Friday, February 6, 2009

BBDO's Eric Silver going to DDB is only part of the story

You may have seen the story at yesterday saying that BBDO executive cd Eric Silver had departed, supposedly heading to sister shop DDB in "the top creative post" at the New York office. The office's chairman/chief creative officer is the (depending on who you ask) legendary Lee Garfinkel. But what looks like a fairly run-of-the-mill story about creative director musical chairs is actually a demonstration of the advertising industry coming unhinged. Since going up some time yesterday, the story has garnered some 145 comments, including name-calling not only on the individuals involved in the story, but on the ad industry itself. Some choice excerpts (I'm not vouching for accuracy of any of these, but only reprinting as an example of what you'll find if you go there):

From agencywonk:
About time they called Garfinkel what he is: a woefully underachieving CCO who hasn't produced anything noteworthy since his BBDO days

From an anonymous poster:
This is not a good fit. Eric is a nice guy and extremely talented, but he is a man-child. He will not be able to run an agency creatively. He doesn't have the patience for it. He has not made a career out of getting good work out of tough clients. He has made a name for himself by doing exceptional work for good clients. There is a world of difference between the two.

From Baffled Three:
Just when you thought Big Dumb Agencies couldn't get any bigger or any dumber... There just isn't much call anymore for agencies whose sole focus is the :30 second TV spot. Oh well, makes it that much easier for the rest of us.

From Disappointed:
...that people in our industry can stoop so low as to the comments made here. I am disappointed and embarrassed. How can we get paid for our talent or command respect when clients see garbage like what's been written here today. I hope one of you doesn't fall victim to the same scrutiny one day."

Thanks to Alan Wolk for tweeting this and bringing it to my attention, and for noticing that many of the commenters are referring to the comment thread as a blog. Weird.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Charlie Rose talks to MySpace founders

Since my Social Media Insider column doesn't permit the embedding of video, thought I'd embed video here of the half-hour Charlie Rose interview on Tuesday night featuring Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson of MySpace (or as Charlie Rose pronounces it Mah-Space). If you want to read my column, click here; if you want to stream the video, see below.

Monday, February 2, 2009

For advertisers, it's not the Super Bowl, it's the Desperation Bowl

As you may have noticed, Adverganza has assiduously avoided doing anything about Super Bowl advertising (and posting, for that matter). In both cases, it has to do with having too much work right now and not enough time, a situation I'll take, especially with the economy continuing to tank. But it yielded a surprise benefit: a completely fresh eye last night on Super Bowl commercials in the context in which they were meant to be seen, with pretty much no early look at what the ad-fest had in store. As it was as much of an outsider's perspective as I've had in 25 years, this is what I came away with: the strain employed to make Americans laugh is painful to watch. It's never been so clear to me how desperate the subtext of nearly every ad is, which is a pleading, "Please, pppllleeeeaaasssse, puh-leeze laugh." As an armchair ad-watcher this year, it also made me wonder what the hell the ad industry is up to during the rest of the year, when it's not busy trying to win the USA Today Ad Meter. Is everyone just phoning it in during the other 11 months?

Given that the commercials seem to carry a similar, over-the-top tone, the net effect for those of us who've been able to avoid the pre-game hype is that it's one big blur of (attempts at) over-the-top comedy, which sucks everyone and everything into its vortex. I cringed at Conan O'Brien for Bud Light, and winced at the "I'm good" commercial for Pepsi Max. A former Adweek colleague, who was hosting the party I attended, couldn't believe that Pepsi Max has actually gone and forthrightly declared it is a diet drink for men. Are men going to order that now because Pepsi told them to? The commerical started off well, but the payoff didn't work at all. It's not that such commercials are supposed to be plausible, exactly, but a guy who performs open heart surgery with a ballpoint pen can't buy a car on his own? C'mon.

It's somewhat amusing to read that the winner of the USA Today Ad Meter (which itself, like individual commercials, has gotten lost in the hype), was a consumer-created ad for Doritos, but don't jump to the conclusion that this means consumers make better ads. It just means that they've gotten really good at copying BBDO.