Usually when a brand creates a virally-intentioned video, press commentary comes after its release. In a strange twist of events, the revers happened last week. The Onion wrote a lengthly article about a "cool new Tide detergent video" which went on and on ans on about, well, how cool the video was. Trouble is, the video didin't exist yet.
But that didn't deter Digitas from whipping up the video in a couple of days and posting it everywhere The Onion said it would be posted. As described in The Onion piece, "it's [the video] got these cute, funny talking animals, a cool indie-rock song, and it's just so hilariously random. And it's got this amazing cameo by Bret Michaels, which is so funny because Bret Michaels is hilarious and from the '80s."
To be clear, we bear no ill will towards any agency's attempt to self promote. OK, that's not exactly true. Why? Because when agencies decide to self-promote, the results are often disastrous. See Agency.com. See SapientNitro. See Bold Ogilvy. And the list goes on.
Part of the problem in these situations, of course, is that agencies are under increased scrutiny because they are expected to be even more creative when they are unencumbered by client involvement. But, if history is any guide, client involvement just might not be such a bad thing after all when it comes to agency self-promotion.
The other part of the problem is that we, as an industry, can't help help but trash the competition every chance we get. The moral of the story, then, is that no matter what sort of self-promotion an agency does, it's likely to be met with sarcasm, snark, cynicism and mockery.
We just returned from Internet Week and were delighted to find Lee Clow's beard on our doorstep. Well, not literally Lee Clow's beard but a book entitled Lee Clow's Beard written by Dallas-based copywriter Jason Fox (aka @leeclowsbeard) and Lee Clow himself.
Fox started @leeclowsbeard several years ago and he now has 26,000 followers. Of the project, Fox said, Lee Clow's Beard started off ans an experiment. A very small experiment. I wanted to provide bits of insight for fellow ad folks, almost like crumbs of inspiration. And since beards are natural repositories of crumbs, I thought of Lee and his iconic whiskers. He's an ad legend everyone loves, so to have his facial hair act as the tweets' source was a nice way to keep things on the lighter side of the snark meter."
Aw, how sweet. We've seen marriage proposals via billboards but not via online banners. In late April Martin Agency Digital Associate Media Director Erica Plotkin was asked to check out what she was told were some errors with one of her client's banners on BBC.com. Right after she saw the banners asking her to marry her ad salesman boyfriend, Scott Sklar, she was surprised by Sklar who walked into her office wearing a tux and made his proposal with help from two violinists.
BBH was named Webby Agency of the Year by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences which announced the winners of The 16th Annual Webby Awards. Webby and People's Voice winners will be honored at the annual ceremony, hosted by Patton Oswalt, on Monday, May 21, 2012, at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.
BBH snagged 9 Webby wins for their work on 4 different ground projects including Google Music, Google Chrome's Dear Sophie campaign and Asos Urban Tour.
Other agencies that received multiple honors include Wieden+Kennedy (7), DDB (5), AKQA (3), BBDO (3), 72andSunny (3), and Blue State Digital (3).
Every time we receive something from an agency that falls into the category of self promotion or that promises to offer an "inside look" at how the agency works, we cringe as memories of the tragic Agency.com Subway pitch video engulf our mind.
Thankfully that wasn't the case when we received and reviewed the Facebook Timeline-based RFP Santa Rosa agency The Engine is Red submitted to the North Lake Tahoe Marketing Cooperative which is seeking an ad agency.
This guest article is written by redpepper founder Dave McMullen.
Most ad agencies live and die by a single metric. Some measure everything about it and all around it. Others ignore it and just hope they get it. It's the fuel that drives the modern advertising business.
It's the billable hour.
In order to grow profitably, agencies need to hire more people and bill them out at a minimum of 65-75 percent of their day. Unfortunately selling, assigning, and working by the hour and for the hour is not very motivating. And this can cause problems in an agency's culture by killing the inspiration needed to find creative solutions to problems.
So there's Wexley School for Girls, right? Why can't there be another agency that is good at schooling? Enter San Francisco-based School of Thought. While in San Francisco for ad:tech last week, we stopped by the offices of School of Thought.
Founders Tom Geary and Joseph Newfield have had long and impressive advertising careers. Geary created Microsoft's MsDewey campaign. Newfield, who's done work for Visa, Shutterfly, Del Monte, 9Lives and others, spent ten years at Agency.com. We won't hold that against him. He's a nice guy. And he fed us lunch so we're grateful and we enjoyed sharing old war stories.
The agency is out with a two minute promotional video in which they share their "required reading" in six lessons.
- As agencies get their Facebook Timeline in order, we're bound to see interesting iterations such as this one from Brunner Works.
- Gratuitous ass shot of the day. This one ends with a twist.
- Very strange. Clorox now makes bacon flavored cat litter and cleaning products. Hmm.
- Mazda is out with a new commercial for its 2013 CX-5 crossover SUV. Lee Majors would love it!
- Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Rich Silverstein, founder of Hacking Autism, is out with a trailer for his I Want to Say short. The film takes a look at touch screen technology and how it has help kids with autism.
Oy. After watching the trailer for AMC's The Pitch we can't help but foresee it as just an extended version of the famed Agency.com Subway video. We can't comment on the inner workings of most other businesses but we certainly can state that the inner workings of an ad agency are better left inside the walls of said agencies.
Now we're willing to be optimistic and hope this show won't devolve into the pompous foolery depicted so well by Donny Deutsch when he appeared on The Apprentice but we worry for the agencies involved.
The Ad Store, MvKinney, SK+G, WDCW and other off Madison Avenue shops are putting their reputation on the line. We hope the producers don't go for fist bump idiocy. We hope the agency execs can contain their exuberance and give the ad business a good name.
But secretly we hope it's a train wreck. After all, this is reality TV and the train wreck is the center piece of the genre.