Oh damn, looks like Iâ€™ll have to miss Ad Ageâ€™s gala new Small Agency Awards event, Iâ€™ll be too busy focusing on the Small Penis Awards followed by the Tiny Tits Gala. What is wrong with them? Why do they think that any agency would enjoy being acknowledged as â€œSmallâ€? Can they really be that out of touch with anything beyond Madison Avenue? Why not Independent Agencies or Privately Held Agencies? Is there no other word you could think of besides small? But then I guess you didnâ€™t spend a whole hell of a lot of time on the subject. I mean letâ€™s face it there are only two categories in the whole damn show: Best Small Agency and Best Small Agency Campaign. Could they spare it! And, in reality, itâ€™s not much of a show. More like a â€œcontestâ€. You enter your stuff online and you read, either online or in print, whether or not youâ€™ve won. Yeeehaaaa!
And how, by the way, did they make the determination to honor their puny brethren? Was it years of listening to agencies â€“ with less than 75 employees â€“ complain that Ad Age was dismissing them summarily to focus on every sneeze and fart uttered after lunch at JWT? No. It was a somewhat condescending comment made by a BIG guy at a BIG agency â€“ yes, Bogusky is looking out for his itty bitty friends. He wants to be sure that the industry acknowledges the small guys â€“ even though he hastens to point out that CP&B is â€œlargeâ€. What a guy. But I guess thatâ€™s what it takes to get Ad Age to pay any attention to a substantial number of agencies that theyâ€™ve deemed unworthy of a blip on their radar screen. Ironically, the only big thing in the new logo is the word SMALL.
One final question. If theyâ€™re claiming that â€œSmall is the new Bigâ€ then where did those other guys go?
Is the lead headline in AdAge for March 9 & 16. And then they go on to analyze this phenomenon. Is it because thereâ€™s a â€œhalo surrounding Ford for passing up federal funds being devoured by Detroit rivalsâ€? Or is it because Ford is â€œbuilding image in its marketing while others flog incentivesâ€? How about this Sherlock â€“ the American consumer has come to the surprisingly logical and intelligent conclusion that the boys in Detroit may not be overly focused on product quality if their financials are in the crapper. On top of that, in the event that aftermarket service is needed, these flailing icons just might not be here to help if, more probably when, that time should come. How did that possibility not occur to you?
Has the American consumer been reduced to such a demographic statistic in our industry that they could only possibly be responding to company dogma or PR spin? In reality the American consumer consists of people. People who donâ€™t want to commit a large chunk of their hard earned income only to get stuck with an inferior and unreliable product. People who are paying attention to whatâ€™s going on around them and making intelligent decisions.
Letâ€™s give the American consumer a little credit. Granted, theyâ€™re not getting the full story on any of these companies, Ford included. But theyâ€™re taking the information available to them and using it to make cogent and reasonable decisions to the extent that they can. And theyâ€™re doing it in numbers great enough to be counted. And thatâ€™s the best anyone can be expected to do â€“ even some of the marketing geniuses who analyzed this data in the first place.
Last night I saw a TV spot that seemed vapid and pointless.Â Something about driving and musical roads.Â I knew it was for the Honda Civic but it didnâ€™t seem to be accomplishing anything.Â It hit me as a blatant waste of national advertising dollars in an economy where every dime should be used to generate the maximum ROI â€“ even more so now than usual.Â So I came in this morning with the intent purpose of filleting these perpetrators of such flagrant economic irresponsibility.Â And then I revisited the spot on YouTube.
I love that musical road.
I want all roads to have music.Â To be entertaining and engaging rather than annoying and nerve wracking.Â Those â€œstay awakeâ€ striations are always a little unnerving.Â Wouldnâ€™t musical vibrations keep us awake just as effectively?Â And bravo to Honda for making our lives just that little bit better.Â I realized, after completing my ten minute fact finding mission, that I wasnâ€™t watching a TV spot per se â€“ I was watching a very cool strategy begin to unfold.
Honda, the car company, has taken it upon themselves to make our roads sing.Â And, even more strategically, the â€œmaking ofâ€ video proclaims that Honda has always been about â€œconnecting drivers to the roadâ€.Â OK thatâ€™s a bit of a stretch â€“ but undoubtedly one for the marketing textbooks.Â These guys are really doing something cool!Â And itâ€™s so strategically on target for their brand.Â So why am I worried?
Well, for starters, theyâ€™re spending a lot of advertising dollars on what Iâ€™ll refer to as their â€œteaserâ€ ads.Â Might be brilliant if timed to perfection- but theyâ€™ve got a small window of opportunity â€“ and then theyâ€™re just wasting money.Â Once we get past that we start to wonder if the whole effort will be predicated on one road in Lancaster, California, or if Honda really intends to change this countryâ€™s roadscape.Â Can Honda afford to make a notable impact â€“ or will they spearhead the effort and attempt to engage engineers and architects designing our roads and bridges, i.e. where are they going with this?Â And finally, is all of this really going to make us buy Honda Civics?Â In my case the answer would be, hell no â€“ but in fairness theyâ€™re probably not targeting me.Â I will certainly be watching for reports on how Civic sales are impacted.Â And by God Iâ€™ll be rooting for them!
The problem is that I’m not a morning person, so it takes everything in my power to get out of the house at a decent hour so I’m not late to work.Â Hence I rarely have time to make coffee in the morning.Â And that sludge that comes out of the machine at our office is horrific, so I often stop at Starbucks on my way into the office.
This morning, I needed a caffeine hit badly, but I was late and there were 10 cars in line at the Starbucks drive through.Â As I sighed, I glanced over at McDonalds next door and saw there were only 2 cars in line.Â Crap.Â I needed the hit, but I hadn’t ordered a cup of coffee at McD’s for years.Â I’d seen all the advertising about their coffee, so what the hell…I swung around and pulled into McDonalds.
Much to my surprise, the coffee was better than I anticipated. Much better. Maybe my expectations were very low, or maybe I’ve been influenced by the advertising, but I can honesty say I’d do it again.Â And that realization surprised me, because I don’t do McDonalds.Â And haven’t since my kids were in grade school and demanded their McNuggets.
That’s right.Â 40 years ago today.Â Who knew?Â I certainly didn’t.Â So I read this SF Gate story with interest.Â Think about it…40 years ago.Â BackÂ when Gates was 12 and Jobs was 13.Â
“The Dec. 9, 1968, unveiling of the primitive device with a mouse and interactive screen – in a now-legendary demonstration by its inventor, Douglas Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute – drew a rousing, standing ovation from the computing cognoscenti who recognized the significance of what they had just seen.”
And check this out.Â The first mouse.Â Some cool images at CNET.
Your ads are awesome.Â They define cool.Â We all want to shop there â€“ who wouldnâ€™t?Â But does the in-store experience pay off your brand promise?Â It just dawned on me â€“ I donâ€™t think it does.
When I watch your ads I think â€“ I could get all my gifts, all my fun accents, all my clothes/shoes/jewelry etc. in this, the coolest of places.Â And that would make me cool â€“ right?Â Hell it might even make me young and cool.Â Canâ€™t beat that.
But then I go into the store (and the one nearest me is a new SuperTarget) and it kind of falls flat.Â Oh the greeting card section is awesome (Hallmark should take note) and I could laugh my head off.Â And the â€œnotionsâ€ are usually pretty cool.Â But then I head into womenâ€™s clothing and lingerie â€“ and dammit â€“ Iâ€™m in K Mart.Â Sorry, but it had to be said.Â And when I wander into their limited furniture section â€“ I wonder why table joints that meet are a rarity, i.e. weâ€™re not talking top quality here â€“ and it shows.Â I think cool requires some level of quality.
Now letâ€™s talk service.Â And weâ€™re still in K Mart.Â When I try on womenâ€™s clothing I have to interrupt the dressing room attendant in her personal conversation and navigate past an explosion of random (recently tried on) garments to fight my way into the hideously lighted and fun house mirrored sterile white cubicles that are guaranteed to make me look like a body that floated up in a polluted lake.Â Now I ask you â€“ is that cool?Â I think weâ€™re starting to see a pattern here.
But what surprises me the most is that weâ€™re all buying into what the ads are telling us.Â Even my own revelation was very recent.Â I was talking to my partner, a very savvy marketer â€“ and someone who is fooled by nothing.Â The subject of Target arose and I noticed her eyes glaze over in a happy mist as she contemplated a trip to the great land of â€œOzâ€.Â And as I sat there watching her, it dawned on me that my own experience does not elicit a similar response.Â Â In fact each visit to target has historically found me wondering what I was doing to make me feel as though Iâ€™d taken a wrong turn and ended up in â€“ you guessed it â€“ K Mart.Â And now I have the answer â€“ itâ€™s not me â€“ itâ€™s Target and the Kool-Aid that theyâ€™ve managed to foist on an unsuspecting public.Â Oh Target, Iâ€™m a little disappointed â€“ but undeniably impressed.
I grew up in the 60â€™s and 70â€™s â€“ so I â€œgetâ€ Brand Loyalty. I mean we had a choice. Coke OR Pepsi â€“ not both. We had corporations coming at us from all directions cramming their brands down our throats and demanding loyalty. And we gave them our all. But were they laughing in our faces?
So many brands spent millions, even billions, of dollars to ensure our loyalty â€“ and then, so often, they would change the very things that sucked us in in the first place. The most rampant emotional consumer abuse is unquestionably within the cosmetic and fragrance industry. They lure you in with the promise of making you glamorous and alluring. You fall in love with the products that work best with your coloring and personal scent. You get hooked. Youâ€™re able to rationalize any increase in cost because youâ€™re jonesâ€™in for the â€œstuffâ€ that makes you feel so good. And then – discontinued.
Leaving you to feel naked and abandoned.
What woman hasnâ€™t cried out in abject agony at the fragrance counter of Nordstromâ€™s as she learns, from a perfectly poised and coifed cosmetic salesperson, that the product which enables her to stand tall and meet the day, is no longer. Yes, Borghese Iâ€™m talking to you. How could you leave me to fumble through one sickeningly sweet scent after another in search of the illusive spicy sophistication of Di Borghese on which Iâ€™d grown so utterly dependent. Brand, my bearded Aunt Nellie â€“ you have nothing to replace it in your line!
And while weâ€™re talking about the cosmetics industry. Have you noticed that the notion of â€œtrialâ€ is completely lost with them? They want to make you happy, so frequently, with a purchase of over â€œxâ€ amount they bestow upon you a free gift. Always exciting. Usually within those gifts there are one or two lipsticks. Now hereâ€™s the catch. If you try the lipstick and hate it, well, they meant well â€“ they did give you a free gift. But the problem arises when you try the lipstick and love it. Because then you use it and go back for a refill. And thatâ€™s when they get you â€“ discontinued! About the fifth time that happened to me (yeah, Iâ€™m a slow learner) I asked â€œpoised and coifedâ€ â€œWhat gives. Arenâ€™t they giving me these free gifts so that Iâ€™ll try the shade, fall in love, and buy more?â€ â€œNoâ€, she responded, â€œtheyâ€™re just getting rid of the discontinued shades that are sitting around in the warehouse.â€ Give me strength.
What do you think â€“ do we need a support group here? But all kidding aside, hereâ€™s my message to you brands: If you expect Brand Loyalty from me â€“ you owe me something. And I get that you canâ€™t build a whole brand around me â€“ but Iâ€™m sick of getting left out in the cold. Because if you want me to be loyal to you â€“ start thinking about being loyal to me!
Our agency is into social media. Our clients are trying new things every day. Our social media specialist encourages all of us to jump in with both feet. And pretty much everyone else here has long since made the plunge. So I decided it was time to give up the ghost and enter the world of Facebook. Iâ€™ll admit that I approached with caution. Iâ€™ve heard a lot. Itâ€™s such a convenient way to keep in touch, share your life, blah, blah, blah. But Iâ€™ve also noticed what I fondly refer to as â€œcelebrity status syndromeâ€ or css. This is where formerly normal people, whoâ€™ve been known to pride themselves on their right to privacy, have decided that the world needs to know every little thing they do down to their most private and intimate thoughts â€“ as if they think of themselves as some sort of a celebrity. And I can only hope to god this never happens to me â€“ please tell me it doesnâ€™t happen to everyone! Did they never hear that words communicated visually take on a much higher trite factor? Apparently not.
I know this is a social revolution, and that all things will ultimately equalize as the proverbial water (and here I refer to Facebook status updates) finds its own level. But in the meantime Iâ€™m noticing that a lot of “twitter is really twaddle”. There, I said it. Are these people searching for their 15 minutes of fame in some lame ass mental meanderings that no one gives a fat ratâ€™s ass about? Because thatâ€™s just sad. I urge you to think before putting finger to keyboard â€“ because thinking is something you do in your mind and every thought does NOT have to be shared. Life is short and it seems a shame to waste valuable time in reading that my neighborâ€™s orange juice was slightly acidic this morning. Or that heâ€™s still feeling sweaty from his morning run. Why, why must we be inflicted with these inanities? And frankly, I donâ€™t even want to read about celebrity flop sweat much less the flop sweat of any of the rest of you! Letâ€™s set some limits here!
Ironically, once my decision was made and I went through the sign up procedure I found that Facebook wasnâ€™t for everyone. I never received confirmation, and was never able to enter the system. After e-mailing them and trying again (even with a different address) and e-mailing them yet again I have come to the conclusion that big brother really is watching â€“ and he doesnâ€™t want me in Facebook. I have to admit â€“ this time he probably made the right decision. So donâ€™t try to find me there â€“ apparently Iâ€™ve been rejected by Facebook. Donâ€™t feel too bad â€“ it could be worse. Had things gone differently I could be twittering about the sounds my stomach is making since itâ€™s almost time for lunch â€“ and then I could compare them to a small 5-speed truck lurching up a steep inclineâ€¦
It doesnâ€™t matter. It all comes out the same. Donâ€™t you people get it? Thereâ€™s no point in bashing Bogusky â€“ he is the goose that laid the golden egg. No matter what he does â€“ brilliant or bullshit â€“ itâ€™s golden!
Now everyone is up in arms about his lame Microsoft ad with Jerry Seinfeld. â€œHow can he expect to energize todayâ€™s youth with a paunchy, yesterday icon that appealed to their parents?â€ First of all â€“ ouch! Knocking Seinfeld is just wrong. But that aside â€“ theyâ€™re railing at a pointless, wandering ad that shows Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld shoe shopping. Sound stupid â€“ yes. But so what. Bogusky did it so it will probably win the Cannes Lion next year. And heâ€™ll probably make a billion dollars selling whatever shoes they feature in that ad. Because thatâ€™s how it goes for Bogusky. And no one seems to care that he uses a damn Mac himself!
Remember when he first brought back that creepy Burger King icon? People were actually having nightmares and driving out of their way to avoid even passing Burger King. And now heâ€™s lauded as the genius whoâ€™s â€œunlikely icon has since done everything from date reality-TV pinup Brooke Burke to appear in his own Xbox video game that has sold 3.5 million copies.â€ The guy canâ€™t miss. Even when he publicly confesses that he â€œonce farted on production for a gap spot.â€ OK that confession was made in Denver so I guess it wasnâ€™t â€œofficiallyâ€ public. But face it â€“ the guy farts Chanel! Or should I say Drakkar Dynamik?
And donâ€™t getting me started on bringing Orville Redenbacher back from the dead â€“ to sell a food item no less. But did that hurt our fair haired boy â€“ you guessed it! In fact employees have been heard to liken him to Jesus and to claim â€œI was walking by the kitchen in the office. There was, like, this halo over him.â€ Maybe thatâ€™s it. At least that would explain it.
But you see my point here. Donâ€™t waste your time or effort. Heâ€™s brilliant and can do no wrong. Go ahead â€“ say that again, three times fast. Heâ€™s brilliant andâ€¦ Come on, donâ€™t be bitter â€“ you might as well face it now before the next ridiculous, lame, irrelevant ad wins him his own TV show and makes him richer than Gatesâ€¦ Itâ€™s only a matter of time.
Iâ€™m a dog lover (ok more like fanatic) so I was naturally drawn to the new Pepto tv ad featuring the woman whoâ€™s sitting with her boxer sprawled across her lap while talking on the phone.
It becomes clear, almost immediately, that she is talking to the Pepto Bismol â€œhelp deskâ€ about Rexâ€™s problem of over indulgence. She lists an abundance of edible evils, at the root of the problem, and ends with dog treats, of course. The guy on the other end of the line proceeds to explain that Pepto does not treat animals â€“ because he, as does the viewer, believes that her poor dog Rex has a tummy ache.
But no, ha ha, this is when the camera pulls back to reveal a tummy clutching man lying on the nearby couch as our protagonist explains that her dogâ€™s name is Charlie and hopeless glutton Rex is her husband. Cute. Good for a quick chuckle. But at what price Pepto?
Why on earth would you spend good money to tell the whole world that you donâ€™t treat animals when you absolutely do treat them? My vet prescribes a good dose of Pepto for the gastrointestinal tribulations of all three of my dogs. In fact my dogs take Pepto far more often than their humans. Where are your marketing people? Seems like theyâ€™re having some trouble thinking outside the litter box (ok that was a cheap shot).
Hey Pepto â€“ give us a shot at marketing your pink tablets to pet owners. But youâ€™ll have to retire that tv spot or risk confusing a burgeoning segment of your audience.