Friday, March 30, 2007

Whatever Happened to Maddox?

No, not the adopted trophy son of Angelina and Brad...

James H was paying his respects to the King of the Snark Bloggers, George Parker, when I was reminded of Maddox, who used to write one of the funniest, most brutal sites on earth.* Then he wrote a book and went on tour and now he updates only once in great while. I guess his book did very well. Wikipedia says he's trying to get into radio.

If you've never seen More Crappy Children's Artwork , you should check it out. You'll feel guilty for laughing, but you won't be able to help yourself.

*"Funny" and "Brutal" are, of course, subject to your interpretation. Some people find him crude, offensive and stupid. But that's what usually makes me laugh.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Your Whole Life is a Sponsored Moment™

I was sitting at the Jetpacks Mobile WorkStation when I noticed a bunch of logos staring back at me. And so, this blog post was brought to you by Yahoo!®, Corona®, Dell®, Logitech® peripherals, the Dish Network®, Verizon® Wireless Broadband and Kensington® peripherals. (And Blogger®, by Google®.)

And none of them have paid me yet.

I guess I use them because they're good, or maybe I perceived them as quality goods and services at affordable prices when I engaged them in business, but how do I know that's true if I don't try the others? Like a fickle client leaving a decent, performing agency for another, I'm willing to ditch these brands who haven't been giving me cold, hard cash (or kickbacks & free stuff) in return for my patronage.

So, if another computer manufacturer would like to furnish a better laptop than this rode hard, put-away-wet dinosaur, get in touch. I might even be persuaded to crossover to the Mac® side.

If Comcast®, BrightHouse® or another competitor of the Dish Network® wants in here, we're open.

Kensington® and Logitech® competitors?

Cingular® on the wireless? (Oh, wait. I mean AT&T®.) And I'll go ahead and invite Sprint® to participate in the RFP.

MSN®? Google®? You want a piece?

Oh, wait. Google® provides the blog, the email, the cool maps, the relatively reliable search results, the awesome view of my house from outer space and all kinds of other goodies - for FREE. (All with a simple, clean interface. Verdict: Exempted this month) So, MSN®, you get first shot at the beer cozy sponsorship.

Corona®...I guess you can stick around a while longer. One month exemption.

(Oh, yeah. Nikon® took the picture. You have 30 days from today, otherwise Canon® gets a shot.)

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The Art of Lawn Maintenance

I did a summer on a landscaping crew once. It was probably the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. Reason: When you’re done, you’re done. No one can tell you otherwise. And if you do it right, the resulting yard looks like a cake, a living work of art. Dallas is full of well manicured office parks like the one pictured here, digitally enhanced to a dreamlike state. I look out the window and see the crews riding those two wheeled chariots as they sculpt the berms and grassy knolls. I wonder how many of them know they are artists.

Twenty horses pull him through the grass
He’s makin’ hay – makin’ it fast
He seldom lets a day go past
Where he don’t pray that this don’t last

Earlier in Everyone's a Creative

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bloggy 2.0 Social Media Meetup

Got to meet and hang out with Pennsylvania's own (and now proud Texan) James H of Yonder Ponder tonight after work for a couple of cervezas. James was one of the first ad bloggers to give me a link when this thing got started. Quality content at the Helmsman's blog.

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Everything's Bigger Here

Texas is a big ol' state, and Dallas is a big ol' city, with one restaurant for every resident and enough traffic to make you bang your head on the dashboard in despair. Springtime is a good time to be here, as the grass is greening and the temps are not yet the Africa Hot they reach in the summer months. The sunsets are pretty nice too. The Dallas Cowboys are worshiped year round and the number of models working as waitresses until their careers take off is astronomical. The city is growing right in front of me and the place still remains remarkably friendly, except the guys on talk radio, who are paid to be dicks.

I used to hate Texas. Now, not so much.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Locals Only - Dallas Version

It's a shaky shot at dawn with the aperture fighting me, but the company name is Blow
Master. Slogan: We Blow Lots of Stuff.


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Friday, March 23, 2007

If You Record It, It Will Live Forever

A few months back, a fellow blogger and I did a quick rip on the Scott Glenn voiced Quixtar ad. It got banned very quickly from YouTube for "Copyright Infringement." That's understandable, I guess. If you're Quixtar, you don't want people finding out the hidden truths of your organization. And just as Leonard Nimoy will never escape the Bilbo Baggins video, Quixtar can't get away from this.

Someone grabbed the audio track of that little spoof and re-edited a funnier version that pulls clips from the Dateline NBC exposé on the multi-level pimps. Consider this my revised writing and voiceover demo reel. Sample comment from a YouTuber: "The idiots who made this video are sick. For over 20 years, my family has made a decent, honest living from the Amway opportunity."


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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Soylent Green is Made Out of People!

They apparently weren't allowed to say "NASA" in this spot - just allude to it with "U.S. Aerospace Research." The name "food stick" is a little creepy and Soylent Green sounding. The model makers must be commended on the lunar lander model and moonscape as the spacecraft only shakes a little as it's lowered on fishing line. Serious sounding voiceover guy apparently borrowed from government-produced educational films. Note the nod to diversity, although the black man is naturally an athlete (and that's his "work".) Also fun: the line "lasting energy to feel alive" goes with Stepford Mom blankly running with her kids.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Render Unto Little Ceasars

(WASHINGTON, DC) With church attendance nationwide in a slump, some churches are looking to marketers to help increase the size of their coffers, if not their congregations.

“Gone are the days of ‘create a cool logo and call your church something hip,’” said Marla Washburn of Nothing is Sacred, a marketing consultancy in Washington, DC. “It used to be easy to rebrand a church and get a whole new flock, but the churchgoer is a shopper and a consumer, and they’ve seen that tack before. It’s time to work with what we've got. Lower attendance means lower offerings, so we had to find another angle.”

Nothing is Sacred has begun placing ads in church pews, offering a new revenue stream to struggling houses of worship.

“We went first with what we know. Church folks are always going out to eat after service, so why not try restaurants first?” said Washburn, "But I can see this expanding to all manner of products and services."

Pastor Charles Franklin of the 3rd Baptist Church of Arlington, Virginia was initially against the idea, but when the money started rolling in, he became a believer.

“I had my doubts at first,” said Franklin, “But now I’ve got to say, Marla and her team are our saviors. This is a real godsend.”

The story you just read is fake. But it could happen.


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Skittles Translated into Russian

I'm not sure I get it.

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Leo Burnett Robs Budding Filmmaker

now clap like zis.As I noted back in early December, Nick Andrews of Helena, Montana created a viral sensation with his video "My Hands are Bananas" a great spoof of German techno, which Andrews says was inspired by the Mike Myers character Dieter of "Sprockets," back when SNL was funny.

So, late to the game and armed with a ripped off idea comes Leo Burnett with this ad for Altoids.

Advertising for Peanuts asks, "But what I really want to know is who's hands were bananas first? And does it really matter?"

I think it does matter. When a copywriter as celebrated and awarded as Bob Winter (who gave us genius moments like "Real Men of Genius") goes and borrows (synonyms: pilfer, filch, lift, appropriate, embezzle, pocket, purloin, thieve, rob, pinch, nick, whip) an idea off some kid trying to get into film school, credit is due the kid. Someone owes Nick Andrews a check - or at least an internship.

The original My Hands are Bananas was posted to YouTube in August of 2006 and was filmed in June, if I remember correctly. The new Altoids spot is from this month. Who's first? Short of a check, at least give the guy acknowledgement. George Parker would call this an "homage." I call it a hosejob.

But it is after all, only an idea; a guy with bananas coming out of his sleeves in place of hands. The original has been seen 2.6 million times on YouTube alone and was featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune, which surely is delivered to the offices of Leo Burnett daily. How long before some sort of appropriation happened? Maybe Andrews can just put this homage on his college applications.

Then again, if we track back, Winter gets his idea for an Altoids spot from the Andrews viral video and Andrews got the idea for his German techno guy from Mike Myers. I once heard Mike Myers say in an interview that Dieter was modeled after a German waiter who frequently served him in Toronto.

Someone find that waiter and we'll settle this.

"You have disturbed me almost to the point of insanity. There, I am insane now."

- Dieter

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Finally, Someone Tells The Truth

While I happen to know this is a parody, it's a pretty good one. I hope he really writes the book someday. Look out, George Parker.

An excerpt:

Whether you want to sell windows, wine, cough syrup or roofing supplies, all you need to know is summed up in a single word: Ass.


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

New York Times Hates America

...and in particular, Virginia.

In their current campaign to promote their travel site, an apparent rival to Lonely Planet, The New York Times has been using this campaign on the web and in print. Showing a world map, the Times gives us helpful markers, such as "How To Save" while in Ireland, "What to Know" in Ghana, "Where to Dance" in Spain, etc.

The United States gets one marker, and it's the only negative marker. "Where Not to Eat" is reserved for what appears to be southern VA. (Click image to enlarge.)

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

I Don't Disagree

Click pic to enlarge.

I Don't Disagree. Translation: "You've got a semi-valid point that I'm about to shoot down."

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As Irish as I Get

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Socially Speaking

Found at Tshirthell

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Magically Delicious

In honor of St.Patrick's Day (and as payback to my blogger friends who like to stick horrible songs in my head) here's an ancient Lucky Charms commercial with a "groovy" 60s song. Man, what a cool kite. Bet that sold tons of boxes.

Don't drink and fly kites.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Celebrity Voice Impersonated

This car is a wicked pissah!One of the groups most known for having zero creativity in their ads are car dealers. And if they are doing something "creative," it's generally highly embarrassing and carries a Cringe Factor of 12*.

On a break for some provisions of the lunch variety, I heard a radio spot for a local Dodge dealer. It had to have been a :60, or it was the longest thirty seconds of my life. During this ad, various jokes were attempted using voice over "talent" who impersonated George Bush, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eddie Murphy. Way to keep it current, local yokels. If you have to go that route, at least do someone timeless like Christopher Walken. If there was a "deal" in that ad, I never heard it for all the idiocy of the execution.

It doesn't matter what medium, car dealers scrape the barrel for loud colors, ugly fonts and bad ideas. Since they're getting co-op dollars from the manufacturers, maybe the manufacturers can start helping them. Yeah, the rolling stock B-roll you supply your dealerships is pretty, with the leaves kicking up after the fast passing car races by, but when the dealers throw on cheesy spokeshacks (and...WALK as you talk - EXCELLENT!) carrying placards with phone numbers, you've just lowered the bar once again.

If you've got to go supercheese, take a lesson from the master, Cal Worthington.

*Cringometer readings may vary. Consult owner's manual for your particular model.

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And I'll Bet He's Drunk and Ready to Fight

Orange County Sheriff Deputy Richard Lockman tips his hat while conducting an operation to curb speeding this morning. "We’ve given about 1 ticket every minute since 8:00 this morning," said Lockman, who in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, was dressed in a green leprechaun outfit complete with hat, tight white knickers and a shiny plastic pot of gold.

Last Christmas, the OCSD dressed the same deputy as an elf. No word yet on plans to arm Jesus with a radar gun for Easter. Likely have to keep it secular and just make it a bunny.

via the Orlando Sentinel

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Our Dead Spokesmodel

Hey, TrimSpa®!

Anna Nicole Smith is still prominently featured on your in-store displays, curiously and comically positioned between the Whitman's Samplers and the pregnancy tests.

And your website is still a grim, black funeral for Ms. Smith. Some sort of pretend tribute on your part as you play the concerned friend?

Classy. She's been dead for over a month. Knock it off. Did her contract with you state that this poor bimbo would shill for your product even from the grave?

Man, you guys are serious ghouls. And you're seriously sucking at reputation management. This is becoming a textbook example of how not to handle a brand crisis.

(Image captured on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at a Florida CVS store.)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's Cold Outside - Warm My Buns

Hi, guy! My rommmates and me wanna take your clothes off. No, SERIOUSLY.Copyranter has cornered the market on skewering ads for True, the online dating site, but this one was served up on a page I was just visiting and I couldn't resist. Usually focusing on cleavage, the True banner makers are now making inroads into butts. (Another is here.)

Guys, if you really think this woman is waiting for you over at, I can save you some money.

First of all, she doesn't live anywhere near you. Secondly, she's got a man already - and he can kick your ass. Third, she walks around outside in her underwear and a jacket, so she's probably a little unstable, and finally, you just aren't her type. She's not into gullible dorks with no common sense. (Unless you have a ton of money.)

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Bargain Barn

In a gesture of goodwill toward that horrible beer, Guinness, which I can't stand and derided earlier for their attemtps to turn St. Patrick's Day into St. Patrick's Season, I have tastefully distorted and overlayed the Guinness logo on the roof of the barn in the banner of this blog in honor of St. Patrick's day. (The barn is in Sperryville, VA.) I suspect this gesture will result in untold thousands of cases of Guinness being sold between now and Saturday. Drink up, America. St. Patrick would've wanted it that way.

Barn advertising was a common practice in America for many years, but was deemed an eyesore apparently in the 1960s. (According to a book on the subject.) I've decided to bring barn advertising back, at least to this blog. I won't do the Google Adsense thing. I just don't like that sort of page clutter. You come here for the text in the middle of the page, not the distractions on the periphery. (Except for the "Linkers and Lurkers" section, because they are all worthwhile bloggers.)

If you want your company's logo seen by over 1 million unique visitors per day* then you should contact me and we'll discuss how you can advertise on the barn in the banner of this blog.

*Total lie. But we can talk frivolous and immaterial things like numbers if you are serious about maximizing eyeballs for enhanced ROI built on a unique and robust synergistic platform with total scalability and entry-level portability.

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U - Shut Up

  • U-verse? Whatever.
  • With a service mark? Like someone wants to steal that name.
  • Slippers symbolize relax? Maybe in 1960, when AT&T ruled the communications world, like they're trying to do again.
  • You're talking down to me here, AT&T. Telling me what to do. Acting like you know better.
  • Way to piss a customer off, Big Brother.
  • Can't wait to get rid of Chingular.
For a little historical perspective, here's Stephen Colbert breaking it all down for us. (Take that, Viacom.)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Snark - Thy Name is Ross

Ross Halfin gets his 5 minutes in The Independent. Known more for his rock icon photography than for what he loves to shoot, clouds and travel, Mr. Halfin graciously granted me permission to use the photograph here as background for some liner notes on an upcoming CD insert. I am fascinated by clouds and love to shoot them, but Halfin is much better at it, often taking shots from the window of his first class seat on a trans-Atlantic flight.

One of the pioneers of brutal blogging, a term the photographer rejects, Halfin is a master of the cutting retort or snarky observation. When I inquired of him about the photograph he said he'd get to me and hadn't yet delivered, Ross shot back, "I'm busy, I'll get round to it. I'm not your SLAVE."

He lives a charmed life, but he swears it's tough work. I'm sure dealing with the monstrous egos of the music biz would get on your nerves after a while, so I've urged Halfin to put out a coffee table book of nothing but cloudscapes. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone and a thousand other rags, but maybe some London agencies working with giant budgets can get him some ad work and help fund his dream of getting away from crybaby celebs and the PR people that surround them.

His credit on the aforementioned project will read: Cloud photograph courtesy of Ross Halfin, a true artistic and literary genius masquerading as a rock photographer.

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All Around the World - Gotta Spread the Word

The Band? It's not like they're U2 or anything.Cha-Chingular

Freelance Fred's been on the case of what will likely end up being called a "misunderstanding" between BBDO, their client Cingular and a musician named Levon Helm. Seems BBDO used one of Helm's tunes and is not paying.

That ain't right. Now, if this whole Web 2.0 social media next big thing was meant to do anything, it was meant to get things done. Right wrongs. Share ideas. Collaborate.

Spread the story and tag your entries with BBDO, Helm and Cingular. Might as well throw AT&T on there too. You know the social media strategists and brand reputation management types don't like tags with negative connotations and will work to correct. I am not familiar with Helm's work, though I know he was pretty popular in his day and his group influenced a lot of other musicians, so he likely has some cash stored away, but still, it's the principle. You think anyone would try to do that to Mick and the boys? Take their music without paying? Crusty Ol' Mick would sue them straight to Hell (where he keeps a legal residence) and they know it. Let's get Mr. Helm some money.

Disclaimer: I'm locked into a Cingular contract. This is an actual line from the contract: "...until the end of the world or until Jesus returns, whichever comes first."

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Underground: The New Mainstream

Rented Idiocracy. I recommend it, if for nothing else than the movie's running commentary on marketing. Don't expect too much, as it is a satire about a dumbed-down nation, but the many (and brilliant) stabs at corporations were severe enough to cause this movie to have to go underground.

No studio backing for its release. No marketing push. Left to flounder in limited runs in 16 cities, in some cases being billed as "Untitled Comedy by Mike Judge." Then dumped on the DVD market with no publicity, hopefully to die a quiet death. That's what happens when you bite the hands of Starbucks, Costco, Carls' Jr., FedEx, American Express, Fox News and more. People wear disposable logo shirts in the year 2505 and anyone who reads is "a fag."

I hope this movie becomes a cult classic. If not here in the US, I'm pretty sure Brits, Europeans and Aussies will love it for the knife it twists in our easily mocked culture. Good rundown of the mutilated logos at Under Consideration.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

People Dressed in Plastic Bags - Directing Traffic

New York Fashion (or Paris, London, etc) is way beyond me, and so is the androgyny trend in men's fashion advertising. In yesterday's NYT Style magazine, there are way too many ads like this one.

And this guy is one of the more masculine gents portrayed.

What's in the big white purse, dude?

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Where The Egos Fly

Are you threatening me?Don't want to get too sentimental for those who come here for cynical tirades against stupid stuff, but bear with me as I unveil my plan for world peace.

This business, more than most I think, is full of giant egos and stubborn buttheads. If it isn't sales arguing with creative, it's creatives differing with one another on direction, tone or a certain font. I'm not talking about the healthy disagreements encountered in the give and take of collaboration, more about the heels dug in "my way or the highway" types. Then again, it's just the human condition to be proud, defensive and stubborn and not a unique thing to artists and salespeople. I guess that's why we have problems with relationships and difficulties in politics.

And while I know the answer to Rodney King's famous question, "Can't we all just get along?" is a firm, loud "No!" and that John Lennon, Bono and other doves are naive dreamers, after witnessing a brutal exchange in a former job where both parties were acting like total babies, I couldn't resist writing this.

This will have music someday, and if I find out that someone used these lyrics without giving me lots of money first, I will kill that person in a fit of creative rage, "passion" being my defense in court. And besides, the lyrics carry a fake copyright notice at the bottom that is supposed to scare you and make you play nice. Also, this is not a creative workshop whereby you suggest how this might be improved with your comments. I like it how it is and I'm not changing it. My way or the highway, baby!

Broken Bread

Everyone I meet makes me smile
they make me smile
most of them, anyway
it only takes a little while
just a while
to see past the cold and gray

And what I don’t like in you
is what I hate about me
the things that you are
the way you can be
cold or just cool with a selfish streak
yeah, I see that in me

I want a prescription for x-ray vision
and you need to learn to bend steel

maybe we could leap some tall buildings
and in a single bound
we would feel the real deal

I think I’ll order the broken bread

we can split the two for one meal

I’ll try to keep my elbows off the table

and in a single bite

I’ll bet we’d taste the real deal

And there might be a few
there might be two or three
who aren’t quite mirrors
and you can’t quite see
shield your eyes or they’ll make you weak
straining so hard, yeah I see it in me

I’m not offering a deal
and you don’t need to make a trade
like I’ll dance in your sun
if you’ll walk in my shade
hot or just warm with a soft breeze
yeah, I see you in me

You need a prescription for x-ray vision

and I want to learn to bend steel

maybe we could crash some stone gates

and in a single bound
we would feel the real deal

Go on and order the broken bread

we’ll split the two for one meal

we’ll find a hot sauce we both can stand

and in a single bite

I’ll bet we'd taste the real deal

©2007 Where’s My Jetpack?

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Catch the Wind

If you watch the Sunday morning news shows, you'll note that the breaks seem to be filled with spots for giant corporations like Boeing, USB, Dow, Archer Daniels Midland, AT&T, etc. They always seem to follow the same formula. Show a bunch of multi-ethnic people all around the world, staring or smiling at the camera while a narrator talks in vague terms about what this company does. Usually, they are "changing the world, one person at a time" or some such drivel. When the :30 or :60 is over, you're still pretty clueless about what the company does.

But thrown in the mix this morning was this :45 spot for GE. This is the sort of commercial that elevates the art of commerical making. I looked up the lyrics and it seems the catchy song is "Catch the Wind" from 60s hippie folksy Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. The spot tells a cute tale with a great finish while explaining what GE is trying to do.

Don't know much about Donovan, but as far as him "selling out," this isn't nearly the kind of sellout you see from other musicians (Aerosmith, anyone?) and it's sure a far cry from the Stones Rice Krispies jingle of 1964. (Yes, click that Stones link. It's worth a laugh.) My guess is the hippie Donvan said "Wind Power? Yeah - I can get behind that. GE, you say? Wow. They've got lots of cash, don't they? I'm in."

Other cool tunes that were used in ads: Spoon's Jaguar contribution

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I Got Suckered - and It Was Good

As a practitioner of the Black Arts of Advertising and Marketing, I like to consider myself immune to most tricks of the trade. I like to think my cynicism makes me smarter than the art directors and copywriters out to make me laugh and make me buy. Occasionally, I get blindsided.

So I'm flipping through the pages of my new Rolling Stone (great cover story on Parker and Stone of South Park) and I get to the last few pages where they stick all the ads, and I say to myself, "Ha! Someone seriously screwed up at press time. All these pages got printed upside down." Couple seconds later I realize, still viewing the pages upside down, that every one one of them features a MINI Cooper.

Brilliant execution by Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners on this flip issue, called Really Hot Metal Magazine. Each page (8 in all + the cover) is witty and fun, featuring the Starsky & Hutch fashioned "Hammer" character and his sidekick, Coop, a talking car. The whole Hammer & Coop campaign has been ridiculed by industry wags. David Kiley, writing at Yahoo!, said "The problem for me is that the homage to the 1970s-early '80s TV action shows is too ham-fisted. It tries to be funny, like a weak Saturday Night Live sketch that goes on too long. The British voice inside the MINI is especially unfunny and unengaging. He says "bloke" and "bloody" a lot. But the writing in the serials is awful."

Maybe the webisodes are a little stupid, but nothing is as unfunny as SNL these days, Mr. Kiley. (Lorne Michaels - please retire.) Agreed on the British voice. But I can tell you, the print stuff works. More flip issues are reportedly coming to MAXIM, Stuff, and Blender. I'm guessing MINI is targeting men's magazines with a parody of a 1970s action hero to counter the widely held perception that the Cooper is a chick car.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Throw Up a Little in Your Mouth

What makes William Shatner so great is that he knows he's making you cringe, which makes him pile the cheese on in sloppier, drippier globs. While no match for MTLB's Spock Bilbo Baggins find, I encourage you to waste the next minute and a half on the Canadian freakshow known as Bill.

As all you would be swordsmen get set for the weekend, hosing down your nether regions with Axe or Lynx or Old Spice or CKin2U, listen to Bill's wisdom. He's wearing puka shells, so you know you can trust him. The Shat is the Shit.

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SoCal Media

Click for bigness.

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Resist the Onslaught

Twentysomethings, this is your moment. According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, you are about to be hit, and hit hard, with a campaign aimed right between your eyes - and up your nostrils. Calvin Klein is coming for you. He knows who you are. He knows where you live. And he's betting big bucks that you want to wear CKin2U. He's so sure of himself, he even named the new fragrance as if he were texting you a message on your cell.

Tom Murray, President of Calvin Klein, is about to get all viral on you, 'cause that's the buzz on the street. (At least that's the buzz he picked up from people who know other people who have eyes and ears on this buzzy street.) He's got a site called whatareyouin2 (that I won't link for him) that invites film students to submit shorts answering the question, "What are you into?" Supposedly patterned after MySpace, I am counting on all film students to make this "online community" a giant flop. Cue the crickets.

About the new fragrance, Murray says, "We have envisioned this as the first fragrance for the technosexual generation." That's right. He called you a technosexual. The press kit for CKin2U has technosexual lines like this: She likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. It’s intense. For right now.

You smell delicious. Slap me.Like all fragrances, the bottles of his and her CKin2U will hold the promise of hot, sweaty love. I know you're smarter than this. (You know that the only sex that comes in a bottle is tequila.) I know you won't sign up on the Calvin Klein site and submit your short film. I know you don't want to be part of an online community that has as its centerpiece a bottle of perfume. I know you don't want to be called a technosexual. That sounds like a serial masturbator staring at online porn all day, or someone having sex with robots.

Advertisers: If you're going to do the social media thing, you can't be this stupid. Wake up and smell the sweat-soaked blog entries of your target market.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Now is the Time on Sprockets When We Dance

In my never ending quest to satisfy my addiction to bad Hungarian TV ads, I found this 13-second art film from the 1970s, advertising something called Chemotox. (OK, "art film" is a stretch.) Chemotox. How very Eastern European sounding and Cold War scary. The packaging on that can is so minimalist and subdued! I need a translator. I guess it's a bug spray. I bet the woman is saying, "Don't let giant mutant radioactive roaches ruin your government subsidized shag pad. Kill them dead with Chemotox." Jazzy music bed suggests the action will commence shortly in the love shack of leopard print woman.

Previously in Hungarian TV

Thanks again to Chimp for unearthing this curious art form.
Note to the fine Citizens of Hungary: I'm not laughing AT you - I'm laughing WITH you.


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Statements on States

The banner at top, featuring the late MAJ Mike Adams, American hero and NASA test pilot, is a fun game for me. This week, Mike is outside Sperryville, VA, a tranquil little hamlet just far enough from Washington to feel like the country, but still northern enough to probably be considered NoVa by the rest of Virginia. (Thanks, Rick D.) Sperryville is also the home of Oasis CD, the independent artist's best friend. (That off the cuff mention means giant discounts for me, right Oasis?)

Anyway, blog traffic from the Commonwealth has been up these days and that got me to wondering if Virginia still uses the old "Virginia is for Lovers" tourism slogan. So I checked out their website and sure enough, that old slogan is still around, and it still works. Simple, mysterious, playful. They haven't changed the heart or the font in years.

And so, being the student and unqualified critic of advertising that I am, I trolled some other state tourism sites to see what other parts of the country are doing.

Ohio: So Much to Discover. OK. If you say so, but it sounds like the last ditch effort that wasn't going to offend anyone. Generic and boring. Could apply to any state. Why not, "Ohio: Not As Bad as You Thought." And what's with the star dotting the "i"? I liked Ohio the few times I've driven through it, especially that valley around Wheeling on the Ohio river.

Texas: It's Like a Whole Other Country. Cute. Reminds me of the joke, "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent Texas and live in Hell." But seriously, this one isn't bad and the leather jeans tag is a nice touch. (Texans are fiercely proud of their state and they will kill you if you don't like it.)

Wyoming: Forever West. If I'm not mistaken, that's the same cowboy imagery from the Wyoming license plate. Nice branding. And the committee gave this direction to the slogan writers: Find a nice way to say "empty, wide open and populated by scary loners."

I Love NY. More a local boast than a tourism call, New York knows it is a destination. The tourism board's challenge is to get people into the rest of the state, not just the city. Never liked this one, but at this point it's a fixture.

California: Find Yourself Here. This one works OK. Simple design, double-meaning slogan. Still, I'd have gone with, "LA is a Hell Hole. See the rest of the State."

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Individual Results May Vary

Saw this shady Flash banner on the homepage of the LA Times website. The "Before" triptych shows three women aging less than gracefully. Then, BOOM! With a wipe of some lotion they are transformed (like magic!) into much younger, cleaner skinned models. From 60 to 30 in just a few applications.

The vertical text reads: "Simulated Imagery"

No kidding.

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*

*From Seller in the Cellar, a forthcoming song on a forthcoming project.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Locals Only Part II

From the couple who name their mortgage business "AAAAA Mortage" so they can be first in the Yellow Pages under the "mortgage" heading, to the hair salons with puns for names, like "The Best Little Hairhouse" and "Shears To You," you just can't stifle the often awful creativity of the small business owner who can't afford an ad agency. Just as everyone's a creative, everyone's also a witty brand-builder, often with some pretty cheesy results.

I've been meaning to grab a picture of the local landscaper who does a few yards in my neighborhood. He laughed when I asked if I could take a picture of his truck and told me, "Kids don't get it." I think he's probably wrong. The ones who likely don't get it are the old folks who hire him. Actually, this slogan could go both ways. It could help or hurt, depending on a tricky calculation that compares the viewer's PC Sensitivity Quotient (PCSQ) against their Middle School Humor Index (MSHI). My personal MSHI is pretty high, often cancelling out my PCSQ.

Earlier in "Locals Only"

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Outside is the New Inside

While visiting one of the ad blogs I like to look in on, I was served up with a Google AdSense "contextually targeted ad" for an advertising agency in my locale. First of all, I'm not sure that's a very effective strategy; placing ad agency ads on ad blogs. It seems that most ad blogs are read primarily by industry insiders, not people looking for an agency. So you know my IP and you know I'm on an ad blog. Guess that means I need an advertising agency somewhere near my IP! Anyway, this agency's clever line, carefully crafted to get me to click on their ad, was the following incredibly original, completely believable pitch:

"We think outside the box to develop eye catching ad campaigns."

Wow. Really? You and about 395,000 other small to medium sized ad shops are all "thinking outside the box." I'll bet some of the big shops are using very similar concepts. With everyone "outside the box" now, maybe it's time we got rid of the whole "box" concept altogether?

There was never a box. You are not outside of it. No one is inside of this nonexistent box. The box is gone. It never was. It was in your own cardboard box of a head. Stop referring to this imaginary box.

If by "box" you mean unoriginal ideas, then fine. There are only original ideas and clichéd ideas - and "thinking outside the box" is about as clichéd as it gets.

You know that history repeats itself
What you just done so has somebody else

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Style & Luxury Above & Beyond

That's the "Edwin Toe Cap Croc" from the Cole Haan "Collection." Price: $1,200. A handsome shoe, no? No, I agree, it is not. It should be worn exclusively by independently wealthy diplomats from far away countries. And likely is. Maybe some Wall Streeters or Midtown real estate investor types can pull off this look, but I'd be pretty damned embarrassed to be seen in $1,200 shoes.

But I obviously know nothing about footwear fashion, since I wear generic leather flip flops most days, and Vans® if it's cold enough. So this two-page inside cover ad struck me as I was browsing through the Sunday New York Times' "Play" magazine, dedicated to sports and style. The copy explains that this is the new "state of the art driving shoe created in collaboration with Nike Lab." Driving shoe? DRIVING SHOE? Wait...Nike Lab?

I am now in need of a computing shoe, a sitting and having a beer shoe, a Frisbee® shoe, a watching TV shoe, a mid-morning coffee shoe and a chips and salsa shoe. Maybe two pair of chips and salsa shoes, because the ones I wear with the medium salsa aren't quite right for those times I want to do the extra hot salsa.

Cole Haan needs to sell shoes; understood. But they've now invented the "state of the art" driving shoe. I just did a Google search for "driving shoes," (in quotes) and was presented with 107,000 results. I had no idea this market existed.

I'm tellin' ya, if you own shoes just for driving, you'd better be employed as a Formula 1 race car driver. I can put the pedal to the metal of your luxury sports car with my flip-flop and make it go just as fast. And my foot won't slip. Get a life, preppy idiot loser with too much money. They're laughing at you when you stop at the diner up the coast on your Sunday pleasure drive, wondering if you are an off-duty nurse.

Note to Frisbee, Vans and salsa makers: I accept gifts. (Size 10.5 to 11)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Analytics: Revealing a Sickness

On one of my other sites, there's a page that references "sex, drugs and rock and roll." This same page also contains the word "children" buried among 4,000 other words. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when people arrive at that page after searching "sex with children." Bunch of disturbed SOBs out there sitting at computers.

Here's yesterday's top five search terms that landed people at "Where's My Jetpack?" Saturdays are low traffic days, but people still need to find their jetpacks and crack cookies over the weekend. Also still popular: direct linking to the Land O' Lakes post via Mac forums and porn sites.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

You Stupid Kids...I Mean Voters

Say what you will about the ways the candidates are coming at us these days, but we've clearly evolved from our past excursions into political advertising.

Apparently in 1952, the team handling Eisenhower's campaign decided that the shallow population could be swayed by a horrific Disney-styled ad. The Eisenhower campaign had obviously discovered at this point that an annoying jingle repeated ad nauseum could get stuck in your head, subliminally telling you what to buy or for whom you should cast your vote. Note the parade of Ike supporters is devoid of any minority as they march in lockstep to the polls, past a booming industrial backdrop, smokestacks billowing postwar progress. (Wait, there might be an Italian guy in that parade, the pizza costume being the giveaway.) As you may know, Ike went on to win with ease. I hope it wasn't because of this crap. "Get in step with the guy who's hep..." Yeah. Will do.

WARNING: This song might get in your head and the author of Where's My Jetpack? will not be held responsible for that. You click "play" at your own risk.

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Everyone's a Creative

A team of guys showed up to my house to do some tree trimming. The lead guy who would do all the climbing and directing of the guys on the ground stood in the yard quietly looking up. He saw a canvas, and he knew exactly what it would look like when he was done. He excitedly conveyed his vision to me for approval and went straight to work once I said, "Sounds good." I had a couple of suggestions that he listened to and incorporated into his plan. The end result was just as he said it would be.

Everyone's an artist. I mean it. Everyone you know, no matter what they do for a living, has a creative side. The humorless lady from accounting might be a magician in the kitchen. The truck driver might be a master woodworker. And it's not just the obvious things like cooking and woodworking. Watch how someone does a task as mundane as stacking the dishes in the rack once they're clean. The end result of balanced glasses, pots and plates could pass as a temporary modern art installation.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise to creatives in the ad industry when everyone, from the account guy to the office manager to, yes...The Client...wants to have a say in what you're doing. I can't lay out a magazine ad, design a logo, write a press release or develop a web page without someone from outside of the creative department saying, "It needs more this," or "It needs less that." If I'm not careful, I can get pissed off, but lately I've been trying to listen. The account guy who wants a bigger, louder call to action may not get what he wants, but I'll still listen.

Most of the creatives I know keep some sort of artistic endeavor reserved for after work hours. How many musicians do you know in the ad world? Yep. How many copywriters are writing a book? Yep. How many designers paint, draw or shoot pictures on the side? Yep. To them I say, "Keep it up." If the only creating you do is for money, with a bunch of other people involved wanting a say in what you're trying to create, you'll end up frustrated.

Now look around your office. That dork from IT who smells funny and laughs too loudly at stupid things? What do you bet he's a wizard with a bottle of Elmer's and some popsicle sticks?


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