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.
There were no standouts,commercially speaking, in last night's Super Bowl. Unless of course, you believe USA Today's Ad Meter which ranked the Betty white/Abe Vigoda number one. Or if you believe the Mullen/radian6 Brand Bowl which, through social media comment and positive sentiment, gave top honors to Doritos (the brand, not an individual spot). Or if you place credence in Bob Garfield's watch-them-all-before-the-game approach then the top slot goes to Audi.
Or if you are a fan of Adland's Ask Wappling, the love went to Volkswagon's Punch Buggy ad. Or of you can't get enough of Make the Logo Bigger's Bill Green then it's Google's Parisian ad. Or if Hulu is your gig, then the top slot was Doritos to own for its consumer-generated House Rules ad. Betty White's Snickers ad and Google's search ad faired well there too. As did the hottie-in-a-tub Megan Fox ad for Motorola...which distracted us enough to mostly miss the VW Punch Buggy ad which followed. We know. Predictable behavior around here at Adrants.
Or if you can't get enough Barbara Lippert, Budweiser's Clydsdales or Bud Light's Asteroid. Or, well, she really isn't clear on which one she liked best. (In a later article, she named Google her fave.) Or if you're a commenter on Bob Garfield's Ad review, then honors, it would seem, should go to Google. Bob didn't even comment on the spot because, well, he watches all the ads (at least the ones that have been released), forms his opinion and files his story before the kick off. he misses in-game context and late/un-released commercials.
So social media is all the rage. Consumers are all over it. Marketers are all over it. And it's changing the way people and marketers communicate with each other and amongst themselves. Baltimore-based Carton Donofrio Partners wants to leverage this and has launched StopTheAdness, an "online laboratory where industry and consumers can collaborate on a new social contract for advertising."
On the site advertisers and publishers can sign a pledge that promises to help make advertising better by adhering to some practices and abandoning others. Consumers can post examples of "adness" (bad ads) and they can opt to play a key role in contributing to the future of media.
So here we go again. Someone claiming a big brand stole their idea for a commercial. Occasionally, this stuff has merit. Occasionally, it's just sour grapes. In this particular case, we're going with sour grapes. After all, it's not like showing a collage of images is a patented idea or anything. Although we will admit the Pepsi commercial is quite derivative of the original video.
Bryan Chang, who submitted both videos, wrote, "When ad agencies rip off work, is there an obligation to inform the client where the ideas are coming from? I imagine so."
What do you think?
As Sunday approaches I sit here with mixed emotions about Super Bowl advertising. Should I care because it's my job? Should I just enjoy the game like the rest of the world and boycott the lame ass idiocy that attempts to pass as advertising? Why can't I get excited this year?
Perhaps it's that I've written about so many Super Bowl ads over the past eight years, I simply can't get excited about seeing the same old stupidity over and over again. Go Daddy? Oh please. Another "men are idiots" beer ad? Gag. The eTrade babies? Make it stop!
Perhaps it's that I've heard everything there is to hear and viewed everything there is to view before the ads ever hit TV. There used to be an anticipation for something NO ONE could EVAR see until it appeared during the game. No longer. The ads are everywhere. And not just for journalists and bloggers. Many marketers toss there stuff up on YouTube well in advance of the game. So all that goes on inside my head during the game is a running commentary, "Yup, seen that. Predictable. Seriously? Yup, knew that was coming. Yup, that's as stupid as I thought it would be. Danica Patrick. Yawn. Guy throws a phone across a locker room. Check. Beer babes wrestling. Oh wait, that was pretty good! The Clydesdales. OK, not bad. Man sneaks beer into party under giant cheese wheel. Oh for fuck's sake. Talking babies. Talking animals. Monkeys. Can't wait until this fucking game is over so I can go back to watching some decent programming with ads that don't try so hard they shoot themselves in the foot before they end up in the can."
Perhaps it's laziness. Why go to the effort of blogging/tweeting/tagging/commenting/uploading ads when everyone else is doing the same thing. We used to care what Bob Garfield said. Does anyone give a shit any longer? Does anyone give a shit what what I have to say? And, no, I'm not equating myself to Bob Garfield. But does anyone really care what I have to say about the ads? Why is my opinion any more important than anyone else's?
Perhaps it's scheduling difficulties. I'll be stuck at a conference Monday after game day. While the rest of the world is blogging and bitching about the ads, I'll be slinging some mindlessly irrelevant blather on a panel about social media. And who really gives a shit about that? Super Bowl ad commentary or social media platitudes. It's like choosing between getting my left eye poked out or my right.
Maybe it's because the world has become so politically correct, the chance of me seeing anything interesting is about as likely as my chance of ever writing for Advertising Age. Giant breasted women in bikinis mud wrestling? Those days are gone. A gerbil shooting out of a cannon? Nope. A hot girl that says "throw it to me. I'm gonna be wide open?" Too offensive. Suicidal robots? Never. A Snickers kiss? Not a chance. A Salesgenie ad featuring Asians and Indians? You know the answer to that one. In our quest to become sensitive to everything, we have become a risk-averse, spineless, humorless nation afraid of everything.
OK, whatever. Follow me @adrants or @stevehall. I'm sure I'll have something ridiculously irrelevant to say about the ads during the game. And I'll be drinking. So it could be good.