advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I’m going to hang with Katie Couric and check out the premiere of Erik Proulx’s Lemonade tonight in Boston. You bitches stay here and figure out if anyone in your life hits a Venn sweet spot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Now they want to stop chalkvertising.

What’s next, a ban on air sickness bagvertising? The owner of Bohemia Too in Grand Rapids needed a way to tell people about the new location of his store. Hey! Chalk. Street. Win-win! Except for the town elders. Chalk + street = illegal commercial advertising at a fine of $100 per message. I think at this point with TV coverage though, the dude owner can claim PR victory. Think of the money he saved on agency street teams too! (Full video here.)

Gillette’s racist ball move!

Sorry. Needed a grabber to wake you out of your Thanksgiving/shopping/college football-induced coma. If you follow futbol, you know the controversy over Thierry Henry’s handball that allowed France to qualify for the World Cup against Ireland. (Try watching that replay in an Irish bar as I did. Ouch.) And if you follow Gillette, you recognize the point of sale approach to all of their ad campaigns: Athletes, hero shot of the product, tech background and bold italic copy. The latest version though features said handballee Henry—with the ball now gone. He says a replay of the game would be fair, but good luck with that. The last thing FIFA cares about is fair. (Besides, what game of this magnitude in any sport has ever been replayed over an error shown on replay?

*waits, ponders*

Gillette denies any connection between the two events. Yeah, okaaay. Whatever. They could’ve avoided it in the first place by, um, having a futbol player with the ball BY HIS FEET.

Oh and yes, NFL refs aren’t the only ones who take shit.

But did they conceive in Vegas, that's the thing.

The latest What’s Your Excuse spot for Las Vegas would’ve been less creepy if the guys weren’t trying so hard to believe the pregnancy thing. As it is, makes a perfect Bud spot. (Except for the whole, drinking while pregnant thing.) The shit they give the office manager’s assistant Bill is probably the funnier stuff in it. (For now, I’m going to get ready to celebrate Chinchilli Day.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

They told me to SELL THIS WAY!

Man I hope Tyler & Co. got a shitload of money for this. As one commenter said on YouTube:

“Ok ANY remake would butcher WTW people, let's get over that. I think it’s cute they used it like this. ^_^”

Uh, no. Please, just return to the group home.

The only mildy* acceptable version was Run DMC’s mix. Otherwise, this one just about hits a new low for using songs in commercials. Forget Wendy’s use of the Violent Femmes or any brand that appropriates a song for the one or two words which sync with a brand message, remakes suck. (And even then, most brands disregard the real meaning of the rest of the song. In the case of Wendy’s, the band was split on allowing the song to be used.) Lest I forget because I was asleep at the wheel (Zing!), Hess also butchered Free Ride last year.

Happy Holidays!

*Actually, Muh-muh-muh-my-Mohegan! sucks worse, but because I loved Aerosmith so much more than the Knack, they take first place here for band moves that suck.

Microsoft & Family Guy: Change of heart or PR move?

Saw this spot on the recent Family Guy along with the other Windows 7 series, which are even up on Microsoft’s YouTube page. So much for distancing themselves. Unless it was just a PR move? Maybe they decided to quietly ease back into the show?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It’s a cancer vs. pharma throwdown!

This is the problem with pharma.

The ads for the diseases themselves are typically more powerful than ads by any pharmaceutical company with the drugs to combat them. Yet, here in the U.S., the regulations governing the latter almost guarantee a direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) that is at times insulting, and at others, bordering on farcical. (By the way, the only other country in the world to allow DTC is New Zealand.)

Before I chum the waters of the pharma advertising debate, focus on how intense this “Fight Back” campaign for the Canadian Cancer Society is. You gotta love Canada. They give us Shatner, Rush and good PSAs. The English version of the DDB campaign above is different in tone from the French version here, (with site), and has more intensity in my opinion. (The melodrama in the French version is working overtime thanks to the art film-like cabaret piano.)

Minor things though. These are powerful. Both use real people to act out scripted and poignant stories of the fight against cancer by either themselves or loved ones.

For its part, cancer is personified as coming from the viewer’s point of view. (Having had a family member lose said fight, the English version resonates more for me, due in no small part to a more intense background track.)

Time to chum.

The pros and cons of pharma ads can be debated all day: I’m right. You’re right. We’re all right. Let’s just assume though that pharma advertising is screwed in its present form.

The minute a brand talks about how their product might be the answer for the disease you have—or didn’t know you had—it comes under scrutiny for implying just those very claims, and rightfully so.

The current solution however, is to include a ton of legal copy that is supposed to give consumers the info they need to make informed decisions, (also known as fair balance).

Tell me how that’s accomplished in a :30 spot again?

The fundamental problem with this approach is that so much legalese needs to be included that it undermines what the ad was theoretically intended to do:

Educate people about the truly important stuff.

So basically, the main selling feature of most pharma ads becomes that it’s less harmful than its competition. (Your honor, I call Celebrex’s 2-minute warning as a witness.)

Isn’t that like saying Budweiser is better because it’s involved in less fatal traffic accidents than Miller?* Yet the only warning you see in beer or liquor ads is what... drink responsibly. Based on that logic, pharma should have the same type of warning: Use medicine carefully.

Instead of holding up work that features a rooster in your bed as rising above the competition because it started out as “unbranded,” pharma brands should focus on helping consumers sort through the bullshit. Going to Washington to lobby for the right to Twitter ain’t what I mean, either.

By the way, ALL pharma brands use the unbranded approach at some point. It’s not innovation—it’s how they bend the regulations without breaking them. For example, a microsite about headaches doesn’t mention the brand behind it.

When you click on it though, it takes you to another site that’s for the drug that works on... headaches. That this positioning and approach can win a Clio is absurd. It’s the equivalent of giving an award to a print ad simply because it appeared in a magazine.

(If you need more of a breakdown of other issues at work here, this consumer study highlighting the key differences is as good as any.)

Back to the cancer spot up top, this is where pharma needs to go.

Consumers end up being more confused than educated, certainly not helped by leaky faucet metaphors for erections or costumed characters for heart attacks.

As the Taxi spot for “Antiquing” showed, pharma can be truly funny. Likewise, these cancer spots show pharma can also be intense and emotional, just as living with cancer is.

When an ad works, it grabs you—how can it do that with 50 pages of mandatory?

*They would call this a hypothetical situation. Chill MillerCoors lawyers, chill.

How about a space for people with a lower credit card balance?

Yes, the Whole Foods ethos is about being green. But I saw a sign like this last night while out for a last-minute Thanksgiving dash. The version I saw said something to the effect:

“This space is reserved for low emissions & fuel efficient vehicles only.”

I’m green like that, but is parking closer now the reward for changing how you live? Or does Whole Foods not want those drivers to waste gas driving around looking for a space? (Even if they have to drive an extra 1/4 mile around the parking lot, don’t they have a little extra mileage to spare thanks to better fuel efficiency?)


Microsoft Twitter Haiku—you knew it was a matter of time.

Oh sure,

Better Server tools
Providing interactive
Analysis Live!

Has a certain charm to it. But you can do better than that my friends. Enter your best server themed haiku here to win a Sony entertainment system and Xbox Elite.

IT really pissed
worked off server, not desktop
swore at me all day


In case you haven’t totally destroyed the bird yet.

Comes timely advise from Harvey Korman and Ad Broad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AdVerve - Episode 7 - The Thanksgiving show

Aka, iGod, Naughty Words and the Poetry of Tila Tequila.

Download the show directly here. Or subscribe via iTunes:

Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

This week's AdVerve is an icon-heavy melange featuring social networks, Oprah, and ... yes, an angry poem by Tila Tequila. (LISTEN TO TILA GET ALL NSFW N’ SHIT!)

First, we kick this week's episode off with an email from Chris, a listener from Japan, whose words of love warmed our figurative cockles. Then, just for sport, Bill suggests Twitter's dying even though he doesn't actually believe it.

We talk Oprah. AS America. Then comes a literary moment featuring our favorite social media photo whore poet and entrepreneur, Tila Tequila. This is followed by some saucy wordplay, featuring trigger words that instantly put people in fight-mode.

You get your five minutes with David Griner, star of AdFreak, The Social Path and Luckie & Co. Steve Jobs (iGod or iDouche?) gets his moment in the sun, and then a treat! — Charlie Bit Me, auto-tuned.

Last but not least, we discuss a weird wave of suicides going down at France Telecom. Not gonna say much about it here; listen to the 'cast, man. But if you read en français, you can get a gist here.

Topics by timestamp:

00:06 – 1. Intro - we get email
01:53 – 2. Twitter die, MySpace try
09:23 – 3. Twitter CPR
13:18 – 4. Oprah IS America
16:38 – 5. Getting distracted with Tila Tequila
20:04 – 6. Oprah resurfaces
23:31 – 7. Wordplay
31:27 – 8. Five minutes with... David Griner
36:40 – 9. Steve Jobs is a dude
38:08 – 10. Charlie Bit Us - Viralosity
51:44 – 11. Facebooked
55:44 – 12. French suicides
01:04:46 – 13. That’s a wrap

Send questions, comments or requests for newsletter inclusion to advervepodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. You can also leave a review too.

Never bend over again!


A roadblock with any other client might seem less creepy.

The idea of switching to another channel only to find out that the Borg control every channel? Well, at least just in Tampa anyway.

Hold up, I thought you were supposed to use fingers.

What the hell is this. You mean all this time I could’ve just thrown the ball down the lane? Isn’t Jason Belmonte cheating? Next thing they’ll say I don’t need clubs for mini golf.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Only on:


Tags: , , , , ,

Overheard internet.

Cool, honest and sad. Brought to you by the internet. In an unedited B-roll, straight to your monitor kinda way...

It’s the Netherlands, so 50/50 at least one person in that photo is high.

Of course.
Every porn actress is into the same things unpartnered men do.”

Wouldn’t it be
great if there were a way to distribute these messages to anyone who wanted to read them? And do it for free? Oh, right. ”

Not to detract
from any of those people - but when you are on the Twitter “suggested follow” list? 1 million followers isn’t much of an accomplishment. Someone at Twitter put all of them on the list - bam. Twitter fame.

I live in Provo and this commercial is so good, I'd get a haircut there if I didn't have dreads.


It's getting COORS RADIO in here.

WE’RE GET-TIN’ BEER IN HERE! At this point, what do you do. What do you my friends.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Do it for the kids...

The college kids! Students Over Banks wants the government to give bailout money to students, not banks. Can’t we just give it to both? I say, why not! MONEY FOR ALL. WHOO-HOO! I proudly paid off my student loans in just 10 years! (No help from banks.) Why shouldn’t all students be given the right to spend half of their earning years paying off loans. Vote now!

New AOL logo: “'s going to be very, very, very inexpensive.”

At first, I was was like, geez-zuz does that statement from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sum up how clients approach spending money on their identity. But, then, I’ve also given crap to companies for overspending on the very same thing.

It’s easy to say AOL’s challenges, like Yahoo’s, go beyond identity, and reinforces what anyone in advertising would say to or about a client with a brand problem: Fix your product first.

Sure sounds like AOL was trying to do that by getting out of the Time Warner deal and now with that statement. While I’m too busy to figure it out, there has to be a correlation between brands in trouble and the number of times they rebrand hoping it will cure their ills. (I don’t mean a brand with a dated look that truly needs a facelift either.)

The new AOL look is part of a “more holistic brand presence” to be unveiled in December, but at the risk of jumping the gun, it hits you the wrong way when a CEO brushes off an identity like that, almost apologizing for it, simply because they didn’t spend enough money? Does this mean a dev came up with it in-house? Wouldn’t the “branding’ firm have done it?

If not, then why spend additional money on branding if all you care about are costs. Any designer with even a little self-respect left is feeling real proud right about now that their work is being excused for being cheaper.

Does this mean they’ll save money by not running an ad campaign too? Maybe Tim will direct them. They’ve spent a lot in the past on yellow logo man thing as well as the TV to support it. While I loved the Super bowl spots with Orange County Choppers, don’t try and tell me a logo design was going to break the bank this time around.

Maybe if they didn’t send out all those CDs over the years, they could’ve had a nice little design war chest built up by now.

Say what you will about Web 2.0 style, and I have, but at least the current crop of social networks and their third-party friends look like they belong in the space. This logo “study in progress” is trying way too hard to be modern—a few years ago.

I’m being a Monday morning quarterback about this after seeing the logo direction, but here’s where I would’ve come out: Pepsi missed a once in a lifetime chance to open its logo redesign up to the world because their marketing director had visions of grand brand moves and “big idea” ad campaigns.

In the end, all they delivered though was more of the same. (Again, Coke owns Pepsi in ads and now social media.) Same too with Yahoo. AOL could’ve also tried it.

Why not have everyone take a shot at your logo? (NOT crowdsourcing either, so relax.)

For global brands supposedly built around global communities and relevance to same, why not experiment more? (The idea of global is dead anyway since everything online is at once local and global. Hyper Global! New term, Web 2.0 bitches. Wiki that shit.) But to brands like these, setting up a Twitter is about as hardcore as it gets between them and their respective audiences.

Or if AOL looks at from a cost angle, the PR/earned media off that would pay for a whole new batch of CDs. Strike that. Flash drives. Until I’m completely living la vida cloud, THOSE I can use.

(See, AOL, the cloud is this concept that... oh, nevermind.)

UPDATE: In talking with design firm Wolff Olins’ PR arm, I questioned whether they felt Armstrong’s comments were a little out of place. The feeling back is that with the branding being tied into the spin-off, it's not surprising that he's pushing the thrift angle relative to overall marketing spend, and to that same point, the idea was to talk and get people talking.

While I agree it’s done that, I’m not generally a fan of “Any PR is good PR.”


I never get to play on the White House lawn.

At first, there's something creepy about seeing giant Obama kid playing in this United We Serve spot, but the slo-mo effect eventually gives off the vibe that a kid can grow up to become anything given the right support. (It’s for the NFL’s Play 60 program to get kids playing for at least 60 minutes a day.) Or maybe I’m reading into it way too much. Drew does throw a tight spiral though! Who dat 10-0 Saints! (Obama? Almost didn’t look it in though.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rupert Murdoch, Oprah and a loofah.

Sexy! Who’s Mr. Last-minute fill-in? > > This guy < < Beancast has Dan Goldgeier and David Burn from AdPulp as well as Dirk Singer from Cow. We covered Oprah, Rupert Murdoch giving the finger to Google, and how tech-savvy people need to become now. Download the show directly here. Twitter: TheBeanCast, mtlb, David, Danny G. and Dirk.

At one point, we bring up BBDO Detroit’s closing. Bob raised the point that this now means an influx of A-list talent on the streets. At the risk of giving the proverbial finger to out of work creatives (I don't cover hirings and firings here for that reason), you hear me ask him to prove that. Wasn’t trying to be a dick, but I meant in the bigger picture, that’s the typical mindset people have whenever layoffs are discussed. I don’t think that logic always applies though. While a lot of talented people often suffer in large cuts (and, agencies also use it as an excuse to get rid of dead weight), not everyone who gets fired is A-list material.


Kleenex—Official sponsor of the New York Jets.

Following last week’s Jets loss to Jacksonville, New York coach Rex Ryan apparently broke down in front of the team at a subsequent meeting. This prompted Kleenex brand people to offer free tissues for the rest of the season. I watched the Pats game Sunday against the Jets. They should extend the offer to the fans—they’re gonna need it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Me, I’m focusing on the economy, stupid.

Lotta messages in that outdoor. Can’t blame them. In times like these, you want to maximize the space you’re paying for. Guess Hope’s out of the question. But, to keep on point from a marketing POV? Keep it about the economy. That one will resonate better come midterm elections.

Sponsored by Morton salt?

I kid! Now through January 20th in Milan, Italy, city art group Cracking Art has placed a bunch of giant pink snails made from recycled plastic around the city. It’s supposed to get people to slow down from their everyday lives. Besides Wisconsin, not sure I’ve seen another place love giant plastic animals so much. I could even see these by the side of the road to discourage speeders. Wait, scratch that. Nothing works with speeders. People suck.

Anyway, these are cool.

How ’bout them Cowboy anthems!

For the Giants fans in the audience. New piece for the Cowboys by Shout3x in Dallas. Written by friend of the show and agency head Mack Simpson, Anthem has the messaging I thought the recent Jumpman spot should’ve. Created, produced and shot in one week, the extended spot for the Cowboys features various players like Tony Romo and Jason Witten talking about what it takes to make it.

“There's a lot of excitement that builds up around electronics.”

Yeah, I bet. So goes Walmart Black Friday spokesperson logic. Doors open earlier at 5 am, $7 dollar jackets and discounted 50" plasmas will prevent stampedes again how?


Hot models with HIV need Hazmat sui... kisses too.

“Yeah, and I heard talking to someone with HIV on the phone is dangerous too.” This British Red Cross spot with Konnie Huq focuses on the fear many people still have of close contact with anyone who is HIV positive or living with AIDS. According to them:

“For World AIDS Day 2009, the British Red Cross carried out a survey of 16-25-year-olds in the UK, which showed that 85 per cent knew you cannot catch HIV from a kiss. Despite this, 69 per cent still wouldn't kiss someone with HIV. So while people's knowledge about HIV is generally good, that doesn't necessarily translate into action.”

Maybe not, and I see where they’re going in trying to alleviate the bias and fear, but the focus of any spots these days would seem to be prevention of HIV transmission. With half of all new cases of HIV infection affecting those 25 and under (likely due to relaxed attitudes towards sex), seems like that should the main focus for any sort of HIV education efforts these days.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let’s do this!

Forget return trips to the moon or putting a man on Mars, let’s build rings around the Earth. No, I mean it. This is cool. (Not sure they needed a nice Ave Maria to sell it in, but, hey, whatevuh.)

(Via Nerdcore.)

Crazy Canon Camera time!

CANON - Freeze Tag from Saman Keshavarz on Vimeo.

Cool stop-motion live-motion thing, but if someone dropped my camera like that? Be somewhere else.*

*Not that, you know, I’ve ever dropped a camera before. Maybe.

“That's a funny spot!”

The current Bud Light Too light, Too heavy spots are running as you know by now. The dog version came on during last week’s NFL games, and, sitting with a bunch of hard-drinking non-ad pros, all you heard over and over when this or the nail gun spot came on was “That’s a funny spot!” Whereas I’d go the difference is plausibility, it’s easy to forget that the other half of the audience thinks these are the shit.

I return you to your Friday.

AdVerve Server Fun Fixed.

The squirrels that chewed through the servers’ wires have summarily been dispatched and all AdVerve shows are available again. Download you some:

Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When nature calls, will you answer?

Rhett & Link’s latest. Rhett wonders about the reaction, but I think the spot misses some of that local flavor slash interaction with real people found in their previous spots.

The man from LOX.

Except for the one grisly NSFW scene near the end, this has to be the strangest training film I’ve ever seen. Part safety, part bad acting, part wtf. Courtesy of your Uncle Sam.

Seatvertising, first blood part II

School busvertising, air sickness bagvertising. They didn’t think of the backs of seats sooner? And look, it's for a cruise line? Isn’t that some kind of inverse cannibal advertising logic? Why look at travel ads while traveling? “Hey, I’m at 30,000 feet—let me book a cruise.” Some media planner is going “Studies show that 65% of airline passengers often go on cruises.” Here’s the thing, even if I was headed to a cruise? I ALREADY HAVE MY TICKET. Why not just make the whole interior one giant ad. Maybe then they can afford to wave fees for that extra bags.

Captcha or comment spam?

Nope. Not a new bit. It's riptide conditions out there people, so, word verification measures in effect for now.

AdVerve - Episode 6 - The French Connection

This episode includes...

. Angela interviewed digital generalist Frédéric-Gérard Leveque for a unique take on the ad scene in Paris and the state of agencies in general. One thing that comes to mind after listening to him is that regardless of the solutions he talks about, you realize the problems facing ad agencies in France are things that ad agencies deal with all over the world. WE ARE NOT ALONE.

Five minutes with... the other half of AdPulp, Danny Goldgeier, or “Danny G,” as he’s called on the streets. He talks about getting out of the cubicle a little more. (Check him out on Twitter.)

Topic timestamps:

02:54 – 1. Intro with Fred
04:02 – 2. Rethinking the big agency model
09:15 – 3. We can do it all mindeset. Digital vs. traditional
10:16 – 4. Big brand but multiple shops
11:51 – 5. Where do big shops turn - connecting the dots
16:52 – 6. Agency silos
17:29 – 7. Finding the idea guy on staff
19:50 – 8. Taxi. When too many is too much
21:41 – 9. Lot of hands = lot of handlers
25:14 – 10. The role of search consultants
28:54 – 11. Crowdsourcing
31:24 – 12. French agencies doing it right
33:20 – 13. Sweden! (And praise to Farfar, whose name we all forgot until the end.)
35:01 – 14. Improving the French ad scene
37:01 – 15. Other European work
37:58 – 16. France’s digital drive
39:15 – 17. Every idea for itself
42:35 – 18. Can't we all just get along?
43:29 – 19. Raising Gen(eration) Tech
47:08 – 20. Bad questions, not bad solutions
48:28 – 21. Wrap-up and strategy planner roles
50:32 – 22. Final thoughts on Fred
54:20 – 23. Five mins with... Danny G.
58:30 – 23. That’s a wrap

Download the show directly here.

Or subscribe via iTunes: Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gatorade’s Replay—Sports redemption slash product placement.

The next step in reality programming crossed with branded entertainment? REPLAY from Gatorade and TBWA\Chiat\Day. It’s a new take on Joes vs. Joes as they replay history 15 years after the fact. (A throwback idea to Kurt Russell and Robin Williams 25 years ago in Best of Times. Yeah, no, it is.*) This first show, it’s the Easton Area Red Rovers vs. the Phillipsburg Stateliners trying for redemption. Of course, it has to with football, so it’s not a stretch for the brand to a attract a mostly guy audience. (Also helps having Super Bowl QBs Peyton and Eli Manning in the episode.)

I just wish they did one for kickball. I got called out in the 4th grade once and I still say I was safe. We would’ve gone undefeated that year. Undefeated.

*Don’t get all Law & Order disclaimerish on me either: “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Please. Ripped from today’s headlines is all they know.

Eh, screw it—why not just pay people to use stuff.

It’s where we’re headed, no? In some ways, Matthew Lesko is like your crazy uncle. (If, you have one.) At times part consumer advocate on the order of Ralph Nadar, at others, whacked pitchman with Riddler suit. But I got this email blast that made me do a double-take.

It says instead of spending a ton of money on TV spots (and the agencies who run them), he’s offering that money as $5 rebates to people to go to his website and try his service. (The catch is that you have to sign up for a $1 7-day trial to get the five back.) But, it’s just crazy enough for larger brands to try in times like these.

Because while talking about conversation ripples and influencers is nice, in times like these? Money talks—that shit walks. We need less involved descriptions of how we buy stuff or “talk” to brands and more practical things that have tangible value.

Of course, rebates are nothing new. At their core, they’re direct response. (Look at the spin Denny’s put on it with their free meal promotion last Super Bowl.) There, it had the support of major media behind it. But if Lesko is avoiding TV to get the word out and can drive traffic to the offer, then he’s right, isn’t he?

Why spend for impressions that don’t guarantee anything when word of mouse and earned media does the job for you?

The piece on Denver Egotist about the underwater billboard drew an interesting comment. Someone wondered if it wasn’t the discount that drew people to buy more than any whacky stunt, and it’s a valid point. How do you know it wasn’t?

Talking with a friend about promotions that brands run, and concept of Schooner Tuna marketing came up. (It’s from a scene in Mr. Mom where the fictional CEO of Schooner Tuna basically rolled back prices until things were better *cue flag prop at end* Sales were insane.

Fictional, yes, but we were trying to think of another brand recently that has agreed to any kind of serious longterm rollback like that, and we couldn’t. I don’t mean small discount or $5 Subway.

He applied the theory to pets. Because of the high cost of keeping them is as much as kid depending on the breed, a dogfood company could own the market if just they came out and agreed to cut prices by half. Then, in a year, the price reverts.

Or say ketchup. In a category of condiment sameness, wouldn’t a price rollback be a major differentiator? If Heinz 57 was suddenly half, what other catchup would you buy? (His other point by the way: Name a third catchup in the category. I couldn’t.)

The point?

Not sure, except that at the rate P&G or Unilever claim they’re rewriting agency procurement rulebooks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go direct to the consumer this Super Bowl with some kind of drastic price rebate, rollback or wild offer on several of their products. Take the million dollars you want to give to just two people for a user-gen TV spot and share the wealth.

I would.

But wait, there’s more...

- In the future, all outdoor will be underwater.
- Why I don’t swim near Antartica ice flows.
- Taking a hegemonic dump on architectural pretentiousness.
- Roguemobile book tour fact-checking fun.
- For all your medieval tent needs.
- Design Catwalk.
- Oh look kids, a twouchebag.
- Prison reform does work.
- FB CAN do some good afterall.
- A different spin on shadow puppets.
- Popup book of phobias.
- Flannelus, what say you?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So much for Lebron's Hummer.

Was thinking back to all the attention about him getting that thing—and now every NBA fan imagines life with him on their team after he becomes a free agent next year. So much for Hummers. What will your city give?

The British are coming—to take your healthcare.

Like the founding fathers, brilliantly framing or bookending the debate with a then vs. now British jab, the anti-public option coalition is growing strong. Although, I think the questions that need to be asked aren't these, rather, shouldn't they answer: “How is a public option worse than what we many currently have?” Eh, details.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jeff Van Gundy? Coach. Actor!

Forget shoe deals. An athlete hasn’t completed the circle of life until they appear on both Sportscenter AND get their own ESPN spot. The network’s done a good job of expanding its This Is Sportscenter vibe over to their NBA coverage. They’ve had a series of spots out for a while now using NBA stars in various scenarios with the EPSN RV. Shaqtus may be stretching things but the rest on their YouTube page are solid. (Some of them aren’t commercials.)

The Wrong Questions Episode.

A last-minute Beancast appearance adds to my AdRants and MTLB blogging fun this week. Movie-goers in attendance were Hadji Williams, Aaron Strout and Duane Forrester from MSN. We covered schtuff like Razorfish’s FEED and why nobody can agree on statistics. Then we get into the dudes who have never kissed a girl—no, not ham radio operators—but COD players. And other assorted stuff we can’t mention in public. Download the show directly here. You can also follow us on Twitter: TheBeanCast, mtlb, Hadji, Duane and Aaron.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

When heroes fall.

Not that they’re heroes, just needed a grabber! Two things about two people...

First, why does Morrissey now look like my dad after he just finished clearing branches? He’d be at home in a Miller High Life spot.

(Okay, so taking a bottle off the head was bush league, but my dad would’ve jumped out into the audience, beat the shit out of the dude, then hopped back up on stage mid-song. No, he would’ve.)

Then there’s Travolta.

John, John, John. How’s that saying go again? You never have a second chance to make a good... second chance? Headed down fast after the Look Who’s Cashing A Check franchise when Quentin performed career CPR. (10 so-so films to 2 great ones is the new approved standard I believe.) Vincent Vega putting him back on Hollywood’s serious role radar.

Still, the signs were there as another slide appeared in the works.

For every Civil Action or Phenomenon, there was a Lucky Numbers. Originally mastering badass in Pulp Fiction and ultra-cool in Get Shorty without even trying, subsequent roles in Broken Arrow, Swordfish and Be Cool tried hard to recapture “the magic.” (It’s almost back with the recent Pelham remake. Almost.)

Personally, I think it was the temptation to work with Howie Long that started the second fall from grace.

Now, I see a trailer with not only Robin Williams for Old Dogs (hilarity ensues!), but Wild Hogs II? TWO? SO many unanswered questions I guess that they need a sequel to work shit out.

Not sure how many more Pulp Fictions Tarentino has lined up.

Because nothing says 7-10 split like natural disaster.

I can’t believe bowling and all its bad metaphors have been hiding all this time. It’s an old spot with Pete Weber that still runs (as it did today), but financial services and their hack dead horse beating themes have nothing on... STORM! *cue lightning SND FX*

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama shows versatility.

While W was merely portrayed as a fascist, Obama is now a triple threat: Socialist, Muslim and Communist! Oba Mao is the latest incarnation slash play on words showing much love. Not gonna lie, that’s a pretty good play on words, if, you know, I were a political satirist slash t-shirt copywriter. I’m sorry, what, it isn’t just in China with flaming statues either? Washington, D.C. of all places, with the added bonus of a peace sign? Represent! Thankfully* the other coast still has its senses as there seems to be no hate in The Haight. (Or is there.)

*In a post referencing Godless isms, I didn’t think it right to use the words Thank G--.

Local localness.

Now that hunter-gatherer evolution has devolved to me going out on a rainy Friday night to get the pizza, the trip was not without salvation as I ran across some local typo fun:

Yes, all our food is made on Premisis, in the constellation Lyra, just south of K-PAX. We use JetWarp™ technology to speed your order to you faster than those “other” guys. Or call ahead, you order will be ready when you get ther..., er, here!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hold Up, I'm not done yet on this digital vs. traditional thing.

I saw on Ad Age where a new column went up on the old argument of who should blah-blah-blah freaking “lead” when it comes to “guiding” a brand in times like these, traditional or digital shops.

To rehash a comment I made there: Why is it always framed as an either-or deal? With the way things have changed, how can any one shop be all things to a brand anymore? Seems like it wants to be two things: A size and idea argument.

First, the problem is, everyone is stuck on the standard notion that brands need a big idea to carry them through the year: “Here’s our new ad campaign that says what we want about our brand.” As such, agencies fight to be the one that gives it to them.

However, this is becoming increasingly at odds with a client mindset that wants to use multiple agency partners. Result: Five shops want to be lead dog and say they were the ones who drove the brand with that one idea. Fueled increasingly by the “Idea can come from anywhere” mantra.

Secondly and more importantly, why is this not just a size argument? Why does it have to be digital vs. traditional? Clients go with the shop they have confidence in, based in large part on what the agency can offer in terms of not just ideas, but account management and execution.

Besides, hasn’t any traditional-digital divide morphed into a traditional-social media divide? (It’s all merging anyway.) There is no pure definition of digital because it encompasses so much, from search and Twitter to microsites and blogger outreach.)

No matter what size you are though, your shop better know how to do it all these days to meet whatever need the client has, or be at least be able to partner with someone who can.

It’s not just about what your specialty is, it’s about that client need at any given time. A lot of agencies coming up now though don’t get that. Some in the space seem to think their specific offering is the only thing a brand needs.

Too often, it’s not that digital (or small) shops can’t sell themselves or come up with that big idea (many can, many can’t), it’s just as much about those clients stuck in an old school gotta have my big agency mindset when they maybe don’t need to be.

Sure, P&G needs massive TV, so they use a shop or network of shops that can handle it. But not every brand needs that.

The reason for the post and why I bring all this up again is that Brian Morrissey wrote something in Brandweek on the new Flip video campaign that sums this up perfectly.

Actually, I’m not sure he meant it the way I read into it. The passage near the end is just a list of agencies involved in the project, but I think it’s significant because it highlights the problem with a who should lead blanket statement:

“Boutique shop Bird Design handled creative. Media Storm handled planning and buying. Cisco bypassed using AKQA, which was named its lead agency. Lipe said AKQA would still work on the brand, but it went with different partners for the needs of this campaign.”

So much for lead anything.

Brands are still the most important factor in the mix when it comes to determining what agency works on what project or account. The one shop you’d expect to run things because it was named lead (AKQA), was bypassed. Another digital shop Bird Design did the creative. Relevant too, the client itself is a fairly young brand and certainly didn't buy into the one-stop shopping concept.

The pipe dream that is one agency with lead AOR status now officially, hopefully, over.

Here endeth the lesson.


Contextual madness—Chicaga edition.

Guilty much? Oops.

[ Revised: I totally missed the top BP banner ad that Agency Spy noticed. A CM hat trick! ]

(Original submitted by anon.)

If you do nothing else for me...

I want you to be afraid of the kitty.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sets record...

For number of times a cop pulled over someone looking like this guy* in one day.

“GameStop? Oh. Go ahead then.”

$310 million in one day in the U.S. and the UK. I’ve seen prices for the title today range anywhere from $45 to $80 online, not including the crowd who waited on line in stores and try and make a killing later on eBay.

One day.

What else besides game titles now can sell 4.7 million copies in one day? Movies? Nope. By comparison, it took Michael Jackson’s This Is It two weeks just to gross $190 million—globally. Super Bowl ad revenue for 2009? Not much better at $210 million (and that was with 97 million people watching who may have bought something they saw).

Lesson? Geeks just may save this economy yet, mister.

*That’s C-4 on his chest. No, it is. Look closer.

Image: AP/George Nikitin

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I just want LinkedIn to do one thing.

The Girl Riot went off on this week’s AdVerve about LinkedIn now integrating with Twitter. She went off on a bunch of stuff, but, this one echoed what I’m seeing happen and hoped wouldn’t with them: Sites that can’t leave well enough alone and which become feature-laden, as if focusing on their core offering would kill them.

LinkedIn was always all-business, all the time. Boring? Yes. Serious? Yes. Guess what though. I LIKED THAT ABOUT IT.

I wasn’t getting poked.

Nobody was retweeting a connection I made.

There were no cute puppy videos.

I knew when I logged into it that it would keep all that other shit at bay. This was the one place where people in the industry actually met for business, not to exchange pokes. Yes, you can pose questions and discussion topics, but to me, it’s the last bastion of what a professional online community could and should be.

No, I will not buy either the argument “But Twitter is a part of everyone’s day, business or not. Why not integrate.” Why? Because it won’t end there, it never does.

More importantly...


While social media leaders often clog Twitter arteries with issues related to the industry (when they should be loosening up more), LinkedIn lets you know that you’re there for business.

There will be no virtual beers given out today friend—I’ve got a res to update.

So now, LinkedIn lets everyone in to rush the general admission floor. Way to go. Anatomy of a site on the way towards samenosity 3.0?

> > see: LinkedIn < <

Protesting, old school style.

South Korean protestors sent thousands of balloons with leaflets in them over the border into North Korea to protest prison camps. Added benefit? Bugging the shit out of Lil’ Kim. Awesome.

You kids behave.

I’m filling in on AdRants for a little stretch. Twice the snark, twice the fun. Believe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Contextual madness. Family edition.

Shauna Sand (she is/was/needs to be a celebrity). Looks like she went out for the night though. Literally. In front of her daughter. See larger pic and possibly NSFW stuff.

(Via ModaMags.)

A tale of two crowdsources.

This one will likely fly under the radar for a lot of people. The Capital Grille Restaurant is running a label design contest for a new wine that they plan on featuring in the spring of 2010. What I liked about it wasn’t the prize(s): A free case of the wine and a trip for two to Napa Valley. Putting aside whether you think that compensation is worth someone’s time as a designer, I like the utter simplicity of the creative brief for the assignment. Which is to say, there really isn’t one.

A description of the area where the wine comes from is about it, followed by a call to action. Sort of:

“This wine will have no name—the winning original label art and the artistic wine inside the bottle will be all the identification it requires. And with that, we hope we’ve inspired you.”

No copy, just art. Hard to get much simpler than that. (In fact, the rules of eligibility are way more extensive.) Point is, it’s the opposite of the micromanagement on display with the more recent crowdsourcing experiment.

If “crowdsourcing” has any benefit, it should be at the very least about the designer’s concept, no matter what they come up with. Not, let’s just have give back what we pretty much told them we wanted.

You want a wider variety of ideas; that’s why people open their brands up to the masses. Why shouldn’t all contests be that simple: Here’s our brand, now, wow us. Done.

No list of songs you can or can’t use and no requirements other than deadline, time limits and format (if applicable). Capital Grille really took that one to extremes because there’s not even a label size listed. Both these cases are examples of extremes in terms of giving direction for a contest. Compared to the phone book-length regulations faced by loser-generated Super Bowl commercial nation, it’s still about as easy a one to enter as anything.

AdVerve - Episode 5 - Uptown PETA Mix.

10 for 10 is back. (You love it.) We talk sexy burka wearers. Assassin shoes. Grizzly Bear. The children of stars, and more.

Five minutes with... this time out features the rants of The Girl Riot and her not so inside voice on the mic. Buckle up kids! She gets all into Twitter updates! Bad moves by band members! Weezer Snuggie!

Then we try something new where we take one brand or issue on our minds and come up with a fix for it. That’s part of the advertising world: Sometimes, a client lands on your desk and you have no choice but to work on it. The victim this time out? PETA. Buckle up kids is right.

(The Kayak and Guinness spots we also reference at times can be found here and here, respectively.)

Topics by timestamp:

00:23 – 1. 10 for 10
39:02 – 2. Five minutes with... The Girl Riot
48:48 – 3. Saving PETA
01:03:27 – 4. Do authority figures have a responsibility to respond to detractors?
01:10:55 – 4. That’s a wrap

Download the show directly here.

Or subscribe via iTunes: Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

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