The following is a guest editorial by Tom Parrette is Director of Verbal Branding at Addis Creson on AMC's Mad Men as it relates to the reality of the sixties.
I'll admit it upfront, so diehard fans of AMC's Mad Men are forewarned: I'm one of the few people who's not completely infatuated with the show. But as someone who does branding for a living, I'm intrigued by how it reconstructs the ethos of an era using brands and pop cultural references.
It seems like Mad Men is based on a simple conceit: an ad agency, which delivers manufactured views of the world to a mass market, is presented to us through the same lens. The show is itself an advertisement for the early 60s, where looks and labels surpass world events in terms of significance. The show's producer David Chase, quoted in The New York Times the month Mad Men debuted, described it this way: "Here was... a story about advertising in the 1960s, and was looking at recent American history through that prism."
- Entry materials for the 2010 Effie Awards are now available on www.effie.org. The On-Time Effie entry deadline is October 14, with the last chance to enter set for November 4.
- On September 23 at the Yale Club of New York, MediaPost will host its Creative Media Awards.
- 72andSunny is out with an online and offline campaign for the newest 2K Sports video game, NHL 2K10 featuring three hockey moms who take out their aggressions, and take on NHL pros, with their favorite party game, NHL 2K10.
Wanna watch the world's worst Mad Men promo/spoof? Well, here it is courtesy of Landline TV. We have no idea what they're trying to accomplish with this :60 riff on the AMC series but one thing's clear. It's bad. Really bad.
Can we just leave Mad Men alone and stop obsessing over it. Perhaps enjoy it rather than continuously mock it as if we, the ad industry, are the only people who enjoy the show?
OK. What's up with the whole stop motion thing? Sure, it can net cool results but why go to all that trouble when you can just film a commercial regularly and save a lot of money in the process? After all, everyone in advertising is lazy right? And clients are always bitching about how much everything costs.
Oh wait, they're creative too. Sadly, they're derivative as well. Which...is why we get the same thing over and over and over again.
ad:tech Chicago's "Love for Sale -- How Great Creative Seduces Its Target" session was broken into two discernably useful parts: statistics on online dating, and seduction as a metaphor for marketing.
We'll begin at the beginning.
The Online Dating Crowd
Accompanied by Liz Ross of Digitas US, Fusion Idea Lab's Matt Brennock regaled us with both statistics and close-to-home anecdotes -- the kind that's fueled many a romantic comedy.
I heard one guy say the pair had great chemistry, and he commended them for "[opening] the kimono" the way they did. Given the topic matter, and Brennock's zeal for reminding us (first once, then twice, then...) that men really do just wanna get laid, the geisha metaphor was oddly appropriate.
- The average online dater is 42 years old.
- Match.com remains tops, with 3.4 million uniques/month, but people increasingly drift away from these big-box dating sites and into more niche fare: j-date, veggiedate, Christian singles. (AdAge blogger Kelly Eidson seized this opportunity to send me a link to STD Match, a dating site targeted to people living with sexually transmitted diseases. There are also -- as if you didn't know -- ethnicity-specific sites.)
If the world wasn't our oyster before, the marvelous advances of the internet, coupled with mankind's enterprising creative spirit, have ensured it certainly is now. There's a match worth blogging.
- Fuel loses fuel.
- MCD gives those hardworking kids a day off in the city.
- Well, that didn't take long. Long live Teddy's dead legs.
- Fake WWF campaign lands just in time for 9/11!
- Where the white women at?
While Steve's away playing at conferences, I debated running the latest nude Lego print ad from Istanbul--or chumming the waters and pissing off as many blogging groups as I can. What to do, what to do. *flips coin* Paid reviews and Mommy Bloggers it is!
So the FTC and the National Advertising Review Council are set to announce what they intend to do with blogs and the issue of disclosure.
Basically, Big Blog... Brother will be watching.
To be fair, it's not just MBs, but any blogs where ads, promotions and reviews are involved. Then there's the issue of whether compensation affects objectivity or not. You can't discuss the topic of monitoring blogs for questionable things like hidden endorsements without also mentioning the groups most likely to warrant that increased scrutiny, namely, paid reviewers and... Mommy Bloggers.
So someone sent us a message which read, "Not sure if you're the sensitive sappy type but here's a link to the extended version of a new TV campaign we just finished for Robbins Brothers Engagement Ring Stores."
OK so reading Adrants might not lead one to believe the people behind it (in this case, me) have anything but vindictive bones in their bodies but they would be wrong. Are we jaded? Yes. Are we temperamental? Yes. Are we unfairly bitchy from time to time? Yes. Are we like a playground will of wise ass little shits with nothing better to do that sling mud at one another and call each other names? Yes.
But, believe it or not, we are not insensitive and we are close to the biggest sap out there. After all, we cried during Sandra Bullock's film, The Proposal. Yes, we really did.
Last week in his monologue, late night host Craig Ferguson went on and on and on and, yea, on about youth and advertising and how marketers all got together in the 50's and 60's to "deify" youth, put it up on a pedestal and focus all their advertising on that particular age group.
He goes on to explain how youth became the most important thing, how everyone wants to be young and how stupid that is because, well, the young are inexperience and, therefore, stupid. And how that deification of youth made being young fashionable which, of course, resulted in a bunch of idiots running around doing anything and every thing to be young no matter how old they were.
While everyone's all a Twitter over EA's Act of Lust booth babe stunt, consider this: If the Booth babes were Booth Dudes and the rules were the same, would anyone care?
Of course, encouraging people to "commit acts of lust" and then photograph it in order to get a chance to win "dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty" isn't going to win any prizes at a church fund raising competition but let's break this one down a bit.
The "booty" referred to in the promotion is not the ass of the "two hot girls." It's a swag bag full of geeky goodness any fanboy would lust over as much as he might lust over a booth babe. The encouraged "act of lust" is most certainly not meant to get people to do anything rude, crude or disrespectful to a woman hired to play the role of booth babe. Anyone who might actually do that is just a loser and in need of castration.
While this promotion can certainly be seen as crossing the ever-moving, hard-to-define line of decency, it's not encouraging rape, prostitution or other unseemly (and illegal) behavior. It's simply using a time-tested - if not tired and lame - marketing strategy to get people to do what a marketer wants.
The "two hot girls" are obviously paid for their participation in this promotion and while we're sure they'd rather spend a night with some hot dude - not to mention their own boyfriends - they knowingly took this job and the money and knew what they'd be getting into.