Friday, September 28, 2007

Because it's in Yass.

The Adland blog was the source of this particular Friday afternoon laugh. It really is in Yass, Australia.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This has nothing to do with advertising.

I lied.

A copywriter sent it to me, so I guess in that sense it does. Fred Guthrie ( came across this cool little amateur Rube Goldberg-kind-of-thing. God only knows where.

Take a minute. Enjoy.

(Update -- based on Paul's comment below, make sure you have the most current Shockwave for it to work. Get it for free here. - WH)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Even if my grandfather wasn't from Scotland, I'd like this.

I've seen this on a couple of ad blogs over the past few days. It's for an upcoming Highland Games.

So this week's winner of "Best Use of a Telephone Pole" goes to Hangar 18 Creative Group of Vancouver, B.C.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This sucks. Go with it.

According to Ad Age Today, that awful “HeadOn” commercial that we’ve all seen and groaned about is clearly one of the “worst commercials ever from a creative standpoint.” Jay Leno and John Stewart have both mocked it on the air and NBC News called it the “most annoying ad on television”.

Brace yourself.

Since they started running the spot, HeadOne sales have skyrocketed. We’re talking a 234% increase in 2006 from 2005 and already this year (September), they have nearly equaled 2006 sales. What the Hell does this tell us?

The VP of sales at Miralus, who owns HeadOn, says they are more interested in brand awareness than winning creative awards.

No kidding.

But it’s hard to deny their success. So what does that mean for those of us who believe that creativity sells? Those of us who spend our days looking for the different creative approach that we think will cut through the ad clutter for our clients?

I don’t know. I know that Miralus spends just $15 million a year on measured media – which is a drop in the bucket for a national brand. Much less than brands that have lost sales.

I also know this. Whether the creative is good or whether it’s garbage, whether it wins an award or doesn’t, whether the creative director is proud of it or embarrassed by it, the goal remains the same. To sell stuff (and by “stuff”, I mean things, services, ideas, positions – all of it). That’s something people in our business sometimes forget in the push for creativity.

If any of you reading this are clients and you’re going to hold this up to your agencies as a justification for bad creative, don't. One reason I think HeadOn has worked so far is because it is just so awful it stands out. Everything can’t be the worst. So in the spirit of Harvey Keitel’s famous line in “Pulp Fiction” let’s not all start shooting for bad creative. Besides, fame is fleeting.

Nobody values or believes in creativity as a practical business tool more than I do. Creativity and advertising effectiveness certainly go together in my book. But maybe it sometimes takes crap like HeadOn to remind us that the Point of The Exercise is, after all, to sell stuff. And I do know that sometimes creative folk let their ideas get away from them.

A few years ago, Karen and I were at a presentation Dan Wieden of Wieden + Kennedy made at the Museum of Radio and Television. With the famous (or infamous) “Dick” campaign for Miller Beer having just bit the dust, I perhaps foolishly raised my hand and asked what could we learn from the fact that a wildly creative, award-wining campaign like “Dick” didn’t sell much beer?

Clearly Dan took offense and in a tone of voice that was equal parts condescending and angry told me that “It's not about selling beer, young man . . . "

And although I loved the "young man" part, I don’t even remember what he said after that. I was so blown away that someone I’d admired so much didn’t even seem to know what the advertising was supposed to do, I kind of blanked from that point on. If it's not about selling beer, then WTF is it about?

But I was put properly enough in my place that I didn’t challenge him on it. I just sank down in my seat as all the New York creatives in the audience sneered at me and asked Dan if they could show him their books.

And then again, there’s HeadOn. An absolute joke of creativity that just happens to be pretty damned effective. Much more effective than “Dick.”

Which I never liked anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bookmark this site.

Not this site (although that would be lovely).

No, bookmark this site. It's "I have an Idea", a wonderful creat
ive site with profiles, interviews and lots and lots of good work to inspire you. You have to register, but it's free and way past worth it.

Go. Go now.

We've having a party. Bring your checkbook.

Ok, I can tell you now that this one isn’t going to go over so well with some people.

But here we go anyway.

Today’s e-mail brings an invitation to the DC Ad Club’s “Sports Nite” networking event at Nellie’s, a hot new DC sports bar. At a cool $60 for members and $70 for non-members.

Are you kidding me? I’m an Ad Club member, but my wife and business partner Karen is not. So that’s $130 for the two of us to go have drinks and snacks at a bar for two hours.

Last I looked, $130 buys a pretty nice night out for two. Dinner, tickets to the National Symphony, a show at The National – you can even get into Caps games for that.

Isn’t the idea is to bring people together and to encourage participation in the Ad Club and the ad community? I believe it is – and should be. So why make it so expensive? $60 for two hours of networking?

The people who will typically be able to participate in events like this will be people for whom the fee is paid by their company (who can deduct part of it as a business expense) or who have the discretionary income that they can blow some of it on an Ad Club event. For the most part, that leaves out the junior and entry-level people, especially those at smaller agencies. And these are the people who have the future of our ad community in their hands. Not just the agency owners and senior players at the larger agencies.

If the goal is to grow the advertising community in Washington, then make it possible for people to participate. If the goal is to make money, have a car wash.

(Late addition / added 9/26 -- Just wondering. How many people go home toasted from things like this because they are determined to get their money's worth in drinks?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We all make mistakes

I know I have. But this bus tail is a complete waste of somebody’s time and money. You can’t tell what it’s for even if you’re right, smack, directly behind it at a stoplight. Which was where I was yesterday when I took this picture.

Concept, design, approval – there are a lot of fingerprints on this one, and they all ought to be ashamed. You’d think that at least the sales rep might have pointed out that nobody can read the damn thing.

I don’t know if this is public service, but unless it was free all the way around, somebody spent money they shouldn’t have spent.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two things

One: "If you hate the headline, just say you hate the headline."

It's a condo project. $300,000 and up. Headline says "Buy two and we'll throw in a swell t-shirt." Client says "I don't want to have to give away a t-shirt."

The other one: This is a great use of the web.

Check this out - Part of a Horizon Air campaign for the Portland-Seattle shuttle by wongdoody. I haven't seen other elements of the campaign, but it's a good guess people weren't expected to just stumble on the web site by accident.
Somebody went to a lot of trouble for this. Somebody smart.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Fabulous Trunk Monkey

This not new, but for those of you who never saw or heard of Trunk Monkey, you're in for a treat. This is a truly fabulous campaign that proves once and for all that it actually is possible to do creative spots for a car dealer. (That is, spots without screaming announcers or family members either one.)

I've embedded my favorite one here (actually, it was the first of the series), but go to YouTube and search "trunk money" or go directly to and see them all. Either way, sit back and enjoy some truly inspired advertising.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Allrighty then . . . .

Found this on Adrants.

I understand it a little better after reading the headline.

I think.

What did you just call me?

I don’t know for sure, but sometimes I get the feeling that copywriters got screwed.

The basic creative “team” is an art director and a copywriter. Read that again: An (insert a flourish here) “art director” and a (drop your voice down and mumble) “copywriter”. Don’t you think that, as the people in charge of the words, copywriters could have come up with something better for ourselves?

Like “word wrangler” or “copy stud” or maybe even “redacteur publictaire". Yeah, that’s the ticket. If I could pronounce it, that would probably have a nice ring to it.