Friday, November 30, 2007

Call Now. Operators are Standing By

Hey, radio copywriters, unless your 800 number is REALLY easy to remember, like 1-800-800-8000, then I don't want to hear it. And I really don't want to hear it three times in a row by some idiot announcer. I'm not writing it down. EVER. Not in the car (which is the only place I listen to the radio), nor even in my tool-shed when I'm an old man and I have a pencil or pen handy as I put the finishing touches on my invention that remotely tortures stupid radio copywriters, leaving no evidence that I was the one who did it. No one remembers your number. If your client is insisting that the phone number be included in the ad, tell them they are stupid and they need to find another writer.

Get a website. And get a URL that is easy to remember, And don't tell me "www" when you mention your URL. Idiots.

And why do all the stupid websites use a customer service stock photo of the beautiful operator who doesn't exist in any call center anywhere in the world?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Your Band's New Name

So, "Trevor and the Tornadoes" didn't work for the rest of the group? And no one liked "Three Word Phrase?" Google News is a great place to find a name for your new musical venture. These names were gleaned from Google headlines found this afternoon.

This is (for now) a regular Thursday feature of "Where's My Jetpack?"

  • Fractious
  • Mayor Affair
  • Teddy Bear Teacher
  • The Stagehands
  • Pipeline Fire
  • Fashion Dictators
  • The Salty Americans

Here are some earlier ones.
Here's some more
and some more
...and still more

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It Has Come to This

Not to be outdone by Oprah's jumping in for Obama, Hillary pulls out her own Star Gun.

Please. Someone, please. Make it stop.

For what it's worth, that's not even a fair fight. Streisand? Fully half the country hates her and finds her unelectable.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Church of Starbucks

I find Starbucks to be trendy and over-priced, and I just don't want to be a part of it. Sure, it's a great American success story, but enough already. My little suburb didn't need another one, but we just got another one about two blocks from an existing store. The few times I've ordered a cup of Starbucks coffee (in airports where it was the only option) I've asked for a small, black coffee. That tends to put a puzzled look on the faces of the Starbuckeroos, who pause and then ask, "Just a small, black coffee?"

Wieden & Kennedy put together a happy little campaign for the Coffee Monsters that invites us all to "pass the cheer" this holiday season. Here we have one of the four full-page ads taken out in today's New York Times Magazine promoting the notion of spreading good deeds via Starbucks. It works in conjunction with their oddly named website, It's Red Again. (A headier conversation about the new Starbucks stuff is going on over at Brand Autopsy.)

While not nearly as obnoxious as the effort by Sun Chips and their "Live Brightly" campaign last summer, I'm not going to let the coffee store that hypnotized a nation (and then the world) evangelize me into their cult of do-gooder coffee drones. You are selling coffee, Starbucks, not doing penance for driving all other coffee shops out of business. And anyway, if I do something nice, I'll do it anonymously. In secret. Far, far away from your website.

Besides, if some random dude in a mall hands you a cup of coffee, are you going to drink it?

Anon haters will henceforth be deleted. I have nothing against W+K. Just this campaign.

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So You Run and You Run to Catch Up With the Sun

I actually like the current Visa Signature ads featuring the "things to do while you're alive" lists. (As opposed, I suppose, to a "things to do after you're dead" list.)

Anyway, I made up my own.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Over at MultiCult Classics, High Jive posted a Leonard Pitts column that inspires this edition of "Where's My Jetpack?" the advertising comic strip that is usually about advertising, in this instance of the political variety.

Number 22 in the series.

The others are here.

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Vitalizes Body and Mind

Browsing through the collection of photographs at the New York Times store, I thought this one was interesting. Theodore Roosevelt in Chicago, 1915, passing under an ad for some energy drink.

There is nothing new under the sun. Of course, this was probably when it contained cocaine.

El click por mas grande

You know that history repeats itself - what you just done so has somebody else.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I Know! We'll Use Cavemen!

Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Wal-Mart, is apparently also the home of Fuse Fitness Center. While the Geico Cavemen remain somewhat popular, (created by the Martin Agency, who also landed the Wal-Mart account just before they stole my Frampton idea) the folks at Fuse figured they'd jump on the bandwagon.

But these are not your urbane, sardonic cavemen as created for Geico and then ruined by ABC. These are more or less just your average mulleted Ozark Neanderthals in sleeveless flannel shirts.

In many Arkansas towns, the boys just sew the sleeves back on come winter.

I sympathize with the creators of this ad. I used to have to deal with this crap when I was a TV writer/producer not very far from Bentonville. They wanted to do something "fresh" and "new" and "different" from all the other gym ads, but they had no budget, substandard production equipment, a guy from the gym who wanted to be on camera as spokesman, bad acting, extras (unpaid) overacting and a voiceover talent who brings the lifeless script just the perfect lifeless tone and inflection. And they had to shoot late at night when the gym was closed, (apparently without a light kit) so you can't even see the cavemen in the closing shot.

The total cost for producing this ad, including mullet wigs, was probably around $330.

But as far as getting the word out in Bentonville about Fuse, it's probably doing the trick. And they do address a good point - one reason people avoid gyms is to avoid the fathead muscle grunters you typically find in gyms.

And the spokesdude has been getting noticed at Wal-Mart, with people coming up to him saying, "Hey! Aren't you that guy from the gym?" He fakes a sheepish look as he hands them his card and says, "My boss is gonna kill me for offering this, but if you join today, I'll knock 10% off your membership fee."

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Red Scare for Black Friday


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So Many Symbols, So Little Time

Enjoy your holiday, Americans. The rest of you, keep working.

Clicking Enhances Size

Compared to the dour couple, I'd rather hang with these folks.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jeff Bezos: Visionary

Of course you have to respect the business acumen of the founder of Amazon, but before you get all excited about Amazon's new e-book reader, keep in mind Jeff Bezos was pretty excited about the Segway prior to its launch, saying, "You have a product so revolutionary, you'll have no problem selling it." I also recall him saying something along the lines of "They're going to have to redesign cities around this invention!"

The thought of “curling up on the couch with a good handheld e-book reader” just doesn’t cut it. So you’re on the beach with a great e-novel and you get to a good part and suddenly your “Low Battery” indicator goes on? Maybe it will turn into a nice toy for some Sharper Image-type catalogs, but e-books are not going to take off anytime soon. They've been forecast, prototyped and failed for years now, and no one is really that into them.

When I say, "Where's My Jetpack?" I'm not talking about e-book readers. I love technology, but I also have great respect for the old-fashioned ways. The printed word is here to stay. It requires no power source and goes with you anywhere. You can read it by firelight and set it down without turning it off. The only accessory you might need is a bookmark, and even that is not required. Just dog-ear the corner.

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Big Love for Soccer

(I'm sorry, Utahans, but I'm sure you're used to the Mormon jokes by now.)

Struck Creative out of Salt Lake City is responsible for defacing public property with their very creative hang tags on clothes by Calle, a brand doing what they can to make street soccer popular here in these States United. The idea is to affix the sticker to a crosswalk sign, thus declaring your love for street soccer while befuddling city officials, who are sure a terrorist group is planning something huge.

Calle ("street" in Spanish) has been played as long as there have been streets and balls. As promoted by Calle, the company, it combines elements of freestyle Frisbee® and Hacky Sack and has its own lexicon of hipness not unlike that of the skateboarding and snowboarding subcultures. My guess is it's probably pretty popular among stoners as well. And of course you can't just wear any old clothing to play calle; you should be decked out in shorts, Ts and hoodies with the Calle logo, which was originally the Partridge Family logo.

The founders of Calle tell their story here. I get the feeling they are leaving out the part that explains why they were in those foreign countries to begin with.

Pretty clever idea. Fairly unobtrusive guerrilla effort. But it's still against the law. And that's a sin.

Via 2wenty-Four

DISCLAIMER: Please, people. It's all in fun. I don't need the Army of Moroni here to tell me how insensitive I'm being. I'm just doing what I can to promote street soccer and Calle. I also recognize that a partridge is different from a pigeon. And that Mormons aren't polygamists anymore. And that HBO should be sued for reawakening that stigma in the minds of Americans. And that Mitt Romney stands just as good a chance as anyone else to become President. The Mormons also helped me trace my roots through their genealogy site. I say make some money, young Mormon entrepreneurs. Good on you.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Threat Level: Red

If I were a terrorist, (AND I'M NOT, Department of Homeland Security) I wouldn't go for water reservoirs, shopping malls or downtown skyscrapers. The way to cripple America is to unplug our cable. It's quite unsettling to lose contact with the outside world. No TV or Internet.

Tonight, no less than 8 trucks worked on a cable outage in my neighborhood. The three guys at lower right (who aren't doing anything) were slightly unnerved at my picture taking. One of them pulled out a camera phone and began shooting pictures of me, surely worried I was from the QC department.

I know - this is a great argument for the Dish Network and Verizon Wireless Internet.

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They Give Us Those Nice Bright Colors

The traditionalists, Ross Halfin among them, decry the advance of digital photography because, "It's about taking photos, not fucking around on a laptop and putting any old shit out and claiming you're a photographer... any idiot with a digital camera thinks they're a photographer."

I would agree that it is much harder to take a good photograph on film. Having played with film all of my life and now using digital, I prefer digital. I'm still learning. I'm not claiming to be a photographer, but I do enjoy "fucking around on a laptop and putting any old shit out."

These are from the weekend. The first is when I happened upon the Fighting Pink Shirts vs. the Illegal Immigrant Brits in a local soccer match. I like the action of the cleat to the groin - and the motorcycle in the parking lot in the background.

The second is just a nice contrast. When you envision Zep-Heads in the park, you don't generally picture them reading "Smart Money."

(Click 'em - they get bigger)

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Advertising: When You Only Want to Tell One Side of the Story

Joseph H. Durano, pictured here, has a tough job. As the Secretary of the Department of Tourism for the Philippines, he has to sell the Philippines as a tourist destination. So he does the obvious: golf, night life, beaches, lush landscapes, water sports and native culture.

Let's not forget Adventure - with a capital A.

From Lonely Planet:

  • The best time to travel is in the typhoon off-season from December to the middle of May.
  • Travelers are advised to avoid most of Mindanao, an island group in the southern Philippines, especially the Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and the Sulu archipelago, where ethnic and religious animosities fuel ongoing violence.

From the State Department:

  • The Department urges Americans contemplating travel to the Philippines to carefully consider the risks to their safety and security, including those due to terrorism.
  • Kidnap-for-ransom gangs operate in the Philippines. Many people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats, such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an obvious presence, or both.
I think maybe Durano's job is too wide-open. He has to make the whole country look like a tourist destination, when really, only a few places are. 7,107 islands is a fact, but only 800 of those are inhabited, and of those, you'd only want to visit a couple.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Diamonds or Pearls

Pardon the rant, but I'm getting fed up. I'm an undecided independent voter, and I resent the way that the media tries to sway my thinking. I expect that from the candidates, but not from what was once known as "the Fourth Estate."

It doesn't matter who he's interviewing, Leslie "Wolf" Blitzer always ends up a lapdog. He's been accused of being a Bush lackey, and now he's kissing Hillary's ass. He's much like Larry King. Whomever the polls say is hot, that's where his lips go. (Who names a lapdog "Wolf" anyway?)

It wouldn't be so bad if Leslie were not pretending to be a real journalist. He is, in reality, a talk show host with lots of giant TV monitors surrounding him. He calls this "The Situation Room."

When a debate is over, typically and predictably, all the candidate's spokeshacks and handlers crowd into a room and give one-sided interviews to the media. "Yes, I think Governor Richardson really came into his own tonight when he quoted John Lennon. People can sense in Governor Richardson a tough negotiator who isn't afraid to blah blah blah blah blah..." (Aside: Governor Richardson will be elected President when FEMA gets a call from Satan asking for assistance in dealing with the Blizzard of the Century that just hit Hell.)

But on CNN, they bring the Clinton spin doctors right into the studio with Grandstanderson Pooper and pretend as though they are "political analysts." James Carville gets to analyze a debate for the public when he is presently (he says he's not being paid) working for the Clinton campaign? Sitting with him is a former Clinton adviser, David Gergen. CNN, attempting to appease the right, throws in J.C. Watts, who is just thankful to still be considered relevant as he mumbles agreement with the other two.

I think I'm done with debate watching. At least on CNN. I think I'm done with the news altogether, because it's not the news. You can't tell entertainment from news, news from spin, spin from doctrine, gossip from fact, singers from anchormen, dancers from reporters. Is it any wonder so many people now get their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Hell, I think "South Park" tells it straighter and fairer than most of these networks anymore.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Satan's Claws

Nevermind the nativity scenes, we've got fatter fish to fry.

Poor Santa, now even the pagan symbols of this holiday (can I say "Holiday?") are under fire from the arbiters of offensiveness.

Time to reissue my greeting card.


Recipient assumes all responsibility for any merriness that Christmas may bring. WMJP is not liable to The Recipient or any third party whether in contract, warranty, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, for any lack of merriness including, but not limited to grumpiness, grouchiness, lethargy, sloth, greed, spite, envy, or other lack of Holiday Cheer no matter how it was induced, implied or otherwise brought about.

In no event will WMJP be liable for any type or degree of loss of Holiday Cheer or Christmas Spirit caused by any event beyond its control, including but not limited to government restrictions, natural disasters, terrorist acts, wars, riots, strikes and other Acts of God.

In no way is the conveyance of Christmas Greetings intended to endorse the ideals, practices, doctrines or theologies of any particular religion, living or dead. Any implied injury to or neglect of other December Holidays is purely unintentional and not the responsibility of WMJP.

In the event of a dispute between The Recipient and WMJP, The Recipient and WMJP agree that a prompt and fair resolution, without the time and expense of formal court proceedings, would be in both parties’ mutual interests. All disputes shall be submitted to final and binding arbitration to be conducted in Seminole County, Florida, or a location closest to Seminole County, Florida if no such location for the chosen arbitration body exists there.

These Terms represent the entire understanding and agreement between you and WMJP regarding the Christmas Holiday, and supersedes all other previous agreements, understandings and/or representations regarding the same.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

First Class is for Commoners

While browsing through the pages of Stratos, “the premiere in-flight magazine for corporate and private jets,” (tagline: Journey Beyond First-Class) I was intrigued by this ad for HondaJet, which unlike all the other private jet ads in Stratos, does not feature an arrogant woman in big sunglasses and a short skirt carrying shopping bags as she struts across the tarmac to her waiting plane. Or some silver-haired asshole CEO stepping off the plane with his perfect family, Junior even sporting a sweater tied around his shoulders, his polo shirt tucked into his khakis. (Yes, these ads were in the same issue.) Or they go for the "plane banking in the clouds" shot, which has been done only a million times.

Simple headline, simple line of copy. A shot of the plane and a nice (albeit clichéd and contrived) photo illustrating one reason why a person of extreme means might want a plane. Phone number, website, logo. Done.

It's not exceptional, but it beat the hell out of anything else in the magazine just because it didn't follow the formula.

I knew Honda was really adept at making long lasting cars and lawnmowers and has even been branching into the sure-to-be-lucrative android slave market, but jets? Cool.

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This Week's Google Headlines Music Groups

I may have to start including the news links in these, as some may wonder how on earth I arrived at them. But here are some names for your new band, gleaned from headlines found at Google News today.

  • Berlin Railroad
  • Huckabee Surge
  • Alien Driver
  • Delta United
  • Enemy of Sun
  • The Monkey Embryo Clones
  • Running Back Thief
This is presently a regular Thursday feature of "Where's My Jetpack?"

Here's some more
and some more
...and still more

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The Long Road to Redemption

It took him about 30 years, but the backlash may finally be subsiding.

The latest in Geico's "Celebrity Interpreters" series features none other than Peter Frampton and his talkbox.

As I noted back in June, "I've always thought someone should use Frampton's talkbox in an ad."

Hey, Martin Agency, are you people reading "Where's My Jetpack?" I'd be happy to help you start an Orlando branch office*. Well, I'd also want to stay on and have a corner suite with a wet bar. And a healthy, healthy salary.

Guitarists, you can make the same silly noises as Peter with your very own Framptone.

*Martin: I'm serious. Not about the wet bar part. Unless you think that's OK.

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Tire Tracks All Across Your Back

Click it - it'll grow.

Keep your book and your resume updated at all times. You never know when the "thump, thump" you just heard was the bus running over you this time.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who Froth With Hate

You know a candidate is polling in the low single digits when...

Congressman Tom Tancredo has almost one-upped the old nuclear apocalypse ad from LBJ with this new gem. Love his tag: "Tancredo: Before it's Too Late."

Yeah, show a terrorist blowing up moms and children in a shopping mall. That'll get you elected. Idiot.

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There's an Article In Here Somewhere

Click to read

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Today in Public Relations

A story making the rounds.

Wyoming Coach Joe Glenn didn't like how Utah tried an onside kick with a 43-point lead, and he let coach Kyle Whittingham know by giving him the finger. The Mountain West Conference reprimanded Glenn today for making the obscene gesture during the game, which was nationally televised. Glenn said after the 50-0 loss Saturday that he didn't remember giving the finger. "Honest to God, I can't even respond to it," Glenn said. "Maybe, I don't know." By today, however, he was repentant. "I met with my team on Sunday and apologized to them for the gesture I made toward the Utah bench during the game," Glenn said in a statement. "I also want to apologize to all fans for that action. Football is an emotional game, and I let my emotions get the best of me. I felt it was appropriate for me to let my team and all fans know that I am truly sorry for that emotional moment."

This is one of the times when a public apology is not at all necessary. If a coach can't get emotional, who can? When you're up by 43 points, it is extremely unsportsmanlike to attempt an onside kick. That is just as in-your-face as a finger. In fact, it says the same thing. The other coach should be called on to apologize if this Glenn guy has to. Obviously, this is a rivalry with some history behind it.

But this isn't like a celebrity caught on tape tossing around racial epithets or calling his daughter a rude, thoughtless pig. And if this had happened in England at a soccer match, the offended coach would've broken a bottle over the other coach's head, then sliced him repeatedly with the broken bottle, then been treated as a national hero for having the balls to stand up for his team. He'd probably even get some sportsmanship award from the Queen and be knighted.

On the subjects of football and sportsmanship, I'm getting real tired of NFL players dancing, celebrating and chest thumping/bumping after a simple tackle. You are a football player. We expect you to tackle. Quit acting like an idiot.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

And Get Your Ear Pierced, Too

You ever see a guy in the store, or the mall, or just walking down the street, and he's got that brownish-reddish funny colored hair that just isn't a color people usually have on their heads? And you feel bad for him? Seeing one of those guys tonight at the store inspired this latest installment of...whatever this old picture with the captions is called.

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More Scary Endorsements

Pat Robertson ceased being influential with any real segment of America many, many years ago. His "endorsement" of Giuliani means nothing, other than it's a chance for Robertson to remind everyone that he still lives and breathes. Pat has been mixing politics and religion for years, and he's got some strange notion that Jesus was not only an American, but a Republican as well.

Sometimes, endorsements backfire, as this article in today's New York Times points out.

This got me to wondering who some would-be stars from a bygone era were endorsing. (These images "come from a heap of discarded studio photographs, found in a Venice alleyway." More are here.)


"We are very jazzed by the Ron Paul candidacy. He's a real wild cat. He's got some groovy ideas and some ways that we, as brothers and sisters in this great country, can start being real with each other and feeling the love."

Hope Parcell:

"As a woman, I should be for Hillary, I suppose, but I really like Barack Obama. He's the dark horse, and I don't mean that in a "dark" way, ya know? And I also don't mean that in a horse, like "stud" way, ya know? But he has a nice smile and he seems friendly."

Tim Tukker:

"Duncan Fuckin Hunter, muthafuckahs! All the way with the Dunkinator. Duncan is a man's man and he won't blink in the face of danger. My money, my time, even my music are all about The Dunk. DUNCAN! WOOOOOOO!"

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Good on You, Google

Seems Google finally heard the rumble of the bloggers when they decided to forgo a Memorial Day logo back in May - again - for the ninth year in a row. Today marks the first time Google has rolled out a Veterans Day log.

They play it safe, of course, and feature helmets from the World War I era. Still, nice to see Google honoring those who've served in the military in addition to their regular paying of respects on such honored days as Persian New Year, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday and World Water Day.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

How to Start an Agency

Traditional, New Media or otherwise, it's quite easy to start an ad agency. All you need is a URL. You may only be one designer. You might be a lone copywriter. Doesn't matter. You can bullshit with the best and the rest of them.
(As HighJive points out in the comments, you also need a client. But remember that logo you did for your little brother when he started his landscaping business? That's a client.)

Let's say your name is Mark Thomas Simpson. Then you can easily be Mark, Thomas, Simpson and Associates. You could also be MT+S. If you don't want to go the vanity route, name your agency after a real word, but misspell the word, bettering your chances that some variation will be available as a URL. Like Creeeightive. Or Adzthatwurck.

Contract with a Flash designer and get him/her to design a site that uses lots of rounded boxes. Make sure the boxes have a bit of shine to them. Random vertical and horizontal lines of varying thicknesses work well also. Black is a good color to go with, as is gray. Splash some pastels in there sparingly and you're good to go. On your logo in the upper left corner, make sure the designer puts a fading reflection under it. When your site is loading, make sure you have a cool status bar that shows the progress. It is best to have sci-fi sound effects while the site is loading. On your navigation bar, weird sci-fi noises work well when items are moused over. Try noises such as "vwwip," "zzhhhhttt" and "boink."

You will need a portfolio page, of course, but don't worry if you have nothing to show. Use stuff you did in school. Or better, just put a friendly message up that says, "Coming soon! We are currently developing this portion of our website and hope to have it ready in the coming weeks. Check back soon."

It is crucial that you call yourself an "Award Winning, Full Service" ad agency. The awards might come later, but if someone calls you on it, show them that Silver Addy from the small regional club's student competition you won in the category where you were the only entrant. As for the "full-service" part, no one needs to know that everything you do will be farmed out to freelancers.

The "About Us" page is very crucial. Talk about how different you are. Talk about "thinking outside the box." Talk about how you seek nothing less than to actually crawl into the heads of your clients and BECOME them, the better to understand them and make them successful. Say something along the lines of "we are only successful when YOU are successful." The following are actual examples taken from agency websites. Say something like these marketers did.

  • "We thrive on making connections with our clients and their audience and strive to make engaging, results-driven communications."
  • "Our process is simple. We concept unique ideas, execute them properly and show you results that effect you where it counts - the bottom line."
  • "We foster a casual environment where thoughts, ideas, and out-of-the-box strategies can incubate and evolve into client success."
If you have cool furniture, it is crucial that you show it off on a "Tour Our Agency" section. Potential clients expect that good work is done in a trendy, quirky environment. If you don't have cool furniture, steal some imagery from the Design Within Reach website. If a client ever wants to visit your cool space, find an excuse why they can't. "We're in the middle of an expansion project and the construction noise here is just unbearable. Let's meet at your place." When you show up, men should wear black. Do not wear a tie. Also, buy some emo glasses, grow a soul patch and consider shaving your head. Women, bizarre color combinations such as purple stockings and yellow running shoes show that you are creative. Emo glasses work well on you also. As do tattoos.

Don't worry that your operation is small. You simply call yourself a "boutique" agency. Your small size also enables you to approach every client in a "hands on" way. You are able to provide "the personal touch and customized service unavailable in large, corporate agencies."

Now you're in business. I wish you much success.

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Session: Leveraging and Monetizing Blog Traffic

Angela over at AdRants had her fill of BS after attending ad:tech and posted a great lexicon of New Media Speak. That was inspiration for this week's comic strip, which is called "Where's My Jetpack?"

This is number 20 in the series, which is made using royalty free clipart since I'm a pretty sucky artist.

The others are here.

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Cures All Sickness, Eliminates Pain

Bill pointed out the other day how ubiquitous the YouTube video contests are getting.

While over at Technorati, looking at who links here to the old Jetpack blog, I was attacked by a banner ad for POM's new video contest. You know POM, the pomegranate juice displayed in the fresh produce section that sells for just under the street price of heroin. They're calling for "aspiring directors" to create 90 second "films" showing "what you love most about POM tea." Unlike many of the contests out there, they're hosting it themselves instead of relying on YouTube. And they are so Super Social 2.0, with their own POM blog and a "Healthcare professionals" button at the bottom of all their sites, which is designed to trick you into believing that POM is the elixir of the gods, and you deserve to live forever. It's also there to get doctors to tell their patients that "the best way to get antioxidants is to buy a truckload of POM juice." If you read further on the "Healthcare Professionals" pages, they stop just short of claiming that POM juice cures cancer. ("Want to be a POMbassador? We invite you to write us for educational materials, literature and workshop kits." Oh, quick! Trademark the name "POMbassador" before someone else grabs it!) They're even selling pomegranate centerpieces for the holidays. OH! Just found this...Join Club POM.

When I was in high school, a buddy of mine had a pomegranate tree in his backyard. We'd all eat them right off the tree when the munchies struck. Messy as hell. And I can see how making juice from pomegranates would be a tough job and require a lot of filtering, but not so hard that it makes a small bottle worthy of a $10 price tag. (Correction for Kym in the comments: It's $11 for 1.5 quarts.)

Excellent marketing job over at POM in the classic snake-oil sense. For the price they're asking for POM juice, I'm going to stick to good old water, the universal solvent.

Title of this post taken from the lyrics to "Where's My Jetpack?"

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Frisbee® - Non-Toxic, Since 1958

Remember the good old days, when toys didn't get recalled for deadly paint? But there are many things about the good old days that are best left back there. Like this dude's shorts. And stupid jingles.

No longer an American company, Wham-O, makers of the Frisbee, sold to a Hong Kong company last year - toy and game manufacturer Cornerstone Overseas Investments, Limited.

So if your dog dies after catching too many Frisbee tosses in the backyard, maybe something in that Chinese glow-in-the-dark plastic killed him.

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More Bands from Google Headlines

It's just too easy to look at any day's headlines and come up with a name for your music group.

  • Appendage Excess
  • Jealous Shula
  • The Poisoned Tennis Stars
  • Georgia Crackdown
  • The Twitching Virginians
  • Fatty Long Life
  • Arrested Opposition
This is presently a regular Thursday feature of "Where's My Jetpack?"

Here's some more
...and still more

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The News Is Entertainment or Vice Versa

So there was French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaking before a joint session of Congress on CSPAN, waxing eloquently on French-American relations and his steadfast support of our over 200 year, sometimes-rickety friendship. As Nicky left the podium and walked the aisle, shaking hands and receiving congratulations, I thought I'd see what the other news outlets had to say about it.

Over on Fox News, Master of Weaselness Bill O'Reilly was getting all giddy talking about tomorrow's interview with Vince Vaughn. Vince Fucking Vaughn. Over at MSNBC, King of Weasels Keith Olbermann was pretending not to care as he salivated over the latest Britney Spears gossip. Britney Fucking Spears.

CSPAN: No commercials.
O'Reilly, Olbermann: Big pharma, auto industry, insurance, etc.

Is it any wonder this country is screwed?

Wake the fuck up, America. And I don't think I've ever said "fuck" on my blog before. But we are so fucked.

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NASA: Good for Something After All

NASA was looking for a new slogan awhile back. I think I have one for them:

No One Does Pictures of The Moon Like Us.

Tried to get outside in time for the sonic boom and maybe catch a glimpse of the shuttle coming back to earth today. Missed out on both counts.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Stick That in Your iPhone

Seems like portable music has been around for some time. But it probably didn't come with a pocket turntable.

Are those Wrangler corduroys? Very groovy.

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Most military recruitment ads follow some variation of the formula Slow Motion + Rain + Dramatic Music + Closeup Hero Shots + Gritted teeth = Boys Will Sign Up. The Dutch Royal Marines add another element: selectivity. The US Marines strongly hint at it in their ads, but it's well depicted here in this ad from the Netherlands.

Previously in Military Recruitment:

(Georgia) Georgia on My Mind

(England) Breadfruit, Rum and Scurvy
(Czech Republic and United States) Czechs Kick Our Cinematic Butts
(Russia) Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin
(Australia) Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbed Wire
(Japan) Adventure's Waitin' Just Ahead

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Please Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Week Eight begins at my freelance gig in the cube farm, where I paste copy for a large corporation's Creative Services division. I say "paste" copy because any sort of creative copywriting is severely frowned upon. It does not "meet brand." Today I tried to write a full-page ad for an industry trade that was shot down in flames by the account services people. So, for round two of the ad I went to one of the company's websites and copied some text. I pasted it into the copy deck, tweaked it ever so slightly and gave the ad the blandest headline I could imagine. "So much better. This is perfect," came the response.

In eight weeks, my cube has been moved twice. This morning the entire department was in a new location in the building. On everyone's desk was a letter signed by six individuals who had a hand in our move, one of whom goes by the title "Director of Space Planning." The letter began, "Welcome to your new home! We appreciate your cooperation in making this a smooth transition." To further enforce the feeling that we are all just caged chimps, everyone received a package of M&Ms with the letter.

This is not my home. The florescent lights are brighter than the sun. (I have already unscrewed them above my space, for which I will likely be brought up on charges.) The acoustics are like an amplified abandoned well. I ate those M&Ms and I’m sure the sound of chocolate melting in my mouth (not in my hands) was heard a few cube avenues away.

When your company has a Director of Space Planning, something is very, very wrong.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

OK, So Maybe It's a Smart Strategy

In case you missed it, here's the edited version of Senator Barack Obama's appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

If you want to see the full version of the skit, it's here.

Obama has been doing these little appearances since before he announced as a candidate. He opened Monday Night Football in a very humorous way not long ago.

To me, Presidential politics represents both the pinnacle and the very darkest depths of advertising. Extensive market research. Fingers in the wind. The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Spin, lies, half-truths. Image. It's fascinating theater, and the intersection of politics and entertainment is blurrier than ever these days.

I gave Obama some crap last week for dancing with Ellen, but I'm starting to see the wisdom of his handlers in letting him do these self-effacing things. His goal right now is to beat Hillary. And when Lorne Michaels and his writers are developing scathing skits about her and asking you to join in the fun, it's probably a smart move to accept the invitation.

Once again, to disclaim: I'm a registered voter, but I am independent. Which is twice as fun, because come general election time, that makes me the target market for these image makers and media gurus who tell their candidates what to say and do.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

From the Streets of Sacramento to the Freeways of LA

I love to throw together truthful parodies of the crap I'm working on sometimes, if only for the benefit of keeping my coworkers lighthearted and mindful that we're really just bullshitters at the end of the day. (My boss called my "cynical" yesterday. I said "You are too, you just try to hide it.") Or I like to inject truth into an ad that I know the market will respond to, even if the client might freak out. Those ideas usually get shot down, but I've always believed in speaking to the audience honestly, and if I can talk someone into letting me do it, I know it will get results.

Sometimes when the camera's rolling, things get a little playful. This spokesman is doing a stand-up for some car dealer in San Bruno, a San Francisco suburb, in what appears to be the late 60s or early 70s. The info at YouTube says this was a live broadcast, but I can't believe that. I'm sure it was to tape, with the crew goofing off and saying what they really thought of this business of selling used cars. At any rate, it's gold. Lots of adult language, so if that might offend you, don't watch.

Here's an essay I wrote in 2002 about used cars.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Tell Us, O Seer - What is Our Fate?

So I wasted way too much time the other night watching the History Channel's completely BS-laden Nostradamus specials. The History Channel is no longer the History Channel. It's the Crap Channel. It's the Speculation about Stupid Shit Channel. It's the Dumb-Ass Channel. It's the "We May Never Know" Channel. The problem with these believers in Nostradamus is their inability to tell us what any of his quatrains mean BEFORE the fact.

But I was doing some research and found some long-overlooked quatrains purported to be written by the Great French Swindler himself. I will share them, then interpret them for you. So here, for the first time ever, we can see his grand prophecies ahead of time.

From a saw to a house
in the time of reptile falling

a great shaking in the City
when torn from one to the next

This one is obvious. "From a saw to a house" clearly refers to Hillary Clinton being once from Arkansas and will soon occupy a house - that is, the White House. We can understand this prophecy by the very clear time references Nostradamus gives us in the following lines. "In the time of reptile falling" refers, obviously, to the Florida Gators no longer occupying the top spot in collegiate football. Further, we have a "a great shaking in the City, when torn from one to the next," which, as if I needed to tell you, refers to Joe Torre leaving the Yankees for the Dodgers. "Torn" our clue for Torre, "great shaking" obviously referring to earthquake-prone Los Angeles.

Let's try another.

A horse and rider, man reigns him
Braying, fallen, the ruse spoiled

breaking and lengthened with commerce
and storm shall go unnoticed

This one is exciting because it's so timely! "Horse and rider?" DUH! Colts and Patriots! "Man" is obviously Peyton Manning. "Braying?" Tom Brady! HELLO!"Ruse spoiled" = Belichick's cheating does him no good. "Breaking and lengthened with commerce" means the broadcast will be so filled with commercial breaks you'll forget you're watching a game. "Storm shall go unnoticed" means the Chargers (lightning) will romp all over the Vikings while no one pays any attention.

Wow. I'm spent. This prophecy business is taxing.

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His Teeth are Whiter than White

Big Click Makum Picture Bigger

Ahhh, to be like the primitive savage. Naked, carefree - and with a pearly white smile.


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