Friday, October 19, 2007

Cutwater's Jeep Liberty spot really sings

This Jeep Liberty spot has been out for about a week or so, but it's so immensely enjoyable I thought it worth posting here. Great use of what should be a really tired concept—singing anthropomorphized animals. The Web site is worth checking out too. Created by Cutwater.

Deutsch Wikipedia nothing to write home about

I've been neglecting my obligation lately to check out agency Wikipedia entries to see if they're anything of interest in them, and in the case of Deutsch—the agency, not the man—there's not much to say. It lists a smattering of clients and mentions only a handful of spots the agency has done: the Mitsubish Galant spot that featured Sweet's ' "Ballroom Blitz" and the Coors Light spot "Wingman" among them. No mention of popping or whatever it's called. While noting that Deutsch is "one of the most-revered agencies over the past 10 years," the entry doesn't do anything to prove it. So, why do I harp on agency Wikipedia entries? Because, for example, in this instance, Deutsch's Wikipedia entry is the second link when you search the word "Deutsch"—you'd think that maybe the Wikipedia entry merited a little attention.

Corona brings Halloween ghost to the beach

When I read that Corona was doing a Halloween-themed ad, I couldn't picture how the beer, which has long used beach imagery in its advertising, would go ghoulish. Well, here's how. Created by Cramer-Krasselt.

Is Partida campaign too honest about tequila?

Just checked out the campaign for Partida Tequila that I originally saw at, and the only way to really experience its excessive honesty is to go to the Web site, where people admit what happened during/after they've had some tequila. Says the man-on-the-street pictured at left: "I was in Chicago. It started out as an innocent drink with a friend, a few shots of tequila later, dot, dot, dot, I have a child in Chicago." He also explains that he likes Partida's finish better than that of some tequilas he drank in college that "kinda wanted to make you vomit, immediately thereafter." (To see it, to to the site and the video will automatically start to play.) Under the special "bartender confessions" link, a female bartender at Dos Caminos in Soho comments that there is "a strong connection between tequila and maybe just falling asleep in public places" recounting the time—fittingly, on Cinco de Mayo—a woman fell asleep at the bar and her friends departed without her. It got to be closing time and the staff, "kinda of like pushed her outside, and she kinda like met up with some people—we were hoping she knew them—and she kinda woke up and followed some people off in the distance. We think she's good ... she's fine." Anyway, interesting to see if the hammer comes down on this campaign, since, at the very least, it is politically incorrect in the extreme. And the Web site doesn't even ask you for your birthday before you start, um, imbibing the videos. Created by Colangelo and Partners Public Relations.

Billings discrepancy watch: WaMu

Here's my second billings discrepancy post, wherein I contrast and compare the different billings figures accorded to accounts by different publications. This time around it's WaMu, which shifted its, um, very big account out of Leo Burnett and to TBWA/Chiat/Day. Here we go:

1) Advertising Age: $173 million; no source cited.
2) Adweek: $100 million-plus, with the proviso that, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, WaMu spent $120 million last year and $75 million in the first two-thirds of this year.
3) Mediapost: $100 million; no source cited.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Get Listen Up and you can hear everything!

One of my favorite commercials these days—for all the wrong reasons—is the one you can see here for a device called Listen Up, a personal headset that lets you amplify sound from across the room. Interspersed between the more mundane demos—like how you can use it to listen to the TV when the others around you don't really care to listen—is the fact that its best use is as .... an eavesdropping device! Cue woman at mailbox wearing Listen Up, overhearing the conversation of two women walking down the street:

Walking woman #1: "Have you met the new neighbors?"
Walking woman #2: "I haven't."
Walking woman #1: "He seems nice ... she seems like a bitch."

Oh wait, that last part didn't really happen, but you get the idea.

It's not just a logo; it's a vessel for content

The New York Times gets deep into logo theory this morning with this story that spins off of the new logo for The New Museum of Contemporary Art. I don't get how the picture at left, from the Times story, is meant to depict the logo, or why the headline of it seems to be missing a word: "One the most important buildings to be built in New York City in the last fifty years," but the logo theory is this: that in an era of endlessly manipulative content, logos must, instead of being static, be capable of being "'containers' for content." This theory is being spouted by Karl Heiselman, the head of Omincom Group's Wolff Olins, the company that designed the New Museum's logo and the much derided one for the 2012 Olympics. Hmmm. My head is starting to hurt.

Roger Adams latest to leave CMO post

Now, repeat after me: "Bum, bum, bum, another one bites the dust ..." You can read the full accounting here.

Duh ... Domino's media planning to Crispin

Maybe only a geek like me would care about this, but it's a no-brainer that Domino's has shifted its media planning out of Mindshare and given it to Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, in the wake of its decision last month to give the creative portion of the account to the agency. Mindshare had handled buying and planning when the account was at former agency JWT, but, especially given that the agency in question is Crispin, it's a little hard to picture how media planning would be managed effectively somewhat divorced from the creative process. See creative agencies? If you are truly creative about your ad messaging you actually get more business! As long as the agency business continues to be dominated by old-line agencies I don't think this will be something we'll see a ton of—but it is something that makes more sense than the segregation between media and creative that's the standard today, at least in the right hands.

Let's start the morning with sperm!

The Sapientiae Institute Association would like you—at least those of you who can—to donate sperm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WaMu ads probably didn't help Burnett

After reading the withering description of the WaMu campaign by the Chicago Sun-Times' Lewis Lazare, I had to check it out to see if you can read between its copy lines and see why Leo Burnett just lost the business to TBWA/Chiat/Day. Now, before the split, according to Lazare, Burnett had moved to a different campaign from the one above, which features uniformly "stodgy, old" (white) bankers, and, while attempting to poke fun at "stodgy, old" (white) bankers, ends up somehow being offensive to all concerned. Whether this was the campaign that broke the client's back as far as Burnett was concerned I may never know, but it probably doesn't help that the majority of the discussion on YouTube about the campaign isn't about the merits of WaMu, but about whether or not the campaign is racist.'s Ben Relles gets last laugh

By now you may know that Ben Relles, one of the minds behind the love-it-or-probably-hate-it video about pitching the Subway account, was also behind two videos that fall much more into the loved category: the SNL send-up "Box in a Box" and "Obama Girl." Now, the site he and his partners created to continue his political spoofing——has been bought for an undisclosed sum by one of those broadband entertainment thing-a-ma-jigs, called Next New Networks. Via Adweek's IQ Interactive Newsletter. Found an interview with Relles here. (By the way, just discovered that the video is no longer up. Maybe that's been the case forever, but sad to see that one of the great moments in agency pitches gone wrong is now consigned to the dustbin of viral history .... whew! stop me before I metaphor again!)

Who was green first? Arnold or Brooklyn Bros.?

It took a mere two days to find a second campaign claiming to be potentially the first using offsets to balance out the carbon emissions used during the shoot, so let the fighting begin. Who was really first? On Monday, it was Arnold for Timberland. Today, according to the Ad Age Web site, Brooklyn Brothers has done a completely carbon-neutral commercial production—this one for the Versus cable TV network, using a software program it developed with a company called ERM that measures the carbon emissions of everything from the lighting to the gas used by the production trucks. The cost of offsetting the 8.9 tons of carbon emitted is a lo, lo $180. Of course, Arnold is also offsetting the cost of the media placements for its campaign, so I suppose they can brag about that. On the other hand, Brooklyn Brothers is going to try to make all of its commercial production carbon-neutral, so they can brag about that. Who wins? I'll be nice and say the planet.

Ad Age, Adweek: should you have bought Adrants?

So, a value has finally been placed on Adrants: $750,000. That was the most interesting part of the release yesterday that came out of Watershed Publishing, which was announcing that it had bought an undisclosed minority interest in the site. (Can't find the release online, ironically enough.) Other Adrants factoids in the release: the site gets 370,000 monthly uniques and 680,000 page views per month. I don't pretend to have an idea about what Adrants should be worth, but given the following, I might have thought it would be more than $750,000. First, no other blog in the general advertising space can match Adrants' traffic, and many have tried—it's been clear for awhile now that Steve Hall got first-mover advantage on all of us and will continue to reap its benefits. Second, whether you think Adrants is an insightful look at the ad biz or a site that gets its traffic mainly via boobvertising, it's in a growth industry. Old approaches to covering the ad biz are not. In fact, Watershed claims in its release that the marketing/advertising properties it owns now—which also include MarketingVOX and MediaBuyerPlanner, "reach an audience of marketers roughly twice the size of Advertising Age's online properties and 15 percent larger than the sum of those from Nielsen Business Media, the two closest networks of relevant sites." I can hear the complaints already from both companies that the Adrants demo isn't nearly as valuable, but if the going price for Adrants is a mere three-quarters of a million dollars, seems like it would have been a no-brainer for Ad Age, Adweek (and Mediapost, for that matter) to kick its tires. Maybe they did, but somehow, I doubt it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Billings discrepancy watch: Subaru

Billings figures long ago started to drive me nuts. Where to begin? Is it the fact that creative agencies don't even plan or buy media anymore? Is it that with the 15 percent commission long dead, they haven't been a very good proxy for revenue for more than a decade? Why not just start to size accounts like t-shirts—you know—XS, S, M, L XL? That's why I'm really trying to avoid posting billings figures, unless, we're talking about the money being spent in media on a specific campaign or unless it's to ridicule the whole concept. OK, with that, let's launch the billings discrepancy watch, in which I print the billings figures that other people have attributed to accounts in the news, and you get to pick which one to believe, if any. OK, for Subaru (an account shift that does include creative and media):

1) Advertising Age: $150 million.
2) Adweek: $200 million (Adweek cites a source, Nielsen Monitor-Plus).
3) The New York Times: $150 million.

DDB's Scarpelli, Palmer post to their blogs

Thought I should point out that DDB chairman/chief creative officer Bob Scarpelli and Canadian chief Frank Palmer have both posted to their blogs in recent weeks. (Go here and click on DDBlogs on the left.) I've been on both their cases for rather low productivity on the blogging front. Now, I'm not saying two posts in a month and a half is anything to blog home about, but, hey, it's better than nothing. Jeff Swystun, the head of global business communications. put up his third post just yesterday, about this DDB "Yellow Paper" on brand consistency.

Oh, no ... it's another Chinese recall

This is just ridiculous, so I'm posting it.

Let's do lunch; then I'll fire your ass

Finally some actual news (and, no, most account shifts aren't that interesting). According to Ad Age's Jean Halliday, who is quoting a Subaru insider, the car company fired incumbent DDB over lunch today in Manhattan without a review. Now that's classy. Anyway, even if none of the official mouthpieces are commenting, this unexpected shift has the ring of truth to it. The story says that Subaru CMO Tim Mahoney, who came back last May after seven years at Porsche, wants to work again with Carmichael Lynch, which, conveniently, is just winding down its relationship with Porsche. To that extent, this story appears almost quaint. It involves no social networking, viral videos or DVRs, just good ol' cronyism. Just like advertising used to be.

Pam Ann bumbles her way through BA vid

I suppose these British Airways videos featuring the British comedienne Pam Ann are worth a look. (Looks like prior to her hook-up with BA, the play on Pan Am in her stage name was purely intentional.) Can't tell how long these videos have been flying around the 'net—a week, a month? The central focus of the one above is that Pam Ann would never make it as a stewardess, but somehow it just doesn't do it for me. The character seems at odds with what I've always thought the British Airways brand was about. But what do I know? I'm just a dumb American. Then again, Maurice Saatchi probably agrees with me. You can see a whole raft of these videos by going here. BBH is the agency.

Arnold's environmentally-friendly ad campaign

The real news about the new Timberland campaign from Arnold isn't that it's for Earthkeepers boots, which are "made from organic, recycled and reclaimed materials" per the Timberland Web site. No, to offset the carbon dioxide emissions used to run the campaign (and to produce and distribute it), the company is buying power credits for Jiminy Peak. In addition, the billboard portion of the campaign is completely recyclable. Some of it will turn into tote bags. I guess the real question I have about this is whether we're dealing with a true sustainable trend or whether a few years from now we'll all be snickering at the jump-on-the-bandwagon quality of all this politically-correct eco-consciousness—at least until the floodwaters begin to lap at the front door. To see the spot (frame from it pictured here), click on "See Them in Action" on the home page, and then "See Them in Action" again on the page the home pages jumps to.

Don Draper needs an IMDB bio

Hey, gang, just noticed that Don Draper's character bio on IMDB is empty. Now's your chance to write the definitive bio of the "Mad Men" creative director—an ad creative who actually wears suits. And, if you're Bart Cleveland, you can feel free to emphasize that the guy doesn't spend enough time actually writing ads.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Al Gore sure loves advertising

OK, so now I see why the ad industry can't get rid of Al Gore: the guy's about to launch an ad campaign to tell us what to do to stop global warming, and he's going to spend $100 million to $200 million a year to do it, according to this story. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention, or, more likely, I'm suffering from Al Gore burnout now that the guy has appeared at Cannes, and just last week at Google's Zeitgeist, the ANA conference and also, in his spare time, won the Nobel Peace Prize. I mean, here's a guy who could hang out with anyone he wanted—with the probable exception of Dubya—but apparently actually likes to hang out with people in advertising. Anyway, the campaign is from The Martin Agency, and, if his ANA speech is any indication, expect lots of TV. Gore said that, "Television still works more powerfully than anything else by far." I'm not sure he's right, but hey, it's not my $100 mill. BUT, WAIT, THERE'S MORE: I kinda forgot about the Current TV thing when I wrote this last night. The guy has more reasons to love the ad biz than Don Draper.

Andy Richter shops victoriously

The above has been running on YouTube all day and now has more than 420,000 views in exchange for its premium positioning. (It went up some time over the weekend.) Starring Andy Richter and Paul F. Tompkins, it's the fairly funny "Winner's Guide to Winning Everything," part of the new "Shop Victoriously" campaign that eBay launched last month. Looks like Richter and Tompkins have been charged with driving around in an RV looking for people who have been victorious at all sorts of inane pursuits, though apparently spending quality time winning the bidding for Beanie Babies isn't among them. The site where most of this Richter/Tompkins stuff is housed——did make me dizzy, but, since I'm a sucker for anything Andy Richter, I hope the effort was worth the amount of money he was paid to do it. Created by BBDO, I think.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 10.15.07

Wherein I scan the Monday morning headlines so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age:

Nintendo is Ad Age's marketer of the year. Uh, it's easy to see Wii.
—Abbey Klaassen goes out to Google's Zeitgeist conference; has lunch (with other reporters) with Messrs. Brin and Page.
—Matt Creamer thinks the ANA conference rocked. For video and other highlights of the conference—including the obligatory Al Gore sighting—go here.
Wal-Mart can strong-arm the world into going green.
—Setting back average CMO tenure even further, Aflac CMO Jeffrey Herbert leaves after a year. Looks like the duck is safe.
—Did "Halo 3" kill "The Heartbreak Kid?"
—Bob Garfield feels uncomfortable giving out so many stars, this time for the current La-Z-Boy campaign. (Sorry, couldn't find it easily online.)

From Adweek (sorry no cover, the link on the site was broken):

—Ogilvy & Mather reinstated as lead agency for Motorola, booting Omnicom. (Yeah, Ad Age has this story too, but Adweek broke it.)
—Brian Morrissey on whether Omnicom is being smart or stupid about its digital strategy.
—Phil Dusenberry regrets hiring Madonna to do a Pepsi ad.
—Hallmark looks to expand its demo by joining Product (RED).
Google's doing better than eBay with its electronic ad buying marketplace.
—Andrew Keen describes Web 2.0 as "the very worst piece of news for the advertising industry since the birth of mass media." Hmmm. I thought the birth of mass media was good news.
—Barbara Lippert finds the new iPhone spots to be "a bit awkward."

From Mediapost (free registration required for some content):

Mediapost's take on the ANA conference.
—Roughly a third of companies who market online—and who doesn't—expect to spend more money in social media.
—And now, the local newspaper site roadblock ad.

What we hear from The Delaney Report:

—Toyota might be looking to expand its agency roster.
—Some pharma companies are looking for new agencies. Not sure which ones.
—New CMO at MillerCoors will lead to agency review.

From The New York Post:

—Marketers will stick with Joe Torre, even if George Steinbrenner doesn't.
Cinema advertising up 15 percent up last year; yet another reason to not show up at the movie's start time.

From The New York Times:

—Stuart Elliott's take on the ANA: consumer behavior is the Holy Grail.
—P&G brings the soap opera online with "Crescent Heights."

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

—Discovery is buying (free).
—Sources say that 1.2 million people downloaded the Radiohead album in two days. No word on what they paid (free).
—Avon spent more on advertising, saw sales rise (and made a few other changes).