Thursday, August 27, 2015

Orson Wells, wine, Ritz-Carlton and Reserve hotels

Orson Wells is here for a reason.

And this is it. No matter what he said or how lovely his voice sounded when he said it, Gallo wine was still, in the end, Gallo wine. Before its time or not.
So this came to mind when I saw an article in Forbes - via the ILHA SmartBrief - about the new Reserve group of hotels from Ritz-Carlton and how it's bringing a "boutique vibe to Ritz-Carlton."
Honestly, this could be perceived as a bit of a slap at a real boutique independent hotel or small to mid-sized collection of hotels. Because, when you get right down to it, Reserve is still part of Ritz-Carlton which is still part of Marriott. Just like Autograph. Or Hyatt Andaz, Hilton Curio or other subgroups of big chains.
An independent hotel and a smaller collection of hotels is a totally different thing than a cluster of properties gathered under a large brand name and given a sub-name. Sure, there are almost certainly some differences from the Mother Ship, but it's still a part of the big brand.
People who work for Ritz-slash-Marriott are sharp people and know what they are doing, and there is no question about whether or not Reserve has a lot going for it. 
It most certainly does.
But let's not for a minute confuse it with a true independent property or small collection of hotels or resorts - with all the unique experiences they can deliver to their guests.
The cheapest and most expensive cars made by General Motors are still from General Motors with all the good - and bad - things that go with it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The sophomore-ization of American advertising

It's finally happened.  Beavis and Butthead have gone into advertising.

My guess is that has decided that high-school boys - chronologically or emotionally - are the best target for their online hotel reservations service.
That's the only thing I can imagine based on these stupid "booking-this" and "booking-that" commercials done by Weiden and Kennedy. 
You get it, right? If not see above. "Incredible booking vacation" and "you got it booking right" and so on. (Heh, heh, heh, Beavis. He said "booking."). 
So if I'm to understand this, what could be a good idea is built around the fact that (heh, heh, heh, Beavis) it sounds like they are saying "fucking". So clever. If you're like 16 years old.
I'd have loved to have been at the meeting when they presented the creative. "OK, so the premise of this spot is that when you say 'booking-something, it sort of sounds like 'fucking-something' Pretty cool, huh? Huh?"
I think it's just stupid. There are any number of attention-getting, compelling ways to sell This is really the best one they could come up with? Maybe the target is, I don't know, different than me.
Weiden and Kennedy is a great agency with awards coming out of their ears, so there must be something I'm fucking missing. 
I mean "booking" missing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

In honor of Barrett Strong

Let's talk just a minute about, well, you know

If you're on the client side of an agency relationship, I'm here to tell you that almost every one of them only really asks you for two things:

1. Respect us and our ideas. (Note that I didn't say like all our ideas. Just show some respect for the effort.)

2. Pay our bills on time.

So, on #$ 2 - Nobody likes to have to call and ask for money. It's especially hard on a smaller agency where they don't have a separate A/R department. It often puts the AE - the person charged with maintaining a relationship - in the awkward position of having to inquire about a past-due invoice.

If the price is too high, bring it up before you agree to the project. If there is a question about the invoice, ask it as soon as you get the invoice and you'll get an answer. If the work is no good, fire them.

And if you just installed a new accounting system, the CFO is on vacation or any one of a dozen other things we've all heard several times, make it clear to your agency early on.

Agencies can't repossess anything. Or cut off your credit. All we have to sell is time and expertise, and once you've got it, we can't take it back. All an agency - or design studio - can really do is stop work until you catch up. And nobody wants to do that because, well, because we're here to help you succeed, not slow things down.

Think about it, as much as we all want to believe that every client is important, we're also all human. And the guy who is always late and never pays we bug him for it is going to look different to us than the guy who pays promptly and on time. That's just reality.

People sometimes seem to think that because we're in a creative business, money is secondary to an agency or design firm. Not so.

Really. No kidding. Not so.