Monday, September 3, 2007

A Community of the Advertised To: Helio

Via Jossip, we hear that, “Of Vogue’s 840 pages, 727 are ads, or: 13 percent is editorial.” But of course what you’re paying for is ad selection. And let’s be honest, in a lot of these magazines, the ads are at least as “editorial” in the sense of expressing an opinion or point of view.

A great example is Helio’s amazing pull-out ad booklet, The Mobile User’s Guide To: THE NEW SOCIAL ETIQUETTE. You can grab the pdf or find it in Wired’s September issue.

It’s not an ad in the traditional sense. There is almost no information about Helio’s products. Instead, they are pitching a way of seeing the world. The booklet is a pocket worldview for a particular age and class. The key is the last page, the “About the Authors”:

“Helio is a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to connecting people better than ever before.”

This ad is about creating (the illusion of) community (i.e. Like-minded individuals connecting). To join this community, you get the jokes and have the experiences. Probably the best page is The Pie Don’t Lie:

This ad assumes that you or the like-minded individuals you know A) work in an office B) have crushes on “hot coworkers” with whom you go to happy hour C) have one-night stands D) have experienced or imagined experiencing the loss of one’s drawers in this process E) Use MySpace extensively F) Have a stockbroker G) Who is sort of an ahole and hard to get a hold of H) Have good English grammar I)Have healthy enough disrespect for authority to appreciate intentionally bad grammar …

Remember, this is advertising a freaking phone and this is the set of assumed experiences explicitly referenced. This ad certainly defines a young, cool niche. But do people really care that their phone company (sorry, “mobile services provider”) recognizes their hipness?

The booklet is just one piece of the campaign. Their 2.ish HelioSocial allows users to post their own “rules” for dating, college and the office, which are rated on a DIS-DIG scale. Personally, we liked College Rule #39, “Read the rules before posting a new rule!!! I get it. Headset on all day=tool. But is it necessary to post it 20 times?!?!?! Jesusinapinktutudoingthepolkachrist!!”

Ah, the hazards of user created content. It turns out that a group like-minded individuals all have the same, like, minds.

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