Friday, February 1, 2008

Obligatory SalesGenie post: foreign accents ... funny!

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Still trying to wrap my head around the spots for, which, if you haven't heard, actually take a stab at creativity this year by being animated. That and thinking that Chinese accents and Indian accents are hilarious. Personally, I find these demeaning to the Chinese, the Indians, and the panda bears since their cast as the dummies who can't get their sales shit together until they contact It's not only a demean-o-fest, it's a trifecta! Watch the spot above, and look at the other one here and you'll see what I mean. Thanks again to Ian Schafer for making my job a lot easier today. With that, I won't post anything at least until the game itself. Au revoir and go Pats!

Jumping on Super Bowl bandwagon winner: Nationwide

No, Nationwide Insurance is not appearing on the Super Bowl this year, after a three-year run which culminated with what many consider last year's breakout commercial: the one featuring K-Fed at the fry joint (above). But that doesn't mean the company isn't trying to get in on the action ... no. Actually got an email from one of their reps today featuring a Q&A with Steven Schreibman, vp of advertising and brand management at the company, advising companies on how to get the most out of their Super Bowl ads. I won't bother to post it because the first step to taking advantage of Super Bowl hype is to think about it well in advance of the Friday before the game, and the Q&A leaves unanswered the question of why the company bowed out this year. And, you don't need to read the Q&A to conclude that Nationwide is the winner of this year's Super Bowl Bandwagon Award, given exclusively at Adverganza. Congrats all around!

Watch this Coke spot before it comes down

Don't think this Coke spot that will appear on the Super Bowl is supposed to be posted yet, but thanks to our friends at the Associated Press, it is. (Watch, it'll get pulled down if anyone notices.) It features James Carville and Bill Frist, if you didn't know already, and even though it's no "Happiness Factory," it has its moments. Coke has posted some B-roll at, but you can only see it using Internet Explorer. Of course, I am biased. I think that portrait of George Washington on the horse that the two look at in the National Portrait Gallerywas painted by one of my long ago Peale relatives. (Thus, my middle initial.) As you can tell, not one iota of visual artistry made it down the generations to me. Still trying to confirm the agency. Doesn't seem very Wieden-esque to me.

Hyundai Super Bowl spots are hyo-hyum

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Thought I'd take a look at the Hyundai Super Bowl spots, just because they're from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, though, I promise, by day's end to sink to the depth of posting something about SalesGenie. Especially coming from Goodby, these spots are disappointing, just because the only interesting thing I found is that the first of the two (embedded above), actually speculates about how the spot might do on the USA Today AdMeter, with the implication it probably won't score all that high. I guess that's a smart way to hedge your bets as an agency—you don't want to get your ass fired, like Cramer-Krasselt allegedly did, because your spot doesn't do well on that particular poll. As for what the commecials advertise, it's new Hyundai Genesis, an upscale sedan that is being compared in these commercials to Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. While the car may line up favorably in terms of specs—particularly on price—to those cars, at the end of the day it's still a Hyundai, and that's would seem to be the main marketing issue.

Chrysler says it's a new day

Chrysler just posted this spot to YouTube—part of a new corporate campaign, with brand-specific components, that is breaking in spot TV on the Super Bowl. It's part of what the company is calling its New Day Celebration, focused on "the new Chrysler LLC direction as a company that listens to its customers and is committed to moving fast and responding to customer and dealer feedback." How radical. This commercial reminds me of the kicking trees spot for Wendy's since it takes place in a forest. Man, just can't get this red wig campaign out of my, um, hair. It's a sickness.

This just in: Microsoft makes bid for Yahoo!

From my Wall Street Journal tech alert emails:

"Microsoft Corp. offered $44.6 billion to buy Yahoo Inc., in a bold attempt to dramatically expand its online business and compete more effectively with Google Inc. in services ranging from email to Internet advertising sales.

The offer was made in a letter sent Thursday by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to Yahoo's board of directors. One person familiar with the matter said that Microsoft decided to "go hostile" with its bid within the last few weeks after Yahoo ignored its latest overtures.

The offer, $31 a share in cash and stock, is a 62% premium to Thursday's closing price. ..."

Makes a lot of sense, actually. Yahoo!, clearly vulnerable. Microsoft, a player in the online ad game, but not nearly as much of a player as it would like to be. Yahoo, much stronger in search. Microsoft, much stronger in wealth. We shall see.

27 Super Bowl spots on YouTube so far

In the email that came to me yesterday with the most short-term payoff, Ian Schafer, the CEO of Deep Focus (it's an interactive shop for you traditional types), sent me a link to his post of every Super Bowl spot that's been put on YouTube so far. What a relief! Now I can just crib from him relentlessly.! Seriously, though, thanks. Now, for our discussion topic of the day (though I admit my usual group of commenters has been a might bit lazy this week): Is it a good thing or a bad thing to post your Super Bowl spot online before the game? And what of the annoying "teaser" trend? Discuss.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snoop Dogg on what you can do with your phone

Face it. You're a sucker for commercials starring Snoop Dogg, just like I am, so let's interrupt all this Super Bowl stuff to take a look at a new one that's running across the pond. This looks to be from the same campaign for Orange that featured Macaulay Culkin. Via Utalkmarketing.

The only GoDaddy Super Bowl post I'll do

I'm just going to get GoDaddy over with right now. There's a Super Bowl teaser featuring some WWE chick above. And a buncha other stuff, some of which will run on the game and some of which won't, here. True confession. Oh, God, here I go. My domain name is registered with GoDaddy. I signed up with them before they got so freakin' smarmy. I think.

Why put this Taco Bell ad on the Super Bowl?

And now, here's the Taco Bell spot from DraftFCB. Is it the worst ad ever? No. Is it Super Bowl-worthy? No. Prediction (and I will revisit this): it will rank in the bottom third of USA Today's Super Bowl poll.

The Justin Timberlake/Pepsi/Super Bowl ad

This thing is violent. And then there's the guy with the straws in his nose. Hmmm.

OK, kids, here are Bud Super Bowl teasers

I also got shipped a bunch of teasers yesterday for Bud and Bud Light (the Clydesdale one is above; you can find the other four here, here, here and here. While occasionally showing potential, when looked at, in teaser form, they run like a check list for what to make sure to include in Super Bowl ads, especially for an advertiser who has as many spots to play with as Anheuser-Busch. Frustrated cavemen? Check. Animals with human emotions? Check. Frat boy humor? Check. Making fun of foreign accents? Check. I may sound a little jaded, mostly cuz I am, but I'm sure these commercials will be huge hits. Coolest thing to me about this campaign is that A-B has created a widget to make it easy for people to stream these ads on their MySpace, Facebook or other Web pages. Would love to know how the metrics turn out on that one. Isn't it weird to contemplate that advertisers are spending $2.7 million for 30 seconds of airtime on the Super Bowl while simultaneously spreading their Super Bowl ads for free all over the Web? I know there's nothing expressly new there, but every now and then you have to take a moment to think about how bizarre that really is.

Here's Under Armour's Super Bowl teaser

So Under Armour has this Super Bowl teaser out. Don't know what to make of it really. Man rolls a tire, finds a red box. Of course, since until earlier this week I thought Under Armour was some spinoff brand of Armour All, I guess I ain't the target.

Adverganza's Super Bowl hype begins ...

OK, so as of today Adverganza is finally succumbing to Super Bowl hype. Amazing that I've been able to hold out until three days before the Big Game before even posting a Super Bowl ad, but all good things must come to an end. Now I'm going to be a Super Bowl ad whore, posting anything that has the remotest thing to do with the Super Bowl, so there! Still looking for candidates to live blog the game with me. But I won't take just anyone. Email me at, if you're, well, game.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yes, it will blend picket signs

And now, the special writers' strike edition of Blendtec's "Will It Blend?"

One place where the red wig lives

In case you're feeling nostalgic already for the Wendy's red wig campaign, it continues to live. for now, at

My lazy take on Quizno's vs. Subway

I'm a little late to the party on this Quizno's vs. Subway fracas, wherein Quizno's asked its fans to do the attacking for them--by having them shoot anti-Subway videos and, more to the point, post them. Subway has not been pleased. The one above, may or may not be part of the official contest. I guess I picked it to stream because it's one of the more recent ones posted on YouTube and, at least at the beginning, it has a Led Zep soundtrack. Maybe they should solve this whole thing by streaming a wrestling match between the Quizno's mascot in this vid and Jared. I dunno.

Zucker on why NBC won't do an upfront show

So NBC's Jeff Zucker gave the keynote yesterday at NATPE, and talked about what why the network, in all likelihood, is not planning a glamorous upfront presentation this year, and he did so--at least if you look at the snippets here on the Ad Age site--without once mentioning how the writers' strike might leave a network with not a lot to show. Zucker talks about the upfront presentation as a thing of the past. Why does this seem like a trendlet that we'll see for a few years rather than the end of an era? I guess it's 'cuz ad execs sure like their TV stars.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My interview with new 4As CEO Nancy Hill

It's official. Nancy Hill has been named the new president-CEO of the 4As.
I had a chat with her yesterday, and came away thinking that she will bring a decidedly different spin to what has been, by almost all accounts, a pretty staid organization. I admit that in a post on her expected appointment last week, I didn't realize she had tech experience. In fact, she's worked on a raft of tech accounts, and explained to me that it taught her not to separate digital advertising from traditional advertising. "I was never allowed to separate the two because the technology clients wouldn't let you separate the two," she explained. That said, she's obviously thought a lot about the digital divide—not the one that separates the computer-haves from the computer have-nots, but the one that separates the traditional advertising people from the digital ones. The traditional side, she said, focuses on ads as solutions; the digital side focuses on applications as solutions. "I think where the 4As can help is that we can help bring the conversation together." Digital vs. traditional is my personal bailiwick, but we also talked about other topics of concern to the ad populi.
One was the 4As Management Conference, which, Hill admitted, is ranking fairly low on the relevancy scale. "It has been a management conference where agency heads have stood up and talked about what was happening at their own agencies," she observed. After last year's conference, she and some other ad execs got together all by themselves and brainstormed what the conference should be; her thought was that it should "look outside the industry" at other creative industries who have adjusted to change. She'd like to bring in people like Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, who have managed to sustain and grow a partnership through a rapidly-changing landscape in their own business. That doesn't mean they're on the agenda; Hill had to disengage from the project once she was under consideration for the 4As job. I checked out what the 4As Web site has to say about this year's conference, by the way, and it has been renamed the 4As Leadership Conference. It also promises to deliver, "CEOs from major digital companies, a global media agency CEO, a major architect, a Hollywood producer, a venture capitalist, a major package goods advertisers and the legendary Lee Clow, worldwide creative director, TBWA\Chiat\Day." (Hey, I thought Lee recently changed his title to Master of the Dark Arts, or something. No wait, I had that a little wrong.)
Anyway, perhaps we'll soon be able to say goodbye to the 4As conference as we've known it, which is great, as long as it keeps being at high-end resorts and includes many beverages, of course. Some things should never change.
So anyway, we also touched on the industry's sorry record when it comes to diversity and how the 4As could do more to make it, well, less white bread. (My words, not hers.) Hill feels many minorities have trouble picturing themselves in the ad industry, which is among the difficulties in making the industry more diverse. "How can we position the industry as attractive to all constituencies?" she asked. "I think that starts before somebody gets out of school."
And, of course, no interview of an incoming 4As CEO would be complete without talking about Advertising Week, which, although it pales in importance next to the changing media landscape and diversity, somehow seems to lead to the most 4As headlines. Although she applauds the passion that the late Ken Kaess, and Ron Berger will continue to bring to it, it isn't front-and-center for her right now. She confessed, "My perspective on it is cloudy at this point be honest with you." Given the substantive issues facing the ad industry right now, that's not a bad thing.
If you're surprised that you're reading her comments on a blog, so am I. But Hill wanted to communicate with the blogosphere as well as the usual ad media suspects. As none of them have posted any interviews with her yet, do me a favor and remember that you read it on Adverganza first.

And now the new Wendy's work from Kirshenbaum

Now that we've laid the red wig campaign to rest (see below), let's examine the new Wendy's work from Kirshenbaum + Bond, which you can see here at the Ad Age site. (These people sure work fast, don't they?) You can see the tag at right, which says Wendy's is "waaaay better than fast food" well, maybe. As for the whole commercial, which focuses on its version of the Filet-o-fish, it's very product-centric. And it's also exceedingly boring.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wendy's red wig, we hardly knew ye

Red wig campaign from Saatchi for Wendy's: Jan. 29, 2007 - Jan. 28, 2008.
Yep, it lasted just about a year.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 01.28.08

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

From Advertising Age:

—All about that National Association of Realtors campaign that says now is a great time to buy. As a real estate agent myself, I shall refrain from commenting.
—People will watch the Super Bowl into the fourth quarter, this story predicts. Yeah, but what about the focusing problems of the drunks?
—Mac people really are arrogant, says study. But, no, they don't all date Drew Barrymore.
—Hundreds of thousands of people embrace Dewmocracy.
Colt 45 ads feature cartoon-like characters and the tag, "Works Every Time." Would you believe some people are offended?
More insight into the appointment of Nancy Hill to head the 4As.
—Bob Garfield doesn't like the aforementioned real estate spots. But he dislikes Realtors even more. Hey, Bob, we're not all the same. (OK, I commented.)

From Adweek:

—Toby Gabriner goes to Adzilla.
—To promote her new book, Nina DiSesa talks about how advertising is till a boys' club.
—Nielsen to use its Hey! Nielsen! site to see what people really think of this year's Super Bowl ads.
Complete pre-game analysis of this year's Super Bowl advertising, in case you haven't gotten enough hype yet.
—Interpublic says there's still life in Magna Global.
—People don't really agree on what the second best Super Bowl spot ever is.
Barbara Lippert goes bottom-fishing, critiquing Super Bowl ads for GoDaddy and

From Brandweek:

—Are sales of import beers in a recession-induced stupor?
—Nike to launch a new line of performance trainers, and another brand that I've never heard of, may be threatened. Maybe I don't work out enough.
—More Super Bowl hype, and the demise of consumer-generated Super Bowl ads. I'm liking this year's crop of spots better already.
—Why the new Subway Feast sandwich isn't a natural fit for the chain that made a name for itself out of Jared's jeans.
—A new video feature, "Marketing Wakeup Call," talks about crappy social networking campaigns.
—Tiger Woods cosies up to the Buick Enclave, and the timing couldn't be better.

From Mediapost:

—Dunkin' Donuts launches a CGM contest on YouTube. Well, I guess CGM isn't entirely dead.
—Super Bowl advertisers' stocks beat out the S&P 500, according to some egghead professor guy.
—Imus gets sued for criticizing a commercial for Gerald Ford's book a full year ago, saying that the publisher ""have been waiting for him to croak so they can unload these."
—Blame the writers' strike: people are actually watching "Celebrity Apprentice."

What we hear from The Delaney Report:

—Hershey's is closely examining its marketing and advertising, though it seems too early for use of the "R" word.
—"Green" car Tesla might be getting off the ground. Might want to check around on when it'll need an agency.
—Tom doesn't like BBDO's new spots.

From The New York Times:

—Advertisers are partying like it's a ... recession.
—On Fox, it'll be SuperBowlTuesday, or SuperTuesdayBowl, or something like that.
—Target doesn't care about bloggers, and bloggers can get really, really mad (registration required).

—Scientology's been very, very good to Gawker.

From The Wall Street Journal (alas, subscription required unless otherwise noted, from here to eternity):

—Here's its round-up of the Super Bowl ads, and lucky you, it's free.