Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Live Garmin ad dead on arrival

Couldn't find online anywhere some video of the live Garmin commercial that ran on "The Tonight Show" last night. I saw it pretty much by mistake since I rarely watch the show, but unless you're into lame (or limp?) erectile dysfunction humor it wasn't worth bothering. It featured John Melendez offering up Garmin--which gives GPS-enabled directions, I think--to cure what I think they called "directional disorder."At any rate, even though the live spot was parodying erectile dysfunction, they didn't even manage to use the word "dysfunction" in the script. Not that the allusion was that hard to get, but is this so hard? As for the commercial's resolution, once the guy in the convertible actually figured out where he was going he got the girls. Humor so bad it's painful. I'll give Garmin a B+ for media innovation (true, live in-program ads are the recycling of an old idea), and a D+ for execution.

Ad-Ology: Cliff Notes for new business pitches

So I clicked on the text ad at left just now because I had to see what "The Ultimate New Business Tool for Advertising Agencies" is. Maybe a "tool kit" that could, um, eliminate all competitors, or an actual big idea? No, Ad-Ology is a database service that can dump dozens of pages of data in your lap when you're cramming for that new business pitch. The site makes it clear that this is not targeted toward the Greys and Ogilvys of the world, but to small agencies. But, imagine the embarrassment when you show up at a new business pitch and one of your competitors has the exact same "colorful charts, graphs and maps" advertised on the site? Oh the horror! This quote, from Ad-ology creator C. Lee Smith, makes it clear this service is for the same people who surfed the Internet for pre-written term papers the night before they were due. He gushes, ""Using these new reports, new business specialists can quickly obtain the details required to better understand and communicate the client's needs -- all in a package that's manageable enough to review on the cab ride over."

Tony lives; Toucan Sam sleeps with the fishes

Kellogg's has scored a major PR coup in becoming the first cereal maker in the U.S. to severely restrict advertising to children under 12. Going forward, it will only advertise products that meet (admittedly Kellogg-authored) nutritional guidelines. As this story points out, Kellogg and Viacom were threatened with a lawsuit over advertising so this isn't a complete act of bravery, and, somehow, Tony the Tiger still makes the cut, but still ... it's only a matter of time before its competitors--General Mills are you listening?--make the same decision.

Mitt Romney's clear Gordon Bowen connection

There's a big feature today in The New York Times today about presidential candidate Mitt Romney's advertising strategy—of spending a lot of money early so that his national reputation can catch up (and in some cases surpass) those of his better known rivals. What the story doesn't mention is that one person allegedly working on the campaign is Gordon Bowen, now, of course, of mcgarrybowen, but probably better known for working on the Coke business at McCann-Erickson in the 1990s when the brand had its bizarre flirtation with Michael Ovitz and CAA. Note I said allegedly there, but even though my reporting on this is limited to a few reliable sources and some strategic searching this morning, I'd put some money on Bowen being part of Team Romney. (And, no, it's not just because Mormons—which both Bowen and Romney are—are known for sticking together.) Exhibit A: Bowen and Romney worked together on the Salt Lake City Olympics back in 2000, when Romney was president of the Games' organizing committee. In Googling Mitt Romney and Bowen, I somehow got to a post by Craig Romney on Five Brothers, the group blog of all five Romney boys, in which someone commented how he'd met Craig back in 1993 at a fundraiser at Gordon Bowen's house in SLC. It also turns out young Craig works at a New York ad agency as a music producer, but his blog doesn't say which. His MySpace page, however, does, and you guessed it—he works at mcgarrybowen.

Who knew TV networks can defy gravity?

We should all be taken aback by the following headline at "Networks Ask for Steep Increases to Make Up for Ratings Decline." Good god! You mean there's an exception to the law of supply and demand wherein [gullible] advertisers actually reward [greedy] networks for ratings shortfalls? The story gamely tries to find a way to look at this from the networks' point of view, noting that the scatter market has been really tight over the last few years, but still, anyone with a functioning brain cell would have to see that calling for double-digit increases in CPMs is patently ridiculous. Hey, advertisers and media agencies, if you're buying what the networks are selling, you're chumps.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Starz bunnies take on "Die Hard"

OK, this doesn't have all that much to do with advertising, but stay with me. No, wait, actually it does, in that so many TV networks are looking for amusing little interstitials to keep people from changing the channel during the commercials. The latest in Starz' series of bunny parodies is out, this time taking a crack at "Die Hard." What are bunny parodies, you ask? Well, to put some metrics around it, they are 30-second versions of popular films, reenacted by animated bunnies. My personal faves are "Alien" and "Pulp Fiction" but they are watchable enough that you can wile away a good fifteen minutes checking them all out at the site of Angry Alien Productions, which make them. Oh, and back to the advertising angle on this post. Though licensed by Starz here, Tribal DDB has used them in Europe to promote the "short, but fun" VW Polo. Angry Alien is promising its next short will synopsise "Napoleon Dynamite."

Microsoft probably loves Atlas' search study

In light of its pending deal to be acquired by Microsoft, it's amusing to see that Atlas just released a study that pisses all over search. It basically says that search gets more credit than it deserves in terms of closing sales because the interactive community isn't taking into account the effect of brand advertising previous to the final click on the overall willingness of an individual to finally make the deal. If you don't get the joke, it's that Microsoft has solidified its position as being an absolute also-ran in search advertising behind Google and Yahoo! over the last few years. In actuality, both major units of aQuantive (Atlas and interactive agency Avenue A/Razorfish) have been questioning the efficacy of search for awhile now, so there's no smoking gun. And maybe to say questioning it is a little too strong. What they're saying, which is undoubtedly on target (forgive the pun), is that the effectiveness of search advertising shouldn't be viewed in a vacuum.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Verizon messes with the Greek gods

Give the Greeks credit for respecting their ruins. The country has had Verizon pull an ad that featured a picture of the Parthenon. It apparently breaks Greek law to run an unlicensed picture of one of its many ancient monuments. While that's not a shocker, the country also makes it hugely expensive and has ads approved by cultural officials before they can run. Well, at least there are a lot of cool Greek ruins in Turkey.

Ray-Ban tries to see if sex sells

So, here's another Ray-Ban commercial from Cutwater, which would probably be really noteworthy if it weren't for the weirdo phenomenon created by the guy catching the Ray-Bans on his face. It basically features a couple having extensive foreplay in just about every public place imaginable, the joke being that, throughout, the Ray-Bans never leave the guy's face. I doubt this is suitable for airing on TV, but let's get to the point: while laugh-out loud funny, the sex is so raucous that the joke gets a bit lost.

Ditzy blonde heiress for Cold Stone Creamery

Egged on by Barbara Lippert's review of the Cold Stone Creamery campaign, I checked out the spot in the campaign (above) that features an unnamed blonde heiress holding a small pooch, confronting her fear of the paparazzi inside a Cold Stone Creamery store. It's mildly amusing, and though people may talk of the "coincidence" about this spot launching just as Paris Hilton was going in-and-out-and-in of jail, it's not that much of a coincidence. It's been known for at least a few months that Paris was headed for the clink--it's just that none of us expected her time behind bars to be this dramatic. Still, it's not like the commercial is generating that much buzz, if YouTube is any indication. The Heiress spot isn't even the most popular in the series. That goes to the commercial featuring Bigfoot at 855 views. Created by Saatchi.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks

Our Cliff Notes of what's worth reading in the Monday morning ad news dump.

From Adweek:

Mac vs. PC: Go figure. Great creative can actually be effective.
—Why is it so obvious that Quizno's would go to Cliff Freeman? Flying hamsters, here we come.
The Feed Company's Josh Warner on whether that Ray-Bans guy can really catch sunglasses with his face. And more.
—Steve McClellan on the auctioning of radio, cable ads.
—Barbara Lippert calls the new Cold Stone Creamery spots "a fractured fairly tale for the YouTube crowd."

From Advertising Age:

Bob Garfield predicts Dove's "Evolution" will win the Grand Prix at Cannes.
—Lenore Skenazy on "Milk Eggs Vodka," a book that's comprised of grocery shopping lists. Freaky.
—Finally, a story which points out that a drop in above-the-line ad spending doesn't mean advertisers have soured on advertising.
A Q&A with Lee Clow, who, BTW, says that Wieden + Kennedy is his "hero company."

From The New York Times:

—How green is thy magazine? Not green enough, apparently.
—The New Canaan Rams, brought to you by Verizon!

From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

will go back to the future with a live ad for Garmin International on tomorrow night's "Tonight Show."

From Mediapost:

—Yahoo launches omg!, a new gossip site, with The Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership as sponsor.

From The Delaney Report:

—This week there are whispers about New York Life, ABA Consulting and an "unidentified video game marketer."