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

06 October, 2008

Hovis: Alien Meets Wonder Bread...well, not exactly

Here's one from our Director of New Business Development. It's a spot for the Hovis bread brand, also known for this classic 1973 spot, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, the "1984" Apple Macintosh commercial--you've heard of him) and produced by Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners.

The '73 spot gives that warm and fuzzy feeling to eventually note that the product has more wheat germ than other brands. The new spot runs through 122 years of British history (as long as the Hovis brand has been around), both the good and the bad. I wonder how a campaign like this would perform in a America. I could see a company like Nike doing this large-scope concept justice or perhaps a product that really plays into its "Americanness" like a Budweiser or Chevrolet, but I'm not sure Americans would be moved for bread. Matt was sure Chevy did a spot similar a few years back, but I couldn't track it down before someone handed me something with a "deadline."

Editor's note: Captain, your laziness dedication to a job well-done is surpassed only by your awesomeness. See here and here.

Thoughts? Would this play in America? What brands would you take seriously if they did try something similar in scope or theme?

--Captain Awesome, Copywriter

Hovis: Alien Meets Wonder Bread...well, not exactlySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tap the Rockies for free talent.

From our friends over at the Denver Egotist: the Art Directors Club of Denver is throwing a bone into the blood-soaked Ring of Kick-Ass Creativity and All Things Marketably Awesome. They're prodding and provoking hungry advertising hopefuls, college students, and hobo drifters with Photoshop skills to battle it out (probably to the death*) to develop an ad campaign for a local non-profit.

The winners will have their campaign produced and implemented by Arts Street, an arts education program serving poor kids and stuff in the Denver area. The losers will be shot§ .

Ad agencies, you've been put ON NOTICE. Considering the current economic freak show on Wall Street, this could be the post-apocalyptic future for one-off projects. Welcome to Thunderdome.

* Probably not.


† Whatever.

Tap the Rockies for free talent.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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