Friday, July 31, 2009

And now I know what Hell looks like

I don't want to offend anybody who has kids, wants to have kids, used to be a kid or is seriously thinking of buying a few. I was a child myself once. So were both of my sisters, each of whom I love like a brother. We have a son. And two granddaughters. This has nothing to do with children or the relative merits thereof. It's just a observation, ok?

I read in the Washington Post last night about a weekly happy hour at a restaurant called Blue Ridge in Northwest DC. Let me quote here:

"About 25 moms and dads mingled on the restaurant's back patio last Thursday, despite the evening rain. They sipped wine and cocktails while chatting about their neighborhoods, their backgrounds and, of course, the munchkins strapped to their chests."

If I get hit by a bus this afternoon and wake up on a "patio in the evening rain sipping wine and cocktails while chatting about neighborhoods, backgrounds and, of course, munchkins strapped to various chests in attendance" I will know for certain that it has all been for naught, everybody was right and I was on my way to hell before the back wheels even crossed my chest.

(I'll save you the trouble. I'm KNOW I'm not the target for these things. I'm just saying . . . )

Thursday, July 30, 2009

OK, I'll go along with the crowd

This spot for Purity organic juice has been all over the ad blogs. I picked it up on Illegal Advertising.

But maybe you don't read all the ad blogs, so maybe you haven't seen it. Would you like to?

Sure. Ga'head.

Maybe there's an upside to this whole recession-thing

According to a J.D. Power report (found on, "Despite Industry Downturn, Satisfaction with Hotels Increases "

I need to quote their release on the PR Newswire: "Even though reduced demand has caused hotel properties to slash operating costs and reduce staff, hotel guest satisfaction has improved in 2009, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study(SM) released today."

That is to say that in four of the six categories studied, even though hotels were making do with less, they were delivering more. Not to disregard the impact on people who lost their jobs, but that's pretty cool.

Maybe it's because hoteliers were reminded of what they are really selling and went to greater lengths to deliver. Maybe -- although I doubt it -- guest expectations are lower. Whatever the case, it's an interesting lesson going forward. One that can apply even in boom times.

In case you're wondering, the six categories measured are
luxury, upscale, mid-scale full service, mid-scale limited service, economy/budget and extended stay. The key measurements within each segment are reservations; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and costs and fees.

The four segments that showed increased satisfaction over 2008 are
upscale; mid-scale full service; mid-scale limited service; and economy/budget. From upscale to budget -- if that's not pretty much the full range, I don't know what is.

What does all this mean? Well, from a purely parochial, narrow-minded, single-focused, with-blinders-on and only thinking of my business point of view, I'd say that the next time a hotel looks for money to cut from the budget, maybe advertising doesn't have to be the first to go.

(Or maybe that's just my way of making this whole post relevant to advertising. )

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I gotta be honest. I think I've probably come close in the last 20 years.

But I am NOT going to go back and look.

Felix at the Denver Egoist puts out a terrific advertising blog and writes a series of rants.

This one is called "The Top 10 Cruddiest Headlines That Prove You're a No-Talent Hack". Full disclosure: my first year out, I wrote a headline for a company called "Fas Grase" (or something -- it was pronounced FAHZ-grahz; it had little dots over the "a") that made a sort of grows-grass-faster-than-you-can-get-out-the-lawn-chairs-and-the-kiddie-pool product.

At the time, I thought "Amazing Grase" was brilliant.

But maybe it wasn't so brilliant. (See #10 below.) I know a guy who, after 30 years in the business, if he couldn't write pun headlines, he couldn't write headlines at all. Which is why he needs to stick to broadcast and stop with the print already. Anyway, here is Felix's Top Ten.

1. (no headline at all)
2. Size matters
3. There's [attribute]. And then there's [produce] [attribute].
4. Start your engines
5. Or buy a [product].
6. There's only one way to spell [word/phrase] - [brand].
7. Think you know [word/product/brand]? Think again.
8. Got [brand/product]?
9. The good news and the bad news.
10 Puns (Guilty as charged -- at least once.)

If you missed the first link above in your eagerness to get to the list, you can read the whole thing here.

This is why you shouldn't wait too long to post something you found on the 'Net

Took me FOREVER to find it again. Enjoy. For a Frankfurt restaurant called Fisch Franke.

From AdFreak.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This Is Cool, part oopty-twelve.

I really like all the things people are doing with signs and transit. I saw a video on YouTube today where a seafood restaurant in Germany created what is essentially an aquarium on a bus shelter and put live trout in it.

I'll put it up tomorrow, after you've had plenty of time to savor and enjoy this one.

This is from Israel, by GITAM / BBDO.

Via I Believe in Advertising.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Maybe it's me

When Karen and I first moved the company out of our house and took office space, there was guy in our building we used to call "Mikey Mikey". One of our employees heard him talking to himself in the elevator one day using that name. He's an accountant.

Anyway, for the last 20 years, I have seen the guy all over Bethesda. Always walking fast, always reading a newspaper or magazine as he walks and always wearing a baseball hat. Kind of an odd duck. Check that. A really odd duck.

So I'm going to the bank today and, sure enough, I passed him. When I saw him my first thought was "Jeeze, I see that guy everywhere. Doesn't he have anything to do but wander around Bethesda?"

And then it hit me. Every time I see him, he sees me. So he's probably thinking . . .

Friday, July 17, 2009

Well, apparently, it's not

We had a very short-lived client that actually wasn't a client but was somebody else's client and we were doing most of the work so it was sort of our client but not really but in any case it isn't anymore anyway.

The last thing I personally did for this sort-of client was write a brochure about how their product was worth the additional cost (it is close to, if not the most, expensive in the category). Better quality, better materials, better workmanship, true customization and so forth. All true and valid arguments for why one product is worth more than another.

Really. I think "you get what you pay for" is usually true.

Then the client ended his relationship with Somebody Else (who in turn ended his with Us) because they want to save money. So they are pulling it in-house and adding it to some unlucky soul's workload.

Just so I understand, there is a worthwhile premium attached what they sell, but what everybody else sells is more or less a commodity, so we'll just hand it off and everything will be copacetic. The agency's job is to do everything in its power to get their clients' customers to pay top dollar for a product, but the agency is supposed to do it at bargain basement rates, or we'll find somebody else who knows how to type or has box of crayons to do it.

That is to say "my product is worth the extra cash and you need to make sure my customers know this, but your product is something a chimp can produce, so I don't want to pay much for it."

This is not a point of view unique to this particular company. Whether it's a car, a hotel, home furnishings, a restaurant, clothes or anything else, it's surprising how many people have a one-sided view of price/value relationships.

I seem to have said the same thing, more or less, four times in a row. And if that's not talent worth paying extra for, well I damn sure don't know what is.

You get what you pay for.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now I won't get ANYTHING done today . . .

Thanks to Bennett Kobb who sent me a very nice e-mail and this way cool video of a group called Gandini Juggling that is actually, well, Juggling in the Dark!

I found a YouTube video which I have here if you're too lazy to follow the link, but the one Bennett sent has a cooler sound track (the Black Eyed Peas).

I have to admit. I cannot juggle. My friend Dave Slacter can juggle (But then, he also owns a clown suit, with big shoes and everything.) . My brother-in-law Mike Nasuti can juggle. My son Larry can juggle. Bennett can juggle. One of these days, I should learn.

Anyway, thanks to Bennett, the blog name is justified at last.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A couple of good blogs and interesting posts on Social Media

Via the Ad Age Small Agency Diary, I came across a couple of what I think are good blogs. Both will be added to the blogroll at right as soon as I finish this post.

I was drawn to a when a post he wrote on June 30th ("Calling Bullshit on Social Media") was mentioned. Read it for yourself here, but here's a highlight:

"For starters: social media is a stupid term. Is there any anti-social media out there? Of course not. All media, by definition, is social in some way. "

Here's another:

"The new media does not necessarily destroy the old. . . . Anyone who claims social media will eliminate standard PR or mass media is engaging in hype, as odds are better those things will change and learn, but never die. It’s wise to ask what each kind of media / marketing is good and bad for and work from there."

And finally:

"Social media consultants writing about social media have inherent biases. It’s difficult to take posts . . . about social media seriously [if they are] written by someone from a social media consulting firm without an ounce of humility or perspective. It’s hard to come across as authentic if you promote a revolution that you personally stand to benefit the most from."

It's good. Read the thing. Then go on to his other stuff. Great blog.

Ok, then that led me to this one -- -- and this particular post. A highlight here (brace yourself. this guy is pretty blunt):

"The best definition I've seen comes from my friend and boss, Mike:

" 'Social Media is people talking to each other.'
That's really all it is. You can put all the fucking spin, weasel words, and supercaptaincoolguy terminology you want, but it's like painting a diamond. In the end, what's inside is far more valuable than the coating.

"All this shit, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, DoucheBlog, all of it, is just people talking to each other, in a fairly direct way. . . . It can be a one to one, one to many, many to one, many to many, or all of the above, but it's just people talking to each other."

And more:

"If you make it more complicated than that as a concept, stop. You're about to go off the cliff into New Media Douchebaggery, and you don't want that. Ever."

I don't THINK that is the point they really meant to make with this headline

I mean, this guy seems to be Asian.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Totally beautiful, slightly creepy

Found this spot for Axe on Illegal Advertising.

Isn't Axe the line that has all the ones about teenaged boys pursued by older women? Whatever. Tell me if it doesn't look like a snake at first.

On damn, I've gone and spoiled it for you, haven't I? No I haven't. It's not a snake.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I like these

Since the days of Tom McElligott agencies have been doing edgy ads for various churches. Some are good, some are great and some suck.

Which, I guess is pretty much like any other kind of advertising.

I found these ads for a synagogue in Germany on I Believe in Advertising. I've actually never seen an ad for a synagogue before. (Of course, I've never actually seen a Hungarian before either, but I know they exist, so perhaps these are not the first of their kind -- just the first I've seen. ) They are kind of cool though.

The JPG for the one about "follow a jew" is "stalk", which I think is funny.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Can't go along with Adrants on this one

But then, the eTrade "babies" campaign is one of my all-time favorites. Especially the one with the clown (see below).

Ardants says -- and I quote -- "Evian's Breakdancing Babies Put eTrade's Wise Ass Babies to Shame" and goes on to say this spot "is most certainly Super Bowl quality."

I had to check to make sure today was July 3, not April 1. He can't be serious.

Frankly, I think this is just a stupid spot. The effects are pretty amazing, but the concept is moronic, I think. But then, there are those who would look you straight in the eye and swear that I'm moronic.

And I'm cool with that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

String theory

The Economist has always had great advertising. This is no exception. Found on Ads of The World.

Jesus. No wonder people hate lawyers.

DC Metro Train Accident

"We are experienced metro train
accident lawyers, representing
several of the victims from this
horrible train accident."


This was an ad on Facebook.

Nothing like trying to use the deadliest accident in the history of Metro to generate business. Kinda makes you want to take a shower.

Hmmmmm ... I wonder if I could sell pieces of scrap metal from the wrecked cars as mementos? Pretty much the same thing, right?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Look at this