MTV Blurs Ad/Content Line With New Programming Block

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We'd have to see it to render fair judgment and we missed its debut opting instead for Survivor and John Hughes Sixteen Candles which unintentionally sucked us in as fast as people are leaving Agency.com but last night, MTV debuted its mixed up programming block. The block merges programming with advertising and intertwined them in a heightened fashion purposefully aiming to blur the line between entertainment and commerce.

MTV describes it thusly, "Interweaving show content and the commercial experience, MTV's Thursday Night Block will present continuous engagement for the MTV audience - where shows will merge into one another, and programming content will play in commercial time - throughout a continuous 2-hour block."

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-07    
Topic: Opinion, Television, Trends and Culture



'Boston Legal' Shines With Fifty Year Old Footage of William Shatner

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Boston Legal has always been a particularly good show, even if it has become so by positively highlighting some characters while treating others as lame ass idiots. One has to feel for the plight of Mark Valley's Brad Chase on the series who's gone from formidable fixture of strength of bumbling buffoon spending no time in the courtroom and the entire last episode stuck in an air vent. And for Julie Bowen's Denise Bauer who's gone from ass-kicking, intern-belittling powerhouse to sappy second string softie. Even Rene Auberjonis has taken a back seat at crane Poole $ Schmidt.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 3-07    
Topic: Good, Opinion, Television



Marketers: Meet the New Consumer

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Freelance Creative Gabe Chouinard is a consumer. Not just any consumer but a new consumer and he wants marketers to know this. As part of our random and completely irregular guest columnist series, Gabe authored a piece entitled "I Am the New Consumer" in which he summarizes many of the points we have made here over the years. Things are different. People are in control. Marketers and not. Things must change. Marketers must listen.

While change doesn't happen overnight nor should it, the tidal wave is approaching and every one of us ought to accept it and be prepared for that shift. In his article, Gabe mentions the pointlessly idiotic Flashturbation (our words) most marketers engage in when creating their facade on the web. Wouldn't it make more sense if the focus of a brand's external image actually included a free flowing, ever-changing conversation made up of people's comments and opinions of the brand and the company's reaction/response to those comments? That would certainly fair far batter than arriving at a site that's just a pretty picture and mindless marketing blather. Yes companies have blogs which help serve a conversational purpose but currently, they are off on their own and, for the most part, not an integral part of the company's face. That should change.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 2-07    
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture



With Twisted Logic, PayPerPost CEO Defends Indefensible Business

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If you're interested in hearing some of the most twisted, blubber-filled blather explaining and defending PayPerPost, the service that pays bloggers to write positive posts for advertisers with questionable disclosure, you'll love this interview Jason Calacanis did with PayPerPost CEO Ted Murphy. To hear Murphy say he has no problem reading a blog that contains paid posts that aren't disclosed as such and try to attach some kind of logic to it is one of the saddest moments in marketing history. PayPerPost has been a laughable business model from its start and to hear Murphy try to justify it is just painful and offensive. It's an affront to what limited credibility marketing still has in the eyes of people. Lines are already blurred enough and Murphy, it seems, wants lines to disappear completely.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-28-07    
Topic: Online, Opinion, Worst



Girl in Shorts Says There's Not Enough Girl on Girl Advertising

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Becky C., publisher of Just A Girl In Short Shorts Talking About Whatever (and, yes, she looks good in her short shorts), has written a piece entitled Girl on Girl Advertising which examines advertising that features women with women and may or may not portray a lesbian relationship. She points to ads from Skyy Vodka, Banana Republic, Beefeater, Cartier, Abercrombie & Fitch and several others and wonders why there aren't more positing men would respond to these ads as well as women because, after all, what man doesn't like to see two women together?

She cites a study which finds gay male ads are ten times more prevalent than lesbian focused ads and also posits marketers are missing out on an important point: bi and lesbian girls love to shop just as much as straight girls. She's right. Bring on the girl on girl ads.

UPDATE: Actually, Becky C. seems to be misleading us a bit regarding her appearance. An Adrants reader tells us the Beck C. picture is really actress Andrea Bogart with whom he claims to have gone to school. Well, I guess you can't blame a girl for wanting to look hot is denim shirts.

by Steve Hall    Mar-28-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Nissan Dives Headfirst Into Hip-Hop, Hits Head

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It's always a little risky when major corporations try to wedge themselves into a subculture that hasn't invited them in.

Hiphop-Ads hustles us in the direction of the latest leg of Nissan's "SHIFT" campaign, entitled "SHIFT_Respect." (Insert cringe here.) With a highlight on the Tokyo hip-hop subculture, the campaign aims to illustrate the iffy ethos, "The Black Experience is everywhere."

It's a fine line Nissan walks. "The Black Experience is everywhere"? It just pokes nerves all around - among those sensitive about what it is to be black, those who feel Asians and other non-white or black minorities do nothing but throw themselves behind majority trends, and those concerned about the commoditization of hip-hop.

Did you have to say The Black Experience is everywhere? Who knows, maybe it's genius. At least it starts a conversation. We'll totally ignore the fact that it's a conversation that gets rehashed more than the sum total of celebutrash trolling bars without panties.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-22-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Magazine, Opinion



Once Again, Obesity Equation is Backwards

Now here's the problem with all this crap surrounding obesity in children. Everyone has it backwards. Marketers and the media are continually blamed for somehow forcing food down the throats of children. Here's a little factoid. As powerful as some might think marketers and the media are, they don't have arms attached to the bodies of children which mechanically force feed them the brands they manufacture and advertise. No. Kids put food in their mouths with their own arms.

Certainly, kids are greatly influenced by what they see on TV but, again, they have brains. They aren't robots with mouths. Learning to eat is something that needs to be learned. Asking a marketer, whose sole purpose is to sell shit (and it is shit), to tell kids to stop buying shit just isn't going to happen. Here's a radical concept in the form of a question. Who is the one person that is most influential in a child's life and who is charged with that child's education and upbringing? Any guesses? Not sure? We'll tell you. The child's parent. Yes, parents. Parents are the primary person in their child's lives and the ones who should be charged with educating them on proper eating habits. And yes, we know all kids don't have parents and that there are many broken homes out there but the primary responsibility for a child's eating habits is the parent.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-22-07    
Topic: Opinion, Policy



Comedian Says Commercial Song Selection Could Be Better

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Tian tells us comedian Eric O'Shea has some advice for creative departments the world over. O'Shea suggest selecting songs for commercials that actually have some relevance to what you are trying to sell. We won't spoil the fun by listing his suggestions. Just watch the video. We hope you will heed his advice. We guarantee your commercials will be far better.

by Steve Hall    Mar-22-07    
Topic: Commercials, Opinion, Strange



Old Farts Fight With Wise-Ass Youngsters Over Ageism

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A recent thread in an industry forum focused on the issue of age and ageism in advertising. Like diversity, it's a hot issue and people take sides. One line of thinking holds "old folks" have no business in the industry because they are inflexible and unable to learn new things. Another line of thinking holds there's no replacement for experience.

While ageism is alive and well, it doesn't make it right. Attitudes that assume anyone over a certain age isn't capable of adding value are alive and well but that doesn't make them right. That line of thinking is idiotically stereotypical and lacks any consideration for the individual's, whether 20 or 80, ability to do a particular job well. It's like saying because you're a woman, all you should do is stay home and cook. Or, because you're black, you should just pursue a career as a hip hop artist. These are stereotypical statements with no basis in fact.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-15-07    
Topic: Opinion



Agencies at Diversity Conference Seek Diverse Talent

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Continuing what we started in New York on Nov 8, yesterday Adrants and BDI held the second Ad Industry Diversity Job Fair and Leadership Conference in San Francisco, hosted by the Academy of Art in conjunction with BIG. Local and nationwide entities including Google, Modem Media, Draft FCB, Dieste and T3 (The Think Tank), showed up to trade paper with giddy be-suited candidates.

The set of pews and the wide church like set-up served as a good backdrop for what could be both parts keynote and sermon.

Larry Harris, EVP and Director of Integrated Marketing at DraftFCB, made a straightforward delivery on topics we expected to rise to the surface: the disparity of diversity in our industry, the changing face of marketing in the face of new media (iPods, internet, mobile phones, chip-reading billboards) and the importance of knowing what you want before leaping into the wild blue yonder. He also told an awesome story about how he infiltrated agency execs by pretending to be a message boy. "They let you right in!" he exclaimed.

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by Angela Natividad    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Agencies, Good, Industry Events, Opinion







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