24 December, 2008

From the Intern Sweatshop: A Holiday Haiku

Okay, this holiday haiku was a lot more pertinent for our needy intern two weeks ago when she wrote it, but we haven't seen her since then, and it's still the holiday season, so we figured, why not? Sorry this so late. Heather, you may still have to sell that toe.

--Captain Awesome

The countdown has begun to the holiday crunch time: two weeks till Kwanzaa, 12 days till Christmas Eve, and 10 days till Chanukah. This time of year brings out the chaos in us all. There are holiday parties to go to, malls to conquer, traveling traffic to sit in and bank accounts to be drained. It’s always stressful coming up with the perfect gift for those who matter most.

However, I have learned the nicest, most personal gifts are those that come straight from the heart. Heartfelt and honest is always the best approach, which is why I am dedicating a poem to my parents for the holiday season.

Fridayish Haiku: Holiday Handout

You know that they say,
Better to give than receive –
Please send me money.

Happy Holidays!
Love your daughter the intern,
Cash or check is fine.

--Heather Knapp, Broke Creative Department Intern

From the Intern Sweatshop: A Holiday HaikuSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Happy Holidays

We're about out for the holly-daze, and lord knows our brains are already here. So in the spirit of holiday togetherness and sharing, here's a cross-post link to an article I put out at my night gig at the Baltimore Sun's b.

Because everyone with young children can attest to this. And everyone with older ones are reaping what they've sown.

Think about that as you light candles and tear at gift wrap, friends.

Stay safe. Stay warm. And we'll see you next year.

Happy HolidaysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 December, 2008

Ad Haiku: Holiday Cards

Every shop toils over them. And by toil, we mean arguing about tactics and fist-fighting over snowflake placement. If you were one of the folks who received ours (below), just know that blood was shed in channeling the 1980s to bring you holiday salutations.

(click photo to enhance holiday spirit)

In a stroke of brilliance (or is it brilliant ambivalence?), The Denver Egotist has eschewed the typical approval process by providing a fine collection of holiday card possibilities and putting the whole matter up for a reader vote.

Tough decisions. I'm going to beer bong a few cups of eggnog and pick whichever design looks best when viewed from the floor.

Here's wishing you a
Happy Something-or-other,
Merry What-have-you

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Agency Breakfasts

Ad Haiku: Holiday CardsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

18 December, 2008

The 9 Most Inappropriate Soundtrack Choices of All Time

Sorry I've been a little out of the blogging loop, but a busy December/November in the office, combined with staying up until 2 a.m. most nights preparing a grad school thesis has left me little time for "non-billable" work, as the person who hands me my paycheck says. But I came across this article from Cracked.com one night when my brain had given up on my thesis for the evening:

Examples include protest songs for capitalism and and Iggy Pop pitching for FTD florists.

I agree with them all, except Timbuk 3's The Future's so Bright I gotta Wear Shades. Maybe the video is an allusion to the terror of the Nuclear Age, but never in my life did I think any lyrics to that song were talking about how the entire world would be nuked by the end of the 80s.

NOTE: There's no shocking imagery on this post, but the language on Cracked gets pretty blue, so keep that in mind when sharing this with your children or church group. But that's good advice for anything that contains a picture of Iggy Pop. Enjoy.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

The 9 Most Inappropriate Soundtrack Choices of All TimeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

17 December, 2008

FPO, Charlie Brown!

I'm a sullen and unapproachable guy around the holidays. No real reason for it. It's not like I saw my family get shanked by a Salvation Army Santa when I was 10 or anything like that. It's just a reflective time. Maybe that's why the broadcast airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas has always been appointment viewing for me, even in this time of DVR and online video.

As far as Christmas specials go, it's pretty melancholy. Hell, it's damn-right depressing. But there's something in Charlie Brown that I think many of us have in ourselves this time of year. Slate did a great article dissecting the allure of ACBC. It helped me put the holiday in perspective, and I recommend it.

But before you go, check out the personal blog for Angela Natividad (of AdRants fame). She turned me on to an ad agency spoof of ACBC. Suddenly, my seasonal disposition isn't so surly. Video below:

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

FPO, Charlie Brown!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

15 December, 2008

Intern Sweatshop: We'll Wish You a Morbid Christmas & a Scanty New Year

Credit Crunch Christmas Cards have become a bestseller in the UK this season by wishing everyone a “Great Depression” and a “Hungry New Year.” Andrew Shaffer designed a line of holiday cards with Depression-era pictures in an effort to poke fun at the financial crisis we’re facing today.

The photographs include a woman burning presents to keep warm, two children excited to eat a squirrel instead of a rat for their holiday dinner, men only able to afford soup, having to stand in a bread line, and selling children for money. Shaffer explains, "I wanted to contrast today's financial crisis with the Great Depression to show that things are not as bad as people believe."

These cards have become an instant sensation, which goes to show that laughter may be the best remedy for getting through these harder times. So go ahead and order your own at www.depressingtimes.com today. I’ll be sure to send my family and friends holiday cards that tell them to “Hold onto their hats, the worst is yet to come”…I’ll just need to sell my left big toe on the black market to pay for the shipping.
--Heather Knapp, Creative Dept. Intern

Intern Sweatshop: We'll Wish You a Morbid Christmas & a Scanty New YearSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

13 December, 2008

Ad Monologue: The Great White Hope.

I've just seen another ad for the Aquos TV by Sharp. You know, the one with ultra-white astrophysicist Gerard Fasel who walks on screen and tells us we should by these TVs. Because he's an astrophysicist.

My God, that guy is white.

Audience: How white is he?

He's so white, when the commercial fades to black, I still see an imprint of him on my screen. It's like getting sales pitched by a super nova.

He looks like he operates an Ikea in heaven.

He's the only human being whose skin tone contains every color of the light spectrum. His body temperature is 5600 degrees Kelvin. (Holla, photography geeks!)

He looks like the love child of an albino and a blizzard.

It's a good thing the TV's picture is big, clear and easy to see because I'm going to have cataracts by the time this campaign finally wraps.

Vaudevillian piano riff. Exit stage left to polite, scattered applause.

Ad Monologue: The Great White Hope.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 December, 2008


Political affiliations aside, and I'm not really sure how this relates to advertising, but I just had post this. I have no idea what is going on here or why I now have to own one, because I voted for Nader. But I think we can all agree: Congratulations. Good luck. And now can we steer the Obama train back to Sanityville?

If you'd prefer the train kept rolling, you can check out more Art of Obama here.

And for other fine art featuring Noam Chomsky and Harrison Ford, click here.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Obam-huh?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

10 December, 2008

Storin' Ain't Easy

Heard on the Twitter wire:

Not a totally new idea - we've been storing stuff in Baltimore like this for years.

I'm not sure if this guy's for real, but his site is so funny, I don't think it really matters. A call to the number forwarded me to a non-descript voice mail, so who knows. The fact that it's a :60 makes me think it's a fake - can't imagine they could afford the TV buy, even on cable.

You know what? I'm not going to question it anymore. I'm going to simply let it live on in my heart and mind, marinating in a salty brine of hilarious awesomeness. It could be real. Like Santa Claus and social security after 2050.

Update: Commercial's for a sketch-comedy site. Sigh.

Storin' Ain't EasySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

05 December, 2008

The Friday Ad Haiku: Agency Breakfasts

The first Friday of every month we have an agency-wide meeting in the morning to review recent work, review finances, and gorge ourselves on free baked goods. It's a bittersweet experience; the glutton in me loves manhandling a chocolate eclair, but the creative in me sometimes walks out feeling a little less than sure of himself after seeing phenomenal work. Work that I didn't work on.

I find those Fridays are typically some of my most productive days. Nothing cuts through a coffeecake coma like the fear of going into another month without something balls-to-the-wall impressive to show off. Something that makes someone else afraid next month. And motivated.

The cycle of creative fear goes round and round.

Like a honey-glazed doughnut.

Someone else paid for
breakfast. But remember: there
are no free lunches.

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5:
Writer's Block

The Friday Ad Haiku: Agency BreakfastsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

02 December, 2008

The internet is personal again.

I am no expert in social media. I know some things about Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, but I personally refuse to join in on the party. What good does having thousands of online friends do? "Well that's the point Jason, it's for keeping up with people you've lost touch with," my wife claims.

"I lost touch with them for a reason!" I say. "I don't care to keep in touch with them!" (Sorry to those of you out there this might apply to.)

McDermott recently attended a seminar on technology and social media, and one of the nuggets he shared really struck a chord with me. He said, "Social Media and online networking is making interaction with your clients much more personal and one on one. Gone are the days of shotgun advertising."

Wait. I always thought the rise of the internet and its effects on globalization is the reason we have lost personal connection in the first place. I mean, have you experienced customer support lately?

If I have to wait another hour to talk to "Jack" from India, only to get disconnected, I'm going to have a stroke. I yearn for the days when customer service was friendly and personal.

But, McDermott insists these new tools can bring that back. It can help us relate to clients, keep our finger on the pulse of their consumers, and even network with new potential clients.

When the internet and social media was first introduced it was a novelty (Electronic mail? Neat!). It quickly evolved into an unbridled information-attack, constantly feeding us videos of people getting hit in the privates, porn, and junk mail.

Further evolution has brought us networking tools that create a precision that was formerly non-existent when dealing with the Web. These tools enable us to track consumer opinion, react and up sell to the newest trends, and build more relationships in real time, from the comfort of our own desk. This kind of personal service and real time information gathering can pay big dividends in the ad world.

Now I'll never condone spending hours Facebook stalking (sorry Mrs. Stern) or using Facebook to help you stalk. But, maybe I will consider building my professional network online.

I mean, it can't hurt right?

--Jason Stern, Project Manager

The internet is personal again.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

26 November, 2008

Friday (Well, Wednesday) Ad Haiku: Writer's Block

There are about 30 minutes to go before the four-day weekend officially begins, and I'm at a loss for words. Not good when you write copy for a living. I've tried sitting in different areas of the office, but different seat cushions and wall colors have done little to help me brainstorm the perfect tagline. I guess at 5:03pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I'm allowed to take a break from thinking. Let's hope my boss agrees when he reads this.

I'll try to muster up enough words for a five-seven-five. Today's topic is a writer's worst enemy: Writer's Block.

Zoned out at my desk
I've got the blank Word doc blues
Time for turkey yet?

--Alicia Taft, Course Developer/Copywriter

Last week on the Friday 5-7-5: Intern Sweatshop: Thanksgiving

Friday (Well, Wednesday) Ad Haiku: Writer's BlockSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

21 November, 2008

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Thanksgiving


Having run the cider spigot of haikus dry, we're punting again to our intern this week. Heather, take it away!

Thanksgiving fever is contagious! From great sales at malls to tramplings at Wal-Mart, from football games to cozy autumn food, and from apple cider to...spiked apple cider. It’s hard not to catch it. With a three-day work week, followed by an extended weekend, and enough food to keep you full for days, it’s easily one of the most popular American holidays. This is sadly, completely overshadowing the actual history behind the “holiday” and what truly went down between those pilgrims and Native Americans. But no need to rain on the Macy's Day Parade. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

For Your Friday Ad Haiku Pleasure: Thanksgiving

Turkey, stuffing, pie
Macy’s Day Parade, football!
Enjoy two days off!

--Heather Knapp, Creative Dept. Intern

Last week on the Friday 5-7-5: The Ideal Consumer

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: ThanksgivingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 November, 2008

A Letter Home

(Click photo for link to video.)

Dear Mom,
Just wanted to let you know I'm OK. Despite some setbacks, things are starting to look up here in NY. No, I still haven't found modeling/acting work. And that guy I told you about? The one I paid to take my head shots? Turns out he was homeless guy with a Land O' Lakes butter box painted to look like a camera. I should have known because I've never seen any photographer go to the bathroom in a styrofoam cup before.

I miss Indiana. And Mr. Cuddlekins. Would you pet him for me, and tell him I love him?

Anyway, now I've got a really cool gig for this clothing company! I stand behind this window and pretend to be a robot, handing out t-shirts in Times Square. Times Square! EEEEEK!

Best part, I got to stay fully clothed this time! I'm finally realizing my dream. I'm going to make you and Dad proud of me.

Please send more money. They turned off the electric again, and the rats have gnawed through my sleeping bag.

Sally Mae

P.S. Send your homemade oatmeal cookies, too. The ones with the raisins.

A Letter HomeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

17 November, 2008

Sprint does Web 2-point-DOH!

(Click to blow your freakin' mind. Or to enlarge. Whichever comes first.)

Sprint's out with a new site to promote their mobile broadband product. They attempt to show users how awesome the web is by doing their best to shoehorn every time-sucking thing on the web into one page.

Who knew a bunch of tiled widgets could capture the enormity of the Internet? Despite having a noticeable and unfortunate lack of porn, the site managed to lure me into spending some time tinkering around with it, rather than playing with my kid, feeding him, or changing his 3 pound diaper.

Pretty clever concept. Engaging execution.

Even if they did rip off the idea from that episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer makes his own web page.

Yeah. Don't pretend you don't know which one I'm talking about, fanboy.

(Thanks to Wisey over at The Digestif for the Twitter tip.)

Sprint does Web 2-point-DOH!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

16 November, 2008

Christmas, simplified.

Upscale UK department store retailer John Lewis is out with a holiday spot that gives me chills. Seriously. So simple in composition, edit, and idea, it makes me want to play Perry Como Christmas albums while frenching a snow globe.

The ad guy in me loves the tag line: "If you know the person, you'll find the present.

The film geek in me loves the use of Soviet montage. It's like the Kuleshov Effect, only with expensive crap I can't afford.

Of course, anytime you can sneak a Beatles song into an ad, you're halfway there.

Christmas, simplified.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

14 November, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku, Intern Sweatshop Edition: The Ideal Consumer

Some of us see an ad and need to go out and buy that shiny new item right away. I, for one, am the prime example of this stereotype. An ad for flawless makeup, a heavenly body wash, the simplest Internet connection, the tastiest light beer, a getaway cruise…it never stops! I could be deaf and someone could sell me a set of sound speakers with the right flashy pictures and catchy slogans (if I could hear them). Alas, if only every consumer were like me.

For Your Friday Ad Haiku Pleasure: The Ideal Consumer

Ads everywhere
Bigger! Better! More! Faster!
Where’d my money go?

--Heather Knapp, Creative Dept. Intern

Last Week on the Friday 5-7-5: Office Spirit

Friday Ad Haiku, Intern Sweatshop Edition: The Ideal ConsumerSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

12 November, 2008

The official towing company commercial of Humpday

Sometimes, it's all in the brand. And out. And in. And out.

I think we can all take something away from this spot. Don't take yourself too seriously. After all, it's just advertising, right? Let's call it a day, folks. Go home. Hug your kids/spouse/dog/bottle of vodka.

You've earned it.

The official towing company commercial of HumpdaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

10 November, 2008

Tales from the Spam Filter: Viagara Must Be Outsourcing to the Federal Pen

When Neil Armstrong spammed us, hawking Viagara, I thought, it's been a while since he's been in the national spotlight. Maybe he could use the money. When Steve Young emailed me extolling the virtues of male enhancement, I thought, well, Rafael Palmeiro touted Viagara. This is just another athlete cashing in. But this spam breaks new ground, as the man convicted of assisting Timothy McVeigh with the tragic Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Terry Nichols, now has a new job--you guessed it, he's following in the footsteps of Armstrong and Palmeiro. Viagara, who will be next?

I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't find it in my own junk email folder. It brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Work release program." Zing!

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Last from TFTSF: Steve Young says, "I want to see a measurement."

Tales from the Spam Filter: Viagara Must Be Outsourcing to the Federal PenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

07 November, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku: We Owe You 2

I don't know how often people talk about this in the rest of the corporate world, but at Renegade, liking where you work, and enjoying what you do are two things we feel are really important. Let's face it, you spend about 1/3rd of your waking week at work. If you don't get some enjoyment out of what you do, then let's hope you're one of them "family men," and if not, um, that sucks. Also, this was an excuse to use some of our fun staff photos from Halloween.

Friday Ad Haiku: Office Spirit

Holiday parties.
Summer parties. Halloween.
Annual bake-off.

All great, but two words:
Free Breakfast. Captain Awesome--
Employee 4 life.

Friday Ad Haiku: Halloween

Hot Dog. Fly Rabbi.
Roller Derby. Rainbow Bright.
Party Girl. Kory.

Andy Warhol. Elf.
Twins. Paul Stanley. Asylum
worker--not a costume.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Two weeks ago on the Friday 5-7-5: Screamer Spots

Friday Ad Haiku: We Owe You 2SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

06 November, 2008

Marketer of the Year? Whatever.

While brainstorming in our “brilliance pit,” I stumbled across an issue of Ad Age from a couple weeks ago. For those even more behind the times than I am, the Association of National Advertisers named Barack Obama Marketer of the Year for 2008. The Top 5 were rounded out by Apple, Zappos, Nike and Coors.

There’s no argument. All of those companies have marketed themselves well and experienced great success because of it, but seriously, did these guys really have the toughest product to market? There was presidential buzz around Obama the night he was elected to the Senate in 2004.

Apple’s been cool since the iPod was released six years ago. And Nike? Michael Jordan strapped on his Airs back in 1985, and no sneaker has been more recognizable over the past 25 years. Kids literally line up outside shoe stores when a new pair of Nikes comes out. These were not difficult products to market.

Let's talk challenges. You know who I think had to work a political miracle? The people behind David Duke. A former Grand wizard of the freakin' KKK and considered by many to be one of the most detestable political wannabes in America, he ran for office half a dozen times! He was a State Representative for Louisiana, and even ran for President in 1988, receiving more than 47,000 votes. Now, that was a guy who needed some serious marketing help.

A shoe company that’s done some great work—Crocs. They’ve convinced people to buy footwear, which the first time I saw I thought were disposal shoes. Sure, they have minimal support, are made of the same material as hot glue sticks, and have been known to get caught in escalators. So buy two. Buy three. There’s a good chance you’ll need a new pair provided your foot doesn’t get taken off along with the Croc.

You want to talk about technology? Let’s talk Blu-ray. These days you hear an advertisement for Blu-ray discs with every movie coming out on DVD, but do you actually know anyone with a Blu-ray player? Probably not, because people don’t want to pay for a DVD player that’s more expensive than their entire entertainment center. Yet some marketers convinced studios that during a recession was the perfect time to heavily market movies on Blu-ray, even though no one owns something to play them on. Nice work.

And beer? Maybe Coors has done some great advertising, but when it comes to beer, where’s that going to get you—other than reminding Coors drinkers to drink Coors. When it comes to beer, I’ve had so many different kinds, from Meister Brau and Busch to fancy IPAs and Stouts served in wine bottles. And with beer, you’re not going to sway someone’s opinion on whether a beer is “good” or not. People like what they like, and that’s it. You want to talk about a little beverage that could—how about Clamato juice? The refreshing combination of tomato juice and reconstituted dried clam broth. It’s like V8 mixed with just a hint of the Dead Sea.
Did they do some brilliant, head-turning advertising? Absolutely, but it’s easy to market products people already like. How about next year we dig a little deeper and look for products that were actually difficult to market—poison, evil, beating up puppies (Michael Vick will be looking for some new representation), and how about a nice Kaczynski/Gargamel ticket in 2012?

My point is, advertising can be pretty hard, and most companies and agencies aren’t advertising products that are all peaches and cream. Why not acknowledge the marketers who turn a tricky product into a success? Like in one year taking the Renegade Agency Confessional inside the Internet’s 767,444 most popular sites (according to Alexa), to the Top 600 of Ad Age’s Power 150, and making us the 69th most popular agency blog in all of the UK.

You know, sometimes I really love me.

Marketer of the Year? Whatever.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

05 November, 2008

A Deodorant Advertising Duel

During a trip down the deodorant aisle at my local Safeway, I stumbled across three guys, all about 20-years-old, trying to decide which deodorant one of them should choose. One of them pulled a blue Speed Stick away from his nose and waved it in front of another guy’s face, “What about this one?”

Before he could respond. the same hygienically perplexed gentleman turned to me, “Hey, do you think this smells good?”

I said, “It’s okay. I got that other one just the other day. But the thing is, that’s deodorant, not antiperspirant.”

(How did I know that? 1) The Speed Stick labels are easy to make out from afar. If it’s fancy, it’s probably deodorant/antiperspirant. If the packaging looks dull and uninspired, it’s probably just deodorant. 2) I use deodorant/antiperspirant if I’m wearing a dark t-shirt and just deodorant if I’m wearing a white t-shirt, because my college roommate freshman year told me antiperspirant is what causes “pit-stains”—when the armpits of your shirt gets all gross and brownish yellow. I never bothered to corroborate that theory, but this way I get to change up my deodorant once in a while, and I’m supporting the far less profitable non-antiperspirant deodorant industry.)

I continued, “That’ll hide the smell, but you’ll still sweat.”

“I didn’t even think about that,” one replied.

Another chimed in, “How did we find like the deodorant expert?”

I continued down the aisle. As I walked away, I heard one say, “Get the Mitchum. That’s the one with guy sliding around the baseball field.”

Well, they obviously recognized the Mitchum brand name from their advertising—most notably their “We Know What Men Want” spots (you can find them at www.mitchumman.com, where you can also record a song with their armpit orchestra, although you probably won’t want to). Those who frequently tune to networks like ESPN and Comedy Central will know the guys were confusing Mitchum’s ads with Old Spice’s “Foam” spot below.

While Mitchum’s spots are basically playing up everything that is considered “manly”—monster trucks, bull riding, a bikini car wash—Old Spice took the concept of “manly” and poked fun at how ridiculously far people will go to be a “man”.

The Mitchum spots, obviously done on smaller budgets, are what they are. On the other hand, the Old Spice campaign cost millions. This allowed Wieden + Kennedy to incorporate famous actors like Bruce Campell and Neil Patrick Harris, along with a variety of scenarios. And they delivered intelligent-yet-silly, instantly memorable spots, that, in my opinion, nailed the 25-40 male demo.

However, despite all the creativity and time that went into the Old Spice campaign, the product was lost on these particular discerning consumers. So the ad was a success in that it was easily remembered, but the product was forgotten. As far as Mitchum goes, the consumer remembered the brand name, but couldn’t recall the advertising.

So who’s the winning advertiser in this deal? Mitchum for name recognition? Or Old Spice for creating the spot these guys thought about while standing in the deodorant aisle? While, pondering this dilemma, I’ll leave you with this.

I freaking love Bruce Campbell.

Captain Awesome, Copywriter

A Deodorant Advertising DuelSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

04 November, 2008

Driven Insane by Zero.

I can't take it anymore. Toyota's "Saved By Zero" TV spot is excruciating. It's not the visuals. It's the damned jingle. It's worse than obnoxious. It's horribly, excruciatingly hummable.

And it's etched itself into my brain. It bounces off the walls of my skull like a fart echoing through an empty opera hall. Robert Schumann, driven insane from an untreated case of syphillis, heard the same A-note over and over in his head before he died. Well this is many, many a terrible notes together. And I'm heading to the clock tower.

What's worse, now I'm singing it. It's involuntary. Sitting at my desk typing out the next great American ad, and I'm singing it. In the restroom, I'm singing it. In my car, I'm singing it. Like a Charles Manson chant, but instead of people, they're slashing interest rates.

My god, I don't even sing the right lyrics anymore. I simply insert whatever I'm doing or thinking at that moment into the song. And then I sing it. Saved by butt cracks. Saved by note pads. Saved by dress slacks. I can't even look at my son without sticking his name into it. My son.

My god.

There is no more me. There is only zero. And I've been saved by it against my will. Short of doing a cannon ball off the roof of my neighbor's garage onto a fencepost, I can't think of anything that will snap it.

Except maybe buying a Ford.

Driven Insane by Zero.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

31 October, 2008

"There's no chin behind his beard...just another fist."

(Clockwise from top left: Noah Thomason, Director of Production; Chuck Norris, Black Belt Patriot; M.M. McDermott, Assoc. Creative Dir.; Robert Taylor, Chief Strategy Officer; Jason Stern, Production Coordinator; Captain Awesome, Copywriter)

The spot we produced for the NRA featuring Chuck Norris hit the airwaves the other day. We marked the occasion with a good ol' fashioned Beard-Off. Some fared better than others (and the Cap'n totally missed the point with his questionable manscaping).

Lock and load.

"There's no chin behind his beard...just another fist."SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

27 October, 2008


Slate Magazine reports political scientists at Yale have determined the marketing tactics voters respond to most during campaign season.

Their findings shouldn't be much of a surprise for anyone who pays any attention to consumer habits or, barring that, uses common sense. In-person interaction still pulls rank in terms of effectiveness. Automated phone calls, on the other hand, rank at the bottom of the list, just behind stashing a wad of cash into the trunk of '72 Buick and pushing it off a bridge.

One tidbit pulled from the fact-crunching meat grinder was the effectiveness of text messaging. The Obama campaign has employed the tactic in lieu of automated phone calls, still a staple of many--if not most--political campaigns. It's allowed them to target their messages not only by geography, but even down to personal details provided by the hundreds of thousands of Changemongers who signed up for the mailing list.

With one vote converted for every 25 people contacted, it falls behind the conversion rate of one vote per 14 contacts that in-person canvassing produces. But when costs per converted vote are tallied, it's ridiculously cheap. A vote converted from text messaging costs about $1.50 compared to $29 for a vote coaxed through person-to-person contact.

Don't expect text messaging to perform like that in the future though. If there's one thing marketers (particularly, political marketers) know how to do, it's wear out a good thing. They'll ride that pony all the way to the Alpo plant.

But for now, it's working. That leaves at least one question unanswered: How long before we finally retire the automated phone call? It may mean waiting for the old-guard politicians to go extinct. They'll no doubt be buried in their diamond-encrusted tombs with their auto-dialers and door leaflets.

OMG! R U 4 CHNG N HOPE 2?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

23 October, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku: Screamer Spots

You may call them screamers, barkers or the Mays/Lesko special. Frequently found on daytime TV and after midnight between the local personal injury firm and phone "party" line commercials--they're the bane of every copywriter's existence. They're the low budget ads that look like they were made 20 years ago by the graphic wizards behind Press Your Luck and Flash Gordon. But they pay a hell of a lot of bills while agencies and production companies alike await the greenlight for their next The Matrix, because let's face it, most people looking to make a commercial don't have budgets like Saturn or Toyota.

Your Friday Ad Haiku: The Screamer Spot

Us. 1-800-Call-Us.

Us. Visit us on
the Web at 1-800-
Call-Us.com. That's

Us. Call right now. Us. Today.
Call. Us.--Who cares if haikus only have 5 syllables in the final line. This commercial isn't airing in China. Let's work in the phone number one more time. 1-800-Call-Us...Call today.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

PS From people who've met Billy Mays and Matt Lesko, I've heard they're both pretty awesome guys.

Last Week on the Friday 5-7-5: Rush Jobs

Friday Ad Haiku: Screamer SpotsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

21 October, 2008

The David Hasselhoff of Blogs

The Cap'n brought it to my attention that the Agency Confessional somehow ended up ranked #69 (aww yeah) on the list of the top 100 ad blogs...in the UK. Pretty impressive considering we're based in Baltimore, MD, USA, where we barely make it into the top 400 American ad blogs on a good day with a stiff breeze and low tide.

It just reinforces what we've known all along: the Brits are ahead of the curve when it comes to spotting unparalleled entertainment value.

So we'll soldier on, putting blog to screen for the enjoyment of the dozens. Celebrities across the pond, and strangers in our own land.

Next stop: Germany. The 'Hoff's been put on notice.

The David Hasselhoff of BlogsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

17 October, 2008

Your Friday Ad Haiku: Rush Jobs

Client, now wants revisions.
Just one hour till press.

Who's idea was a
Happy hour lunch? Type faster.
Stop sweating Seagram's.

Kiss it up to God.
Furiously rub lamp. Pray.
Happy hour, still on.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter/Happy Hour Specialist

Last Week on the Friday 5-7-5: Blogging

Your Friday Ad Haiku: Rush JobsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

16 October, 2008

"I'm warning you...with peace and love."

Ringo Starr has unwittingly reinvented the warning message in his recent video blog update. In it, he tells his fan(s) that he's too busy to sign stuff anymore. Any fan mail sent after the 20th of the month will be hauled directly to the landfill (to keep his integrity company). The best part: throughout his message he continually exclaims, "Peace and love!" like he's been stricken with some kind of Hippie Tourette's.

Avertising and product packaging folks, take notice. I think the Lamest Beatle™ may be on to something:

I know I feel better about dangerous things already.

Speaking of warning labels: Ukraine cigarettes kill you to death.

"I'm warning you...with peace and love."SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

09 October, 2008

Your Friday Ad Haiku: Blogging

Blogging about blogging? It's official, we've reached the end of the Internet, or maybe I've uncovered that elusive, yet lazy 5th sign of the apocalypse. Nevertheless, due to Big Matt McD's new legion of hatefans at bthesite.com, I thought it was time reexamine the concept of arguing on the Internet...

...Aaaaaaand it's still incredibly silly and futile, but if you work hard at it, you can piss a lot of people off in just a little time. And what's the worst they can do back to you? Write about it? Like writing words ever accomplished anything. Sure, Thomas Jefferson got his face on Mt. Rushmore and the nickel, but he died with a terrible case of carpal tunnel syndrome, making it incredibly difficult to continually flip England the bird for the remaining 25 years of his life.

For your Friday Ad Haiku Pleasure: Blogging

Just had smartest thought
In history of Western

Must share it with world.
I love Irony.

Last week on the Friday 5-7-5: The Memo

Your Friday Ad Haiku: BloggingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 October, 2008

One Put Off Ranga

This article from the Daily Mail is almost two weeks old. I’ve been wanting to weigh in on it for a while, but you know “work” and all. Anyway, in order to highlight the plight of endangered orangutans (animals that often have reddish-orange hair) the Adelaide Zoo, located in South Australia, began an advertising promotion offering free admissions to “rangas”—people with red hair. According to multiple sources, red hair occurs in no more than 2% of the population. So, human redheads are an endangered species too. I wish someone would’ve told that to Tom ______n, who made it a habit of torturing me throughout all of middle school. Um, endangered species, TOM! That’s right, now either let me in the locker room or give me back my pants.

But what a great idea! Think of the plight we redheads have. We stand out in every crowd. Mild exposure to sunlight results in pain in a matter of hours. Redheads have a higher incidence of skin cancer. How many redheaded role models can you name? Fergi, Vicki Lawrence, Ronald McDonald, Carrot Top, that guy who posted for the Ad Agency Confessional who just checked himself into a mental hospital for severe clinical depression. And red hair is a direct result of an overabundance of the compound, pheomelanin. Yup, every redhead has some sort of chemical imbalance. Can that be true? you ask. Well, think of every redhead you know. Is there a single one that would make you say, Oh, yeah, Terry, he’s pretty normal? I didn’t think so. But a chemical imbalance, that explains everything.

I digress, I have red hair, which makes me a ranga + I like free stuff = AWESOME ZOO CAMPAIGN! But wait, ranga is not always considered a term of endearment among Australians. It’s not quite the slur that “ginger” is among Brittons, but not every Australian ranga embraces the nickname. So, of course, there was quickly an outcry among rangas that the campaign (which would have also included pictures of ranga patrons with orangutans) was offensive and they wanted it pulled.
And congratulations, idiots, you won! The campaign was pulled, forcing excited redheaded families to pay full price for zoo admission and denying redheads more exposure in a national ad campaign.

One redheaded moron was quoted as saying, “'There is absolutely no way in the world that I am going to be photographed with a red-haired monkey…You can just see jokers looking at the pictures and asking ‘which one is the ape?’” First off, what part of orangutan didn’t she understand? She calls them the wrong hominid twice in one sentence. Maybe the orangutan was thinking, Thank god, I won’t have to take a picture with that stupid gorilla—I mean human. But the point of the campaign was to draw attention to the plight of a freakin’ endangered animal. Is the lesson to be learned, Screw endangered animals, because I don’t want to be made fun of? Will the lazy and podiatricly deformed fight efforts to save the three-toed sloth? Do fat swimmers shout down efforts to Save the Whales.

Just because you’re ugly and apelike, and animals make you self-conscious, don’t ruin it for the rest of us! Sure, I could lose some weight, but you don’t see me getting all uppity when the Szechuan Taste offers free dining for a year to anyone who can eat their weight in crab rangoon. Hell no! I pull a chair up to that buffet table and warn people to watch their fingers and toes, lest I mistake one for an appetizer and inhale a digit or two along with piles of tasty fried cheese and imitation crabmeat goodness. (Okay, none of that happened at Szechuan Taste, but a boy can dream, can't he?)

In the end, Adelaide Zoo dropped the campaign, but still gave free admission to redheads, even if they weren’t natural redheads. So, despite the outcry from the peanut-brained, crimson-headed gallery, the zoo still made good on their promise, and even tried to draw more people into the redheaded fold. Next time, I imagine they’ll rethink any similar promotions, and so will any other venues looking to hook redheads up with free swag. Sorry guys, you did this to yourselves. Sadly, those probably hurt most by my chemically imbalanced brethren are endangered animals. Of course, the rangas probably won’t notice while they’re celebrating over some white tiger steaks and condor eggs. Nice work, jerks.

As far as advertising goes, the lessons learned, 1) people will complain about almost anything, even when they're the ones making out in the deal. 2) If you’re embarking on an advertising campaign that isn’t 100% politically correct, be prepared for some blowback. And when there is some blowback, shine a UV light in the face of those whiney gingers and watch them scatter like red cockroaches across the floor of a Lower East Side basement apartment. I can understand not wanting to stir up a commotion. There’s no shame in that, and for most businesses, that’s what makes the most sense. But if you’re gonna go for it, go for it. Stick by your guns and let the touchy complainers be damned. When you do, those who liked your idea in the first place will like you even more. And that's how you build some serious brand loyalty.

I'm spent.

One Put Off RangaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
The Renegade Agency Confessional - Blogged

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP