Friday, July 11, 2008

Adverganza's going fishing

Hi all. Sorry not to have posted for a few days, but wanted to let you know that even though I probably won't be posting for the next few weeks, as I'm going on vacation, you'll be in my thoughts, poor working bastards!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cablevision, Verizon, and me

We just completed installing Cablevision's IO triple play in our household, save for a few particulars like the fact that the WiFi doesn't work, and, all I can say is, man, did we ever earn the alleged savings we'll get for dropping Verizon. It all started about six weeks ago, when Cablevision courted my husband when he called them to subscribe to some European Soccer package. If we signed up for the triple play, they said, we'd get the European Soccer package for free! We told them we'd get back to them—it was more a matter of me not wanting to part with the three voicemail boxes Verizon permits you to have, which come in handy when your home is also your business address.
Then, before I'd had a chance to see if Cablevision offered such a thing, the phone calls came. The cable guy was apparently at our house for the scheduled appointment—the one, of course, that we hadn't scheduled at all, so no one was home.
Then came the calls to "reschedule." And when I say calls, I mean calls. Like multiple calls, every day, at just the wrong time. Most of the time, Cablevision seemed to leave a message, and those messages had two variations: heavy breathing or muzak, as though the people who make calls at Cablevision haven't ever left voicemail before. None of those messages contained human speech.
Finally, one day I was there to pick up the phone: "Well, I want to switch but I just have one question about the voicemail service. Do you guys give people multiple voicemail boxes?"
"I don't know," said the voice on the other end. "I'll find out and call you next week."
The week came and went, with no answer, and continuing calls from Cablevision to reschedule the appointment we'd never scheduled. Finally, one day when they called, I was available to pick up the phone again. "Well, I've been trying to answer the question of whether you guys offer multiple voicemail boxes and no one has ever gotten back to me."
"Oh, let me check on that," said the voice on the other end. After a pause, "No, we don't offer that service."
Since, in the intervening weeks, my brother had told me how complicated he thought the multiple voicemail boxes were anyway, I decided to drop the issue, and give Cablevision my business. There were multiple questions I had to answer, including one about whether I wanted to keep our current phone number (yes, though it's a $40 one-time charge). Then, I was transferred to another department, where, I thought, The Great Scheduling of my installation was about to happen. But I ended up in dead air. "Oh, well," I thought. "At least I know they'll call back."
Within two days, an ExpressMail envelope arrived. It was a one-page letter from Verizon, with a huge "Stop" sign on it, asking me to reconsider before switching my service. There was no turning back.
Finally, a week or so later, after more voicemails filled with either heavy-breathing or Muzak, I was available to answer one of Cablevision's calls. The cable guy would be coming, the very next morning! And he showed up more or less on time!
So, you'd think that the last thing I'd have to do to complete this arduous process is cancel my Verizon DSL service, and I'm trying. Really. But when I called Verizon the other day, they started in with the scare tactics, based on the theory that a shared cable pipe was less secure, and less available, than a single DSL line into the home. They've given me thirty days of free DSL service, even though to use it I'd have to crawl under my desk and start fooling around with any number of phone jacks and filters. Hell, I can't even pick up the phone when Cablevision calls. It's not going to happen.
OK, so that's the story of Cablevision, Verizon and me. After reading this, you may be as exhausted as I am.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Edge Gel Girls ads put the W in weird

These "Edge Gel Girls" ads aren't brand new, but I don't care. I just needed to point out that perhaps whoever created these ads has been watching too many Axe commercials, which doesn't mean that they got the campiness thing down. You can watch one of the commercials above, but I also felt compelled to do a screen grab of part of what the commercial depicts: miniature girls—no higher than the stubble on a guy's face—with little, teeny spray guns running around on some guy's face shooting out lather. Another great scene: when another guy inhales dozens of these miniature Edge girls. It really doesn't get much weirder than this.

Steve Biegel and Dentsu settle

So, looks like what I was hearing last week about Steve Biegel and Dentsu settling was right. Just got a copy of this statement, entitled "Joint Written Statement Regarding the Settlement":

"Today Steve Biegel settled his lawsuit against Dentsu Holdings USA, Inc., Dentsu America, Inc., Toyo Shigeta [at the time the suit was filed CEO, Dentsu Holdings USA], and Timothy Andree [then Dentsu America CEO]. Together the parties are issuing this joint statement regarding the resolution of this dispute. Other than this joint statement, the parties will not comment further about this case or its settlement.

Steve Biegel worked as Senior Vice President, Creative Director for Dentsu, from May 1, 2003 to November 17, 2006. His termination was not performance based, in fact, Toyo Shigeta was generally satisfied with Biegel's performance on behalf of Dentsu's clients.

Certain allegations and public statements were made by all parties in connection with this litigation. Biegel brought claims for discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and Dentsu threatened to bring counterclaims for defamation and fraud which were never asserted. As a result of this settlement, those allegations and claims have been dismissed, including any potential counterclaims that have not been asserted by Dentsu. Both parties retract all public statements.

Any other terms of the settlement shall remain confidential, and the parties have agreed not to disclose anything further regarding this case or its settlement. Through this settlement, both parties wish to put the dispute behind them and move on to successful future endeavors."

I may have more to say on this later, but one part of this statement, in particular, stands out: that Dentsu has now gone back on its claims that Biegel's firing was performance-based, which, if not an admission of guilt, at least begs the question of why someone would be fired if it weren't for performance. The settlement seems to fly in the face of this choice quote from Tim Andree: "If Steve Biegel had exhibited as much creativity and effort when he worked here as he has on manufacturing this frivolous complaint, the company would not have fired him. When I was hired at Dentsu, I insisted on having a mandate to make all hiring and firing decisions. Toyo Shigeta had nothing to do with the decision to fire Biegel. . . . We've told him from the outset that if he felt he had a case, he should file it. It took him a year . . . Now we will file ours."

Far as I can tell, Dentsu never filed a thing.

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 07.07.08

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

From Advertising Age:

Profile of Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton.
Ad Age's story on the Biegel vs. Dentsu settlement.
The weather's fine at NBC Universal.
—In China, resistance is futile to the Beijing Olympics.
—Shocker! Advertisers not flocking to "Swingtown."
—Media buyers up on cable, online, and mobile. Down on everything else.
—Line extensions no longer extending the line so well.
—P&G discovers the connection between Buffalo and Cannes.
—Bob Garfield isn't digging the new work for the HP TouchSmart from Goodby. Personally, I think he's being a little rough, though agree a little more demo would've been nice.

From Adweek:

Microsoft, Carl Icahn team up to oust Yahoo's board.
—J.C. Penney recycles "The Breakfast Club" in its back-to-school campaign. What this world needs is a reminder of Judd Nelson.
—For some reason, brings back the cyber cafe.
Q&A with Ed McCabe. You can watch a video of it at this link.

From Mediapost:

—A close-up on the current trends in auto incentives.
—Will convenience stores get eaten by high gas prices?
The raw food trend comes to pet food.
—Allstate campaign looks to help the middle-class allay its retirement fears.
New campaign for Loopt, a social mapping service.
—Privacy experts are glad a judge agrees with them that Google has too much information on all of us.
—Forrester: Corporate blogging not all the rage.
Looking closely at the newspaper business ain't pretty.
—Following in the Manolo Blahniks of "Sex and the City," there will be a "Friends" movie.

From Mediaweek:

—NBC offering cross-platform Olympic measurement.
—Fox orders up an Osbourne variety series. (The link doesn't seem to go anywhere, so I'm not linking to it.)

From The New York Times:

—More on Steve Ballmer and Carl Icahn vs. Jerry Yang.
—Profile of the Facebook guy who works for Obama.
—Dove tries to tighten the ties that bind its products to women's self-esteem.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—General Motors may shed more white-collar jobs, and some brands. Free.
—Ads touting John McCain's energy policies aren't produced by the McCain campaign.

That's all folks.