Monday, October 30, 2006

I Blog For Your Brand

I read over at AdPulp that people are being paid to blog now, with product placement opportunities being passed around to bloggers willing to be shills for about $5 per post. You can sign up here.

What a bunch of crap. Or not.

Hey, Toyota! I've owned a few of your vehicles. Works great. Lasts a long time. (Payment should be a restored mid-70s Land Cruiser, with bench seats in back and no seat belts. Red.)

Hey, Corona! I'm doing this for you! I love your beer and how it flouts the Man Law of "No Fruit in Beer!" (Please pay me with a few cases of your low calorie, highly delicious Corona Light.)

Hey, Starbucks! I HATE your stuff and will never blog positively about you. You are expensive, pretentious, overrated and ubiquitous.

Hey, 7-11! I like to fill a large cup 1/3 of the way with the instant cappuccino, couple of ice cubes so I can drink it without burning my esophagus, then fill it to the top with the house blend. Cheap, tasty and loaded with early morning get-up-and-go-ness. In honor of me, we will name this unique blend "Jet Fuel." (Payment is free coffee for life.)

Hey, VW. I've owned a couple of your cars and they really, really, really sucked. I am willing to try again for a free car. (Passat. Loaded)

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Commies Can't Contain Cool Kids

Saw the Americanized version of this British creation over the weekend. In a drab world of order and indoctrination, disaffected youth can always turn to VO5 for independence. A nice break from the "x-treme" advertising aimed at the same market. These kids aren't "x-treme." They just want to stand out...and then escape. And THAT is the REAL American Dream.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Devil's Work

Like many consumers, it baffles me to walk into a store in late summer to find the Halloween displays already out, and I've been wondering, "When did Halloween become such a big deal for advertisers and marketers?"

Seems it's been around forever. Here's a couple of Halloween themed crap ads from two of America's biggest names in advertising, Budweiser and Chevy.

From 1953, this trick-or-treating lady is ready to party, and her already drunk jack-o-lantern is leering at her in a way that kinda creeps me out. (Click for bigness.)

Speaking of Jack-o, here's one from 1986 that sees Chevy pimping the Camaro in a Michael Jackson Thriller-style, jumping on that bandwagon about three years too late. This makes Chevy's Johnny Cougar Mellencamp stuff not so bad in comparison.

I'm now reminded of a tasteless gag recommended by a comedian whose name I can't remember: On Halloween evening, go into your local grocery store and buy only two items - apples and razor blades.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Quixtar By Any Other Name

Freelance Fred asked the question, "WTF?" when he saw the new Quixtar ad. A full :90 narrated by Scott Glenn, it's impossible to discern who or what Quixtar is from this spot, and you're left wondering, "Telecom? Giant Swiss Financial Investment House? Pharmaceutical Company?"

Didn't take long for a parody to show up, revealing just what Quixtar is.

UPDATE: OK, I confess, I was behind this little parody - and it was pretty funny if I may say so, but alas, the Quixtar Cult got wind of it and had it removed from YouTube. So now I'm gonna go post it at Google and see how long it lasts.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Got Your Bold Move Right Here

Poor Ford, once the go-to American example of kick ass manufacturing and profit-making (like around 1908, I think) they are losing money faster than the Cowboys are sinking in the NFC East.

Problem: Reliance on SUV market
Problem: SUVs not selling so well these days.

Ford needs to ask, "Why do people buy SUVs?"

It's surely not for the "Sport" part of SUV - it's more for the "Utility" aspect. In other words, people (read "Soccer Moms") need ROOM, be it for a growing family or just taking a bunch of people somewhere once in a while.

Solution: Build a 7 to 8-passenger vehicle that isn't a gas guzzling behemoth. Problem solved. yeah - that's what I'm talking about

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Last Ditch Pitch

It's crunch time for the Republicans, who publicly say they are optimistic about the upcoming midterms. I think it's time to unveil the coup de grace, provided for them here free of charge. It's what they've been hinting at anyway - let's just get it out on the table and quit beating around the Bush.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Also Available at Google and YouTube

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

When Creatives Were Suits

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Bad Mommy

You know those little mini-billboards that face you from the end of your shopping cart, alerting you to some new thing from Nabisco or P&G? I hate those things. The ones I like are the graphical PSAs with no words and simple instructions, like this one.

The message here is "Don't be a bad mommy. Your child should not be allowed to dance inside the shopping cart while you wander off, looking like a woman who really resents that deadbeat who got you pregnant three years ago, as you wave off the screaming reminder of your ill-advised night of passion, who wants some sugary goodness from General Mills that he saw on the Cartoon Network, which acts as your all-day babysitter."

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The New Mortgage Market...

 young, urban, and "edgy", at least in the mind of whomever is designing the Flash banners for

First we had Rooftop Dancing Hipsters. Now we've got green tank-topped badass with an elevation view of a house tattooed on his flexed bicep.

Please stop it.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Republicans Do Comedy

YouTube was told to take this video down (it's still there), and the Republicans have "declined to use it," but that's not stopping hundreds of thousands from watching it. We've entered a new era of disassociated, mercenary freelance mudslinging. (Wait, no we haven't...this is not new...something about Swiftboat Veterans comes to mind.)

Directed by David Zucker, who brought us Airplane! and Scary Movie.

It has a certain Team America World Police vibe to it. So, "Durka Allah Mohammed Jihad," everyone.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog about Bravia!

Splash!The much anticipated follow up to last year's Bouncy Ball Bravia ad, the "Paint Spot," debuts mañana.

We are now all actively engaged in the advance buzz for a frickin' ad. We're advertising advertising. This thing better be good. Fallon London must be wetting their collective pants right about now.


How do you top the Bouncy Balls ad?

You don't.

A "Waltzing Waters" or Bellagio Fountains piece, the spot doesn't live up to the hype. See it here and see if you don't agree.

And what's with the running clown? Absolutely disappointing.

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How to Market a Film

I only make funny for the kids, Mr Big White House guardmanAnytime you can get a country's government to ridicule your film before it's even released, you're sure to see some big box office.

Borat's website is pretty funny, too.

The comedian is making a point - or many points - at the expense of an actual country. He probably should've made up a country. (At least he didn't make fun of Islam directly, as he would've had a Fatwa issued against him.) Even still, the release of this thing is going to be greeted by all sorts of politically correct claptrap about stereotyping and the dangers of this sort of humor or entertainment; how our society is slipping backward when we allow ourselves to laugh at this stuff. Prediction: The big-name critics won't "lower themselves" to review it.

Blah, blah, blah. You're only making it the "must see" movie of the year.

Bob Herbert has a great piece on the hypocrisy of our culture in today's NYT. Yeah, it's OK to hawk another Girls Gone Wild DVD in the middle of Colbert Report, but how dare a comedian make fun of Kazakhstan.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Bass Players Converge on VW

(PALO ALTO, CA) Angered at what they call "the continued ignorance of marketers and advertisers," a coalition of bass players assembled in front of VW's Electronics Research Laboratory here, demanding that Volkswagen also offer a free bass with its new cars. The carmaker is currently offering a free guitar that can be played through a vehicle's sound system.

"We know what people say, we hear the jokes," said Geddy Lee, spokesman for the group, "We know they always say 'bass players can't get laid,' or 'how many bass players does it take to screw in a lightbulb,'" but this has gone too far!"

VW's current crop of TV ads, produced by ad agency CP+B, feature guitarist Slash of Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver fame, as well as the actor Christopher Guest, reprising the role of Nigel Tufnel from the film "This is Spinal Tap." Both guitarists are playing First Act guitars, which are plugged in to the car as they loudly play solos.

"Guitarists get all the glory," said Lee, "They get the better hotel rooms, the limelight, the solos. Unless you're Flea, out there running up and down the stage, jumping and mugging for the audience, no one is paying the bassist any attention. Volkswagen has taken this inattention to a new level and we are sick of it."

So, how many bass players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Jill Spokeshack of CP+B answers, "I didn't write this joke, so please don't blame me, but the answer is 'None. Who wants to see a bass player in the light?'"

VW officials were unreachable for comment at press time.

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Salty Sailor Language Missing From Book

Yeah - that's my messy desk.George Parker's Madscam arrived by FedEx this week, and as soon as I'm done with Updike's Terrorist, I will be reading/reviewing it. (Sorry, George, but my limited attention span can't handle two books at once.)

The subtitle is "Kick Ass Advertising Without the Madison Avenue Price Tag," but that's about as raunchy as it gets, and fans of the old curmudgeon's potty mouth will be sorry that GP's editors decided not to go that route.

On first perusal, this is a "How To" book for entrepreneurs, almost a textbook, covering everything a small to medium sized business would need to know in order to hande their own advertising efforts in-house. I'm looking forward to what the man from the Potato State has to say.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Overcoming Bad Publicity

Here's a history lesson and a marketing lesson, maybe even a Marketing History lesson.

How did the company that grew huge as a result of its founding and funding by the Nazi Party and its reliance on slave labor ever get over that? (You're not finding this information out on the VW corporate site, that's for sure. They dont even have a "history of VW" section at

The lesson of course is: Time (+ aggressive advertising) heals all wounds. So, if your company happens to find itself in a potentially embarrassing or compromising situation, like your signature product being partially designed by one of history's worst personalities, take a lesson from VW: With enough time and the right advertising, people will forget your haunted past and everything will magically get better.

(Sorry to reopen this old wound for you, VW - I was just wondering how you did it. I'll shut up if you send me a new car. I'll take a Passat with a manual transmission, if you still make manual transmissions. Leave out the guitar, unless you can partner with a better guitar builder. And did you guys ever pay that old guy who designed your logo?)

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The People's Car

Everyone's in a happy froth about Slash (and now Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel) being in the new VW spots, with the gimmicky "play a guitar through the car's sound system" feature, which they need to make more clear. Something like "play your iPod through the auxillary input." And VW gives you a new guitar from First Act to boot. Silly. Anyone buying a car for that piece of crap guitar needs to inject their Axe Body Spray into their bloodstream.'s what VW did many years ago, when VW was known as an economy car company. (Hitler's vision, by the way.) Telling a story, selling a car.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cynical Old Ad Guy Comic

This guy's likely from England, since they seem to breed the most hard-bitten cynics and critics.

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Where's My...oh, Nevermind.

Once around the flag pole is not what we had in mind. And I will keep calling this blog Where's My Jetpack? until these things are more compact, cheaper than Segways and available at WalMart.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dude! We are SO Rich!

So you just made a ton of money off the sale of your little video site to Google...whatcha gonna do?

I know! Go catch a buzz at TGIFridays and then record a video! At the end, you can give a nod to Burger King!

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Monday, October 09, 2006

They Even Threw in Fist Bumps

Syracuse agency MRA has some fun on the job in this video of their in-house band known as Crankdaddy, performing the song "Jetta."

Make sure to watch the art director come in (at around 2:52) and stop the jam in order to show the CCO/singer his idea for the new Jetta ad. The CCO actually says "Make the logo bigger." Fist bumps ensue.

Fun stuff - they could land the Jetta account, a la

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Size Matters

That's right - I'm eatin' it.So...let's say your fastfood client comes to you with another heart-attack inducing menu item, like a chalupa wrapped in a burrito which is deep-fried in mayonnaise and syrup and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. And they want this thing to sell! If it isn't pizza crust stuffed with cheese, then it's another patty on your already too-big burger. Americans like it BIG, excessive, over-the-top, outrageous - so BK added another patty to the Whopper.

As a writer or concept developer for the agency tasked with making this thing sell, where would you start?

For all the huffing and puffing being directed at BK and CP+B for the "Eat like a Snake" spot, I think they went the honest route. You've got a gigantic burger that no sane person should be eating, so why not hint that only a snake, (or if we take the symbology: an immoral, demon-possessed, belly-crawling, low-down, got-no-appendages, black-eyed cold-blooded reptile) might enjoy this big-ass burger? But has anyone seen this spot on TV yet or is it only on YouTube? And from the surroundings, it appears this ad was meant for a foreign market. (And it's a :60, pretty rare here for fastfood.) Are we all maybe playing into a viral focus group on the part of CP+B?

Whatever - it won't be on the menu for long. None of these items ever last. Remember the Rodeo Burger from BK? (With onion rings on it.)

I'm still not sure why someone doesn't hawk a shake and fries combo. Every kid I've ever known (myself included) loves to dip fries in a chocolate shake.

But hey, why not Skip a Lunch and Save a Nation instead?


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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Weekend Caption Contest

Actually, it's not a contest - since I have no prizes to award - and also because I'm not an objective judge. But have fun.

Make it a single line or write a meandering dialog. There are no rules.

Here's the pic. (I got permission to use this photo for an upcoming album.) I'm a big fan of the technicolor saturated 1960s look. I think this was originally for an Airstream brochure.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

You Stay Classy, Bowling Green

Crikey - that's a low blow, Jetpacks...I'm not angry with 'em

In a restaurant review of...get ready...the Outback Steakhouse, the Bowling Green Daily News uses this headline in the review:

Give a nod to Steve Irwin, visit Outback Steakhouse

Likely advertorial, since only a single negative comment is found, I still think someone should alert Outback corporate and let them know what's happening out in Kentucky.

And on the subject of Outback Steakhouse, can someone please alert the singer of the jingle that even Australians don't have thick, fake Australian accents when they sing?

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USPS Announces New Provinces

The Friday Fake Marketing News We Wish Was Real

USPS Divides US into 7 Provinces
New Zip Codes Coming Soon

WASHINGTON, DC - Postmaster General Jack Potter announced today that the United States has been divided into new territories.

The division occurred at an assembly of USPS Regional Managers and Delegates in El Paso, Texas. Or “El Paso, Texas, Desertania,” according to Potter.

Under the new plan, Americans are free to continue to use the old state names in the address line of USPS delivered items, but the province name must come after that.

“For instance, if you live in Miami, Florida, you are now in Miami, Florida, Alantishire. It’s pretty simple, really,” said Potter.

The USPS, beleaguered and showing steady losses in recent years, made the move based on advice from an advertising agency it hired to improve its image.

Janice St. James, creative director for Pure Bull Design of New York, asserts that her firm’s research revealed that a dramatic change was necessary.

“We were fighting a losing battle,” said St. James, “We simply can not turn the image of the USPS around. They are and always will be seen as a bureaucratic nightmare of red tape and inefficiency. Rather than fight that perception, which is deeply ingrained into the American psyche, we suggested that the best route to take would be to build on the strengths of the USPS, which are bureaucracy and inefficiency. I mean, other than their cycling team, what has the USPS given us lately?”

“This move to divide into provinces, or territories, will ensure that the USPS remains focused on providing more incomprehensible bureaucracy and inefficiency,” said St. James, "Our client has plans to unveil in the coming weeks a new and more confusing 10-digit letter/number combination of postal coding that should also help in this regard.”

Pure Bull Design conducted focus group studies in the various postal regions and abandoned an earlier plan to name the territories by their geographic locations, such as Northeast, Southwest, etc.

Says St. James, “It was too bland, even for the USPS. What we found was that Americans love fantasy. When we tested our ‘Fellowship of The Rings’ names on the various focus groups, it was obvious right away.”

Asked when the change goes into effect, Potter answered, “Immediately. It already has. It’s done. Henceforth all mail that does not include the new province name will be returned to sender.”

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Direct Mail Jesus

Yo! What's up? Got a little present for you!"I am come that they might have mail, and that they might have it more abundantly."

The local Baptist church folks took it upon themselves to mail a New Testament to every single address in the area. It was wrapped in a nice little package and of course included many leaflets and invitations for us to find a great place to worship just up the hill. The Volume had a new title; they called it "The Gift."

I'm sure this church has everything I need, including a "Jaded Copywriters Between the Ages of 25 and 44" Sunday School Class.

As if their flashing marquee in front of their building wasn't enough of an annoyance and intrusion, with its clever little messages like "CH__CH...What's Missing?...U-R!" now they have gone the direct mail route in their continued attempts to model their evangelistic efforts on the world's marketing schemes.

Next they will be flashing banners at me. I'm sure if they had the cash, they'd throw a spot or two on TV and radio.

I know this will offend those who specialize in church marketing and "church growth" - but too bad. I remember this dude in your New Testament who turned over the tables of the merchants in the courtyard of the temple. Something about "den of thieves," I think.

Memo to churches: Is it a business or is it a ministry? Are your methods "of the Spirit" or are they perhaps of a darker nature? If what you're selling is so fantastic, I'll bet it would sell itself.

Word of mouth, testimonial, conversational know...

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can't Get Away

Just got back from a short trip to the beach, where we hoped to unwind and catch some waves and just "turn it all off" for a few days.

While we did ride a few decent sets of waves and enjoyed some margartias and Coronas (Light, thank you, George Parker) my wife's email was buzzing like crazy, her ferociously inept coworkers and insanely dimwitted superiors apparently not able to decipher the email that said "I'll be out through Tuesday," and unable to wipe their asses without sending a request to do so. Never bring the laptop on a mini-vacation again. Need to adopt the Hespos model of the "off the grid" getaway.

And, of course, the state of affairs of this God-forsaken nation just got worse in the few days we were gone - and we were unable to avoid the news as it blared at us from headlines in convenience stores or in news crawls on TV. From masturbating pedophile AIM using congressmen to little Amish girl-shooting milkmen, I think we can safely say that the days are officially evil.

Almost makes the escapist world of marketing and advertising seem like a vacation.

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