Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is, I think a great use of no money for a TV spot. And I really thought it was going to go somewhere. Until it didn't.
From Ads of the World for Durex, China by Exis, Shanghai.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
My friend ace PR Whiz Bob Witeck posted this on Facebook.
Stuff like this and the impromptu snowball battle (below) in DC over the weekend give me hope for mankind.
(The snowball fight was at 14th and U Streets. Every time the light turned red, the residents on the West side of the street would attack the residents on the East side. Or maybe it was the other way around. It was all good clean fun until a cop showed up and started waving his gun around. See more video on YouTube. I just like this one best.
Like I said, stuff like this gives me hope.)
Monday, December 21, 2009
Found this on Adrants.
It's a holiday card from Studio TIGA, an animation group in California. Lots of fun. You can shake up or assault the three elves.
Having just sent out our holiday e-card this morning, I was feeling all superior because I thought it was better than a lot I have seen. But it's nothing like this. Not even close.
Very cool. Click the image to go to the fun site. Make sure your sound is on.
Friday, December 18, 2009
For my money, The Onion is the greatest newspaper on the planet.
Our friend Ilene Lundy sent me this video from the Onion's "news" site. Doesn't have much to do with advertising, but since I've posted a couple of PETA spots here -- but mostly because it's hysterical -- I am sharing it with you.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Not to pick on banks (or credit unions), but they seem to be about the Worst Offenders in the "Let's Look Like Everybody Else" competition.
Although I have to say car dealers and too many hotels and resorts are a close second. And, although we're talking mostly about print advertising here, it certainly applies to web sites and banner ads too. TV even.
Banks and credit unions run ads in which their current interest rate is the most prominent thing there, a surprising number of hotels think that a picture of the front of the building is the most compelling thing they have to offer and car dealers want to test your powers of observation with a visual cacophony of type and artwork that looks pretty much exactly like the visual cacophony of type and artwork that the dealer across the road is running. (Of course in their television spots, some car dealers seem focused mostly on getting The Family on the air.)
It just seems to me that if you're going to spend money on advertising - or a web site or anything at all that you might use to convey your sales message - you ought to take the extra step of ensuring that people will notice the damn thing. And the truth is, just because you want to say it or show it doesn't mean anybody else cares at all about it, whether it's your interest rates, the front door of your hotel or, God save us all, your kids.
There has to be something there for your target. It's best if the something there for your target is something interesting that has something to do with something you want to sell. Or at least says something you want to say in an interesting way.
Those of you who came here directly from an e-mail we sent out will recognize this next bit. Howard Gossage, one of the true advertising geniuses of the century, said "People notice what interests them, sometimes, it's an ad."
Keep that in mind next time your agency comes back with some creative for you to review. Because, while you don't want to distract anybody from your message, Job One, it seems to me, is to be interesting enough that people will notice your message.
And creativity, boys and girls, is what makes advertising interesting.
(In case you're wondering, the young ladies in the photo above are the Dionne quinituplets. In their later years, they recorded the love song from "The Titanic", and then had a big stage show in Vegas for a couple of years. I think.)
Saturday, December 12, 2009
My friend Eve Russell sent me this from The Denver Egoist.
It's from Hamburg, Germany, for Royal Canin Great Dane Dog food,. Basically, it's a big-ass picture of a bag of Royal Canin on one wall and a big-ass picture of a dog on the opposite wall - and simulated drool coming from the dog.
Very cool stuff.
By Heye & Partner, Hamburg. Good luck reading the site.
(I love that Eve has started reading ad blogs, even though she is a huge Bill Hicks fan and Bill Hicks hated advertising . . . )
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
But you know, they eat weird things down in Australia and New Zealand. Like Vegamite and stuff. (OK, so Vegamite is from Australia. So sue me.)
For (obviously) McDonald's by DDB Auckland.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Clients everywhere. Please do agencies and creative folk everywhere a favor.
When presented with multiple concepts to review, zero in on the one or ones you like -- or like best. Do not -- please -- think you are being decisive or clever by flipping one over or tossing is back across the table or anything else with a "Well I don't like that one." Even if you do it with a smile and think you are being funny.
Not only is it more productive to focus on what works than what doesn't, but you won't exactly endear yourself to anybody (and therefor give them any kind of motivation to do better) if you start right off dissing their work.
I mean, if you don't like it, just ignore it.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
But I do like the writing and the art direction in this.
It's their new "Man-I-Festo" which is part of a new campaign targeting a "new generation" as The New York Times puts it here.
In any case, I like the writing (I said that), the art direction (I said that too) and the way their web site's landing page works (that part is new).
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
But I think how you do it says a lot about you.
Like everybody who owns a business, I've had to fire people. You have to do it face-to-face. Like an adult. It's part of being grown-up.
So what is it with clients who tire of you, hate you, discover you're a hopeless hack of an agency, can't afford you or otherwise decide to end the relationship but can't seem to bring themselves to do it with any manners or class?
I can think of two in the last four years who simply stopped talking to us. You know, the way you did in junior high when you wanted to signal to someone that you were no longer in "like" with them?
One of them just let us wake up one Monday morning and see ads we had not done running in the paper. The other gave us some bogus (and pretty stupid) line about needing us to send him a document stating that he retained the copyrights to all the work we'd done for him. He said his "accountant" (WTF?) wanted it.
That was when we knew he was planning to end the relationship. We asked him flat-out if we'd lost his confidence and he felt he needed to make a change and he just as flat-out lied to us. "Oh no," he said. "We're very happy. This is just a formality." And then, when he got his letter, we pretty much never heard from him again. Except for his stalling and dragging out paying our last invoice.
Check that, he did have his son and number one flunky call us and ask us to send him some artwork they needed that we had already sent them but they had apparently lost or messed up somehow. Naturally, we never responded.
We still don't know we he dumped us.
You know what? We know we're going to lose clients. It's part of the business. It hurts usually, but as they say, you start to lose a client the minute you get them. And almost every client you get used to be someone else's, so what goes around comes around. I mean come on. We're all adults here.
I just don't understand why people can't be grown-up about the split. Here's something I think is true about us and most people I know in this business. Hire us and we're going to work hard for you and we're going to be honest and responsive and do our best. Pretty much all we ask in return is that you pay your bills on time and show us some professional respect. If we're doing something wrong, either tell us what it is and let us fix it, or tell us face-to-face that we're fired. That's not so hard to understand, is it?
Exactly why it occurred to be to write about this the day after Thanksgiving I couldn't begin to tell you. But I love the illustration I came up with to go with it.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Well maybe it is just me.
But it does seem like people who write those "Oh my god if you don't dive into social media or electronic media your world will come to an end because nothing else works!" articles usually work for a company that sells social media or electronic media or social or electronic media consulting.
Have you ever noticed that people who work at the dry cleaners always think everything you bring in ought to be dry cleaned?
And the salesman or woman from every newspaper, magazine, radio station or cable provider knows for absolute certain that nothing else will work as well as (pick one) their newspaper, magazine, radio station or cable outlet?
Personally, I think the best advice comes from someone who doesn't have an axe to grind, or as they might say in Kentucky, a dog in that fight. I'm just saying consider the source. But that's just me, and anybody who knows me knows that I can only type with two fingers and have to look at the keyboard while I do it.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
But if I'd used their logo, I'd probably get sued. Or at least y'all would misunderstand the content of this post.
Nevertheless, let's forge ahead.
I just Googled "ad agencies" and "Maryland" - 308,000 hits -- all kinds of stuff in there.
Then I Googled "ad agencies" and "Bethesda" ('cause, that's where we are) - 12,600 hits, and Bethesda ain't that big.
Then I did "Nasuti & Hinkle" - 21,000 hits -- just about all of them about us. At least as far as the oopty pages I checked are concerned.
What's my point? My point is that I'd much rather have people go on the Internet and look for us than just look for an agency in Maryland. That's Yellow Pages stuff. OK, so Google is not exactly like the Yellow Pages, but when it comes to homogenizing whatever the hell it is that might otherwise set you apart, there's nothing on earth quite like the power of a good, old-fashioned organic web search. Hell, for that matter, a paid search does a pretty good job of reducing everybody down to a common denominator too.
Now, I may be old and stupid (albeit exceptionally good-looking my sisters tell me), but I do recognize the power of the Internet as a marketing tool. Jeeze, I'm not that dumb. Anybody in business today who doesn't include the web and social media into their marketing plans is ignoring the potential of some incredibly effective marketing tools.
That said, things like web pages, banner ads, PPC, SEO and social media have to be part of a strategic plan, part of an overall marketing strategy. Depending entirely on any part of the Internet is a lot like depending strictly on the Yellow Pages in the old days. Not very smart.
That is, unless you've got nothing at all going for you that you want anybody to know about. No promise to customers, no point of departure, no reason for anybody to do business with you. No brand.
But that's not the case, is it?
Marketing communications today is all about the (wait for it . . . ) new balance of marketing tools and communications vehicles.
There are a lot of options out there. So go play with a few of them.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
these are pretty good. For Companion Animal Placement by Suburban Advertising in New York. They are not new. The most recent one (the naked guy) came out in '96 -- along with a wonderful print ad featuring a very bad cross-dresser I am looking for. Check that. A wonderful print ad I am looking for that features a very bad cross-dresser. I am not looking for a bad cross-dresser.
I found these on YouTube.
You can see one of the print executions in the 1996 (#37) CA Advertising Annual.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Volkswagen GTI is so fast you will piss your pants.
I suppose in Bejing, China, home of BIG Advertising who did these ads, that's a good thing. The copy (in Chinese, natch) reads: "It will go fast."
Pretty clever, huh? Huh? Get it? Huh? Do ya? Huh? Go fast? Get it? Huh?
(Upon close inspection, the guy is wearing Levi's 501's. Not sure why that's significant, but there it is.)
The whole idea of signaling for a turn is to let people know what you intend to do. Therefore, there is no freaking value whatsoever to anybody in waiting to flip on your signal until you are already actually making the turn, is there?
And while we're marginally on the subject, are Karen and I the only ones who have noticed that the worst drivers on the planet are either usually in a mini-van or a Volvo?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Ok, so you've been talking to a new-business prospect and they tell you they want to keep talking to see what you can do for them, but they have just conceived a campaign internally that they like pretty much.
Eventually you see it. And it's awful.
What do you do?
Do you take the "if this is what they think is good, I can't help them" approach and drop it?
Do you consider it an opportunity to show them what you'd do instead and assume they will recognize the difference?
If you talk to them again and they ask you what you think, what do you tell them? How honest can you be? I mean somebody would have approved it.
Are you just being an arrogant ass? I mean clearly somebody likes it.
Is the education curve too steep or does it present an opportunity?
Monday, November 9, 2009
It's just that they have given me such a great WTF? example of Strangeness in Marketing.
Let's start at the beginning. Newspapers are losing readers and subscribers. This is an unfortunate thing, but a true thing. One would hope that newspapers would want to stem the flow of departures.
As in incent subscribers to stay subscribers, yes? You would think so.
So then it makes a whole bunch of no sense to me for them to continue to develop special pricing programs for new subscribers only. We've been paying like $53 a quarter for daily and weekly delivery of the Post. But they recently had an offer that was for something like $41 for six months for new subscribers only. (Or subscribers who have not subscribed for 30 days.)
And the day after that promotion expired, they came out with an even better one
If there was ever an example of an organization giving the finger to existing customers, this is it. In order to keep subscribers, why not offer some sort of great pricing package after 2 or 3 years of ongoing subscribing? Even if just for a year. Or offer Sundays free for six months as a token of gratitude to loyal customers and an incentive to keep them that way. Something that says "thanks for your business."
The Post isn't the only company that does this kind of bone-headed thing. Cell carriers and credit card companies do it too. And it seems like the emphasis on new customers encourages us all to keep hopping around, starting and stopping things and changing banks, cell phone companies, credit cards and the like. Wouldn't retaining customers be a better business strategy?
It just seems basic to me that if you're losing customers or subscribers, somewhere in your marketing plan there ought to be as much emphasis on keeping them as getting new ones.
But what do I know? I thought the Beatles would never catch on.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
OK, some people probably find Rhett and Link funny, but now their commercials are stupid. At least this one is.
Now, I'm guessing this is supposed to be satire or something. Or what they think is satire. Well, I mean, obviously it's supposed to be something other than serious. But still, this is the kind of dog-doo that makes people think anybody who can slap something up on YouTube can make a commercial.
Would you buy furniture from the Red House based on this? Really? Are you kidding me?
I say we get a bunch together to head down to wherever in North Carolina these un-funny clowns are based and rub 'em out. Who's with me?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Like everybody else in our business, we've heard a lot from clients and prospects about cutting or eliminating advertising budgets.
Now, advertising is not a panacea by any stretch (please be impressed that I spelled that right -- whether it is the correct usage here or not is another question). But it can certainly help if properly applied.
Just ask Kellogg's who, according to this piece in Ad Age, credits a 17% increase in ad spending for increased earnings. I especially wish the guy who told me yesterday that he would really like to take his organization's entire marketing budget and just hire three more salesmen would read it.
Here is part of what the CEO said:
Just a little food for thought while you're working on that 2010 budget.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
My friend world-class dog advocate Eve Russell sent me this with a note: "I tolerate PETA's nonsense because they also do [stuff] like this."
It's for their Animal Birth Control campaign. I'm not necessarily opposed to pure blood lines, but I do think it's better for the world if you adopt a rescue dog. Actually, I know it. (Confession -- I have two purebred basset hounds. Call me a hypocrite. I should have adopted.) But I'm definitely against docking and otherwise mutilating animals.
Anyway, like I said, regardless of where you stand on this, you have to admit this is a good spot to sell that point of view.
Of course, you also have to admit that "breedism" is an incredibly stupid word.
(Love the "snacks" line at the end.)
This is, I think, is a gorgeous ad. Love the art direction.
Hate the concept.
The frog can live a long time without water. Our washing machines use less water. Get it?
Well yeah, but so what? Borrowed interest 101.
There are a number of ads and campaigns out there like this that strike me as a joke in search of an application. You know, like a radio spot that illustrates something really dumb or crazy and then the only tie-in is sort of a : "Think that's crazy? It's not as crazy as our waaaacky Washington's Birthday Sale prices!!!"
Or "That's dumb. But buying our insurance is really smart."
Crap like that.
You hear this sort of thing a lot in radio. I mean, it's usually funny stuff, but it has nothing whatever to do with the product.
Like this frog and a washing machine.
Now if the frog owned a laudromat, that would be different . . .
Thursday, October 29, 2009
. . . and I didn't slice myself or anything.
Art and Copy. It's not in general circulation, apparently. For some reason on the web site, you have to request a screening. I wish the Ad Club would. It would certainly be one of the few Ad Club functions I'd be inclined to pay to go to.
Looks like a great film.
Gotta find a way to see it.
I LOVE what George Lois says at the very end. This is the web site.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The story on various ad blogs today is how the agency that did the Best Job in the World campaign that was wildly successful and won a hatful of awards was passed over for the new Queensland (that's in Australia, son) account. See the story on AdFreak here.
What's bigger news to me is the thing that won.
If you were responsible for this, please get out of the ad business now. Who on earth would visit anywhere based on this? (Note that they borrowed from the Best Job in the World.)
In one online poll, 78 percent of respondents said they hated it. What a shock.
Jesus, I would be embarrassed to even be in this. So, for your viewing pleasure, here's more.
Hate yourself? Here's even more.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
You're Crispin Porter.
Your client is Microsoft.
This is the best you can do? Really?
(Please note the correct use of "you're" and "your".)
Friday, October 23, 2009
Found on Adrants, this is about the dumbest idea I have seen in a decade. Or more.
Procter & Gamble, which used to mean something, is initiating an "Enjoy the Go" campaign for Charmin bathroom tissue. Quoting from a news story I found online:
"Procter & Gamble Co. is looking for five people who will, in return for $10,000, spend five weeks in a Charmin-branded, Manhattan bathroom and blog about the experience.
The five “Charmin Embassadors” will work in the Charmin Restrooms in Times Square from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. Job requirements include interacting with hundreds of thousands of bathroom guests, maintaining their own blogs and content on Charmin-branded Web sites and popular social media sites, and sharing family-friendly video from the restroom space and surrounding areas."
And quoting from Adrants here (because I simply cannot think of a better way to say it myself):
"When did we arrive at a point in time when it was OK for a brand to essentially say, "Please take a ____ in public and tells us about how it felt, what it looked like and how effective the toilet paper was at ______ it off your ____?"
(I deleted a few words for propriety's sake, but use your imagination . . . )
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I heard recently about a big agency -- you one of those storied national types with offices in a number of cities -- working on a new account.
The broadcast and print are humming right along. Focus groups going, directors are busy and the creative folk are just active as can be.
But the brand hasn't been defined yet. As I understand it, that's still in the works.
Well alrighty then. Just seems to me like the brand definition is something that should come way before the creative. I mean, those commercials ought to be based on something. Right?
We're just a rinky little Bethesda shop, but that do indeed seem a bit backward to me.
It do, it do.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
According to CNN, some people are offended at this. Who, exactly? And why?
I'm fairly certain my friend Rich (a.k.a. The Old Sports Guy) isn't offended.
(Between this post and the last one, there seems to be a thread here. Maybe the next post should be about kittens. Or puppies.)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This billboard for Ulstertrade in Ireland was removed because of its suggestive nature. Here's the story it reminds me of -- or, as a proper grammarian would say-- the story of which it remindeth me.
About 15 years or so ago, we did what I thought was a pretty cool Christmas card (See below). We featured Karen's father, John Nasuti, one of the great sports of all time as a bum in the back seat of a limo with a couple of babes and a bottle of champagne and it was shot by my buddy Ira Wexler, one of the great photographers of all time. The concept was that instead of donating money to charity for the holidays to make a lot of people a bit happier, we'd decided to make one guy really happy.
We (Pat Cunningham, our art director at the time, and me) knew we needed girls of a certain moral outlook on life and a limo for the shot. I'd noticed a company called "Limo-Grams" in the back of the Washingtonian Magazine and called them up to see if they'd help Sure thing the owner -- one "Doctor" Phil Good (get it? Phil Good?) -- said, and one morning they turned up with Girls and Car.
While they were setting up the shot Ira and I were talking to "Dr. Phil" and Ira asked, innocently enough, what the deal with his limo service was. "Well," the good doctor said, "the customer gets in the back seat with the girl, I roll up the tinted glass between us and drive around for an hour. Whatever happens back there is between them."
"Really!" said Ira, as only Ira can, as I hustled off to suggest to Karen's father that he not touch anything in the back seat.
Anyway, Dr. Phil didn't want any money, but suggested that maybe we could do an ad for him in exchange. We did. Pat came up with what I thought was a funny headline: "Each of our limos comes with a great set of headlights" and the image was, well, you can imagine what the image was.
We showed it to Phil. "It's not dirty enough," he said. "Buy maybe we can do a movie package instead. I'm getting in to porn movies and maybe you guys can design some packaging for us. How about that?"
"How much do I owe you Phil", I said. "I think we're done here."
(Addendum. At one point during the shoot, Pat came over to me, and in a soft voice said "Woody, I'm sorry, but that girl on the left? Those are just too big.")
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
My friend Steve Hull, who publishes Bethesda Magazine, sent me this gem just a few minutes ago.
You can read the whole thing on the BusinessWeek web site here, but the gist of it is, well, here's the subhead:
"The vast majority of ads don't register with consumers. Here are seven straight-up reasons why your message probably isn't getting through."
OK, the author, Steve McKee, is an advertising guy, but he's right. Some of the seven reasons are -- oh what the hell, here they all are. It's boring, it's boorish, it's safe, it's trying to do too much, it hasn't been given time, you like it and it's not an advertising problem.
Read it. Makes a hell of a lot of sense, I think.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I looked up "Meltin' Pot" on the World Wide Internet Web, and I'm pretty sure these ads from Armando Testa, Turin, Italy (via I believe in Advertising) are for the jeans.
But, while I love the art direction and the photography really is very good, what I really think is that it was an excuse for all the creative people and the account people and the photographer and the assistants and the client to get to spend the day around hot-looking women.
I mean, the tag line "I dream. I am." ought to be amended to "I dream. I am. And I think I'll spend a little quality time with myself if you'll excuse me for a few minutes."
Exactly how the f*** this is supposed to sell jeans is beyond me.
Why can't we all just wear Levi's?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
If I don't get a chance to do something on a baggage belt soon, I think I am going to have a stroke.
Ok, well, that's extreme, but holy maloly, who wouldn't want to be the people who thought this up.
Hell, I'd be satisfied just to see it in person.
By Masterminds, USA, for Beau Rivage and it appeared in the freaking Biloxi, Mississippi airport.
Found it on I Believe in Advertising.