'Tone It Down' Mentality The Death Knell of Ad Agencies

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This is a conundrum we've heard millions of times before. A client comes to an agency and asks for "breakthrough" creative. Creative goes off and conceptualizes brilliance. It gets presented internally and everyone loves it. But just before it's ready to be presented to the client, someone, usually in account management (let's be honest here), says, "I like it personally, but somebody might be offended. Just tone it down."

And therein lies one of the biggest problems of the ad agency business. Agencies are asked and are in business to create marketing programs that, to use an overused phrase, cut through the clutter more than their competition can cut through the clutter. Sadly, many agencies are more conservative when it comes to risk taking than and health insurance actuarial agent. Which is to say, there is no risk taking at all.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-11    
Topic: Agencies, Opinion, Video



Why the Death of the Ad Critic is a Bad Thing

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Bob Garfield? Quit. Barbara Lippert? Fired. Lewis Lazare? Fired. Stuart Elliott? Oddly, the last major ad critic standing. What's going on here? Is there no value seen in advertising commentary? No credence given to intelligent analysis of what works and what doesn't in this business? Or have all the ad blogs and the proliferation of social media rendered the ad critic unnecessary?

According to Bob Garfield, the reason behind the exodus of ad critics, well, at least his, may be quite simple. It's pointless. When Bob left Ad Age, one of the reasons he cited for leaving was frustration. Another was disgust. He wrote, "...despite the best of all forums for evaluating ad strategy and execution, my core principles espoused over a quarter century (and codified in my book 'And Now a Few Words from Me') seem to have had little or no effect on the practice of the craft. I continue to be awed and humbled by the best of what the industry produces. But I also think billions of client dollars every year are being squandered by narcissists, con men, naifs and a number of blithering morons."

Well, he's certainly right about a number of things here. Chiefly, his last sentence which calls out the industry for being a collection of idiotic morons who refuse to learn from their mistakes. But is it really that bad? Are people in the industry really that moronic?

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by Steve Hall    Mar-31-11    
Topic: Opinion



National Cleavage Day Unleashed Advertising-Style

Depending upon the source, today is National Cleavage Day. Or maybe it was March 26. It really doesn't matter. Thanks to Wonderbra, we now have this annual celebration of the female breast. So in celebration of such in important event, let's take a look back at some of the bra busting ads we've covered here on Adrants over the years.

Most recently, the Chinese, increasingly fixated on big boobs, came out with an ad for what can only be described as boob clamp lingerie. A woman adorns herself with the slinky satin and then pulls a few string and BAM, her boobs are suddenly twice as big.

Right in line with Asia's general fixation with boobs, comes this extremely weird commercial for ice cream in which a deliciously endowed Asian girl whose breasts are far too big for her tiny bikini top frolics with a pair of ice cream cones.

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Jacques Magazine hooked up with Jonathan Leder and the stunningly endowed Lauren Young for a couple of videos to hype the magazine. In the first, Young plays Squash. Or tries to as her bulbous breasts bounce inside the confines of her cute, pink outfit. In the second, Young dons some very tight blue pants and a bra that's two sizes to small for her globes of glory. She then illustrates just how exciting bowling can be. That or how impossible it is for her to keep herself from caressing her curves until, well, until she reaches the inevitable completion.

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Let's be clear about something here. It's not just men who "leverage" boobs for their own personal gain. Miss Fit, a UK-based lingerie specializing in clothing, lingerie and swimwear for women lucky (or unlucky depending upon viewpoint) enough to possess DD cup or larger breasts, signed a deal with the very curvaceous X Factor star Maria lawson.

Lawson is a perfect fit for Miss Fit. More than twice the size of a DD, Lawson straps herself into a 36JJ bra when she gets dressed in the morning. Miss Fit is owned by a woman.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-31-11    
Topic: Events, Opinion, Racy



Marketers Overshadow Geeks at SXSW

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SXSW starts today and if yesterday was any indication, brands will have the biggest presence ever at the five day interactive conference in Austin. Historically, the gathering has always been for uber geeks and super techies but in the past few years brands have taken an increased interest in SXSW and what it has to offer. Which is a lot. From content, to connections to thousands of impressionable souls, the geekfest is, well, no longer a geekfest. Rather, it's become an full blown marketing event. And not just an industry event either. It's a chance for brands to get in front of actual consumers.

A stroll through the Austin Convention Center and surrounding areas made it clear, the conference is no longer a conclave for widget heads. Oh, they're all still here...and grumbling about the "invasion" of "marketing people" but they, perhaps for good, have been silenced by the deafening size and scope of an increasing number of brands who have decided to stake a claim here in Austin.

From Sony to Samnsung, to Chevrolet to Pepsi and many, many more, the ACC and surrounding areas have been plastered with some of the most elaborate brand statements we've ever seen. Yes. SXSW is no longer the geekfest it once was. And as we've said, it's been heading away from that cute little anachronism for some time now but this year, well, this year the brands have taken over every last square inch of Austin.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-11-11    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



How Luxury Brands Can Benefit From Musical Partnerships

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This guest article is written by The Hours CEO Fabien Moreau and addresses the importance of using musicians in campaigns and how that approach can help build brands and sell their products.

There's been a significant up-tick in the number of well-known recording artists lending their names, music and public persona to brand-name designers' promotional campaigns. And while the strategy can be lucrative and beneficial for both parties, such a match requires mutual respect for and understanding of the value each brings to the relationship.

From Lady Gaga to The Ting Tings and Lou Reed, musical artists have begun lending their talent and image to the promotional efforts of luxury brands in ways never before seen in the marketing industry. Beyond the traditional concept of celebrity endorsement or paid spokesperson status, today's musical marketing marriages bring a much deeper level of creative influence to the message and the campaign.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Opinion



Old Spice Guy Travels to Fiji

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As is true with movies, art and any other form of creativity, a classic can never really be re-invented. Oh it's not that they aren't continuously re-invented . It's just that when they are, the results is usually much less than stellar and a sad knock off of the original.

We wouldn't entirely say Wieden + Kennedy's continued work for Old Spice was heading down that path but, really, has any of the agency's work for the brand been as inventive and as inspiring as the original? We think not. But we aren't necessarily complaining either. Why?

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 7-11    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Opinion



American Apparel's Use of Nudity Makes Perfect Sense

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Not the kind of analogy we ever thought we'd make but every day American Apparel is becoming more and more like GoDaddy. And visa versa. Not just in the sense both use sex to sell, rather, they both obsessively push the same boundaries over and over again.

For over half a decade GoDaddy has been mocking America's puritanical views regarding nudity. And American Apparel has been pushing the jail bait button for just as long. But more recently the fashion label has been focusing more on the use of blunt nudity to sell.

The most recent campaign from American Apparel has a model pimping the brand's Nylon Tricot Suspender Swimsuit, a swimsuit barely capable of concealing the upper regions of a woman's body. Which, of course, is why this campaign - full of full on toplessness - makes perfect sense. After all, a woman should know what's she's buying and if the upper part of her suit isn't big enough to cover her breasts she ought to know that going in.

Which, we guess, is to say this campaign from American Apparel is spot on.

by Steve Hall    Feb-24-11    
Topic: Opinion, Racy



Sophia Vergara's 34DD's Banned From Diet Pepsi Skinny Can Ad

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Sophia Vergara, star of Modern Family and inhabitant of a 34DD-28-39 curvaceous body, can be seen in a new ad for Diet Pepsi's new Skinny Can, some sort of twisted ode to the fact the can of chemicals will make you skinny just because the can is skinny.

In the ad Vergara's less that skinny upper body parts have been minimized by photographic angle and a freakish shoulder placement. Because, after all, women with big boobs aren't skinny. They/re top heavy. And top heavy is bad when it comes to our current culture's definition of rail thin beauty.

Some argue the ad contributes to harmful stereotypes about women's body image. We say it's simply the twisted notion that somehow big breasts equal slut and that no woman with big breasts could possibly be taken seriously simply because of the shape of her upper body. To that, we say utter nonsense.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-16-11    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Celebrity, Opinion



HomeAway Issues Un-Needed Apology For Baby Toss

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WTF is wrong with people? Have they nothing better than to complain about innocuous moments in commercial which, if you ask any normal person, are just plain funny? Have we all lost our sense of humor? Our ability to laugh at a joke? Are capability to interpret slapstick humor? Do we need the Three Stooges to come back to life and give our society a collective slap upside the head?

In a move that is absolutely incomprehensible to us, people have actually complained about the FAKE baby DOLL being thrown against the window in the HomeAway commercial causing CEO Brian Sharples to issue - and this is another bone we have to pick - a lame ass apology.

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by Steve Hall    Feb- 9-11    
Topic: Opinion, Strange, Super Bowl 2011



The Best and the Worst Super Bowl Commercials

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We'd like to be able to say there was a standout winner amongst the ads in this year's Super Bowl but we really can't There were several we liked, though, and several we hated. We, like many others, enjoyed Volkswagen's The Force commercial in which a small boy dressed like Darth Vadar attempts to use the force on objects around the home including his father's Passat. Of course, the boy can't make His Force do anything. That is until Dad, unbeknownest to the boy, flips the remote leading to boy to think The Force has finally worked.

We liked the Motorola Xoom commercial which riffed of Apple's 1984. The ad did a nice job poking fun at Apple's minions and their cult-like following. In a way, the little love spark between the man and the women in the ad was more like Motorola's attempt at saying "can't we all just get along" rather than their intentioned notion the Xoom will separate you from the pack. Either way, the commercial was engaging and was a nice attempt to set the Xoom apart from the iPad.

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by Steve Hall    Feb- 7-11    
Topic: Opinion, Super Bowl 2011










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