Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baby Steps

The infant business student organization at the University of Dallas entitled MARKETshare has taken its first steps toward maturitythis week with the launch of its Facebook group! The club will not be officially launched until the fall, but I am hopeful that we can really get something started and get people interested. The only thing is, it might already have too much of a marketing slant (I can't help but post commercials and talk about agencies). Anyway, viva la MARKETshare and wish us luck! Maybe you'll see us around DFW in the fall. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Creative Frustration

As a native of Austin, TX I was interested to stumble on the story of the controversy surrounding the recent GSD&M spot for Popeye's over on AgencySpy. Apparently GSD&M exec Roy Spence brought in a freelancer over the head of ECD Mark Taylor to do work on this commercial, titled "Annie the Chicken Queen". The result cannot be characterized as anything other than a blatant racial caricaturization to a degree that is astonishing in an age when we have an African-American president! The hokey music, trite chatter of the actress and the clumsy, backward concept collaborate to make this spot an epic failure that has to be seen to be believed. While bloggers and the ad community expressed outrage over the commercial, it has been clarified that Mark Taylor and the creative team at GSD&M fought against the ad to the end and refuse to take credit for its debacle. A source within GSD&M (quoted on AgencySpy) says:

"As an employee there, let me be very CLEAR when I say that he [Taylor] as well as all other creative directors, and pretty much the entire creative Dept. [sic] actually fought this campaign to the bitter end. In fact, as you wrote in an article a few weeks ago, The [sic] higher ups in the agency actually went behind the creative department's back and hired a freelancer to do this. He is rumored to be pretty ethnically insensitive (but from the looks of his latest campaign that's obvious). Overall, Mark Taylor and most of the agency agrees with your post, that the campaign is offensive and stereotypical, but that's not what's being implied in the article. That's why I hope you do a follow up article to get the TRUTH out - That Mark Taylor and the creative department had nothing to do with this ( in fact, it's that freelancer who's producing it because the creative dept. wont be associated with it.)"

Of course, this begs the questions what Roy Spence thought he was doing, slapping around his creative team, and why the work of a freelancer is being featured nationwide as the mainstay of the campaign with GSD&M's name on it. Hopefully Mark Taylor and his creatives don't suffer too much negative backlash for their supposed responsibility for this embarrassment. Kudos to AgencySpy for doing a follow-up post to clear their reputations.

I have recently been a victim of being forced to take responsibility for something embarrassing myself. I was recently convinced participate in a project which has subsequently transformed into something ineffectual, embarrassing and worse of all, entirely beyond my control. I sympathize greatly with the embattled GSD&M employees because there are few things I dislike more than being required to sustain the fallout of someone else's idiocy. The fact that I am technically the project's target market, but my advice has been thoroughly ignored is perhaps the most infuriating aspect of the situation. I imagine this is how the outraged focus groups of the "Chicken Queen" spot felt when they saw it on cable.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Out and About in D-Town

For all of you out there looking for something to do on (uh) Thursday night, check out TM Advertising's blog for info about a cool event going on at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas: the legendary spot director Joe Sedelmaier will be in town at a showing of Point of View followed by Q&A. Cocktails after at Margarita Ranch!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Social Media: Shut It

I'm beginning to lose my temper with all those who are harping on the unconditional, effortless benefits of social media. It's my opinion that those in the ad world who believe that social media is the advertising holy grail (of young, captive opinion leaders brimming with discretionary income) are delusional and worse, old. Those who disregard the perils of social media don't fully understand the mechanics of social media and don't understand the state of social media users. Therefore, it was encouraging to hear Facebook's Sheryl Sanderg talking about what companies can do to be less obnoxious on social media. I like the idea of a "stream" in which the ad must blend seamlessly to be effective. Companies must tailor themselves to appeal on this new frontier. Social media is a different channel than anything that has been developed before, and marketers must keep up and create ads as organic and innovative as the means of communication.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nerdiness to the Nth Degree

So, the Periodic Table is a bit like the Ten Commandments of nerdiness in its original incarnation, which makes this take even more awesome. Add the arty factor and the education component of the thing, and we have ourselves a winner. I want this hanging in my office. Brought to you by 100 Best Fonts of All Time and others listed at the base of the table.

Follow the Air Force on Twitter!

Yes, folks, it's happened: Magic 8's favorite branch of the armed forces has joined the social media throng. The Air Force now has a Twitter account and an official blog which is mildly interesting, if a bit surreal with posts like "Starve the Trash Can; Feed the Recycling Box" and "2009 GI Film Festival". I did see a good post on the usefulness of Twitter for public military purposes. Twitter and social networks in general are great at disseminating information, and I thinnk that the Air Force can use all the fast, convenient communication it can get. It does seem a bit emasculating to read that Air Force Materiel Command "will tweet the Annual AFMC Enlisted Awards live as they are announced", etc. But I suppose now that the Commander in Chief is on Twitter (et al.), no one wants to be left behind.