Growing up, our house was always full of LEGOS. Boxes and boxes of LEGOS. There were elaborate trucks made out of LEGOS; strange flying machines; entire cities constructed out of LEGOS. Friends would come over and spend hours playing with LEGOS. Grandparents, aunts ans uncles would marvel at the creations. It was fun. It kept us out of Mom's hair. As entertaining as this was, we never knew that every time we uttered the word LEGOS, we were pissing off a member of the LEGO brand management police. That's right. LEGO has no 'S.' It's just plain LEGO. Though, since time began, it seems kids the world over have been abusing the LEGO brand by calling them LEGOS. We know of no one who "plays with LEGO." Everyone "plays with LEGOS," of course.
Clearly the result of waring factions caught up in weeks of pompous, self-important, white-boarded, conference room mission/vision/essence/position marketing pontification, Sprint, today, launched its new look incorporating its recent acquisition of Nextel. The new logo features the word "Sprint" along with an innocuous graphic and the words, "Together with Nextel." Huh? Which company is this? Together with who? Sprint? Nextel? Help. We are very confused. And we actually know what's going on. Pity the poor consumer who has to wade through this morass of compromise. Please let this be very temporary.
Bucky Turco reports Scion's latest hip hop promotion, NEXT UP, an unsigned emcee search, has recently faced backlash from the very community it was trying to reach. The car company disqualified an emcee because of his politically charged lyrics about President Bush and the war. The track, entitled Black Gold, is an obvious reference to oil and the war.
The rap artist, Bavu Blakes, was willing to alter his lyrics a bit so he could advance to the next round of the competition and potentially win a $50,000 marketing deal, but Inform Ventures, the marketing company handling the promotion for Scion, said he was disqualified because his lyrics were too political.In fairness to Scion, Bavu entered the "underground" category rather than the "political" category but many still believe Bavu was censored.
Sullivan Higdon & Sink VP Creative Director and one half of the American Copywriter podcast team John January has weighed in on the recent Project Wannamaker study by The PreTesting Company which found creative effectiveness burns out after two to three weeks on the air.
In response to a blog post by Business Week's David Kiley which, in part, predicted a trend towards increasing offshore commercial production, January wrote, "Outsourcing production to India? Come on, kids. We can figure this out. Can't we? All it takes is open minds. Open-minded creatives, open-minded producers, open-minded production partners. So simple in pixels. So not simple in real life. But we'd better get our collective heads around this."
Kiley also mentions one agency is exploring how MTV produces so many high quality promotions and videos at low cost and how media shops, with their number crunching efficiencies are about to take on the bloated world of advertising production. Forget weblogs. That shift, if it sees light of day, is something to seriously ponder.
In an effort to passify those who think men are portrayed in advertising as over sexed, neanderthal morons, JWT has announced it will cease characterizing men as boob-fixated, humping jack rabbits. The change in policy follows the release of a book by one of the agency's vice presidents, Marian Salman, who says men have been mocked in advertising for far too long. While true when it comes to illustrating men as clueless buffoons as Verizon did recently, to strip away certain innate behaviors is questionable. Perhaps it's all payback for, until recently, portraying women as clueless, man-serving kitchen maids.
Salman says, "All too often in the marketing arena, we're portraying man as the victim - of his sexual organ or his lust, his emotional neediness, his overinflated ego or his sheer ineptitude." OK, true. That could be toned down a bit but do we want to re-engineer man to appear as if he's become some sexless, robotic, new age, virtue-spewing automaton?
By now, everyone has heard of weblogs. If you haven't, welcome, you are reading one right now. If you think you've read this before, you have. In the interest of espousing the value of weblogs to our industry, we're republishing this little piece of opinionated advice. For various reasons, many people and companies can benefit from blogging. So can ad agencies. Ad agencies are hired for two main reasons. First, and not always most important, is creative. Second is thought leadership - does the agency in question have the smarts to create successful advertising for client companies. Both of these areas of expertise can be shared with the world of potential clients through a weblog.
Right now, agencies might be saying, "What do we need a weblog for? We already have a web site." Great. Take an honest look at it. Is it much more than a creative showcases (if that) and management bios? Aside from a few short paragraphs on your so-called "proprietary process" is there any value there for the reader? Are you offering anything that gives insight into the way your agency thinks and what your opinion is on the current state of advertising? If so, great. Most likely. though it is not.
Atari will host a graffiti-thon street festival on August 24 to promote the release of it graffiti-based game "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure" by designer Marc Ecko. At the event, held August 24th on 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues from 12:00PM - 8:00PM, 20 artists will spray-paint 48 by 8 foot replicas of New York's blue-bird subway cars.
A lineup of graffiti artists, from the notorious COPE2 to T-KID, who first started writing on trains as early as 1974, will spend the day doing full color murals on the vintage trains. Other participating graf writers include Dash, West, Ces, Sonic, Iz the Wiz, Min, Duro, Wane, Wen, Dero, Cycle, Smith, Lady Pink, Doc, Kel 1st, Mare139, Crash, Daze, Ghost, and the Tats Crew.
When you roll it all up into one article as Ad Age just did, the recent efforts by car manufacturers to glom on to BMW "The Heist"-like mini-movie ads, is all lands with a big "me too," "wannabe," been there, done that" thud. However, some, such as Mercury's "Meet the Lucky Ones" did quite well, at least in terms of generating dramatically increased exploration of web pages describing various Mercury models.
Not to rain on everyone's parade but all this seems like a lot of work when the simplicity of - 1. Here's my product. 2. It is good because... 3. Try it and we'll give you this incentive. - always seemed to work quite well.
A Hooters billboard, for a West Covina, CA Hooters, placed aside the San Bernadino Freeway in Baldwin Park has caused complaints from employees of Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center which is located beneath the billboard. Oddly, the complaints have nothing to do with images of scantily clad Hooters waitress, of which there are none on the board, but with a tagline that reads, "Only a rooster gets a better piece of chicken." Apparently, the Medical Center employees and Councilwoman Marlen Garcia, who brought the complaint to a city council meeting and said the board was "indecent or obscene," think there's something wrong with the natural act of a rooster co-habitating with a chicken. Either that or this is some sort of clandestine attempt to rid the world of scrambled eggs as a breakfast item.
Joey deVilla, a Technical Community Development Coordinator for back office software company Tucows, Inc., publishes a personal weblog on which he recently recounted an experience he had with moving company Quick Boys, mentioned in the comment section of a post he had made about Toronto movers. One of the commenters to the post, who deVilla knew, shared a bad experience with Quick Boys and recommended others steer clear of the company.