Thursday, July 29, 2010

I don't know who did this

Or where. But I do know that it's pretty cool.

Found it on the Creative Advertising Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I would pay money to get to do a painted wall someday. Maybe these are ads made to look like a painted wall and maybe they are real, buy still . . .

20 years in this business and I still don't understand

One of the first thing I noticed when we started our business was that there is often an inverse relationship between how much people charge for their product or service and how much they are willing to sell or promote it.

Time and again, I run across someone with a big-ticket item who tells us that they have "nothing", "next to nothing" , "very little" or "no budget" to spend to attract customers.

To their big-ticket item.

Lots of these people want to be able to hone in on that segment of any given universal target that wants to really spend money. You know, the people who want a great room at a luxury hotel, not just a room somewhere in town. Or the people who are willing to pay top dollar for a remodeling job, not just new cabinets from Home Depot. Or the people who are fine with shelling out $25-$35 for an entree not people who just want some filler. But all too often they tell us that they don't want to spend any money to do it, even though they really, really want it to be effective.

In other words, they want to sell a high-end value but not buy one.

I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'd work for these guys for free

But they don't need me.

I love Ace Hotel. I love this HAHA Comedy Night too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What a great idea!

But apparently, this poster promoting the Bloody Mary Tudor exhibit at the London Dungeon, was banned from the subway because parents complained that it scared their children.

Um, well, yeah. So it was scary. The exhibit is scary. And?

Found on the Denver Egotist.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm not sure what a prepaid MasterCard is

And I kind of get the feeling that the whole "priceless" campaign is pretty close to jumping the shark, but this spot with Mr. T is pretty freaking funny.

Especially the last few seconds.

Probably makes no sense at all, but still.

Via Ads of the World.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I hate using a quote by Donald Trump

But it's a good one.

"As long as you're going to be thinking anyway, think big." Or words to that effect.

We're talking Jim Justice-type thinking here. Jim Justice (right) is the man who bought the Greenbrier recently, wresting control of it from Marriott. Now he could have - as Marriott no doubt would have - done himself a nice renovation, opened back up as a sweet, expensive West Virginia resort and banged along maybe making money and may not making money as it has for the pasty 20 years or more.

"F*** that" he seems to have said and, thinking big, he's got one of the hottest fancy-schmantzy places in the country on his hands. He's got a golf tournament a-comin' and he opened a snazzy new casino thanks to a change in West Virginia laws. The opening event was what might might call star-studded and earned itself plenty of national coverage.

Because he thought big and acted big. And it's gonna pay off for him.

One of the real frustrations of this business we're in is watching opportunity drift away from people because they think small. There are always excuses - budget or uncooperative upper management are two favorites. But I just don't think there is any real good excuse for thinking small when, as The Donald says, you might as well think big, since you're going to be thinking anyway.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we don't always think big here at N+H Central. I know that. I didn't say we were perfect. What I said was that watching opportunities drift away because somebody (and that somebody could well be me) is no fun.

But for the moment, let's all cheer for Jim Justice. He ought to be an inspiration for us all.

If he had had a lesser vision, the Greenbrier today would be just another semi-boring Marriott Resort.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hey kids! Here's a fun game!

It's called "Guess Why This Spot Was Pulled"! (via Illegal Advertising)

Watch and see if you can guess! Eeeeverybody's a winnah!

(Scroll down for the answer.)

According to Illegal Advertising, the Nigerian government complained, the spot was pulled and Sony issued an apology.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I have one dentist who does the top teeth, one who does the bottom ones, a third one who cleans the crowns, and some guy who advises on flossing.

Like many of our brethren and sisteren in the ad business, we're hustling for new business as hard as we can.

And one thing we see and hear just makes me scratch my head in disbelief.

We'll run across hotels, CVBs, tourism bureaus and companies in other market categories that have a PR firm, a web marketing company, sometimes a separate web design company and a media placement company. Or some combination of most of those.

What's missing here?

That's right, There is no creative company and nobody really developing or protecting the brand. It's a whole kitchen full of cooks and anybody in our business who has ever worked with a client that had other outside resources knows one thing for sure: more often than is good for the client, two or more of them are going to be fighting to be the Alpha Dog in the arrangement.

The public relations people will tell you that they ought to drive the bus. In fact, when I was in PR and got my APR from the PRSA (going with LBJ on the IRT down to 4th Street USA [where we saw] the youth of America on LSD . . . oh, never mind), we were told in no uncertain terms during review classes that advertising is a subset of public relations.

Except, as I have since learned, most PR firms do crappy advertising. Sorry, but it's the truth, and it you want to go out back and fight about it, we can.

Anyway, the PR people will sometimes tell you that they ought to drive the bus. Other times the ad agency wants to be behind the wheel. (And trust me on this, ad agencies can not do public relations.) Still other times, the web marketing people see no useful purpose for anything but the Internet and the media people, well I suppose they are usually not in the fight, since their role is pretty clear-cut.

The point is, nobody except the client is really in charge. Now, plenty of clients are perfectly capable of - and good at - being in charge. Except they often have lots of Other Things on their plate. And I'm here to tell you that too often, each of those outside companies can be found whispering in the client's ear like some back-stabbing Roman senator.

It's a working relationship that is not effective, it's not cost-efficient, and it makes a whole bunch of No Sense at All. OK, sure, I come from the ad agency side of things, but I've been a client. And a PR guy (with a suit and a tie and everything) and I just think it's a crazy, crazy way to do things.

Think about it. The best web site on the planet won't do any good unless people find it and know something about you when they get there. That's where the advertising and PR come in. The PR and advertising messages really had oughta be in sync. And so should the point of the web site (which is, of course, conversions, not just hits - but you knew that already).

Whatever advertising is done should be creative and compelling (hence the role of the advertising and design company), ought to support the brand (here comes the brand development function) and the media needs to be based on the message as well as the target. Which means there sure better be some back-and-forth between the creative people and the media people.

There are plenty of times when the media is part of the creative strategy if you do it right. And that's not going to happen very easily if the media company and the creative company are in different cities, different states or even have different names on the door.

These are not economic times when anybody can afford to waste any money. Which is precisely what I think this all-hands-grab-a-broom-and-do-something approach does.

So there are two things here. It helps immeasurably if everybody is on the same page, and it seems to be like the advertising and creative function is the one thing you can't do without - or better not try.

Now comes the part some of you may consider to be a bit of parochial thinking. Creativity is the most practical tool available to a business today. (Actually, that 's a stone fact and not the parochial part. This next part is the parochial part.)

Neither a media company, nor a public relations firm is typically capable of delivering the kind of creativity necessary. And, to be honest, since one needs to be media-agnostic, neither is a web design firm or an Internet marketing company. You know, when your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail, and all that.

I'm not saying an advertising agency is always going to be the best and the brightest - unless it's us, of course. What I'm saying is that I don't understand why so often the people best qualified to create a clear brand and come up with a creative way to deliver it - the two most critical parts of marketing for my money - are left on the bench when the team takes the field.

Then again, as we all know, I'm an idiot most of the time.

(So what do you think? Wasn't that part about the bench and the team taking the field a real gem?)

These are pretty cool.

How many of you thought the pineapple one was a bathing suit top?

Tell the truth now. He's listening.

I love the simplicity of these. Sometimes this visual pun approach gets a little old, but these work for me.

Via Creative Advertising on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If you build it, you will have built it

Years ago, an agency Karen worked for did some work for a small local brewery.

They designed a wonderful logo and label and packaging. Then everybody looked up and the agency and blown the entire budget (I said it was a small brewery) on logo and package design and nothing was left to use to actually sell the beer.

Fortunately, the guy who owned it was a rich guy who did the beer thing sort of as a hobby and didn't really need to make anything on it, but I think about that example when I see an organization (hotels seem to pop up most frequently) who spend a boatload on a new web site, but little to nothing to promote it.

There is a plethora of information out there that supports my contention that it's not enough to count on people who stumble on your site or find their way via SEO, so I don't need to expend a lot of energy citing it here. Besides, I have before and if you don't take notes when you read JITD, well, then shame on you.

(Are you impressed that not only can I spell plethora, but also that I know what it means? It's some sort of leech-like slug kind of thing, right?)

Just because someone shows up at the front door doesn't mean she is going to buy anything. It helps if she knows something about what you're selling, why it's worth the cash and was looking for you, not just people who live in your general neighborhood. This is where things like advertising and public relations come in.

Not only that, but just because she shows up at your door and peers into the foyer doesn't mean she is going to necessarily spend any money. This is why the success of a web site should be measured in conversions, not just hits and why a web site ought to be designed to turn visitors into customers.

A "new web site" too often seems like some sort of short-cut to success. It's not. It's a tool. And it will work better if it works in concert with other tools.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The commercial that changed the way Americans look at Kosher food.

(Apologies for the sound quality. Blame YouTube. Or somebody. Not me.)

There was an interesting piece in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times by Sue Fishkoff about how this commercial "resonated at a time when Americans were growing increasingly mistrustful of the government and were starting to worry about what dangerous hidden substances might be on their dinner plates." And changed a lot about eating habits and preferences in America.

Today, while Jews make up about two percent of the population and most of those don't keep Kosher, Fishkoff says. And yet "One-third to one-half of the food in American supermarkets is kosher-certified, representing more than $200 billion of the country’s estimated $500 billion in annual food sales, up from $32 billion in 1993." Clearly many are non-Jews who believe the "higher authority" promise. They believe that somehow Kosher food is better for you.

Smucker's Gatorade - even Tootsie Rolls have Kosher products.

Read the whole thing here if you like. I think it's an interesting comment on the power of effective advertising.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

If you're on Facebook and like creativity in advertising, go here

Creative Advertising is a pretty cool Facebook page.

I don't know who does it. but stuff like this is up there all the time.

If you can't read the type below the picture, this is the door at the School of Visual Arts in New York.