Friday, August 31, 2007

Hablamos Español - and English Too

Here's Earl Stewart, airing Spanish language ads on English speaking TV stations in South Florida for his Toyota dealership, attempting to appeal to the large Hispanic population of South Florida. Earl has seriously pissed off a bunch of English-Only types here, but he's loving the exposure as he's just interested in selling Toyotas. Expect to hear more about Earl in the future.

I don't know. We're living in the Great Melting Pot (which never really melts, it just lets its separate ingredients congeal in their separate corners), or as I prefer to think of her, Babylon.

You have to expect this, I think. After all, in addition to English, the California Driver's License exam is given in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

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Link Laundry

Some T-shirt shout-outs for some stuff I've been wasting time on this week when I was supposed to be working.

James has been pondering Hell in the heat of a poop-filled Dallas backyard.

It's a small blog world. Jordan's uncrowned king of design bloggers is Ahmad Humeid. Visit his blog at 360East. Also visit his company, Syntax.

The Assimilated Negro is moving on up, having been published at HuffPo and the new EbonyJet.

A local radio guy, whose station IDs and creative productions are stellar, is on the ground floor of some new Web 2.0-ish endeavor, complete with "beta" underneath. Good place to find blog ideas.

Kym gave a full three-weeks notice and her boss still went all vindictive psycho on her.

Copyranter is under the impression that Campari is trying to use Salma Hayek's breasts to sell liquor. Always reading into things.

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A Holiday IM with Macy's

So, Macy’s, what’s with the red star?
Our founder, Rowland Hussey Macy, had a red star tattooed on his hand as a 15 year old boy. He was a sailor, and sailors like tattoos. The red star is a symbol of success. It has been our corporate symbol since 1858.
It was also the symbol of Soviet-era communism.
It was our symbol first.
One of the earlier terrorist groups, the Red Army Faction of West Germany, used the red star as their symbol.

It was our symbol first.
Labor Day is a big deal with Macy’s.
Yes. It always has been.
You mean it always has been since maybe around the time of the Russian Revolution?
What are you getting at?
Labor Day is all about socialism.
No. It’s about honoring America’s workers.
OK. I’ll give you that one. Still.
Your new ads for your Labor Day Sale.
Is it coincidence that you have red, white and blue debris falling from the sky and being trampled underfoot by the red star of Socialism?
Very astute. Must be one of those tattooed, leftist designers. I'll have a word with our ad people.
Good luck with that, and thanks for your time. God Bless America.
Indeed. Long may she wave.

If you believe this IM conversation actually took place, please, as a good US American, send some maps to South Africa and the Iraz, such as.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Orgy Cologne

Click for better view.

And the gift from the gods was carried into the city walls on a large cart, pulled by three score men. Before it had reached its designated place, the men of the city had tapped its contents and were seen pouring it upon themselves liberally, splashing it upon their faces.

Perhaps it was the green glint of the bottle, many wondered afterward, that had caused the women of the city to discard their clothing, somehow spellbound by a strange trick of light.

But those who had witnessed and partaken of the orgies that ensued knew differently. It was the perfume of Bacchus which had worked upon the women so strangely, many of them joining together to ravage a single man.

And Bacchus smiled from on high, saying, "I shall send the men of earth more of the heavenly aromas, for I see that it makes them pleased. And I will call it by the names Axe, Tag, Lynx and Old Spice. And its effect shall be thus; that the women of earth shall ravage them."

And so it was.

Image via.

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Open Mic Night - Posthumous Perpetual Popularity

Stepping aside again this week and bringing a dead guy to the mic.

It's always been considered cool to say you like Hendrix, and if you asked your average Misfit Mallrat wearing a Hendrix T what his favorite Hendrix song is, he's just as likely to say, "Purple Rain" as he is "Purple Haze."

I've heard some Hendrix bootlegs, and some of it is truly dreadful, unlistenable noise, but for all the hype, Hendrix is not overrated like say, Clapton. (Oh, yes...I said it.) I'm not sure what song of his HASN'T been used in advertising at this point, but the catalog must be dwindling.

The number presented here is why I like Hendrix. He played it at Woodstock. Up until now, I had always known it as simply "Instrumental Solo." I learned in researching this post (I make every effort to blog responsibly and try to get my facts straight) that the number is called "Villanova Junction Blues." It will never leave my iPod. It has, for lack of a better word, a real groove.

It's up in the top of the sidebar until next week's Open Mic Night music replaces it.

Archived Open Mic Night Music is found here.

Super Bonus Extra Extravaganza

Found this video at YouTube of the same performance. Not nearly enough camera attention is paid to the man's hands, but the video shows how effortlessly he played, calmly directing his band without the distorted guitar faces (G.E. Smith anyone?) and needless posturing (name any rock guitarist) of so many lesser axemen. I know he did the play-the-guitar-behind-the-head thing and other grandiose showman tricks of the trade, so maybe he was just tired this day. Other finds on YouTube reveal that he never played the song the same way twice. Audio is much better in the MP3 in the sidebar.

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Logo Needed

I will pay you in eternal gratitude and thanks. Or maybe we can trade for a writing assignment.

The organization: Order of American 'Scapers in Service (O.A.S.I.S. - formerly the Orlando Area Society of Independent 'Scapers. A crude overview of what it is can be found here. Website overhaul coming soon - and likely built around your logo.)

As you may know, I did time on a landscaping crew, which was when I hatched this idea. The organization will seek to recruit landscaping businesses for membership. Membership requires that landscapers donate a single lawn a week to charity - anonymously if they can get away with it - to widows, the elderly, sick - you know. We'll also try to turn it into a corporate retreat for fat executive teams who want to hang out in Orlando and find out what real work is all about. Team building exercise and all that - but with lots of sweat. When the workday is done, you get to go to Disney or Universal. We will not be held responsible for death by heat exhaustion, severed appendages, burns. etc.

I decided that keeping membership local was pretty limiting. Opening it up to the nation makes better sense. My original thoughts for a logo are literal and stupid - like a lawnmower moving across a map of the US. I'm not an artist. Colors used are up to you. Website can change to match whatever you come up with. The logo presented above was my lame attempt using the font "Punkass Bitch" and an old reel-style mower. It's pretty sucky.

Questions or submissions to jetpacks (AT) gmail (dot) com.

Oh - and if you could - I really want it to "pop," ya know?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Damnit, Jim! I'm a Doctor, Not an Artist

Only two days left to see the Shatner Show in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Uppercase Gallery is featuring the Shatner-inspired works of dozens of artists who created some - um - interesting homages to their muse. Click on the artist links in the sidebar to see their stuff. The LEGO™ bust of Shatner is being sold at the bargain price of $16,000. I assume those are Canadian dollars, so it's really only $15,083.22 USD. Sadly, I still can't afford to put that sculpture on my mantle, nor will I be able to get to Calgary before the show closes.

Guess I'll have to get the book.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Silverman Laughs at GAP Ads

Copyranter has been slamming GAP's use of celebrities in its ads, rightfully pointing out that this continued trend is not helping the retailer bounce back from lagging sales. (Never mind the failed RED campaign.)

But GAP recently used Sarah Silverman in a couple of ads. With a simple expression, Silverman turns the celebrity game on its ear. Can't find the actual ad, but this is the image used in one, which labels Silverman as "Comedian, Aspiring Supermodel." Click it for a better look. See another here.

If more of the celebrities used in these crappy GAP ads could do something besides the "Oops, you caught me in a candid moment, laughing and pretending not to be pretentious" pose, (Thank you, Forrest Whitaker & Steven Spielberg) or the "pensive and thoughtful regular person who wants to communicate to you" pose, GAP might get some mileage out of these ads. "Hey, Look! It's Chris Rock making a whacky face." I get it. He's a funny man. How about Chris Rock pretending to be a campy, super-70s fashion model? Or one of those hollow-cheeked skinny boys of the Dolce Gabbana variety? THAT would be funny.

I don't care that John Mayer wears the Sweater Vest, or that Lucy Liu wears the Little Black Sweater Dress, or that Liev Schreiber wears the Haberdashery Shirt. And judging from the pictures of these folks, they were pretty put out by having to come down to the studio to pose for GAP. At least Silverman had some fun on this shoot, giving the photographer a picture that simultaneously laughs at the vapid, heroine chic look of much of what passes for fashion photography while modeling the clothing admirably.

Granted, Silverman is a comedian and can get away with this, whereas Lucy Liu's publicist probably won't let her ham it up in this sort of fashion parody. Maybe GAP should stick to comedians.

GAP is in trouble, and throwing money at big celebrities isn't helping them. At least Silverman gave it a twist.

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Chicks Dig Stuffed Animals

Click for bigness and a better look at the cartoonish head. Copy reads: "Lee can change your image."

Rejected copy: "Tired of being seen as a pussy? Lee's new TestosteronePants® will let the ladies know you're a virile beast. King of her jungle."


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I'm Warning You

Ladies: You can wear these if you want. So can children. I'm talking to men. Guys, if you have these in your wardrobe, I'm guessing you work in new media and think you're really smart.

In three years, you will cringe at the memory of wearing these. You probably won't even admit it to your children.

Or maybe I'm just a laggard when it comes to fashion. Still, I can't see the appeal. And I can't ever see these on my feet.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tiger's Nike Hat Stitched to His Skull

Tiger Woods and his Link Calibre S Chronograph with Perpetual Retrograde Calendar. And his Nike hat.

But it's not the first time Tiger has worn this hat in ads for other things.

For details of this unique relationship, see this Forbes article.

Top ad scanned from the New York Times' quarterly T: Style Magazine, otherwise known as the Who's the Weirdest Designer/Stylist Contest.

Previously in Precision Timekeeping Instruments:
Never Seem to Find The Time

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh - YOU'RE The Reason for the Gridlock

Had I known today was the start of Lisa Nowak's hearing in downtown Orlando, I'd have stayed put at lunch.

Satellite trucks from every news outlet are tying up traffic as they bring you the sordid details of the soiled diapers. (Someone stop me before I alliterate again. Creative crutch.)

In Space, No One Can Hear You Pee
The Games Astronauts Play
Buy an Astronaut a Drink
Rocket to the Moon and Race Right Back

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You Rock, Dude

My advance apologies to any faithful readers who own a tie like this.

The guy who buys these ties is thinking, "Hey, man. Just 'cause I wear a suit doesn't mean I'm not a!" He's got a foot in both worlds and the kids in the office will respect him because he's a cool boss. He is the same guy who keeps a shiny pair of his and hers Harleys in the garage for Sunday rides in full leather tough-guy costume, headscarf mandatory. (Not a headscarf fashioned from a bandana, which is what a headscarf is supposed to be, but a pre-cut, pre-tied headscarf with a Harley logo on it.)

The kids in the office are thinking, "What a dork," or whatever kids call dorks these days.

Speaking of old rockers not being cool, check out Ross Halfin's excellently brutal synopsis of a recent Stones concert in London. "Dire...lifeless...dreadful...awful."

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Make it "Pop"

Why is it that when AEs are talking to graphic designers and art directors about an upcoming print ad, they usually ask for something that "pops"? It's their favorite art word - and yet it doesn't mean anything. Then they turn to the copywriter and reiterate how important it is that we "include a strong call to action." I think I'm going to write a call to action that says, "We call you to action!"

Hurry act now don't wait supplies are limited call now don't wait run don't walk log on to click on don't wait another day

And before some snide weasel comes along to tell me that advertising is not about art, it's about sales - thanks, I know.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting Down to Business

The Munsingwear Creative Brief (zing!) is handed to the art director and copywriter:

AD: They want us to highlight the "stretchy seat" of these underwear.
CW: So I guess it gives you lots of comfort and room?
AD: Yeah, not constricting. Let's you move without binding or hindering daily activity.
CW: How about a man riding a horse in his underwear?
AD: What? Are you gay? Please!
CW: Just trying to think here, man. OK, how about a man doing some acrobatics, like tumbling or trapeze?
AD: OK, you're on to something there, but still, too faggy.
CW: Hurdles? Pole vault? Discus?
AD: No, no, no.
OK. Thinking...
AD: I've got it! Wrestling! With another man!
CW: I don't know. That seems sort of...
AD: What?
CW: Oh, I don't know. Queer?
AD: You're such a homophobe. Write the copy. I'm going to scout for models at the Y.

Previously in questionable underwear ads of yesteryear.


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Everyone's an Expert - Just Ask 'Em

Michael Estrin of iMediaConnection wanted to know what I thought about the ROI of infotainment, of all things. So I told him.

I've also got an article up there about how to keep your coming corporate vidcast from sucking, if you must do the corporate vidcast thing.

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Open Mic Night - Opening the Mic

An Open Mic Night host who doesn’t share the mic is not really hosting an open mic night, but is instead subjecting you to his or her own creations ad nauseum. I have been guilty of this practice in previous open mic night posts and will now step aside for a week and treat you to a true master of the mic, Sylvester Stewart.

If you’ve ever tapped your foot to a Red Hot Chili Peppers* song; if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Wow, Prince has got real presence,”; or if you’ve ever appreciated how Aerosmith is so much funkier than other traditional rock acts, then you owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Stewart.

I first heard this song as a narrow-minded little rocker kid, when a much more musically adventurous friend found it in the back of a bin at a seedy used record store on a dirty side street in Frankfurt, Germany, almost a decade after the song had been popular. In it I heard everything I liked in rock; prominent bass, an unapologetic attitude of self-assurance mixed with laid-back cool, and the ability to bend a single sung syllable into a contorted and drawn-out display of passion.

This is one of those songs that will never leave my iPod: Sly and the Family Stone’s "If You Want me To Stay." I would recommend you crank it up very loud. You can even unplug the headphones or earbuds and let your office mates jam with you. I would never suggest such a thing for my own music.

Find it at top in the sidebar until next week’s song replaces it.

Archived Open Mic Night music is found here

*They covered the song, but not nearly as well as the original.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Day the Blog World Stood Still

And it shall come to pass in those days that the scribes who favor the Search Beast will not find the Beast’s servers, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 2There will be no scrolls of wit and disdain penned during these days by the scribes who esteemed the Spot of Blog.

3And those who dwell in the gray and dreary cubicles, who seek to shun their tasks in favor of the mockery of the scribes, shall not find them, for the Beast’s servers will be laid low. 4They will seek William of Logo, and he shall not be found. They will seek James the Ponderer, and he shall not be found. They will seek the Ranter of Copy from the Great City, and even he shall not be found. And all their thoughts will be vanity.

5And the scribes who hold favor with the Pad of Type, and they who make their beds with the Press of Word, shall laugh and scorn the Beast’s followers to derision, calling out with a loud voice, crying, 6“Woe unto you, fools and charlatans! For your words are as dust, floating in the clouds, where none can hear them and no one shall heed them! 7For you have followed the Beast unto ruin, and your scrolls no one shall read!”

II Blogmentations 4:1-7

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Embrace the Suck

Bad writing + bad voiceover = bad commercial.

Thanks to a local radio guy who forwarded me the MP3, I can now share with you the pain I endure as I hear this spot about four times a day. I'm a sadist that way, I know. But you'll love it. Trust me.

See if what I told you last week about this horrendous commercial isn't true. Listen as Michelle and Zack discuss their horrible financial situations and how Patriot Financial was able to help them with a mortgage.

Can't you tell that Michelle and Zack are almost sure to default on their new loans?

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Face It: There are Too Many Social Options

Got this auto IM this morning from Facebook. I was apparently invited to join by a colleague.

I'm on MySpace in two places. I'm on LinkedIn. I've got Skype. I signed up for Twitter, but in order to put it on this blog I'd have to change my template, which would be a pain given all the mods I made to this template. I'm on AdGabber, a service of Ning. I've got 4 separate screennames on AIM. I get email on Google, Yahoo!, my local provider at home and two different work accounts. I also have dormant accounts at LiveJournal, GarageBand, PureVolume and a few more. I'm signed on to a few forums and stay updated on too many blogs. I just don't want to keep track of one more social media hotspot. I don't care what you're doing 24/7. Nor should you care what I'm doing.

Can we leave some places for the high school & college kids? Must we invade every place and turn it into another noisy midway of carnival barkers, driving the kids elsewhere again? Aren't you guys connected enough? I think some of you would die if you unplugged.

(And I will never play in Second Life. My first life is busy enough.)

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Virginia is for Thugs

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is scrambling to adjust their new campaign, Live Passionately, a sub-message to the "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan, which has been in use since 1969.

Seems the heart symbol made by models in many of the ads is also the symbol favored by the notorious Gangster Disciples, a Chicago based gang.

Full story is here>>>

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Your Company Blog Bites

But fret not, corporate honchos interested in tapping into The Conversation; Bossman's team of Rockstar Change Agents are here to push that envelope.

If you click it, it will grow.

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Giuliani's Speechwriters Brainstorm Another Crowd Pleaser

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Stop With Your Stupid Target = "Blank"

If I'm clicking on a link that leaves your website, then it's perfectly fine for you to want to keep the page I was on displayed in a separate browser instance. I may not have finished what I was reading on your site and following a link that exits your website may mean that I never make it back to your site.

But if you're linking me to other pages of your website, I don't need a separate browser instance for each click. That's not only dumb, it's rude and annoying. Almost as bad as those jerks who won't let you hit the back button on your browser after you land on their homepage. "Haha! We got you now! You're staying on our site!" Wrong, I'm hitting the home button and making sure to avoid your site from now on.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Hot Enough for Ya?"

Ah, the boring weather/sports conversations in the elevator with people you don't know. I just put on a gameshow host voice and say with a cheesy smile, "Yes. It certainly is! And how about those Mets?"

Bad segue alert!!!

Speaking of the weather, Bryant Heating and Cooling apparently found a bunch of money to throw at some CGI, featuring their mascot Bryantman doing battle with the evil Scorcher.

Never was into comic books. I was more of a Mad and Cracked kid. But this is pretty good. I mean, how do you sell Heating and Cooling? It's for hot weather and cold weather. What are you gonna do, show some happy family keeping cool or warm indoors? Boring. Why not play it up in a fashion that will have people remembering your name? And of course, as is now advertising law, there's an accompanying microsite for the kids, where you can download PDFs of coloring pages.

You can catch the winter version of this comic book theme here, where Bryantman battles Bone Chiller, who's got this pretty cool (ha!) Glam-Punk thing going on.

No idea on the agency and no, I'm not being paid to say nice things about Bryant.

Agency is MarcUSA who prove with their website that if you have to do the Flash thing on your agency site, you can do it differently than the now-too-trendy "just TRY to find our links" style.

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Open Mic Night: Typeface Edition

After the events of last week’s open mic night edition, I found myself in Florida, looking for work as a writer while I made some quick living cash as a member of a landscaping crew. It was a small operation, and we basically just maintained the really nice yards of really nice homes. We'd do about 20 yards a day. It was easily the most satisfying job I’ve ever held.

I fell in love with riding a mower like this, and likened it to a sport. You’re standing on this one-wheeled platform cruising through the St. Augustine grass and running around with a weed eater, an edger and a blower making lawns look beautiful. If the lawn had hills and sharp turns, all the better, as it felt like some sort of offroad race track. It's a great workout too. What added to the satisfaction of the job was this weird sense of accomplishment when a yard was done. It was production by committee, but much different from how it works in an agency or a studio. No one is going to say, “No, I think you should mow it this way,” or “Can we get a sharper edge on that curb?” When a job was done, it was done, and everyone knew it. Then off we’d truck to the next nice home in one more identical suburb.

Of course, mowing lawns doesn’t pay well, and eventually I found a “real” job, but not before I observed some things during the summer of '02 as a ‘scaper, which worked themselves into a song recorded at home. It's merely a demo and doesn't need any production critique. I'm fully aware of the many areas in which it sucks. Guitar was straight into the computer. Drums are canned. It’s called "Time’s New Romans" and is found in the top of the sidebar until next week's edition replaces it. Lyrics are here.

I’ve got plans to make this the title track of my fourth CD, which is sort of getting way ahead of myself, as albums 1 through 3 aren’t even produced yet. See the companion website here.

Archived Open Mic Night Music is found here.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What About Bob?

This is Bob. He's running for President. I don't know why these guys crop up every four years, but they always do. Is it guys in their retirement years who've just had enough? Is it senility? Dementia? Just plain pissed off?

Bob sure looks pissed off. He reminds me of one of those guys who's so mad at the direction the country has taken that he'll fly an upside down flag on his garage door and then confront the police when they show up to see why he's on the roof wearing a gas mask.

I'm sure Bob's a nice guy. I like his simple "Bob for President" approach. He took out a half-page ad in my local paper today.

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Testing the Power of Social Media

If you have a Digg account, do me a small favor and Digg this story. Trying to rattle some cages at HBO and prove to them that the Internet is Big and Huge.

It's in response to HBO's cancellation of that controversial and unorthodox show on Sunday nights, which I thought was excellent.

read more | digg story

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Cutting off the Conversation

Here’s the formula for the new New Media website.

Create an idea surrounding user generated content. Cite YouTube as your proof that this will work. Make a logo. Put the word “beta” under the logo. Get together an experienced management team. Gather venture capital and a board of advisors. Launch with as much press as you can garner, “seed” comments on forums and blogs, monitor buzz and make comments on blogs where people are badmouthing you.

Bill posted about ExpoTV, which I had to see. ExpoTV contains what it calls "short, unbiased, consumer-generated videos of products and services." Here we see Hunted339 talking about Axe Bodyspray. Hunted339 tells us, “This smells soooooo good.” Awesome testimonial, Hunted339. I'm on my way to CVS now for a case of it.

Prediction for ExpoTV: You will all be looking for jobs soon and your investors will wonder where they went wrong. I can tell you. With the promise of paying your video uploaders “up to $10,” you are encouraging less than honest reviews of products. What kind of money can I make if I get on your site and say, “This Ford has been nothing but hassles from day one, and I’ll never buy another Ford again.”? My guess is not much. Why am I going to believe some paid amateur reviewing a product? (And reviewing it very poorly.) I know, I know. It's still in "beta." You've got some "issues" to work through "going forward," but you are "confident" that "this model" will succeed as you help "empower" consumers.

Here's the only part you got right: people love to see themselves on TV. They will upload videos of themselves. And they will scramble like hungry squirrels if you hang a dollar in front of them for that video.

This is not where advertising is heading – and if it is, we’re closer to Idiocracy than I thought.

Prediction: A defender of ExpoTV will make a comment on this post. That’s part of the new New Media. If they don’t, expect that venture capital to dry up even faster.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beachin' It, Federal Style

Nice to get away, if even for a few hours. It's an old story, but we went there again today. Price is now $3 per vehicle occupant over the age of 16. So, it cost us $9. You gotta love this country.

Peace and pondering to CR and The Arrow Shooter as they vacate to sit on a rock.

And please, if you can't get away, at least Unplug.

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Rolling Stone Goes for Tween Girl Audience

Thanks a lot, RS. I needed this thing in my home.

You can't be all things to all people. Don't tween girls have their own magazines? This is some serious Seventeen or Tiger Beat material. Have you found your core audience dwindling, Rolling Stone? I can tell you why!

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's Hard to See When Your Head's Up Your Butt

If the rumors are to be believed, HBO will not be renewing the cult hit John From Cincinnati, which is a big letdown for this cultist. The pundits, bloggers and people who actually make a living prognosticating about such important matters all predicit the axing of this show by HBO, just as the subscription network did to David Milch's other creation, Deadwood.

I don't watch too many shows religiously, but I've really enjoyed this one. HBO brass are looking at Nielsen ratings, which only reflect the raw numbers for a show that is just 9 weeks old. They aren't measuring loyalty or the fact that those who watch this show often watch it again just to pick up the very intriguing and well-written dialog. I've likened the conversational interplay in this show to modern Shakespeare; it's just twice as smart as anything else out there. I'll be the first to admit that the show has a few really, really bad actors, but they're canceled out by a few really, really good ones.

It's mysterious, hard to follow and it has a huge WTF factor, which your average American doesn't want to to be bothered with. They're more interested in American Idol and other assorted trash. "Show us humliation! Show us people eating worms!"

HBO knew when they launched this show that the audience would be small but loyal. If they do cancel, I'll be giving Showtime serious consideration. And don't you know HBO will be sure to release the whole season on DVD. And then they'll scratch their heads when it sells well.

That's how we do it in IB.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Your Weekend Water Safety Warning

Communications major's creation? Community College production? Homemade demo reel?

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Friday F*ckin' Off

In the spirit of Bill's Weekly WTF and Mark's Link Haze, here's some weird stuff to wile away the hours in your cube while you wait for the whistle to blow, signaling the end of another work week - with you no better prepared for retirement.

Straight Cash Homey: The guy who brought us the fake Drew Bledsoe blog, TonyHomo, is now collecting pictures of people in jerseys. I don't know why. Vaguely funny, but how long can it last?

He's a mysterious and minor character on NBC's The Office, but he writes a pretty funny blog. Check out Creed Thoughts and gaze with wonder at the amount of comments on each post. Network comedy writers have the sweetest jobs.

They've got scissors, scanners, and access to stacks and stacks of their grandparents' magazines. The people of LiveJournal's Vintage Ad Community are hard at work wasting my time.

Married to the Sea has apparently exhausted their supply of 19th Century illustrations and have a new look that is best described as 1970s Sunday School Clip Art. It's weird when a comic rebrands, but it's just as twisted-witty as before.

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Relevance: It's a Beautiful Thing

I know we can't control the idiots, but I'd encourage all bloggers to delete comments that have NOTHING to do with your post. These neo-spammers take the time to get past your word verification thingy, and yet they still give you their generic pasted bullshit like:

"Nice blog. I really like it. Please visit my blog."

I understand that one of the ways to drive traffic to your site is to comment on other blogs, but you can't treat other blogs as bulletin boards for your own blog or website. Say something that actually pertains to the post or contributes in some way to the conversation. Quit being stupid, please.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just Out of Reach

I don’t remember what agency art director introduced me to Design Within Reach, the very cool catalog for very out of reach furnishings, but they’ve teamed up with one of my favorite American inventions, the Airstream trailer. DWR is for people who don't want to be seen slumming at Target for Michael Graves stuff. And can afford not to. I suppose they are the same people paying multiple millions for a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

I’ve always loved Airstream (proven by these CD cover art mockups for yet to be produced music) and have this dream of owning one someday. In fact, I'd like to drive a 40-foot Airstream motorhome pulling a 40-foot Airstream trailer in some sort of 80-foot decadent display of American streamlined coolness. Maybe I’ll settle for a Jeep Wrangler pulling this little DWR Airstream.

But at $50K, DWR’s Airstream will cost about twice as much as the Jeep.

If you're still wanting one, or if you just like to look, here it is.

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Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy

Trivia: Title of this post stolen from what movie and uttered by what actor? Oh, nevermind. Google has taken the fun out of trivia.

This one's for one of England's most successful exports to the US. The Chimp Messiah ranks up there with the Spice Girls or Wham!

Actually, no. He's more in the league of The Office or Ali G. Read his blog and send him treats. He eats the same food as you do.

Click it.
Click it good.


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Open Mic Night: Headed South Edition

Florida is the destination of choice for many a homeless man, and that’s the subject of this edition of Open Mic Night. A few months after kissing off the Ad Club, (see yesterday’s post) I had another bout with integrity.

My boss, who struggled in vain to land new accounts and relied on old friends who remembered him as a 2nd string quarterback at the local shitty college to bring him business, was pushing me to pad my time sheets. Of course he wasn’t so dumb that he’d come out and say it that way, but the implication was clear. He hated to see any time billed to the company, but the fact of the matter was there simply wasn’t enough business to account for all of my time. I was learning how to take a ridiculously long time to do very easy assignments and then bill that time to clients. I was learning that going through magazines or playing in Photoshop was called "creative concepting" and that we had a billing code for that. I learned that if I just needed to get the hell out of the office to take a drive, I could bill that to someone as a video-shoot location scouting expedition. Finally, after yet another battle with him in his office over hours billed to the company, I said, “Thanks for the education,” and walked out.

In hindsight, that was kind of stupid. At the time, I was sure that a stand for what was right would all turn out fine in the end. It did, eventually, but not before the things in this song happened.

Taking you back to when rock was raunchy and rooted in the blues, many people hear Keith in this song, which is fine with me. It obviously needs the intro and bridge fills of someone like Luther Dickinson , Joe Perry, or even His Royal Badness, but I’m strictly rhythm; I can’t make it cry or sing. This is a demo version only, so don’t give me too much crap.

It’s called “Babylonian Blues.” It’s up in the top of the sidebar. Lyrics are here.

Archived Open Mic music is stored over here.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Branson Billboard Brouhaha

Or: Why I Don't Do Ad Clubs Anymore

I was once kicked off my local Ad Club board. We were affiliated with the AAF and did all the usual Ad Club stuff that the rest of them do; monthly luncheons with speakers, Addy Awards, and other self-congratulatory ego orgies. I was living in Springfield, Missouri at the time. To you big city dwellers, I know that’s a laughable place - flyover country - but believe it or not, Springfieldians are very proud of their area and actually look down on LA and NY.

Forty-five miles south of Springfield is Branson, Missouri, the hillbilly tourist town filled with unknown country artists, go-carts, miniature golf courses, real golf courses, funnel cakes and vacation timeshares. Branson had experienced an explosion of growth in the 90s that turned it into an out-of-control Mecca for blue hairs on tour buses and other aficionados of American tastelessness. Everyone was capitalizing on the sudden success, cracked wide-open by a feature on 60 Minutes. Springfield renamed their airport Springfield-Branson. One tiny town that neighbored Branson, called Lakeview, decided they’d be better known as Branson West. Highway 65, a well trafficked Missouri corridor and the main entrance to Branson, was sprouting new billboards every week, each new one more hideous than the last, with loud colors and hideous close-ups of washed-up has-beens and never-weres like Andy Williams, Tony Orlando, Yakov Smirnoff or John Davidson, staring down at you with gleaming, capped and bleached smiles.

And then along came a state proposition that recommended the eventual halt of new billboard construction. I liked the idea.

The Ozarks are really quite pretty, and that stretch of Highway 65 between Springfield and the Arkansas border was becoming (to me, anyway) an eyesore of crass commercialism. I'm no tree-hugger, but it was really out of control, enough so that I decided to flip off all my commercially minded colleagues and support the proposition publicly. Tipping the scales for me was the club telling me that our official position as an AAF affiliate was total opposition to the proposition. Tell me how to think or how to vote? Damn, you've just stepped all over the liberty we cherish in this country and awakened the revolutionary in me. So I wrote a piece for the newspaper that ran with my picture and the caption, “Jetpacks is a VP of the Springfield Ad Club.” It basically said, "We've got enough f-ing billboards now. Support Prop A." It ran in the local paper as well as in the Kansas City Star. It took the Kansas City AAF brass about ten minutes to call down to the local chapter and inform them that I was unfit to continue in my capacity on the Ad Club board, having just embarrassed them by using an AAF Club in my byline and mentioning that august organization in my article. I was now a traitor to the trade. But by that point, I was glad to be gone. Ad Club functions are generally just incestuous business card exchanges where the old divorced AE guys hit on the hot young AE girls. Oh, sure, they do some good with their annual contribution to the Ronald McDonald House or whatever, but by and large, it’s just a circle jerk and a chance to snipe about the local hot shop that always cleans up at the awards. Or if you’re lucky, a chance to land a job at that hot shop.

So, anyway, the proposition went on to be narrowly defeated. I’m sure if you drive that stretch of Ozarks highway today you’ll face a stacked and blazing gauntlet of cheap, ugly and loud billboards all shouting at you from the hills. There’s money to be made all around.

I’m never going to convince people like those on that ad club board that advertising can be more than loud calls to action and assaults on intelligence. It’s more than just dollars. It’s more than just buying more airtime than your competitor and bludgeoning the audience with increased frequency. But eventually - maybe even hopefully - over-saturation turns into backlash. Sometimes, one more billboard is one too many.

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No One Is Writing Down Your Number

Can we maybe have some guidelines for billboards? Like phone numbers. How often do people write down the numbers they see on billboards? My guess is not very often, even if that number is easy to remember, like this one for what appears to be a crisis pregnancy center hotline. We're trying to drive. Ditch the phone numbers. Websites are far easier to remember. And while you’re squeezing your web address on that billboard, I can save you some space: drop the "www." We all figured out about 10 years ago that if you have .com, .org, .biz or dot anything at the end, that means we can find it online.

I'm no art director, but I think I just made this billboard better.

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