White House Delayed $226 Homeland Security Ad Campaign

An article on AntiWar.com by New York freelance writer Daniel Forbes claims Tom Ridge delayed for 17 months the $226 million Homeland Security advertising campaign to coincide with the launch of the Iraq war. Rather than launching the campaign months after 9/11 when it would have been most useful, it launched in February 2003 less than a month before the bombing of Iraq began thereby delaying delivery of important public health information. In an e-mail exchange, Forbes summarized his article by stating that -- cloaked by the ostensible public service message of terrorism preparedness -- the rhetoric in the ads served to whip up public sentiment for war.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

The Big Idea Dies A Slow Death

Randall Rothenberg writes in Ad Age about the death of The Idea - what he calls the "hallmark of modern marketing." From Volkswagen's "Think Small to Alka-Seltzer's "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" to the Jolly Green Giant and Tony the Tiger, the icons and ideas brands once stood on are quickly disappearing yielding to product placements, celebrity endorsements and event marketing.

The big idea was supposed to be a great concept that would last for years and be branded into the psyche of the consumer. Now, it's all about the latest, coolest here-today-gone-tomorrow marcomm trickery. Gerbals shot from a cannon. The Lingerie Half Time Show. Subservient Chicken. All good ideas - if they were a part of a larger, longer lasting campaign. People of a certain age will be able to not only sing the jingles they heard over and over and over as kids but they will actually be able to remember the product. Not so with many of today's advertising efforts.

Rothenberg explains, "They (marketers of old) understood the value of a 'unique selling proposition,' but saw additionally that integrating the USP into a well-crafted narrative could make it live in the hearts and minds of consumers forever. It's telling that our memories of the best of these campaigns still evoke the marketers themselves."

Now, it's about Britney Spears and Thalia and Tiger Woods and Beyonce and Jessica Simpson and Outcast and supermodels and Keira Knightley and David Beckham which would be fine if they stuck with one campaign for a period of time but they don't. It's all about money, exposure and cool factor.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

Adrants Named Best Individual Advertising Weblog

Adrants has been named best individual weblog on general marketing and advertising topics by industry publisher MarketingSherpa. The survey was conducted during the month of May with more than 800 MarketingSherpa readers examining and voting on 29 Blogs in six categories. In the individual advertising weblog category Adrants was up against well known weblogger Seth Godin among others.

Adrants was launched by Boston-based advertising professional Steve Hall in March 2002 as a means to maintain contact with the advertising industry during a period of personal unemployment. Reporting on the brilliance and idiocy of the media and advertising industry, Adrants has grown from a personal hobby to a small business with 2,000 newsletter subscribers and over 5,000 unique daily visitors bathing in subversive comment on the questionable, the absurd, the new and the noteworthy. It's popular appeal is likely the tangential topic matter not found in mainstream media coupled with an odd propensity to include a plethora of Maxim-like photographs any respectable advertising publication would surely deem salacious and un-newsworthy.

Upon winning this coveted awards, aspiring publisher Steve Hall plans to accelerate his grandiose plans for growing the Adrants empire potentially including hostile takeover bids for old media giants Ad Age and AdWeek or the launch of an ad agency that values something other than the tired :30 spot. But, today, in celebration of this honorable industry achievement, he'll just head over to the local hospital for a routine colonoscopy just to make sure the path is clear for more great Adrants content.

From his hospital bed, Mr. Hall said, "I'd like to give a big shout out to all of you who saw some redeeming quality, however small, in the oddness of what is Adrants. Much appreciation. You rock. Now quit wasting time reading this excuse for news and get back to work while I finish my colonoscopy and get back to ranting."

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

Husband's Snoring, Kids Are Asleep, Women Go Gaming

A report from Digital Marketing Services found women over age 40 spend the most time of any demo online playing games. Perhaps sick of the whining husband or the crying kid, Moms are logging on to find a relaxed community and escapism from life's stresses. Fourty three percent of gamers are women and advertisers are ignoring them and going after the hot male 18-34 demo. For months, I've seen a Mom I know popping onto my AIM window after midnight routinely. Now I know why. Ad Age covers this phenomenon and delves into some of the games and sites that women frequent.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

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Ad Age Releases 'Women to Watch 2004'

No, it's not a swimsuit iussue. It's a report dedicated to the 25 agency, marketing and media women who have made distinct accomplishements in 2004.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

Upscale Magazines Not So Upscale

The most recent research from Mediamark Research has revealed findings that go against traditional magazine perceptions. For instance, "Us Weekly" readers are more affluent than "Vanity Fair" readers and "Town & Country" readers makes less money than "Weight Watchers" readers. Check those numbers before you go with your gut.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04    

Cannes Brings Out Creative Insanity

Be it brand development, product promotion or otherwise, the goal of advertising is, ultimately, to move product which is why when I read comments like this from creative people, it makes my skin crawl.

"Some [marketers] see work (at Cannes) they could never approve," said an executive creative director. "Some clients have the misconception that the work always has to be strategic and get upset when they see an ad that wins a gold, silver or bronze and they ask 'Where's the strategy in that?' Some corporate guys don't get it."

Don't get it? WTF. Dude, you don't get it. Not a single piece of advertising should be without strategy. Advertising is not an art contest. It is a means to move a business forward. Sure, go to Cannes and schmooze the week away and rub elbows with the cool people of the world but don't utter bullshit like this. Advertising is a form of marketing that is designed to make consumers aware of a product so they buy it. You want art - go paint a picture. It's really very simple.

by Steve Hall    Jun- 7-04