Monday, March 31, 2008

Yet another example of politics messing things up.

The Butterfly Effect, six degrees of Kevin Bacon, I don't know, but it is interesting that nothing exists in a vacuum.

For example, my friend Eric Myers (a hot-shot Comcast sales rep who I met following his dramatic belly-flop into home plate during a softball game) sent me an e-mail this morning as a possible blog topic:

"With the Democrats' nominee likely to be undetermined until LATE in the political cycle, both parties are likely to end up spending their advertising war chest in a smaller amount of time later in the calendar. Which unfortunately coincides with 4th qtr,(typically the back to school, and Holiday run-up time) which is going to put a lot of extra inventory pressure (more than a normal political period) on the media outlets. Many smaller advertisers that are not typically planners are likely to get squeezed out by the politico’s and the bigger advertisers."

So in case you were wondering what real-world effect the drawn-out Democratic nominating process might have on a local business, there it is.

I guess no matter WHAT you do, there's no escaping politics.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And who among us doesn't love water balloons?

I found this on the Ad Broad ("the oldest working writer in advertising") blog.

A beautiful spot for Schweppes in Australia.

Same Point, Other Voices.

This post from The Toad Stool ad blog makes the same point we've tried to make about the Internet. That is, that you have to do more than just throw up a web site and wait for the traffic to appear. You have to let people know it's there. And, we might add, let them know a little something about you before they get there.

It features a commercial VW did in the UK to promote their new site. It just makes sense. Do good. Tell people.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gratuitous sex.

To quote Adrants: "If you prefer things stiffly erect and throbbing with fullness rather than things that are flaccidly limp and not up for anything fun then Claussen is your brand of pickle." Hey, I didn't do the ad. I'm just repeating it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Don't watch this just before you go to bed.

This is a very creepy, marginally disgusting anti-child abuse spot from Germany that I found on the Illegal Advertising site.

Honestly, the first time I saw it, I couldn’t watch the whole thing. It was only when I showed it to others in the office that I got through to the end ― and the payoff. The general reaction around here was along the lines of “Eeeewww!”

Which raises the question, I think, of whether you can go so far in showing something like the effects of child abuse that you force your audience to turn away ― and miss your message. There’s a fine line between shocking enough to make an indelible point and so shocking that people can’t bring themselves to pay attention.

I don’t know whether this crossed that line or not. I kind of think it did. But it’s damn sure unforgettable.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clever? Desperate? Or just plain Stupid?

I'm going to go for a mix of Desperate and Stupid.

This actually appeared in the Washington Post Express this morning. Words fail me.

Except this one: Pathetic.

Hard versus Not Hard.

One of the things that drew me to hire Jessica Tree as an art director was a campaign she did in school for wood.

That’s right, wood. Particle board, actually, as I recall. It was a great campaign, and the fact that it was even an assignment is a testament to Brainco, the ad school where she studied after college. It certainly would have been easier to do a great campaign, as she said, for something like Play-Doh or fireballs. (I might add to that list, the ever-popular Wonderbra, a staple of spec ads.)

You know, something easy.

Doing a cool ad for fireballs, Play-Doh or Wonderbra (or hot sauce, a tattoo parlor, a bar or record store) isn’t all that hard. And, frankly, not really the kind of thing most of us do most of the time. We don’t most of us do a lot of full-page, four-color print ads or full-page, four-color spread ads all day either. But that’s what student books are full of.

Want to show me ― or anybody ― what you can really do? Show me a great 2 x 5 retail ad for a paint store or a half-page ad for a remodeling company. Maybe a real estate ad. Because if you can do something great with something ordinary (like wood, for example), you can do something great with something cool when you get the chance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OK, this is a little creepy.

Found on the I Believe in Advertising blog, I give you this for Snuff Clothing in Norway.

Snuff, sold only in Oslo and Hernsedai, is made for hard-core skiers. The brief, according to the blog, was to visualize their selling idea, which is "Death is only a matter of time." They put these stickers on elevator doors around Oslo. And when the elevator doors close . . . well, you get the idea.

If you're the type to buy a clothing line called "Snuff" and respond to "Death is only a matter of time", I guess this is right on the money.

But I wouldn't want to share an elevator with you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It must be true. I read it somewhere.

Ok, don't take our word for it when we say a down economy presents an opportunity.

But how about Seth Godin?

Friday, March 14, 2008

A good idea here

Here's a little something cool for that I found on the ihaveanidea web site.

Love the simplicity.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the other hand, the condoms here are first-rate.

Isn’t that just such a typical New Yorker?

Elliott Spitzer comes to Washington and feels like he’s got to haul a New York hooker down here by train. One would assume she brought a big bag of those bagels. You know, the ones you just can't get a decent one of in Washington. Or pizza. Well, on behalf of hookers, call girls and escorts throughout the Washington area, (and in the spirit of the previous post) I’m offended.

What, you can’t find a perfectly good $4,300 prostitute in Washington?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

In fact, this post offends me.

The most overused word in the world right now is “offended”.

If you don’t want to run the risk of “offending” somebody better stay in bed. The world has become incredibly thin-skinned.

Here’s an example from Canada where a Ford campaign in Manitoba was pulled because people were offended by an ad that shows a “Drive it like you stole it” bumper sticker on a truck.

Car theft and carjacking are no laughing matters. And people have been killed by other people driving stolen cars. But come on. It’s just a freaking ad.

You know, I don’t like drunks behind me at ball games, so beer advertising offends me. I slipped on the sidewalk in front of a Hyatt once time, so all Hyatt hotel advertising offends me. When I was in high school a guy named Steve beat me up, so anything with a guy named Steve in it brings back bad memories and therefore offends me. Got it?

Personally, I like the “drive it like you stole it” line. Google it. It’s not even unique to Ford of Canada.

I’m sorry for the poor quality of the photo here, but it’s the best I could find. I’m guessing that offends you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Those Canadians -- always with the great ideas.

And now this, from LG2 in Quebec (via

The economy is down. Here's your chance.

Call it economic uncertainty. Call it a pending recession.

I call it an opportunity. Especially for challenger brands.

Right about now, many of your competitors are hunkering down to ride it out, promising to kick that marketing program back in when times are better. That’s your cue to step in and snatch their customers. Slow and steady isn’t going to win this race. Neither is short-term thinking.

The best analogy for this I have seen was in a column by Alf Nucifora a few years ago and attributed to Jamie Turner of Turner Fernandez Turner: “Think of it this way. If you’re in a room with 20 people and they’re all talking, all you hear is noise. But if 19 stop talking, suddenly the one person who’s still talking can be heard loud and clear.”

However you care to define “advertising” ― print, broadcast, web, e-mail, whatever ― companies that maintain or increase their customer outreach during a recession typically do better than those who don’t. That’s a fact. And when those who don’t advertise get back into it, they have to spend more money over a longer period of time just to get even. I think this applies pretty much across the board -- condominiums, radio stations, hotel rooms, hamburgers, health food or machine screws. Whatever.

There’s a lot of evidence out there to support this. For example, a McGraw-Hill study of 600 companies showed that those who cut advertising during the recession of the early 80’s saw sales increase by 19 percent between 1980 and 1985. On the other hand, companies that maintained or increased their advertising during the recession had sales increases of 275 percent during the same period. That’s not a typo. Two hundred seventy-five percent. OK, this isn’t the 80’s, but if anything, there is more competition for your customer’s dollar now.

Although nobody uses these exact words, what people are saying, for all intents and purposes is: “Business is bad, so we’re going to cut back on our investment in attracting customers until it gets better all by itself.”

Think about it. When your competition decides to hide out for a while, it’s time for you to go for the throat. Because if you decide to hide out along with them, you’re going to bleed with them.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Who knew the WSJ could be so entertaining?

Found this ad in the weekend Wall Street Journal. It's for a real estate auction company. Maybe you get it. I sure as hell don't.

Note the logo tattoo and logo Mohawk. I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to tell me about Williams & Williams. But maybe I'm just stupid.

By the way, 918 is an Oklahoma area code and I live in Maryland. Let's hope they didn't run this in the national edition; even just the Baltimore-Washington run is nearly four grand for a quarter-page, which is what this is.

(Click the image to read the copy.)