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.
It's a forgone conclusion that Verizon ads suck and deserve to be pummeled by bitchy ad critics such as those employed at trade rags like Adrants. Oh wait, that's us. Oops. That would be...leading industry publication Adrants. Now that we have that settled...
It's official. America has no sense of humor and has become so literal, no one can say anything at all without offending various cause group members who, due to an onslaught of grade school self-esteem-focused curricula which have rendered them incapable of chilling out and enjoying life without looking at it through a microscope.
So what's all the fuss about this time?
Back in 2004 (yes, it really was that long ago), Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were victims of a unfortunate "wardrobe malfunction" which caused Janet Jackson's pierced boob to be seen by something like 80 million people. Most of us laughed. others got all freaked out and had a legalk orgasm shooting law suits all over the place.
Well, four years later, it's all over and a Philadelphia Court of Appeals has injected some common sense into the debacle. The court overturned the FCC's fining of 20 CBS stations and the FCC's claim the stations were liable for the "malfunction." Basically, the Court of Appeals ruled the fines ran counter to the FCC's long-standing history of forgiving fleeting instances of indecency.
In her quest to figure out just why, why, why Boing Boing did what it did, Violet Blue has turned to Metafilter commenters for answers with a video in which she reads all the comments left on a Metafilter post about the debacle.
Fletcher Martin VP PR & Social Media Strategy and author of SpeakMediaBlog Jennifer Jones has written a contributing article on the topic of viral marketing in which she takes a look at four viral marketing campaigns and tells us what's right and what's wrong with them.
These days one cannot go two clicks without reading about viral marketing. Some say it's the greatest notion since the four P's (product, pricing, promotion and placement). Others say it's an over-hyped waste of time that will burn itself out.
The bottom line is viral marketing can only be as good or bad as the campaign around it. Many would-be viral marketers seem to think calling something viral automatically makes it so. They fail to understand that viral marketing requires strategic planning at the start and ongoing promotion throughout the campaign. With this in mind, I have compiled a short list of what I feel are some of the best and worst viral marketing campaigns so far this year.
Viral Video With a Soft Touch: Stride Chewing Gum's Dancing Video
One of the greatest challenges with viral videos is deciding when and how to incorporate the brand. If the brand name is too present, your overt marketing will upset the viewer. If you don't include it enough, you risk being called out for deceptive practices.
Last week, we were sent a funny ad from AMV BBDO in which Mr. T guns down a speedwalker because it's just too goofy for Mr. T's style and, seemingly, for Snickers. Bob Garfield just reviewed it, gave it zero stars and called the thing...huh...homophobic? What a minute. What the fuck? Homophobic?? I'll be the first one to crap on an ad that is overtly homophobic but, seriously, WTF?? This is the furthest thing from homophobic. Homophobia NEVER crossed my mind when I reviewed this.
Idle insanity mashes up with everyday banality, colorful media and schizophrenic graphics in Stunningly Harmful Artlikes, six audio-visual vignettes that may in fact cause you harm.
The series brings Being John Malkovich to mind: media artist Jason Nelson is pretty much letting us glimpse a mundane world through his compulsively musical mind. Along the way you'll see or hear appropriated snatches of songs, games and imagery seen elsewhere but out-of-context.
I went to Toronto last weekend and attended a dinner party hosted by Shannon Stephaniuk of Glossy Inc. If you're a blogger, a production company or one of her agency clients, you probably know her well. She's the PR person who actually presents advertising in a format journalists like (and cover lavishly):
LINK TO (DOWNLOADABLE) CREATIVE!
LINK TO CREDITS!
To other PR people: Why is this formula so hard to grasp? Just today I got a fucking one-page essay from Peroni's PR folk, pitching me on its new "Calendario" campaign, and then NOTHING. What, I have to email back to see the creative? Oh wait, there's a tiny link to the site right at the bottom near the fine(-as-hell!) print. Once I give my birthdate and location, I can hunt "Calendario" down myself -- if Peroni was smart enough to post it there at all. (What ho, it wasn't.)
But I digress.
The dinner party took place Friday night at Nyoob and featured a handful of Toronto-based media and ad people. The guestlist is posted here and so are the photos, if you want to see what havoc ensued.
Quotable highlights from the party are below.