25 March, 2009

Tales from the Spam Filter: Dirty, Sexy, Money

Spam makes so much more sense when it's rerouted to the proper recipient.

(Please to be Clickking ths photograsphy for her pleasures.)

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24 March, 2009

Under Armour CEO makes corporate America a little less douchey

CEOs on the take, bailed out robber barons, big wigs nursing off the government teet - repeat after me:

What would Kevin Plank do?

For starters, the Under Armour CEO cut his salary from a half million bucks to $26,000 a year. Not a surprise coming from a guy who refused to take a bonus in 2006 when revenues didn't meet his expectations. He's also turned over the keys to the company car.

A classy move from a hometown business.

Amazing how much easier (and enjoyable) PR is when you've got a conscience.

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I hate Facebook's stupid face. Or do I?

Great article in Slate pointing out what H.L. Mencken always knew: the masses are easily cajoled into liking whatever the Illuminati/Politicati/Economati tell them to. It just takes time. Admit it or not, even the most liberal Web 2.0 evangelist is nothing more than a crotchety old man shaking his cane at the neighborhood kids from his lawn chair.

We hate change. We like things comfortable. We like things easy.

But, over time, we'll adjust. Hell, we adapted to the crappy, discombobulated Facebook interfaces of olde. And we'll adapt to this one. And this time, it'll be even easier seeing as how Facebook stole everything but the whale from Twitter.

We'll accept this version of Facebook. And the next one. And the next one.

Carry on, fellow social media succubuses.

I hate Facebook's stupid face. Or do I?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 March, 2009

Friday Ad Haiku: Eating for free at the agency

I'm a liar.

A few haikus back, I made the statement that there are "no free lunches." Metaphorically, that's probably true. But in practice, I've found it couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I've developed a reputation as an unapologetic mooch. In my time at Renegade (from 2000-2002, and then 2006 to present), I've perfected the art of eating for free.

And now, I'm sharing my secrets. Just remember, with this kind of power comes great indigestion - and the ever-constant threat of an ass-kicking.

1. Anything without a name on it.
At our agency, the policy regarding foodstuffs is simple. Put your name on it. Stick your flag in it. Leave your brand on it. Whatever you have to do, mark it as yours. Otherwise, people like me will swoop down during off-hours to pilfer. Having no name on something is an invitation for lunchtime Communism. When that happens, your yogurt is mine, comrade.

2. Expired frozen foods.
It's inevitable. People get busy. A flustered AE will stick a Lean Cuisine Salisbury Steak dinner under an ice cube tray. A crusty designer will leave a Kashi stirfry dish in the company freezer and forget about it. And time will pass. Epochs. Millennia. At least, it feels like that as I make my weekly rounds, checking to see what stock is about to turn - much the way a winemaker checks his oak barrels, waiting for them to mature. And don't worry about getting sick; the date says BEST if used by April 10, 2007. It's not a warning. It's a suggestion.

3. Expatriate leave-behinds.
Face it. We're in a business that has high turnover. Mercurial personalities. Intense competition. New opportunities. It's a breeding ground for egress. And a fantastic source for free food. I make it a point to check and double check names. When someone leaves to pursue a new career, the last thing they're thinking about is their ham and cheese Hot Pocket.

4. Client meetings.
If you can't manage to get yourself on the account, at least introduce yourself to the client when the food arrives. I'm like a stray dog when clients come in for a lunch meeting, sniffing around the conference room, nosing through leftovers. Half a free bagel beats a whole $6.99 sandwich, know what I'm sayin'? I think you do.

5. Vending machine "shakins".
If your kitchen or cafeteria is blessed with an old vending machine, that's pretty much a guarantee there's free food to be had. Now I'm not advocating stealing. I don't stoop to such things. It's wrong. And I've got a bad back. I'm just saying. Product just kinda slips out of those rusty old spiral holders with hardly any vigorous shaking at all. And for a different kind of shakedown, check the tax license sticker on the side of the machine. You'd be surprised how much cheaper it is for the owner of a vending machine to give a talkative employee free Tastykakes than to pay the license renewal fee.

6. Parties.
I don't care how much you dislike someone at work. If it's their party, you're their best friend. Stand by their side. Give them support and well wishes. Help them cut their cake. As the cake cutter, only you truly know how many pieces someone's had. Help yourself to seconds and thirds. If need be, change clothes or put on a fake mustache each time you come back for more as not to arouse the suspicions of your coworkers.

7. Drivebuys.
If a coworker gets up from their lunch and leaves the room, you've got a window of opportunity. Sneak in for a free bite. But be careful. The laws of the elementary school lunchroom are applicable in perpetuity; don't be surprised if someone licks their french fries or sprinkles copious amounts of pepper on their salad to protect their food from people like you.

So there it is, grasshopper. I've shared my secrets. Use what you've learned wisely, though. And if you get caught. Blame it on the Cap'n. I know nothing.

There ARE free lunches.
But they are not served with a
side of self-respect.

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Filchbook.

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17 March, 2009

Twitter's Dirty Bird

Twitter works because of its simplicity. The only complex part of it is how the individual uses it - meeting people, breaking news, sharing information, or droning on about your grey, empty life and the insignificant events that comprise it.

Of course, the fact Twitter has a wellspring of 3rd party applications that are actually useful is a leg up, particularly interfaces like Tweetdeck, Twhirl, and Digsby. But I also have a roll of quarters in my pocket for the myriad of apps that exist solely for entertainment or ego's sake.

Here's a pretty sweet list of Twitter tools guaranteed to suck you in like a gaggle of geese into jet turbine of unproductivity.

From the list, my new favorite: Cursebird (actually found this first via Geo. Parker over at AdScam). Cursebird's a little Twitter search engine that scours a user's tweets for instances in which they've bandied about an expletive - from the tame to the "Queen Mother of all dirty words." Then, it ranks the user on a cuss-scale of 1-100. I was impressed that, out of 4 million-odd users, I ranked a solid 13,969 with a score of 96.

Probably my best score since finger-painting was graded.

Twitter's Dirty BirdSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

13 March, 2009

Friday Ad Haiku: Filchbook

You know you're on to something when Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerburg pilfers what makes your utility great. Twitter, as if it needed the validation, was obviously the primary inspiration for Facebook's face lift - namely the addition of a real-time friend stream and a reworking of the status window.

(Click pic=big pic)

Personally, I'm not impressed. Using Facebook is the social network equivalent of unhooking a bra on prom night: full of good stuff, but way more complicated than it should be. A parade of sketchy apps and pokes and super pokes and ultra-craptomic pokes. Sure, I still use it frequently, but it's more in spite of all the moving parts, not because of them. Unfortunately, every step Facebook takes to be more like Twitter gets it that much further from what makes it unique.

Social behemoth.
Useless apps. Still, how else would
I stalk old classmates?

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Responding to a-hole blog comments

Friday Ad Haiku: FilchbookSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

10 March, 2009

Why Pay More...Seriously, Why Pay More?

Was flipping through Ad Age’s Annual 2009 the other day (yeah, I know it came out in January, but somebody took the “good” copy into the bathroom). Anyway, I saw a few interesting things. Generally, the company that spent the most money for their particular industry in 2007 earned the largest market share, which makes sense. And usually if you spent the second through tenth most, you didn’t grab a market share that much smaller or larger than you spent. If you spent the second most, you probably finished with a top five market share, and if you spent the 9th most, you probably finished in the bottom five. However, there were some anomalies, and those are the companies we should look at or avoid imitating.

Toyota spent half as much on media as General Motors, but grabbed 2/3 as high of a market share. Ford on the other hand grabbed 2/3 as large a market share as GM, but spent ¾ of what GM spent on Media. Nissan spent nearly half of what GM spent, but pulled only slightly more than ¼ of GM’s market. What were Ford and Nissan doing wrong?

You can see this across a variety of industries. Restaurant chains generally spend more on media than they reap in their share of the market. The one exception was Dunkin Donuts. The DD spent about 13% of what top dog McDonald’s spent, but grabbed 18 % of the share the Golden Arches held. KFC and Pizza Hut held roughly the same market share as Dunkin Donuts, but Pizza Hut spent nearly double what Dunkin Donuts spent, while KFC spent almost 2.5 times as much.

Beverages are the other way around. The top companies generally spend a smaller percentage compared to their share of the market. A huge exception is Gatorade (PepsiCo), who spent more than half of what Coca Cola spent, but only pulled in less than ¼ of what Coca Cola brought in. And that’s just media buys. It doesn’t even take into account how much they paid spokespersons like Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter (although that would at least make more sense). Sprite, on the other hand, sells itself. Coke spent only 12.5 million—5% of what they spent on Coca Cola—for a beverage that grabbed nearly a 1/5 of the market Coca Cola owned. Oh, and did anyone else know that Nestle owns 7 of the top-selling water brands, including Poland Spring and Deer Park? Who needs carbonation and sugar?

Now let’s talk about my favorite industry on this list--How to succeed at selling beer. 1) Be Anheuser-Busch. The Budweiser brewer held nearly 50% of the market, which is insane considering the next closest industry leader was AT&T with 27.4% of the wireless market. 2) So you’re not Budweiser. Then don’t be Heineken. The green bottled Dutch lager spent 1/3 of what Anheuser-Busch spent, but only had 1/10 of A-B’s market share. 3) Be Pabst. The now largest American owned brewer, on the other hand, spent less than 1% of what Busch spent, but held 6 % of Busch’s market share—the only brewer on the list besides Yuengling to reap more market than it sewed.

Now wireless is interesting, because the biggest spender didn’t hold the largest market share. The second largest provider, Verizon, spent $1,717.4 million, while the largest, AT&T, spent only $1,589.3 mil. After that, the numbers pretty much all make sense.

Oh, those poor retailers. When it comes to retail, ad spending doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Top spender Macy’s outspent second highest spender Sears by nearly $300 million, but Sears almost doubled Macy’s market share. Actually, at only 1.0% of the market, Macy’s had the seventh highest market share, and Sears had the fifth. The largest share (as if you couldn’t guess) went to Wal-Mart, who earned almost 11% of the market at about half of what Macy’s spent.

What does all of this mean? Well, marketers put a high value on premium products, but apparently Americans just want products that are cheap--Budweiser, Pabst, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Wal-Mart. Heineken is a premium product that enough Americans just haven’t bought into, and Verizon is a service that charges higher rates, based on their reputation, but apparently, Americans don’t care.

A big exception would be Starbucks, but when you charge $5.78 for something that costs $0.88, you’d have a healthy bottom line too. And Toyota’s not cheap, but they’ve got a reputation that goes back longer than Verizon’s. I mean, who would you rather steal from—Toyota whose Tundra can survive an asteroid strike, or Chevy, the company that thought it would be a good idea to purchase the Geo line.

The lesson, unless you’ve got an amazing reputation or the best business model since Twitter, “We don’t produce anything, but that won’t stop you,” be easily accessible (re: Budweiser, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts) and be cheap.

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06 March, 2009

Friday Ad Haiku: Responding to a-holish blog comments

So we had a conversation internally today about the best way to respond to lulz and trolls who leave nasty, incendiary, and otherwise jerk-offish comments on blogs. I remembered a post our homegirl Angela Natividad (of AdRants fame) wrote on her personal site, talking about how the Air Force public affairs department handles stuff like that.

The answer: A flowchart.

(If you're a patriot, you'll click to make it bigger)

Totally simple. Totally logical. Totally brilliant.

A surprisingly user-friendly tool for we social media shills (and I say that with much love, respect, mad proppers and what have you) tasked with convincing clients to put themselves out there in the cold, scary woods of blogdom. I endorse pilfering the flowchart for fun and profit.

Schmaprietary. You can't

patent common sense.

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Blog Pimpin'

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05 March, 2009


Driving down I-95 Sunday, my old lady and I spotted this billboard:

I originally didn't like this ad because it was so hard to read that I nearly slammed into the jersey wall. After my wife and I took turns trying to pronounce "Hungergency", like a poor reenactment of the nitrous oxide scene in Black Sheep, it dawned on me that the ad was actually kind of ingenious.

First, we spent the rest of the car ride home talking about it. That conversation was ultimately cut short by me actually reenacting the scene from Black Sheep starring me as both Chris Farley and David Spade.

She laughed but I don't think it was with me.

More importantly, without any mention of the product or brand, we instantly associated this ad with Snickers. Mostly because they do a good job of carrying their logo and font design from product packaging to a different medium. Just goes to show how important your logo is. It can elicit instant brand recognition or you could end up here.

You could always get a new logo design from these guys, but I question their ability to tie their shoes with a website like that. I'd let them know, but apparently they don't want anyone to contact them.

Logergency? Why wait? Get Renegade. (ed. note: Way to work in a call to action, shill.)

Got any funny words that you've made up? Leave them in the comments so I can take credit for them.

LogoliciousSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

04 March, 2009

Twittery Twitterness: The Daily Show's tweet release; Google CEO shakes fist, tells Twitter to get the hell off his lawn.

Jon Stewart's curmudgeonly take on Twitter is echoed (for real) by Google CEO/Professional Twitter-hater Eric Schmidt.

Calling it the "poor man's email system", Schmidt manages to not only alienate millions of Twitter users, but also look like a titanic dufus when he confuses the character limits in a tweet with those of mobile text. After hearing that, I suppose this makes more sense now:

(picture clickin von biggun)

Previous Twitter worship in this space.

Twittery Twitterness: The Daily Show's tweet release; Google CEO shakes fist, tells Twitter to get the hell off his lawn.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

03 March, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion: DeWalt drills the competition good and hard

Our web videos for DeWalt's kick-ass contractor-grade drills are officially up on their website. Mad, filthy props to our production team for bringing these together - and to our homies at DeWalt for letting us take them in some interesting directions.

A few from their YouTube page...

Producer - Noah Thomason
Director - Jason Stern
Director of Photography - Tim Matkosky
Writer - Yours truly
Account Exec - Jennifer Stine
Online Editor - Brian Stetson
Offline Editor - Jeremy Stevens

Shameless Self-Promotion: DeWalt drills the competition good and hardSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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