Previously on Adrants. Everyone who works in marketing and any business touching it should take the time to read this article. On CBSNews.com, Dick Meyer wrote an editorial hammering home points we've touched on here before such as the portrayal of men as idiots in advertising, the hyper-political correctness foisted upon the industry and society at large and the acceptance, what scholar Charles Murray relates to "ecumenical niceness," of kids dressing and behaving like thugs fueled by marketers and the entertainment industry elevating "thug culture" to culture at large. If that's a lot to digest, just read the article and think long and hard about what cultural imagery you mirror in your marketing. Don't cop out using the tired, "Oh we're just identifying with culture," and turn a blind eye to what you are perpetuating.
Over the years, we've commented on the emasculated, sole-searching, directionless, man syndrome made famous by those Verizon Dumb Dad ads. Writing in Entertainment Weekly about how today's man just won't grow up and how he's portrayed by show creators and advertiser as a aimless, child-like buffoon, Mark Harris captures, perfectly, the ironic attraction of AMC's Mad Men.
He writes, "...the 35ish Don Draper is a New York advertising whiz with a wife, a mistress, unquenchable ambition and not an iota of little-boy-ishness; in fact, he's determined to grind his inner child into dust and obliterate any trace of vulnerability...He's a relic of an ancient civilization, and a flat out terrible role model. But in his struggle not to lose his soul, he is also, indisputably, a grown up. No wonder he suddenly seems like the sexiest thing on television."
Unlike Oldsmobile which tried to distance itself from its aging audience with the "It's Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" campaign, Beam Global Spirits is embracing the older generation for its Canadian Club whiskey by exclaiming, "Damn Right YOur Dad Drank It." Created by Energy BBDO, the campaign will launch in November with radio, out-of-home, POS and print. Ads will appear in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, with additional placements in Playboy, Men's Journal, Esquire, Outside and Men's Fitness in December and into 2008.
Hauling out imagery 60's and 70's imagery from actual Beam Global employees and positioning Dad as a once cool manly man, ads state "Your Mom Wasn't Your Dad's First," "Your Dad Was Not a Metrosexual" and "Your Dad Never Got a Pedicure."
Are we seeing a full-on return to the glory days of the hard liquor cocktail when beer was for factory workers and wine was for sissies? Can we now go back to the three martini lunch, pinch asses in the afternoon and have three more martinis at night while watching Mad Men? We might not get any work done but it sure sounds like fun.
We always thought it was funny that Unilever would champion girls' self-esteem via Dove (courtesy of Ogilvy) and premit mass objectification of lusty ladies via Lynx/Axe (courtesy of Bartle Bogle Hegarty).
Boston's Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is less amused.
"The hypocrisy is Dove positioning itself as a brand that cares and is trying to teach girls to resist this messaging," said associate director Josh Golin. "At the same time Unilever, in the form of Axe, is putting out some of the worst messaging there is."
Our take? Unilever's just a parent company.
Here's a music and video campaign called Not For Sale. The object of the game is to raise money to stop the global slave trade, which is a $32 billion industry, apparently.
We're very moved but, having come from a country whose favourite export is mail order brides and domestic helpers, we're feeling a little nonplussed.
For each girl that's bought out of slavery, another handful leaps in, encouraged by angling parents and crappy governments (which, instead of using its money for roads or transport, may fund stupid shit like Imelda Marcos' shoe fetish, a social tragedy romanticized by fashionistas worldwide).
In the end, trying to end slavery is about persuading corrupt governments to stop swilling their countries and make more productive decisions. But that'll probably happen around the same time Bush stops throwing America's dollar value at the War on Terror.
Here it comes... Here it comes... Here it comes... Oh wait, that's another thing. But, still, here it comes. Just as we new it would, marketers have begun to ravage Facebook with their wares. MySpace was turned into an ugly, flashing, digital billboard. Second Life was a silly waste of money. What will Facebook bestow upon marketers and marketers upon Facebook?
Whatever it is, no one will care in six month to a year because there'll be something else gracing that slide in every ad agency's PowerPoint presentation where the new and the cool are recommended because, well, they're new and cool and it makes the agency seem new and cool in front of the marketer and the marketer new and cool in front of its customers and investors. Here today, gone tomorrow Cool and the Cool Hunters who follow the wave are about to hit the speed of light.
If you followed my Advertising Week adventure at all, you probably know I hit YPulse on Friday. In the late afternoon, a bunch of kids were corralled onto the stage to give us one last shot at learning their inner-workings before hitting the road.
Like the minds of the demographic it hopes to distill, the one-room YPulse Tween Mashup conference hall is a different world.
Upon entering, you're accosted by Michael Jackson's ABC (this is before Hanson's Mmmbop was spun about 6 different times) -- and with so much pink SWAG just waiting to be snapped up, you feel roughly the same emotional tug that only Lisa Frank's overpriced unicorn-shaped pencil sharpeners could conjure.
With all this going on, the YPulse atmosphere serves to make marketers feel pre-adolescent and out-of-touch, all at the same time.
Tell me how to nail cheap two-star accommodations in NY the day before Advertising Week, and I'll call you a liar and tell you how you - yes, you - can survive in a youth hostel during a business trip.
Because after (reeeeally) bad planning on my part, that's where I ended up.
At the end of yesterday's Saving Darfur session, which ran a half hour over time, I wandered the streets of New York in desperate pursuit of the 1 Subway line.
After accidentally interrupting the filming of a movie called "Fighting," I located this crucial urban vein, hopped on and trekked to my hotel.
Priceline.com has this cool option where you can "name your price!" on a hotel. The setback is, if they find you a place at "your price!", you're married to it - no refunds, no takebacks. [Ed. Someday we'll elevate ourselves from the slums and hire and executive travel planner who will hunt down and torture Paris Hilton until she orders Hilton Management to put us up at the Waldorf Astoria for $50 a night.]
So it was with surprise, some chagrin and a sudden craving for croissants that I discovered my hotel, attractively dubbed West End Studios, was not a hotel at all but a youth hostel.
The world spun. I'd gone from from Underdressed Amongst Ad Execs to Overdressed to Kill. Flippin' amazing.
OK. Pay attention. If you are a marketer or an ad agency that markets products and services to tweens, teens and twenty-something females you owe it to yourself to spend some time viewing these videos from 3iYing, a New York based "all girl creative agency" which has filmed hundreds of girls reacting to ads for a series called Adflip. In each of the videos, girls tell us why the ads they hold in their hands cause them to flip the page and get ignored.
Commenting on the ridiculousness of many of the ads twenty year old Rosaura sees in her favorite magazine, she says there are "orgasm faces everywhere. It looks like they're climaxing right there on the page." One tween wonders why a Lot29 Juniors ad features a giant breasted girl in the ad saying, "I'm a junior and I don't look like this. What does she stuff everything in her bra?" Explaining why a Dodge ad got the flip, one girl says, "to market a car it's not like once it matches my lipstick, oh, of course I'm going to go and buy it."
For a dollar, you could get a Digital Panhandler to shit-talk somebody in an audio email. (As a courtesy to patrons, your identity will remain anonymous.)
Ain't technology great?
For other sackcloth-sporting brethren the premier Panhandler lends these words of encouragement: "Remember Digital Panhandlers you are not alone. Where ever you may roam in the matrix you will find a fellow Digital Panhandler."
In the end, that's all these ad-supported new-media-buzzing VC-hustling widget-builders are doing anyway, right? And why not? At least one guy's freshly-plush off the hype.