Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Will Be a Schizophrenic Before This Is Over

As the Humongo Agency tour neared my locale, I debated going out to ambush them. I needed a good ruse, and at the last minute I came up with Ronnie, a character who is likely near to my heart. I did a summer on a landscaping crew, and Ronnie is probably a subconscious amalgamation of some of the guys I worked with. He means well, but he's, well, for lack of a better term, a little fucked up.

The character went over a little better than I expected and he has taken on a life of his own at the encouragement of Chris, Darryl and a few others. Ronnie now has a blog, a Twitter account and a YouTube channel. Here's his first video.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm On a Horse... Playing Jai Alai in the Himalayas

Click it, won't you?

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More Letters From Don Draper's Wastebasket

Clickness = Bigness

Previously, a letter from the Jentzen offices in Portland.

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Hot Liquid Hope

For those of us old enough to remember when coffee was just coffee, before Starbucks and other gourmet outlets turned it into an expensive, sugar-laden delicacy, there were two undisputed leaders in the quick java jolt: Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's. They simply tasted the best. McDonald's coffee was always way too hot, but there was no confusing its fine taste with your average 7-11 cup. And Dunkin's was even better. (Recently I stopped at a turnpike rest stop and had the most unsatisfying cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee I've ever set my lips to. It had apparently been sitting on the burner for a week and seriously damaged my view of Dunkin'.)

I attempted to quit all my addictions at once on Monday. It was a bad day. I made it until this morning, when I made myself a small cup of coffee. The difference in outlook was amazing. I went from "Life sucks and I want to go back to bed," to "I'm going to sell Dunkin' Donuts a new tagline and find a job!" It's a powerful drug. And it's legal!

So, here ya go, Dunkin'. (And Dunkin's agency.) You may use this so long as you give me a job. Same goes for any other coffee purveyor who wants to steal this. And it won't be hard to prove it's mine.

Maybe you tie it into a campaign whereby you offer a free cup to anyone who can prove they're on the hunt for work? (Yeah, that'd be cool; all sorts of derelicts and riff-raf standing in line at Dunkin'.) That way you turn yourself into the friend of the average Joe (HA! Joe! Get it? Nevermind.) who has been affected in these trying times.

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We Escaped The Oil Spill, So IN YOUR FACE, Louisiana!

In the game of vacation destination advertising, you take every advantage you can get, even if that means you have to kick another destination when it's down. And covered in thick, black goop.
All over the West Coast of Florida, tourism boards are trying to convince travelers that, "There ain't no oil here!" Fort Myers / Sanibel made a nice effort with your standardly glib host riffing as he walks along the beach. This was "Day One" of their 9-day "Still Pristine" effort to woo the Gulf-visiting vacationer. They even did a "behind the scenes!" video, where the producer explains that "this has never been done before in the history of television!"

I heard a radio spot where a very, very sad sounding female voiceover said that, "Our hearts go out to the victims of the Gulf oil spill." Then she very smoothly transitioned into beach pitch-lady and offered to show you her very unaffected beaches. I'm about sick of the "Our hearts go out to," line. Much like, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to..." it's complete bullshit. It means simply, "Hey, sucks to be you!" (I hate it so much that it's a recurring, minor theme in my unpublished book. Literary agents, ping me.)

Granted, no one is out-and-out saying, "Our beaches are better than theirs," but the implication is there. So if you do vacation on the beaches of Fort Myers/ Sanibel, be a good sport and raise a glass one beautiful evening to the poor saps up the coast who didn't fare so well.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Found in Don Draper's Trashcan

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Dolls are Creepy - Giant Dolls Are Creepier

A sample of the YouTube comments include: "SCARY!" "CREEPY!" "CREEPS!" "FUCKING CREEPY." and "CUTE IN AN ODD SORT OF WAY."

Innovative, unusual, whimsical. Sure. But not what I'm thinking of when I need a mover. If I need a storage thing in my driveway, I'm right off the bat thinking PODS, not giant red-headed marionette winking at me in a scary way.

Thanks to Advertising is Good For You.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

An Epic of Epic Epicness

I like that line, but I feel like we're living in a new Studio Age, like the old ones from the olden times, when guys like Jerry Lewis made movie after movie after movie and none of them were any different from the rest. Or Elvis for that matter. Cheap schlock thrown together to make money. And usually quite funny, I must admit. The new stuff. Not Lewis or Elvis.

The new Brat Pack, or Pothead Pack, or Pack of Punks or whatever they've been dubbed is everywhere with a new movie every third Thursday. Apatow, Will Ferrell, that other guy. You know, the one trying to make movies like Apatow or Ferrell? And they have a rotating group of stable boys. And in this one, Jason Schwartzman will play a dick, like he does in every movie he's in. And Steve Carrell will play a schmuck. And Paul Rudd will play a weasel who wants to be good. And that tall goofy guy from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" will play a tall goofy guy.

Now here comes Michael Cera in another role that only Michael Cera could play, because the two chubby Apotow staples were busy,  you know, the two fat cutesy pothead boys who say foul things and it's funny, and one of them lost weight and they made fun of that in an inside joke in that one movie that also had Adam Sandler in it? The one about the funny boys? HAHAHAHAHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasplat.

But when you need over-the-top ineptness when it comes to being a confident lady's man, you need Michael Cera, who will execute his duties in this film with stunning accuracy to his previously similar roles.

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Evil Trash Men Made Me Make You a Moonset Desktop Background

The county I live in recently awarded a new contract for trash removal to some evil company that I don't like. Used to be you could set the bins out for pick-up at 8 or 9 in the morning and you were fine. (We can't set them out overnight because the bears will strew trash all over the place, which is no fun at all to clean up.) So anyway, these new guys are evil. You can hear them squealing through the neighborhood at about 5:30 AM, and I can tell they're psyched by the revving of the engine and the speed at which they drive. They're psyched that this neighborhood hardly has any bins at the street. "HAHA! We got here so early these dolts didn't get their stuff out in time! We're home free!"

It took me a couple of times missing them to now sleep with one eye open on Sunday nights. ("Prison Sleep" I've heard it called.) So I'm stumbling out there this morning and saw the moon setting. It was pretty. Made me say, "Whoa," in my hazy state and go find the camera, which was fortunately set on the "You do all the thinking for me" setting and so I was able to see it later when I was awake. Click it for Mondo Moon size.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pros! Shoot Like an Amateur!

Clicking allows maximization. Print on shitty paper for authenticity, then hang it on the bulletin board of the coffee-break area in your dying production studio.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

And Kids Were Driving When They Could Reach the Gas Pedal

The year is 1955, and the "druggist," I believe they called him, is selling the youngsters a Zippo lighter for Dad. Or at least that's who the kids said the lighter was for.

Top line is left as it was, but the rest of the copy has been modified to reflect a changing society. As if a kid could even buy a lighter today.(Click for large.)

Original ad is here.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What The Writer and Artist Wanted to Say

The first time something I wrote actually got printed was when I sent a letter to Mad Magazine in 6th grade. I have not lost the stupid, childish humor yet. Nor do I ever intend to. (The kids, they grow up too fast.)

Here's an old Coke ad from some time ago. The original line is left intact. The rest is what I suspect the illustrator and the copywriter privately joked was how the ad should read. (Original ad is here. Click to read.)  

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An Opinionated, Sexy History Book for Those Who Hate Studying

A dazzling pop-culture history of the 1960s. [Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s] zeal for detail is unparalleled. This is an opinionated, sexy history book for those who hate studying.  Penthouse

[Vargas-Cooper] focuses on advertising, design, film, literature, politics, sex, style and the workplace in order to probe ‘the most dramatic cultural shift in the 20th century’...the definitive companion book for the series.
Publishers Weekly

Natasha-Vargas Cooper nails the 1960s and the ad industry during this fascinating era. A good, fast, joyful read.
Nina DiSesa, Chairman, McCann New York

Above illustration by Bernie Fuchs, an iconic artist of the Mad Men era. I knew little of him prior to contributing to Natasha's book, but now I understand why his drawings and paintings were considered so groundbreaking. I was privileged to write a short essay on the image below.

In other self-serving "I Wrote Something" news, see that Anthony Bourdain image to your right? Click on it to read my answer to the challenge, "What Does it Mean to Cook Well?" a silly essay contest to promote Bourdain's new book. I know how to start the grill and get the steak or chicken off before it burns, but I'm all about the $10,000 prize money, so vote for me.

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Mel Gibson for Gibson Guitars

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Your Claims of "Viral" Are Falling on Deaf Eyes

I won't even give this video the benefit of an embedded view because the execution behind the attempt is so transparent. Not that the idea is so awful. Guy finds image of Burger King on his Big Mac bun. Cute.

It is introduced to me in an email that has all the markings of blog spam: "Hey, longtime fan of your blog and thought you might be interested in this. I keep seeing this video in a bunch of places and wondered what you thought. Funny stuff."

Whether or not BK is ultimately behind this doesn't even bother me. I doubt they are and this is probably someone's attempt to get some viral cred that they can put on their reel as they knock on doors to try to find a job.  "We did this hilarious thing for BK that just blew up on YouTube!"

This one, like most of them, has the forced acting by amatuers who happened to have their cameras out as they were eating lunch at McDonald's. It is uploaded by a guy who, SURPRISE, has only ever uploaded one video - and it's this one. If my YouTube user name is jakeskatesf, I will likely have at least a few vids of myself skating, or doing bong hits, or hanging out at the beach, especially if I'm the kind of guy whose camera is so a part of me that I have it out while at lunch with my friends. And the people who think Jake's video is awesome, their profiles have ZERO uploads. These are what's known in the business as "fake plants pretending to like your faked stupid video." One of them comments on Jake's video that "Damn dude! This BK thing is blowin' up!" Uh, not really.

Good viral happens, it isn't seeded or trying to be "authentic." You can't PR your way to success through fake email accounts with "check this funny thing out I found" messages. And what really ticks most of us off are the lengths you will go to to make it seem as though you are just some Joe or Jake who made a video, creating fake profiles and seeding comments. At least have another couple videos on your channel to hide the fact that you created the channel for the sole purpose of promoting your little stunt that you hope gets noticed by CP+B.

Or just be honest and put it on your real channel with the explanation, "I need a job and so I did this thing to get noticed by someone." That would be far more digestible than what you're up to now.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

"One Trick of a Tiny Belly" Ads, as Written By Mel Gibson

I'm about sick of these ads, almost as pervasive these days as Dancing Gay Cowboys were a few years ago.

Now that he needs work and the public can't seem to get enough of his crazy behavior, I think Mr. Gibson should take to advertising.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Job Seekers Who Do Not Meet All Requirements Need Not Apply

It doesn't matter that you can demonstrate award-winning skills in a variety of disciplines. They know exactly what they want in a candidate, and you are not it.

What few job offers that are out there these days have a specific specialist in mind. The days of the creative generalist seem to be winding down. I saw a quote from Tina Brown in the paper today:

"No one I know has a job anymore. They've got Gigs."

In today's "Boys of the Credenza" comic, The Creative Team meets with the Human Resources Director. (Based on an actual ad I found on Career Builder. Click for the big.)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Casa de Jetpacks sits on a canal near the Wekiva River Conservation Area, so it is not uncommon to encounter all manner of wildlife in the yard and around the neighborhood. Sand hill cranes are regular tenants, as are otters. Lizards, snakes and turtles are of course ubiquitous. Every morning and evening you can spot deer so tame that they just look at you as if you've interrupted their private breakfast or round of cocktails in their reserved room at the club. Hawks are always on the lampposts, and they are always being harassed by smaller birds, but the hawks just sit there cool as hell while being darted at by noisy little pests. The occasional alligator wanders into the yard. Earlier this week I got so tired of an armadillo rooting around in my garage and yard that I dispatched him to Armadillo Hell, where I'm sure all armadillos go upon expiring. And then sometimes we get bear, but only at night when the trash cans are on the street waiting to be emptied the following morning. Until today, that is, when a bold bear decided he'd have a broad daylight lunch of pears from the tree in the yard. The dog followed me out and scared him/her off with some vicious barking that had it been tested, would not have been backed up by any sort of bite. 

Got my copy of Mad Men Unbuttoned today in the mail. (I had already received a galley.) Written by Natasha Vargas-Cooper, it is a complete dissection of the era in which the hit series takes place, as well as THE authoritative history of ad agencies of the time - and just in time for the new season. Copyranter has an entry in there. So does Bad Banana. So do I. Buy it for the fan in your life. Now. (That was a call to action.)

Saw a tweet from Flashman of Sydney this morning. Seems there's a course on media, society and politics at the University of New South Wales that uses one of my Mike Adams cartoons on a handout promoting the course. Cool.

Saw another tweet today from Ad Pulp that announced a contest being put on by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi of Tel Aviv. They call it "The Impossible Brief." They're asking people to solve the Middle East Crisis, since Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama or any of their staff of career diplomats, or the UN, or Bono, or Madonna, or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie couldn't. Hell, no one can, can they? Since I'm not doing anything this summer in the way of real work, I took a stab. Frisbee, after all, is universal.

And I will commute weekly to Tel Aviv if that's what it takes to get an ad job in this economy.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm Thinking...No Thought Went Into This

This guy has to be either

1) The agency owner, or
2) The founder of Qdoba

but whoever he is, peering from behind his Risky Business sunglasses and looking up at his thought bubble, he was a low-budget model in a hastily assembled campaign that wasted money on expensive outdoor boards from Clear Channel. Come to think of it, he could even be an in-house creative at Clear Channel, phoning in yet another dumb idea.

No "Right at next light." No prince point. No deals offered. Just a shoulderless middle-aged man in a buttoned-up polo shirt ripping off the "I'm thinking Arby's" campaign. Lame. 

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

What the Disinguished Rapists and Pillagers are Wearing

Back in 1949, a company called SWANK was marketing these roguish tie tacks called "Magic Blades." A man could choose from the Cutlass, the Sabre, the Dagger and the Scimitar models. "Men prefer SWANK" was the company's innovative slogan, but the underlying message, was, of course, "You're a fucking PIRATE and the chicks are gonna throw themselves at you and beg to be ravaged!"

If SWANK was making these things today, they wouldn't need to be so classy, nor would they need the stupid name Magic Blades. Just take a page from the Pirate Marketing handbook and tell it like it is.

Previously in You're a ROGUE! a RAKE! A swashbuckling MAN OF ACTION:

Orgy Cologne
Swordsman™, by Jetpacks
Seafaring Loser a Winner with the Ladies
Caress the King and Kiss the Bishop
Axe Body Spray Causes Contact Orgasms
TIME's Stupid Attempt to Be Pirate Funny Flops
Themed Disney Cruise: Chicks Dig Pirates

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Super Saturated Street Views - "Moving Pictures" Edition

Some time back, I was cruising around the world on Google Street Views and came across a Porsche just south of Bellagio in Italy, meandering along the shores of Lago di Como behind the Google Street View Car. I thought, "That'd make a nice Porsche ad." Then recently, I was watching a Rush documentary and wondering, "How come no Rush music has ever been featured in a commercial?" UPDATE: MTLB thinks Rush music was used for a Nissan Pathfinder commercial some years back. Regardless, this will make that look like trash.

So, I'm combining the two interests - Rush and Street Views. Here's an ad made entirely from Google, including the pull-away at the end using Google Maps. I even took the tune from YouTube, where every song you ever wanted to hear resides for free, except the music of Prince, who has a crack legal team that will sue your ass in two shakes of a backup dancer's tail if you so much as THINK of one of his songs without asking.

And every Rush fan, be they old school headbangers or fans of "The Mullet Years" will agree, YYZ is the tune that unites every generation of Rush fan, and I've selected the best :30 of that tune. So here goes: I'm ready to be a one man crowd-source with this thing and take a couple hundred grand, 'cause I need a new roof. (And a Porsche, s'long as I'm at it.)

Here's the reasoning:

  • Rush and Porsche are a natural fit: Power + Precision
  • Some older Rush fans are wealthy now, even in this recession, and Rush fans are out of the closet. This tune will stop them in their tracks, guaranteed.
  • Porsche HAS to be hurting in this economy.
  • It rocks.
  • It was easy and cheap. Took me a few hours. Keep in mind, this is spec. We'll make it HD and pretty in a nice studio somewhere. (It's the IDEA that counts, bitches.)
  • It's an opening for Google to license their Street Views for commercial usage, seeing as they're out to rule the online revenue world.
Well, I guess I've opened up an opportunity for at least three entities to order me to cease and desist, and to them I say, "Live a little and lighten up." (And feel free to hire me. And of course we can work on my lame tagline at the end. But it's easy, cheesy and obvious, in anticipation of the client's desires.)

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The 5th of July

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Canada's #1 Export

Now that it's safe for Rush fans to come out of the closet, what with the appearance of the band on The Colbert Report, their featured role in the comedy I Love You, Man, and their recent documentary, Beyond The Lighted Stage taking an Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, I'm going to go ahead and risk alienating some readers by letting you know that I, for many years, have kept somewhat hidden my love for Rush.

There. I'm out! I feel so free!

They are awesome, "The Synthesizer Years" notwithstanding. How awesome? Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, created the opening video to their last tour. Sure, all their stuff doesn't work for me, and I have accused them of being (as they note in the film) "pretentious," but for three guys to make this much incredible music is just stunning. I get that they're a musician's band, and they're not for everyone. Those who appreciate them tend to do so to a psychotic degree while those who hate them do so with equal fervency, but they've been with me for a long time. When I fell asleep and rolled my Toyota Celica on I-5 in San Diego one early morning as a teenager, it was Rush playing from the cassette deck when I awoke upside down. (Seatbelts Save Lives, Kids!)

I understand that the band (as pointed out in I Love You, Man, as well as in the recent documentary) are not exactly a favorite among the ladies, unless those ladies are 11-years-old and pure musical geniuses. I only today saw this, so if it's old to you, apologies. Here's an 11-year old girl playing the highly complex Rush composition YYZ - by herself - on keyboards.

For the uninitiated, YYZ has worldwide appeal, as evidenced by this inspirational footage of a crowd of 60,000 Brazilians actually SINGING to an INSTRUMENTAL.

(For the non-Canadian and non-Rush fan, YYZ is the airport code for Toronto.)

Why no one has ever licensed any Rush tunes for commercial use is a mystery to me. Perhaps the heady lyrics and "pretentiousness" have hindered advertisers. I'm working on a little spec spot that I hope might change that.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

That's a Big-Ass Country

Click this image for an obscenely massive version.

Or more aptly, a Humongo Nation.

The special-needs kids of Humongo (formerly known as Plaid) are at it again. This time the Eastern Seaboard is the target as the customized Ford Flex full of live bloggers, tweeters and videographers meets up with people they've only known virtually, demonstrating once again what social media is about.

Last summer they did some Central states. Summer before that they did the West Coast. And they kicked off this annual ritual in 2007 with a tour of I don't even remember, that was so long ago.

This time they start in Maine and make their way to Miami, stopping along the way to meet people and maybe land a client or ten. I intend to ambush them when they hit Daytona Beach, but since they already know what I look like from the last time I ambushed them, I'm going to have to be more clever.

Sponsors already lined up for the tour include Ford, Green Mountain Coffee, Sprint and Wingate by Wyndham. If they're coming to your town this time around, you really should get out and say, "Hi," just as Andy, James, Lori and bunch of others did on previous tours. If you don't already read Brand Flakes For Breakfast, you should do that, too. It's an agency blog, but unlike most agency blogs it doesn't just promote the agency. In fact, it rarely does that. What's more, it wasn't left to die two months after it was created, like most agency blogs.

Speaking of country, this is (entirely coincidentally) my 1776th post. And just in time for the 4th of July weekend.

Full disclosure: I've done some freelancing for Humongo. Fuller disclosure: They gave me the shirt in the above picture in the hopes that I'd blog about the tour. I'd have done it without the shirt, but when they threw in an air-freshener and some buttons, I felt I owed 'em.

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