Monthly Archives: January 2010

Kicking ass never goes out of style

found this on twitter. via @mkupperman, source of all things wondrous graphically speaking. i’m sure he intended it for amusement purproses only but as an ad person i found it fascinating. it’s basically a TV ad in print. and one that frantically sells the reader at all times.

this thing just doesn’t let up!

Best ad i’ve seen in ages

A short animated film done for Pringle sweaters from Scotland by the Scottish artist David Shrigley. It’s utterly charming and winning. And it sell the jumpers hard. Nicely done.

“we take out the wee beasties first”

A VERY GRAPHIC EXAMPLE OF COMPETITION IN ACTION IN BUSINESS

Every night after work I take a commuter train home to a sleepy suburb outside Chicago. My journey lasts about half an hour. I usually watch documentaries on the way to and from work.

And it is my daily custom on the journey home each night to purchase a 25 ounce oil can of Fosters lager for the ride home. Lest I get dehydrated you understand. It’s a very dry cold here in Chicago.

And for the past nine years I entered the train station through the front door and walked up to the bar and asked the bartender for an unopened Fosters can to-go and got on the train. And I couldn’t imagine that would ever change. And I’m sure the bar owner felt the same. What could ever change? He owned the only bar that you passed right before you got on your half-hour-ish train ride home after a long day. And so every thirsty commuter stopped in right before they got on their trains. Every day. For decades. This is the way it has always been. What could ever change? Nothing.

AND THEN, LO, JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO… a drugstore chain, CVS, opened up in the bowels of the train station. AND IN AMERICA, DRUGSTORES CAN SELL BEER! And their beer is at least half the price of the beer in the train station bar. And you don’t have to tip. AND, they are even more convenient for many commuters than the bar is for architectural reasons you don’t need to know.

So, the bar is screwed. I can only imagine. I haven’t been back in ages. Why would I? The guys at the station bar are feeling the Arctic chill of something better and cheaper than they are.

Ouch!

Do you have a valuable brand? Or do you just have a widely distributed commodity?

A recent visit to discount gourmet grocery chain Trader Joes made me shudder. and it should be disconcerting to someone whose business depended upon being a famous baked bean or beer or something like that.

Because Trader Joes has none of the brands you know. It has a better and cheaper alternative. And it has its own shabby chic market aesthetic. and once you buy the idea of Trader Joes, a carefully curated blend of “better” quality products that you’ll dig, you don’t need to evaluate brands because there are no competing brands. well there a few i think. but it’s a very chilled out presentation. no hysterics. Trader Joes is not a cavernous store either. it feels local. they curate so you can turn off the “which brand?” switch in your head. which in turn makes the whole experience much better.

let’s face it, who wants to think about peas floating in a can?

G2, you just went viral!

I’ve come across this a bunch of times online. It’s a pitch video from G2, a division of GREY advertising. They were pitching Volkswagen at the time.

Now i’m guessing they never intended for this rather innocuous film to be leaked to the advertising community. And I’m sure they’re less than pleased that it’s getting attention from an audience that was never intended to see it.

Advertising pitches are crazy. Lots of money at stake. Lots of pressure to win at all costs. They are intense. You rack your brain till it hurts. But they are exciting too. Personally I love them. You feel like you’re in the A TEAM.

And as a general rule, having advertising people on camera talking about advertising is not a good idea. We invariably sound like hairdressers. Which in a sense is what we are! The hair and makeup department of business. That’s us.

So now G2 is being skewered by advertising people for being full of shit.

“Mr. Pot, there’s a Mr. Kettle waiting for you in reception!”

We’ve all seen stuff like this. It’s no big deal. I’ve seen far worse things in my life.

I will NEVER forget that COMPAQ computers pitch…(rubs chin, stares into the middle distance)

UPDATE: G2 and GREY advertising did the dumbest thing they could have done in this situation. they went all STALIN and legally forced youtube to yank the video. stupid over-reaction guys. the video simply wasn’t that bad.

SFX: FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blog fixed!

Received a lot of complaints that this blog took ages to load. We fixed that. in the past you insanely had to load EVERY SINGLE post on this blog, now 300 plus posts, every time you visited the blog. An egregious error for which i beg your forgiveness. Stupid Vinny!

A very analytical and tenacious and helpful young man from London fixed it for me. We did it via skype. He would rather selflessly prefer to remain anonymous. And i’d like to honor that request. But i can’t.

His name is Vik. Thanks Vik!!!

LENO vs CONAN vs NBC vs BBC vs ME

It’s interesting to see the late-night TV kerfuffle going on here in the USA right now. I remember when I used to watch late night TV talk shows back before I had kids. It was a moderately amusing and pleasant way to end the day. But that’s about it. But here in the USA The Tonight Show is considered to be an “institution”. Which I always found odd. “It’s just a bloody talk show!” was always my opinion. But if the culture deems it so then who am I to argue? I am similarly puzzled by the insistence that Saturday Night Live is anything other than a dog-tired and chronically unfunny mess that should have died sometime in the early 80s. But again I am in the minority. SNL is an INSTITUTION!

Another example of this is the importance attached here to news anchors. In other cultures they’re just blandly attractive muppets who can read a teleprompter and speak nicely. In this country newsreaders have, or had, or someone thinks they have/had an importance I could never fathom. I think it dates back to the Murrow/Cronkite days. When people felt they had to trust the guy reading the news for some reason.

Either way, the net/net of it all is that TV has/had a cultural heft here it doesn’t have in other cultures. Possibly because America is a comparatively more rootless society. And TV shows functioned to some extent like friends and family. So killing cherished TV shows is taken a lot more seriously here. Like euthanizing a family member, as bizarre as that sounds.

Much has been written about the demise of TV. And it resoundingly is not happening. If anything the quality of TV shows has improved dramatically as the industry reacted to the threats of DVRs, the internet, netflix, video on demand etc.

A few years ago I read somewhere that we would end up with a google-like system where we could watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. From a consumer POV this makes the most sense. It’s what we all want. To be able to pull up any show or event up and watch it in our own time with no interruption. Whether or not the TV networks can figure a way to make money out of it is immaterial. It’s what I want. And if they (the content producers) don’t figure out how to do it someone else will. Actually someone else has. Several people already have in fact.

Yesterday on Twitter I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t watch UK snooker over here in the US when someone shot me a link to a thing called Justin.tv where lo and behold I COULD watch BBC2’s live coverage of the UK Masters from the comfort of my own laptop. You see BBC doesn’t allow viewers from outside the UK to view their content online. Not sure why. But I would gladly have paid to watch it. Alas that option is not available. So I was forced to “pirate” their content via someone who was prepared to give me what I wanted.

This was what I wanted to watch btw. Great game. Thank you Justin.tv. thank you twitter follower. And oh yeah, thank you BBC2 for filming this.