Friday, August 10, 2007

Get your ad legends here!

So, to refer once again to Mad Men, there was (thankfully?) no 30-second look into the past by Jerry Della Femina, inserted into the show, as had been announced early in the week. However, if you go to the Mad Men Web site, there's an archive of all of the ad legend interviews (to date, I hope, as the list is a bit odd and full of omissions of people many of us would probably love to hear from.) I'm having trouble embedding the video, which is beautifully, and intriguingly, shot, but the full list of people who appear (which can be viewed as a steady stream or as individual soundbites) is: Joy Golden, George Lois, Bob Jeffrey, Charlie Hughes, Lois Geraci Ernst, Evan Stark, Jerry D.F. (pictured above), John Bernbach, Tony Pagano, Martin Puris and Eric Michelson. Yeah, I'm can't remember who everyone on this list is either, and I thought I knew about these things.

Last night's episode of 'Mad Men'

Last night's episode of Mad Men was where the series really hit its stride, with just the right mix of insider advertising politics and themes of the time—JFK running for president, the fear and fascination that Don Draper's wife has concerning the messy lifestyle of the divorcee down the street, and, of course, the assistant account executive who doesn't know his place, and yet is saved from being canned from Sterling Cooper because of his pedigree. (Also loved the reference to Bob Newhart's "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,"—an album which my father, a former account guy, used to listen to repeatedly back in the day.) The only sour note was the B-roll that followed the episode where the actors talk about their characters. It's one thing for executive producer Matt Weiner to talk about the series; it's another to see the actors breaking down the fourth wall. Much better to keep the actors in the bubble that is a period piece like Mad Men.

Not sure I wanna post about Didja

I've been on the fence all week about whether to post anything about (the URL isn't live yet), the site from NBC Universal's USA Networks that's meant to be an archive of good ads. It's one of those announcements that I'm sure the network wants people like me to blog about, because it's so obviously a ploy to suck up to advertisers and agencies, who so dearly want the ads they produce to be viewed as content. Plus, why write about when it's a concept that's already out there from any number of players from TBS' to But I have to admit, Young Go Getter summed up my ambivalence better than I could. He or she says: "Didja is being made to help NBC milk a medium best they can."

Jonah Bloom rips through 'Maxim'

The following is a waste of all of our time, but, hey, it's a rainy Friday morning in August, the stock market is melting down and there's nothing any of us can do about it—in short, it's just the kind of psychic environment that innovative time-wasting was made for. So here's the link to Ad Age's Jonah Bloom and Ken Wheaton trying to rip a print ad that appears in the current issue of Maxim. Created for Stone Cold Steve Austin's upcoming "The Condemned", it was supposedly absolutely impossible to destroy. That is, until Jonah Bloom got a hold of it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Drunk people remember more than you think

Ad Age has a story this morning pointing out that people who spend a lot of time in bars have an astoundingly high level of ad recall. I really have nothing more to say on this. Go read the story.

Does ten Gary Cohens equal a Lee Mazzilli?

Why is it that every baseball game has to come with a promotional giveaway, even when the giveaway sucks? I pose this question after attending last night's Mets vs. Braves game at Shea Stadium (Mets win on a solo shot by Moises Alou ... yeah!). The giveaway—and I can't believe trees had to die for this—was a pack of cards, not of baseball players, but of the commentators for SNY, the official cable net of the Mets. Thus, we were treated not only to cards touting play-by-play guy Gary Cohen (at right), but to former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez—a color commentator for SNY—in a suit and tie holding a microphone. (Similar treatments were given to ex-pitcher Ron Darling, and Met/Yankee Lee Mazzilli.) Oy. Late in the game, as the Mets rallied, the inevitable happened. People began to rip up the cards and use them as confetti, which caused the P.A. announcer to ask the fans to stop it since a few cards had dribbled onto the field. Well, given the "value" of the giveaway, which was all about promoting SNY and not at all about what fans want, such behavior is understandable. Picture via

Google a planning tool? But of course

This story in Adweek seems a bit skeptical about Google's assertion that it is a planning tool, but that's what Google exec Perry Price said yesterday at the 4A's Planning Conference in San Diego. Price points out that, for instance, "box office grosses could be accurately predicted 82 percent of the time as far as six weeks before a movie opening" by tracking search activity. A few years back, I went to a big search conference where I had a lengthy conversation with an executive from a major CPG company about what advertisers can learn from search—he pointed out how much potential there was in simply discovering what words people use to search for products. Clients may still love holding focus groups and so forth, but it seems like it would be a little crazy not to think of search as a planning tool.

Zimmerman opens automated ad exchange

More evidence that eventually automated ad buys will be prevalent (OK, there's a bit of personal belief in there, but, hey, this is a blog): Omnicom's Zimmerman Advertising is opening an automated ad exchange called the Z-Media Exchange, per Mediapost. Its aim, similar to SpotRunner's, is to make it easy for local retail advertisers to buy time on radio and TV The most salient point in the story comes via a Zimmerman media executive who offers up the following scenario: "Wickes Furniture finds out on a Friday afternoon that the competition is having a big sale that weekend. My agency calls the local station to try and buy spots for Saturday and Sunday, and we're told to call back on Monday, because no one can turn our buy around fast enough to get it on air. This will never be an issue for our clients again."

Polls are open for MSNBC's best and worst ads

OK, so MSNBC is currently asking for votes for the best and worst ads thus far of 2007. You can vote for best here, and worst here. I find the lists a little odd in that they don't always mention who the advertiser is—anyone have an idea who is behind "Rabbit's feet get reattached" or "explaining what a 'muffin top' is"? For those in the biz, the list of nominees is probably most interesting as a reflection of what people not in the biz find good or bad or good and bad. The commercial for whatever cell phone company it is that features the line, "IDK, my BFF Jill," made both the best and worst lists. Meanwhile, TBWA/Chiat/Day's off-kilter Starburst commercial promoting "Berries and Creme" is tabbed as one of the worst, even though people in and around the industry seemed to like it and it has about 6.5 million views on YouTube, which is pretty phenomenal. Go figure, and go vote.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

IAG's top ten spots for July, with links!

Just like last month, I'm providing links to the top ten commercials of the month, per IAG Research as a public service, since others run the list but don't link to the spots. Sheesh.

1. Burger King, "Simpsonize Me." (Above, from Crispin, Porter & Bogusky.)
2. JC Penney, "Heart." This commercial from Saatchi & Saatchi is totally, completely worth checking out. The best take on prepubescent love I've seen in years. Really.
3. Toyota, "Backup." Also from Saatchi ... would seem even better if it weren't for the JC Penney spot.
4. Chili's "Spiced Up." Why this would be such a popular commercial, I've no idea. I also have no idea who the agency is, which is probably a good thing.
5. Target, "Dorm Room."
6. Cheez-It, "How does Cheez-It Do It?" Amazingly, yet another commercial that uses round objects rolling down the streets of San Francisco.
7. MasterCard, "MLB Dreams." (Couldn't find.)
8. Target,"Say Hello to Goodbuys."
9. DirectTV, "Signourney Weaver."
10. Target, "Hello, Goodbuy." (This is another in the series, featuring food such as Hershey's Chocolate.)

I'm eight for ten in terms of finding the commercials. If you find the missing ones, please send them along.

Catch Olympic fever! .... or not

I'm almost as burned out on the Olympics as General Motors is, and, hey, the Games in Beijing are still a year off. But somewhat seriously folks, you gotta applaud GM for getting beyond the prestige of being a big-time Olympic sponsor and realizing that it's no longer worth it. True, GM is in cost-cutting mode, seemingly forever, but going forward, it's going to be difficult for any advertiser to justify paying what GM did for its rights as a sponsor of both the NBC broadcast of the Games and an additional sponsorship with the U.S. Olympic Committee. By Ad Age's analysis, the multi-year deal was valued at $900 million. Media fragmentation is such that it's hard to view the Games, no pun intended, as the must-see TV it once was. In fact, one could argue that the ROI for an advertiser would be much better sponsoring individual events according to what viewers they attract rather than getting involved with these blanket deals. On that note, if you go to, the Web site for the 2008 games sponsored by U.S. Olympic Committee, you can see a new video montage, which I believed was created by mcgarrybowen, with the theme, "Amazing Awaits." If you want to get going on your 2008 Olympic hype early, it's the place to be. If not, I'll tell you it's nicely shot, paced, and produced but otherwise is so much inspirational wallpaper. Sorry to be so grouchy. Guess I need another cup of java.

Goodbye TimesSelect, goodbye subscription model

OK ... it may be all over but for the shouting for TimesSelect, the experiment at which operated under the premise that people would actually pay for some Times content, like the op-ed columns. Doesn't look like anyone at the Times has come clean on this yet, but it's all over the press, and pretty much is the death knell for a paid content model on the Web, as far as I can see—particularly since most people presume that Rupert Murdoch will let the rabble into soon enough by also dropping that site's subscription model. I don't think this is a good thing. For one, content solely supported by advertising devalues content, and secondly, through broadcast TV has managed it for years, not having a subscription revenue stream makes Web content constantly vulnerable to downturns in the online ad market. And we all know how bad those downturns can be.

Is it real or is it machinima?

Posting this mostly for the fun of it. Someone calling him/herself Machinimasia at YouTube has begun posting side-by-side comparisons of ads as they were originally shot next to machinima versions. Personally, I prefer live action, but whatever floats your boat. A machinima-ed Visa ad is above. There's a Johnny Walker one available here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Leo Burnett in 150 words or less

Wow, it must be August if I'm spending quality time tooling around the Leo Burnett Web site. The reason is that I was fact-checking a bit of Leo trivia for my ongoing series on agencies' Wikipedia entries, and it just so happens that anyone who visits can, virtually anyway, scribble all over the site with a big black pencil, just like old Leo. I'm definitely a curmudgeon when it comes to agencies and their Web sites, and although this one's navigation did give me a bit of vertigo, I had fun. Now onto that Leo Burnett Wikipedia entry ... is it really possible to distill the agency's entire history down to a mere 142 words (omitting the client list)? Sure, if you do a lousy job of it, which this entry does. (Leo himself gets his own entry, but at about 360 words it doesn't do the guy much justice, particularly since an entire sentence is devoted to pointing out that his daughter was a world-renowned bird watcher.) Anyway, the client list could use some editing as well. We know that the new business gods haven't always shown on the agency over the last few years, but the last marketer listed on the roster of "notable clients" is Walt Disney, which the agency won in 1994, and may no longer have for all I know. None of this would matter much if Wikipedia entries were buried in Google searches, but the entry on Leo himself comes up third, and the description of the agency comes up fourth.

Now they're advertising kid social networks

Is it just me or is the growth of children's social networks a sign of the apocalypse? I'm asking because I was reading over at Adweek that Interactive Corp. (or IAC ... take your pick) is putting $5 million behind a TV campaign for its kiddie club Zwinky, and if the new commercial is as inane as this earlier one above, I hope to never, ever see it. With Disney buying Club Penguin I guess there's no time like the present to promote other kiddie social networks, but God help us all.

Chrysler takes baby step into blogosphere

Generally, corporations aren't all that good at blogging, since they seem to lack commitment, so we'll have to keep an eye on the latest in the corporate blogosphereone from Chrysler that went live this week as part of "The New Chrysler," an initiative which apparently calls for overpaid ex-Home Depot CEOs, among other things. A post by now vice chairman (and former CEO) Tom LaSorda, starts out like many a corporate memo, " It’s a new day here at Chrysler, as we celebrate our beginning as a private company, held by our majority owners at Cerberus Capital Management." Can't you just see the folks in corporate communications sweating over that opening line? There's also a new commercial out featuring the babies above, which I wanted to stream for you, but, instead, when I went to the Web site, all I got was this lousy press release about it.

Clear Channel channels the Constitution

I'm not exactly a fan of billboards ... still you gotta admire the moxie of Clear Channel in its efforts to combat restrictions on billboards currently being reviewed in Tacoma. The billboard behemoth (alliteration watch) argues that the restrictions violate free speech laws, among other things, and thus, although Clear Channel has been coy about its involvement, all 200 or so billboards it owns in the market have suddenly been take over by this "Constitutions Matter" message. The billboards are quite the popular upload to Flickr these days.

People care about digital advertising

Quick note to say it looks like yesterday's big New York Times' feature about Digitas' plan to use cheap labor to create thousands of ads has struck a chord. It's currently the most emailed story on Times' list of business stories, beating out even stories about lead in trinkets and home foreclosures.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Heinz campaign is a CGM success

Since this is the last day that people can submit videos to Heinz's consumer-generated advertising contest, I think the contest can safely be called a winner. If I'm reading my YouTube metrics correctly, there have been over 2300 entries—more impressively, many of those entries have tens of thousands of views. Even if none of the ones that I saw seemed particularly scintillating—though I posted one mildly funny one above—it comes through loud and clear that people not only love their ketchup, but have a fascination with the iconic Heinz bottle as well. The next step in the campaign is the inevitable voting by Americans everywhere, followed by the airing of the top five on TV. Some products were made for CGM, and Heinz is one of them.

Marcio Moreira praises Allah

Sitting out here in the 'burbs leaves one woefully out of it when it comes to the medical issues of renowned ad execs. Thus, I was surprised to learn that McCann's Marcio Moreira had a heart attack a few weeks back in the airport in Dubai, and actually was clinically dead for about three minutes. He lived to tell the tale at, and yes, the above is not just a headline—he really does praise Allah.

Please make BBH's Wikipedia entry interesting

I'm feeling strangely emboldened now concerning my (eccentric) project to critique agencies' Wikipedia entries, now that Ogilvy & Mather's seems to have mysteriously changed, following an Adverganza post last week which noted that the entry was too promotional for Wikipedia's taste. Verge, the Ogilvy digital summit which last week was "the preeminent agency-led forum" is now simply "a a major agency-led forum." But now to Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Here it is, one of the more interesting agencies of the last decade or so, and this is how its Wikipedia post starts: "Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) is a British advertising agency, responsible for some of the more notable advertising campaigns of the last twenty years." That sentence somehow makes it seem as though, despite the notable campaigns, the agency is staffed by a group of stuffy British accountants. If that insomnia-proof opener weren't boring enough, it manages to sum up the entire agency history in slightly over 200 words. I believe in brevity, but in the Wikipedia context, links to some of the award-winning work mentioned, and maybe an adjective or two, might help.

Rob Walker doesn't acknowledge Tribal DDB

One of the best ways to figure out where ad agencies rank in the grand scheme of things is to see if they are credited for work that is talked about in venues beyond the usual suspects. Which brings me to yesterday's Consumed column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine by Rob Walker. It focuses on the "Shave Everywhere" campaign for the Philips Norelco Bodygroom. The centerpiece of the campaign is the site, partly because— since it lives on the Internet—it has allowed Philips Norelco to explore, um, issues that couldn't even be discussed on late night TV, a fact that Walker spends lots of copy on. But no mention of Tribal DDB, which created the campaign. Anywhere. If this habit of omitting the ad agency in the equation weren't so pervasive it would be shocking. Instead, it leaves me once again scratching my head at why these omissions happen all the time. Is it clients who don't want to acknowledge that they need outside help to come up with great ideas? Is it mainstream media who find that discussing the role of the agency is somehow tangential? Or is it that the industry—at least since the days of Mad Men has been pretty miserable at defending itself?
After all these years, I've really no clue.

'Mad Men' to feature ad legends

For all of the press in the ad trades about the first episode of Mad Men, the fact that the advertising-focused series inserted trivia and other advertising-related hooks into its commercial pods received nary a mention. I'm not at all sure how quotes from David Ogilvy go over with the average Mad Men viewer, but for people in the biz, it creates a nifty insider feel—it's as though the show's target was the ad industry itself. The rest of the viewers be damned! While that may be a bit of hyperbole (fitting, somehow though, ain't it?), the series will get even more insider come this Thursday, when, according to USA Today, the commercial pods begin to feature 30-second talks with ad legends. Naturally, but maybe not all that logically, the first person to be featured is Jerry Della Femina. (True, Jerry certainly had his time in the limelight, but it's continually frustrating to see a guy who long ago stopped being central to the industry still held up as its spokesperson.) Other ad legends in the series include Martin ("resign clients before they can fire you") Puris, and George ("I want my MTV") Lois. OK, I'll throw this out to those of you who are reading this: who would you like to see featured in one of these 30-second pods? (Resurrecting people like Bill Bernbach, a la Orville Redenbacher, is strictly prohibited.)

Adverganza's Monday morning picks: part deux

Due to a technical difficulty had to break this into two sections:

From Mediapost:

—Laurie Petersen pleads with Disney not to destroy Club Penguin.
—Mediacom appoints a global director of creative. Hell, why doesn't the company just hire some art directors and a copywriter or two and get it over with?

From The New York Times:

—Digitas chief David Kenney becomes digital advertising's poster child, and Maurice Levy thinks that his purchase of Digitas was what set off the current round of industry consolidation. Gotta love ad guys and their egos. Oh, and I was right about Digitas' buying a Chinese outfit to take advantage of cheap labor. It's a good thing that there's no way to inject poison into a banner ad.

Adverganza's Monday morning pics

Where we scan the Monday morning ad news headlines so you don't have to.

From Advertising Age:

—Matthew Creamer says stand-alone news brands are doomed. Couldn't agree more.
—Al Neuharth says Murdoch's acquisition is "a very good thing."
—Pat Fallon doesn't sound very happy.
Ad Age starts ranking advertising and marketing blogs. It must not be worth anything, because Adverganza's not on it.
—Should Kraft spend or sell?
—Levi's shoots a gay and straight version of a commercial.

From Adweek (no picture of the cover because the link is broken on the site):

—Even more Pat Fallon.
An interview with Robert Senior, the new CEO of SSF (that stands for Saatchi Saatchi Fallon for those of you who weren't paying attention last week.)
—A whole lotta stuff on planning. (This links to only one part of the package. For other parts, click here and scroll down until your joints start to hurt.)
—Joan Voight on making brands healthy.
—Barbara Lippert says (in a manner of speaking) that the first Wal-Mart work from The Martin Agency is as boring as Wal-Mart's court papers are interesting. I've embedded one of the spots below, though it seems to load very slowly.

More to come ...