While reading Bob Garfield's farewell piece today in Advertising Age, nothing really surprised us. The man said everything we expected him to. He lobbed a few barbs, apologized for a few missteps, trashed ad blogs, pimped his books, reminded us he's almost always right...and told us he's 55. Say what? 55? Only 55? Seriously?
OK, that's just mean and it plays right into Bob's hatred for the horror we ad blogs purportedly promote: the cheap punchline. To wit, Garfield wrote, "What is paramount is being an honest broker of your own judgments, and never succumbing to the temptation of skewing negative for the sake of a cheap punchline. If you wish to see what happens when this principle is ignored, spend five minutes reading the ad blogs or Gawker. They are intermittently amusing, deliberately mean and ethically bankrupt."
When you move to the middle of upstate nowhere, you become privy to some seriously wacky shit. Like yesterday's Live Bait vending machine sighting. And the daily onslaught of local Hyundai car dealer Billy Fuccillo. Maybe you've already caught these over the years but everyday the man barks into the camera and utters his long-time catchphrase, "It's HUUUUUUGE!" And he really does say it that way. Actually, he says ,"It's HUUUUGJA!" You just have to see it to believe it.
Of course it's no surprise car dealers are famous for this sort of idiocy. But, as with all advertising, if you can latch onto something memorable, you might as well go for it. And in acknowledgment of Fuccillo's pervasiveness, his advertising has spawned many a parody. There's Fuccillo Blow. No One Likes Billy Fuccillo. There's Ka-Bam from a competing dealership. There's Fuccillo-style bible sales. And then there's the HUUUUUGE outtakes. And make sure you don't miss the HUUUUUGE mistake he made on air when he said, "Go fuck your wife." No, seriously.
After reading a post on AgencySpy entitled Mullen's CCO Promotes Crowdsourcing in AdWeek Opine which commented on Edward Boches participation in a gathering of 30 agency folks at SXSW, I commented to share my thoughts. Here's what I wrote (with some additions):
In an ideal world, this scenario (crowdsourcing-ish cloud creative) could and would work. In today's world, it's not so clear cut. The changes needed to make this model work go so drastically against current agency models that this sort of change, in my opinion, can only come with generational change.
- Warren Buffet does Axl Rose in Geico annual meeting video.
- Chocolate pudding brand unleashes it's inner David Lynch.
- It's O'Dell vs. Hall on SXSW Suckage.
- YouTube and Viacom: like two nursery school kids fighting in the sandbox.
- More Vulva hotness.
- Purina Bark in the Park work angers Copyranter. And not because the work's not good.
- Near naked hot dudes cursing in their underwear. No, seriously. It's a new Calvin Klein campaign.
- Let's do the SXSW High Five!
It seems there's a lot of negative reaction to this year's SXSW. Revision3's Jim Louderback complains he's been blackballed and wonders why the event still needs panels...even though he snuck in and participated on three. The Huffington Post's Mayhill Fowler says the event has grown too big and lost its edge. ReadWrite Web's Jolie O'Dell wrote a post entitled "Why SXSW Sucks" on her personal blog which now has 127 comments and counting.
In reaction to O'Dell's article, SiliconAngle defended the event in an article entitled Why SXSW Doesn't Suck (and used a picture I took last year thank you very much) citing the fact they got 15 to 20 hours of usable video content from the event.
Recently, AgencySpy railed against the ad industry for its propensity copy other's work. Today, AdFreak addresses a similar issue, the propensity for the ad industry to latch onto a particular song and use it over and over again in different brand's commercials to the point where "advertisers [should] find a new favorite song before this one attains sentience and enslaves humanity."
Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition" is the "it" song now and is making apperances in Chrysler, Rhapsody and Dient Coke ads. Not to mention the movie 500 Days of Summer, 90210, Greek, The Good Wife and The Deep End.
Here at Adrants we've beat this one like a dead horse over the years and have nothing left to say about the issue.
OK, maybe we do. And it's simple. Be original. We know that's not easy to accomplish. After all, there are no new ideas left. Everything's been done. Done to death. Over and over and fucking over. But, every once in a while, a tiny little piece of originality slips through and it's beautiful. Sublime. Enjoyable. And brilliant.
So strive for brilliance. Strive for beauty. Strive for something you've never seen before. Because you know what? If you do and you succeed, you'll be able to call the work your own and be proud of it. And you can feel good your original creation will find a place in the industry's pantheon of creativity. And you won't have angry bloggers calling you a copycat.
It seems Americans really are a bunch of hypocrites. It's OK to be gay in movies and on TV. In fact, it's OK to have a gay character on almost every single show and movie. So much so that you'd think everyone in America was gay. Except if you watch American advertising.
When it come to advertising, as Bill Green points out, American advertising is still in the closet. He points to a Hyundai commercial which allows us to observe a potential rendezvous between two women. There's no sex. There's no kissing. There's no touching. The two woman aren't even in a scene together. But...the implication is they will, of course, be together in, perhaps, the biblical sense later on.
There's graceful. And then there's crass. Graceful is sending Gretchen Bleiler into space to the tune of Lou Reed' Perfect Day. Crass is sending Lamar Odom into space as if he were in an episode of flash Gordon.
Grace is illustrating an athlete's desire to continuously reach new heights. Crass is minimizing those desires to the notion a candy bar is the sole reason an athlete can reach new heights.
Grace is creating a commercial that is uplifting and beautiful. Crass is creating a commercial that is silly and stupid.
So while Bob Garfield was on a plane during the Super Bowl (yes, beyond all fathomable reason, this is true), thus missing the fact Google ran a commercial (only to review it a week later), Old Spice's "I'm on a Horse" should have been in the game. During this week's Beancast (summarized here), it was agreed the Old Spice commercial would have been a standout hit in the game. It poked fun at the whole metrosexual thing but in a way that was humorous to all.
But, back to what I was talking about. Bob Garfield, the industry's preeminent ad commentator was on a plane during the Super Bowl. On a plane as in not watching the game. As in not watching the year's biggest pantheon of advertising. As in not doing his job.
Hey, didn't some other brand just do the "your ass will look better if you wear our shoes" thing? Now Reebok's doing it. Or was it Reebok in the first place? We're too busy at a conference having fun to take the time to find out. And besides, why analyze an ad when it needs no analysis? A hot ass attracts eyeballs. And in advertising, that's half the battle. And it might even sell some shoes.
Now go buy some Reebok's so we can claim we know what we're talking about as opposed to appearing to be some sort of ad hack with nothing better to do than leer at women's buttocks like a Neanderthal who's been away from his woman on a long hunting trip.