advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Raise your glass—and middle finger, here’s to Copyranter.

Because that’s just how he should go out: on his terms. That middle finger is for the collective ads he skewered, hated and ranted about. Most of us diss ads we don’t like, but often hold back our real thoughts. He didn’t. Copyranter is was still one of the most honest and biting ad blogs out there. Period.



Anonymous said...

Biting, totally.
Honest, partially.

Anonymous said...

Partially ... hate to see ‘fully’ then.


Anonymous said...

He has trouble with facts.
Then he has trouble with correcting errors.
Then, when he apologizes for the factual errors, he falls into the contemporary ironic apology. You know, the oleaginous sorry + the FU takeaway.
He also recently revised his characterization of McCann's founder, McCann...perhaps under the inducement of Interpublic's lawyers, perhaps not.
Strangely, bloggers don't have to worry about opinions: they are entitled to them; they do need guidance sometimes with facts. It is only in the latter that they can be dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Then this seems like it’s more about truth for you than honesty for me, which was my original focus.

The notion that he didn’t come off as a yes man who might have done a fluff piece on a shop in hopes of getting an invite. Instead, he voiced his less than flattering opinion of one place and still got the invite.

Although, I doubt an invite to Donny Deutsch’s Big Idea was ever really going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I connect honesty with truth-telling. Maybe that is an error of mine.
Or a value judgement. I.e, honesty is a misbegotten virtue in the hands of a misrepresenter.
His reason for being--stated--on the Gawker site is exposure of lies. That's fine, but it imposes on him a special obligation to be as scrupulous a fact-checker as The New Yorker or The Reader's Digest used to be in the days of Shawn and the Wallaces.
As for Donnie, he is getting better and better at his show. He has not stood still with it; he has changed the content, the length of segments and guest interviews, even his tone. He could be Larry King's replacement, yet. Or Katie Couric's.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

(Anyone could be Couric’s btw. That move was doomed before she even left NBC.)

Sounds like he hit a nerve for you and someone close, I don’t know.

His posts to me at least, always seemed to be about how certain people in the business acted one way with the public, but then privately, acted completely different based on his personal experiences with them.

That’s not something I can ever find fault with someone over. Their personal experiences are their own, and who am I or anybody to say otherwise.

(I expect the same consideration in return. Anyone is free to tell me I’m an a-hole, but they can’t tell me I’m wrong about a particular experience I had, especially when I know I had it.)

I won’t comment on CR in the context of what he puts out there on Gawker because there are two different audiences at work. (The Gawker crowd seems to be more along the lines of the general public vs. his blog geared towards ad people.)

For the sake of the blog argument though, he was pretty clear when you showed up: he hates everything. No Grey (pun) area there. Based on that list, you knew going in where he stood and that there will not be much he does like, so you either take it or leave it.

That said, there were instances where when he needed to make a correction on something or acknowledged same via anon comment, he did. Unlike certain columnists who through sheer hubris, can never admit they’re wrong.

(Highlighting my point is the fact that I say ‘certain columnists’ when he’d call out their real names and them to fuck off.)

(And if CR is reading this, sorry this is coming off like a eulogy.)

“He was always so quiet ... until that fateful day.


I’d also add that his was one of only a few blogs along with Highjive’s ) which also brought up the issue of diversity in agencies. But people miss that when they’re focused on the latest AA print ad from Dov.

It’s like Howard Stern. What used to get lost in and amongst all the strippers was that he was a pretty good interviewer who went beyond the typical celebrity questions and got people to open up.

But at the end of the day, I guess people want strippers, not forthcoming interviews.

HighJive said...

As always, Messner brings up interesting points. Problem is, most bloggers likely fall into one of two camps: 1) don’t have the time and/or resources to check facts, or; 2) don’t care about facts. But it also goes to the fact that bloggers are not journalists. Sure, some blogs are close to being journalism (Adrants and Adpulp, for example). But ultimately, it may be wrong to hold bloggers to journalistic standards. Bloggers are closer to being the hollering dude on a NY street corner versus a NY Times reporter. If Messner puts bloggers against that screen, he’ll see things differently. That said, I’d like to think most bloggers are not deliberately bending reality. But those who do probably learned and honed their fact-bending techniques on Madison Avenue.

Anonymous said...

A) "Personal nerve hit." Yes. Too long to go into here or anywhere actually, but he made two attacks. One on an article I had written for Adweek, in which he completely missed the ironies. (By the way, I discovered long ago that irony, put-ons, often don't work on-line or in e-mails.) And then, in the same post, a brief history of my later career with a couple of snippets that were just not true. He apologized for a portion of the mangled facts, but then did a little joke at the end that took away the apology. In an e-mail to me, he did say that the apology was sincere and he was sorry I didn't take it that way. I told Gawker that CR was, I thought, free to have any opinion about me that he wants, but he'd better get the facts right or my lawyers would correct them for him.
B) Blogging and journalism are not the same, sure. But truth is important across genres. Even advertising itself is great only when it is true.
C) I spend about a half hour every day with blogs--sports, politics, advertising. I occasionally comment on something that interests me or when I might know something to add to the discussion. That's a lot of time, 30 minutes a day. So the posts and comments obviously interest me. In politics and sports, the blogs depend almost entirely on other outlets for their posts. The ad business blogs actually are more creative and occasionally more news-breaking than the ones devoted to sports or politics.
D) Couric is far more interesting, intelligent and probing an interviewer than predecessors Cronkite, Edwards, and Schieffer.
Rather was a better journalist, but another who was seduced into being a news reader instead of a White House Reporter.

Anonymous said...

One last thing to High Jive's point.
If a blogger announces his intention to expose lies as CR does, he should--oh in the interest of consistency or sincerity--check HIS facts.
Otherwise, he is a potential victim of the old "tu quoque," the old "you yourself" argument. As in: "Governor Spitzer, you yourself prosecuted to the full extent of the law a prostitution ring and now you are exposed as just an other John."

HighJive said...

Completely agree with Messner.

Again, I’d like to think most bloggers are not deliberately bending reality.

Part of the problem with opinion bloggers is they are usually moving forward quickly without access to other perspectives on an issue (or the benefits of an editor). Then again, a lot of journalists these days are doing the same. How many times has Ad Age “updated” a story online?

Regarding “truth,” it’s always been a fuzzy thing. Don’t mean to sound paranoid, but people (particularly corporations and governments) have always presented distorted versions of facts and figures as being truth. Adpeople do it all the time—even with ads deemed as great.

Although I was recently shocked to learn many bloggers think they’re exempt from the law. That is, they seem to think they are invoking the First Amendment and Freedom of Expression when ripping someone. Clearly, if you are posting blatant slander and libelous commentary, you are open to being hit by legal action.

Anonymous said...

@Tom - That's an issue for you and him, but I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve emailed people privately to explain posts they may have misunderstood, (or that I felt needed clarifying), and it may be due in large part to what you said: irony and tone of voice is hard to get across non-verbally, especially in an email, post or IM session. (Unless you know the person, and even then, it’s still hard).

To HJ's point - maybe there's a line there between wanting traffic and having a ‘voice’ that stands out from the crowd. Blogs that don’t polarize to some degree or that don’t provide some kind of value don’t get read.

As for Katie, she is a serious interview, and that may just be what I’m reacting to: She’s waaaaay too serious.

She came off too robotic, too much like a deer in the headlights. Maybe I expected perky Katie after all those years next to Matt. Not saying people can’t transition and play against type, (actors do it all the time when switching from slapstick to more refined roles).

In the morning format though, she could go from book interview to toy segment to interviewing a political leader. It was in that context that it worked because although each interview required a different side of her, viewers didn’t get a steady dose of one side of her for too long.

I think the evening news requires one type of voice throughout. Tom Brokaw doesn’t do perky. He’s the captain through all types of weather with a calm voice reassuring you.

Katie just feels like everything is SO serious and that you should be on threat level orange all the time. Maybe the format needs overhauling, not the talent.

My 2¢ there.

Anonymous said...

Your 2 cents is interesting especially since Tom Brokaw bailed out on evening news a few years ago.
Replaced by Brian advance man for the end of the world at times.
But the demographics for evening news is a median age even older than me so it is not surprising that you think Brokaw is still there.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Williams I’ve watched. (I mentioned Brokaw only as someone I had watched forever, like Jennings on ABC. Anchors who seemed more at ease behind the desk regardless of the story being reported.)

Anonymous said...

I did forget to give another reason why facts need more checking on the Internet than in print.
And that is that they never go away. They are always there to be googled and, despite corrections, the corrections are always less conspicuous than the allegation.

Anonymous said...

While they can be Googled, not sure they can all be found. I've noticed a bunch of links over the years here that are no longer active. And not even archived either, but gone. I’ve heard students have reported that some online sources they quoted for papers have also gone away. (When in doubt, save it as a PDF.)

HighJive said...

Joe Friday would have been driven crazy by the Web.

I've seen people take down comments and revise their stories. Once revised, I've never been able to access the original piece.

Anonymous said...

is that pun there, highjive?? joe friday and web?
once a month i google myself--yahoo too--not out of vanity but out of self-protection...

HighJive said...

no pun intended, but good catch.

Anonymous said...

Pun, schmun, I got 19 comments on one post!

(Okay, a few were mine, but that’s not the point.)

llcooljessie said...

Seems to me that there are three parties to blame when a blogger is mistaken for a journalist.

The blogger, for writing stuff interesting and original enough that it has a place in the news.

The reader, for elevating the source to a journalistic level, even when that source is anonymous, makes typos, and makes claims that can't be supported.

The real journalists, who have failed to fill the void the blogger marched into.

Personally, I don't blame the blogger.

Anonymous said...

Blame the blogger for what?
The distinction between journalist and blogger is lost on me; it's irrelevant. Bloggers have created news and reported news. Who cares what they are called? Blogger is a shorthand for their medium.
I don't see how one is "forgiven" for inaccuracies if one is a butcher, a baker, a journalist or a blogger. The issue is accuracy not who is inaccurate.
Long ago, distinctions were made between pamphleteers and journalists, but only to attack someone such as Thomas Paine for what he was rather than for what he said.

llcooljessie said...

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet. So, don't. I read CR's blog daily, but like most, I never took it as gospel.

We can't stop anonymous bloggers from writing untruths, and hopefully, we never will be able to do that.

As readers, it's our responsibility to assign credibility to the things we read. For me if goes like this:

1. New York Times
2. Free Metro Newspaper
3. Copyranter
4. White House Press Releases

btenem said...

While I always disagreed with him about the American Apparel ads...I certainly appreciated him calling my attention to them and making it possible to review past ads that I missed.

I am pretty sure most guys out there, love the ads and welcome them.

Good luck...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Messner, I think you’re just frustrating yourself. Asking for bloggers to abide by a code of ethics is like asking al-qaeda to play by humanitarian rules of engagement. Have you visited a typical thread at Adscam or Agency Spy lately? More nuts than a Planter’s factory. We can’t even get these hooligans to agree to use spell-check.

Anonymous said...

I guess I distinguish between a Poster and a Blogger.
THE former, one who creates a blog and is identified, say George Parker or Steve Hall; and the latter, a blogger, one who contributes in a discussion and has often a pseudonym.
The person who runs the blog and posts something has a bigger obligation to truth.
NY Times is not infallible either, as Jayson Blair recently revealed.
But to give The Times some credit, the corrections and investigations might have occupied more space than the original Blair fictions.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Messner,

Sorry, my last comment was not really clear. Yes, there’s definitely a difference between bloggers and posters. But the lines are blurring. Blogs like AdPulp and Adrants display a certain respect for civil (and even journalistic) standards. Blogs like Agency Spy not so much. The problem is, there are no agreed upon standards. So no one feels an obligation to do anything. I think Obama called it the coarsening of society. Personally, I am probably in your camp. The world would be a better place without certain blogs. But who will decide which ones go? Technically, the public could decide by refusing to frequent the blogs that don’t seem to feel bound by civil and professional obligations. Too bad these blogs draw a mob of visitors.

Anonymous said...

Anon/TM- Another dynamic is that usually, people in traditional media boycott something they are offended by, which scares advertisers, who then, by way of threatening to pull ad dollars, force an apology.

Since most ad bloggers really don’t monetize their sites these days, that course of action is less likely to have the same effect were P&G to yank its advertising from Survivor.

Sure, a few run Google ads, but there are so many advertisers in their network that one or two threatening to leave would have little effect imo.

(Even look to radio. For every sponsor who left Imus, look how many others signed up now that he’s on WABC radio.)

Anonymous said...

A blog just reported that Copyranter exited his Copyranting position.
Be funny if it ain't true.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most blogs lack the advertiser support that could lead to a successful boycott. For blogs using vendors like blogspot or typepad, you could complain to have things taken down, depending upon the nature of the offense. Some of the bigger blogs (Adfreak, Adrants and Agency Spy) have ties to media companies that could be picketed or boycotted---or at least spoken to. You would have to be either really pissed off or have your own torch-carrying mob to be effective.

HighJive said...

Um, Tom, did you just now learn that copyranter retired?

Anonymous said...

Wonder though what it would take in terms of a topic to cause a boycott. Because now we get into fact checking vs. offensive content, and it’s like, if we’re talking standards, who determines what’s offensive? The bloggers? The readers who comment?

As far as any offensive content affecting readership, I’m not trying to stir up a certain topic here, but looks like Agency Spy and Parker have as much traffic now as they ever did after the Tilley thing. Seems if that didn’t do it, not sure what will.

HighJive said...

>Wonder though what it would take in terms of a topic to cause a boycott.

um, child pornography. making light of 9/11 or the holocaust. blatant racism. dogfighting. support for howard draft.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah, I mean, of course topics like that. ;-p

But in terms of ad blogs and the biz. Nobody I read has mentioned any of those topics other than in the context of calling out work that may have depicted some of those latter themes. (Look at past CR posts and George’s current post in this regard.)

Anonymous said...

No but it was the first time I saw it reported outside Gawker.
But I with golf and poker and books and movies...I can't keep up the way I did when I was working fulltime.

HighJive said...

But seriously, MTLB, there’s probably not any specific topic that would lead to a boycott. Rather, it would involve content. Obviously, if people weren’t interested in a blog, they would ultimately stop reading. But if they were consistently put off over someone or something related to a blog, people might feel compelled to rally. One could argue that a few people (e.g., Nina diSesa) sought to stage a boycott of certain blogs during the Tilley incident. And if you look closely, you’ll see a pattern of testy comments throughout many threads at Agency Spy, especially when there’s a post criticizing someone. Time will tell whether it ever leads to anything resembling a boycott. But there are certainly plenty of characters online and offline to ignite something like that.

Anonymous said...

Yep Hj, and I think most people making comments can control themselves before things get out of hand. Most.

As for boycotts by agencies, it’s ironic that there are agencies who will look down on blogs and bloggers but then send me, Steve at AdRants or Tim at AdFreak their latest PR releases and new spots.

copyranter said...

I'm back on-air (sorry).

BTW, My email apology to Mr. Messner was 100% sincere. I can't help it if he reads it as otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, Copyranter. The e-mail apology which I referenced above was no doubt sincere.
But the one on the site--the one that continues for all eternity on Google and Yahoo search engines--was the one I was whining here about and citing as an example why perhaps Blogs have a responsibility to be accurate.
Best regards in any case.
Forgive and forget, as they say in Sicily.

HighJive said...

This tiff between Mr. Messner and Copyranter inspired me to search the blog for this allegedly questionable apology. Instead, I only found a post where Mr. Messner receives a snarky comment from me.

llcooljessie said...

Yes. I too put in some time trying to figure out how Tom had been wronged by the Gawker article. It seemed to me that the contentious things CR said were all opinions. But, I don't have all the details of the debate, and I didn't want to have it on here (especially since it's probably already been discussed enough). The odd thing is, this is the blogosphere. The argument ought to be recorded in comments and posts, so the world would have the full story. Isn't that the nature of this beast?

copyranter said...

Mr Messner is right: there were factual errors in the Gawker thing which I didn't even begin to start to give a shit to check to see if they were right. And frankly, he's right——blogs need to start being more accountable. Because, like it or not, blogs, especially in advertising, break just as many big stories now as print.

Anonymous said...

CR: now you've gone and made me feel bad...
HJ: your contribution there was noteworthy in that every descriptor of me in your 10-word offering was wrong, but I was able in the response to correct your impression and boast about my senility, laziness, and the longest employment contract since Milton Berle with NBC.
JESSIE: maybe you're right time seems to erode my memory, perhaps i did get rich in the 80s on 15% commissions...i do plead guilty to fat and bloated, but more from sodium than 15% commissions which I only remember being offered when I tried to sell subscriptions door-to-door in high school...

Unknown said...

BTW, HIGHJIVE USES THE word "allegedly"
the same way I first heard it used.
Which was: "Jack Ruby, allegedly the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald, goes on trial today."

llcooljessie said...

Yeah, that 15% thing... that actually seems like proprietary info you'd never be ably to verify if you wanted to. It might have been better to use a vague adjective instead of a number.

But then, you are rich, right? So, how did you do it? And can I take notes? I've already got, "avoid sodium."

HighJive said...


Just trying to be a responsible journalist and not presume guilt until proof is offered. Oh, wait a minute. Not a journalist. Or responsible. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

rich is relative, isn't it? to hear pols talk, $250,000 a year household income puts you as "the rich"---
...truth was we made zilch from 86 through 89...would have lost money in 1990 except for the fact we got an account in november that spent more in december than the rest of the agency billed the first 11 months...and then we did ok...
i wrote an account of the first five years of the agency while i posed as a baby-boomer, honorary- titled, semi-retired columnist...
lessons there were:
if you want to read it, send an e-mail to

Anonymous said...

@Get-I use allegedly like HJ does, as lawyer Kryptonite.

@Mr. Messner-No. 1. Damn. No. 1. (*keeps repeating No. 1 to self*)

Typo in No.2, should say: “See No. 1.”

CR's right on the more ad blog breaking stuff. More and more creatives or agencies are going straight to bloggers to send stuff, or, we're searching out things we like and that draw traffic.

We are definitely finding stuff Ad Age won’t touch. Likewise, their type of article and tone of voice will not show up here because I can’t play it straight like that.

Blogging to me got on the mainstream radar after someone with an agenda went after Mike Wallace and his facts, and ad blogs got on the radar after Tilley passed.

Both probably made it for the wrong reasons by blaming the blogger, because those stories could’ve been broken by anyone. They just happened to have been broken by bloggers.

Either way, I’m not in it to be the National Enquirer for the ad world and report who slept with who or what agency they’ve moved to. I can guarantee I will never run that stuff. No interest.

viagra online said...

Why is she messing around that way? Is it because somebody did something to her?
Anyway, I think she looks funny like that