Friday, November 30, 2007

Red Wendy's spot, but no red wig

Came across this while looking for a more contemporary Wendy's spot. It's a Cliff Freeman classic dating back to when he, and a young innocent named Cathy Taylor, worked at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample. Note the Cold War theme. Hey, did I mention that we went to Lenin's Mausoleum last week? Creepy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

'Online Media Daily' makes it into writers' strike

Insertion-of-ad-trades-into-popular-culture award for this month goes to Online Media Daily, which is referenced in this video written by a Daily Show writer who makes pointed, hilarious commentary about the issues involved in the writers' strike. OK, so you can't even see in my lousy screen grab that it says Online Media Daily at the bottom of this quote from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, so go watch the vid. At least during this writers' strike, we can still watch funny stuff on YouTube, which none of the authors get paid for.

Being sweet will get Starbucks nowhere

I'm finally taking a look at these Starbucks spots from Wieden + Kennedy. ("Bear Hug" is above, "Ski Lift" is here, and "Window Wash" is here.) They're way too cutesy-Christmas-ey for me (not to mention that they go with that old trick of anthropomorphizing animals), but I'll admit to being caught up in my opinion, stated earlier, that it's not worth it for Starbucks to do a TV campaign. All we need to be reminded of the company's existence is to walk out the front door, and this campaign doesn't do much more than remind us of its existence—by giving us a nice, sweet serving of whipped cream on the top of the grande latte. (Obligatory weak coffee metaphor!) Yeah, I know Starbucks has got increasing competition from McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and so forth, but the real difference between Starbucks and its competitors is its venues, which play no role in this campaign. Bah humbug, etc.

Samsung phone spot, nothing if not heartfelt

Engaging spot for Samsung, I think for the U.K. market. Almost makes you forget that many mobile phones can take pictures. Would be better if it ran during Valentine's Day though.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Adverganza's Tuesday/Wednesday morning picks

OK, so I'm getting around to this a on Tuesday. Better late than never:

From Advertising Age:

Dentsu files motion to dismiss Steve Biegel's suit, based on legal technicalities rather than bathhouse attendance.
—A YouTube video star shows how you, too,can go viral.
AdBuster guy wears New Balance.
—More ruminating about Starbucks' national TV campaign.
—Who knew that Bob Garfield had such a strong opinion about the Island of Misfit Toys?

From Adweek:

Yet more Dentsu/Biegel.
—Wendy Melillo on Starbucks and the limitations of word-of-mouth.
—Does playing at war make you want to sign up for war?
—Only 19 percent of clients compensate agencies based on performance. Not exactly putting money where one's mouth is.
—Barbara Lippert gets all warm and fuzzy about Starbucks' new spot.

What we hear from The Delaney Report:

—I've never heard of iBiquity in Columbia, Maryland but allegedly it has a $250 million budget to promote HD something or other. Get on the horn to them kids!
—Is there some sorta conflict between Dentsu's Suzuki account and Attik's Scion account?

From The New York Times:

—Not a moment too soon, the Ad Council discovers the Internet.
—Yeah, so someone already thought of free WiFi paid for by commercials.

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

CondeNet starts putting its videos on YouTube.
—Marketers are fans of Facebook. Free.

My apologies for doing these so late, folks. It's been one of those weeks, and probably will continue to be at this rate!

Monday, November 26, 2007

How about making 'Adweek' a monthly?

Hi all. Got back from our week-long trip to Moscow last night at 5 (that's 1 a.m. Moscow time for you jet lag fans), so I'm a bit behind on the Monday morning picks. Thought I should get to first things first, however: the announcement on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week that Adweek will no longer, as the name implies, be a weekly that covers advertising, instead only publishing 36 issues a year as it builds out a better Web site. If you haven't heard this already, then at least one thing about the announcement worked—if the publication had something it wanted to shout from the rooftops, it wouldn't have buried the story by releasing it on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In news terms, days like that exist for brushing distasteful matters under the rug. (UPDATE: Nat Ives at Ad Age broke this on Tuesday which forced the story. What can I say ... I was in Moscow.)

Truth is, I'd heard that this was happening some time ago, but hadn't had a chance to report it and feel a little bad about not sharing it with you awhile ago. (Yes, it's true, I'm an oxymoron of a blogger; I actually report things from time to time.) Knowing what I knew, I would've expected something, well, a lot less half-baked than the wimpy, weak-on-detail, so-called announcement that came out on Tuesday. From a publication that prides itself on carving through spin, it was embarrassing—a misleading headline that said, "Adweek to Expand on Digital Offering," on top of a "story" which left until the end of the third paragraph that little side-note about the powers-that-be cutting the weekly down to 36 issues a year. It got worse when, in a fit of jet-lag induced insomnia, I went to the Mediaweek site to see its write-up of the shift late one night last week, because the one thing I hadn't already heard was whether the cut-down in frequency applied to Brandweek and Mediaweek as well. The answer is no, it doesn't. But get this: a comment about how forward-looking Adweek is blah, blah, blah is attributed on the Adweek site to BBDO North America's Mark Goldstein. At, the exact same quote is attributed to Adweek editor Alison Fahey. Pitiful. (UPDATE: You kinda knew this was going to happen: as of late today, the Mediaweek quote is from Goldstein as well.)

But, of course, these are mostly semantic issues. The real question is whether Adweek can survive as a principally online publication, and the announcement was painfully weak on details about how this might happen, promising only "the most robust content in the industry 24/7 replete with exclusive Nielsen data," according to Nielsen Business Media's Sabrina Crow. Puh-leese! I can hardly wait! Why the publication didn't wait to make this announcement until they had an actual site to show people—beta would've been fine—to add some meat to the blather defies logic. (And there's no indication as to when this new site will launch.) The announcement was one of the most painfully inept attempts at spin I've ever seen. George Parker put it as only he can, "Oh please Sabrina, why can't you just say Ad Age is kicking your arse and you can't make any money?" Right on, George.

And what could a revamped Adweek site really offer that Ad Age doesn't already? (Oh, right, "exclusive Nielsen data", but that's hardly enough to save a business.) With the exception of AdFreak (yes, I founded it), there isn't one innovation in online in recent years that Ad Age hasn't done first, and Adweek, because it mostly operates separately from Brandweek and Mediaweek, probably will have neither the money, nor the staff to pull it off. To that extent, taking resources out of print should help, but the Adweek staff has been absolutely decimated in recent years in a slow drip, drip, drip that has made it barely noticeable to outsiders. Even several years ago, Adweek had a raft of reporters in New York covering agencies, and at least one staffer apiece in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. The Dallas, Detroit and Atlanta staffers are long gone, and, as of the departure of Aaron Baar out of Chicago, Adweek has pulled out of that market as well. Let me repeat ... pulled out of Chicago! DC reporter Wendy Melillo, who occasionally still seems to file, left recently for American University's School of Communication. Long-time agency reporter Kathy Sampey wasn't replaced when she departed earlier this year for MRM Worldwide. The problem is that in the time the Adweek staff has shrunk to its current size, the news hasn't gone away; it's just that Adweek's ability to cover it has. Unless there are plans to beef up staff to meet that 24/7 demand for news, it's hard to picture how Adweek will pull off a great resurrection now. Addressing the staffing issue, if there's anything positive that can be said about it, is just the sort of thing that should have been in the announcement.

To that extent, if anyone cares, I think pulling back on print is absolutely the right move, but, if it were me, I'd pull back even further. Hell, I'd make the print issue a monthly. Media consumption is a habit, and that alone makes the 36-issues-a-year gambit awkward. What is habit-forming about a magazine, that might—or might not—publish on a given week? The random nature of when these issues are coming out diminishes their value. A monthly might have the opposite effect, making the the print issue more of an event for subscribers and advertisers. It also would free up more resources for online, and would give the print issues a concerted focus on in-depth reporting, a real contrast to what the Adweek Web site—or Ad Agecurrently provides. Publishing kinda, sorta, whenever makes the print issue of Adweek neither a weekly nor a monthly nor a biweekly, and with print as troubled as it already is, that's a huge liability.

I could go on here, but I've gone on quite long enough. Maybe people who read this will think that I detest the place, after having worked there for years, but I don't. It's just frustrating to see a brand that I've loved mishandle the biggest challenge of its existence.