Write Nice Things Or Else
It seems BP (more accurately BP's agency MindShare who crafted BP's stringent "zero-tolerance policy") and Morgan Stanley have everybody's panties in a bunch over their recently publicized ad policies stipulating their right to pull ad schedules based on disagreeable editorial content. Ad Age has skewered the announcements, writing, "Shame on BP. And shame on Morgan Stanley and General Motors and any other advertisers involved in assaults on editorial integrity and independence. By wielding their ad budgets as weapons to beat down newsrooms, these companies threaten the bond that media properties have with their audiences, the very thing that gives media their value to advertisers to begin with."
We're none too pleased either. But, for all the reaction these announcements have received, there's nothing all that new. Policies such as these have been around forever. They've just never brazenly been made public. And that's the issue.
When will people learn. If you don't like something and you want it to go away, don't say anything. Certainly don't make comments you know will get picked up by every major publication in the world thereby destroying the strategy you set out to accomplish. Obviously when Television Council research Director Melissa Caldwell's Mom said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," Melissa wasn't listening. Nope. She had to go open her big mouth to complain about the Car's Jr. Paris Hilton commercial saying, "This commercial is basically soft-core porn It's inappropriate for television." If Caldwell didn't realize that comment would get every media outlet, including this one to, once again, wag our tongues and drooling even more publicity all over Miss Hilton and Carl's Jr., well, then, she needs to go to her room until she can say something nice.
To help Melissa's cause so that we all know what we're not supposed to see, here's another link to the "soft-core porn" commercial.
UPN's Bad Girl Ad Babe
Jenny McCarthy was the wise-ass MTV/Playboy chic of the nineties. Sadly, she hasn't been able to come up and an act two and her latest outing, the UPN advertising focused sitcom "The Bad Girl's Guide," according to the New York Times' Virginia Heffernan doesn't make the cut. Heffernan wrote, "There's no pleasure in reporting that it's another misfire, though typically good-natured. Tonight's episode is madcap but ultimately strident and not entertaining. As JJ, a boy-crazy advertising executive, Ms. McCarthy smiles wide, cavorts and cracks up with two friends, Holly (Marcelle Larice) and Sarah (Christina Moore), as she pushes deadlines, fantasizes about guys and gets high while working for a huffy boss...But the kooky dialogue, delivered in shrieks, falls flat. And JJ and her friends are far too pleased with themselves; they amplify the grating laugh track with so much deranged gaiety of their own that they seem to be crying for help."
Of course, we'll all like it because we can make fun at writers who can never seem to get advertising right in television shoes or in movies. Perhaps there's a drinking game in the making here. Take a swig everytime an account exec is portrayed as the one who actually makes the ad - one of the most common misnomers put forth in advertising themed shows.
Speaking at yesterday's International Federation of Periodical and Press World Magazine Conference at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria, Starcom MediaVest Group CEO Renetta McCann told publisher they better get their act together and start creating more personalized content and provide "more of a screen-based entry point for consumers." She suggested video content to be deliver to cell phones and printed content to drive readers to the magazine's website.
While this really shouldn't be surprising to any magazine publisher, many at the conference, as Ad Age put it, "expressed surprise at how far behind the magazine industry appeared to be compared to the music or TV industries, which already have been modifying content for delivery over fiber optics or wireless." Get with it you magazine types.
In what we believe to be a losing battle against consumers who now, with PVR technology, have near complete control over whether they view ads or not, Chicago's OMD has announced it will soon test what it dubs "fast-forward commercials." Announced during a keynote yesterday at the Cablevision Advertising Bureau sales conference in Chicago, OMD Director of Strategic Marketing David DeSocio suggested DVRs should not be seen as threat but as a means to provide viewers with better advertising. DeSocio told the audience that while control given to consumers by DVRs, his agency's new technology would help advertisers "involve the consumer even when they are in avoidance mode." Correct me if I'm wrong but that's just about the nicest way I've ever heard anyone say, "force the consumer to view ads when they choose not to."
succumbed not yet aware of the Axe ad campaign messaging, went out and bought some of the company's shower gel then, checking the campaign out, commented on heavy intertwining of sex to sell the product, writing, "As I've said before, male showering is marketed as a requirement for meeting the standards of the other, cleaner sex. But Axe takes this a step further. Attractiveness isn't the end goal of showering here; sex is. The Axe website makes their intentions clearer than a horny freshman at a sorority party. The splash page features suggestive images of a shower's ceiling lined with mirrors, and bathroom with towels engraved with "His," "Hers," "Her Roomate's," "Her Sister's." You can just see the famous jocks of Heathers punching it in. Even the loading icon is horny. It reads "Your Mojo is Loading." And I guess that's what Axe really is, a mojo-enhancing lube for heterosexual sex.
After overpaying for Fast Company, becoming embroiled in Rosie O'Donnell's freaked out life and getting caught inflation its circulation figured for Rosie and YM, G + J has thrown in the towel and is selling itself to Meredith Corporation. Meredith, who will become the country's second largest publisher behind Time Inc. after the acquisition, will get G + J's Parents, Child, Fitness and Family Circle. G + J will try to sell Fast Company and and Inc. on its own before June 30, the date the Meredith/G + J deal finalizes.
Orchestrating the deal was G + J's Russell Denson who is said to be the master of prepping publishing companies for sale.
Putting professional models out of work left and right are Hollywood actresses scooped up by fashion brands gloming a trend to hawk their latest smells/lotions/clothing. Today. it's Gwyneth Paltrow's turn. She's signed a mulit-year deal with Estee Lauder to be the brand's face for its line of pleasures fragrances and makeup. Ads featuring Paltrow will debut during the 2005 holiday season.
Paltrow, 32, follows Elizabeth Hurley, Liya Kebede and Carolyn Murphy as the brand's makeup, skincare and fragrance celebu-spokesmodels. Estee Lauder execs gushed predictably sachrin sweet praise on Paltrow's iconic stature which we'll spare you from but if you want the full on corporate blather, you'll find it all in the company's press release.
That's Hot! Too Hot
Maximizing publicity like Tom Cruise trotting out Katie Holmes, Carl's Jr. reports the website, which hosts its new ad in which Paris Hilton appears washing a Bentley and chomping on Carl's Jr.'s Spicy BBQ Burger in a stringy black swimsuit, crashed for four hours today due to the hormonal onslaught of male eyeballs ogling the soap covered heiress as she has virtual sex with the Bentley.
Commenting on the crash, Carl's Jr. EVP of Marketing Brad Haley said, "It was a mixed blessing. It turned out that Paris was too hot for our servers." well put, Brad, but are you sure you didn't just ask your IT guys to turn off the servers for a while to...oh...create this publicity stunt?
Esquire magazine asked top ad agencies in San Francisco, New York and Columbus, Ohio, "How do you rejuvenate the Democratic Party?" Their three answers, published in the magazine's June "The Cure for Everything" feature, include shortening "Democrats" to "Dems" (Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners), adding a word to the first line of the Constitution (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners), and blending the "conservative" and "liberal" colors, red and blue, to illustrate unity in America.