Advertising Archaeology

I found these old presentation boards in my garage the other day. god knows why i kept them. but i did.

these were among the ideas we presented to Budweiser aftter Wassup! had hit like a tsunami and it was clear we had a big hit on our hands. we came up with these ideas in march 2000. it was easy. the SUPERFRIENDS parody had emerged online a few weeks previously. this was the bit that surprised me.

but everyone assumed we were behind it. which was funny. so clearly we just needed build on what was already happening online. it was perhaps the first real case of the consumers taking control of an ad campaign. consumers were producing and breaking new creative for our campaign at an alarming rate. for free! And everything was super-popular, all the time.

but i still wanted to have fun with the idea. it was our idea after all! And we had more money than the amateurs. that was our edge.

So we thought, “what is the direct opposite of our campaign?”. Our campaign featured young african-american guys. YOUNG…AFRICAN…AMERICAN…GUYS.


the client liked this idea at first so we shot it.

i nearly died laughing on this shoot. the elderly actresses had no idea what we were doing. which was perfect. the client then decided they didn’t want old white women representing their macho beer brand. which was fair enough. but like clockwork THIS carbon copy of our idea appeared online weeks later. it was a huge hit.

Same effect. but i prefer our old ladies spoof. we were better shooters. that simple.

YOUNG…AFRICAN…AMERICAN…GUYS….so….let’s do a version in FRENCH!

They didn’t buy this idea this presentation. But it later became the cornerstone of this idea six months later.

I personally found the only redheaded scottish guy in LA for this part. found him in an english pub in Venice. it was the sixth pub i’d visited that day. scorching day. six pints of cider in my tum when i finally found him. i was pissed drunk. he was understandably very suspicious of me. but he did it!

YOUNG…AFRICAN…AMERICAN…GUYS….so…Let’s do a 1940’s Duke Ellington era black and white cinematic parody!

Zoot suits and old school phones with the bit that you stuck in your ear. listening to baseball on radio instead of watching football on tv. “listenin’ to the game, havin’ a bud” etc. this would have been a big hit. but Budweiser had a thing about doing the past in ads. i would have had fun doing this one.

YOUNG…AFRICAN…AMERICAN…GUYS…so…let’s do a parody featuring affluent american white guys. geddit!

i remember i liked this one and the brewery liking this but Charles Stone, the director and wassup film creator, objecting on the grounds that it was unnecessarily racially polarizing. and he was right. it was minstrelsy. that didn’t stop Goodby Silverstein from shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon a year later with this exact same idea. and they won a bunch of awards with it too. it’s for this reason that i burn Jeff Goodby in effigy every year at sundown on the summer solstice.

10 responses to “Advertising Archaeology

  1. Loved ‘Watching the gameshow’. Genius.
    Goodby Silverstein did a good job too. The feckers!
    Let’s take one idea and let’s beat it to within an inch of it’s life.

  2. I was pissed off they did that one. but i had my revenge a couple of months later when we released our new super-parody with extended life. and everybody forgot about the white guys. that one still annoys me. it was too easy. and i don’t like white people ;-)

  3. That’s an awesome post. Loved the clips. I have to find the New England preppy beer rap video I loved so much last year. Its for a beer but its a full song so not a commercial, its brilliant. I will find and link it here.

  4. Found it. It was for Smirnoff Tea. This was amazing.

  5. ‘Super-parody with extended life’.
    Is there a viewing platform?

  6. yes howie, that was spot-on celebration of preppy new england culture.

  7. Sorry, Vinny, I may have used the word ‘genius’ gratuitously. That was the Guinness talking.

  8. john, fear not. there is no such thing as using the word “genius” gratuitously in reference to my work ;-)

  9. True.

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