Friday, April 30, 2010

Sure it's sexist, but do you really care?

Alex - Super Intern - Parent sent me this ad his father saw in a German magazine.

Kind of sexist, but I think it works. I think it will appeal to your typical BMW driver anyway.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, yeah, but of course . . .

Client grabbed me first thing this morning.

"Hey" he said. "People have been calling already in response to that new ad that started running yesterday. So I'm asking them how they like the ad. Five of them said the logo and phone number need to be bigger."

"If the logo and phone number weren't big enough to read," I asked "how did they know where to call?"

Shameless self-promotion

Lookee here.

After 500-some posts, I don't think I've ever really gone overboard on How Great We Are.

And maybe we are and maybe we're not, but we did just win a District II Gold Addy for a pro-bono campaign we did for the Washington Humane Society. Remember those two posts we just put up about Zeus and Dumbledore? We won Gold at the local DC Addys and it moved on up to District II, which includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and DC.

Some agencies win at this level all the time, but we don't. So I'll probably set my hair on fire later today to celebrate.

Here's the entire thing.

(Click here to see our Facebook page.)

OK, that's enough for now.

"Helvetica Bold is not a concept."

Steve Cosmopulos said that.

I had the pleasure of getting to know him a few years ago when he was a judge for the DC Addys and I was the judging chair. Steve came in early, and Karen our buddy Terry Coveny and I spent the day with him. Fascinating guy. One of the founders of Hill, Holliday Cosmpoulos (now Hill, Holliday).

Anyway, Steve made the statement above as he was distinguishing between execution and ideas - something we all need to understand and keep in mind. It's a distinction that is surprisingly often lost. Especially on television.

I'll revise that statement a bit for today. Twitter is not a concept. Neither is Facebook.

They are potential effective media tools, but they don't replace the idea, I don't think. The way I see it, Facebook and Twitter (and FourSquare, Gowalla and Yonkly and the rest) may or may not be elements of a comprehensive media strategy. And should be. But it always disturbs me when people start to talk about a Facebook page or a YouTube video before they even have any real brand strategy in mind. Or creative concept. You know, "Don't know what we'll say about ourselves or why, by by God we're going to say it on Twitter."

Alan Wolk, who writes the Toad Stool, a great blog on new media, had a post a few weeks ago that included this (relevant, I think) passage:

"Zappos (to use an easy example) is 'good' at social media because they have really amazing customer service. Not the other way around. That's why people talk about them - because they're impressed with the customer service, not because Zappos has a cool page with all their Twitter streams."

Just a couple of years ago, we used to hear from people that they were going to put their entire ad budget into the web. They usually didn't have any good reason for that except that it was new and (they thought) relatively cheap. To me, that's exactly like deciding before you decide anything else that you're going to focus on Facebook or put your entire budget into radio. Or print.

In Helvetica Bold.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

God forgive me, but I love this

From Illegal Advertising.

OK I'm not picking on the Post and this will be the last thing I say about them for a while

So here's the situation:

Like almost every other newspaper, The Washington Post is losing subscribers for their print edition. There's that.

Washington, D.C. has a serious shortage of local business coverage. A few months ago, the Post cut back to a single page and that leaves the Washington Business Journal. Alone. So there's that too.

So it would seem that one good way to boost print circulation would be to create a top-notch business section, like the New York Times. (You need to accept that for the next part of this to make any sense. If you don't accept it, go straight to Question 7 and thank you for your participation.)

So the Post launches a new Capital Business tabloid with much fanfare. A weekly insert in the print edition. Hooray! Never mind whether I think it's any good or not, it seems like a good idea. But get this:

You have to pay extra to get it! Like $46 a year or something.

Let's review, shall we? Given an opportunity to generate increased interest in their print edition by improving it and therefore boost circulation and therefore boost ad revenue, the Post opted to try get people to spend even more money on something that's not all that great anyway.

They may know their way around putting out a great newspaper, but sometimes it seems like the brain trust at the Post doesn't know its ass from third base about marketing.

OK, you can go back to sleep now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is a cool spot for Chrome . . .

Does the music make this spot or what?

I saw a video somewhere about how they did this. I'll try to find it.

Just wondering . . .

Is there any other profession out there where so many people think they know more about it than you do?

Just curious.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I always liked this commercial for British Airways.

And you gotta remember, they filmed this thing. Didn't do it in a computer the way they would today. That makes it all the most impressive.

Of course, it's old. But then, so am I.

Okay, Okay, we'll put a hot-looking woman and a kid on a merry-go-round and use it to sell rubbers

And then, we'll use a guy with a kid roasting marshmallows.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Actually, there WAS some good news.

OK, I guess that post about Dumbledore was a bit of a downer. Here's something good:

This guy got adopted and has a happy home.

Big old Zeus. He settled on that pose all by his own self.

If this is a trend, I think it should have its own awards-show category.

First that spot for not idling your engine, now this.

What is the deal with pee these days?

These are ads for a "bladder friendly" short film festival. By Atletico International of Barcelona (via copyranter).

OK, it's a slightly funny joke in a sophomoric kind of way, but seriously, is this the very best way they could come up with to advertise a short film festival? I mean what did the brief say "The films in this festival are so short, you won't have to go take a leak in the alley."

Of course, most of us use a bathroom anyway.

Nevertheless, here it is.

Found this via a great presentation on banner ads

Click the image to go to a fabulous blog on banner ads -- then play with the vertical one there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm late to this. So sue me. Get your money back.

Somebody asked me what I thought about the new Tiger Woods commercial. (Above, but not so new anymore.)

Honestly, I don't know what to think. I guess I kind of can't figure out the point. I mean why did they do this?

I thought it was just a tad cheesy to use his father's voice out of context, but in general, I thought it was a bit disingenuous. Tiger going to the woodshed publicly so we can all forget about it and move on. And by "move on" I suppose Nike means go back to spending money on NikeTiger things.

If the goal was to get people to talk about Tiger Woods and Nike, I'd say mission accomplished there. If the goal is anything else at all, I'm not so sure.

Hello, Washington Post? Guess where your ad revenue comes from

Amidst much advance hoo-ha and look at us, the Washington Post launched Capital Business this morning.

It's a weekly tabloid supposed to cover the business of the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia). Now, the Post has had a terrible business "section" for years. These days, it's just a page or two.

It's early Monday and I don't feel like writing a lot until I get some coffee in me, but I went through the thing three times and didn't find a word about advertising or public relations companies. I'm sorry, but there are a lot of us here.

Oh, there's a story about "Virginia Wine pairs with Cuban cigars" a feature on the "Bradley Town Center" shopping center, which is NOT named "Bradley Town Center", and a nice pictures of three guys at the Bristol Herald-Courier (wherever the hell that is) celebrating a Pulitzer.

But anything about any of the ad agencies or public relations firms that cover the area? Nah, we'd rather read more about Ben's Chili Bowl.

You know, it's really easy to sit here on the sidelines and say they oughta to this and they oughta do that, but why doesn't the Ad Club try to raise the visibility of the industry here? A once-a-year Advertising Week modeled after the same thing in New York won't do it. And neither the Post nor the Business Journal seem to care much one way or another.

There are some very good agencies here doing some very good national work. (Adworks for The Cleveland Clinic, Arnold for Amtrak and The Bahamas and Smith+Gifford for the Virginia Lottery come to mind. Plus whomever it is that does those ads for the Pier House Resort in Key West.)

But you'd never know it reading the Washington Post.

(If you're a prompt reader here, it was probably a confusing morning. I thought I'd accidentally deleted this work in progress. What I actually DID was publish it. Sorry.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

A follow-up that really pisses me off.

A few months ago, we completed a pro-bono anti-cruelty campaign for the Washington Humane Society.

The unfortunate dog in the photo at right is Dumbledore, a sweet guy who was neglected by his owner - a 21 year-old college student who was, as the copy says, too busy with college and cheerleading and beauty pageants. His weight had dropped to 17 pounds. Half of what it should be.

We were at a meeting at WHS today and they told us that Dumbledore didn't make it.


I sure do hope the campaign - and the PSA my pal Annette Wexler is working on - will save other lives.

I sure do wish we didn't need campaigns like this.

P.S. Super photographer Ira Wexler did the photography for the campaign.

How do you blog about something that's difficult to blog about?


So yesterday morning we had one of our "12 Chairs and Coffee" sessions where we invite a number of people in for a freewheeling discussion on things that matter to marketing folk. (This one was about how our conversations with clients and customers have changed.)

Our buddy Wes Combs, one of the principals of Witeck-Combs Communications, the nation's leading firm dealing primarily in LBGT marketing, was one of the participants. Wes and Bob Witeck are two of our favorite people -- smart, fun and general-purpose great guys. With a great company.

Anyway, Wes mentioned that he was working on public relations product for a new product that was, well, difficult to talk about.

Which I thought was interesting. As he said, how do you market something that is hard to even mention out loud?

Now, you're no doubt wondering WTF the product is, right? Well, the client is C.B. Fleet of Lynchburg, Virginia, and we're not talking about the bank. That's right. Enemas. And in this case, recreational enemas, starting with the gay market.

That's as far as I'm going here. If you need more information, ask your mother. Or Dan Savage. Or click here.

These are the ads prepared by Euro RSG to promote the product. I think they are terrific and have managed to use levity to make an uncomfortable conversation a lot less uncomfortable.

Seriously, what a tough assignment. I'd have given a week's pay to have been in the room when the creative team was given the assignment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The best movie you will never see in a theater

This is a shameless plug for my buddy Marc Ryan and his partner Mike Million (yes, that's his real name).

Marc and Mike are the guys behind Third Story Films. Marc is the genius behind "Everybody Wants to be a Dog", a TV spot we did that featured a Celebrity Parrot. (Ranger, from Pirates of the Caribbean.) He also directed a little self-promo film for us called "Not Everybody Can Do This" that picked up a few awards. (You can see both on the TSF web site.)

And he never gloats when Wake Forest beats Maryland.

Anyway, "Tenure" is a movie Mike wrote and directed comes out on DVD tomorrow and you oughta get it from Netflix.

All kinds of shenanigans out of their control precluded it ever being released in theaters. Somebody owned rights and went out of business and kept the rights or some kinda thing that was no fair to the movie or something. No fair, because it's a good movie. Stars Luke Wilson and it's pretty damn funny.

I liked it a lot. And I'm not much of a Luke Wilson fan. Karen liked it too.

So did everybody in the audience at the DC Independent Film Festival.

So go get it. Go, go . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My new favorite thing I hate when clients say it. What's yours?

"That's not a bad idea, actually." Like it's some big surprise.

If you're getting tired of all the dog stuff, be sure to let me know.

Not that I care. This is my blog, remember?

Found this on You Tube. No idea how new or old it might be. But it's an Australian Pedigree commercial. Eve will tell you Pedigree dog food is not that great, but Eve will also love this commercial.


Pal Jessica Tree -- an art director who moved to San Francisco and we all need to go visit and stay with her and Skipper for a week or more and really enjoy life for a while -- sent this today.

Very, very, very cool. Be sure to have your volume on and watch the entire thing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How time flies

Hard to believe, but there have been 66 Mac/PC commercials, starting in 2006.

Hold crap!

Here is the first one.

The rest -- courtesy of Adfreak -- are here. They stand the test of time pretty well, I think.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

OK, so it's a little silly. I like it.

Of course, I always like happy endings for dogs.

I don't know how they DID the dog, but it's pretty cool. Check the feet.

By H / Euro RSCG Milan, Italy for Citroen. Via Ads of the World.

Friday, April 9, 2010

At first glance this kind of makes you cringe, but then . . .

But once you realize what the product is -- well, I think it's pretty cool.

It's for Yardley Mascera (which won't run when you cry), and I don't think it would offend my gay friends. (But then my friends are a cut above the average, run-of-the-mill friends most people have.)

Although, as the copyranter (where I found it) points out, they can probable expect a cease-and-desist any moment from Ricky Martin's people.

By Bester Burke Slingers in Capetown, South Africa.

Suddenly I feel the need for a tropical drink

Found this image on the Key West Bar Card Facebook page today.

I like it. That is the only reason it is here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Love the music. The premise is pathetic.

"When we idle our vehicles, we're basically saying, piss on the planet."

Or so says the VO in this ridiculous spot. OK, I'm going to accept that the sophomores in the creative department have been looking for an excuse to use people pissing in a spot for years, but this ain't it kids.

This ain't it.

Seriously, this is the very best way you could come up with to sell the evils of (ahem) letting your engine idle?

(An anti-engine idling spot? Really? Is this a joke. No? I guess all the significant causes were taken.)

OK, well, this is what I think about sports marketing

Big hoo-hah on certain DC sports blogs today about the fact that there were tons and tons of Philadelphia Phillies fans at the Washington Nationals opener yesterday.

That is to say, there were plenty of seats available for The Enemy to buy. And everybody's got their knickers in a knot about it too.

Sure, it's easy to say nobody here buys tickets to Nats games because the team, well, in a word, sucks. (At least it did last season. Improvement is expected this year.)

But I don't necessarily buy it. Look at the sorry-ass Redskins. They sell out. There are other franchises that stink but fill the stands - college and pro.

I think sports marketing for individual teams, as a general rule, is what sucks.

Seems like most of it is built around ticket offers. Two-for-one, small game packages and the like. Well here's what I think about that approach (and not surprisingly, it's about the same thing I think about all price-based marketing).

If nobody knows about or cares about your team (or your product or service) or the experience of going to a game, or even, in the case of women's sports, what the game is all about, what possible difference can it make if the damn tickets are cheaper today?

(That sentence was too long. My apologies. Now deal with it.)

A day at the ballpark can be a great experience even if the home nine lose (again). The weather is nice, the beer is cold, the dogs are hot and everybody's having a good time. Women's basketball is more of a team sport than men's basketball. You can see better at a minor-league game. Soccer is an interesting sport if you understand it. And on and on.

I just think that when a sports franchise goes straight to some wrong-headed ticket and discount-driven approach, they've skipped right past anything that has anything to do with building a loyal brand base. I didn't say fan base, I said brand base. Because damn few sports teams bother to try to establish their brand. That is, why the hell anybody had oughta come to a game - especially when the team loses.

If you're going to succeed, you've got to have people coming to your games even when the team struggles and even when the tickets are full price.

Duke wins. Most of the free world mourns.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A today's winner in the "Gratuitous Use of a Nearly-Naked Nubile Young Thing" competition is . . . .

A client sent me a copy of Thunder, "Harley-Davidson and American Motorcycle News.

She hasn't told me why yet, but my guess is that we're going to do ad that will run in it.

I hope.

In any case, it makes for interesting reading -- especially the ads. Like this one for - believe it or - an anti-theft tracking device.

Perhaps the idea is that the girl stands next to your bike and would-be thieves are so distracted they forget all about stealing the bike.

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is pretty cool. Maybe we'll steal it.

Our friend ace art director/designer Jessica Tree (who used to work with us, but moved to San Francisco, so in a way, we all hate her) posted this on Facebook, on the fan page for The Social Type, a design company she and a pal started.

(Man, was that a long sentence. But exceptionally well-crafted, right?)

According to the link, "after ten years together, Jen and Kevin got engaged in Paris--a location they subtly acknowledged in a nod to Albert Lamorisse's short film The Red Balloon when designing their save the date announcement. Wanting to treat their wedding as a big party more so than a traditional event, each guest received a deflated, red balloon tied to a letterpress printed card."

Nice work.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good point, I think

Copyranter ran this shot of a busback for Dutch Railways with the headline:

"Dutch Railways looks to pick up new customers by accident."