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
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