Rate the Ad: Coolspotters.com

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Last week on Rate the Ad, we brought promotions for the fake TV show "Scarlet" to the forum. An extensive integrated campaign from TBWA agencies included global print, OOH, digital and video shot in Bangkok to support a "new" TV series directed by "The Sopranos'" David Nutter and starring sexpot Natassia Malthe. The client behind the campaign, LG Electronics, eventually revealed that the show was a total hoax: The series was never going to go on-air. Instead, the entire effort was meant to promote LG's new LCD flatscreen, also named "Scarlet." With nary a mention of LG (or televisions) in the boatload of media, what did you think of the campaign? Too confusing or an outside-the-box buzz-maker?

Rate the Ad viewers overwhelmingly panned the hoax and "I don't get it" litters the comment wall. Viewer kim_chi says, "It's not edgy or distinctive enough to be the huge viral buzz generator that might be the only motivation for this to make sense." With a note of encouragement, drpernik contributes, "Nice try, thinking outside the norm, but it's just not going to increase sales enough to warrant the high production and distribution costs of advertisements that have ZERO mention of the product or brand." And, simply, TTigerX2 adds, "What was that product again? Hairspray?"

This week, we veer away from traditional creative to a new-born Web site, coolspotters.com, for Rate the Ad fodder. The site, launched this week in beta, tracks the connections between famous people and products by exhibiting the suite of stuff that surrounds media personalities from Barack Obama and Lindsay Lohan to movies like "Iron Man" and TV shows.

The site lets users identify things like clothing, beverages, electronics and cars in celeb photos or video stills. All products are then posted on the celebrity or show's page—placing celebs in a theoretical orbit of consumer goods (conveniently organized by category, of course). Users can also surf around by product to see, for example, who's been spotted drinking Vitamin Water. Users can even add new products by "spotting" items they discover in photos, correct others' spots and create profiles to link to their favorite products and celebrities.

So, what do you think? Festering symptom of a celebrity-obsessed culture or damn good idea? Does it create real value for clients who don't want to pay for celebrity endorsement? Has coolspotters brought celebrity influence to a whole new level or will it be meaningless to consumers? Will you be cruising coolspotters the next time the shopping bug bites?
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