'Wall Street Journal' to Cover...Sports?

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What the hell is going on with the Wall Street Journal? Pity the poor media planner who once was able to make a media buy that pretty much insured they'd reach some financially savvy folks who were reading the Journal for its razor-focused coverage of financial matter. But, then came the Weekend edition with its fluffy entertainment news. And then there was the Personal Journal which covered...who knows...fixing your kitchen sink? Now, thanks to Rupert Murdoch, the paper is getting a sports section.

WTF? The Wall Street Journal writing about sports? WTF? Sure the paper's readers interests beyond financial but how much blandification can a media property take on before it becomes just another daily newspaper that's so broad it appeals to no one and suffers dramatic circulation declines like every other paper in the nation? It makes no sense. But, hey, we're not Rupert Murdoch so we could be wrong.

by Steve Hall    Jan-29-08    
Topic: Bad, Newspaper, Opinion, Strange



Prediction: Firebrand Will Not Exist in 18 (Maybe Even 12) Months

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You can look at this Firebrand video promoting its Road to Monday Super Bowl program this week as being somewhat comical in its efforts to portray the insanity in which we all engage regarding Super Bowl ads. Or you can look at it as a lame effort, cheesily produced with the unattainable goal of getting people to actually care about advertising. Of course, if there were any time of year the average Joe would care about advertising, it would be surrounding the Super Bowl.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-29-08    
Topic: Cable, Online, Opinion, Super Bowl 2008



Presidential Candidates Get the Brand Treatment

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CEO Alan Siegel of Siegel & Gale put together a manifesto of what brand messages each of the Election 2008 candidates are conveying. Among other things, John McCain is read as the "straight-talking rebel."

Oh, we cannot emphasize how painfully we winced when we heard "The MAC is BACK!" pouring out of New Hampshire. Can't politicans just leave rap -- and any music, really -- alone? Bulworth was a movie, not a career blueprint.

Hillary Clinton, Siegel adds, undermines her "Leading Brand" role by attacking "Challenger Brand" Barack Obama.

How very Coke vs. Pepsi. Just one more reason to avoid frothy drinks and frothy speeches. Read full text below.

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by Angela Natividad    Jan-28-08    
Topic: Brands, Opinion, Policy, Political



Consumer Reports Launches AdWatch Ad Review Series

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Consumer Reports, which for a long time has helped people buy products that aren't crap, is now expanding its analysis of the advertising that pushes both good and bad products with the launch of CR AdWatch videos.

In a somewhat comical approach, host Jamie Hirsh takes a detailed look at the long-running Abe Lincoln/Beaver ad campaign for the sleep aid Rozerem. The analysis is level headed and if ads were required to provide equal time, this is the kind of advertising we might see on a regular basis. We review ads along the lines of how pretty they are and how effective they might be. Consumer Reports goes further and lets us know the other side of the claim.

by Steve Hall    Jan-28-08    
Topic: Good, Opinion, Video



IZEA Generates Icky PR for SXSW

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We love ourselves some SXSW. Expect us there, cameras at the ready, this year.

But this morning when we checked our email we caught a subject line that read, "The TACK: Ted Wants You at SXSW."

The TACK is PayPer-- er, IZEA's online newsletter. Ted is the company's CEO. He gets off on undisclosed paid posts and is always fighting with people about the viability of his business model.

Then we opened the email and saw this. Love pygmies!

And for, like, eight minutes, we were turned-off by the idea of going anywhere, much less SXSW at Ted's behest.

by Angela Natividad    Jan-25-08    
Topic: Brands, Industry Events, Online, Opinion



Andy Soothes Edgy CMOs with Deceptively Straight Face

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Andy Berndt, once of Ogilvy and now of Google, got up in front of a bunch of marketers last week and said, "Google is not starting an ad agency."

MarketingVox (i.e. me in less knee-slapping form) compares this statement to that made by Google's Alan Eustace pre-Android. You know the one: "We're not doing a mobile phone."

Google may not be starting an ad agency, but you don't have to start an ad agency to make life hard for ad agencies. (And hey, maybe that's just what you slackers deserve.)

One more time: "Google is not starting an ad agency." Think about everything that sentence leaves out.

Show of hands if you believe Andy.

by Angela Natividad    Jan-21-08    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Opinion



Teacher Suspended After Students See Her in Racy Ad

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How many times have you done something you've regretted? Perhaps more that a few if you're the average human being. Thankfully though, for most, these regrets don't end up on YouTube for all to see...including your employer. This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened but British private school teacher Sarah Green has found herself suspended from her job after her students unearthed a video she did for Scruffs Hardware construction clothing two years before taking her current teaching position.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-17-08    
Topic: Bad, Commercials, Opinion



Anti-Advertising Efforts Backfire, Cause More Advertising Overload

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The human brain is an amazing thing. It does so many complex things with complete ease. Luckily, one of the things it does is filter out, according to some, is the up to 5,000 advertising messages a city dweller sees each day. This is a very good thing. Because if the brain weren't able to filter out the incessant onslaught of advertising and consciously processed each of those 5,000 daily messages, it would explode quickly sending the owner of that brain to the nearest mental institution.

In some respects, advertising is a never ending cycle of idiocy. People ignore ads so marketers just create more. People block ads so marketers just come up with more methods to circumvent that blockage (just wait until you see the DVR-proof side and bottom bar ads the nets will soon implement).

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by Steve Hall    Jan-17-08    
Topic: Cause, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Apple: The Only Company Capable of Designing Products Properly, Thinketh Steve Jobs

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You gotta love a CEO that falls in love with his own product to the exclusion of all else. In a NYT interview Steve Jobs calls the Macbook Air the most elegant of Apple's computer designs, lavishing affection even on its four adorable footpads.

"Some of the competitors' machines are so flimsy," he reportedly gushed, "they require a fifth or even sixth pad to keep from sagging."

Keep the image of those sagging competitor footpads in mind when you've absorbed his take on the Amazon Kindle and Google Android.

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by Angela Natividad    Jan-16-08    
Topic: Brands, Opinion



JPMorgan Chase Work Stirs Double Standard Debate

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Men have fantasies. Lots of fantasies. And We're not just talking about sex here. In this new commercial for J.P. Morgan Chase from Mcgarrybowen, we see a man doing the James Bond thing to get a stolen credit card back. But, as we find out, he's only doing it in his mind while taking a call from Chase alerting him to some fraud on his card.

As with most male fantasies, it's all about action, car chases death defying stunts and fancy footwork. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact guys in these sorts of commercial always seem to be, well, average looking. Very un-James Bond-like, in fact. While many commercials are filled with stunningly beautiful or mouth waveringly sexy women, we can't seem to get rid of the Verizon Dad and his ilk. Perhaps, not unsurprisingly, its because the guys who create these commercials (and it is all guys in this case) love to look at beautiful women but want nothing to do with any man who might be better looking than them. So, we get Mr. Average who always seems to end up with Mrs. Amazingly Hot.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-14-08    
Topic: Commercials, Opinion, Trends and Culture










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