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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why? Why? Why? Why do brands launch these massive campaigns, spend all this money and make ads that don't say a thing about what the company does? Are there people in agencies that still think "branding" without meaningful substance works? Apparently, not after one of those day-long, mind-numbing vision, mission, essence, position self-serving mind fucks. After that, they're all sipping the Kool Aid without realizing the consumer wasn't in that meeting all day and has no idea what the hell the resulting brand messaging is trying to convey.
Sure, this Mobius award winning Bart Domination campaign for Kaiser Permanente will certainly force the company's name into the conscious and subconscious mind of everyone within eye sight but will they walk away having any idea what the company does? Oh wait. Yea. There's this thing called the Internet. Oh wait. There's no URL in the ad. Oh wait. There's this thing called Google. It helps you find stuff. Oh wait, Kaiser's name is impossible to spell. Even if one does find their way to the site, it doesn't even tell you what the company does. Not until you click in several levels or visit the far more helpful Wikipedia listing. And yes, we have heard of Kaiser Permanente before and many people in California, where the campaign is running, have as well but that's not the case with most other marketer's that go this route.
So why? Why? Why make your potential customer work when you only have a split second of their time? Why paint pretty pictures that are devoid of commercial messaging. This isn't art. It's advertising. Wallow in the beautiful non-descriptiveness of this campaign here (PDF).
Oh, and the explanation for why those tree trunks and their copy look fake: "Apparently the photos taken of the installation were not very good and someone thought they could be improved by photoshopping the copy that was on the pillars onto the already poor quality photos."
Is it just us or has this PayPerPost thing gone to far? PayPerPost is the company that pays bloggers to write positive posts about a brand. Now the company has launched an affiliate program that promises to pay other bloggers
recruit other bloggers and pay them to link to the posts written by the original PayPerPost bloggers. Let's see if we can get this straight. PayPerPost is going to pay bloggers to link to other blogger's content, for which the sole reason of its existence was cash changing hands. Is anyone else having a WTF moment about this right now? Have these PayPerPost people lost all sense of reality? There are so many things wrong with this on so many levels.