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Yesterday I read an article on JAMZ about Mad Men and how diversity advocates might threaten the show's authenticity. The author called Mad Men un-nostalgic and a "world where white men were kings." In what appears to be a reasonable justification to crystallize Mad Men as its own white male ecosystem, the author concludes:
Everyone is smoking, drinking, closeted, desperately unhappy. Choices and options are limited. That's the fabric that holds 'Mad Men' together. To suddenly throw in a little diversity would rip it to shreds.
I get the dude. It would be unrealistic to pepper those executive suits with black and brown faces for the sake of the PC police.
But it's also dangerous to use Mad Men as an excuse to shut diversity out -- something agencies are still too good at. That's gratuitous and unrealistically romantic. There's plenty of room to broaden Mad Men's scope without harming its precious and purported authenticity.
Saatchi & Saatchi's The Breakfast Club campaign for JCPenney has been crapped by everyone on since it launched. Today, it's Rebecca Cullers' turn. On AdFreak, Rebecca does the math, writing, "I was 3 years old when The Breakfast Club came out in 1985. I didn't know the film existed until I was in college, where it was included in a class on culturally significant movies for Gen X. Now, there's more or less a decade separating me from today's incoming high-school students. Does anyone really think they will get the reference?"
She is absolutely correct in her analysis of the problem and for anyone at Saatchi or JCPenney not to have realized this is further confirmation far too many advertisers and their agencies, despite believing the contrary, are completely out of touch with reality.
On Sunday I moderated an ad agency panel for Shoot! the Day, a day-long photographer conference put together by PhotoShelter.
A few things I picked up amidst coleslaw mountains and sassy stock:
- ADs and art buyers depend pretty heavily on stock photography, but feel like they've seen everything the industry has to offer -- including its paltry selection of models. "It's become a running joke," said Molly Aaker of Unit7. "'There's that same girl, except with her hair up!'"
- Diversity is an issue, but it can't be solved just by changing the color of people's faces. Belinda Lopez of StrawberryFrog wants to see more "documentary-style" imagery -- people in natural poses, expressing real emotions, and doing things a person in that situation and/or of that ethnicity is likely to do.
- Everybody seems crazy about PhotoShelter -- which is probably why they attended the first annual Shoot! the Day in the first place.
Plaid sent over an envelope loaded with swag (which Heehaw Marketing took a picture of so we wouldn't have to) to remind us the Plaid Nation 2008 West Coast Tour is CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS.
The Plaid van's current location: Vancouver. It'll be creeping its way south toward Los Angeles as the weeks progress.
Now that you know, hit the website -- less of a site, really, than a social media orgy -- and try getting the Plaid crew to pay your ailing agency (or your best friend's engagement-impaired company) a visit. Also check out the Van Cam tab where you can play van voyeur from the driver's seat, or the passenger's seat, or roadside, if that's the way you roll.
I'm kinda digging Viking Smackdown, a game Hello Viking put out to celebrate its one year anniversary.
I'd probably like it more if I could play it though. (You can only play from an iPhone or iPod touch with sassy tilting capabilities. And as the "sorry, fuck off!" message states, "Shaking your laptop just won't cut it.")
Here's the next-best thing (not really): a video about the game! (Scroll down.) I'm digging the awkward vibe and bare feet.
- Watch as Starbucks, flailing wildly, stumbles into smoothies.
- A company called Sojern has partnered with Delta, United, Continental, Northwest and US Airways to sell ad space on boarding passes printed off the 'net.
- It's another review site. The difference is, Culture Clique aspires to be the only review site you'll ever need or want. Think of it: review the iPhone, The Dark Knight, Twitter and Ana Karenina all from one place.
- Draft FCB is imploding, and its biggest antagonist is covering it with unrestrained gleeee. (Yeah, with four Es.) Well, what did you expect with nonsense like this?
- JWT keeps its hand in with a warm, fuzzy border patrol ad. Oh look, a little bunny girl on a bike.
Watch while a refugee from the Sesame Street prop chest gets zapped into the offices of Next Net Networks, Tumblr, Gawker, College Humor and CBS Interactive. The story's moral involves throwing saucy parties and engaging users with authentic videos, but this line is priceless:
"I knew I shouldn't have left out that magical Rolodex. The power of our connections is just way too strong."
Put together for Media Kitchen and Venture Day. Kinda brings Puppet Agency to mind, except that was funnier. I'm sure all those internet companies got a buzz out of seeing themselves on video, though.
- What is that white stuff on the back of the woman in this Trojan ad? It's not what you think but pigs and white stuff do make a compelling condom ad.
- WPP has made a $2.2 billion hostile takeover bid for research company Taylor Nelson Sofres.
- Want some more IKEA website freakiness? Check out this new site where two dudes dance backwards and do other weird things inside a closet the size of a room.
- Eddie Murphy's head traverses the country in search of viewers for his new movie, Meet Dave.
- This...is just gross.
- If you don't want people to make fun of your goofy in-house video, don't send bloggers email attacking them for posting it. That's just dumb.
- Oops. Atlanta agency guy boinks college interns and gets home late for dinner. Accusatory emails ensue.
- Beyond Madison Avenue analyzes the theory of using monkeys in advertising.
- Writing for Animal, Copyranter continues his hatred for the Ketel One campaign and identifies a recent ad as one of the most annoying ads ever created.
So the Mullen creative department just finishes presenting their work for the New England Aquarium shark exhibit to the 12 year old AE they are forced to work with because, ya know, it's a pro bono-ish account and the little tyke says, "Well I like it but where's the viral component? Every great campaign has viral, right?"