February 28, 2013

"Your last good idea was not your last good idea."

Wisdom from American Copywriter.

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.