Friday, July 27, 2007

Digital inmates to run asylum at Carat?

This just in from Mediapost's Joe Mandese: Carat Fusion's Sarah Fay and Scott Sorokin are being named CEO and president, respectively, of Carat as part of a restructuring that will completely dissolve the line between the on and offline units. Certainly, integration seems to be gaining ground at last, but what makes this news truly noteworthy is that the executives from the digital media side of the business are taking over. I'm always leery of claims at industry firsts, but this actually may qualify as one. As part of the reshuffle, Ray Warren, a former OMD exec who has been president of Carat USA and president of Carat Media Group Americas, is said to be leaving the company.

Donny Deutsch, TV legend?

A friend of Adverganza just forwarded me a release with the headline, "TV Legend Donny Deutsch, Political Editor Arianna Huffington to Speak at Direct-to-Consumer Conference." (It's sponsored by the Electronic Retailing Association.) Johnny Carson is a TV legend. Jerry Seinfeld is a TV legend. As for Donny, if he's a TV legend, than so is Nicole Richie.

Sphere plus San Francisco equals Emmy nominee?

Shoot posted interviews this morning with the creatives on the seven commercials that have been nominated for Emmys this year, apparently more than have ever been nominated since the commercial category was invented. Must admit I hadn't seen all the spots, but certainly worth the time if you're looking for a little inspiration, or just to waste some time under the guise of work. Strangely, two of them—Pepsi's "Pinball" and Travelers' "Snowball"—feature the steep streets of San Francisco and spherical objects, just as Sony Bravia's "Balls" did, which, like the Travelers spot, was created by Fallon. Frames from all three are above, and I ask you is this coincidence, conspiracy, or copying? Without even more ado, here are links to the seven spots:

1) American Express "Animals." Ogilvy & Mather.
2) American Legacy Foundation "Singing Cowboy." Arnold.
3) Cingular "Battle." BBDO.
4) Coca-Cola "Happiness Factory." Wieden + Kennedy.
5) General Electric "Jar." BBDO.
6) Pepsi "Pinball." BBDO.
7) Travelers "Snowball." Fallon.

Dove's campaign for real hair

Not sure that women have quite as many self-esteem issues surrounding their hair as they do their bodies, but Dove is extending the premise of its "Campaign for Real Beauty" to haircare with a new CGM campaign called "Dove Love Your Hair" which asks women to submit their own print ad. Not a bad idea, but nothing can really beat the impact of the big-boned gals that made up some of the early "Campaign for Real Beauty" advertising. The short film promoting the contest, above, is somewhat reminiscent of "Evolution" the Cannes-winning viral video. Via Mediapost.

Tom Anderson turns into a Simpson

Don't go to my MySpace page much but noticed this morning that everyone's first friend, co-founder Tom Anderson, at left, has been Simpsonized. Simple, but multiply that by every MySpace profile and you've got something very cool. Also, apparently, is oversubscribed. I went onto the site this morning and it sometimes loads a page that asks you to come back later to Simpsonize yourself and your friends, or stay on the site and watch a few Simpsons/Burger King commercials. Now we'll see how the movie does.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

'Cavemen' first pilot headed for extinction

So, you may have read that the producers of the already-questionable ABC sitcom, "Cavemen" are reshooting the pilot, which the network acknowledged yesterday. The problem, allegedly, is that while it's one thing for a caveman in a Geico commercial to bemoan his second-class status in the modern world, it's another thing to turn a sitcom about cavemen into "an ambitious allegory about race." Ya think? While spending way too many of my highly-evolved brain cells thinking about this, I actually tried and succeeded in finding a snippet of the old pilot on YouTube, which is posted above. Maybe you've seen it, as somehow I feel like all 6,000 people who've already viewed it are associated with the ad industry, and/or The Martin Agency. But if you haven't seen it, take a look. It's not as though this particular 38 seconds is that bad, it's just that it seems, in this brief moment alone, to work in every joke that might be told about how to work the term "Cro-Magnon" into contemporary culture, such as, "I like big Mags and I cannot lie." Argh.

Why Wieden, Goodby haven't joined the 4As

What goes on at the 4As is hardly one of the burning issues of our time, still, it's been enjoyable to see outgoing president-CEO O. Burtch Drake (known simply as "O" to his friends—kidding!) let it all hang out and actually complain about what's wrong with the business: clients who call reviews at the drop of a hat, clients who put way too much credence in USA Today's Super Bowl ad poll, and prominent shops that just won't join. Now, following up on its coverage last week of Drake's speech to the ANA's Agency-Client Relations Forum, Ad Age asked two of those prominent shops—Wieden and Kennedy and Goodby, Silverstein—why they haven't joined, and the answer boils down to money. In Wieden's case, the shop is still stinging from its rejection by the 4As when it was a startup which was viewed as having questionable finances; for Goodby, the shop just finds the dues too damn expensive. On that note, you have to ask: if one of the main virtues of the 4As is that it lobbies on behalf of the industry, and your shop is in the industry but not a member of the 4As, won't you benefit from its efforts anyway?

Wendy's protest looks like viral marketing

You've probably seen the above video protesting the Wendy's logo by now, but just thought I'd add something to the discussion. It's really the work of Improv Everywhere, which has created an organization called the National Association for the Advancement of Redheaded People, to protest the depiction of redheaded people in the Wendy's logo and commercials. It's a joke. But, except for the fact that the corporate powers-that-be would probably never approve of chants like "Biggie Size Bigotry," there's nothing to separate this from a viral marketing stunt. It's got all the hallmarks: a fake protest, a (in this case) successful stab at humor, solid viral distribution and even a tie-in to Wendy's current campaign. I bet Saatchi and Wendy's are loving every minute.

Yahoo ad sales defections continue

The defection of members of the Yahoo advertising group took a double-dip today: both Jerry Shereshewsky, who had perhaps the world's oddest title (Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Madison Avenue) and Steve Mitgang, who most recently held the title, senior vp, advertising platforms and products, are both taking CEO posts elsewhere in the Internet universe. As was Wenda Harris Millard, who recently left for Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Jerry, was truly the public face of Yahoo, at least in the advertising industry. It was pretty hard to attend an Internet advertising event over the last five years or so, and not see Jerry there. He's taking the helm at—an idea whose time has come—where he'll no doubt continue in that role. As for Mitgang, he was deeply involved with Project Panama—Yahoo's revamp of its search advertising platform, and he'll be taking the reins at Veoh, one of the emerging players in the Internet video industry. (Dmitry Shapiro, the passionate founder of Veoh, CEO will continue on as chief innovation officer.) To get back to the Yahoo angle, it's hardly a shock to see Shereshewsky leaving. In a sense, Yahoo is going back to the future, trading in Terry Semel for Jerry Yang, who founded the company and, its relationships with advertisers and agencies having been solidified, focusing more on the tech-heavy side of online advertising. As for Mitgang, it's a little tougher to see, since the overriding goal of the ad revenue side of Yahoo's business is to wed search with display, and search seems to be the coin of the realm in Santa Clara these days. On the other hand, I'm just someone sitting in her home office trying to read a few tea leaves.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ewwww ... it's the meth campaign

It's good and bad that we don't get to see more of the campaign for the Meth Project which has now been picked up in Illinois and Arizona, expanding from its home state of Montana. Seeing this billboard, which was posted by Splinta on Flickr, shows why.

Crispin loses; Orville put back in grave

It's hard not to see the cause-and-effect on this news posted late today on the Ad Age Web site: that ConAgra has just left Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. Don't get it yet? One of the two brands the agency handled was Orville Redenbacher popcorn, for which Crispin infamously resurrected Orville himself, in the creepiest commercial so far this year, above. (The shop also lost ConAgra's Slim Jim account.) But this isn't a case of a big CPG company trying out an alterna-agency and then running back to the boring big shops. According to the Ad Age story, the agency decided not to defend in a pitch that also included Nitro, DDB's San Francisco office, and Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners and Venables, Bell and Partners. Venables won the business.

Lindsay Lohan missing from movie poster

Couldn't resist, of course, reading both the hi- and low-brow coverage of Lindsay Lohan's latest run-in with the law. In a story today in The New York Times about the damage her DUI career is doing to her movie career, I saw the following comment about marketing for the horror flick very much starring her that is launching on Friday: "TriStar Pictures ... has played down Ms. Lohan in the marketing of 'I Know Who Killed Me' as much as possible, given that she plays not just one but possibly two lead roles and is on screen in nearly every frame of the movie’s trailer." Take a look at this movie poster. I'd have to agree.

McDonald's finds commercial ideas on YouTube

So Arnold is the agency behind this Chicken McNuggets spot that's been airing in the New York area for the last few weeks, one of two McDonald's spots, according to this story in The Boston Globe, that incorporates films about McDonald's that have been posted on YouTube over the last year or so. (It's kind of odd that they feel the need to put in a subtitle that says, "Actual User Generated Content." Now if I could just get clear on the contents of a McNugget.) The clip that this is originally from, which has so far gotten more than 150,000 views, is located here. I couldn't find the other spot, which was produced by Karsh/Hagan, though here is the clip that inspired it, wherein a group of guys goes to the drive-thru and sings their order, and, most amazingly, the drive-thru employee who has to listen to them ramble on for two minutes actually doesn't get mad. You know that this had to have taken place nowhere near New York. (The commercial itself is airing only in the Midwest.)

Mediapost has complete coverage of BK/Simpsons

I was going to write up a post about Crispin's Burger King work for The Simpsons Movie, but since Mediapost has already done it in its "Out to Launch" newsletter, I'll skip it, save for running the rockin' alien spot above.

H-P looks to control parents' minds

Hewlett-Packard is launching a campaign it's calling "viral" (though the proof, of course, is in the pudding), to, um, help teens convince their parents to buy them HPs for school. Under the heading, "The Society for Parental Mind-Control," it includes the opporunity to send "ESP emails" to parents suggesting potential laptop purchases for their kids and so forth. There are the obligatory "viral" films, and although the one above isn't included at the campaign site, it appears to be part of the campaign. No mention in the release of Goodby, Silverstein—just a quote from Brendan Malloy of Black Dog Films, which shot the films. UPDATE: The campaign is the work of McCann-Erickson, San Francisco, which also does some work for HP.

Smirnoff Ice ad features Big Tan Dog

This :15 for Smirnoff Ice was just posted by brentter the other day on YouTube. I think it was created for twentysomethings who were big fans of Clifford, the Big Red Dog, when they were kids. Created (according to brentter) by JWT.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Business 2.0' gets even more friends

Still skeptical about whether the "Save Business 2.0" Facebook group will save the magazine, but interesting to see how this movement is taking shape. When we reported on this last week, it had roughly 350 friends—as of this writing, it has grown to about 1725, with a growth curve (published on the group's home page) that looks like this:

1500 members @ 9:50am edt, July 23rd
1200 members @ 10:34am edt, July 21st
1100 members @ 9:45pm edt, July 20th
1000 members @ 4:45pm edt, July 20th
900 members @ 1:45pm edt, July 20th
800 members @ 6:30am edt, July 20th
700 members @ 9:13pm edt, July 19th
600 members @ 3:50pm edt, July 19th

Not bad. But, while it seems to be completely made up of graduates of Ivy League schools, or Stanford or MIT (exaggeration watch!), my guess is the group will have to get into the healthy five figures to have any real impact. Good luck all.

Pay attention to AOL and Tacoda

Compared to some other mega-deals of late, AOL's deal to buy Tacoda today probably won't get near the press—partly because AOL still has a long way to go before it loses its also-ran status, and partly because Tacoda, as a private company, has been flying below the radar, except to those deep into the online advertising business. Whatever the case, in buying Tacoda, AOL just snagged one of the best companies left in the current round of industry consolidations. Tacoda, the premier online ad network in behavioral targeting, stands to explode as behavioral targeting inevitably will, and AOL managed to snag it for only between $200 million to $300 million. (Compare that to the $649 million, WPP paid for 24/7 Media.) As it happens, the announcement of the deal—and one has to wonder if The New York Post story on it this morning made that happen today—coincides with The Behavioral Marketing Forum. If you haven't seen it yet, here's an interview Mediapost's Laurie Petersen did with Tacoda CEO Curt Viebranz at that conference. The only question left unanswered, I guess, is who will buy Revenue Science.

Yes, an iPhone will blend

OK, I promise that Adverganza will never become a clearinghouse for "Will It Blend?" videos, but this one, no. 4 on Nielsen BuzzMetrics most linked-to videos for yesterday is worthy. An iPhone and the Blendtec blender, a match made in heaven. BTW, so far that second Ray-Ban video hasn't set the world on fire, but maybe now that they finally decided to tag it "Ray-Ban" a few days ago, it has a fighting chance.

Monday, July 23, 2007

All You Need Is Not to Sell Diapers with This Song

Funny how the use of "All You Need Is Love" in a Luvs commercial has proven so controversial, when, a few months back, Target's use of another Beatles' tune, "Hello, Goodbye," (changed to goodbuy ... sacrilege!), seemed to pass without much note, except, maybe for my rant about it. Yes, if you haven't read about it already, Procter and Gamble did change the lyrics to "All You Need Is Luvs," and so far, it seems to be standing by its commercial, with a spokesperson noting that it tested well with parents. OK, here's a thought: that, if you're testing for consumer outrage over use of a Beatles' song, the target market should not be people in their twenties and thirties. Yes, thankfully, the Beatles have fans that age, but for most people of that age group the band's songs still can't have the same resonance as it does for people who were there when they were released. Curious to see if Procter pulls the ad. As far as this particular song, not only was it pretty much an anthem of the sixties, it's recording was a landmark event, which, for the fun of it, I've posted above. I was pretty young at the time, but I remember it as the first global broadcast, featuring not only the Beatles, but Mick Jagger, who sits on the floor singing the chorus.

Intel vids directed by Christopher Guest

OK, here are the two videos directed by Christopher Guest for Intel that I mentioned earlier. The better of the two is above. For the other one, click here. If Mark Wahlberg hadn't played that wannabe rock star in Rock Star, the lead singer of the metal band (it represents hardware) in these videos, could've played the wannabe rock star. Or something like that.

Wendy's red wig in vogue

Apparently, Wendy's has sided with me and decided that it really oughtta use the Wendy's red wig in more ads than that silly one where the people kick the trees. There's another guy outfitted in a red wig in the current commercial for the (guffaw!) Baconator (above), and according to this story, the kids are loving the tree commercials, and allegedly posting their own versions online. (I found only one, which may or may not have been.) OK, as silly as this whole wig gambit is (and weirdly reminiscent of Crispin's resurrection of The King for Burger King--get ready for the selling of Wendy's red wigs at Halloween), give Saatchi and Saatchi credit for coming up with a memorable visual that nails down what brand is being advertised.

Links to 'USA Today''s most remembered ads

As part of its series of "25" lists, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the paper, USA Today has published its list of the most remembered commercials of the last 25 years. Note that the operative adjective here is "memorable." How else would Mrs. Fletcher come in at No. 1? Couldn't resist posting the clip, above, along with links to as many of the commercials as I could find below, which, strangely, did not include the Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial where his hair got set on fire. You mean, nobody has posted that to YouTube? It's worth noting that none of the ads are from the current decade. In an era of increased media fragmentation, becoming remembered must be getting harder. Without further ado, enjoy the nostalgic ride.

2. Apple Macintosh: 1984.
3. Wendy's: Where's the Beef? (1984).
4. Isuzu: Joe "Trust me" Isuzu (1986). (OK, this link is really to his "comeback" ad. Note the framed Adweek cover in the background.)
Energizer Bunny (1989).
6. Bartles & Jaymes: Thank You for Your Support (1985).
California Raisin Advisory Board: Heard it Through the Grapevine (1986).
Budweiser: Croaking Frogs (1995).
Bush campaign: Willie Horton (1988).
10. California Milk Processors Board: Got Milk? (1993).
11. Partnership for a Drug-Free America: "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" (1987).
12. Ikea: Gay Men Shopping (1994).
13. McDonald's: Nothing but Net (1993).
Pepsi: Michael Jackson on fire (1984).
Reagan Campaign: Morning in America (1984).
Nike: Bo Knows (1989).
17. Nike: Revolution (1987).
18. Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon? (1984).
Federal government: Crash Test Dummies (1985).
20. Playtex: Model (1987).
Chevrolet trucks: Like a Rock (1991).
22. New Coke: Max Headroom (1986).
23. Because Pets Can't Drive (1999). Hmmmm ... Never before noticed the resemblance between the sock puppet and Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog.
Reebok: Dan & Dave (1992).
Taster's Choice soap opera (1991).

Adverganza's Monday morning picks

In which we tell you what's worth reading from Monday's ad news dump.

From Advertising Age:

—File under "We Knew That": Being a Detroit ad agency person sucks.
—Well, at least the 'WSJ' sales guys like Rupert Murdoch.
—File under "We Knew That, the Sequel": Rance Crain says Detroit’s ad slogans suck.
Wal-Mart lets you rate its products.
—Bob Garfield ponders Dell’s color-coordinated laptops, as did we.
—What David Lubars, Linda Sawyer, Bob Jeffery, George Lois, et. al, thought of “Mad Men.”

From Adweek:

—An interview with "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner, and why he thinks the agency in the show is most like BBDO.
Mal McDougall on "Mad Men."
—Noreen O'Leary on the rise of digital agencies.
—Andrew McMains on the rise of strategic consultants.
Cutwater talks about how it's letting its new Ray-Ban viral get sick mostly on its own.
—Barbara Lippert on Martin's new campaign for ESPN's X Games.

From The New York Times:

Podcasts try to figure out an ad model.
Barbie plugs into a docking station. It's not at all like it sounds.
McCann and MRM get Christopher Guest to direct two Intel music videos. (When I find them online, I'll post them.)

From The Wall Street Journal: (subscription required unless otherwise noted):

—Dodge is trying to get the above video for the Nitro pulled, because it's never nice to see a dog get struck by lightning.
—European carmakers discover it's good to claim you're green.

From Mediapost:

Adam Gerber departs Brightcove.