Monthly Archives: September 2011

Everybody wants to direct, not everybody is Stanley Kubrick

Just read this fascinating and brutally honest interview with a B-list Hollywood director. You can read it here.

Among other things he directed the classic TEEN WOLF starring Michael J. Fox. Yes, i am that old.

I found his interview a hell of a lot more illuminating than listening to yet another great director whine on about his or her process.

.A not very big idea for Smart car USA

OK, i do not come here to mock. Let me get that out of the way.

I come here to help.

Merkley Newman Partners in NYC (also Mercedes Benz’ agency) recently produced THIS idea. please click to view

Perhaps tellingly, the video is not freely available online, hence my need to link.

why would anyone do that in 2011? To “control” the message i guess. Very 2005 PR thinking. at least act like you’re proud of the work. it’s a good execution and a cool product, you’ll be fine!

The video is basically a series of random not very likeable people saying “BIG” over and over again.

And then the SMART car appears, presumably as the antidote to all this bigness and badness.

i can guarantee you that this ad will not sell Americans on the Smart car.

How do i know this? I’ll tell you how.

I drove a Mercedes Smart car in the midwest of America for two years. Way before it was cool and mainstream. I was a SMART pioneer.

And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy being a pioneer.

People looked at me like i was driving a motorized easy chair.

These were the three most popular questions i would get asked on a daily basis:

1. “Is that thing electric?” No ma’am, it’s not. It’s gas driven. This question got really old.

2. “Do you take that thing on the highway?”, said in a highly incredulous voice. My response that I did in fact take it on the highway was frequently met with awe and wonder. This was usually followed by asking would happen if i got hit by a truck or something horrible like that. You could tell safety was a big concern of the average American.

3. “What kind of mileage do you get on that thing?” Here I would flat out lie and usually claim some astronomical mpg just for fun. I honestly didn’t know. But i do know that it wasn’t nearly what you might think. I think the Mini Cooper got better mileage per gallon.

Americans love cars. And there was a lot of curiousity about my SMART car. And i was, usually, happy to be a brand ambassador.

But any advertising that doesn’t address the obvious, basic questions Americans have about the SMART car is simply missing the mark.

UPDATE: I think THIS GUY made some great points

UPDATE 2: An “un agency” undid this un big idea.

Chuck Porter talks some sense

Chuck Porter, of Crispin Porter Bogusky, has always struck me as a down to earth, somewhat avuncular character.

And as a somewhat fearless speaker of the truth. An all too rare commodity in our business.

He was recently interviewed in Forbes magazine. You can read it here.

An American ad guy finally speaks out on the death penalty.

There has been much discussion about the pending execution of Troy Davis here in the United States.

I’m not familiar with the case but enough important people have put their good names on the line for me to wish the judicial system would err on the side of caution here.

Here’s why.

Years ago, the late 80s to be precise, i got involved in a seemingly hopeless campaign to free four mass murderers from prison in the UK.

They had killed 5 people in a series of IRA pub bombings in the UK in the mid 1970s.

Only they hadn’t.

They were completely innocent.

But the enormous political pressure to get a conviction in the case had led to four innocents being railroaded and convicted.

At their sentencing, the presiding judge expressed regret that the UK had recently abolished the death penalty and that he couldn’t impose it on these four young individuals.

Cut to 16 years later.

I’m outside the Old Bailey courthouse as these now four middle-aged people are released from jail. completely absolved of the crimes they spent 16 years in jail for.

They later made a movie about this case. It was called IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER.

These four innocent people would surely have hanged if England had the death penalty in 1974.

If that doesn’t give you pause for thought, nothing will.

I should point out that the campaign to release the Guildford Four was largely led and managed by English civil servants and their English lawyer Gareth Pearce was very accurately portrayed by Emma Thompson in the film.

12 year olds feel nostalgia too!

You might not think they’re capable of it, but they are.

My 12 year old daugther and her pals are getting all misty-eyed over the prospect of THE LION KING 3D being released.

Believe it or not, Fiona, my 12 year old said something to the effect that “this movie was special to our generation”. Or something that sounded equally gooey.

I thought 12 was too young to get retrospective.

I was wrong!

This is my 600th blog post btw.

They’re doing to have to pry this keyboard from my cold dead fingers! Ya hear!

integration across the nation

i came across an article recent that fretted that advertising agencies were struggling with “integration”. Which is, IMHO, frequently mistakenly taken to mean that every idea can somehow effortlessly straddle multiple media and platforms.

Like if you just really racked your brain your idea will somehow become magically “integrated”.

Here’s the deal. Great ideas have energy and go places, bad ideas don’t have energy. they just sit there.

My test of a good idea is that anyone – the milkman, your spouse – can come up with great additions to your original idea.

Because great ideas are usually fundamentally and obviously good. Your biggest problem is deciding which great addition to produce.

A nice problem.

A great tactical use of the outdoor medium