Archive for June, 2009

• Farewell from Ad Nauseam

My bags are packed, I'm ready to leave...

I started writing Ad Nauseam in 1994 for a small Toronto newspaper. My qualifications were minimal — a few years as an independent commercial artist and copywriter, followed by a stint at JWT where I set up their IT department and analysed tracking software.

Still, it’s not like there was a lot of competition. At the time, nobody figured the average reader cared about the advertising industry, and the only people writing about it were doing so in trade magazines. On the other hand, I’d heard too many people talking about the latest commercials, and how bad/good/stupid they were, to believe that laymen were truly apathetic about the subject. I thought there was a chance people might actually be interested in a public discussion about advertising — and not one based on advertising’s subversive influence on our lives. I wanted to be the devil’s advocate, so to speak, and for the first few years even wrote it under the name Blaise Meredith, the protagonist in Morris West’s book, The Devil’s Advocate. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

• Who says you have to listen to the “conversation”?

Cute joke, or vile slander against motherhood?

Cute joke, or vile slander against motherhood?

As part of their “ongoing series assessing the future of the Internet,” Information Week‘s John Soat looks at the risk of brands being attacked online in “Reputations at Risk” (Information Week, June 1, 2009).

As an example, he opens with the unexpected ramifications of a handmade sign posted at the exit of a Home Depot store in Las Cruces, N.M. Seemingly innocuous, and potentially helpful, the sign encouraged disgruntled customers to voice their complaints before leaving. Read more…

• What every agency needs: the steam punk Mega-Blaster Client Attitude Adjuster Ray

Powered by steam punk, driven by desparation

Powered by steam, driven by despair

Agencies now employ a vast number of technologically-advanced tools to help get their work done. With the aid of computers they can create stunning 3-D graphics that would have been impossible twenty years ago, conduct and analyse consumer surveys with the touch of a button, and quickly re-dub existing commercials into hilarious spoofs for the Christmas party. But what about all those day-to-day problems that come up for which modern technology appears to have no solution? No computer program can make a troublesome client more compliant or silence the guy from creative who plugs the same stupid idea over and over again. Read more…

Categories: satire

• Lose the ‘tude, dude — it’s sandwich lube!

The sixties had civil rights manifestos. Weve got Miracle Whip.

The sixties had civil rights manifestos. We've got Miracle Whip.

When Kraft recently decided to re-brand Miracle Whip, they turned to McGarry Bowen (Chicago). The result is both compelling and bafflingly frustrating.

There are three elements to the campaign: the TV spot, the Facebook page, and the down-loadable app.

In the TV spot, groups of young people enjoy themselves in various activities, the jerky camera work signalling that we’re watching something authentic and, like, totally not corporate. The voice-over, spoken by a young male, is a manifesto against the forces of conformity and injustice. “We will not be quiet!” he says. “We will not blend in! We will not disappear in the background! We will not play second fiddle!”  His words are echoed on screen in jittery, hand-drawn print (provided by The Wilderness) which further enforces both the sincerity and non-corporate nature of the ad. The tag line is proclaimed with all the conviction of old civil right’s marchers. “We are Miracle Whip!” says the young man. “And we will not tone it down!” Read more…

• Freakout wins Gold Effie — social marketers may now go nuts

Its an E -- see? For Effie. Okay, so the trophy may not be very effective, but its still prestigious.

It's an "E" -- see? For "Effie." Okay, so the trophy may not be very effective, but it's still prestigious.

While a Clio is awarded on the basis of an ad’s creativeness, an Effie is awarded on the basis of its effectiveness — hence the name. Organised in 1968 by the New York American Marketing Association, Effies are meant to acknowledge “campaigns that have delivered superior results in meeting or exceeding the objectives they were designed to achieve.” This year, Gold Effies were distributed among 24 brands, with DDB emerging on top with three Golds, six Silvers, and two bronzes. But it was Crispin Porter + Bogusky who came away with the Grand Effie for their work on the Whopper Freakout campaign. Read more…