Now here's an agency we like. Or maybe it's the country. It seems the entire agency gets the holiday week of whether clients need work done or not. But Belgium's Duvall Guillaume in Antwerp isn't without a heart. In their absence during the holidays, the agency has left behind a holiday card in the form of a do-it-yourself ad so clients see what it's like when they ask their agency to "just do this quickie for us."
We've noted this before but apparently it's become such a trend, people have begun to email us complaining about it. We think Verizon is the biggest culprit here but plenty of brands (or, more likely the creative folk at their agencies) have found it necessary to be witty by making their own customers look stupid. Here's an email we received today:
"I just keep wondering why so many ads seen on TV show the customer as an idiot? The most glaring one was a recent Nextel/Sprint commercial where two gingerbread men were talking to each other about whatever in front of a glass of milk. The "smart" one's last reply was the selling proposition - no overages - when a hand comes down and he gets picked up by the feet. So...the customer who supports Sprint/Nextel gets treated to Sprint/Nextel's love. Their head bitten off?
Oh yea, another one comes to mind and it's a cell phone ad too. I'm sure you know it. Man speaking to wife, daughter and son. I'll call you, you call her, etc. The son is the smart one. 'I don't have a cell phone' Duh."
Duh, exactly. Can we all please stop treating our customers like they are a bunch of bleating buffoons...even if they are. It's so much easier to be negative than to be positive. Just read a few weeks of Adrants and you'll see what we mean. But it doesn't make for a good marketing strategy. If people feel they are being talked down to or made to look dumb, they'll think you (marketer, agency) are dumb too. Let's make a New Year's Resolution to treat our customers with respect, K? Now get out of the office the two of you who are still working and start eating fruitcake.
We're not sure the folks over at Freestyle Interactive are going to like what we have to say about their Ask Santa Now Christmas card. Either a programmer fell asleep or Santa suddenly became dumber than people who think Ashley Simpson can sing. Our chat session with Santa tells the whole story.
Fighting their way through the clutter of agency holiday cards, agency AQKA would like us to know something a bit more important than who's designed the coolest Chrismukauanza card. The important news is that the agency has been named by Ad Age's Creativity as the magazine's first recipient of its interactive Agency of the Year Award. Kudos for witty holiday cards is all well and good but give AQKA a hand. These first, best only things don't come along very often.
Tequila has put together an interesting holiday card that scrolls horizontally and shows off the agency at it's holiday party. Well, a staged holiday party and a holiday party rife with product placement. From Nissan to the Energizer Bunny to Pepsi One, products intermingle with agency employees as they get festive. One might assume there be at least one time during the year, we advertising folk could be without our brands but no, the rule our lives whether we like it or not.
Finishing out the year Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and Francois Vogel of Paranoid have shared their final spot from the HP Digital Photography campaign - the one where frames of the commercial become photographs which are then handed to others. Goodby is calling this one "Cafe Society" but from the looks of it, we think they should have called it "Nightclub Society." Then again, we haven't seen the inside of a supposedly hip "cafe" since, well, ever so we have no idea what we're talking about. We still like the spot though.
Well Ant Farm Interactive co-opted It's A Wonderful Life for its Christmas card so it is without surprise we received another co-opted card. This time it's from Grey San Francisco and it features actual footage from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer but with a voice over that talks about how Christmas could really use an ad campaign. Hmm... not a bad idea with all the politically correct fame Happy Chrismukawanza is getting these days. Perhaps the lowly Christmas holiday could use a little marketing juice.
Before we all spend next week huddled in front of the fire watching It's a Wonderful Life on our iPods, check out this Holiday card from Ant Farm Interactive called It's A Wonderful Internet. Just as in the movie, it envisions life without something. In this case, the Internet. In fairy tale style, it takes us through the life of "George" as he experiences life without the Internet.
Here's a smart street campaign from McCann-Erikson Belgium for Durex Condoms which makes witty use of the streetscape in its design. Knob, ribs. It's all good. Full sized images here and here.