Dear Wieden + Kennedy (and most other ad agencies too),
Please repeat on the conference room white board 100 times: A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film. A commercial is not a film.
Or at least stop your PR people from referring to :30's and :60's over and over again as films. They're commercials. They're ads. No matter how beautiful or creatively fueled they are (and your latest work for Nike certainly is, indeed , beautiful), they're ads. They're just ads. Sorry. No amount of creative puffery can change that. Most movies aren't even films let alone :30 and :60 bits of creativity that sell stuff.
So, please, can we lay off the inflated sense of ego and just realize all we do in this business is sell stuff? We can glamorize it all we want. We can give it fancy names. We can even go to Cannes a week after "real" filmmakers do to make ourselves feel as though we are they're equals. We are not. They make entertainment. We sell stuff.
The Pompous Assholes From Adrants
(who, at heart, are really, really nice people who totally understand the business of the press release which, for better or worse, must follow a format that is far removed from how normal human beings speak but, for better or worse, we are stuck with and make fun of from time to time which then causes unrest because of that fun-making which, in turn, causes us to profusely apologize to the very nice human whose job it was to write the standardized information delivery transferal, all of which, for better or worse, rightly earns us the the title Pompous Assholes)
There are unconfirmed and likely false rumors floating about that Nike will sign a marketing deal with high school pole vaulting sensation Allison Stokke. A few weeks ago, Stokke became the subject of a leering Internet drool fest much to the chagrin of Stokke and her family who felt, first hand, what's it's like to be the object of Internet admiration. While images of Stokke are said to have been circulating for years, it wasn't until an image of her posing her her pole appeared on the sports blog With Leather that things broke loose.
Stokke, 18, is a senior at Newport Harbor high school in Newport Beach, California, set the freshman female pole vaulting record of 12' 8" and now jumps consistently over 13 feet. She's won titles, broken records and earned scholarships but now she's feeling the unfortunate fame of becoming an Internet celebrity. At first, she kept it a secret when friends tipped her her images were beginning to appear all over the Internet. Shortly after that she told her parents and has now considered consulting handlers to deal with all the sudden media attention.
Creativity is subjective at best but we think we'll have overwhelming support when we say the newly released London 2012 Olympic logo sucks. On the other hand, creativity is subjective at best but also we think we'll have overwhelming support when we say the newly released 2012 Olympic logo is brilliantly infused with modernity of motion and the mastery of motivation. You choose. We can't.
Viewing the logo, designed by Wolff Ollins, initially caused an immediate WTF? Letting the logo sink in while viewing the illustrative brand video behind the logo causes an entirely different reaction. The support for the brand direction could have easily gone down the ill but well traveled road of Olympic fist pumping, rather it quite eloquently examines what motivates humans to achieve. Interestingly, it wasn't for quite some time, we realized the logo's imagery visually represents the numeric date 2012.
AdFreak has encapsulated the hilarious exchange between a man who owns a spa and a woman who dislike the billboard he's using to promote the spa. It's like a Battle of the Sexes Bitch Fight and all because the board happens to shows the image of a good looking woman to illustrate what the spa can do your your body. Taking no shit and refusing to remove the board, the spa owners delivers the final blow, saying, "My next billboard is going to be of a 300-pound woman and it will say, 'Could you help me please?' Then everyone would be after me saying, 'My son is traumatized because you showed me a fat woman.'"
We like to look at beautiful people because we want to be beautiful. It's motivational. We like to look at fat and ugly people because it makes us feel better not being as fat or as ugly. What good would a board showing a average, every day person accomplish? Exactly. Absolutely nothing. And marketers don't like what nothing gets them. Extremes work. Average doesn't.
What? Wait a minute. This just isn't right. Have we finally realized women aren't the only objects that can be used to sell beer? Is it possible a hot guy could attract as much attention as a hot girl? Just what is going on here? Are we observing a new trend of sorts? What, pray tell, are all the leering, slobbering, Budweiser drinkers going to do now that they may be subjected to the trite objectification of men instead of the beer babeliciousness they have come to expect from most brewers' advertising?
We are stunned. Stunned! Have we reached a culturally significant watershed moment here? This just boggles the mind. This turns things upside down. Are the Coors Twins out of a job? What about the Miller Lite Cat Fight babes? The St. Pauli Girl? The Rolling Rock Beer Ape Babes? The Milwaukee's Best Automotive Girl? The Foster's Beer Boob? The Bavaria Beer grocery store stripper? Beer.com's Virtual Bartenders? The Troegs Beer burping and farting babe? The Labatt's Blue lesbians?
Factory Publishing is promoting a Triumph Motorcycle-sponsored computer-generated online graphic novel called The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore which stars British actor Colin Salmon. Viewers and musicians are being asked to participate in the storyline by creating their own adventures and submitting their own soundtracks for the show.
In a tandem effort we're not completely clear on, Factory Publishing has created two videos that trash media and ad agencies involvement with consumer generated media somehow labeling them unnecessary middlemen. While it's true some agency managed consumer generated media campaign have resulted in work that's far from pure CGM, these videos paint agencies as a sort of Hitleresque evil which stunts the growth of unadulterated CGM.
We just thought this was funny. And it wasn't that long ago, either.
In April 2004 Garrett French of Web Pro News wrote a post about Google's announcement of GMail - which, in Google's "loose, freewheeling" style, fell just before April Fool's Day.
"How long," French scoffed, "would it take before that ocean of email burst from the Google server farm and sank Washington?"
*Observes moment of silence for nostalgic wave*
Funny how standards can change.
If it weren't bad enough agencies have to deal with needless agency consultants making money for doing what clients are too lazy to do themselves, now they have to deal with the illogical idiocy common sense-challenged companies like Kraft are now foisting upon them. Kraft, in twisted logic not seen since CareerBuilder fired its agency because the agency's add didn't make the USA Today Top Ten, is requiring agencies participating in a review to not only cede ownership of pitched concepts (a not so uncommon practice) but also to accept liability for those concepts if they end up being used and cause legal problems in the future ( a new and extremely stupid practice).
Someone please help us here. We'll say it again. Kraft wants agencies to give up ownership of any presented idea. Then it wants to be able to sue the agency that presented those ideas if they cause legal trouble in the future...even though the agency doesn't even own the idea any more! We have a headache.
Regarding ageism in advertising, back in March, we wrote, in part, "While it's true there isn't much gray hair in the advertising world, that's due to any number of reasons including 'older' folks leaving to start successful businesses of their own after having endured the idiocy of too many wise-ass, know-it-all 20-somethings making fools of themselves in front of their equally stupid clients and having to bail them out.
Harsh? Sure. But so is the assumption anyone over 40 is a clueless idiot. Neither line of thinking aids this (ageism) situation. People should be respected for their intelligence, not the number of candles on their birthday cake. There are just as many stupid 25 years olds out there as there are stupid 65 year olds. Age is irrelevant. Or at least it should be."
What sparked this was the fact we (OK, me) are not 30 any more as well as a post to an industry forum group by Laredo Group President Leslie Laredo which, following my suggestion the piece receive a wider audience, an edited version of her commentary ended up in Advertising Age as an opinion piece. You can (and should) read the article here.
OK, OK. We get it. Big tobacco company's suck but trying to apply old demographic assumptions tobacco companies may have made about African Americans in the past to today's African Americans is stretching it a bit but that's the premise of the latest Truth campaign Whadafxup spot. While we dig Truth spokesman Derrick Beckles' new look as he interviews MTV's Nick Cannon, these spots continue to grate.
We're not defending tobacco companies but we're sure if a little digging was done, every company would be guilty of some sort of stereotyping of its audience. After all, marketing isn't about individuality (yet) and the purpose of demographic targeting is to categorize, label and assign certain attributes whether or not those labels correctly reflect the actual brand's customer.