France Considers Smoking Ban, Marketers Fear Loss of Hipsters

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If tobacco marketers thought France was a safe haven, they may be in for an attitude adjustment. A parliamentary panel in France is considering a ban on public smoking as soon as next year as well as considering "hermetically sealed" partitioned rooms for smokers complete with smoke-extraction systems and health rules.

This is a big deal considering the longtime French love affair with cigarettes, plus everyone knows that if the existentialist black-clad intelligentsia can't smoke in public venues then they stop being intelligentsia and start being, well, whiny kids. And apparently if you dig far enough into the French President's website, you'll find a photo of a younger Jacques Chirac with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, channeling James Dean with all his might. We don't know why that's relevant to the story, but somehow it just is.

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by Angela Natividad    Oct- 4-06    
Topic: Trends and Culture



Apply Directly to the Forehead. Again. Again. Again

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The Slug offers up a retrospective on this past Summer's inane Head On commercial and the media frenzy which ensued because of it. If you haven't seen the spot, it's the one that repeats, "Head On. Apply directly to the forehead," over and over and over but offers no actual statement as to what the product's purpose might be. Created completely without ironic insiderism, the commercial found itself the subject of many parodies, an MSNBC interview with Barbara Lippert in which she just won't shut up, coverage on NBC Nightly New with Brian Williams, again with Barbara Lippert, and, finally, a self-referential spoof created by the company itself. Still, no one knows what the hell the product is supposed to do. OK, yes, it's for headaches but they never say so. Witty.

As Brian Unger said on MSNBC, we shouldn't be surprised to hear "Bud, put it in your mouth" during the Super Bowl.

by Steve Hall    Oct- 3-06    
Topic: Commercials, Opinion, Strange, Trends and Culture, Video



Free Hugs: He Said, She Said

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"No! No! No! No, it's not a clandestine promotion for the band Sick Puppies, " our intern yelled at us. "But, come one, a guy in a video with a sign that says Free Hugs roaming around in Sydney, Australia just hoping to brighten the world with nothing to gain from it?" we shouted back. "Yes you jaded idiot," screamed the intern, "Not everything on YouTube is trying to sell you something."

Not convinced, we stood up and asked, "What about this little gem on the Free Hugs website that says 'With grass root marketing tactics we promote products and ideas that are in line with our core values and the FREE HUGS message.'? I suppose that just means the products and ideas they claim to promote are love and goodwill?"

"Damn," the intern who was now jumping out of her seat bellowed. "You pompous, unfeeling know-it-all! Do you think the only thing every human being thinks about is getting the newest version of the iPod?" "Um, yes," we answered.

"Fuck you," she screamed as she turned and left, likely to go give someone a free hug.

by Steve Hall    Oct- 3-06    
Topic: Consumer Created, Trends and Culture, Video, Viral



Ripped From the Lips of Carat's David Verklin: FSIs in Danger!

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Recent speculation that Wal-mart and other big box retailers may stop using free standing inserts in newspapers is predicted to cause a giant stampede to the newsstand as the public realizes it can actually read a newspaper without having to wade through an inch thick pile of irrelevant advertising just to catch up on the status of Paris Hilton's ass flap or whether Dick Cheney still exists. While newspapers are said to be in a state of shock over the impending doom, many fail to realize people might actually agree to pay for their product, thus increasing circulation thus increasing ad rates thus increasing revenue, if they could actually find the editorial buried beneath that orgy of advertising known as the FSI. OK so that's cracked logic but, on the other hand, if newspaper publishers finally realize the importance of deodorant that costs five cents less pales in comparison to the important news of who George Clooney will date this week to foil paparazzi, this recent news might not be so hard to swallow. OK, that's cracked logic too but...oh forget it.

by Steve Hall    Oct- 3-06    
Topic: Newspaper, Trends and Culture



Cuban: Anyone Who Buys YouTube is a Moron

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- Agency vet Scott G shares his views on agency diversity including his overhearing an agency exec tell a recruiter "No blacks or Hispanincs."

- Geico's back with another one of those caveman commercials.

- Bill Green from Make the Logo Bigger goes much further than our usually brief, pat hand slap offered marketers for their over reliance on consumer generated media and tells clients to take the handcuffs off their own agency's creative and watch what happens.

- Mark Cuban says anyone who buys YouTube is a moron.

- Advertising Age reviews Advertising Week and determines it's the booze that made it a success.

- Al Ries, weighing in a year later, thinks the name change from J. Walter Thompson to JWT is dumb.

- We liked Yahoo's Bully commercial. Predictably, Bob Garfield didn't.

- Clear Channel offers ad units that are shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter and...well...shorter.

by Steve Hall    Oct- 2-06    
Topic: Agencies, Trends and Culture, Video



Agencies Run From Diversity 'Like Chickens With Asses Plucked Clean'

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Dishing out some of the best diversity-related smack talk, New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook, in reaction to New York advertising agencies' failure to heed an invitation to appear at yesterday's minority-owned public hearings. said agencies "ran like chickens with their asses plucked clean." Well we all know agency folk are right up there with metrosexuals when it comes to trimming the privates, ass plucking is a new one on us. Agencies, advised by the AAAA's legal counsel, idn't show because they were told their earlier hiring arrangements with the Human Rights Council was enough to do the diversity trick. Like last minute preparations for a big presentations where "Fuck it. We don't need that. We'll just fake it during the presentation" is commonplace thought, agencies figured Advertising Week events would be a whole lot more fun than being grilled by a bunch of pissed off, pro-diversity city officials. Afterall, the Week's crucially important, all expenses paid, lavish luncheons and late night parties just can't be missed.

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by Steve Hall    Sep-27-06    
Topic: Agencies, Industry Events, Trends and Culture



Milwaukee's Best Beer Cannon Much Better Than OutPost Gerbil

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If you're not going to use hot women in bikinis when you create your beer commercial masterpiece, the only other option, really, is to blow stuff up with beer cans. Reminiscent of the famed OutPost.com Gerbil commercial, are several videos on YouTube of a few guys who were paid by Milwaukee's Best to make a beer cannon that projects beer cans into objects in front of a target such as a television, a watermelon, a plant, mayonnaise, beef stew, eggs and other assorted items. Collectively, the videos have been viewed almost a couple million times on YouTube.

If you want to see all the vdeos crammed into one, there's a montage version set the the tune of Robert Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries made popular in the movie Apocalypse Now. All the videos are on the Milwaukee's Best website too.

by Steve Hall    Sep-26-06    
Topic: Good, Online, Trends and Culture, Video



Subliminal Advertising Makes a Comeback As Spam

The Ambiguously Effective Idea that Just Won't Die is back and nebulous as ever. A stock called TMXO leaped 31% on September 5 after somebody sent out a GIF with one of those wildly appealing messages that you discover in your e-mail twenty-six times a day.

Apparently "stock spam" can artificially spike a stock by 4.9-6 for the average spammer. So why did TMXO do almost five times better? *Sigh* Because of subliminal advertising: that seemingly innocent GIF consists of four frames, only one of which is the message you think you see. The other three spout BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY.

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by Angela Natividad    Sep-25-06    
Topic: Bad, Online, Strange, Trends and Culture



NBC Bitch Slaps Detractors of YouTube Promotions With Smackdown

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In a very un-TV network-like manner and in response to freaks like this who are offended any company would dare to promote anything on YouTube, NBC created a video called Bill the Promo Guy in which Bill asks viewers to understand he does the promos because the salary he receives for producing them puts his son through prep school and buys his daughter a horse. NBC has arrived. It gets YouTube. It gets the video response. It gets this groovin' social media thing. Ah fuck it, it's just another ad. But a good one. A really, really good one. Kudos.

by Steve Hall    Sep-22-06    
Topic: Best, Online, Promotions, Strange, Television, Trends and Culture



It's Official. Hot Pregnant Women to Replace Stupid Men In Ads

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Two makes a trend and and now it's official. Hot pregnant women are the new advertising hood ornament. Following the formerly reported ad for SEAT Altea car maker which featured a hot pregnant woman adorning the hood of a car, hot pregnant (photoshopped) women are now promoting Nova Shin beer. Or at least we think that's what they're promoting. It was odd enough to have a pregos Demi Moore and Britney Spears on magazine covers. Now we'll be seeing them in ad everywhere because, of course, pregnancy is a beautiful thing, right?

by Steve Hall    Sep-18-06    
Topic: Strange, Trends and Culture








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