Friday, February 29, 2008

The Decline and Fall Will Be Televised

I could write a thousand word essay on the subject, but a captioned picture is worth a thousand words.

Or something.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quaker Gets a Makeover

Following in the footsteps of Colonel Sanders, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker and others, the Quaker Oats company has decided to update their iconic logo to reflect a changing market.

"Consumers tended to see our brand as old and staid, according to extensive market research," said Kirk Phingerinwind, head of Brand Redevelopment and Evangelism Management for Quaker, "and we felt now was the time to update our beloved old Quaker man and help our company relate to the streets, as it were."

Sporting a fresh haircut and shunning his traditional Quaker garb, Quaker man now dons a trucker hat and a pin-striped blazer over an opened white shirt. Quaker man also underwent minor cosmetic surgery to eliminate a double chin and sagging jowls, giving him what designers call "an almost geriatric androgyny."

"Heart-healthy fiber is cool," said Phingerinwind, "and New Quaker man will convey just how cool."

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The Kings of Lawn Crap

Have you ever seen a modest ranch house with two giant stone lions guarding the driveway? It takes a special homeowner to add that sort of grandiose touch to their humble abode. Well, I have found where these special homeowners shop. It's also a great place for the poor couple who win the lottery and want to blow their riches on what they perceive as classy. Or the young, rich professional athlete building his first mansion.

On my way to work every morning, I pass “World of Décor,” whose front lot is cluttered with every imaginable giant sculpture and gaudy fountain. Need a 15-foot stainless steel horse? They have it. (Pictured. $25,000) How about a 12-foot stainless steel golfer? Check. 20-foot Poseidon fountains? Huge stock. And more. Shop online!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day

I'm not kidding. It's suggested here in the cube farm that we all wear Hawaiian shirts on Friday as part of our monthly get together which involves some sort of recreational non-work activity, which, I'm sure you know, helps to build stronger teams. It's also nice to see your fellow cube-bots somewhere other than the hallways on the way to the restroom.

I'm trying to figure out if this is a sly nod to "Office Space," or if the people who wrote "Office Space" worked here once.

"Oh, and remember: next Friday... is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans."

I just created this Hawaiian shirt design which I might have to make happen by Friday.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Power Outage Night™

With a huge chunk of my state powerless this afternoon it's the perfect time to do some self-promotion for a little program I came up with some time ago that has attracted zero attention and no media coverage since its unveiling a couple of years ago. It's actually fun and educational - and when combined with toast, juice and milk - is part of a balanced breakfast that can help build strong bodies.

It's called Power Outage Night™ (and I put a little ™ on it to make it look all official and well-developed.) Here it is for your review or trial. It's just a simple little way to temporarily rid your life of the technological and informational clutter we all deal with ever more frequently.

It's not for everyone, as silence scares the crap out of some people and they don't know how to deal with their own thoughts (or an actual conversation) if they aren't accompanied by music blasting in their ear canals while they play Guitar Hero as they watch American Idol and then fall asleep (or pass out) to Stephen Colbert on their TVs, to be awakened overnight by the vibration of incoming emails on the Blackberry or iPhone and music from the alarm clock at sunrise signaling it's time to do it all over again. Coffee, Alcohol, Repeat™. (Might have to trademark that one, too.)

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Weren't You in That Ad for...Everything?

This woman is a very versatile stock photography model. Notice the clear, acrylic braces on her teeth, suitable for an orthodontist’s brochure. She’s also wearing stylish glasses, which I could see as a giant in-store display above Wal-Mart’s optometry section. She appears to be wearing a white lab coat, which enables her able to play the orthodontist, the optometrist, the pharmacist, the dentist, the research scientist and the factory worker who makes processors for Intel at a lab in China. But for some reason, Maronda Homes chose her as the fresh face of…Maronda Homes, where she smiles appreciatively toward their Etch-a-Sketch map of the Eastern Seaboard.

She probably made $20 for the shoot.

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Blow it Up! Again and Again

When men were men and trains were for war. Train to be a test pilot by learning to operate an electric train.

Why post this? Because you are more easily entertained by moving images than you are by the written word. And 'cause I have to get to work and this is easy.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Dozen Jelly-Filled Strategies

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. ~Thomas Jefferson

When an ad campaign is in trouble, not delivering for the client, the client is wise to accept a change in strategy. As Hillary Clinton's campaign sputters (and let's not fool ourselves, running for national office is all about PR and advertising) she changes messaging from one day to the next as her senior strategists float various themes to see what might catch on. One day in Texas she is the conciliatory, gracious lady, and in two days she is the scolding bully, calling her opponent out for a knife fight in Ohio. One day she is the chili-pepper eating lover of all things Latin with deep roots in border towns, the next she is your Midwesterner blue-collar buddy working the night shift alongside you. She's change, she's experience, she's tested. She's a mom, a sister and a tough-as-nails fighter. She's red wine and roses. She's a shirt-sleeves ditch digger. And her latest, most desperate message yet: Hope is Stupid.

But nothing is catching on, and the enormous salaries being paid to her back room spinners are finally coming into question.

Probably one of the most cold-blooded mercenaries ever to work in the game, Howard Wolfson, defends his January salary of $267,000 this way: “Fees and payments are in line with industry standards,” Mr. Wolfson said. “Spending priorities have been consistent with overall strategic goals.” I don't even know what that means, but it sure sounds like PR guy bullshit.

The supposed best minds in advertising and public relations are looking like a group of idiots right now. But in their defense, I have to wonder what would happen if Hillary were to fire her assembled dream team of experts and replace them with another. The new team might just end up in the same place - unable to deliver results.

So maybe it's not the message. Maybe it's the product. Expect to see books out in the next few months authored by those behind the scenes. They will have titles like Selling the Unsellable, Packaging a Politician, Beaten by Barack and The Microtrend We Never Saw Coming.

Speaking of products, Dunkin' Donuts is getting some free advertising with all the reports about the Clinton campaign's overspending. Not sure if that helps Dunkin' or hurts them.

UPDATE: (and perhaps worthy of it's own post) The social media watchers at Dunkin' Donuts are all over it, commenting here within 5 hours of posting. That's pretty impressive for a Sunday afternoon. Check the comments section.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cold Call Carl

Clicking enhances growth, allowing for legibility.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

If I Were a German Pimp

I'd roll in this. And if people gave me crap about the "Green" thing, with their silly "carbon emissions" talk, shouting about "global warming" and all that "planet in peril" new religion, I'd say, "Hey! I'm a pimp! What do I care about your silly-ass Green initiatives? I got your sustainability right here!”

Yes. That’s what I’d do. If I were a German pimp.

Clicken das imagen to mach bigness

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Peace Between Enemies

No, not Hillary and Obama. Fans of Ohio State and Michigan, or USC and UCLA find reasons not to hate each other in this spot for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts (in a tie-in to the upcoming NCAA Basketball Finals). It's nice to see a hotel ad that isn't catering to the clichéd lonely business traveler in need of wireless Internet or the happy vacationing family frolicking in the pool.

The final scene is a little much, as I'm sure the Syracuse fan wiping ranch dressing from the Georgetown fan's mouth would result in a beat down even if they were rooting for the same team. Maybe that slightly gay moment was left in to compensate for the homophobic umbrella scene between the UNC guy and the Duke fan.

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My List of Talking Points is Better Than Yours

CNN will show another episode of Dancing With the Candidates tonight, where no questions will actually be answered and the regurgitation of talking points will be the norm. The judges will score the event on Best Zinger, Worst Stumble, Most Glaring Character Flaw Moment and Best Faked Sincerity.

They can both dance quite admirably. They spin, they twirl, they twist. At this point it’s pretty much down to talking points. We can recite the lines even if we've barely been paying attention. We’re all just waiting for someone to screw up in a big way and get voted off the show.

Click image to read captions, unless you have, like, really good eyes.

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Toddler Daughter Threatens Mom's Self-Esteem

Poor woman doesn't even have her own name. No wonder she's insecure. And she's married to the former Prime Minister of Australia. Mom here is so jealous of her little girl that she is now stealing her soap.

Via - because sometimes, blogging is too much work and I need to phone one in.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things Happening In Space

What a day for the Heavens, with the space shuttle landing and a satellite (allegedly) getting blasted out of the sky. Not to mention a full lunar eclipse, as seen from my backyard in beautiful Florida tonight.

Had a helluva time getting the right shutter speed and aperture. Damn digital photography. Getting in the way of of my old skool skilz.

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Officially Overdone:

The use of the silhouetted crowd, whose reflections are all cast upon a freshly waxed floor. The use of this graphic is supposed to convey “We’re down with the young demo. See skeptical dude far left? And had-enough-of-your-BS hottie next to him? Everyone in this group is hard to reach. They’re your audience, and we know how to reach them.”

I will refrain from launching into my invective-filled anti-new media rant.

Also way beyond overdone: the half-reflection thing. It was cool for a little while – and then everyone put it under everything.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle

And other tongue-in-cheek wonderful things Barack Obama is doing for you, over at this website. Keep clicking the text for more. If this is the work of the Clinton campaign, I have to begrudgingly say, "Well played." Someone has found a funny, subtle way to say what the Clintons have been trying to say, but they are too inept to convey it without stepping on their tongues.

UPDATE: It's the work of Mat Honan of San Francisco, and there are already some great knock-offs. Apparently Mat's girlfriend/wife is a total Obama freak and he invented that saying as a jab at her.

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Walk Softly and Carry a Big Credit Limit

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finding the Antichrist on Google

This is my 666th blog post here on Where's My Jetpack? So now is the perfect opportunity to engage in the time-honored practice millions of fringe religious groups, theologians and prophecy "scholars" have engaged in since Nero was impaling Christians around Rome and then setting their bodies aflame. (To my Christian readers: Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series is pure and utter Crap. With a capital "C.")

Using Google, I will type in the names of prominent figures along with the word "antichrist." (Example: Olsen twins + antichrist) and then display the number of search results for each query.


Ahmadinejad 39,400
McCain 102,000
Bush 133,000
Obama 176,000
Hillary 232,000
Clinton 443,000
Gates 563,000
Jobs 597,000

Based on these results, I predict that if Clinton gets the nomination of her party and goes on to defeat McCain, there will be human sacrifices on the South Lawn of the White House every full moon, as well as during the solstices and equinoxes - or as often as it shall please Her Majesty, the Anointed One.

I was surprised by Steve Jobs edging out Bill Gates as a possible antichrist.

Then again, here is a photo of Steve Jobs as a child.

One more thing: searching Google + antichrist netted 984,000 results, proving perhaps that one day we will all serve our evil master Google.

Yeah, you're right. We already do.

(To my Jewish readers: The Hebrew character that respresents the number "6" is the same character that represents the letter "w" right? So "www" equals "666." Cool, huh?)

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Severed Head Tossed on Waves in Visa Ad

Mouth agape in a frozen last gasp, this victim of some hideous act of terrorism or extremely violent crime invites you to win a Visa card.

Actually, it's a nice illustration, I just would've asked to see the hint of a shoulder on the swimmer.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Band Names from Today's Google Headlines

So you and your misfit friends have decided college is not the path for you. You’re gonna hit the road in an old van and maybe someone will sign you to the Warped Tour after they witness all your suburban punk angst spilling from those overdriven used amps you paid too much for at the pawn shop.

Not so fast, little rebels. You’re gonna need a catchy band name. Marketing comes first. The music is secondary. Here are some band names you might consider, gleaned from today’s Google News headlines

  • Superdelegate
  • Big Union Nod
  • Kenya Deal
  • Executive Shuffle
  • Toxic Trailer
  • Shooting Satellites
  • Lying Yankee

  • Their real fans refer to them as BUN.

    Previously in Band Names from Google News

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    Big Love for Network Solutions

    I like these banners for Network Solutions where the old man’s mouth moves like a marionette’s as he talks about his 36 brides in some sort of unsubtle joke about polygamy. The casting is great, if you can call picking a picture of an old man for a banner campaign “casting.”

    It’s the crude cutout nature of it that works for me. Not unlike the men’s faces affixed to screaming girls in the Baconator spot.

    Not that the ads get me to go to Network Solutions. GoDaddy stole my “mindshare” for that market years ago when they undercut everybody on domain name pricing.

    And doesn't "Network Solutions" have such a late 90s ring to it? So World Wide Web. But I guess they were ahead of their time, since the company was founded in 1979.

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    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Welcome Race Fans

    I have to go to Jacksonville this weekend. Have to. Can’t not go. This weekend also happens to be Daytona 500 weekend. The 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500 weekend. “The most anticipated event in race history,” according to the website.

    Which means I will be sitting in traffic with a bunch of NASCAR fans, both ways, driving through Daytona this Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.

    NASCAR fans have a reputation for being…how shall I put this politely…less than cultured. I don’t think that stereotype is exactly accurate, but it persists. They’re considered Bubbas. Beer-swilling, beer-bellied, truck-driving, Marlboro-puffing, Confederate flag-waving, Skynyrd-listening, Jack Daniels-shooting, Bush-voting, mullet-sporting, Skoal-dipping, gun-toting, Wrangler-wearing, Wal-Mart-shopping, inbred, redneck, rocks-for-brains sumsabitches all living on dirt roads in broke-ass, single-wide mobile-homes. One of their four basic food groups is Deep Fried, which they eat when they aren’t having sex with their sisters and lynching people.

    Though I’ve never seen a race, I’m sure you can find a fair share of those types in a NASCAR crowd. But I know there are other people attending. And so do the sponsors. Have a look at this roster of companies sponsoring the cars of NASCAR. Apparently, there’s some money in that big audience. And that is a list of primary sponsors, which doesn't include the dozens of smaller sponsor decals every car displays, nor does it include the sponsors running commercials during the broadcasts.

    I've been trying to understand the appeal of NASCAR for a while. But really, it’s actually pretty easy to get caught up in any kind of race. Whether it’s a marathon on city streets, a bicycle race through the French countryside, skiers on a mountainside, a horserace in Kentucky or even a down-to-the-wire political battle, racing - in all its forms - includes strategy, skill, drama and a bit of luck. There are heroes, villains, unexpected turns-of-events and of course, speed. Then there’s the byproduct of all those ingredients, adrenaline. I’m almost sure that if you took a couple of the most city-dwelling, theatre-visiting, martini-sipping, toy-dog-owning, massage-getting, loft-renting, art-gallery patronizing, NPR-giving, aroma-therapy-sniffing, Hillary-loving, Starbucks-drinking, tree-hugging, nose-in-the-air, fashion-conscious, intellectual urbanites and made them sit down at the Daytona 500, they’d end up having a good time. It would be the noise, the extremely high speeds and the tightly packed cars jostling for position that enthralled them. If that didn’t interest them, the people-watching opportunities would.

    I was channel-surfing the other day and stopped on something I never watch - motocross racing. I didn’t know any of the riders, but I found myself mesmerized, eventually hoping one particular rider would win. He rode in second place for the longest time, trying to get around the leader who was playing a skillful defense, cutting off any chance at passing. The second-place guy finally made his move in the last lap. I was like, “Cool! My guy won!” Then I said to myself, “You just watched a motocross race on TV and you were into it. Dude, you should be embarrassed.”

    So until I actually attend a NASCAR event, I’m going to stop stereotyping these people. I can imagine the scene, with me walking in all smug and above this stupid redneck sport, looking for people who will prove me right; that this is just a collection of idiots watching cars go really fast around an oval track for a drunken afternoon.

    I take my seat. The noise is deafening and it’s only the pace lap. There’s a smell of oil, grease and gas mixed with something deep-fried and maybe a hint of beer. It’s not a bad smell. The pace car leaves the track and the green flag is waved. The gunning engines of 60 high-performance cars combined with the spontaneous roar of 168,000 NASCAR fanatics instantly washes away my skepticism. I’ve just become a race fan. Don’t know what car I want to cheer for, but that one with the giant Tide logo on the hood looks cool.

    Man, I hope we get to see some gnarly crashes today.

    Previously in NASCAR

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    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    World's Most Staged Real Estate Photo

    There's a remarkable new community arising in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Where you can choose the way you live, shop and play! Explore our site to learn more about this fantastic community.

    While they were careful to include "little girl in wheelchair," I'm having a hard time locating any other minorities they might've crammed into this image that was designed to convey, "Thriving community of activity, with open green spaces and people of all ages."

    Oh wait, is that "middle-aged lesbian couple walking dogs?"

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    Richard Head - VP of Client Strategy

    ...or Director of New Business Development

    Previously in "Richard Head"

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    A National Epidemic

    He opened the door to find the dealer standing on his porch again, smiling her sweet, semi-toothless smile, proudly displaying her gang's colors. Like many kids in that part of town, she'd been brought into the gang at a young age. There just wasn't much a kid could do to resist their aggressive recruiting efforts, and gang membership offered prestige, rewards and a sense of belonging.

    She was just a pawn in a much bigger game, and the man couldn’t fault her for doing what her ruthless masters were forcing her to do. There was no real “pushing” involved. She only needed to know how much he wanted to buy. He had quit the habit almost a year ago, gone clean - started a new life, free of her addicting junk. The stuff could possess a man; make him wake up at night craving it. One was too many – a hundred not enough.

    And maybe she wasn’t so innocent after all. There was something behind that smile. Something that said, “You love it, Mister. You need it. With as much as you bought off me last year, you made me a hero in my gang. I’m counting on you again to help me rake in the cash. I'm gonna have respect among my peers. I'm gonna rise in the ranks.”

    He caved, of course – and later that month when he saw her with her mother, he pretended to be joking as he shouted from across the parking lot, “Where are my cookies?!”

    “Next Wednesday,” they both called out with waves and smiles.

    “Better hurry the fuck up,” he muttered under his breath.

    Last Year in Evil Girl Scouts

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    Furniture Ad Stimulates Lingerie Sales

    ScanDesign, a trendy furniture company with stores throughout Florida, does some passable advertising. But I'm a little perplexed by what appears to be a very unoriginal idea in this current campaign, seen here as it appears on their website, and catching my eye this morning in the form of an outdoor digital board on Interstate 4.

    Hmmm. Lingerie-clad angels. Why does that seem familiar? And just in time for Valentine's Day.

    Yes, I know "there is nothing new under the sun," and there are very few "original" ideas left in this world oversaturated with advertising, but come on - this one seems blatant.

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    Monday, February 11, 2008

    He Would've Made a Cool Brand Icon

    Like the Quaker Oats guy, or even Cap'n Crunch. Can't you see that serious but slightly smiling face on a label, the wild hair and beard alerting you to what must've been an original personality?

    Born in England, he came to America as a boy, living in New York, later Minnesota and finally New Jersey. He was schooled at a seminary in upstate New York. He became a physician, later changing professions to dentistry. He founded a dental products company and a dentistry journal.

    At the age of 44, he discovered a way to pasteurize wine so that fermentation was stopped. A staunch prohibitionist, he convinced local churches to use his unfermented wine for communion services.

    The man above is Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch. He founded Welch’s Grape Juice Company. Because it sounded better than Crazy Preacherman’s Fake Wine.

    And why am I posting this? Because I just finished a small bottle of Welch’s grape juice and noted the “since 1869” on the label, which made me curious. So I looked it up. On Wikipedia.

    Remember when you had to go to a library to find out useless stuff?

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    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    Release Your Inner Stripper

    Not living in New York or LA, I don't know this store (shop, boutique, designer) so I can't even be sure what is being sold. The shoes, the bag, the black...thing...the models are wearing?

    It doesn't matter. They are really selling a brand, a mood, a mystique, an attitude. And I'm sure it works on the demo targeted. I'm seeing Paris Hilton and the Olsen Twins.

    Scamp did some nice work for Levi's where it's all about attitude and mystique. You know what Levi's are, what they mean. So the product doesn't even need to be in the ads.

    Harley-Davidson could take a clue.

    Previously in "Stranger Than Fashion"

    Pink Shirted Soccer Team
    Chicks Dig Stuffed Animals
    Crocs: Just Say No
    Androgyny Won't Go Away
    ChuckTaylor Rolls in His Grave
    On a Fashion Shoot

    Scanned from The New York Times Magazine

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    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    McDonald's Brings Peace to Middle East

    Every year, 23% of Filet-O-Fish sandwich sales at McDonald's are purchased during Lent, when many Catholics abstain from meat.

    Filet-O-Fish is also a hot seller among Jews and Muslims, according to the link above.

    Thanks to Chris Houchens of Shotgun Marketing Blog for the fish story.

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    Those Coffee Making Hotties at the Office

    The New York Times plugs today, mentioning this gem of yesteryear, when the best way to keep your husband faithful was to brew Folger's.

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    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Straight from Central Casting

    "We need a guy to play the ruthless yet sinisterly charming leader of an Eastern European country. If possible, we'd like him to be balding, in relatively good shape, with icy blue eyes that convey scary intentions."

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    What an Opportunity

    To run as fast as you can from this bank if you have a card with them.

    28% interest. Awesome.

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    Side Effects May Include Death by Suffocation


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    Jeff Foxworthy, What Hath Thou Wrought?

    The title of the movie is a play on words, so is the movie's tagline. It stars Larry the Cable Guy, whose shtick got old back....wait - it was always old. (Larry is from these parts. He's like a local hero. Carrot Top is from around here, too. He's like a scary dude you knew in high school who got all ripped on 'roids and then stretched his face to look like a REAL clown.)

    And in case you didn't get the "joke," at the bottom (HA! BOTTOM!) the creators of this ad oh-so-slyly and ever-so-slightly increased the tracking between "ASS" and "ETS."


    Also starring Jenny McCarthy as Britney Spears.

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    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    Locals Only: Marketers Throwing Stones

    Part IX in a series of reviews of very local advertising

    It doesn't really fall into the category of "direct mail" since it arrives in the driveway, but I get these little offers once in a while. It's not a bad practice, really. A landscaper tosses a handful of decorative landscaping rocks in a Ziploc® bag along with a cheap flyer made in Word® (oh yeah! Algerian font!) and offers to help me make my yard look better.

    From a delivery perspective, it's simple. Heavy bag, protected from the weather, flies pretty straight when tossed from a moving vehicle.

    Can't cost too much, either.

    The only problem I have with this is that the person tossing the bags of rocks likely drove past my house and said, "Oh, definitely! This dude needs major help. Toss one here." So I feel insulted and now more motivated to do it myself. I noted that my neighbor with the perfect yard didn't get one of these.

    Previously in Locals Only

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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    The Fastest Rising Brand Ever

    Those who visit Where's My Jetpack? with any frequency know that I love politics. It is drama in real time, changing from day to day, and on any given day, crazy things can happen. It's an unpredictable soap-opera. I also love politics because it's about branding, public relations and advertising on an accelerated and ever-changing schedule. It's impromptu theater in-the-round, and in this election year, some amazing and astonishing things are happening.

    Before I go on, I will divulge that I have never voted for a winner in a presidential election, which made me a loser when it came to Clinton I as well as Bush II. I always end up on the disappointed side of the electorate. I am a registered voter, but I am registered Independent, which means I don't get to vote in my state's primary. I am a bystander when it matters - when we are selecting those who will contend in our national election.

    That said, there is a brand emerging in American politics the likes of which has never been seen. Chalk it up to a Connected Age, where a person can create a video and have it seen by millions in a matter of days (if it's good enough), or where a speech can be broadcast worldwide with the click of a mouse. Or maybe we can write it off to good speech-writing , where the finely tuned pen of a young wordsmith can put words into the mouth of a politician and cause a nation to dream.

    Imagine a young, upstart new cola, challenging Pepsi and Coke for a majority of market share, and you have the candidacy of Barack Obama. Imagine Obama Cola suddenly replacing Coke and Pepsi on the convenience store shelves. Imagine consumers creating Obama Cola videos that suddenly went viral and made the Diet Coke + Mentos video look like a bad and forgettable episode of The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Imagine sales of Coke and Pepsi falling. People would be plenty pissed. Especially the makers of Pepsi and Coke.

    Those who visit Where's My Jetpack? with any frequency know that I love America. I make fun of her, of course. She's an easy target. But stink though she does, she's the best thing afloat. I do not, however, confuse my flag with my God, (apologies to my many atheist readers) and my star-spangled banner never died for me. I don't think we rule the world, and I don't think this land is somehow magically destined to keep the universe safe for democracy. Politics and religion don't belong together, and anyone who brings their God into politics had best be watched closely.

    But not since I was a regular attendee at a Black Pentecostal church in Springfield, Missouri have I been so inspired by the orations of a preacher. Or rather, a politician. Obama does not out-and-out invoke God in his speeches, in fact, he keeps God pretty separate. But he has injected something spiritual into American politics, and I hope it can't be stopped. It certainly can't be duplicated, and anyone who tries (and they all have) only ends up looking like a late-to-the-game pretender. I suppose it really isn't all about speech writing. because if you put any of Obama's speeches in front of any other candidate, they would ring false - and fall flat.

    I don't know if I'd vote for the man if he in fact does win the nomination of his party, but his brand is something to behold. I likely disagree with him politically more than I agree with him, but I can't help being stopped in my tracks when he's got the mic.

    The video below, with uncountable viewings in only four days, sums up what I'm trying to say quite nicely. You can't watch this video and not be moved, regardless of your political persuasion. It was created from a speech delivered only one month ago.

    While I would of course welcome the comments of my fellow Americans on this subject, I'd be most interested in the views of my Aussie, Canadian, English, European, African, Indian and Asian readers on what is happening in this country. What do you folks make of what's going on over here? Or does it even matter?

    Thanks to Catch Up Lady for alerting me to this video.

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    It's a Fine Line Between Smartass and Dumbass

    And I tend to walk that line.

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    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Political Necromancy

    With every Republican in the field conjuring up the spirit of Reagan, and the Democrats summoning the ghosts of the dead Kennedys, it seems like a good time to resurrect (zing!) this old ad from 1980, featuring none other than Big Ted K being used in an ad for Reagan - by Democrats.

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    Super Tuesday Drinking Game

    If you participate in this game, it'd be a good idea to make sure you can take Wednesday off.

    Tune your TV to MSNBC and do a shot every time:

  • McCain says “Follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell”
  • Obama says “They’ve gone through my kindergarten papers”
  • Huckabee says “I’m in this to the end”
  • Romney says “People are starting to understand”
  • Clinton points, cackles or says “Experience”
  • Chris Matthews does his double honk laugh
  • Olbermann does his sarcastic stare

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    The Boss Wants to Meet About Your Amazing Tool

    We shouldn't look down on spammers. We can learn from them. They are really nothing less than marketers trying new ways to get you to act. And they try so hard.

    The taunting email subject lines suggesting that my "schlong" "tool" or "P3n1s" should be 3 feet in length haven't been successful in getting me to open the emails. So now the spammers have a new tack.

    There's a meeting with the boss! And of course Jimi's birthday is coming up.

    Here are today's spams with that theme.

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    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Line Up The Endorsements for Eli

    My Dad was riding his bike in the woods yesterday and saw a panther. Seriously. Up around Ormond Beach. The giant cat was lounging in the middle of the trail 50 yards ahead of him. Dad wisely made a U-turn. There are only supposed to be 80 to 100 panthers left in Florida, so that was sort of cool. Speaking of panthers, they’re from North Carolina. I mean the football Panthers of the NFL. Speaking of the NFL, there was a game last night. It was not all it was advertised to be. It was supposed to be the crowning of a dynasty. We were supposed to be worshipping today at the altar of the Best Team To Ever Walk Onto A Field In The History Of The Universe – Starring Tom Brady As The Messiah King Of Kings, With A Special Appearance By The Creator Of All That Is And Will Ever Be, Bill Belichick.

    Nobody likes a dynasty and everybody likes a Cinderella story. Well over 75% of football fans were rooting for exactly what happened*. And if anyone saw the post game interview with New England coach Bill Belichick, you saw a man who fully bought all the hype and praise the media had heaped on him and his team. And he didn’t know how to handle a loss. He couldn’t even say, “The Giants played a great game.”

    As for the commercials…what can be said that isn't being said elsewhere and beyond? I suspect aliens on other planets are talking about those commercials by now. Some were great (talking baby for eTrade), some striving way too hard (heart jumping from woman’s chest for CareerBuilder) and some just flat-out stoopid with a capital WTF (Chinese stereotyped pandas for Sales Genie).

    I've never been much of a Giants fan. Until last night. I’m thinking maybe this game was a foreshadowing of the fall of another prematurely crowned dynasty.

    *Unsubstantiated percentage based on this author's personal dislike of the Patriots.

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    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Got a Light?

    Become an Ex is a quit smoking endeavor put together by the American Legacy Foundation in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic. These are frames from their current banner ad campaign designed to make smoking parents feel bad. Idiot redneck smoking parents who blow smoke in their children's faces, apparently.

    I think these kids are cool. And I know their friends think they're cool too. 'Cause they smoke. Next time I'm at 7-11 and some kids are in there, I'm going to say, "Hey, kids! Need me to buy you some smokes?"

    Why doesn't someone do an anti-smoking campaign with a new twist? Smokers know smoking is bad for them. Smokers know that smoking is bad for their children. Smokers know that tobacco companies are evil. Most smokers want to quit. Try acknowledging that upfront with a statement like "You'll eventually quit. We're here when you're ready," or "We know you love it, even though you know it's killing you."

    Those smug twits from commercials and their über-hip "guerrilla" efforts only serve to make the vehement anti-smoking Nazis happier as they walk away going, "Yeah! We showed them!"

    Guilt, fear and shame have never been very good motivators.

    Unless you're Catholic.

    Previously in Smoking:
    Barack Obama: The New Marlboro Man
    Retro TV: Wonderful, Wonderful Smoking Pleasure

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    This is My Rifle

    In today's climate, selling a career in the military to young men and women has to be a tough job. But the USMC has put together a very elaborate (and effective?) campaign featuring the "Silent Drill Platoon."

    This is the same commercial production that caused a stir in San Francisco last November when city officials refused the Marines access to the Golden Gate Bridge. It started airing late last month. I couldn't find any agency related to it, but MTLB thinks JWT had a hand in this.

    Unlike the usual military recruitment ads, this one has no scenes of combat training, no one in battle dress uniform yelling orders to warriors with painted faces, no screeching planes or helicopters. Starting in Rhode Island, we see scenes of America in a veritable sea to shining sea depiction of amber waves of grain, alabaster cities gleaming and purple mountain majesty, with this silent drill team showcasing their precision skills, culminating in a nice shot of the very bridge they were denied access to.

    Here's the "official extended version."

    They've also put together a bunch of "on location" videos of the various shoots.

    Times Square, Kentucky, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, San Francisco, Rhode Island

    And of course, there's a companion website.

    Will this increase recruitment? I don't know. But it sure is pretty. And I think even the most dyed-in-the-wool San Francisco pacifist can appreciate good film-making, even if you deem that film propaganda. You might even feel a slight hint of patriotism stirring in your cynical heart.

    Previously in Military Recruitment:

    (Holland) Wars and Rumors of Wars
    (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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    Friday, February 01, 2008

    A Hovercraft in Every Drive

    Instant breakfast on the table at 6:45

    Friends of the show Jason Fox and Russ Smith both sent in links this week to sites about actual working jetpacks.

    Jason, a Dallas-based copywriter who authors the hilarious Ad Hole, (and is now the proud father of twins. Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Fox.) sent in this one. Russ, (who I'm not sure I know what he does, but he reads this blog and might live in either Ohio or Colorado based on his Picasa set) sent in this one.

    Thanks to both of them for the heads-up, but as I've said before, until a jetpack is available at Wal-Mart for a decent price and can go more than a quarter mile on a tank of fuel, this blog's name stays as is.

    (I'll be linking to you both this weekend in the "Linkers and Lurkers" section to the right. Also, Joker, who writes a thoughtful blog and comments here late at night after he's been drinking heavily. Unless Joker is Russ Smith.)

    On another note, I suppose it's time to cease receiving US flag redesign submissions, since Ben Mall, better known to the Internet as Texan in Hippieland, was the only one who sent in a design. Here's Ben's. It looks suspiciously similar to the Texas flag.

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    Go to the Interview Without Your Pants

    You know there is no way this got through the agency (and the client) wihout someone making a joke about "I got your dangling carrot right here." To which someone else replied, "Yeah, a baby carrot."

    And then the two clowns had to go to HR for special training, because someone overheard them and felt offended and demeaned.

    Or maybe it's just me. "Dangling your carrot" should not immediately make people think of such things. I need special training.

    Banner ad found at the Los Angeles Times.

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    And She Shall Dance and Sing Aloud

    Two more old ad oddities sites I've stumbled upon.

    One is called Modern Mechanix. It's like some guy has inherited his grandfather's old magazine collection and sits for many hours a day scanning articles and ads, then writing out all the copy in each ad under the image. One man's obsession is your entertainment.

    Another is Devil Duck which appears to grab from other sites more often than not but sprinkles in some unique weirdness.

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    My Growing List of People We Can Do Without

    (ORLANDO, FL) In a rare demonstration of solidarity at a large corporate office in South Orlando, employees agreed to execute a man caught stealing from a 2nd floor refrigerator. The refrigerator sits in a common area and is used by employees to store lunches, drinks and assorted snacks. After a hasty in-house trial at which the accused offered no defense, volunteers took the man behind the building and shot him.

    "In a large, corporate environment, it's easy to forget that the people around you share some of the same values and have the same convictions," said one member of the firing squad, "This execution has really brought us together as a team and we're looking forward to doing this again real soon."

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    Is Yoohoo Really Worth $44 Billion?

    Does anyone even drink this stuff anymore?




    Well, does anyone even use that search engine anymore?

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