October 15, 2013

Skechers makes me fearful for my future

As the father of two girls, this terrifies me.

October 1, 2013

Social is a broadcast medium

Don't worry social media ninjas and gurus, it's still a game-changer for joining the conversation. If you do it with a touch of craft, meaningful engagement and valuable content are still social's greatest strengths.

But IPO & buyout fever has induced a more traditional approach of buying eyeballs instead of earning them.

Of course, it's all a waste if you don't follow this rule: Make something worth sharing and people will.

Pretty well executed example from Honda using a promoted celebrity tweet to drive views of a TV commercial:

UPDATE: @Honda did a ton of fun tweets to warn snack food brands about the Odyssey's built-in vacuum. A few examples:

September 24, 2013

A great concept is just half the battle

Execution matters. Fuji posted this spot on youtube on February 19, 2013.
And Mercedes-Benz posted the following on September 23, 2013. I believe in coincidence. And I've have seen different teams come up with the exact same idea and different agencies pitch similar campaigns more than once. So I don't care if someone saw the other spot before executing theirs. What's interesting to me is if they did something to make it their own and make it better.

(I just saw both of these spots on AdTeachings.com, Suzanne Pope's fantastic blog. You should also follow her on twitter @SuzannePope.)

The team behind the Mercedes spot, Art Director Lucas Osis and Copywriter Nico Baumann, were interviewed by Teressa Iezzi in this Co.Create article about how they made the spot.

Of course, this quote jumped out at me.

"We then remembered a video we’ve seen a while ago: a guy moving a chicken around while its head stood perfectly still: Exactly the same thing the Mercedes system is able to do. (A perfect analogy! But above all we wanted to create something that we would really enjoy to watch. So we tried to improve it somehow and thought: What’s better than seeing a chicken shaking? A chicken that is shaking to some funky disco music of course! And hopefully, people will agree with us."

I don't care if they saw the Fuji spot or one of other random chicken head videos on the internet. The key is this phrase, "So we tried to improve it somehow..."

September 4, 2013

Nokia destroys Samsung Galaxy in Android KitKat ad

Nokia Germany tweeted this ad parodying Android’s co-promotion for their next operating system named after KitKat.

(Via The Verge.)

"Gimme a break, break me off a piece of that KitKat bar."

August 20, 2013

The new consumes the old

Replacing all your vintage technology.

July 31, 2013

It's not a phone. It's a camera.

I take far more pictures than I make phone calls. No wonder smartphone commercials are focusing on their camera.
iPhone spot by TBWA\Media Arts Lab.

Windows Phone spot by Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Which one do you like better?

(Full disclosure: Windows Phone is a client of mine.)

UPDATE: Nokia just upped the ante.

May 28, 2013

This is social media in a nutshell

This is a blog post of a reply to the best tweet of the day.

May 13, 2013

The most interesting paid tweet in the world?

Dos Equis paid Michael Ian Black to tweet about their new Facebook app and this is what happened.

UPDATE: Whether you think this was good or bad for the brand, you can't deny that he's responsive:

A few of you have asked what my take on it is. I think the whole conversation is great. They got more traction with the ad lib replies that they would have with just the canned copy.
Successful brands on social have to be flexible and okay with giving up control. But I bet there were a few nervous conference calls.
The biggest lesson is to let a celebrity use their own voice instead of copy dictated by marketing and legal.

February 18, 2013

Ask Melanie Sawyer

Melanie Sawyer is currently a senior writer at DDB in Chicago. Prior to that, she worked at Euro RSCG, The Richards Group, Arnold Worldwide and BBDO. She likes traveling and peanut butter.

1. Why advertising?

I was majoring in Journalism...but I loved creativity and writing, and hated research and bad news! I took an Intro to Advertising course as part of the major, and discovered you could be paid to make stuff up and (attempt to) be funny.

2. What advice would you give yourself when you were starting your career?

Stop worrying! The student loans will get paid. You will get a job. Even if you don't get your dream job right away, everything is a stepping stone, and you just keep moving forward.

3. What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. And this was well before that disjointed attempt at a movie that didn't begin to capture its brilliantly written, interwoven series of stories. Also, a short, quick read called Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Very cool approach to solving a personal puzzle using unfolding memories and present day developments.

4. Favorite book?

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren and Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

5. Sites you visit every day?

Slate, but I'm fairly tired of politics, so I tend to stick to the general interest stories and quirky articles. Also, the Onion, though I don't go there as often as I should. And Facebook, but I'm usually not sure why, because the people who post the most often are the ones with the least to say.

6. What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas?

First step is to cheat--I mean, get inspired--by pulling out award show books to see how more creative people have solved problems. I've also always been partial to drawing a picture of a duck in my sketchpad. It has never helped in my entire career. But you never know when it might.

Check out Melaine’s work here.

February 12, 2013

Does your ad stand out?

This ad for Mad Dog Tattoo Removal jumped out at me - especially since it was surrounded by competitors' ads that look like this.

February 4, 2013

My Super Bowl picks

I still think Ram had the best spot of the night with "God made a farmer."

Here are the other spots that I wish I had done:

Coke Chase is beautiful, fun and had a social voting component baked it. It's just a shame CokeChase.com crashed shortly after the spot aired.

Perfectly executed effort from Taco Bell. I wonder what my Grandpa would have thought of the Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme?

Nice The Monkey's Paw style twists from Toyota.

This made me wish I could go back to 1991 and give myself an Audi - or that I could afford one now.

Prudential's ad doesn't feel like a "Super Bowl" commercial, but it's simple and smart. The fact that it was filmed in Austin doesn't hurt either.

Samsung's spot was made for ad geeks.

And for a real-world counterpoint, here are my wife's favorites:

No surprise that she loves Amy Poehler and Oprah.

The rest of the story on Dodge Ram's God Made A Farmer commercial

The internet is up in arms that the best spot in the Super Bowl is a ripoff.

Ram's ad features a speech Paul Harvey made to the Future Farmers of America in 1978, just like an earlier video made by Farms.com.

Ram's Keep Plowing site clearly links to Farms.com, although neither mentions the original video.
Getting lost in the hubbub is the fact that Ram and their agency, The Richards Group, have a nice social component about donating a million dollars to the FFA.

Could they have done a better job anticipating and reacting to the charges of plagiarism? Sure. Should they have called out the original on their site? Maybe. But did they actually do anything wrong? I don't think so.

If you want to dig a bit deeper, there's a good recap of the scandal as it unfolded at adland.tv.

It's also worth noting that The Farms.com video is not the only other time Paul Harvey's speech has been put to a slideshow.

An idea doesn't have to original for an execution to be great.

I still think it was the best Super Bowl spot this year.

January 30, 2013

Ask Tug McTighe

Tug McTighe is a parent, a creative director at Callahan Creek and a soccer coach. He wants to do good work in all three places.

He’s also one half of American Copywriter – a blog about a podcast about advertising and other stuff people think about too much.

1. Why advertising?
I thought I was going to become a newspaper writer. Went to Drake University with that in mind. Then, after one brutal semester copyediting the Drake Times-Delphic, I realized there had to be a better way. When I hit "Intro to Copywriting," there was no looking back. Combining words and pictures to create a different piece of meaning -- boom -- that was it for me.

2. What advice would you give yourself when you were starting your career?
Stop worrying so much about the next assignment, the next job, the next title or the next agency. There is opportunity all around you, everywhere you look, in every agency. Just have a can-do attitude and get used to saying, "Yes." And stop thinking you know so much, dummy. You don't know shit.

3. What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?
Right now I am reading “Bruce," the new Springsteen biography. It is really kick-ass. I haven't even gotten to the formation of the E Street Band yet, and I am utterly hooked. Even better, the knowledge (new to me) that he was once in a jam-band called Steel Mill makes me want to listen to "Nebraska" right now. In fact, off to Spotify ...

4. Favorite book?
I sure like "Lord of the Rings." Have read it many times over the years. I am also utterly blown away by "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving. And if you haven't ever read Chaim Potok's "My Name is Asher Lev," you are really missing out. It's about a kid who bucks his family, his religion and his entire community because he is a gifted painter. Amazing.

5. Sites you visit every day?
Here's the rundown: Reddit / BuzzFeed / The Superficial / FastCo Create / Sporting KC / the new American Copywriter Facebook page (Plug, plug)

6. What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas?
Get up, walk around, find somebody to talk to about ANYTHING other than the problem I'm trying to solve. Human interaction friends, catch the fever!

7. Will you be live-tweeting the Super Bowl again this year? What hashtag? And how much peer pressure will it take to ensure we hear a recap podcast this year?
We will be live-tweeting for sure. I think we usually make it #ACBowl. We will also be Facebooking it. Did you say beer pressure? Yes please.

Follow Tug on twitter @tugonthis (his ‪#creativebraindrops alone are worth it) and you really should check out American Copywriter on Facebook.

January 25, 2013

Ask Scott Rostohar

Scott Rostohar is a copywriter at T3 in Austin, TX. He's as smart as he is tall. (And I'm not just saying that because he's on my team.)

1. Why advertising?
The movie "What Women Want" came out right when I hit puberty. So, I went to see it. There's a scene where Mel Gibson pitches Nike on a TV spot. I learned two things after seeing the scene:
1) Mel Gibson overacts
2) I want to make ads

2. So is this business as glamorous as Mel made it seem?

3. What advice would you give yourself when you were starting your career?
Keep creating. And never lose this passion, hunger, and drive.

4. What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?
This. It motivates me to not give up on a project, no matter how small.

5. Favorite book?
Right now, I'd say Justin Halpern’s “I Suck at Girls”. It's funny, I learned something about relationships, and it cuts out all the filler most stories have nowadays.

6. Sites you visit every day?
StartupLi.st, sulia.com, helpmebefuckingcreative.com, and BuzzFeed.

7. What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas?
I get up from my desk and walk somewhere, anywhere. Keeping your body stuck in one place won't help your mind.

Check out Scott's work at ScottRostohar.com and follow him on twitter @srostohar.

January 18, 2013

I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath

Like the mighty phoenix (or my career at times) AskACopywriter.com shall rise from the ashes.