Friday, September 29, 2006

Diversity on Campus

The white chick likes me, dawg!Copyranter posted a few days back on the sad efforts put forth in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine Diversity Issue, which reminded me of college brochures.

Browse a random sampling of college brochures and you'd think they were all done by the same design house, or you might suspect that the government has some rigid guideline for university advertising that says, "In all cases, it is imperative that every picture within your brochure contain no less than three distinct ethnic groups. They must be either smiling, walking while pensively engaged in higher educated dialog, or they may be at leisure on the lawn."

I'm sure after the photo shoot, these kids all go their separate ways, back to their corners of black/white/yellow/brown friends and say, "I got picked to hang out with a bunch of people I've never met and we acted like we were all friends for next year's brochure."I've never seen any of you before. So, what's shaking, my main man?

Are high school seniors believing this stuff?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nice Try, Amtrak - But You Still Suck

it's only a picture - your experience will vary considerablyAnd it's not your fault...

Despite the facts that Amtrak trains are ALWAYS late and cost more than flying, they keep urging us to travel by rail. It's a nice ad, keeping that "glory days of rail service" nostalgia they feature in their posters for sale on their site. You can still buy a 2002 calendar at their store! Why you'd ever want to? I have no idea.

I could easily get political here, but I won't. (OK, I can't resist: Hey, Congress! If you shelled out to Amtrak only half of what you gave the airlines post 9/11, we might have a decent alternative to flying!)

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Making War Beautiful

A recruitment ad for the Czech Army. Haunting.

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Free Desktop Background

I've always been a big fan of Microsoft's peaceful image "Bliss," but I modified it and renamed it "Ft. Bliss." (Full-sized when you click it. 800 x 600 @ 96 dpi, stretches nicely.)

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Bad Banner Blitzkrieg

We are dancing. We are happy. We are urban hipsters with lowered bills. is placing this highly annoying Flash banner all over the place featuring silhouetted dancers on a rooftop, apparently celebrating their lowered bills. I can’t stand it much longer. I hope this campaign falls flat very soon so I don't have to come across it anymore.

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Another Reason Not to Buy a Chevy

That's Mr.Head to you, asswipe.'nuff said.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

A Weary Nation Plays Football

Oh, man - I'm not ready for this.When the going gets tough, a wobbly country can always look to sports to better the atmosphere and help it gain back a positive national outlook. We've got so much going against us right now as a nation, we need a little diversionary pick-me-up. And what better way to do that than to symbolically reopen the City of New Orleans for business with a giant spectacle of a football game?

Of course, if you're the Atlanta Falcons, you naturally want to kick the crap out of the rival Saints for sole possession of top spot in the NFC South. But if you do, you will have ruined the glow of the FeelGood Healingfest that will be tonight's game on ESPN. The Falcons are in a tough spot, and Bono, Green Day, George HW Bush and all the other dignitaries on hand tonight might urge them to go easy on the put-upon Saints, just so this thing can have a made-for-TV storybook finish. "Let the healing begin, Falcons - please don't beat the Saints."

And I'm guessing that TV will be out in all its self-congratulatory glory tonight. Expect special heartwarming spots from the advertisers, like "Budweiser salutes the City of New Orleans," and "Capital One has been helping Louisiana residents get huge lines of credit so they can rebuild their homes and help keep Louisiana a great place to stay and play."

And if Biloxi had a pro team, the NFL would've made sure they played the Saints tonight. "Battle of the Embattled - for Bragging Rights of the Devastated Gulf Coast. Everyone's a Winner Tonight!"

It's going to be a giant and overly sappy lovefest wrapped around a brutal and punishing game. I guess I'm cynical, but while I wish all the best to the struggling city, I will be rooting for the Falcons.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Goofus and Gallant - Agency Edition

Yes - you're supposed to click it - that makes it bigger and legible.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pepsi - Choice of a Suicide Bomber Generation

If you love your country and support the troops, you will drink Coke.Sunday's New York Times Magazine cover story on Guantanamo contains this choice nugget, buried deep within the story.

"Guard officers suggested soccer and volleyball tournaments to the compliant detainees in Camp 4. The detainees came back asking that a prize — two-liter bottles of Pepsi — be awarded to the winners. (The detainees disdained Coca-Cola, guards said.)"

Was it a taste preference on the part of the detainees? Surveys were not conducted. Likely instead it was an association of Coke with all things American.

So, if you're Coke, you can play this up as "Coca-Cola is preferred by Patriots and hated by Terrorists," or maybe "Pepsi is preferred overwhelmingly by those who wish harm to the American people."
After a long day of shouting 'Death to America,' nothing satisfies quite like a Pepsi.
If you're Pepsi, you hope nobody notices this silly story while you concentrate on strengthening your market lead in the Middle East.

Related note: Earlier this month, Coke opened a $25 Million bottling plant in Afghanistan.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Read The Times - or Die!

All The News That Fits - We Print
We made the switch to the New York Times last May, disappointed with our local paper's attempts to be the People Magazine of Florida, with way too many "special features" about not-so-special stuff and limited coverage of world politics and national events. The whole "we're your hometown local paper" is fine if your town has some real news happening in it, but ours usually doesn't.

Now the Times is about to blitz you with a campaign to increase subscription numbers and readership. The paper is worth it, even if your local edition's print time makes it impossible to include coverage of your favorite local college football team's exploits on Saturday, as is the case here.

"These Times Demand the Times" as a slogan is a little on the "scare tactic" end of things, sounding a bit like the local news promos that insist you will die if you don't have News Team 4 watching your back and giving you weather warnings. It's a very well done site and pretty comprehensive, containing all the things you'd expect these days; video, links to stuff, cool soundtrack. (But surprisingly no ringtones or wallpapers to download.)

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How White My Shirts Can Be

I can't get no...

In 1981 the Stones caused a mild shockwave among music fans when their tour was sponsored by Jovan. Somehow, "The Man" had got a hold of Rock's Royal Rebels and caused them to "Sell Out." Not everyone was aware that the Stones had been flirting with the Advertising Devil since 1964.

Anheuser-Busch coughed up around $6 million to sponsor the Steel Wheels tour. Volkswagon jumped aboard for the Voodoo Lounge tour, and Sprint was there for Bridges to Babylon. And let's not forget the disaster that was the Ameriquest SuperBowl Halftime Show featuring the Rolling Stones, as well as Start Me Up, better known by its alternate title Theme to Windows 95.

He's telling me more and more - 'bout some useless information supposed to fire my imaginationSo, I'm at my local Radio Shack this morning (needed a battery for the house alarm system) and this giant poster greets me from the front window, followed by more point-of-purchase countertops and reminders that the Bigger Bang tour is sponsored by Radio Shack. Enter the Sweepstakes! Hurry! Act Now!

These guys are the masters of marketing. Not Radio Shack - the Stones.

Ross Halfin notes in his 9/16 entry that the Stones didn't bother to watch The Who recently in Boston, even though they were in Boston rehearsing. They can't be bothered. They've got deals to cut. This is a business. They are "The Man."

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cruise Industry Hit Hard This Year

Competitors Resort to All-Out War
(More Thursday Fake Marketing News that we wish was real.)

A Where's My Jetpack? photojournalist caught this chilling glimpse of a
Disney Cruise Fighter in the sneak attack on the Carnival Freedom,
still under construction at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy.

(MIAMI) “Until the last cabin steward falls,” vowed Carnival Cruise Lines President Bob Dickinson, following the Sunday morning surprise attack by Disney Cruise Forces on the Carnival Freedom, still under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. “This is war and we will not rest until we have scourged the earth of the terror of Disney,” said Dickinson.

“We are the most popular cruise line in the world, and this shameless act of cowardice on the part of these Terrorists of Tourism will not go unpunished. This is a day that will live in Cruise Industry infamy!” said Dickinson at a press conference here.

Disney issued a brief statement denying any involvement in the attack, but a splinter group with ties to Disney calling themselves the Mouse Marauders claimed responsibility for the destruction. A communiqué issued Sunday evening stated in part, “The Mouse has spoken! The Great Satan Carnival will burn like so many oily rags in a cluttered garage! Unto Death will we continue in our struggle to defeat the foes of Disney!”

Disney’s denial of involvement is being viewed skeptically by tourism officials in Italy and Miami, particularly in light of the many eyewitness reports by Fincantieri citizens who claimed to see a “wave of planes with a mouse on them” in the skies over their town at dawn on Sunday.

As the attack came on a weekend, no workers were at the shipyard and injuries were limited to minor burns to a security guard.

The attack comes as no surprise to cruise industry insiders.

“This was bound to happen sooner or later. There are way too many cruise lines out there competing for way too little business,” said Chub Chandler of Cruise Watch.

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Domain Names Up For Grabs

I like to go to GoDaddy and see what's still out there. Every once in a while, I'll get a string of "availables" that feels like a good run on a pool table. (Just had one such run this morning. I quit while I was ahead.) And you have to go with ".com" to win at this game.

So if you've got an ad blog planned, or maybe you're opening up your own shop and need a name, or maybe you're starting a band and want that extra little bizarre factor that will get the record label marketing hounds on your scent, I present now (free of charge) some available URLS from GoDaddy.

POLKADOTTUNA.COM is available!
STRIPEDKITTY.COM is available!
STRIPEDDOGS.COM is available!
PLAIDOX.COM is available!
PLAIDBUNNY.COM is available!
CZARSOFCOOL.COM is available!
HOUSEOFWASTE.COM is available!

I like Czars of Cool and Tragic Bunkbed. Good names for some emo-pop-alt-rock-neo-folk artists.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's Called Spellchecker

I've had my share of misspelled words appear on websites, in print and on TV, but I would think that as the sign installers are outside my place of business (in this case a local Coldwell Banker Real Estate office) I might be checking on them to make sure everything is in order. Not so these folks, whose sign has been in this state for about 6 months now.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Snap, Crackle, Pop 'til You Drop

A Little Bonus Ad:
(If you've seen it before - it's worth another glance.)

More than 30 years before they leased "Start Me Up" to Microsoft for the launch of Windows 95, the Stones did a small gig for Rice Krispies. Times were tough for Mick and the boys in the early years, but this song is not a bad jingle - and I hate jingles. Rumor has it that the Stones didn't want anyone knowing it was them performing this song. Like there's any doubt today. Writing credit for the song, called "Wake Up In The Morning" went to Brian Jones and J. Walter Thompson.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

The Borgata Has A Lot of Money

The Atlantic City casino Borgata took out no less than 7 full page ads in yesterday's NY Times Magazine, each one highlighting a different restaurant at the resort, with each one featuring a young female model in a seductive pose. Same art director, same photographer, same minimalist copy that attempts to be both witty and seductive. Bottom Line: Steak = Sex.

Nice images. Production alone on these ads had to be pricey. Gotta wonder what the media buy cost Borgata - but it probably doesn't matter to them at all.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Free Plug for a Guy Who Doesn't Need One

bitter old English guyThis is not advertising related, merely blog related.

There is a professional rock photographer in London by the name of Ross Halfin who writes a very witty and sarcastic blog all about the trials and travails of the behind-the-scenes goings-on in the music business. He also takes some pretty decent pictures. Check 'em out - one or more of your favorite bands might be in his gallery - along with cutting remarks about that band. His better pictures are of clouds, one of which he graciously allowed me to use on the sleeve of an upcoming CD.

Check in on Ross. I read him daily, just for kicks. He won me over when he wrote this blasphemous line: "Eric Clapton is overrated."

from the forthcoming Geometry, by Radio Free Babylon

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Web Two Point...Oh, Shut The Hell Up

It's overdone. It's misused. It's become a lame marketing buzzword.

It's still the web. It's still people connecting socially and in business. It's nothing new. So we had a bust and some chaff got shaken out and some better stuff got in, that doesn't make it "2.0."

Just like your new favorite - the "viral" buzzword. People have been forwarding emails that say "check out this funny spot" for years now. But along come the marketers to muck it up and tag it and try to create an industry around it.

It's Friday. I shouldn't be this pissed off.

"He picks up scraps of conversation - radio and radiation - from the dancers and romancers with the answers but no clue."

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dork Scores Bevy of Babes - circa 1970

Advertising hasn't changed much in 36 years. Here's a Dodge Charger ad featuring some neurotic Woody Allen-type guy, about to make a commitment to his girlfriend, when out of nowhere come a few lonely hotties looking to play with his gearshift. Smells like Axe Body Spray to me.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

One Man Branding Machine

Crikey! Rest in Peace, Steve IrwinWho didn't enjoy the infectious charisma and excitablity of the late Steve Irwin? The man single-handedly built the Animal Planet into a major cable channel and spawned dozens of lesser guys trying to mimic his success.

When you first saw the guy, didn't you say to yourself, "That guy's INSANE. He's going to get killed."? And then he lasted and became an institution.

I suppose most of the eulogies will end with "Steve Irwin died doing what he loved."

This puts a damper on the day.

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