Monday, August 31, 2009

You are Hungry or Tired and Now Everyone Knows It

I've heard that Facebook founder Mark ("The Dick") Zuckerberg boasts that Facebook is like a country, what with its millions of users and all. To me, it's more like a sleazy city full of pimps and crack whores. Or attention whores. I don't know. But pimps, for sure.

I just took the quiz, "What Kind of Facebook Hater Are You?" and my result was "Asshole Malcontent Who is Anti-Social and Hates When People Announce Mundane Shit." Take the Quiz!

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And A Mouse Shall Lead Them

No word yet on what the acquisition of Marvel by Disney will mean for a competitor in the theme park arena, but one of the most popular attractions at Universal Orlando is the Spider Man ride.

I never got into comic books. I was more a Mad Magazine reader. But this news is probably not welcome among the comic book crowd.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Sure, America is Online - Just Not With AOL

AOL is rearranging the deck chairs.

I think we all know why.

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The Virtual Vacation

Also known as the "See America Randomly" time-waster game.

Summer's almost over. Were you deprived of a vacation due to unemployment or other economic woe? All is not lost, Citizen!

See America from the comfort of your computer or smart phone! No bags to pack, no tickets to buy, no kids in the backseat crying, "Are we there yet?"

Start at Google Maps with a wide image of the US.

Drag the little yellow guy (that Google stole from AOL) to the map.

Drop him randomly and thrill at the purple mountain's majesty or amber waves of grain.

Ahhh. Look at that! A mountain road in California! Friggin' beautiful!

Take screenshots of each of your map-drops and put them in an album on Flickr to share with your family.

Bonus! Works in parts of Europe, Japan and most of Australia & New Zealand!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sells Itself

There's something about this bike that makes me want to buy this bike.

And sometimes, even a logo in the lower right corner is too much.

Spec ad for Triumph.

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The Great Beyond

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is So Very, Very Wrong

And so funny because it's so wrong. Taking religious satire to a whole new level is Pastor Shepherd of "The Prayer Hour." When I first saw this guy, I thought he was for real. Said a friend on Facebook: "He's so close to the read deal, it's scary."

You can view all of Pastor Shepherd's videos here, including a (typically psychotic) Gary Busey interview.

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Across From Super Wal-Mart

We're on a restaurant theme here today at Where's My Jetpack.

Having spent a couple years at a mid-sized market network affiliate making local commercials for clients with no money, I can sympathize with the creators of sushi restaurant spots.

This one for a sushi bar in D'Ibervile, Mississippi covers all the bases.

  • Stereotypical "Japanese" music bed? Check.
  • Too much copy? Check.
  • Cliché-ridden copy? No problem.
  • Slow pans of restaurant by a guy who is really a news photog? Yep.
  • Unappetizing food shots? Got it.
  • Rushed voiceover by unprofessional voiceover talent? Done.
  • End with view of exterior in a strip mall + phone number? But of course!
  • Bonus: Easy locator landmark.

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Where is This Place They Call Baja?

It's not too smart to make apologies for your product right off the bat. Like the regional grocery chain that says, "We're getting better all the time!" You might as well say, "We don't suck as much as we used to!"

Here comes Long John Silver's, acting as though fish tacos are a strange, new thing, even going so far as to say "Sounds Weird!" in a tag for the taco.

What sounds weird is your approach, Long John Silver's. Fish tacos have been staples in coastal towns for decades, but I'll cut you some slack and allow that maybe you thought your audience in middle America would say, "Gawl-Dang! Fish in a taco? What the hell?" but that also presumes that your audience in middle America has never turned on a TV, read a magazine or jumped online. I can find fish tacos in Omaha right now with a simple search, so maybe they're not as "weird" as you presume in your stupid campaign. They even titled the spot, "Dare," and "dared" a dumb city-boy to try this daring thing called a fish taco. "Sounds Weird!" Gahhhh! STOP IT!

Just put them on the menu and stop apologizing. Present yourself as the place to get the tastiest fucking fish tacos this side of Rosarito Beach. Do a little surf culture commercial with hot chicks in bikinis eating fish tacos with the sauce dripping out. Your new tag: "Tacos Way Better" or some such slam at Taco Bell.

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Your Customers Wear Snuggies

Jack in the Box mocks the McDonald's crowd in this depiction of a couple of seniors awaiting the Death Panel as they describe their beloved Filet-o-Fish as "very dependable" and "soft." Nice job on the part of JIB to portray the fast-food giant as staid and boring. You're never going to beat McD's in sales, so why not just take a baseball bat to their creaky old knees and hit them where they're vulnerable?

McDonald's is just as guilty of this type of attack ad. The current radio campaign for their iced coffee directly mocks the Starbucks crowd as a bunch of trendy faux-Bohemians in need of an intervention to wake them from their cult-like devotion.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You're Not an Artist. You're a Tool

David Burn over at AdPulp remarked in a tweet yesterday that the best line from this week's episode of Mad Men was, "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems."

It was a great line, but I'm feeling even more cynical than that today. So, here's to all the short-sighted, buck-passing, back-stabbing, micro-managing, self-inflated clowns we deal with daily.

Lest you think I harbor fantasies that this business is anything more than selling, here's a 3-year old post.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't Get Your Knickers in a Twist

Imagine creating what you think is a really nice little 30 second film, only to have it spark a debate over the role of women in society.

Saw this last night and hunted it down this morning, not realizing it's over two years old and the target of not only ire, but boycotts of Clorox by irate people decrying the depiction of women in the ad.

For me, it was just a nice set piece. The time-lapse journey through the ages is nothing new, but it's fun to watch the evolution of laundering the family clothes over time as I try to keep up with the rapidly changing scenery and people. Now my enjoyment is stomped with the realization that this little retrospective of an old company is actually setting women's rights back decades. I had no idea.

What's the worst that can happen if what the angry protesters say is true? Will a little girl see this ad and turn to her mom and say, "I want to be a housewife!"? I suppose that could happen, if the girl is really, really stupid and somehow perceives that this ad makes doing laundry look like her life's calling. Maybe a boy will see it and say, "Mom, why is the division of household labor so unfair? We should rise up against Dad!" Yes, that could happen, too.

But whenever I see lawnmower commercials, they usually depict a Dad mowing the lawn. You see, many "studies" have shown that more men buy lawnmowers than women and more women buy bleach than men. These studies were conducted by illiterate toddlers who simply observed how things work in their homes. When the girl grows up and gets a place of her own that has a yard, she will undoubtedly rise to the manly task of keeping it mowed, while the boy will discover the wonders of bleach when he's a stinky teenager doing his own laundry that Mom won't touch.

God, people. It's an ad for a bleach. But you go on and boycott it. That'll teach Clorox. Maybe, someday. They're still running the ad two years after you got your dirty panties in a wad, so it might be time to step up your efforts.

Here's another cool ad from DDB San Fran for Clorox.

Here's Bacardi's very similar "take you through the history of the product" ad.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stock Photography Fail

When you're shooting stock images and you want to portray "doctors," choose people who look like doctors. Try throwing a woman in there. A minority is quite popular these days.

When you're selecting an image for your own publication, creating an ad that is trying to solicit ads from medical professionals, choose an image that represents your audience, or at least an image that represents your audience's inflated image of itself.

My guess is the intended audience for this ad is not likely to respond to an image of a couple of B-grade, mousse-haired male models. Pretending to be doctors. These chumps have that air about them that says, "I'm going to be a huge deal someday." They will wake up in ten years to the suicide-inducing realization that they are being cast in ED commercials because they have that "impotent" look.

Oh, and can I have a couple of alternate headlines here? Your first clever instinct may not always be your best one.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Oops, Did I Just Say That?

Like the accidental "reply all" only meant for one recipient, sometimes we accidentally say what's really on our minds.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

This is My Rifle

Note: This is not a Second Amendment statement. I'm fine with guns. It's a statement on the idiocy of people who bring loaded weapons to town hall meetings about healthcare.

Original 1967 ad found here.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Serve Cold. Drink Fast.

"Your Majesty! The people have no wine!"

"Let them drink Ripple."

From the vault they call YouTube. If you search it, it will come up.

Ripple, from Gallo, long regarded as the cheap wine for...winos, was once "the new drink for lively people." Marie Antoinette is winking at you in this old spot that follows the classic Mad Men era format of sickening jingle followed by zealous announcer.

"Twice the pleasure" is copywriter language for "a quick buzz."

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Spin Your Wheels

Sometimes, you just have to think of it as a job.

The client has a very cumbersome and limiting name. Trouble is, they've been known by this mouthful of a name since 1945. At first, I suggested a simple shortening of the current name, keeping the main element that people know them by. A change was necessary, I argued, but a drastic change would likely alienate a large portion of their base. (Sorry, I'm being vague by necessity.) We were asked to come up with some alternatives. We submitted many, as did a naming/branding company that was paid tens of thousands of dollars. Naturally, the client wanted to see logos and taglines. Same deal. At least a hundred logos. At least 300 tags for the various name possibilities. They kept saying, "Use this word in the tagline. Use this element in the logo. No, give me a synonym for that word. I want to see this in another color."

Last night they held a board meeting in which the final few names would be narrowed down to a winner. After eight months and countless man hours, they elected to shorten their old name.

A colossal waste of time, or just how it works as people justify their bloated salaries and unnecessary positions? Maybe the process was required to show them that they already have an established brand.

Now that a name has been finalized, I expect to be involved in at least 30 meetings where we will listen to a dozen groups of unqualified people assess logos and taglines as they toss around the word "branding" as if they knew what it meant. I'm so looking forward to this.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Does Obama Want?

Depends who you ask.

More alarming, what should Obama do?

Oh, this is getting interesting. Let's let Magic Google finish this statement:

It's worse than you thought, people.

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Create an Ad for Something You Won't Buy

If I've got a feminine hygiene client, I'd rather turn the brief over to a female copywriter who understands the product and the audience better than I ever will.

Much of our lives in advertising are spent trying to sell stuff we don't really believe in, much less use. Often, that takes some necessary mind bending and moral adjusting. (I suppose some of us, like the Sham-Wow guy, have no problems selling what we know is a sham.) Other times, you can just put yourself in the shoes or the head of the would-be buyer. I am currently trying to do that with a healthcare client that caters to seniors. It's not a very fun head to get into; the sick, old head. I might be a senior copywriter, but this copy will come out much better if I could assign it to a senior.

As I postpone the task, I decided to exercise my mind and create this spec ad for Vespa. I would probably never buy a Vespa because somewhere along the line I bought into someone's suggestion that Vespas were for girls, gays, and Roman holidays. The imaginary brief for this imaginary ad would say, "We want to target those who are contemplating throwing in their lot with the Harley crowd." That would be a tough sell. Or maybe not.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

VW Won't Be Happy With Any Agency

In a cleverly crafted statement, Tim Ellis, VW's VP of Marketing, said,
"We are re-evaluating all areas of our business, and after careful considerations have decided to take the necessary steps to ensure we have the right agency partner in place."

In a nice gesture, the current agency was invited to defend their position. They politely said, "Um. Thanks. But fuck off."

What a tough gig for any agency, honestly. You will have a very lofty goal to meet, in that
"Volkswagen has embarked on a mission to significantly grow our business here in this market. Our goal of rapidly increasing our volume in a mature market requires the Volkswagen brand to evolve into a more relevant mainstream choice."

I like what CP+B did with VW. The talking old Beetle with the German accent was cute. The tag "Get Your Autobahn On" was inventive. And for my money, the "Un-pimp Your Ride" spots were awesome. You can't go wrong with the evil, eye-transplant doctor from "Minority Report" and a sexy assistant.

Now, feast your eyes on this image for a few seconds and then, stay with me.

I'm guessing CP+B's very noble attempts didn't sell Volkswagens. Not even Brooke Shields' ridiculous efforts to move the "Routan" helped. (What is it with these VW names?)

Gone are the days when VW had pricing on its side. VW no longer lives up to its brand's very translation: "The People's Car." It's now an overpriced near luxury line. If they want to be a "relevant mainstream choice," they're going to have to build another people's car. And I'm not talking about that re-issue of the Beetle. Bring back the real Beetle, with super-competitive pricing. (They were still making them as late as 2003 in Mexico, so all the tools are in place.)

Volkswagen is a far cry from, and secretly envy of, (in a German way) BMW, Porsche and Mercedes, who together fom the Holy Saxon Trinity of Awesome Bavarian Machinery. "The Three" have ruled the Austrian, Stuttgart-region's, Hyper-Engineered, Super-Deluxe, Custom-Luxury market since the end of the War to End All Wars. To the "Big Three of Germany," VW is a child; Hitler's failed experiment in Nationalistic Socialistic Capitalistic Materialistic Industrialistic Carmakerism. (Volkwagen's prettier step-sister, Audi, shares 4th billing.)

So, short of the Beetle. maybe VW re-issues the eternally cool van (some would call it a "bus") with Safari WindowsTM, pictured above. Or maybe, VW, you can get your much-revered "German EngineeringTM" reputation busy crafting an affordable electric vehicle.

"German" was about all CP+B could come up with. So, maybe VW should continue in that vein and live up to the hype. Kick The Big Three at their game, yo.

(And for the love of Phaëton, son of Helios, stop with the retarded naming tradition!)

Cute isn't going to fix VW. Neither will sexy. Whatever agency wins this account will be trying to defend it in two years, after Tim Ellis has been sacked and the new VP of Marketing is charged with the impossible task of "evolving the brand into a more relevant mainstream choice."

In other words: "VW needs to remake itself." And they do that by going all the way back to their ugly roots: a people's car.

I'm just telling you what most agencies won't, VW. If any of this resonates with you, consider this my pitch. I'll find an art director in short order. We'll redo how it's done.

Work with me here, People's Car.

The above ideas are copyrighted, henceforth, from this day, in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Nine, and are therefore safe from theft or misapropriation by the VW People or Their Lawyers.

Marked herein by the timestamp of Google. Forever and ever and ever in digital eternity. Amen.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Land of the Spin, Home of the Talking Point

I don't know how they can even call it a debate anymore. It's beyond hopeless. If you're not disgusted, you're not paying attention. I need a long vacation away from my country. When I come back, I fully expect it will be worse.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Boys of the Credenza Learn The Cruel Truth

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Only in Orlando

I wish I was making this up.

Judging by this mugshot, the offender didn't think his crime was that serious.

The victim said Moyer grabbed her chest, and she pushed him away.Moyer was sentenced to 180 days probation, and he must undergo psychological evaluation before he returns to Pennsylvania.

Is this a laughing matter? In these oh-so-sensitive times, I'd rather not even venture a guess.

Um...I mean, "No! Absolutely NOT!"

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"Fried" is a Four Letter Word

Cringe with me, won't you, by visiting Close your eyes in shame and hang your head as you watch the white lady dance with drumsticks.

The "F" in KFC stands for "fried," as you might guess from the image below.

Now KFC wants you to "unthink" what you know about KFC.

Bad start.

Years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken decided they needed to shed the whole "fried" image and start calling themselves "KFC." I remember an old Dennis Miller bit from that time in which he said, "It's chicken. Let's not try to hip it up too much, OK?"

And yet here they are, still using the word "fried" prominently on their current website, signs and advertising. Why not just call yourselves "Kentucky Heart Attack Chicken" or "Kentucky Clogged Arteries Chicken?"

Now they want us to think of them as "grilled," even though they still call themselves "fried."

Confused much, KFC?

You need to decide what the hell you want to be and be it. And don't ask me to "unthink" when you're clearly the ones who need to start thinking.

How about dropping the adjective altogether and just be "Kentucky Chicken?" Or how about just "The Colonel's?" A massive, chain-wide rebranding will be expensive and difficult, but it beats this schizo image you're presenting.

Sure, "fried" is a dirty word nowadays, and KFC understandably needs to move away from it. But pull the plug already. Anytime you tell your customers to "stop thinking about us this way!" you are digging a hole. And as you ask them to stop thinking of you that way while still calling yourself that, you're just being stupid. I'm sure the agency knows this, but I'm also sure they're up against a bureaucratic corporation that can't quite "unthink" their old image.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

A Paradise of Plenty Where Nobody Lacks

All flying around with our own jetpacks.

OK, maybe not.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Be a Tea Bag Designer in Your Spare Time

A career with a promising future in today's America is banner ad designer for the right wing mob. I just threw this one together in about five minutes. I think it says everything they want me to say.

I love how the mob yells, "Do you want the government deciding who your doctor is? Do you want the government deciding what procedures you can get?"

Well, right now United Healthcare decides those things for an exorbitant rate.

Or this is one of their favorites: "What has the government ever run right?"

Aren't these the same folks that love "our men and women in uniform" more than you or me? I'm pretty sure they'd have a hard time saying the military, a government entity, is shoddily run.

Now I need to make one showing him as the foreign-born Muslim prince boy, puppet of the Illuminati, destroyer of all we hold dear. Crushing baby skulls and lifting the dress of Lady Liberty while he urinates on Old Glory. Yeah.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

The Dead Art of Letter Writing

Nevermind that the last useful thing you received in the mail was...what? I don't even know. Fed-Ex and UPS have the package delivery industry covered. Letters from grandma? Even grandma has an AOL account. Bills? Paperless, thank you. Banking online.

But news that the perpetually mismanaged USPS is closing 1,000 offices nationwide after posting another record loss (even after raising the price of postage) will not stem the tide of junk mail. The postman will always have a job. And so will you, direct mail artists and writers.

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Vicky is Your Daughter's Friend

Victoria's Secret is having a Back to School Sale.

Now, settle down, concerned parents. It's not anything to get alarmed over, you decent and good citizens of Babylon. Vicky's just trying to help young college women decorate their dorms with her signature PINK line.

Uh huh.

But really, let's stop beating around the bush and give Victoria's Secret an ad that gets right to the point of what they're really all about.

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Economic Indicator

I see this guy in my neighborhood every Monday morning, getting a jump on the trash men and hauling off whatever he can fit in the back of his truck that he finds on the curb.

Thrifty, industrious and dedicated.

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