Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Memorial Day from Julie Roehm

If you're an avid follower of the Julie Roehm/Wal-Mart saga (and really, who isn't?) you may find it just a tad disappointing that late on the Friday before Memorial Day was when everyone got hold of the latest salvo--a 40-plus page document from the Roehm camp claiming, among other things, that Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, got a few totems, like a yacht, at "preferential prices" from a company in Minnesota owned by one Irwin Jacobs. (Looks like it's this one.) Who to gossip with about it over this long vacation weekend? And then, if you still profess to care about it by Tuesday morning when you're back in the office, you look kind of pathetic. What a shame.

ANA loves Proct'o'r & Gamble

We're told that the Association of National Advertisers has committed the crime of spelling Procter & Gamble's name wrong—several times—in the mailer it just sent out for its Masters of Integrated Marketing Conference, scheduled for June 14 in New York. The spelling is correct on the agenda listed on the site, unfortunately for those of us who love a good typo when we see one.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Is Wendy's trying to rekindle "1984"?

I think Wendy's—and its new lead agency, Saatchi & Saatchi—were trying to channel Apple's "1984" with the spot they launched last night on American Idol, but my nine-year-old son said he didn't get it, and neither did I. In case you missed it, it features a forest full of people kicking trees for no known purpose, except for one guy—wearing the Wendy wig—who starts to realize he doesn't have to kick trees just because everyone else does. Huh? Segue to the selling proposition: that not only does this guy not have to kick trees, he also doesn't have to eat hamburgers made from frozen meat. How inspirational! Now, about the Wendy wig. It looks absolutely ridiculous, as you can probably tell, and at least, if someone were wearing it in all three of the spots currently available on Wendy's kludgy Web site, it would make the brand the commercials are advertising immediately identifiable. But instead, it looks like a one-off—one guy, wearing a red wig, in a forest, not kicking trees. Bring back McCann-Erickson. Or Clara Peller.

Ditech discovers intelligent life on earth

I'm so glad that Ditech guy is out of a job. In a complete departure from its old advertising, the company, unbelievably a unit of General Motors, launched a new campaign via Ground Zero this week that actually recognizes that, "People Are Smart." (You can watch it here.) With the old campaign, it was almost implied that the company thought people were, in fact, stupid. For Ditech's sake, let's hope the new advertising, which uses a whimsical animation technique to give potential borrowers the warm fuzzies, erases any member of the whiny loan officer who kept losing business to Ditech. However, with that campaign so ubiquitous at one point, it could take decades.

'New York Times' says, "Hi," to Hello ads

If it takes three to make a trend, than The New York Times has stumbled upon a phenomenon—a a sudden uptick in ads that greet consumers with a simple, "Hello." (Maybe the underlying theme here is lazy copywriters?) In his ad column today, Stuart Elliott identified campaigns for the iPhone, Avon, Lincoln Financial Group, Level vodka, Target and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. One he didn't mention, to the extent that Web site home pages are considered advertising, is the one pictured above, from the Virgin Atlantic home page.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let Matthew Creamer not watch TV for you

Besides the fact that this promo banner could use a question mark at the end of the copy, I like this week without TV experiment that Matthew Creamer is doing over at Ad Age, despite yet another Bud.TV mention. It's not as drastic as it sounds--Creamer can watch TV on his PC. In fact, that's the point. Creamer has made himself the guinea pig for all of the VOD offerings on the Web, and so far he's been able to watch 24, The Sopranos (albeit a day late) and a lot of other stuff all relatively legally. For those of us too lazy or addicted to embark on a project like this on our own--particularly during sweeps--good to know Creamer's willing to do the dirty work and tell us about it.

Ad Age can't get enough Bud.TV

Is it fair to say that Ad Age won't quit writing about Bud.TV until the whole thing is six feet under? Since mid-January, the magazine has written seven stories (I'm not distinguishing between online and offline) about the brewer's attempt at becoming an entertainment conglomerate, the most recent being yesterday's "Is A-B Canning Bud.TV?". The story quotes Augie Busch IV as saying that the concept may "fade" during the second half of the year, and then, later, when the reporter gets in touch with a spokesperson, he gets this mealy-mouthed explanation for Busch's earlier comments: "Its current structure might fade away as we learn more about consumer connectivity and building a social network. But we are eager to evolve Bud.TV as part of a broader digital future for our brands to reach today's consumer." Uh, OK. It is true that Bud.TV's numbers are nothing to write home about, which has been attributed to the fact that people have to register, and give away their first born, in order to log on to the site, but USA Today already quoted the global marketing chief earlier this month saying that if the numbers didn't improve Anheuser-Busch might pull the plug at the end of the year. (Full disclosure: my husband is a reporter at USA Today.) BTW, particularly because of the registration issues, the true measure of whether the site is successful isn't really its numbers. I checked out YouTube today and found roughly twenty Bud.TV videos, such as the one above in which an ad exec is replaced by a chimp. With the exception of the Bud.TV trailer, which had more than a million views, none of them had more than about 2500. If I were Augie Busch, I'd be crying in my beer too.

Y&R goes green with Gore

If Young & Rubicam can't get any notice for anything to do with advertising, is hiring Time cover boy Al Gore to speak about environmental issues at Cannes the next best thing? Well, you people who are going to Cannes can be the judge, because Y&R has done just that, according to this story at Even if this whole thing looks like nothing more than a PR stunt, at least give Y&R CEO Hamish McLennan credit for one thing—asked by Adweek whether agencies might get to a point where they would only work with clients "based on the size of their carbon footprints," McLennan replied: "Time will tell, but I don't see that on the horizon."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bryan Buckley among first hungry men

I've no idea why I received a link this morning to the launch of Hungry Man TV, a content channel that seems like it would really love Axe as an advertiser. After a little bit of spelunking, I discovered that Hungry Man is meant to be a comedic showcase for commercial directors who are repped by Mark Grande at Hungry Man Entertainment, who is described in this release from last month as a former development director for Howard Stern. There's not a whole lot of content on the site yet, but Undercover Cheerleaders, featured in the still above, was directed by Bryan Buckley.

KFC ad is astoundingly lame--even for them

For awhile now, KFC advertising from DraftFCB has been shameless in its gimmickry--remember the horrendous commercial which contained the secret code that let people win a cheap $1 sandwich? Well, here's the latest: a commercial that KFC claims is the "First-Ever TV Commercial Created Entirely Out of Consumer-Generated Content." What I think they meant was that this is the first commercial ever to rely on the incredibly cheap production technique of splicing together some bad viral video into 15 seconds of pretty much nothing--the idea is that KFC picked footage of so-called Internet stars to "celebrate" its transition to zero transfat. (And was anything about this really a first? All I can say is prove it to me KFC, prove it.) Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this new spot is lame. Despite KFC's attempt at hoopla, only 205 people have viewed it so far on YouTube. While I've posted it above if you want to watch it, I'd advise you not to waste your time.

Lonelygirl15 meet's fatgirl188

Sometimes good ideas are kind of obvious, like the vlogs is currently posting on YouTube, where a woman, Ilana, and a guy, Nick, are posting weekly about their weight loss attempts. Between the two, it's no contest--Ilana, a student at Boston Conservatory who dreams of dancing on Broadway, has one video that's garnered a respectable 316,000 views. Maybe it's the pathos of following the struggles of someone who weighs 188 pounds and knows she has to slim down to be anywhere close to achieving her dream. Nick, meanwhile, has only 23,000 views on his most popular video. Anyway, this campaign-cum-reality-TV-show sure beats those dot-com ads on the Super Bowl back in the day.

Share the love with Kevin Roberts

If you're like me, you have not bought any of the Lovemarks books written by Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, which, other than the Julie Roehm saga are the closest the ad industry comes to a good romance novel lately. (No offense intended Kevin—I never did quite finish Mary Wells Lawrence's A Big Life ... , and never even cracked the cover of Donny Deutsch's Often Wrong, Never in Doubt. ) So, if you have trouble reading like me, good to know you can now have an audiovisual Lovemarks experience by watching this video of Roberts giving a speech surrounding his latest, The Lovemarks Effect: Winning in the Consumer Revolution. It's almost an hour long, but it's still quicker than reading the book.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Greenlees, heavyweight, on board at

OK class, this may have been lost on some of you, but Michael Greenlees was named to the board of Greenlees who? you may ask. Back in that last millenium, Greenlees was one of the great British ad guys, who eventually sold his agency, Gold Greenlees Trott, to Omnicom, ran TBWA, and served on Omnicom's board until 2002. God, this post is starting to sound like a press release. Well, anyway, if you're looking for a symbol of's legitimacy as a provider of short-form video, this is a pretty good one. Though his name hasn't made the ad news lately, expect Greenlees' directorship to open doors for Heavy, particularly among advertisers looking for places to put their online video. Here is Laurie Petersen's interview with Greenlees today on Mediapost.

Is Delta, or someone else, using Twitter?

Saw Digitas' Greg Verdino today at ClickZ's Advertising in Social Media conference today, where he went on about how someone has created an account on Twitter (think social networking via mobile devices, more or less), purporting to represent Delta Air Lines. Verdino, who notes that Delta is an agency client, isn't exactly sure that this person is acting in any official Delta capacity, but he or she seems to work at the airline and like it, so maybe that's not a big deal. I came home and found a link to it, and found a few interesting microposts, such as: "what do y'all think is the best way for a big company to use twitter?" This story has been circulating on some marketing blogs over the last week or so, but still worth mentioning, if for no other reason than I think those of us who know about it like the idea of someone from a company IMing to individuals about the brand they represent—even if the brand he or she represents doesn't know it's being represented. Wow, this is getting meta.

News flash: people like online recipes

I really wouldn't want to be working at Time Inc. these days. Actually, having just run into someone who got laid off from there, leaving with a hefty severance package sounds infinitely better. I shouted to this acquaintance from across the street, "How'd you make out?", and he, grinning ear to ear, shouted back, "Like a bandit -- I'm taking the summer off." Those who are left are churning out, um, new ideas like this:, the recipe portal that the company launched today under the auspices of its Southern Progress division. The big idea here, if there is one, is that in addition to publishing its own recipes, the site will also aggregate recipes from other sites, such as, which has been publishing recipes online since at least 1996 and CondeNet's Epicurious, which launched in May 1995. I think you know where I'm going with this.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks: 05.21.07

From Ad Age:

Story on Chrysler Group buyout which says people are more likely to buy a car from the automaker now that Cerberus has swooped in? Is it that, or they just really didn't like Dr. Z?
Sex sells: Who wouldn't read a story titled "Why Torture Porn Is the Hottest (and Most Hated) Thing in Hollywood"?
Bob Garfield kind of likes the first Diet Pepsi work from DDB, and the mock tag, "Diet Pepsi, the choice of a little more than half of everybody." You can see all six spots here.
Oh, right, someone mentioned there was a network TV upfront last week.

From Adweek:

Brandweek story on the Chrysler acquisition, which says, "The first order of business will be deciding which models to send to the great parking lot in the sky." Say hi to Oldsmobile when you get there.
Barbarian Group adds a guy with a lot of agency experience, Bruce Winterton, as president, but says it doesn't want to be a full-service agency.
Barbara Lippert on the Mcdonald's Sundial billboard, which won a Grand Clio (below). She likes it. Picture via Billboardom.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks: Microsoft/aQuantive

Wherein we give you Cliff Notes as to what’s worth reading from Monday’s advertising coverage, and nothing that’s not.

Here are links to every Microsoft/aQuantive story we thought was of any import:

Ad Age ponders the Microsoft deal without talking to Brian McAndrews, aQuantive's CEO. (OK, it did talk to Joe Doran, gm of Microsoft's Digital Advertising Solutions.)
Adweek's Q&A with Brian McAndrews. in which interviewer Brian Morrissey points out that at $6 billion, aQuantive is valued by Microsoft to be worth more than all of Interpublic Group.
Last Saturday's New York Times feature on the Microsoft/aQuantive deal, which made page 1, just a teensy weensy bit above the fold.
The Wall Street Journal's take on the story (subscription required).
The deal's dumbest headline, from Bloomberg, via The New York Daily News: "Microsoft Joins Web Ad Battle." I guess those hundreds of millions in annual Microsoft ad revenue over the years doesn't count.
Another Adweek story, stating the obvious: that Microsoft marrying aQuantive, and WPP Group marrying 24/7 Real Media, make for strange bedfellows.