Monday, March 30, 2009

Cover Caper

Above is Esquire's inventive effort to get consumers engaged: a flip-book cover comprised of the the facial features of Barack Obama, Justin Timberlake and George Clooney. Nice, I say. It's about time magazine covers stopped being static and repetitive. Anna Wintour, are you watching?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wild thing, you make my heart sing!

The first trailer for the much anticipated Where the Wild Things Are movie by Spike Jonze. The trailer looks mighty incoherent, but does it really matter? If I remember the book rightly from my misty childhood days, it was mighty incoherent too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Family

There is a community at Mugglenet. I advise all those corporate bigwigs who are so interested in bending social media to serve their nefarious purposes to visit Mugglenet for a lesson in what a thriving, content online community looks like. Mugglenet brings together Harry Potter fans, freaks and aficionados for news and forums. Mugglenet's primary purpose is not to sell anything, true, but they are masters at generating interest and inspiring loyalty... something every company should be interested in. How does Mugglenet do it? By fulfilling a need. By creating a place where fans can interact and seek information. Would it be so difficult to replicate the magic (*snicker*) for other companies who don't cater to a pre-fabricated audience?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Love, Actually.

An interesting idea has surfaced over at LA-based agency Ground Zero for the Sound Advice Project. Ground Zero has crafted an interesting bit of marketing wizardry to accompany the witty name. In an effort to facilitate communication between concerned parents and teens susceptible to drug use, The Sound Advice Project offers a custom-made bracelets that are actually three-dimensional conversions of parents' words of love and advice. The audio is recorded on The Sounds Advice Project's website, visualized as a sound wave and then recreated with colored beads strung on a cord. Messages recommended to teens by the site include "You have a gift. Don't waste it on drugs" and "We are more proud of you than you will ever know". In this way the child can always have the supportive words of the parent actually, physically with them. However, I had ave resrvations. An inventive, heartfelt way to express your support for your teenager or a passive aggressive, innefective gimmick?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Ex-Fat Kids and Bullies" Alike

Ah, the revival of a classic! No, I'm not talking about the new Coco Avec Chanel, but would like to direct your attention to a comical, congenial, not-remotely-PC video featured on in the section dedicated to Wild Frontiers of Sport. I constantly and thoroughly enjoyed playing dodgeball during my childhood (even through highschool!) so the games at McCarren Park Pool look like good fun. Much appreciated is the Olympic apparel (just watch it) and... shirtless Tom. The "historical" segments that begin the video are handled with typical deftness by the editors at Good, and the video effortlessly and humorously conveys the counter-culture, fun 'n sun atmosphere of this Brooklyn renaissance. As this post's title reminds us, dodgeball is enjoyed by, um, everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Do. (More).

Laura Agostini of offers some good advice regarding the steps anyone can take to bolster their career even in these uncertain time. Below is her assessment of what people in my age group should (and shouldn't) be doing to maximize their effectiveness at work.

Junior (1-5 years in the workplace)

This is likely the first time you have faced an economic crisis. The uncertainty of it all and watching your colleagues lose their jobs can be overwhelming. Use this time to rededicate yourself to your career aspirations and, in turn, your position.

Do Less ... Chatting with friends on Facebook Procrastinating Worrying about whether you will have a job tomorrow, next week or next month

Do more ... Focusing on the now and what you can to become a valuable asset Finding a mentor to advise you and check your work Researching and reading up on your client, your industry, your competition

For advice for other age groups, check out the
article at

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cokeheads features a story on the recent adventures of Coca Cola and its attempt to increase market share of Vault (the Coke-made pretender to the Mountain Dew throne). Coke is offering a free sample of Vault to anyone who purchases a Mountain Dew. Interesting strategy, but now I'll just go out and Do the Dew so I can have both... I guess Coke will provide the incentive to support Pepsi, in my case. Maybe Coke's dreams will come true and I'll love Vault so much that I will miraculously find the taste of soft drinks appealing. Hey, the Coke behemoth can do anything, right? Of course right.

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful... Ellen?

Ellen Degeneres is the new face of Covergirl. I was surprised when I heard the news... Ellen isn't exactly what comes to mind when you think "cosmetic spokewoman". As a co-worker put it, she's a got the uh, goober thing going on. On the other hand, she looks radiant and comfortable in the ad, so maybe it won't matter to consumers that she routinely looks as though she scorns makeup (and raided the menswear department)? My opinion of her suitability as a "face" has nothing to do with her sexual orientation. I think Portia Di Rossi would be an effective and intuitive choice.

When y
ou contrast Degeneres with other cosmetic leading ladies, the difference is obvious. Consider the (still) stunning Cindy Crawford in this Revlon ad. Glamor, distilled. Is Degeneres really what the average Covergirl purchaser aspires to look like? Is the new anti-makeup makeup ad something that will stick around? Personally, I'd rather see Halle Berry or Drew Barrymore in the cosmetics aisle. Where do you draw the line on the issue of a celebrity who who simply isn't suited to sell a product? The incongruity of Ellen fronting Covergirl makes me twitch.

I'm just sayi

Friday, March 6, 2009

Advertising Literature (an oxymoron?)

After seeing a couple of "Great Ad Books" lists on sites around town I decided to make my own, but with a twist. These are not books I have read, but rather recommendations that I have collected which look good enough to crack open this summer when I'll only be working 40 hours/week. The list of anticipated ad/design books as it stands now:
  • Where the Suckers Moon by Randall Rothenberg. The excerpt I read on Amazon was biting and informative.
  • Underdog Advertising by Paul Flowers because it is written by a Dallas ad-man! It's all in the family.
  • Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. A friend of mine and fellow marketing student raved about this)
  • All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin because it's about time I gave Godin some money for all the free advice I get from his blog)
  • The Happy Soul Industry by Steffan Postaer. The cover is cute as pie. YES, I judge books by their covers. Sometimes.
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins. A classic on everyone's shelf.
  • Blink: the power of thinking without thinking by Malcom Gladwell. I would like to be able to consciously influence people subconsciously. I hope that's what this book is about.
  • E by Matt Beaumont because it's a novel! About advertising! What I mean is, if I can be entertained while learning I'll come back every time. Teachers of the world, take note.
What are your favorite ad books? What are the books on any subject that changed you?

To be continued....

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I'd like to bring to your attention two ads that I recently discovered (although neither of them were recently created) and which I think exemplify some of the best and worst of what marketing can be and do. The bad news first: this, which manages to offend on quite a few levels. The ad (hailing from Singapore) is apparently selling skin-whitening tablets. Aside from the, well, blatant sexism of the tagline, I find the obsession with skin-whitening very off-putting. Has this always existed, and it's just another of my blessed blind-spots? Anyway, this is an example of What Not To Do--market a bad product with worse copy.
Riding like a white knight to rescue advertising's reputation is the recent campaign by Ogilvy New York for Fage Total. You can read the New York Times' description of the situation here. Ogilvy has enlisted the help of some luxurious co-conspirators to make very effective ads: on one side of the magazine is a traditional ad featuring jewelry or a watch and the facing page is printed to give the impression that there is an impression made in yogurt! Simple, visceral, intriguing. Thank goodness someone is doing such work in a time where people are daily using the poor economic situation to justify lazy/cowardly creative. Bravissimo, Ogilvy.