Friday, December 14, 2007

Isn't this stop smoking ad beyond the pale?

Among other things that 2007 will come to be known for, it'll be the year of the gross-out anti-tobacco ad. Whether you're talking about the man that AdFreak refers to as Throat-Hole Guy, or the guy who lost his jaw from chewing tobacco, or the person who's lost a few toes due to smoking too much, it's not a pretty picture. Of this genre, the most over the top is our poor friend Skip Legault, pictured here, who, if you can't read the fine print, has suffered "two heart attacks, a stroke, fourteen surgeries, seven blood clots" and "leg amputation" because of smoking. So is this ad effective? I don't think so, and here's why. Poor Skip's smoking-related bad health is so completely over the top that I would think most smokers would look at it and say that could never happen to them, particularly the leg amputation. The ad is ultimately hard to relate to, because most of us have never run into an amputee who had to have a limb whacked off because of smoking. I don't think it doesn't happen, but Skip's experience seems fairly remote, and as we know, people who are addicted are full of denial about what could really happen to them. This ad doesn't help.

Even worse than coal in your stocking

Saw a description of this Alltel spot on Adweek's creative newsletter (worth subscribing to, BTW), but describing it, as always, doesn't do it full justice. Imagine the elves and reindeer as vigilantes, and you'll get the drift. Via Campbell-Ewald.

What 'Campaign' calls worst advert of the year

Saw a story about Campaign's worst adverts of the year and thought I should share the cringe-worthy wealth. The grand prize went to this ad for Rana Pasta which features an actual politician, Ann Widdecombe, among those protesting at 10 Downing Street for "fresh pasta justice." Via Leagas Delaney. Congrats all around!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Citgo Joe returns with new ad

Somehow I missed the Joe Kennedy/Citgo commercial last year, in which Joe says that, thanks to a deal he's struck with Citgo, people who can't afford oil can now get it at a discount. The commercial from last year is above, but there's a new one out, that basically holds up the citizens of Venezuela, and Citgo, as model citizens, who really care for their shivering American counterparts, whereas the American government ... Not surprisingly, Kennedy took a lot of, well, heat, for this campaign last year because of the Hugo Chavez connection, but I guess he remains undeterred.

You read it on Adverganza first ...

After the drubbing I gave Adweek a few weeks ago (it was tough love, really), I shouldn't expect the magazine to give me any credit for being the first to report that Dentsu was changing law firms in the Steve Biegel case to Morgan, Lewis and Bockius. Fair enough. But wanted to point out that it was reported here last Friday. Now that I've gotten that little ego-gratification exercise out of the way, time for some real posts.

Those direct marketers ... so tricky!

Don't you hate it when you fall for direct marketing ploys? I do. In falling for one the other day, my husband and I stumbled upon the industry's latest trick: printed addresses that look like handwriting. With that, we opened this envelope from Wells Fargo, which, of course—doing!—only contained a letter asking of us if we wanted to refinance our mortgage. Once we realized we'd been had, we tried to see if the magic marker on this sucker would run at all if moistened. It didn't.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All hands on deck for next H-P ad

I'm sure I'm not the only blogger who got an email yesterday from a guy named Geoff Nelson" at Buzz Corps., a social media company working with HP." Seems like Goodby, Silverstein has run out of ideas as to who should be the next person in its "hands" campaign (you know, the one where you only see the spokesperson's hands), and they're asking bloggers to help them. Or maybe it's just that they want more into this democratic, let's-go-ask-the-people-what-they-think thing. I have no suitable ideas since my brain has been thoroughly taken over by pre-Christmas stress, so if you have an idea you can go to this site and submit your ideas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

David Kenny only ad guy in Silicon Alley 100

And he's no. 54, and last time I knew lived up in Boston. (In case you don't know, Kenny is head of Digitas, which he sold to Publicis last year.) Maybe this is a case of beggars can't be choosers, but on the other hand, are ad people really beggars? I think not. Given that everyone in online expects to make their next million from advertising revenue, you'd think that ad people would rank as a little more important than they do on this list. Instead, the list is dominated by VCs and people at media companies, and while I'll certainly grant that Tim Armstrong of Google deserves his no. 6 position, don't the online media guys need the online ad guys more than the online ad guys need them? Not to take this list too seriously. It claims that no. 62, Randall Rothenberg, has been with the Interactive Advertising Bureau since 2001, when he actually joined a year ago.

Nothing says Christmas like Pepto-Bismol

Since it's Christmas, thought I'd run this relatively recent clip from the Pepto-Bismol Sing About Disgusting Bodily Functions Contest. The guy is singing this song wearing a vest adorned with sparkly Christmas trees. How festive. For what it's worth, the contest continues until mid-January and there's an entire YouTube channel devoted to these lovely things. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Y&R: Great recruiter of high-profile speakers

So, Young & Rubicam may not be on anyone's short list of great agencies these days, but the shop excels at one thing: hiring high-profile speakers to appear at Cannes. Last year, as you may recall, they hired speaker-of-the-moment Al Gore to, I think, explain the connection between global warming and advertising. (Think of how much carbon we'd save if there were no advertising! But then what would I do with my life?)This year, the agency has hired Rupert Murdoch, who will speak at Cannes about media. Now, if they could just put some time and effort into being a better agency ...

Nice Sprint visual says nothing about the brand

Because I overthink these things, I've been pondering this Sprint campaign, which you've probably seen by now. Here's the deal: it uses this really cool visual device of neon drawings on top of live action, which definitely makes it more fun to watch than your average commercial, but the device says absolutely nothing about Sprint, and that's the problem. Had I not been someone who follows advertising would I have even remembered what the brand was? Whatever happened to the pin drop? Well, I guess that device is way too analog, for groovin' 2007.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wendy's red wig stays! I think ...

So, now that Ian Rowden has left the CMO job at Wendy's I'm getting a little nervous for the red wig. The good news is that president-CEO Kerrii Anderson is promising more of the "That's Right" campaign (though he doesn't specifically mention red wigs). The bad news is, of course, that the company is still for sale. With that, above is the most recent Wendy's spot featuring the Air Supply burger. For some reason, I think an Abba burger would've been even funnier, but that's just me.

Totally, awesomely cool ad tournament

Hi folks, my old friends at the Freak (aka AdFreak), are holding a March Madness-like tournament to decide what was the freakiest ad moment of 2007. GREAT idea. Voting is going on currently, so get over there so you can help decide big important questions such as whether Orville Deadenbacher or the Stanley Steemer dog-butt scuttle, or Bob Dylan in an Escalade was the freakiest.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 12.10.07

Yep. In which I scan the Monday morning headlines—hopefully in a timely fashion—so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age:

—The writers' strike threatens the $9 billion upfront. What? You don't want to watch reality TV?
—William Morris burnishes the green, as in eco-friendly, reputation of its clients.
—Ads for 'Paranormal State' enough to make you think you're paranoid.
—Is Katie Couric's CBS Evening News being marketed as the Voice of Goddess?
Musta been a slow week. Bob Garfield finally weighs in on soccer Moms who wanna kill the King.
—Q&A with Yum's David Novak on his new book about being "an accidental CEO."

From Adweek:

—NBC has started to give back refunds to advertisers because of the writers' strike. This is gonna hurt.
—Is "doing a Radiohead" becoming more popular?
—Media buyers aren't all that mad at Facebook.
—Survey says many CMOs aspire to be CEOs. But what does it matter? They'll be out on their asses in two years anyway.
Eleftheria Parpis rounds up the best Christmas commercials this year. Of course, JC Penney makes the grade.
—Barbara Lippert calls Dell's new commercial from Mother "a visually dazzling execution of an elementary point" and she's so right. You can watch it here.

From Mediapost:

—Paramount, Jaguar are charter subscribers to MSN Mobile.
A closer look at the "Elf Yourself" agency: Omnicom's EVB.
—Newspapers are a great generator of word-of-mouth (so don't kill 'em).

From The New York Post:

—Will the writers' strike cause more out-of-work celebrities to busy themselves with ad endorsement deals?

From The New York Times:

Nokia looks to regain its U.S. mojo.
—Dr. Pepper turns a YouTube star into a commercial star.
—Advertisers can't get enough of the 1960s.

From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

—Nestle will start selling Jamba Juice in some states.