Siri fumbles its responses and is eventually forced to admit, “Now that is a smart phone.”

The ad, which features a Lumia 635 Windows Phone, mainly shows off Cortana’s contextualization abilities. The assistant can use geofences to issue reminders when users arrive at a specific location or automatically serve up messages when a specific person calls. Some reviewers have still found Siri to be a more helpful assistant overall, so it’s likely this new version of “Mac vs. PC” will continue to be hotly debated.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the feature set of Siri. The software does use geofencing to set location-based reminders.

 

TIME Television

This Doesn’t Look Like a Billboard for Better Call Saul! But It Is

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Michael McKean as Chuck - Better Call Saul _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Michael McKean as Chuck. Ursula Coyote—AMC

Take a closer look

The billboard pictured below is a real billboard that an Instagram user saw on I-25 in Albuquerque, N.M., and at first glance, it doesn’t look like it has a whole lot to do with Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul! But once you remember what we’ve learned about the upcoming series, expected to premiere in 2015, however, the connection is clear. The show will be set in 2002, while Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) was still known as Jimmy McGill.

The phone number listed on the billboard also works, so feel free to give it a ring if you’re craving a message from Saul Goodman Jimmy McGill.

[via Vulture]

 

TIME Earnings

Google Growth Continues in Second Quarter

Google

Google continued to show large year-over-year revenue growth in its quarterly earnings report. The search giant generated nearly $16 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 22 percent increase over the same period last year that beat analyst expectations of $15.6 billion. The company posted a profit of $3.42 billion, up from $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Adjusted earnings per share were $6.08, off the mark from analyst estimates of $6.24.

The majority of Google’s revenue comes from people clicking ads on its search engine and on partner sites, and the trends there remained consistent with past quarters. The total number of paid clicks increased 25 percent year-over-year and 2 percent from the first quarter of 2014. The cost of these ads continues to fall though, decreasing 6 percent from the same period last year and staying stable from the first quarter of 2014.

Traffic acquisition costs, the money Google shares with companies who place its ads on their sites and the money Google pays to gets its search engine placed in web browsers, was $3.29 billion, up from $3.01 billion last year.

The company also announced that its chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, is leaving the company after nearly ten years to join the Japanese tech company SoftBank.

Google stock ticked up nearly two percent in after-hours trading.

TIME 2014 Election

The Best 6 Political Campaign Ads of the Summer (So Far)

Charlie Crist, Democrat For Mayor

From sign language to football coaches, here are six of this season's best political ads.

These are the dog days of election year politics. The fields are mostly set, and the final battle is still too far away to matter much. Plus, who wants to think about politics in summer? The answer: The campaign ad makers. Political Mad Men have no problem working the heat into their spots, or doing even better by making political spots so compelling we can’t look away even when we would rather be swimming.

So without further ado, here is our take on 2014’s top 6 political ads of the summer, so far.

6.”Sunshine” – Charlie Crist, Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida

Charlie Crist pays homage to the sunshine state of Florida through this ad’s theme. The high-quality video clearly outlines what Crist accomplished in his last term and what his goals are should he be reelected, which gives viewers a clear picture of what this candidate wants you to think he is about.

5.”Question from Don – Retired Coal Miner” – Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from Kentucky

This Alison Lundergan Grimes ad pulls off a political attack in an effective, tactful and even funny manner. Rather than loud accusations and a laundry list rant about her opponent Mitch McConnell, the complaint comes from the mouth of a concerned constituent who doesn’t attack but simply asks a question. The long silence gets a bit uncomfortable.

4.”Janey” – Kay Hagan, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from North Carolina

This Kay Hagan ad hooks you in with a personal story involving a dad, who served in the military, and his daughter, who died of leukemia after drinking the base’s contaminated water. By selecting a particular issue and highlighting Hagan’s work within it, the ad neatly showcases her accomplishments.

3.”Coach” – Mike McFadden, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Minnesota

This ad is sure to stick in your memory because, hey, it’s not every day you see a grown man get hit in the crotch by a kid. The boys from his football team play spokespeople, adding a punch of cuteness and believability to his political message. He nails the all-American dad image with this advertisement, and when you are running against comedian-turned-senator Al Franken, it’s always good to be funny.

2. “Meet My Mom” – Emily Cain, Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District

This ad stood out from others for one reason: there was no sound. Emily Cain’s mom, an interpreter for the deaf, signs the whole advertisement, which has subtitles running across the bottom. The idea is unique and the mother-daughter relationship,­ a seemingly common tactic this ad season, offers a sense of familiarity and friendliness. The connection between the Deaf Community and voting for Cain might have been a bit of a stretch, especially because the ad didn’t offer any campaign promises or pros of the candidate, but the ad does stand out.

1.”In A Box” – Darius Foster, Republican state candidate for District 56, Alabama’s House of Representatives

While most political ads focus on the politician, Darius Foster switches it up by focusing on the constituents. His ad shows him as a man of the people. Foster doesn’t pile on promises and boost himself up, but instead offers personal facts about himself ranging from his recent attendance at a Lil Wayne concert to the fact that he’s the first in his family to attend college.

MONEY Airlines

Tell an Airline How Much You Hate It and Get 8,000 Free Miles

140710_EM_IHateSpirit_1
courtesy of Spirit

The obvious downside of Spirit Airlines' new promo is that you receive 8,000 miles to use on an airline you hate.

The “Hate Thousand Miles” promotion, introduced by Spirit Airlines this week, couldn’t be attached to a more appropriate company. Spirit, known for selling low-cost flights that come with a host of pricey “gotcha” fees, is famous for being a magnet for traveler hate. The carrier is routinely referred to as the Most Hated Airline in the U.S. What’s more, in the recent past, Spirit has more or less taken the stance that it doesn’t care that it is hated by people. “We’re not for everybody, and we’re fine with that,” a Spirit spokesperson told Businessweek in 2013, after the latest survey placed the airline at the very bottom of consumer rankings.

With its new promotion, Spirit seems to be fully embracing its reviled status. Or perhaps it’s trying to bury the hatchet. According to the terms of the deal, anyone with a Spirit Airlines frequent flier account can go to hatethousandmiles.com, spew some ill will, and then collect 8,000 free miles. While it’s assumed most haters will hate on Spirit, you can actually register a complaint about any airline at the site.

“Hate on us – or any airline of your choosing – and we’ll send you 8,000 FREE SPIRIT miles. You’ll be well on your way to earning an award flight with us,” Spirit explains.

Reward flights on Spirit can be had for as little as 10,000 miles one-way, so indeed, with 8,000 free miles, you’re almost there. But again, the downside is that you’ll have to fly on the airline you (probably) just officially targeted with hate.

What’s behind this oddball promotion? Publicity, for one thing. Spirit Airlines is known for being outrageous, with a history of invoking trending scandals (Anthony Weiner, the BP oil spill, Richie Incognito) in ads.

More important, Spirit is trying to use the hate campaign as an education opportunity. Following in the footsteps of Ryanair, Europe’s hated airline that launched a friendly rebranding earlier this year, Spirit stepped up efforts to explain its pricing structure and customer service policies with a campaign that began in May. The Hate Thousand Miles promotion is being viewed as a way for Spirit to call attention to the ins and outs of how it does its hated business, thereby, hopefully, dispelling some of the hate.

“We see this as an opportunity to educate consumers about the differences of Spirit, and in return for their hate, we’ll give them a little bit of love in the form of free miles,” the airline said in a statement to the press.

Perhaps Spirit will also read what it is that customers are complaining about, and make some changes accordingly in order to make passengers happier–or at least less filled with hate.

If you’re in the process of booking or flying on Spirit and want to vent your hate right away, however, there’s a note in the fine print of the Hate Thousand Miles offer you should be aware of: “Submitting your hate feedback is not a means to submit correspondence to our Customer Support team.”

In this case, you’ll need to send your hate message twice: once to customer service, and secondly to the Hate site in order to get your free miles. If you want them.

MONEY Sports

Tim Howard, American Stud Goalie, Is Suddenly a Marketer’s Dream

Tim Howard
Stuart Franklin—FIFA via Getty Images

Belgium may have won the match, but USA goalkeeper Tim Howard's record-breaking heroics have launched a million memes—and could pay off in a big way for the sudden superstar.

After making an amazing 16 saves in the U.S.’s World Cup match against Belgium, Tim Howard is the social media world’s favorite son. The memes range from marriage proposals (some, creepily, from dads on the behalf of their daughters), to #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave (the Titanic, Lehman Brothers, the lady about to get eaten in “Jaws,” etc.), to Howard’s status as an American hero (he’s subbed in for Captain America and George Washington, among others). Howard was mentioned in one of every five Tweets about the U.S.-Belgium match, and some prankster even changed the Secretary of Defense Wikipedia page, briefly giving the title to Howard.

What makes Howard particularly appealing—to everyday spectators and marketers alike—is that he comes across as simply a hard-working, humble dude who takes a lunch-pail “That’s my job” approach onto the field.

What’s more, all of the attention showered on him has come about organically. There’s nothing contrived or fake about it, or about Howard either, apparently. He is a 35-year-old guy from New Jersey. He plays in England for Everton, and he’s long been a world-class goalie. But his status in the U.S. isn’t anywhere close to being in the superstar stratosphere of, say, LeBron James, or another pro athlete with the surname Howard (Dwight, the center for the NBA’s Houston Rockets), for that matter. Heck, FIFA’s online store doesn’t even have Tim Howard jerseys for sale. The memes weren’t the result of some marketing campaign, but due to random people being extra excited by Howard’s record-breaking performance in goal.

All of which means that Howard is in possession of the rarest of qualities—authenticity—in a world oversaturated with advertisements, marketing, and “personal branding.” There are a quite a few brands that would love to attach themselves to Howard’s heroics and persona right about now, so the opportunity is there for the goalkeeper.

Michael Neuman, managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment at Horizon Media, thinks that of the many inspiring characteristics Howard has displayed via his performance at the World Cup, “reliability, durability, consistency and resiliency” are at the top of the list. “Those are attributes most brands would aspire to own in the minds of consumers who are more brand savvy than ever,” Neuman said via e-mail.

With that in mind, Neuman says Howard would be a great match for the automobile industry. “Automobiles, especially SUV’s and mini-vans are the chariots du jour getting our national youth to and from soccer matches on weekends,” Neuman explained. “Detroit’s recent issues of reliability can be enhanced with an alignment with Howard across all creative media channels. If I was his agent, I would suggest he shave his beard and hang out a sign that reads ‘Open for Business, Let’s Talk.'”

For now, Howard’s associations and endorsements are fairly limited. Before the match against Belgium got underway, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) declared Howard their pick for World Cup MVP thanks to his participating in the “Ink, Not Mink” program, in which people show off their tattoos as a way to discourage consumers from wearing fur or other animal products. Here’s the fur-free stud explaining his stance on the issue:

Clearly, Howard could do a lot more in the way of endorsing products and causes, if he was interested. It’s not apparent he actually would. When asked of his future plans on Good Morning America the day after the match, Howard simply said, “Right now I’m still very emotional from the game,” and “I’m just trying to figure what’s what and let the dust settle. Spend some time with my kids.”

What we’ve learned from the recent past, though, is that one brilliant moment in the spotlight can change everything for an athlete—and quickly. The out-of-nowhere best-selling jersey phenomenon can been seen in the experiences of NBA players like Jeremy Lin and Jason Collins, who instantly became icons and heroes that fans just had to support and emulate. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, merchandise featuring the unheralded American hockey player T.J. Oshie was suddenly in demand after he scored on four of six penalty shots to defeat Russia in a shootout.

By now, marketers are well-versed in the practice of reacting instantaneously to anything and everything that captures the world’s attention, from the power going out at the Super Bowl to a presidential candidate mentioning Big Bird during a debate. Social media dominates these “quick hit” reactions, of course, but marketers don’t limit their efforts to Twitter and Facebook. Insurer Liberty Mutual was able to produce and air a TV commercial featuring Olympic skier Heidi Kloser less than two weeks after an accident left her unable to compete in the Sochi games—and she walked memorably, with the help of crutches, into the Olympic stadium with Team USA during the opening ceremonies.

Suffice it to say that Howard has some pretty terrific prospects to parlay his newfound hero-stud status into something much bigger. Great for him. Is there any takeaway from the experience of Howard, or Lin, or Oshie, for the average Joe?

Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and the author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, says that when you are celebrated for a standout performance on the job, or when you’re suddenly the subject of widespread attention, you should absolutely take advantage. “When you get in the spotlight, you want to maximize that opportunity as much as possible because you don’t know when it will happen again,” said Schawbel. “You should build the accomplishment into your online profiles, share it with others and leverage it to get a promotion or salary increase.”

Career expert Stephen Viscusi, CEO of the Viscusi Group in New York City and author of Bulletproof Your Job, cautions that a worker in such a situation should proceed with a sense of graciousness, so that you’re always perceived as a good teammate. “If you had an amazing day like USMNT Goal Keeper Tim Howard did against Belgium in the World Cup Semi-Finals, the best way to get credit for that and make it last is to share the credit with teammates and your boss,” Viscusi said via e-mail. “You will still maintain credit for what you did. But, by sharing your accomplishment with your boss and colleagues, you will be seen in a better light and you won’t be seen as showing off. That’s the smart way to handle it.”

This is advice that Howard himself is already following. On Wednesday, here’s the gracious Tweet he sent out: “Im proud to suit up w every one of these guys. It’s a tremendous honor to represent this country & a ride I’ll never forget.”

TIME Google

Google Bans Porn Ads From Search Results

Updated July 2, 4:39 p.m.

Following an earlier announcement of the change, Google has begun banning pornographic ads from its search engine. As of Monday, the company now blocks explicit content from AdWords, the Google ad units that appear above users’ search results and across the Web, according to CNBC. Google now no longer accepts ads that promote “graphic sexual acts with intent to arouse.”

Google first announced the change to its advertising policy back in March. The new policy affects all countries. The company also bans ads promoting underage and non-consensual sexual content, as well prostitution and escort services. However, Google does allow ads for strip clubs and what it terms “adult and sexual dating sites.” The changes will not affect the organic results users see when conducting Google searches.

The search giant has made several moves recently to limit the amount of explicit content on its services. Earlier this year, the company issued new developer guidelines for the Google Play store that banned apps featuring erotic content.

[CNBC]

TIME beauty

This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries

Digital artists from around the world interpret the same photo based on their local and personal beauty ideals.

We’ve become accustomed to seeing photoshopped images in media. But journalist Esther Honig decided to do something a little different. She wanted to conduct a little experiment in beauty ideals so she sent the same picture of herself to Photoshop artists in 25 different countries with a simple request: make me beautiful. What she got back was 25 different versions of herself: The artists changed everything from her eye color to her makeup to her skin tone.

The recently released “My project, Before & After,” examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level,” Honig wrote on her website.

It should be noted, however, that the results of her experiment don’t necessarily embody the typical attractiveness standards for an entire culture or country. The images reflect the tastes and skill level of each of the photoshop artists Honig commissioned. The U.S. example, for instance, does not look anything like what you’ll see in most fashion magazines or ads, but it is distinct from the images from other countries.

“[All of the photos] are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator,” she writes. “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

What is clear from the wide range of results is that there is no singular definition of what is beautiful. The standard varies according not only to country but to culture and individual preferences. TIME has gathered just some of the examples.

TIME Soccer

World Cup’s Teddy Roosevelt Was Sent By an Ad Agency

Apparently he can't get enough funding from the ad agency that sent him there

“Teddy Goalsevelt,” the Teddy Roosevelt look-alike who rode into the World Cup in full Rough Riders regalia, is a little hard-up for cash, according to the ad agency that sent him there.

Cavalry Agency, a subsidiary of advertising giant WPP, launched a fundraising campaign to keep Teddy Goalsevelt, a.k.a. Mike D’Amico, in Brazil. Goalsevelt has made waves at the tournament, appearing opposite Will Ferrell at a pep rally and valiantly leading the U.S. soccer team through floodwaters by pointing a gloved finger toward the stadium.

Sadly, budgeting for a vacation doesn’t seem to be Goalsevelt’s strong suit. “Unfortunately, Teddy is scheduled to return to the States at round 1’s conclusion,” Cavalry wrote in an open call for donations on its Gofundme page. “We here at Cavalry, the advertising agency where Teddy (Mike D’Amico) works, see him as the team’s mascot now. And we don’t think we’re alone.” The agency offered up to match upwards of $2,500 in donations. His fans, with a big assist from McDonald’s, rallied to their side. Listerine took up the cause to keep #TeddyInBrazil. Now flush with $5,513, Goalsevelt has triumphed as the self-appointed mascot for America. Especially corporate America.

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