Friday, September 14, 2007

Hardee's boys hot for teacher

Well, it's good to know that teenagers way too young to ever have seen that Van Halen video, "Hot for Teacher," have this TV commercial for Hardee's and Carl's Jr. to watch. Touting the Flatbun PattyMelt burger, it makes ample use of the bun pun, as in the teacher's ass. Set to a fairly raunchy hiphop track, one can easily see why the American Family Association is all over this spot—as are tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube. (Yeah, I know this has been out there for a few days.)

The Azerbaijanis are coming to Cannes

This just in from Azerbaijan: the country will be represented at next year's Cannes Advertising Festival, which "was opened in Azerbaijan after long-lasting talks." This was big news on the Web site of APA, which, from what I can tell, may be an Azerbaijani entertainment rag. Another top headline: "Price of tickets for Elton John's concert to range from 30 to 800 manats."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DDB's woefully incomplete Wikipedia entry

Even though I chastised DDB earlier in the week for only getting up one lousy post on each of their blogs (they still haven't added any posts since then BTW), I'm really not picking on the agency this week. It just so happens that now it's its turn—in my system of mostly alphabetical order—to be the subject of one of my posts about agency Wikipedia entries. As agency entries go, this one is relatively long (about 700 words), but accurate? The entry, which comes up fourth when you Google "DDB", omits some pretty basic things, not even mentioning its central role in the creative revolution or the revolution itself, and there are no pictures or links to its work from that time. As one example, it doesn't describe the 1959 VW Beetle campaign (at right), except to say that it was the no. 1 campaign of all time according to Ad Age's "The Century of Advertising" in 1999. It also points out that "You Deserve a Break Today" for McDonald's was no. 5 on the list—without mentioning that that campaign was created by Needham, Harper & Steers before the "Big Bang" merger that created Omnicom Group. In fact, its reference to the merger of DDB and Needham doesn't mention that whole part about BBDO at all. The strongest part of the entry deals with the recent history that wouldn't have existed had it not been for the earlier history, giving exhaustive detail on what awards the agency has won since 1998. Funnest factoid I could find: that the agency's role in the Lyndon Johnson commercial "Daisy", an ad which some attribute with helping Johnson defeat Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, landed Max Dane (he's one of the Ds in DDB, young 'uns) on President Nixon's Enemies List. In that, from what I can tell, he was the only ad executive so, um, honored. Picture via Stay Free!

Working at Starbucks better than working in advertising

You simply gotta read this story in The New York Times today about a former advertising executive, who, now says he is happily working at a Starbucks in Bronxville, NY and living in an attic apartment across the street, rather than in the imposing tudor elsewhere in town in which he grew up. A former JWT creative and son of The New Yorker's Brendan Gill, the story isn't entirely as it seems. He's written a book, “How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else,” that has been optioned by Tom Hanks, though he claims he still wants to work at Starbucks, even as potential riches flow in. In a video accompanying the story, shot, mainly, in his patio-furniture decorated apartment, he says, with utmost sincerity, "I've gone from stuff, to lack of stuff, and the surprise—the great surprise—is how happy it makes me."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

'Fortune' talks to P&G's Jim Stengel

Fortune has posted three short videos of an interview the magazine's Geoff Colvin did with Procter & Gamble CMO Jim Stengel. You can see them here, here and here, and read a text version--which talks about what he thinks of ad agencies--here. There's no extremely new ground in any of this, but, hey, I make it a habit to listen to guys who command $6.7 billion ad budgets. Also in the current issue (which has Ralph Lauren on hte cover): an interview with Ogilvy & Mather CEO Shelly Lazarus although, inexplicably, there's no link to it. Is it because she talks about the success of P&G rival Dove?

Novartis to spread flu message virally

Where do you think Novartis got the idea of asking consumers to create viral films to promote the flu? Get it? Viral? Flu? It's late at night, what can I tell ya? Anyway, starting on Saturday, Novartis will launch a contest asking "aspring filmmakers" (well, at least they're honest about who might enter this) to make short films about how the flu affects them, how it spreads and why you should get nominated. Yeah, of course, this effort is called FluFlix.

La-Z-Post about La-Z-Boy

I'm running an item on this new campaign (scroll down) mostly because the spot pictured above and that you can see here features Googy Gress (at right), New Canaan High School, class of '76. (I'm not as old as Googy, mind you.) It's one of four commercials breaking this week that focus on the undeniable creature comforts of La-Z-Boy. Via RPA. I'll probably never let myself buy a La-Z-Boy, but I love reclining in them when I'm at other people's houses.

Is the up online ad market ending?

Over at Silicon Alley Insider, they're on online ad market death watch, reading numerous tea leaves and coming away with the conclusion that, based on the subprime mortgage collapse and other factors, the industry is in for a downturn. The latest signal is an announcement by online ad network Burst Media, which said early today that a couple of key clients have cancelled expected campaigns due to budget constraints. It then goes onto say, solemnly, "The 2000 ad crash began exactly this way: anecdotal reports of weakness from minor players that were dismissed as 'isolated' and 'company specific'." The part of this line of thinking I'm buying is that the financial services sector is bound to pull back on the dancing aliens it uses to sell exotic mortgages. However, the current online ad market differs from 2000 in some extremely substantial ways. By the time of the dot-com bust in the first half of 2000, the market was overhyped in a way it isn't now—advertisers were pouring money into the medium even though they had scant evidence that it was working. They also hadn't yet gotten religion about the fact that consumers, were, in fact, changing their media habits. This time around, clients realize that for all its warts, this is ultimately the most accountable medium that has ever existed, and with new, digitally-driven consumer media habits clearly entrenched, even if a downturn in ad spending happens, it's doubtful that advertisers will retrench by putting money allocated for online into other media. It will be the other way around. I should also point out that the posts I talked about above are written by Henry Blodget, who has a very personal incentive to get calling a downturn in the online ad market right.

Dave Navarro in skincare campaign?

Oy. So I was reading on Mediapost that Vaseline has a new campaign called, "Skin Is Amazing," but it doesn't mention that one of the stars of the campaign is Dave Navarro, with all the tattoos and stuff. He "actually uses Vaseline Intensive Care to help my tattoes heal." Who knew? I suppose this is brilliant, in its own way. It's a little convoluted to get to the Dave content, but go to, click on the link it presents you and then click on the Navarro pic. Via BBH.

Don't worry about strategy. Organic'll do it.

I guess a few eyebrows have been raised by Organic's new strategic consulting practice, since, as the lead to Ad Age's story says, "Omnicom Group's Organic wants to work with clients of WPP, Havas, Publicis and others." There's nothing unusual about clients working with agencies from multiple holding companies, of course, but what makes this different—if not entirely new—is that Organic is proposing to sit between clients and the agencies who actually execute the campaigns. It's not as though Organic is working on Tide, while another agency works on Pampers. There are probably agencies out there who see this new unit as so much dot-com hubris, but what I've always enjoyed about interactive shops is their disdain for the ad industry's tried-and-true practices. As some of you know, I spent 2000 as the head of communications at Organic, and became deeply immersed in Organic's insistence that it was more akin to the McKinseys and Bains of the world than to, say, BBDO. But it wasn't just Organic that was doing this—it was the whole interactive agency category, and, having been in and around traditional agencies for years who tried, desperately, to describe themselves as partners to their clients, it was enjoyable to see a bunch of companies who were truly trying to position themselves as such. Were these attempts always credible? No. And will this one be? Not necessarily. But where Organic may be onto something is that digital shops are still way smarter than most agencies and clients about interactive. The problem with traditional agencies trying to say the same thing is that they are no more experts than their clients are when it comes to off-line marketing. But as Organic's strategy consulting initiative goes forward, you can expect a lot of resistance from the agencies to which they hand the strategy down. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but if there's anything agencies are good at, it's expending endless time and energy on defending their turf.

Did Amtrak steal the MTA's tag line?

So, as stated earlier, I was in DC yesterday on business. (I needed a nice, long, uninterrupted block of prep time so decided to take the Acela rather than the Delta Shuttle.) Among the announcements from the conductor was the plea, "If You See Something, Say Something," which I also later saw in a truncated version—"See Something, Say Something"—on a poster in Union Station. Yes, it was a direct ripoff of Korey, Kay & Partners' "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign for the MTA, which launched back in 2002. I know Amtrak is cash-strapped and all, but can't they think up their own anti-terrorism tag line? Sheesh.

WalMart reinvents tag line, not much else

WalMart breaks what is really its first big effort from The Martin Agency today, unveiling its first new tagline in 19 years. Drumroll please—"Save Money. Live Better." OK, so it's not exactly rewriting advertising as we've known it, but what is interesting about the positioning is that it will feature factoids such as, "WalMart saves the average family $2,500 per year" and the B-roll about the campaign, above, also talks about how families are "forced" (by those big, bad other companies) to pay higher prices for gas and energy. Note there's no mention of healthcare there, but focusing on financial statistics seems like a direct counterpoint to WalMart's many critics. As for the spots, there are two currently posted on the new Web site for the campaign, (Click on the Wal-Mart TV link in the bottom right hand corner.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Can someone at DDB post about something?

I won't be posting anything in the morning because I have to go to DC for the day, so I'll leave off with my observations on DDB's new blogs (or DDBlogs), which Brian Morrissey over at AdFreak was a bit lukewarm about the other day. OK, so the blogs, which launched on Sept. 4, are about to enter into week two, and still carry one post apiece—which strikes me as more than underwhelming, particularly for the beginning of a blog project. I mean, the bloggers aren't even supposed to have lost their charming, if misguided, enthusiasm yet! While clients may be relieved that Messrs. Bob Scarpelli, Jeff Swystun and Frank Palmer—who authored the posts—haven't gone off the blogging deep end and instead been spending their time on client business, it's time for some other DDBers to step up to the plate. In fact, you would think they would have been lined up, and ready to go, at the blogs' launch. So before this whole thing becomes woefully moribund, I'm asking someone at DDB to post, and stream some work you like—or don't like. Tell us how a trend in the broader world (like, say, lead-filled import toys!), fits into the broader context, of, I don't know, world views on lead. I was going to say the agency should send links out, but in trying to link to the posts themselves, I just realized that they can't send links out. The URL for every part of the site, blogs area, or no, is the same. For shame! Of course, I should point out that DDB is not alone in being lazy (there, I said it) about updating its blog. Hill Holliday last saw it fit to post way back on Aug. 27. Meanwhile, however, Organic's Three Minds and Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam's "Think Global, Act Stupid" were both updated today, and Naked's House of Naked was last updated on Sunday. What does that tell you about who might be taking this new media stuff seriously, and who might not be?

Nieman-Marcus video: fragmented, yet celestial

OK, so here's that Nieman Marcus video that's been playing on the home page of YouTube all day, and now has a fairly decent 219.000 views. Really, the whole thing, in addition to being rather self-congratulatory, seems a bit fragmented. I just want to know who the guy is in the round specs with the mustache, who says, but you really have to hear him say it: "Everything was celestial." Uh, right.

Read a Q&A with Sarah Fay if you want

This Q&A with Carat's Sarah Fay seems like it got somewhat lost in the shuffle last week—it appeared on Thursday, and was one of the first Fay has done since getting the big promo, which now means she runs the on- and off-line sides of Carat USA. There are two insights worth noting here: that Fay asserts that merging other on- and off-line media agencies is being "widely talked about" and that when asked what she thinks is "one of the biggest challenges facing the media industry right now," she says, "The disaggregation of creative and media. " You may not agree with Sarah, but the interview is certainly worth a look.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 09.10.07

Wherein I peruse the Monday morning headlines so you don't have to (I'll probably add more links to this later today, but I have a meeting in town today):

From Advertising Age:

—George Parker writes a column dissing motivational research, and, most impressively, uses only one swear word to get his point across. (Although, on second thought, I'd put money on the Ad Age editors having to edit a few more out.)
—Speaking of swear words, why it actually was good that Cramer-Krasselt CEO Peter Krivkovich told to fuck off.
—Bob Garfield likes Goodby's teaser campaign from Hyundai, even if it sort of reminds him of "rocks and trees."
—Duh. Original iPhone purchasers pissed off at price decrease. (IMHO, Apple knows it can get away with this shit because of the cult-like devotion people have toward their products. Whatta buncha lemmings.)

From Adweek:

—The annual (and renamed) Digital Hot List. Inexplicably, only the intro is available at this link, but, from what I could gather, the ten on the list, are: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, TMZ, Veoh, Funny or Die, Digg,,, and (OK, now that I've actually seen the list, it's a little bit different than what the intro seemed to infer. Swap out, those last three, and replace them with, and iMeem.)
—Is Steve Jobs' mea culpa enough to tame the insanely mad iPhone early adapters?
—Visa tests mobile marketing.
—How engaging with social media is changing old-media publishing models.
—Barbara Lippert talks about Playtex's honest take on boobs. (You can't see the new Playtex campaign at the Adweek site—I'll refrain from commenting about that—but you can see it at or here.)

From Mediapost:

—Another Yahoo departure: this time its Lyn Bolger, going back to comScore.
—And now a Microsoft departure: Eric Hadley, leaving for Heavy.

From The New York Times:

—Disney, Toys 'R' Us start to test toys that they license or distribute for lead paint, because they don't trust the companies that produced them. Not a good sign for Mattel or other toy manufacturers.
—You don't say? A Quaker brand says it's "all natural."
—Kevin Morris, who negotiated a better Web deal for the creators of "South Park," doesn't plan on stopping there.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—Kimberly-Clark targets a bed-wetting solution to the people who actually bed-wet (free content).