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Advertising Makes Its Way Into Your Town

In this New York Times Article, Stuart Elliot examines how municipalities around the country are turning to advertising to rescue their sagging budgets. From logo-emblazoned police cars to the sponsorship of zoos, ad creep is making it's way into towns across America. Not everyone is happy about it.

"We call it the city-for-sale phenomenon," said Gary Ruskin, the executive director at Commercial Alert in Portland, Ore., an organization dedicated to fighting what he terms ad creep. "Every one of these is a victory of crass commercialism over local values."

"Places like parks are intended to be sanctuaries from the more noxious aspects of our commercial culture, refuges from the hustle and bustle of marketing," he added. "Instead, they're now degraded into huckstering, up for bid to the corporations with the deepest pockets."

Other towns see it as a needed source of revenue.

"Oh, almost every day I get a call from a city that wants to know what we're doing," said Mary Braunwarth, the development director for the City of San Diego. "I wouldn't say that in a perfect world we wouldn't do this, and it's not a panacea," she said. "But if done correctly and appropriately, it can bring in revenue to pay for existing activities or for new programs that would be difficult to fund."

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do you want your police cars covered with logos so you don't have to pay higher taxes or would you rather pay more to keeps ads out of yout town?
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by Steve Hall    Jun-24-03    




Have We Seen the Last of the Beer Babe Ads?

Just like PETA getting all hysterical about those funny cow ads, advocacy groups are now asking beer makers to cool it with their racy ad campaigns. What? They don't like seeing Pam Andersen's boobs practically fall out of her top? Don't like seeing bare chested men get all sensitive?

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, a watchdog group at Georgetown University has been amassing data claiming that now fully one quarter of all beer ads are now seen by kids. Not that that is a good thing but until we have media that can be guaranteed only to be viewed by those of us over 21, we are always going to have kids see beer ads. Does a 12 year old need to see Pam Andersons boobs? Probobly not. Is it going to make him become a drunk? I don't know.

Predictably, brewers don't think anyone has the right to tell them what to do.

"Neither the government nor advocacy groups have been anointed as the culture police in the United States," says Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, in a statement.

What do you think?







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by Steve Hall    Jun-23-03    




New Ricky Martin Album Promoted By Cell Phone

Ricky Martin's new album made it promotional debut via cell phone in South Korea. Rather than going the usual promotional route, Sony decided to try cell phone advertising. On May 13, prior to the general release, downloads of the album were made available via cell phone. To date, there have been 100,000 downloads.

With the proliferation of SMS, the inclusion of digital cameras, and their ubiquitous presence, cell phones are becoming a multi-faceted medium that will become a very important channel for marketers.
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by Steve Hall    Jun-23-03    




Not The Honda Cog Ad

So Honda did this great ad called 'Cog'. So great in fact that it went right over the heads of the Cannes judges. See the post below for that whole disaster. Well, like any great ad, there's a always some spoofmeister out there ready to pay homage and the 'Cog' spot is not spared this paean of respect.

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by Steve Hall    Jun-22-03    




What the Hell Were the Cannes Judges Thinking?

This Ikea commercial from Crispin Porter & Bogusky was awarded the Film Grand Prix last week. Give it a watch. Then watch the Honda Cog spot and the Saturn Sheet Metal spot. How the hell could anyone think this lame spot from IKEA could top Cog or Metal? OK, it's not lame but it is not even close to the brilliance of the other two.

Industry big wigs gushed over the spot though. "Everybody felt very good about the winner," said jury president Dan Wieden. "What it does is it connects with this insight into human nature, that we form irrational attachments to these objects, and then it slaps you for having this attachment. And it solves a business problem that keeps the sector from growing as much as it could, which is that people do form these attachments."

Blah, blah, blah. Boring. Not even amusing. The Cog and Metal spots, by far, do much more to catch your attention, entertain you, and make you think about the product. How is a light sitting on the sidewalk in the rain supposed to make us feel sad? Please! Did anyone feel sad for that lamp? Oh, I guess the judges at Cannes did. So sad, in fact that I guess they gave the award out of pity.

And listen to this blather from an industry big wig. "It's just a very, very fresh idea and a new piece of thinking," said Nick Bell, executive creative director at J. Walter Thompson/London.

Fresh idea? New thinking? Are you high, Nick? Have you even seen the Cog and Metal spots?

Am I the only one that feels this way? Please let me know.
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by Steve Hall    Jun-22-03    




A Little 'Gapingvoid' Jab at the Magazine Industry

From Hugh Macleod
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by Steve Hall    Jun-22-03    




The "Blanding" of Radio

Walter Kirn, writing in the New York Times Magazine, laments the sad state of radio these days and I can't disagree with him at all.


Recently, I found out whom to blame: a company called Clear Channel Communications. The mammoth buyer and consolidator of hundreds of independent local radio stations -- along with its smaller competitors, Infinity Broadcasting and Cumulus Media -- is body-snatching America's sonic soul, turning Whitman's vivacious democratic cacophony into a monotonous numbing hum.

I was out of the radio buying side of things in my agency career for about 2.5 years and when I returned I was stunned at the consolidation that had occurred. Oh sure, it's very convenient to buy now because you can call two people and reach the whole country! But what kind of leverage is that? Not to mention the incredible "blanding" of programming that passes for good radio. Every station sounds the same now. Carson Daly can pump out "localized" voice overs to hundreds of stations from his apartment in New York.

I thought radio was a local medium. It's really a sad state.
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by Steve Hall    Jun-22-03    




The Return of Pabst Blue Ribbon

What is the perfect beer brand? One with millions of dollars behind it? One with stacked beer babes having pillow fights? No. The perfect beer brand is one that is created by consumers.

For Pabst Blue Ribbon, that is the current incarnation of its brand. PBR was big years ago and had slid into oblivion but is now making a comeback with the Hipster audience and doing so in very interesting ways.

In this New York Times Article, Rob Walker examines how Pabst Blue Ribbon fell from popularity in the 70's to near obscurity and how it is making a very profitable comeback today.

by Steve Hall    Jun-22-03    




The Buzz-Worthy Television Spots at Cannes

Here's what's got the ad community buzzing this week at Cannes. The spots that are being discussed as favorites are Honda's Cog, Saturn's Sheet Metal, Peugot's Sculptor, MTV's Baby, John Smith's Babies, and Ikea's Lamp.

My favorite is Honda's Cog but that MTV Baby spot is damn funny! And are those really that big or is it just that the baby is so small?

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by Steve Hall    Jun-20-03    




The PowerGen Spoof

Here's another one. This time a spoof is made on an energy company called Powergen. Someone designs a logo that looks strikingly similar to ATT and adds Italia the the name of the company.

So what do you get when you put that together for a URL? www.powergenitalia.com. No, it's not real. No, the domain does not work anymore. No, the company did not have anything to do with it. In fact, they are not even an Italian company. Read all about it here.


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by Steve Hall    Jun-20-03    




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