Saturday, May 26, 2007

This doesn't have anything to do with advertising.

But it does have something to do with a couple of us and, well, it’s our blog isn’t it?

Last week, Karen and I were in San Francisco for the single greatest road race on the planet. Bay to Breakers.

It’s 7.5 miles from the Embarcadero through the city, up one nasty hill and down to Golden Gate Park and the Pacific Ocean. 50,000 registers runners and walkers.

Serious runners, joggers, costumes, naked people, just about everything you can imagine. It’s San Francisco, after all. And it all starts with thousands of people milling about the starting line throwing soft tortillas in the air. Nobody knows why.

Check out YouTube and search Bay to Breakers. Then book a flight and go next year. Third weekend in May. Always.

Friday, May 25, 2007

You've gotta love this thinking

And now, another example of a terrific idea. This one from Grey Worldwide, found on My guess is that there is probably some sort of prohibition against this kind of thing in Washington. And permit issues too, no doubt. Oh, people here could think of this sort of thing. But getting it done is another question.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Can I eat the cheese even if I don't buy it?

In the worldview agency scheme of things, we’re relatively small here at N+H. It’s unlikely we’ll ever be invited to pitch General Motors, Microsoft, Amazon – or Kraft. But we can tell you that in the case of Kraft, even if it was one of those potentially life-changing accounts, we wouldn’t go for it.

According to a story in Ad Age, Kraft is conducting a review for its Oscar Mayer, Kraft Singles, Ritz, Triscuit and Grey Poupon brands, and one of the original conditions of participation was that agencies “ give up ownership of ideas presented in the review -- but accept legal liability should the marketer end up using those ideas at some later date.” According to the story, Kraft is making noises like they are going to change their position. But also, according to the story, this sort of demand for ideas with no compensation is becoming more and more common.

See the whole story here if you’re a mind to.

Again, as a boutique agency, we’re not even on the Kraft radar, but what a totally bogus way to treat a company you might do business with. What utter disdain for the value of ideas. Ideas are our business. Or should be. And Kraft is insisting that these agencies give a few of ‘em away and accept any legal liabilities associated with the ideas even if they don’t get the business.

It’s not exactly the same thing, and the scale is certainly magnified by factor of, let’s say a billion, but haven’t all of us in the ad agency business had a client hire us to do a campaign or an ad, love more than one idea, and then think you should be willing to let them have both for the price of one?

As far as the Kraft story goes, it’s hard to tell who deserves the most scorn here – a client that would make such a demand or an agency that has so little respect for the value of their ideas that they would go along with it.

So if someone from Kraft is reading this and feels that nobody can serve their Oreos brand quite like a boutique agency in Silver Spring, Maryland, don’t bother calling. We’re busy.

(Like they’d care.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

This was either really clever or a mistake.

We got a letter in the mail today from someone who wants our business. This person spelled my name wrong on the envelope and the letter.

It's a proofreading service.

I thought it was funny.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Just in case you don't read CA . . .

This was a brilliant effort by the Candian agency rethink for the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC.

o quote their web site: "50,000 buttons were displayed, each printed with a single word representing one of a hundred possible responses to contemporary art. The public was free to walk away with as many buttons as they wanted in this interactive promotional installation for the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver.

The text on the wall reads: THIS IS CONTEMPORARY ART."

This is great stuff. If this image isn't big enough, go to the site and search the Contemporary Art Gallery under "Archive".

Friday, May 4, 2007

Actually it's significant whatever business you're in.

If you’re in the hotel business this is pretty significant.

According to a recent study cited on Travel Mole, better than 61% of meeting planners surveyed would book a meeting location based strictly on information they got from the Internet. Which means they are willing to forego the whole site visit thing all together.

To us, this says if you’re hotel or resort and you want to compete in the meetings arena, you’d better be damn sure your web site provides a meeting planner with lots of information. And your site better work pretty hard.

That means make it visual, make it informative, make it interesting and promote it. Don’t assume your target will simply stumble on it or that your SEO is going to do the job alone. If someone is willing to book a meeting using only web-site information, the sites that provide the best, most complete and most compelling information will have the inside track.

And there’s a lesson in there for everybody with a web site.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

This is troubling.

Sit back for a minute and think of the worst, most ineffective, offensive, poorly done or just plain stupid commercial, print ad or Internet banner you have ever seen.

Got one?

Consider this: Somebody, somewhere along the line got paid to do it.

That might not keep you up at night, but if you’re in the agency business and care anything at all about creative quality, it might spoil your lunch.