Rhythm and Hues’ blues

Much has been made of the bankruptcy of Hollywood VFX house Rhythm and Hues. They just won the Oscar for best VFX for their work on Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI.

It’s a somewhat familiar story.

Something that starts out as very high tech (and expensive) slowly becomes a readily available commodity done much cheaper elsewhere.

It happened to the typesetting industry. It happened to photo-retouching. And now it’s hit the VFX industry.

And it’s happening to the digital advertising industry though nobody wants to admit it.

I worked with Rhythm and Hues on a super bowl commercial years ago. They were great.

They made a lab retriever talk to camera like an old pro.

They will be missed.

Chemistry can’t happen if the necessary elements don’t interact

There seems to be a bit of a brouhaha about Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer’s new edict that all telecommuting at Yahoo end forthwith.

I can see her point though.

It’s real hard to grow a unique culture if your employees don’t meet and look each other in the eye and cross-pollinate in real life.

Telecommuters. Let’s face it, you’re watching a lot more early morning TV than you’d care to admit.

Don’t lie to me now!

In honor of The Oscars, a little bit of Oscar history

Back in the early ’00s they didn’t allow beer advertising on The Oscars. They were afraid it might lower the tone of the broadcast.

And let’s face it they were right. Flaming horse farts might be distracting.

But then they decided to lift the beer ad ban. And client Budweiser was determined to have the first beer ad in the broadcast. The Oscars had become the Super Bowl for chicks, as the more uncouth put it. So being in it was a short cut to cultural relevance.

Anyway, I shot a bunch of things that were tangential to and vestigial of our Wassup! campaign with an eye to being the first beer spot in the Oscar-cast.

We created this one, that never aired, explicitly for the Oscars. It was a sendup of Hollywood power structures and superficiality. The toothy blonde producer looking guy actually was a Hollywood producer. He produced The Player and played himself as a producer in the The Player. He was a friend of the director.

You can watch it here. Sorry about the quality.

But this was what they put into the show. A bit to my surprise, really.

But before the ad could air in the Oscars, it had to be approved an Academy committee that included the legendary Gregory Peck. I remember being a bit surprised by all the vetting procedures. It was just a beer ad!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the VERY FIRST beer commercial to ever air in The Oscars…

All hail Martin Weigel

Everybody in advertising and marketing needs to study this slide show prepared by this Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam deep thinker (a deep thinker in advertising. I know!).

To me it serves a wake up call to marketers and ad agencies.

To get real. And to live in the real world. The world where sane people think and worry about themselves and the people and things they love. Probably not your brand in other words.

To stop with the social media bullshit and jargon and talk normal like.

And to attack problems on their own terms. You want me to give a sh**t about your brand? Then make me. Do something that makes me give a s**t about your brand. It really is that simple.

You can and should watch the slideshow here.

It’s baaack!

A French animator laid some trippy animation over our old Budweiser Wassup! commercial.

Rather spookily, he put the marijuana leaves over the right guy. Wink, wink, say no more.

You can watch it here


Have an objective and let your communications help you achieve that objective.


An incredible blog

Recently retired Martin Agency leader Mike Hughes has very little time left to live apparently. He has lung cancer. He is blogging about it.

I met him once. He seemed nice. He has a huge head. Being a bit large of skull myself we got on well.

You can read his blog here.

God bless him.