Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cigarette Manufacturers See Smokin' Profits Ahead

(More Thursday Fake Marketing News We Wish Was Real)

Almost every time we see the face of a soldier or a Marine in Iraq on our TV screens and in magazines, he or someone near him is smoking a cigarette. The coverage has been a boon for the long-suffering and beleaguered tobacco industry.Mmmm. Menthol freshness. There's nothing like a nerve-calming smoke before or after a harrowing firefight.

“It’s like World War II all over again. We’re about to enter a new era of surging tobacco sales,” said Ross Roswell of Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em, a Washington lobbying firm representing the tobacco industry, “The dog-faced GI. The grunt. Unshaven. Gritty. Smoking. You couldn’t ask for a better advertising campaign. This is going to make the Marlboro Man look like a Girl Scout.”

Statistics are not yet available on what brand of cigarettes are preferred by US fighting forces, but sources within the military suggest that the leaders will likely be Marlboro Reds and Kools.

“After that you got your Winstons and your Salems, but by and large, it should be Marlboro and Kool way ahead with a possible showing by Camel,” said the source.

“Smoking is coming back out of the closet,” said Roswell, “and while we hail our military heroes for all they are doing in Iraq, the tobacco farmers of America would like to also thank them for liberating this troubled and besieged pillar and foundation of America.”

Tobacco lobbyists are hoping to gain even broader acceptance of smoking by reintroducing miniature cigarette packs into the government’s MRE packets.

“The old K-rations and C-rations always had smokes in them, then we all got politically correct and stopped that,” says Roswell, “but we argue that including cigarettes in the MRE package will cut down on the black-marketing that is surely going on right now among our troops in Iraq.”

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This is Only a Test (of Redmond's Legal Team)

I was browsing my daily reads and noticed Tim over at AdFreak had posted the links to the Microsoft UK films by Gervais and Merchant - the same ones removed from YouTube late last week under threat of legal action. Seems Google Video still has them running. So here they are, not only linked but embedded, as further bait for the lawsuit-hungry fools over at Microsoft who don't recognize great grassroots PR when it's working in their favor. And if Microsoft wants to play legal games with this little F-list blog, please take your fight to Google, because we'd all love to see a big knockdown drag-out between you giants.

(HINT TO MICROSOFT: Don't be retarded. People love these videos and they are doing your reputation a world of good. Let them run. You are undoing years of bad PR with this humor.)

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Product Placement They Weren't Counting On

Children, listen carefully. If you see a man in a Nautica polo shirt...RUN!Poor Nautica. It's not their fault that their polo shirts are the preferred apparel of Child Molestors Making Their Media Debut.

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One Less Not-So-Funny Site to Visit

Arrrrgh! We're Fake Pirates!Don't know where I've been, but the news that the website "Office Pirates," (run by Time, Inc.) was shutting down took me by surprise. Surprised because I'd never heard of Office Pirates. And not a moment too soon. It's a retarded website striving to be funny, only trying too hard and not succeeding.

Just how piratey can a site be when it's run by a huge corporation like Time? Not very. Let's start with the name Office Pirates. Oh, clever. "We're edgy. We're subversive. We're rogues. We're Boys Gone Wild." No you're not. You're way too late to this game and you're still Time, Inc. And if you have to have "pirate" in your name, you're the furthest thing from a pirate.

Seen it. Visited it. It's called The Onion, College Humor, Something Awful, or And as funny as those sites sometimes are, (and one or two are bookmarked) I still don't frequent them as often as I do funny ad sites like Scam, Rant and Freak, which offer the same things: videos, women and ribald humor.

Office Pirates apparently had nothing new to offer and was using the exact same formula to reach online males: "Mix fake 'funny' stories, dumb polls, random photographs of hot women on the street, and silly videos, and Axe Body Spray will shell out millions of dollars to be on our site! Woo-hoo!"

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

How NOT to Manage Your Online Presence

There were some hilarious videos from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, filmed for Microsoft's UK employees , getting huge play over at YouTube. Not available anymore.

This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Microsoft because its content was used without permission.

What made the videos great was not only the wit of the film makers, but the fact that Microsoft was allowing playful jabs at itself, even skewering Gates himself a couple of times. Talk on the blogs was "imagine Steve Jobs allowing this sort of fun at his own expense. Never."

Now Microsoft has reverted to its litigious, corporate public image. With those videos they had succeeded in reaching the public in a new way, offering a fresh and funny image that helped to assuage years of bad PR.

It was only a mirage. They are still the same.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Locals Only

Everyone's an advertiser. You've seen the local slogans, like the septic tank cleaner who says "We're #1 in the #2 business." (AHAhahaha!) Or the horrible proliferation of hair salons that try to use witty puns in their names, like "Shear Madness," "Mane Attraction," or "A Cut Above."

At one point in my career I made TV spots for local businesses, many of whom came to the table with their own ideas and their own casts of characters to appear in the spots. Grandchild, dog, wife, self. Always horrible. And always with the same approach of "We're different! We believe in true customer service and fair, honest dealings."

At State Bank, you're not a number, you're a friend.

At Big Al's Chevy GMC Daihatsu, I personally stand behind every vehicle we sell.

So let's be honest, locals. Just once I'd like to see some local business put an honest spin on one of their tired cliche slogans. Like: "When you say 'Jump,' we say 'Look, asshole - We're not your slaves. Are you buying or not?'"

When you say jump, we say - don't tell us what to do, stupid customer.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rape, Pillage and Good Clean Fun

The Thursday Fake Marketing News That We Wish Was Real

New Tack by Cruise Giant Seeks to Boost Sagging Sales

“Chicks dig pirates,” says Disney Exec

(Orlando, FLORIDA) With the rest of the cruise industry slashing prices and advertising with increased frequency on television and in newspapers in an effort to fill half empty vessels, Disney Cruise Lines is taking a different route to profit: Reality based historical cruising.

“It’s a synergistic approach to a value-added paradigm, leveraging turn-key niche partnerships while maximizing scalable ROI,” said Disney Cruise Lines Vice President of Informational Overflow Management and Assessment Chuck Neanderthal.

chicks dig piratesCapitalizing on the Pirates of the Caribbean blockbuster movies by Disney Pictures, the cruise line’s first “reality” cruise is naturally, a pirate-themed voyage to the Caribbean.

“What is a traditional cruise if not a fantasy?” asks Neanderthal, “People dress up in evening gowns and tuxes and act all fancy. They’re playing a game. We are just modifying the game.”

“All passengers will sign a waiver before departing, stating that they are aware that the service and treatment they are about to receive is all in keeping with the theme of the voyage and that everything is just for fun,” said Neanderthal.

Passengers can expect beatings, lashings, rape, plunder of cabins, and perhaps the occasional sword cut.

Disney employees are excited about the opportunity to mistreat guests, all in good fun. Human Resources coordinators are receiving record numbers of resumes and applications from competing cruise line employees.

“We usually have to smile and act so fake. Proper facial hair, haircuts, and good grooming are part of the Disney mystique,” said cabin steward Carlo Robelli, “Now we are being encouraged to look exactly the opposite and to behave menacingly and drink on the job. This is going to be fun.”

Disney is certain that the Pirate theme will take off and set a new industry trend toward more themed cruising.

“Believe me,” says Neanderthal, “When Jane Doe from Milwaukee goes home after a Disney Pirate Cruise and tells her coworkers that the waiters were surly and leering, the officers gruff and unshaven, swords everywhere and romance all around, we can start charging whatever we want for this experience. People like fantasy, and chicks dig pirates. When John Doe goes back to Salt Lake and tells his buddies that the serving wenches were hot and encouraged sexual intimidation and he got in a sword fight with an officer? Come on, they will be flocking to this cruise. Again, people like fantasy, and guys love to be pirates. Now I ask you, what American corporation owns fantasy? Only Disney. We are the pirates of fantasy. Who else to revive this sagging cruise industry?”

Neanderthal says other themed trips are already on the drawing board for further development.

“We’ll soon be unveiling the Transatlantic Immigrant in Steerage Cruise, the Pilgrim Crossing, as well as the Africa to America Slave Ship Voyage,” says the executive, “And we will charge high prices for these cruises. We’re Disney. It’s all about education, entertainment, fun and enlightenment. People will pay for that.”

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blog Buzz Reconnaissance

magically deliciousThere is a not so secret practice going on in blogs whereby a hack employed in some capacity by a client makes the rounds and finds negativity about the client's products on a blog. Then they post as an anonymous or non-linked person to counter the negativity.

Case in point: George Parker rips Domino's a new one for their attempt to create fudge. Then along comes "Dawn" with the comment, "Have you tried them? They are actually really good. I was amazed."

I couldn't write worse radio copy in my sleep.

If you're going to lurk among the blogs and counter every bad thing said about your client, have the balls to admit who you are, or at least provide a legitimate link to an actual person, company or agency.

Dawn, if you are a real person who is in no way working for Domino's, I apologize. Enjoy your fudgems.

UPDATE: Dawn posted again at Parker's site, saying: "I don't work for dominos. I actually usally hate dominos. We only ordered it because the neighborhood place had a plumbing issues. The pizza was allright but the little brownie things were really good."

My bad. Sorry, Dawn, but you'd still make a great Domino's blog commando.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Cool Music Makes You Buy Cars

Nevermind that Hyundais look like Jaguars these days and Jaguars look like Hyundais, if you can license cool music for your automaker commercial, you're halfway there.

I'm not sure how many devil-worshipping classic rock freaks who've made a ton of money late in life are buying Cadillacs thanks to Led Zeppelin, but Spoon can certainly help Jaguar get some people to watch their commercials by contributing to this one. Yes, the bikinis will help a lot too, but cool song. Will it move inventory? Not likely.

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Big Guns for Shatner

Bad jokes, bad hair, bad vibes - all in a day's work.Comedy Central's roast of the Shat was all you'd expect if you're a fan, and was probably even easy to take if you hate him. The sponsors lined up for this thing were huge, and at an hour and three quarters in length, there was plenty of time to stuff in a bunch of ads. In true Comedy Central style, they repeated the show immediately after it ended, calling it an "encore" performance. Don't you need audience reaction for an encore?

Expect this thing to get replayed to death. Best line: Shatner in the opening sequence, likely referring to Farrah Fawcett, "Some train wreck in a dress who used to be hot."

No one mentioned that Shat was the spokesman for Promise margarine many light years ago, though they did rip the hell out of Priceline.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Georgie's Show is Hurting

Crap! We're last place in the Sunday news ratings AGAIN?We like to watch the Sunday Morning News Shows around here. Of particular interest to me are the sponsors, with the likes of BP and Merck showing up with mind-numbing frequency, pretending to care about the health and well-being of the planet and you personally.

George's show started off with a glitch, as the tape operator at the local affiliate was apparently asleep at the wheel, starting the show again 11 minutes in.

The final commerical break had only one commercial, a sleep-inducing ad for the "100 Greatest Classical Recordings in the History of the Universe ," followed by nothing but ABC promos for other shows, including their new destined-to-fail series starring Ted "I can't do shit since Cheers" Danson.

Sadly, I think sponsors are shying away from Stephie. Must be the numbers. His show has been hurting from day one, lagging behind other hotshots like Russert and Matthews and the venerable Schieffer. In his defense, he keeps it balanced and doesn't interrupt everyone like Matthews or shout at ear-splitting levels like Russert. And that might be the problem. George is too much the quiet gentleman - and Americans like everything "X-treme." He also carries his Clinton baggage, which has to be killing him in Red State homes with a Nielsen box.

Suggestion for This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Have George punch someone he disagrees with every week. Even women. Americans would love to see that and the big-bucks sponsors would line up.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Quik - the Brown Cocaine

A great old ad from who knows when, highlighting the amazing cocaine-like qualities of Nestle's Quik. Jimmy the quarterback has "the slows" until Quiky, an animated drug dealer, shows up and offers him a glass, which he guzzles like a frat boy at an alcohol poisoning contest. The results are remarkably - uh...quick. Not only does he throw the long pass, he catches it as well. (This is the REAL football, not the other sport the rest of the world plays.) Steroid abusing jocks, take note. Quik is what you need.

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Amtrak SUCKS

We are the WORST. We SUCK and we know it.Maybe it's simply a matter of our country's size. Maybe it's the fact the goverment runs the damned thing, but we sure are the crappiest operator of a rail system the world has ever seen. India, China, Japan, and the kings of rail, Germany, seem to get people to and fro with few glitches and little hassle. Not so America. The rates are higher than air travel and the trips take 10 times longer, with routine delays, ridiculously circuitous routes and train changes in cities far from where you want to be.

Either we give up the notion of a national rail system or the next President appoints a Transportation Secretary with a background in resurrecting dead crap and turning failing businesses into profitable operations. With what we've spent in Iraq thus far, we could've had an amazing rail system.

still sucking hardAmtrak now has it's "Acela" first class service for all you Northeast Corridor dwellers, but I dare you to try to take a train to Kansas City or Orlando - or God forbid, Los Angeles. No amount of marketing and advertising can help Amtrak at this point. You need a steak before you can have any sizzle.

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New York Times Gets Ideas From Me (Again)

I posted about Nexium marketing to single/widowed/divorced Dads over a week ago, and Julie Bosman in yesterday's NYT has a piece on Ford's marketing efforts using the same divorced dad angle. Like I said in the August 10th piece, the demo is surely not divorced dads, rather the Fords and the Nexiums are just looking to appear way up to speed on our culture. But Julie's piece quotes some suit at Landor Associates who says, "There aren’t any more ‘Leave It to Beaver’ families around.”

You're full of crap, dude. There are plenty of them. What kind of blanket bullshit statement was that?That's a lovely dress you're wearing today, Mrs. Cleaver. What time will Ward be home?

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Phrases and Words We Can Do Without

The old bullshit generator from the dotcom bust could use some updating.

In addition to "leveraging extensible supply-chains" and "recontextualizing robust portals" let's add these:

  • Low Hanging Fruit
  • Long Tail
  • Ramp Up
  • Going Forward
  • Actionable
  • Viral
  • Cross Channel Integration
  • Vertical
  • Knowledge Driven
Low hanging long tails with viral knowledge driven fruit in themWhy can't marketers speak English? Because they're full of shit, and some people are actually baffled by bullshit and assume the speaker must be smart since they can't understand them. I am going to puke on the next acount type that tells me he needs "more impactful" copy.

And can we stop substituting the word "bandwidth" for "time"? "If you have the bandwidth, I need you to work on this project." Yeah - I got your bandwidth right here.

Feel free to comment with your own annoying phrases. Also, check out this Aussie's site devoted to the corporatespeak culture.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Product Placement

you are thirsty - you will order a Corona Light at lunchCompanies can't blog about their own products because the posts always ring hollow, as if you're reading a press release. No one believes corporate blogs unless they take a customer service angle and real dialog is occurring between company and customer. Likewise, those fake blogs that try to be "viral" about some product get smelled out pretty quickly. (That Fake Liar Emily, for example.) But true unpaid testimonial still works.

Dear Grupo Modelo:

As a devoted fan of your beverages, I am blogging about them this morning in the hopes that you will send me a free case or two.

I will include a sweaty bottle picture as well, heightening my readers' desire to suck down your nectar. I will include words like "sweaty," "suck," and "nectar" in order to make my readers think of sexual activity, which your beverages have been known to encourage.

While I know many readers regard your products with disdain, often inferring that there could even be human urine in them, I disagree. My thirst is often quenched by your beverages, and from what I've read about the Donner party and others forced to do unmentionable things in the interest of survival, urine makes you thirsty.

The lime thing is cool, and for some reason only works in your beer. I've put lime in other beers without the same effect. Your branding is well done, your commercials are clever, your image solidified in this consumer's mind as a nice beer. I was drinking your beer way back when the only ones who'd heard of it were SoCal surfers. Back when it was cheap and before it got trendy, when you could go to Rosarito Beach and get a monster lobster and all you can eat tortillas, rice and beans for ten bucks.

Your beer says beach, sunshine and good times. Your main competitor's beer says NASCAR. Your other competitors branding efforts call to mind the dark smoky taverns of dark European winters (where the beer is dark and warm) or hot, dusty unforgiving Outbacks. Not fun.

I will also work on your account if you want- but not for free.

Very truly yours,


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Monday, August 14, 2006

Another Disillusioned Drinker of the Kool--Aid

a paradise of plenty where nobody lacks - we're all flying around with our own jetpacks.Creative Director John Kenney writes a piece in today's New York Times, explaining how he bought the line his agency came up with when they turned British Petroleum into "beyond petroleum."

Kenney writes: "I guess, looking at it now, “beyond petroleum” is just advertising. It’s become mere marketing — perhaps it always was — instead of a genuine attempt to engage the public in the debate or a corporate rallying cry to change the paradigm. Maybe I’m naïve."

Yeah, John - no matter how much you try to believe - it's still mainly smoke and mirrors.

Sorry, man - but great campaign.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Branding The Terror

boom boom boom boom - hear the horsemen approaching!With the recent busting up of the terrorist ring in England, (Cheers, mates) the news channels rushed into high gear to brand the story.

CNN called it "Terror in the Sky" while Fox News went with the shortened "SkyTerror."

Same packages. Thick scary fonts in blacks and reds.

The graphics, sound effects and hurry-up offensives of the news channels are really making me ill. CNN even pulled their starchild Grandstanderson Pooper out of his embedded role with Israeli Defense Forces to go stand on the tarmac at Heathrow. Action packed.

I think I'll go back to Jon Stewart for my news.

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Winner - Best Foreign Translation to English

Among my favorite things to read are instructions translated into English by someone who is obviously not a native English speaker. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for anyone who speaks more than one language, but this is good comedy. From a desk made in Vietnam, as sold by Target.Like you can speak Vietnamese, Jetpacks. You are such an example of American idiocy and arrogance.

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Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

...or Customer Retention, or whatever.

I generally try to follow the maxim: The Client Is Usually Wrong.

That is not to be confused with the customer of the client, who is unfortunately always right, no matter how wrong they are, since they pay the bills ultimately.

Rolling Stone has much to learn about customer service.I am a customer of Rolling Stone magazine. I was waiting for the new issue in the mail, looking forward to the cover story on Zeppelin, among other things. When it didn't show, I fired off an email to their subscription department that read simply:

I have not received the Zep issue. It's on newsstands already and yet I have not received it by mail.

After a couple of days, they responded with:

Thank you for contacting Rolling Stone Magazine.

Our records show an expiration date of July 13, 2006.

Thank you
Rolling Stone Magazine

That's it? OK, so I let my subscription lapse, but that's it?

Man, if I were a Brit, I'd be using words like "wanker" and "tosser" right now, but I'm just an American reader of Rolling Stone. But I'm also a marketer - and Rolling Stone blew it. So they got this back:

Well then, you did a crappy job of offering me an opportunity to renew my subscription before it expired - and an equally crappy job of offering a renewal opportunity when I contacted you about what I thought was a missed issue. Guess I'll go pick it up on the newsstand. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just stop reading it. Thanks for your surly, unprofessional response - and may your department's quotas not be met this month.

Wankers. Tossers.

And as I'm posting this, they just got in the last word:

We have received your correspondence and it is being sent to a customer service representative for proper handling. If additional information is required regarding your inquiry, the representative will contact you directly. Please do not respond to this e-mail. Thank you.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Seller in the Cellar

And after we ink the deal, can I come over to your house and flirt with your wife?Back in the Dark Ages, (the last year or so of the 20th Century) I was at a sound studio in a very backwoods market, recording some inane voice-over for some clueless client of my vacuous boss' agency. While waiting for the engineer to get his act together, I picked up a guitar that was leaning against the wall and plucked a little nothing. The engineer spun around in his chair and laughed, "Ha HA! Another frustrated musician gone into advertising!" I replied, "No. Another frustrated advertiser going into music."

Someday I'll be out of this game, running my own record label or something. (Provided I win the lotto or land our group some sweet consulting gig like George Parker's.)

I have a few forthcoming albums planned, one of which will feature a song dedicated to all my friends in the business. I haven't figured out the music just yet for this little rap, but it'll likely end up in some neo-folk-funk-rock-chili-peppers genre. Smell the funk as you read along.
Hell yes, I'm a link. We're not stupid, man.

Seller in the Cellar
From the album "Telegraph Canyon," by Radio Free Babylon

Sell to win – there is no sin
Grab ‘em by the heart – that’s the start
Grab ‘em by the ears - prey on their fears
Get into their soul - get a hold

You’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re nowhere near sexy
You’re old, you’re dying, you’re sick inside
You’re a loser, you’re bald, you’re lacking something real
and you’re just plain stupid if you turn down this deal

Hear that cha-ching? – the register rings
Quota was made – we play in the shade
Palms are greased – space is leased
The clients sing – sales is the thing

You’re dumb, you’re lacking, your husband doesn’t love you
You’re slow, you’re dated, you’re a sad excuse
You’re worthless, you’re uncool, can’t you recognize what’s real?
We thought you were smarter when we offered this deal

fine print is small – don’t read it all
It says what it must – as if you can’t trust
Would I lie to you? Would I tell you untrue?
If I can get in – give it just the right spin
I sell apples to Eve – and make her believe

that she’s a failure, a victim, she needs her eyes opened
Her man’s a pansy, substandard, and lacking in size
She’s wrinkled, small-breasted, bad mother, lover, wife
until she buys the thing to revolutionize her life

You’re a mark, a pigeon, a sucker, easy target
You’re insecure, unsure and afraid of the truth
You’re a dummy, firm believer, an always-open wallet
You’d sell your body, your soul, or whatever you call it

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Copywriters, Meet Your Maker

Hey Hey Mama - what's the matter here?The original Copywriter was in the Market one day when he spied a new face. She seemed trusting. A perfect mark for some lines he’d been dying to try out. “She will succumb to my promise of a better life,” the Copywriter told himself. If he could get her to buy, she might even refer a friend. His own forbidden fruit sales force, repeating his lines and selling his dream.

She bought and convinced her husband to buy. Nevermind the warnings they’d heard back in the Beginning, they now heard promises from the Copywriter.

But then they were forced to read the fine print that explained the details of the purchase. You bought it, now you must endure the side effects: pain, uneasiness, toil and tears. Told you in the contract, remember? And what did the Copywriter do? He laughed all the way to the bank. "Caveat emptor and all that," he told himself.

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Nexium for Single/Divorced/Widowed Dads

Oh, come on, like I'm going to link you to the purple pill website. What's in it for me?Watching one or three of the news channels last night, I saw a spot for the "Purple Pill" (great branding, by the way) in which a man is talking about his rotting esophagus due to acid reflux as he prepares a meal for his kids in the kitchen. Mom is nowhere to be found.

He continues talking about how Nexium not only makes him feel better, it is also repairing his crusty throat. He goes about his day, shuffling kids here and there. Still, no Mom.

At spot's end, he's standing on the lawn in front of his house with all of his kids. No Mom.

Surely Dads raising kids on their own aren't the target market, and surely that is a very small segment of the population anyway. So I'm wondering why this angle? Is this like the 80s when they started showing physically challenged people in TV ads to prove how in touch with the market they were? Or that T-Mobile spot that includes a gay couple? Take it back a few decades and it was groundbreaking to feature people of color in an ad. I guess single Dads are the final frontier. We are truly an all-inclusive society now.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Kids Are Getting Savvy

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Copywriting for Food

I don't got no alt-image tags, Bitch!While in St. Louis over the weekend, our hosts treated us to a very nice lunch at a popular local restaurant. I was both impressed and dismayed with the descriptions on the menu.

Here's an actual sample from the menu, proving that hiring fancy writers for your food enables you to jack up the prices:

Grilled Certified Black Angus Aged Filet with Cabernet Cracked Pepper Butter and Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes.

Ummm. Steak and mashed potaotes, I think.

Then, driving through rural Georgia on Sunday, listening to old-time Black Gospel radio, a preacher from Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Griffin, Georgia invited all to come to his church, as they would be "laying out supper." His descriptions were poetic.

"Fried chicken, baked chicken, collard greens. Yes, I said it! Collard greens! Potatoe pie. Iced tea with tears streaming down the outside of the glass."

Tears streaming down the outside of the glass. Beautiful. Made me thirsty.

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Death of the Creative, says Times

Friday's New Tork Times had a piece in the Biz Section about user generated content someday replacing ad agency creative.

Never gonna happen. A nice supplement, maybe, but companies will always spend the money to get ideas.

The Mentos/Diet Coke thing is the most oft-cited user generated success story. What success? So people bought Mentos and Diet Coke to make fountains? Pure idiocy and waste. "Mentos, meet Diet Coke. Diet Coke, Mentos. Now why don't the two of you go make sweet love in the street?"

This whole "get the consumer to engage with the brand" talk is starting to well up in my throat and is about ready to make me throw up a little in my mouth. "Pull - don't push" they say. True, you can't control it all on the Internet anymore, and people will make their own fun and blog about your stuff, but you don't just let it run amock and end up with a bunch of backyard clowns taking over your brand.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ugly Design That Does Its Job

No, I am not a link to Wachovia's siteI'm not a designer, but I play one on the Web, and I'm not the only person who has wondered, "What the hell is up with Wachovia's logo?"

Their website has a whole page devoted to the question.

"Wachovia Corporation partnered with Interbrand - a New York-based brand identity firm with a dynamic team and strong set of credentials - to help develop a new brand."

Their goal was to "develop a differentiating brand positioning and dynamic brand mark that customers will come to recognize as the insignia of the best, most trusted, most admired financial services company in the industry."

Differentiating indeed. I think it's crap. Old Seattle Seahawks colors in a spirograph mishap. What is it? Why is it like it is?

Then again, it's identifiable by its sheer ugliness, and you can't ask for much more from your logo. Everyone knows when they see that thing what it is.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sneak Peak at New Bravia Color Ad

Some folks in the crowd in Glasgow, site of the production of the new Sony Bravia ad, got some footage of what we can expect from the upcoming ad that Sony hopes will top the much lauded "Balls" ad. Looks promising. Expect super slo-mo and nice music. Quite the production.

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Going Off the Grid

Tom Hespos over at Underscore Marketing just got back from his annual "Off the Grid" vacation in Maine, where he quizzed the locals on their ability to get online.

Off the grid - not a bad idea. In fact, probably a great idea for all of us hyperconnected people.
Yeah - I'm a link - what are you gonna do now?
A similiar idea has been hatched over at Radio Free Babylon. It's called Media Free Zones.

Most of my colleagues are beyond connected. Blackberries, Ipaqs, iPods, those goofy earpieces that make you look like Lando Calrissian's mute assistant in the Cloud City, laptops, navigational tools in their cars, DVRs, etc.

Shut it all off for an hour and refocus.

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