Feb 27, 2007

Toad's (Very Late) Friday Faves, Part 5



This very funny video, courtesy of Ogilvy & IBM, is a great example of what people are talking about when they (over)use the word integration.

It's the first of three videos that are being sent to IT guys around the US in an email that urges them to join an online scavenger hunt in order to save Ned and Gil, IBM's hapless Abbott & Costello team, from the maze of (non-IBM) machines they're trapped in.

Joining the scavenger hunt requires them to solve a series of cleverly/torturously worded riddles to get to the next level. In the first few days, the site got 4,000 hits and 2 people solved the first riddle.

As for the video (I'm told the others will be posted as they're released in the email waves) it works because, unlike so much work in the category, it doesn't take itself so damned seriously. It's a joke, the audience is in on it, and the actors are clearly having fun.

PS: I know the people who were involved with this (they're paying me big bucks to post this) and what's also pretty cool is that this was a pro-active assignment that they struggled, over the course of about 9 months, to bring to life. Even cooler was that it involved creatives from all disciplines: general, direct and interactive, as well as accountniks who pushed the clients to do it and helped them find the money to fund it. Sort of what we all thought advertising would be like.

PPS: Just joking about the payments.

Enjoy.



Feb 22, 2007

Truth: 1 Fiction: 0

Remember those Terry Tate, Office Linebacker ads that came out of the unlikely bowels of Arnell, the fashion ad agency whose notoriously unlikeable founder, Peter Arnell, also pissed off Adland with his über-fashiony Samsung campaign about 10-15 years ago. (The ones with beautifully lit shots of über-buff models holding gleaming white microwaves tucked under their arms and the like. (See example below) I seem to remember one of the One Show Crew (Gary Goldsmith?) writing a scathing article in some ad trade or other about how putting appliances in fashion ads wasn't an idea and that said, it wasn't even a very good execution. So there. Nonetheless, the ads got noticed and Samsung is not longer the bottom feeder it was back then. Which admittedly may have everything to do with improvements to their product line and nothing to do with the ads.)

But I digress.

Anyway, it seems the even more unlikely creator of "Terry Tate" is a guy with the Thurston Howell III-esque name of Rawson Marshall Thurber. Mr . Thurber (Marshall-Thurber?) is a graduate of USC film school who'd made a series of short films featuring the aforementioned Terry Tate that came to Mr. Arnell's attention and were thus made into Reebok Super Bowl ads. (WASSSUPPPPP!!! anyone?)

So today's Times has a big honking article on the front of the Metro Section (as opposed to metrosexual) about how some struggling actor and former actual dodge ball champion (who knew?) was suing Mr. Rawson Marshall Thurber. Because it seems that Mr. RMT went on from Terry Tate to write and direct the Ben Stiller oeuvre "Dodge Ball." Which the struggling actor claims was stolen from his dodge ball movie script. (You can't make this shit up.)

You all need to read the article-- the reporter, William Glaberson, has a lot of fun with it.
Also worth reading: The Wikipedia article on those Terry Tate spots, wherein all sorts of really vulgar sexual puns buried within the plot are exposed.






Feb 20, 2007

Toad McLuhan

Not sure what the significance of this is, but it's dawned on me that we use the 3 main advertising media vehicle of 2007 in very different ways.

PRINT is a solitary medium, in that we generally read to ourselves for our own pleasure. It's a passive medium as well, in that we don't interact with what we're reading except maybe in our imaginations and via letters to the editor.


TELEVISION is a group medium. Now we may watch TV on our own, but it's something that's easily watched and shared with other people. The fact that TV is scheduled also makes it something of a group experience in that say millions of other people are also watching Lost at 10 PM on Wednesdays. Now that part of the shared experience may be lost (no pun intended) as DVRs and time-shifting become more popular, but for things like news and sporting events, the theatrical nature of television (TV of course, being born of theater, not print) makes it more of a group event. Though still a decidedly passive one.

THE INTERNET is, at present, a solitary event. One may chat with and/or interact with other people online, but it's not as if the entire family gathers around the hearth to browse through Brandon's MySpace page together, thus making it a solitary activity. It is, at best, a way to connect with people who aren't there with you, but at the cost of excluding those who are. And while some internet usage is very interactive, there's much that isn't: it's possible to spend hours just reading web pages without ever interacting with anyone.

Now where this all goes is going to be interesting. My personal opinion, to be expanded upon in future posts, is that there will be a merger of TV, print and web experiences, but also a very separate interactive web experience.

So, for example, your Comcast or Cablevision TV service will live online, on a giant "on demand" site where you can access whatever you want, whenever you want. One where networks promote their current offerings the way Hollywood studios promote movies. But once you decide to watch Lost, which you'll be able to do for free if you watch the commercials and for $1.99 if you don't, you'll be able to chat with other viewers or comment on an CBS-sponsored Lost message board. (And of course there will be other, non-official, Lost message boards.)

But what's important here is that the last two options- the chat room and the message board- will be optional. Because if you're watching Lost with your wife and kids, it would be quite anti-social for you to start chatting with strangers in an online chat room, when you should be chatting with your loved ones, who are sitting in the same room.

This is something the Web Evangelicals often forget: that not everyone is a lonely 24 year old, who engages all media on a solo basis. So while the opportunity to interact with virtual humans will remain a popular option with that group, those of us with families and/or large groups of friends will be more likely to interact with the live people sitting in the family room with us. Creating an active response to a passive medium.

Hope that wasn't too Teddy K for you all. I'll have to re-read it in the AM to see if it still makes sense ;)

Feb 18, 2007

Co-opting CGC

Didn't take long. This new :30 TV spot for PSP mimics the whole YouTube homemade video thing, right down to the home video camera on "Nightvision" thing. Mostly notable for the technique and how quickly ad creatives took to mimicking YouTube. While not a brilliant commercial, this one works because it parodies a genre its target is intimately familiar with, rather than trying to pass itself off as an example of it



Toad's Friday Fave (3 days late) - #4

Do I love this commercial?
Not really. It's a B, B+
So why the "Friday Fave" status?

Because you know it was a bitch of a brief. "None of that fucking clever scheiss Bogusky. Ve vant price ads und you vill give us price ads. Schnell!!!"

And this is an "A" for a retail price ad the client made you do. Nice film, interesting premise, product and price are the punchlines, not an afterthought and they're what you walk away with.

My only complaint is that it's hard to understand "V-Dub" when the guy shouts it out- I had to wait for the super to figure out who it was for. Ditto the rest of the campaign- not sure why they just didn't say "V-W" given how annoyingly frat-guy-trying-to-be-street "V-Dub" is to begin with.

And yeah, it's too bad the suicide prevention guys got all bent out of shape about this spot. Guess they were feeling powerful after their success with getting that GM spot off the air. And so "V-Dub" just caved



Feb 16, 2007

Decency

So I get in the car to drive one of the Tadpoles to school this morning, around 8:15 AM, and when I start the car it's still tuned to the local Jack station. (Jack are those iPod-esque stations that play a random mix of music from the past four decades and don't have DJs)

And what comes on but a pretty racy and suggestive commercial for KY Jelly with something called "warming gel" ("warming" something, anyway.) And though I quickly hit the button before any questions could be asked, all I could think of was WTF? I mean it's 8 in the morning. Who you they think is listening to the radio? And even if they got some horny young guy alone in his car, there ain't much he's going to be able to do about it on his way to work, right?

I'm no prude and no social conservative, but there's a time and a place for everything. And this was neither the time nor the place. Enough's been written about the inappropriate placement of Viagra commercials, but you can throw KY onto the pile. I suspect we're going to see legislation about this sometime soon, limiting the hours certain commercial content can run. It's a good issue for someone looking to make a name for themselves, because there aren't that many people who are going to object to it. The only danger is who gets to define what's objectionable and what standards do they use to define it. A "slippery slope" if ever there was one.

Feb 15, 2007

Consumer Generated Content: Friend or Foe?

After a lengthy series of back and forth comments about Consumer Generated Content, Joe Jaffe, the host of JaffeJuice, asked me to write a guest blog about it. So this is being Simulblogged™ on both The Toad Stool and on Jaffe Juice.

From the rise of YouTube to the rash of "consumer generated" commercials on the Super Bowl, much has been made of what's being loosely called "Consumer Generated Content" (hereafter, CGC). But it's my opinion that those of us in the ad business have little to fear from CGC since precious little of it is actually being generated by actual C's.

Consumers, that is.

One of the not-as-widely-publicized-as-I-thought-it-should-have-been secrets of the Super Bowl this year was the fact that many of the entrants in say, the Doritos "make your own Super Bowl commercial" contest were, in fact, aspiring directors of TV commercials who essentially submitted the same sorts of spec spots they've been putting on their reels for years. Ditto the guy who made the NFL spot (with Pytka) - he was a reformed ad copywriter who was getting an MBA in marketing. Not a random NFL fan.

Joe Jaffe himself gushed madly about the cosmic significance of Coke honoring a sideshow act called Eepy-Bird, who have a well-choreographed routine of Mentos-infested Coke bottles spewing soda. But again, that's not CGC and Eepy-Bird aren't consumers either. They're performers. Performance artists, if we're being charitable.

So lets' lay out a few rules for what constitutes CGC:

1. The creators must be amateurs. By amateurs, I mean no aspiring actors, filmmakers, songwriters, singers, comedians and the like who've done this before and are using YouTube as a way to get noticed by agents and other people who will actually pay them to sing, write, film or spray soda from Mentos-infested Coke bottles. Ad agencies have been getting crap like this from these people for generations. The fact that they can now post them on the internet only means the rest of the world can see how awful 95% of it is. CGC can only be created by people whose main goal is to let the world know how great (or awful) Product X is or to show everyone a really cool/funny/dangerous thing they've figured out how to do with Product X. Not people whose main goal is to boost their fledgling careers.

2. The content must be created for the express purpose of sharing it with as many people as possible. So no, your home movies that you share with your family don't count. It only counts if your goal was to put it on something like YouTube and get as many hits as possible.

3. It must be created as a paean to, or dis of, a specific brand or product. Spewing Coke is about blowing things up. It's not about soda or Coke or even beverages. It's about making carbonated liquid spew. The tie-in to Coke is inconsequential and the acts do not demonstrate any positive or negative value about Coke-- just that it's fun to watch Coke spray when you add a Mentos to the bottle.

If you meet all 3 criteria, then yes, you have Consumer Generated Content.

But I wouldn't hold my breath. I don't see too many consumers with the time or the energy to make a real film about a brand. Particularly one they won't get paid for. Few brands inspire this sort of loyalty. Maybe iPod, maybe Harley, maybe an ode to a well-loved car. But I can't think of too many beyond that.

The ones who do actually create CGC tend to create something that is at best, notable for its earnestness and amateurishness. (You know, the stuff that the Teddy K's of the world call "authenticity.") And that's a style that gets old pretty quickly.

Bottom line is, our jobs are pretty safe right now. Well, at least when it comes to competition from consumers.

Feb 14, 2007

Love Bites

Or LoveMarks or whatever Teddy-K-in-In-Good-Company moniker Saatchi's using to promote their new campaign for J.C. Penny.

Much has been made over the tag line "Every Day Matters."

But tag lines are bullshit. They take on a life based on (a) the advertising itself and (b) the product itself.

"Just Do It" is a fairly innocuous line on its own. But put the brilliant Nike creative in front of it and it shines. The fact that Nike makes a good product helps too.

Now as for Penney, everyone holds up Target as an example. But Target's ads work because the merchandise in the stores in every bit as hip and trendy as the advertising promises, with designers like Isaac Mizrachi and Todd Oldham doing their own budget lines for Target.

Now let J.C. Penney get, say, Philippe Starcke to design a line of furniture for them, and suddenly "Every Day Matters" takes on a different spin. But if they continue to sell more fiberboard faux-Colonial crap, then the line falls on its face.

Feb 12, 2007

Bad Ads Start Here

With the brief that is.

It hit home again today as I got handed yet another brief that numerous accountniks and one other creative director had allegedly looked over and approved. It was a fine document, with good insights into consumer behavior and all, but it lacked the one critical ingredient of a good brief: a hook.

Like so many awful briefs, it basically summed up all this fine research with the line : Buy Spacely sprockets because they're good sprockets.

Not something you can disagree with, right? Sounds reasonable. I mean they're good sprockets, Why wouldn't you buy them?

Well, that's where we actually get to make a difference. We take the facts and turn them into an image. I'm not going to spew out all the bullshit "LoveBites" crap, but a brand that stands for something, be it innovation, hipness, fairness, fun, simplicity, or class, is a step ahead of a brand that has no image whatsoever. Which is, if you think of it, the case with 99% of the brands out there.

Take Pepsi, for instance. I mean Pepsi tastes good. It tastes better than Coke to most people because it's a bit sweeter. But when they took the campaign to the next level, when they said "hey, the target thinks that Coke is for old people" and made Pepsi "the choice of a new generation" (I'm screwing up the tag line, I know, but it's late and I don't feel like Googling it) then BBDO made Pepsi into something bigger. They gave it a brand image. (Fully aware that I'm using past tense in that paragraph.)

Now there's clearly not a straight line from a good insight to a brand image to the One Show book, but even badly executed ads off of good insights rise to a level somewhat higher than that of well-executed ads off of insipid insights.

That's the real danger of the current craze for "accountable" advertising, e.g. DM and Web work. Those ads are selling a specific product and they want you to buy (or click) on it immediately. Branding be damned. So that at the end of the day all you're left with is "Buy Spacely sprockets because they're good sprockets. Act now and save 10%."

Not real compelling. And easily beaten by the guy who saves you 11%.

Feb 11, 2007

Enough Already

Dear Loud-Mouthed Liberals:

Please. We all know that George Bush is an idiot. That his administration is a failure. That his advisers are knuckleheads. That there were no WMDs.

And yet, you feel compelled to remind each and every one of us of these facts. On a daily basis if not more frequently. We see your t-shirts "He's Not My President." "Impeach Bush" and other not-even-vaguely clever sayings that we suspect you wear in the hopes of attracting fellow travelers who might want to sleep with you.

You know, I didn't vote for him either. Never particularly liked him. Was always astounded that this third-generation poster boy for the New England WASPocracy was able to pass himself off as a dumb Bubba. But like the cold weather we've been having these past few weeks, I regard his incompetency as something we have to live through. Not something I need to discuss or be reminded of hourly. I mean it's not like he's gotten more incompetent. Or that Cheney's turned into an even bigger liar. Or that the Neo-Cons are suddenly dancing around singing "Tricked you! Tricked you!" on the White House steps.

So stop already. Find something else to focus on. Stop assuming everyone around you shares your political beliefs. Hard as it is to believe, they may not. (Oh, the "Intolerance of the Truly, Truly Tolerant"). It's never okay to discuss politics and religion with relative strangers or with people you work with. And if your parents had raised you correctly, you'd know that.

There are many, many, many objectionable people in the world who've become successful. Though, granted, few to the level of GW Bush. Still, once we've identified them and agreed on their status, there's not much we can do about it. Repeating the same observations ad nauseum, with no fresh insights is just boring (I'm talking to you, Frank Rich)

So get over it. Please.

Feb 9, 2007

Harbinger of Things To Come?

Article today in the frustratingly unlinkable-because-it's-a-pay-site Wall Street Journal about how online agencies are starting to do offline work.

Big Rollers Agency-dot-com in particular. Seems they've done the online for Ikea in the UK and are now being asked to do print, outdoor and possibly TV.

Not that much of a stretch to see this trend continuing-- clients often give print work to design shops and if agency.com is smart they'll hire at least one or two freelancers who've done TV before to work on it.

Truth is interactive shops can do print every bit as badly as BDAs can, so why not keep it all in one place? And maybe, just maybe, one of those shops will be the one to realize that the big idea can be something online. Not a $1.5 million TV spot. (I know, I know, Crispin already gets that, but they're kind of the only ones...)

Toad's Friday Faves #3


The male Tadpoles and their friends have been having a world of fun with the new Nike basketball site. The Mash-Up feature, in particular, which lets you take one of about 75 different clips from the :60 spot and 3 variations of the music and click-n-drag them together to make your own commercial which you can then post on the site. And watch over and over again.

Well done, fun and easy to use and definitely helps to promote the brand and the tie-in to basketball. Lots of them posted to YouTube already, so clearly the kids who did them are proud of them. Is this "consumer generated content"? I don't think so. What about you?

Have fun.

Pardon Us For A Moment of Silence

Ian Richardson, the man who uttered the famous line "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" died today at age 72.

Another commercial that's embedded itself on the national psyche. No matter how many "brand extensions" Grey Poupon rolls out.

Feb 7, 2007

We've Got Fans

Stumbled upon a blog called AdJab in a link from Joe Jaffe's always-opinionated, often-interesting, frequently incorrect, TV-Is-Dead blog JaffeJuice.

And it (AdJab) appears to be people from outside the industry offering commentary on ads theye love. I mean check out this luv-fest for those clenched-sphincter inducing "Tony Sinclair" spots that Grey does for Tanqueray. 22 comments on it, no less.

It's an ego boost for those of us in the business, the fact that we have, well, fans. And the internet gives them a place to show their love and discuss commercials above and beyond the water cooler. I mean AdCritic.com, if you remember, was started by some non-industry guy who just loved commercials.

(This post reminds me of one of my favorite ad columns, written years ago by (I think) Doug DeGrood, who at the time was at Fallon. He said that when people on airplanes find out he's in advertising and ask him what campaigns he worked on, rather than tell them that he just did a mailer for the local ad club that won a Gold Pencil and got into D&AD, he just takes credit for the most recent Pepsi or Nike spot, figuring the odds are pretty good that they won't know the actual copywriter. Always sounded like a good theory on this end.)

New Look

So to prove what hip and web-savvy amphibians we are, we're installed some new technology from snap.com that lets you mouse over any link and get a pop-up preview of the website it refers to. Along with the ability to click on said preview and open it as a new page.

Like it? Dislike it? I'm kind of torn- on the one hand, it's pretty cool and I don't have many links on here- just me bloviating. On the other, it could get pretty annoying.

Thoughts?

Feb 6, 2007

And Sometimes Going Online Is The Worst Thing You Can Do

Especially if you're Snickers and you're letting NFL players make your Super Bowl spot into a homophobic horror show. After complaints from gay-rights groups and an outpouring of outrage on left-leaning political blogs, the spot was pulled and the web site removed.

No PC, bleeding-heart liberals here, but as soon as we saw the online video of various Colts and Bears grossing out over the male-to-male "kiss" we cringed and knew there'd be trouble. Because not only were comments in the videos-- which were meant to allow you to see which of the 4 possible endings to the spot the NFL players preferred-- incredibly mean and homophobic, the construction was also pretty darn racist: 3 clearly-not-too-bright Black players focusing on how disgusted they were with the very idea of two men kissing while Rex Grossman, the (white) Bears QB, practically offers a business school analysis of the marketing strategy behind the campaign.

Now what's ironic is that the spot itself wasn't particularly offensive- you can argue that the humor stems from the ridiculousness of the two main characters homophobic reaction. But the website unfortunately took it into a whole other category and that's where Snickers got into trouble and why they were forced to pull the spot.

So much for the oft-repeated notion that "nobody really cares what's on the web. You can do whatever you want on there."

Ooops.

UPDATE: thursday 02.08.07

HighJive alerted me to the "Player Reaction" videos on YouTube, where they are causing a maelstrom of a debate about homophobia.





Feb 5, 2007

Team Roehm!

Big, big, big score for Team Roehm today.

New York's story on her, called "Snakes In The Garden" does just what a lot of people (okay, me) were saying it would: it paints Wal-Mart as the evil Spawn of Satan, and Julie Roehm, Sean Womack and Howard Draft as its undeserving victims.

Featured prominently are Wal-Marts financial missteps, their evil legal machinations, their pathological cheapness. Boo-yah.

Some choice snippets:

People in Bentonville also found plenty of sex in Julie’s personal presentation—the hair, the legs, the big blue eyes—though, for all the talk about what later went wrong, she seemed wholesome by New York standards, Rachael Ray as a midwestern business executive.
Sean looks straight out of a J.Crew catalogue: navy blazer, wrinkled white shirt, plus a handsome angular face and wedge of thick dark hair. He’s 37, though he looks younger, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
(T)he designated associate, as employees are called, probably a young, well-scrubbed fellow in short white sleeves. And this fellow would beat him up on prices just as he did every vendor. (“Don’t ever feel sorry for a vendor” is one Wal-Mart pearl.) He’d do that in one of about 40 compact gray meeting rooms on the wall of which was a stern warning: ASSOCIATES … DO NOT ACCEPT FOR THEIR PERSONAL BENEFIT GRATUITIES, TIPS, CASH, SAMPLES, ETC. You couldn’t accept a cup of coffee.
Julie and Sean liked Howard’s agency for another reason. They understood something about him. “He had more at stake than the others,” said Sean. “He’s up from direct marketing, and he’s got to prove himself,” said Julie. “He was not going to let this thing fail.” In October 2006, Howard won nine of ten votes from Wal-Mart’s decision-making committee. He celebrated with the mayor of Chicago, his hometown. And immediately made plans to hire 200 new people. Advertising Age let it be known that DraftFCB would be its agency of the year, which was probably Howard’s last bit of good news.
They landed in Bentonville at about 6:30 in the evening. Fleming and Castro-Wright were waiting. Sean was led down a long corridor to a tiny office. The head of security and a guy from legal were waiting for him. Julie went to a separate room. “The head of security flips his legal pad open and starts a 45-minute interrogation,” said Sean, which, even then, nervous as he was, he thought ridiculous.
Castro-Wright wanted some explanations. The Wal-Mart president made it clear that his concern wasn’t Howard’s ability to do the job. According to people who heard accounts of the meeting, he focused on Howard the person. He mentioned a BusinessWeek article that trotted out Howard’s playboy habits, his showy tastes.
And the real "Wal-Mart Is The AntiChrist" quote:
The legal action seemed to enrage the tight-lipped company. Wal-Mart appeared eager to shut Julie down. An attorney for Wal-Mart spoke to Sean’s wife, Shelley, and tried to enlist her help, according to a person who heard an account of the conversation. The attorney suggested that Wal-Mart hadn’t yet decided whether to pay Sean his bonus. Something under $200,000 was on the line. The Wal-Mart official, seemingly to reassure her of his trustworthiness, mentioned that he attended the same church as Shelley. Did she have any evidence that could be used? They weren’t after Sean but Julie. On Wednesday morning, Shelley—she and Sean are separated—provided company officials with a personal e-mail between Sean and Julie. (A Wal-Mart spokesman confirmed that a conversation took place, but added that “we wouldn’t discuss conversations between a lawyer and a potential witness in a pending lawsuit.”)



False Accusations

So some knucklehead named Sean Kegelman (who apparently works at Digitas) insults Chris Wall on his SuperAdFreak blog and guess who gets blamed for it?

Yours truly.

Guess Wall misread who posted what. Which is a shame, because I'm in agreement with what Wall said.

UPDATE:
Wall has kindly acknowledged his mistake on the SAF blog. The world is once again safe for democracy.

Monday Morning Quarterback

So the USA Today Super Bowl ad polls are in. Sort of like the People's Choice awards. Not a whole lot of surprise there.

Except maybe the fact that "Rock, Paper, Scissors" came in #3-- I saw that coming from a mile away, plus we'd seen it before with Nextel (Sprint?) and on "Wedding Crashers."

Or that the FedEx "Moon" spot came in 8th. Didn't think it was that funny, especially compared to last years Dino-spot. Or even compared to "Mr. TurkeyNeck." (And apparently, Dave Lubars agrees with me).

And of course Consumer Generated Content (CCG) scored big: The Doritos spot was at #4 and the NFL spot at #12.

Fortunately the game itself was pretty exciting, what with the rain and all the turnovers. And what percentage of sports columnists will be writing some variation of "from now on the Super Bowl should only be played in a domed stadium" today?

UPDATE:
Two more surprises: Fallon was responsible for the Garmin spot (at least according to Adcritic) and the Bud Light "English Language Class" spot was done by one of its Hispanic agencies, LatinWorks Marketing. The formers is surprising because the spot wasn't very good; the latter because they didn't get a whole lot of press for what was a very funny spot.


Feb 4, 2007

Obligatory Super Bowl Post

Feeling a bit under the weather, so blew off Super Bowl party and only have tadpoles and Mrs. T to gauge reaction to spots. So I'm reading/posting on Adfreaks SuperAdfreak blog(s) where they have a bunch of famous ad guys and Joe Jaffe sharing their thoughts.

Serious props to Ogilvy's Chris Wall for being the only one to take the job seriously and providing a close-to-real-time commercial-by-commercial commentary.

Still very scared by the naked old guy humping the car (and damned if I remember whose car it was, so traumatized was I.)

POST-GAME UPDATE:

So the naked guys were some college student's contest-winning entry. Now I feel bad about slamming her so hard.

Okay, bad-ish.

Without going into details, nothing stood out. Bud Light and Coke did okay- liked the crabs and the chainsaw for BudLite, the CGI send-off for Coke. Snapple Green Tea was funny and FedEd Turkeyneck made me laugh, but I'm a sucker for those sorts of jokes. Ditto Emerald Nuts/Robert Goulet-- that sort of absurd humor cracks me up every time.

Over on SuperAdFreak.com, the TV-Is-Dead crew showed their true colors from Seth Godin's "I'm done, I can't believe I'm a part of this lowbrow crap" rant at around 9 PM-- WTF- did he think he was judging a Shakesperean sonnet competition-- to Joey J's drunken rants.

Again, these guys ignore the way new media enhances old media, how being about to blog about, post about, obsesses about these Super Bowl spots-- and the ability to watch then ad nauseum on YouTube-- and the ability to follow up the experience online-- makes them more relevant and more of an event than ever. Which does nothing to diminish the power of television.

Fortunately for Tim Nudd, the aforementioned Chris Wall actually did what was asked of him: a just-about-real-time, spot-by-spot analysis. Favorite comment of all however, was David Lubars' passive-aggressive swipe at Eric Silver over the FedEx ads.

Night friends.

Viacom's YouTube Mistake

So Viacom's decided to make YouTube take down all their videos.

Dumb fucking move.

Didn't these people learn from the music industry that free downloads and samples on unofficial sites leads to greater sales, not fewer.

With Viacom's properties, the person watching a snippet from one of their shows on YouTube is probably already a fan. Being able to share something he thought was really funny with his friends increases his loyalty to the show. And may even get his friend, who's never watched it, to tune in.

So now all they've succeeded in doing is pissing off the fans who relied on YouTube downloads and made themselves look like the teacher who takes the ball away.

Now the press reports that they were looking to set up their own YouTube-like site, but that's even dumber-- the whole point of YouTube is the authenticity-- the fact that what's up there is random, not corporate. Not to mention the ease of being able to go to one site for all your download needs.

The internet is not going to kill television. It's just going to change the way people interact with it in that it gives them a way to actually interact with it. There are sites with plot summaries, message boards, character histories, video clips to let you interact with any vaguely popular show. I can't tell you how many times I've checked one of these sites out (even the official ones) to get someone else's take on an episode, to catch up on one I missed or to otherwise get on board. It's the pop culture equivalent of reading a book of literary criticism about your favorite author.

And rather than killing television, it just makes people's loyalty to TV that much stronger.

Feb 2, 2007

Toad's Friday Faves, #2

This one's here for the effort more than anything.

Given the utter banality of most tissue ads, this spot, part of a campaign from JWT/NY for Kleenex, must have been a bitch to sell through to the client. It's a nice idea, well shot, great music. (Band is called Starrdafu).

Where it falls short though, is that it's hard to believe these are real people. Thought maybe it's just my cynicism coloring things, but if you look at the reviews on AdCritic, they're fairly consistent on this point.

Though, to be fair, Adcritic is an industry site-- I wonder if your average consumer watches it and thinks "actors!"

Still, a great idea for a brand that pretty much owns the category.

Thoughts/comments?



Feb 1, 2007

Irrational Men

For the past two months, various commentators, most notably the posters on George Parker's Adscam blog, have exhibited an irrational hatred of former Wal-Mart marketing exec Julie Roehm and have taken a rather sadistic delight in her downfall.

I'm truly at a loss to understand the intensity of their disdain for a women whom none of them have ever met, let alone worked with. I mean really guys (and you're all men): what's up your respective asses?

To begin with, you want to talk sleazy? We're in a business where every single one of you can recite the story of the notorious BDA creative director who fired one of his creatives for defying his orders not to attend her sisters wedding so that she could spend the entire weekend in the office working on a soft drink commercial. (Even though she left the wedding early and came straight back to work.) And how this same CD had an affair with the wife of one of his account guys and then fired the account guy when they got caught. And how his reward for all this was to be made the Executive CD of yet another BDA.

Or how about the ECD of another BDA who'd assign agency producers to go help his girlfriend shoot the (non-ad-related) movie she was making. Or conscript agency art directors to design his book covers.

Not to mention the various coke-heads and adulterers who've sat in the corner office.

And you're upset about Julie Roehm boffing one of her underlings and playing favorites during a pitch? Crucify her for going to dinner with Howard when she only went to Shelly's $100,000 hoe-down? I mean that's pretty small potatoes compared to the sins sleazy agency creatives have committed. Sins for which they rarely get punished and often get rewarded.

Then there's another reality check: I'd much rather have a client like Roehm, someone who desperately wants the creative department to love her and think of her as "the cool client." Have you all only worked at hack shops with wimpy little clients who'll only approve something if it tests well?

I haven't. And the only clients who ever buy the good work, the risky work, are people like Roehm who are out to make a name for themselves and don't want to take the safe route.

Is the "Lingerie Bowl" a good ad? Not at all. But she didn't fucking write it. Some lame-ass agency in Dee-troit did and sold it to her as the greatest, coolest car spot ever. If they'd done something that was actually good, chances are she'd have bought that instead.

Ditto Kerri Martin. Don't like Dr. Mengele for VW? Me either. But she approved all the Mini work that Crispin did. And that stuff rocked. But not that many clients would have taken that risk.

Are people who call themselves "change agents" and paint their offices silly colors people you'd want to hang out with? Probably not.

But I'd much rather have them making decisions on my advertising than some wimp who says "well, I like it, but let's see how it does in qualitative."

UPDATE: 2 Arrested in Boston "Guerrilla-Gone-Awry"

So it seems that Boston officials are "livid" at Turner Broadcasting for the guerrilla advertising stunt-turned-bomb-scare.

So peeved in fact, that they've arrested the two poor suckers who were actually charged with putting the damn things up. Not the president of the company (Interference) that hired them. Not the marketing guy at Turner who hired the company. Just the two poor shlubs who probably got paid a few hundred dollars to climb all over Boston putting these things up.

It does raise an interesting issue though about guerrilla advertising: Why are so many large companies paying to essentially vandalize public (or private) property? I remember a non-ad world friend asking me this years ago when "snipe" postings (aka "wild postings") first came into vogue. Why would the likes of IBM, Nike and McDonald's pay someone to put posters on construction sites under cover of darkness? Who went around and did the actual posting? Who supplied them with the posters-- the ad agency? the client? the media company?

Some pictures for you:


The two poor shlubs who got arrested: Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28



Why Bostonians mistook the devices for bombs


What they look like when working.