31 July, 2008

The Horse-Moth Cometh

It's all about the spokespeople, people. For anyone who disagrees with the theory that most on-air talent is nothing more than teleprompter parrots and banter-tarded pretty faces...you might want to keep this out of your grand rebuttal, Churchill. I had to change my pants after watching this, metaphorically speaking. (I don't even know what that means.) Thanks to Ariel Waldman for the ol' tip-arooney.

Speaking of the spokesperson: Winehouse for O'Doul's?

M.M. McDermott, ACD/Non-horse

The Horse-Moth ComethSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

28 July, 2008

Low-Hanging Fruit Files: New Wave Rooster Rolls, Shills Soviet Bloc Meat(ish) Product

Submitted for your approval:

My Estonian's a little rusty, so you'll have to give me a pass: I'm not sure if they're advertising a poultryesque product or narrating a rooster's acid flashback.

At first, I thought this had to be a hoax, maybe some kind of viral video for PETA. A quick check of Snopes (I alternate my Firefox home page between Snopes and Google depending on how much I distrust the world on any given day) came up empty.

The only way they could possibly make meat any less appealing would be to drag it behind a bus through a manure patch. In their defense, standards back then slipped a bit under the cold, hard hammer of Communism. When you're rationing toilet paper, I suppose you're less preoccupied by what goes in.

M.M.McDermott, ACD/The Other White Meat

Previously in the Low-Hanging Fruit Files: Commercial sucks the joy out of a job in video gaming.
Half-passingly-kinda-related to PETA: Local lawyer sees gold showers in them thar hills.
Foreign ads are weird: Man-Dog mends broken hearts with chips.

Low-Hanging Fruit Files: New Wave Rooster Rolls, Shills Soviet Bloc Meat(ish) ProductSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

25 July, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku: Finding the Muse

It's days like these, when the ideas hit the skids, that I start thinking literary boozehounds like Faulkner and Hemingway may have been on to something. Writers, artists, adpeople: drinkers all.

So for you creatives out there who've developed Little Orphan Annie cataracts from staring at the blazing, bleached whiteness of a blank Word doc, I think it's a capital idea to lose yourself in the warm, familiar embrace of a happy hour, post haste--for the sake of your craft. Slide the Jameson out of your desk drawer and get to it. Bukowski would have wanted it that way.

Though ideas aren't at
the bottom of the bottle,
I still like to look.

M.M.McDermott, ACD/Flawed Protagonist

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Vacation Hangovers

Friday Ad Haiku: Finding the MuseSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

23 July, 2008

"It's funny because it's true."

Dear Jane Sample (via Ugly Doggy) already beat me to it, but that's never stopped me from totally taking credit. Thanks to my broham, G-Money Grip from Coke, for the tip.

Creating A Stop Sign - Watch more free videos

M.M.McDermott, ACD/Focus Group Approved

"It's funny because it's true."SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

21 July, 2008

An Advertising Slogan Challenge

Now I thought I'd found the last thing people would somehow twist to play into both religious faith and capitalism when I stumbled across Spirtual Water. Then my sister Heather found these lollipops to give away at my niece's Christening. She felt these, along with bubbles with a cross on the container handle and Christian-themed crayons, went well with the occasion. I never imagined someone would design a cross candy that the final result of the candy would be to make the cross no more. However, I forgot about the many chocolate crosses I received for Easter in my youth. In retrospect, I now feel bad about dipping them in peanut butter, but I take no blame for my actions. I blame Reese’s. The cross lollipops eventually lent themselves to a variety of potential advertising slogans I won't repeat.

But that gave me an idea. I was curious how these lollies were marketed. The label said they were from the Bombay Trading Company...of Omaha, Nebraska. I was confused too, but I pressed on. And sure enough I found two varieties of cross lollies.

Now I feel like we totally got "whoppered," because neither of those lollipops pictured look anything like the funky molded pastel pops we got. The pops on the left look translucent and pristine. Our pops look closer to the "He Lives" pops on the right sans the "He Lives" banner. So either we got ripped off, or these pictures are simply false advertising. Or possibly my sister got them at a discount rate because the Christening was so far after the Easter season.

But I wanted to find our lollipops, so I continued with a Google image search and eventually stumbled across candy sites offering these.

Yup, they're crucifix pops. And wouldn't you know it, not much advertising going on for these guys either. So my challenge to you, our three loyal readers, my mom, Matt's wife and somebody named Teapot. How about some advertising slogans for these unique treats. And folks, let's keep it PG--I'm looking your way Teapot.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

An Advertising Slogan ChallengeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

From the Intern Sweatshop: Missle Fail.

Say cheese, missile! Recently, Iran claimed to have test fired seven missiles as part of its “Operation: Big Scary Weapons” program, releasing a photo of four of the missiles blasting off into the deep blue Persian sky.

But wait! Apparently that’s one missile too many. Agence France-Presse got their paws on the picture from Sepah News, a website belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, showing four missiles, while the Associated Press had one with only three. Something’s not kosher here, Iran.

The photos had been digitally altered. Two of the missiles appear to have identical smoke trails. It seems Iran has been developing their Photoshop skills alongside beefing up their weapons.

Immediately, as it tends to do on the "Internets," more experienced photoshoppers flooded cyberspace with their own remixes of the photo, featuring everything from various Star Wars characters, looney tunes, the infamous LOLcats, and my personal favorite, Slim Pickens riding the bomb from Dr. Strangelove.

Iran has not yet made any official word on the photo. The photo on Sepah was inexplicably replaced with the three missile version. There are noticeable differences. That truck, for example. How did that turn into a missile? Maybe it’s a Transformer.

It leads one to think, is Iran so desperate to make world headlines that they resort to the same tactics as the supermarket tabloids? Is Batboy their doomsday device? Has President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad been airbrushed in any pics?

The media is not unfamiliar with spotting altered photos. There’s some changes made in almost everything nowadays, from alien sightings, to movie posters, to my personal collection of Victoria’s Secret catalogs (I’m shopping for my girlfriend’s birthday, I swear).

It is only more salt on some humiliating wounds. While a nuclear threat is something to be wary of, it’s hard to take serious when Iran’s President claims the Holocaust didn’t happen and that nuclear weapons are a “peaceful” policy for a country whose main religion is against it.

Tsk, tsk. Changing photos to make your babies look better? Don’t worry, Mr. Ahmadinejad, I’m sure Hugh Hefner can identify.

--Aditya Desai, Intern

Last time on the Intern Happy Funtime Candy Factory: American Automakers Pas Gas

From the Intern Sweatshop: Missle Fail.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Heat Stroke Non-Sequitors

I don't complain about weather. But with temps in Baltimore licking 100 degrees and the humidity somewhere between rain forest and bathtub fart, even I started to get a bit whiny this past weekend. It was a gradual escalation of pissing and moaning, like the way kids get when you take them shopping; starts with a few whimpers outside of Gap and ends up with them sprawled out under a mannequin in Sears begging for ice cream. (Note: I won't be a parent until September, but I subscribe to the theory of giving whiny kids "something to cry about." In fact, I'd start a charity if I could: Give Kids Something to Cry About ™ . For just a kick in the ass a day--less than a cup of coffee--you can make an instant difference in the life of a child who's crying for no good reason.)

Anyway, I'm lying on the living room floor (the only air conditioned part of the house) watching the entire first season of Mad Men on-demand. And I come to the realization that I was born in the wrong era. Sure, riding my bike around the office, laying down astroturf in the writer's lounge, and Photoshopping Ronald McDonald into Edward Hopper paintings have their charms, but can they really compare to working in the industry in the middle of the 20th century? Fedoras, political incorrectness, and Scotch that flows as free and easy as the mighty Mississippi. All punctuated by big ideas that rippled far beyond the context of simply advertising products; they became ideas that shaped our cultural identity. Big ideas for a small world.

Today, the ideas have to be even bigger to even get noticed, because the world has gotten "harder". Consumers are more sophisticated, more wary, more unwilling to put up with interruptions.

I wonder how Don Draper would do in today's ad industry? I need to lie on the floor and think about it.

M.M.McDermott, ACD/Hot Mess

Heat Stroke Non-SequitorsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

18 July, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku: Vacation Hangover


The first day back from vacation is probably a lot like being born. You stumble in. You have no idea what's going on. And you're naked.

Back from basking in the sunny, geriatric goodness of Fort Lauderdale, the adult diaper capital of the world, and I gotta say, I'm pretty hurt that things didn't fall apart while I was gone. The casinos and Miami kissed the boo-boo, though.

Ads took a backseat

as soon as I discovered
there's a topless beach.

M.M. McDermott, ACD/SPF30

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5:
Streaming Media

I like it when you click on Big Papa.

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16 July, 2008

Finally, A Smart Gas Price Ad

First, let me note that Matt, our Senior Copywriter/Associate Creative Director is drinking brandy a smoking cigars somewhere on a beach in Florida. And Alicia, our Jr. Copywriter/Training Course Developer has been in the ER for the past four days. So, I've been left alone in my office holding down the Renegade copywriting fort for the past few days, listening to Tears for Fears and other classic 80s artists to keep what's left of my sanity. So I apologize for posting only two blog entries this week, but somebody likes it when I do "billable" work.

Anyway, the spot featured in this post is at least six months old, but it's new to me if I haven't seen.

Because soaring gas prices are a hot topic, we'd been batting around the idea of recommending gas comparison spots to our clients, but didn't want to fall into a schlocky, "Gas prices got you down?" And the old, "For less than the price of tank of you gas you can..." also seems like an obvious way to go. It was a moot point, though, as many of our clients are now thinking about back-to-school concepts anyway, so we tabled that discussion.

But an extension Chevrolet's reduceuruse.com campaign fell into my lap during ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, and I have to give kudos to Cambell-Ewald for their ingenius Gas Pumps Hate Us ads for Chevrolet.

Basically, in each of the three spots I've seen, a person pulls up to a gas pump and the gas hose takes out it's frustration with the gas-saving automobile by sabotaging it when the driver steps away, deflating a tire, locking a door from the inside or unhooking a tow hitch. "Gas Pumps Hate Us" simply appears on the screen followed by a note stating, "9 out of 10 cars Chevy sells get an estimated 30 mpg hwy or better."

Some have criticized Chevrolet, because in the age of hybrids 30 mpg isn't really that good anymore. But if you say something mediocre is actually really good enough times to enough people, the general public will eventually believe it. Just look at Nickelback. But I'm not one to talk, as just in time for the high gas prices of summer I traded in a Cavalier for a Blazer, because it's free to me if I don't have to pay for it.

Regardless of Chevy's fuel economy statements, the spots are still brilliant and uniquely tap a vein thought that is already in the forefront of consumers' minds. Unfortunately, I couldn't find more of these spots on any sites I didn't have to be a member of to view, so if you find anymore of these gems or similar concepts, please pass them along.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Finally, A Smart Gas Price AdSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 July, 2008

Friday Ad Haiku: Streaming Media

Youtube, Sirius Satellite Radio, watching TV on Web, downloading anything and everything. That's the kind of stuff that can make your T-1 line run like it's 24K. So, to the ADHD officemates who can't live without the newest Justin Timberlake video playing 24/7, this Friday Haiku is for you.

Friday Ad Haiku: Streaming Media

Been uploading to
The ftp server for
Almost half an hour.

Could you stop streaming
Mr. Belvedere for the
Next five minutes? Thanks.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Last Week on the Friday 5-7-5: 4th of July Sales

Friday Ad Haiku: Streaming MediaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

10 July, 2008

If This Were Advertising

(Click photo to enlarge.)

Here's a picture of the G-8 summit leaders I found in yesterday's Baltimore Sun. I thought, That's a poorly orchestrated picture. Then I realized, it looks poorly orchestrated, well, because it is. It's not an advertisement where all of the "right" looking people are put in the proper places and where there's an equal balance of gender, ethnicity, ages and body types. Perhaps I've been working in advertising for too long, but here are a few things I'd change if this were actually an ad:

1) Everyone's face would look like (Oh, I only had my lunch break to work on this, so I neglected to look up all of the names of the particular world leaders in the picture, but apparently neither did the guy who wrote the caption.) the guy on the far left--actually happy to be there, although he might tone down the smile just a little.

2) Dmitry Medvedev (the third guy from the left) would not look like a ski jumper.

3) George W. Bush would look less like his boat is listing to the right.

4) The 4th guy from the right would be LOOKING AT THE CAMERA! (unless this were the cover for an alt. rock album.)

5) The only woman in the photo would not look like she's about to tip over, unless of course she was leaning on a "buddy." In which case she'd have a forearm leaning on said buddy's shoulder and would not have her shoulders slumped forward.

6) The UK's Gordon Brown and friend on the far right, I'm okay with them, because at least they're interacting. "Pst, that guy's about to take a picture. Pat me on the back and look like you're laughing at something I just said."

7) And you probably don't put the five-foot-tall Russian guy next to Canada's at least six-foot-tall Stephen Harper.

Now let's talk about diversity.

8) White, white, white, white, white, Japanese (notice how he's near the center--nice placement), white, white, white. Okay, if this were an advertisement, you'd have at least one African-American! (Or for the sake of an international summit--African.) And you'd also have someone Hispanic or Latin American. Now the European Union could shout, "But hey, Spain is part of the EU!" True, but it only counts if the Spanish guy is actually in the picture! Once again he could be, but thanks to the lazy caption guy, that could be Taylor Hicks shaking hands with Jamie Farr for all I know.

9) You'd also have more than one woman. With 9 people in the photo, you'd probably have four or five and at least one would look like the Go Daddy girl, the blond from Battlestar Gallactica or 7 of 9.

10) If this were an ad for AARP, your age group would be pretty on point, but they'd all be playing tennis or walking on the beach. Otherwise your group would fall somewhere between the cast of The Office and the cast of The OC.

See how they even Photoshopped in the ocean there? Nice.

11) And finally, a graphic artist probably would've cropped out or Photoshopped the markers on the ground, put there to ensure every world leader would be equidistant.

But there's reality and there's advertising reality. Now if only reality would take some notes.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

If This Were AdvertisingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

09 July, 2008

Local Commercial Manages to Suck the Fun Out of a Career in Video Games

I know, I know: critiquing regional spots sandwiched between Judge Judy and Magnum, P.I. reruns is like picking on that fat kid in elementary school who pees himself during arts and crafts.

But c'mon:

Is it the fact that these guys appear to be game-testing in the Young Adult Fiction section of the library? Or the wormhole in the hairstyle time continuum they seem to have stumbled through with their Hazzard County mullets? Or, maybe it's the Carey Elwes stunt-double who throws out the obligatory "dude!"--you know, to really connect with the jobless, pot-addled 20-something demo...from the mid-80s.

If you put together an FBI profile on the guy who wrote this, I'd bet a hundred bucks (Canadian) that he's a white male in his 50s, drives/drove a Trans-Am, and works/worked in a mid-level marcomm job in the admissions division of an online "college."

And he listens to Hall and Oates.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the spot is the medical-sounding disclaimer in the call to action: "Not intended for residents of Texas and Massachusetts". I was half expecting for it to include "...or women who are nursing or pregnant."

Of course, the A/V slippage on this version is really just a bonus. The soundtrack plays like a Kung-Fu movie dubbed by Jeff Spicoli.

Yep. On these slow blog days, nothing tastes sweeter than that low-hanging fruit.


Local Commercial Manages to Suck the Fun Out of a Career in Video GamesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 July, 2008

Under the Influence--48 Hour Film Project Baltimore

So nearly a month ago, I posted about the trials and tribulations of making a movie in only 48 hours, and the clash of creative minds that took place over those two days of writing, shooting and editing a film for the Baltimore 48-Hour Film Project. Although a lot of the equipment we used was borrowed from Renegade and many of the people involved in the shoot were Renegades, Renegade can't take all of the credit. A lot of friends, vendors, interns, and even people who found us through Craig's List, participated in a variety of ways from writers to cast to camera to post-production, and many roles in between. So the video below is not necessarily a "Renegade" prjoect, but a mix of talent and creative vision put together by our team.

It was directed by Ad Agency Confessional's very own Matt McDermott. (He also plays "Scratch n' Sniff Guy.")
You may recognize our Creative Director Little Kenny Bigtime as an extra. He was also part of the writing team and music supervisor.
Jason Bloom, a frequent contributor to the confessional, spent nearly a day editing the film and taking it from a bunch of great shots to an actual short film.
Noah Thomason, our Director of Production (who inspired this post here) handled the camera, along with another friend of Renegade, Joe Anderson of JoeNation.tv.
Jill Kaufman, one of our associate Creative Directors, was also part of the writing team and played the film's naughty devil.
Like most people, I wore a couple hats for the film, but my identity will remain a secret on the grounds that it may incriminate me.
Of course, we didn't list everyone involved here, but hey, that's what the credits are for.

Anyway, enjoy: Under the Influence by Team Renegade.

Some parts worked perfectly, some didn't, and others worked even better than we expected. Are there things we'd do over if we had the chance? Sure. But the audience laughed and apparently thought it wasn't too bad. Last week, we learned we won the Audience Favorite Award for our group, which had a few other professional teams and a few other comedies, so we're pretty proud of that.

Finally, you can click here to check out our production from the 2007 48 Hour Film Project, The Davidson Account. We do want to warn you, again, this film also wasn't a purely Renegade project, so it does get a little blue, and the language is not exactly safe for work.

Feel free to leave any comments with your thoughts on either film.

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Under the Influence--48 Hour Film Project BaltimoreSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

03 July, 2008

Friday (ish) Ad Haiku: 4th of July Sales

We practically let our cynical creative department intern take over the blog this week, but who really does any work around a holiday weekend? The guy who's still here after five the day before a three-day weekend. Have a nice time, Matt, editor, jerk. Anyway, here's Aditya's take on the Friday(ish) Ad Haiku--Cap'n A

More and more stores stay open on holidays, like Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day...Arbor Day, to serve the most avid and deal-spelunking of shoppers. All June I've been seeing commercials featuring finger-pointing Uncle Sam cutouts, "I Want You to buy a new dining set!" and talking barbecue grills, "Have we got some HOT deals!" Please, just give me fireworks, but alas, despite hackneyed advertising schemes, my inner shopaholic still beckons. That dinet set is as good as mine.

So for your Friday(ish) Ad Haiku enjoyment: 4th of July sales.

Don’t use July 4th
To sell me stuff. Use real ploys,
Like mail-in rebates.

--Aditya Desai,
Cynical Creative Department Intern

Last week on the Friday 5-7-5: Viral Marketing

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Spell Check Be Workin'.

Little Kenny Big Time's MS Word spelling and grammar check function keeps it real.

Clkic fhoto ot lenlagre.

Previously: Web guy murders the the English language with memo. Humor ensues.

M.M.McDermott, CAD/Copyrighter/Proofreeder

Spell Check Be Workin'.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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