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.
If you are involved in email marketing as a brand, as an agency on behalf of a brand, as a list owner or as a provider, you have certainly hit your head against the wall trying to process all the myriad details that go along with the practice; CanSpam issues, deliverability, response rates, affiliate relationships, effect of Subject line, proper frequency, spam filters, competitive activity, offer effectiveness and email design to name a few. A company we've been following for some time but have never written about is Email data Source, a company that answers all these questions. Each time we see a demo, we are amazed at what this thing can do.
Apparently, the backlash over the Snickers Super Bowl commercial in which two men end up kissing after eating a Snickers bar from opposite ends was too much for the company to take and, as a result, the candy maker has taken down the commercial's accompanying website, afterthekiss.com. Typing in the URL simply redirects to the Snickers site.
While we liked this spot purely for its shock value, there's a faintly high probability this will have a very real negative affect on sales. Can you imagine the looks one will now receive from the checkout clerk when they buy a Snickers bar? That's just way too much snickering for most people to take and there's plenty of other perfectly good candy choices with far less embarrassment attached to them.
Naming the best Super Bowl commercial is, at best, uselessly subjective and wholly irrelevant but we're going to do it anyway. And, in a shocker, we're going to agree with Advertising Age's bob Garfield and dub the Emerald Nuts Robert Goulet commercial our favorite. It's just twisted and quirky enough for us to appreciate and, not to be dismissed (although it usually is with Super Bowl ads), did a pretty good job of sliding some product benefit into the ad. So, Bob, what do you think? More importantly, what does everyone else think? Are we nuts? Oops. Sorry. Anyway, both of us (Angela and Steve) thought it was the best so we're going to honor it the Adrants Favorite for this year. The ad was developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco and was directed by the kooky and famed Perlorian Brothers.
- Bob Garfiled reviews the Super Bowl ads. He commented on all the slapping in the ads and he liked most of them except the Salesgenie ad but admitted that ad might actually work for the advertiser.
- AdWeek reports Super Bowl TiVo data found two Bud Light ads to be the most viewed by TiVo owners. "Language Course" was the most viewed followed by "Rock, Paper, Scissors." We can understand "Rock, Paper, Scissors" but "Language Course?" Maybe because it was so bad people had to rewind to see what they hell the ad was all about.
- Aside from polls, there seems to be little agreement on whether this year's Super Bowl Commerials were better or worse than in past years. Join the ongoing debate in the Adrants Discussion Group.
There's nothing like the reality and freedom of series cancellation to get the creative juices flowing. For sure, FOX's The O.C. was heading for shit and deserved to be canceled but in the past few weeks the show has gone through a dynamic rejuvenation worthy of re-instatement. The show has been turned on its head with Ryan's transformation from brooding, tough guy loner to active participant in the human race, Taylor's morph from cartoonish high school caricature to smart girl with feelings, Seth and Summer's maturing relationship, Julie Cooper's shift from vapid bitch to love struck nice girl (even if she doesn't really love the
Bull oops...Bullet...or stay with him...shouldn't write while drinking a martini), Kaitlin Cooper's change from stuck up, ego-centric mean girl to supportive daughter and Sandy and Kirsten Cohen's transition from perfect couple to even more perfect couple.
FOX, you ought to reconsider your cancellation. Or, at least threaten all shows with cancellation in order to achieve improved creativity. And yes, we admit we watch the show.
A source points us to a UK trend of snippy little domestica ads showcasing women acting out the spectrum of nasty human emotions for love of a product. The ads run along the same undercurrent: antagonists have a quality about them that's shared by kids who get in trouble long after 3rd-grade because they still haven't learned to share. (We know what happens to those kids. They grow up to be amazingly magnetic sex gods and goddesses who write ad news for a living.)
A couple of illustrative ads include this one for Toyota Yaris, where a woman passive-aggressively crashes her boyfriend's plane after he kicks the door shut on her car; and this creepy Quorn one where a girl with a fork acts out over health food.
If this is any indication of quietly growing womens' sentiments in the UK, we're disinclined to visit anytime soon, particularly if there are forks nearby. Feel free to send in more of the same or an explanation if you happen to have one.