30 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: The Hoax - Part 2

I was trying to explain to my roommate what I was working on here at Renegade. As soon as I mentioned the word “hoax” she became side-tracked. She could not stop talking about Milli Vanilli and how they deceived their fans – did they even have fans? So for your entertainment, my roommate and I wrote a haiku about the dread-locked Milli Vanilli:

Girl, you know it’s true.
The greatest hoax of all time-
Lip synching failure.

- Amanda Gazi, Creative Deparment Intern

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: For the Sake of Attention

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: The Hoax - Part 2SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

25 October, 2009

Top Five Things a Commercial Editor Never Wants to Hear

5. "We want it relaxed and subtle, but exciting and 'in-your-face'."

4. "We got some direction on that $5,000 dollar spot we need completed tomorrow. Have you seen those Coke commercials with the animated polar bears?"

3. "It's not 'edgy' enough."

2. "I love the direction you're going with this. The color scheme is perfect and the pacing is exceptional...I love everything about it. Now I just need to forward this to my boss."

And the number one thing that a commercial editor never wants to hear:

1. "We told the client we'd just fix it in post."

Top Five Things a Commercial Editor Never Wants to HearSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

23 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: For the Sake of Attention

I guess our intern misunderstood when I said, "Just write me something quick." But you gotta love kids who work their tails off for no money, only the slender hope that maybe on Friday someone will bring in donuts. Not this Friday. Hey, that's a hell of a lot better than the intern who used to steal my coffee. The Intern Sweatshop rolls on. - Captain Awesome

This Friday’s haiku was inspired by Falcon Heene also known as “Balloon Boy” and his parents’ attempt at the classic flying saucer-missing boy hoax. This story got me thinking about other advertising "hoaxes" gone awry.

Taco Bell created a stir when word got out that they purchased The Liberty Bell in efforts to reduce the nation’s debt – soon thereafter to be known as “The Taco Liberty Bell.” Thousands of people protested the selling of the Liberty Bell and even more became upset when, a few days later, Taco Bell revealed that this simply was an April Fools Joke. Despite the backlash of this attention-getting joke, Taco Bell’s sales jumped by more than half a million dollars. Let’s see how that annoying Black Jack Taco commercial serves them.

In an effort to stay competitive, Burger King had a light-bulb moment, too. BK decided to advertise their new left-handed Whopper to gain more foot traffic to their stores. When left-handed customers went to the fast-food locations asking for the new Whopper, they became very upset to learn, while standing at the counter, this was only a stunt. Burger King, as a proud lefty, I am offended.

Snapple had the brilliant idea to erect a gigantic 25 foot, 17 ½ ton popsicle in Union Square on the first day of summer. Much to Snapple’s surprise, the temperature reached 80 degrees that day sending a sticky, pink goo down busy Mahattan streets. Snapple reported that they knew the popsicle would eventually melt, they just did not expect it to happen so quickly. FAIL.

How about the Lite Brite invasion that took over the streets of Boston? The effort at guerrilla marketing for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie went terribly wrong when police officers mistook the Lite Brites for explosive devices. When a marketing campaign causes a bomb scare, something is not right.

So in honor of these advertising Einstein's Your Friday Haiku: Great Hoaxes in Advertising

Taco Bell, B K.
It’s all about deception.
Now, don’t get upset.

-Amanda Gazi, Truthful Creative Department Intern

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: A Dieter's Epiphany

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: For the Sake of AttentionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

22 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Boobvertising!?!

We just want to say that our intern came up with this topic all on her own, after doing extensive research, and had no prompting from any of us. Although we did discuss the title with her at length. All kidding aside, she does delve into an issue close to her heart, while drawing attention to an interesting campaign being run right here in our own backyard. Enjoy.

So that’s the trick to capturing this audience’s attention. Now things are starting to make sense. When exactly does objectification of the female body cross the line of morally acceptable and ethical advertising?

I have found busty ads that I consider controversial and one that takes a completely new and unique approach to advertising focused on “the girls.”

Does the slogan “Life’s Short. Get a Divorce” ring a bell? This billboard, featuring a scantily clad duo in provocative positioning, created quite a stir a few years ago. The ad was conceptualized by Chicago divorce attorney, Corri Fetman.

Fetman created so much buzz with the racy advertisements that she was forced to take them down. She then resorted to plastering the images on box-trucks to be driven around Chi-town. Fetman also claimed to have been the busty woman in the ads; it was no surprise she was later approached to pose in Playboy Magazine. Shockingly, she accepted the offer.

Another advertisement, for a procedure some consider inappropriate and many consider a great contributor to the objectification of women, is this one centered on breast implants.

It is not the content of the billboard that is the problem here, and sure, the imagery used is, well…a little risqué. But the real issue here is that this billboard was placed directly outside of a military base in Morongo Valley, Ca—a base populated mostly by males. Yeah.

I suppose it is assumed that while soldiers are leaving the base headed home, this advertisement would motivate them to purchase their girls at home a lovely set of…well…girls. I can’t wait to welcome back my soldier with a loving hug, a warm, home-cooked meal and my new efforts at becoming a Pam Anderson look-a-like, DDD’s and all. “Welcome home, honey. Thanks for the gift.”

The sheer concept of targeting this billboard towards men, positioned in a place where mostly men would see it, seems to be what I like to call the “bissue” – the big issue. Alright advertisers, let’s think this one through. How do you suspect a man would propose the idea of implants to his girl? “Oh honey, I saw this ad today for a boob job on my way home from work and immediately thought of you.” SLAP! Now ladies, if you want to enhance your bustline, go right ahead. I am all for it. But if your man is the one making the suggestion, well, your fist hurts even more when holding a roll of quarters.

On the flip side of all of this, I found an ad campaign that is entirely focused on women’s breasts but is done in a tasteful and professional manner. It purposefully causes some excitement, but that’s only temporary until one learns who is behind this campaign.

I was driving through Baltimore city when I noticed a sign similar to the one above. I was completely shocked. So, I went home and googled the tagline. Bingo, I responded in exactly the way viewers were supposed to. I succumbed to this example of effective advertising. And here is what I learned.

This new campaign is implemented by the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Signage like the one above has been placed all around Maryland trying to rally support. The organization has also released other forms of advertisements to get the word out.

According to a press release from the organization’s Development Director, Lenore Koors, the campaign is “based on the premise of ‘telling your story’ and the physical and emotional connection to local breast cancer survivors and co-survivors.” These pro-bono marketing services were provided by PUNCH of Sykesville, Md., says Koors, as an attempt to let the “Thousands of Maryland breast cancer survivors know they are not alone in their fight and to offer them the opportunity to tell their stories – firsthand accounts of their struggles with this disease, their treatments and their successes.”

This concept was to include ten local survivors who were chosen based on their stories submitted to the organization’s website. These women provide real life case studies to be used in the campaign. They were also photographed and filmed for PSA and webstory materials. Koors adds that these women are the “Faces of this campaign, and the faces of hope.”

The organization also has a facebook page where other women can share their own empowering stories and submit pictures of themselves, yes indeed, supporting their own local breasts for a chance to win some fun Komen prizes.


Check out some of the ads seen around town:

I personally like this campaign and the organization’s approach to capturing attention. With these innovative headlines and strategically centered images, Komen Maryland is driving the point home that breast cancer support is the most important thing to beating this horrible disease.

But I have to wonder, is this campaign acceptable to me simply because of the nature of the organization and because this is a good cause? Or is this a creative, tasteful and well thought out spin on what so many beer companies and car magazines having been doing for decades? After all, in advertising there is such a thing as too much boob. But as far as this campaign goes, those girls at Komen have this girl’s support.

-Amanda Gazi, Creative Department Intern

Intern Sweatshop: Boobvertising!?!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

21 October, 2009

Eat, drink and be scary.

(We have a poster, so you know it's official.)

Rather than compete with the schedule-clutter of the holiday season, the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore has eschewed the typical Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Non-Denominational Winter Celebration party in favor of a Halloween shindig at Westminster Hall, burial place of the original bad ass of horror, Edgar Allan Poe.

(Edgar "There's No Such Thing as Last Call" Poe)

Stop by, eat rich people food, tour the crypts, abuse the open bar, and network with tons of advertising/media/client folks - all while dressed like a French Vampire Hooker Nurse. The more inappropriate your costume, the better. (No Balloon Boy themes. It's too soon, people.)

So if you'll be in Baltimore on Wednesday (10.28), get thee to this party, post haste. Click the link below. Vincent Price would have wanted you to:


Eat, drink and be scary.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 October, 2009

The David Hasselhoff of Ad Blogs: Indian Edition

So, not only do we apparently kick ass in the UK, we're now considered the 5th best ad agency blog in the world according to an Alexa ranking-based survey by Orchard Fresh, an agency out of India.

Finally, indisputable proof that any findings based exclusively on Alexa stats are absolutely and thoroughly infallible. Please disregard earlier surveys of the World's Greatest Ad Blogs; they are obviously out of date, biased, or not tabulated in India.

Still no word about how we stack up in the adopted homeland of the Hoff.

Auf Wiedersehen, haters.

The David Hasselhoff of Ad Blogs: Indian EditionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

16 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Desperate Food

Alright, so we keep our interns busy, but if you had interns as good as ours, you'd put them to work too. Tomorrow, I'm getting my car detailed. So don't judge us. Just enjoy. Now excuse us, it's noon and our interns are taking us out for beers. After all it is Friday. Here's yet another edition of our 938-part series: The Intern Sweatshop.--Captain Awesome.

I think it was during the Atkins diet craze that I saw a bottle of water that had “CARB-FREE!” emblazoned on the side. Staring and smiling, I realized, even at my tender young age, that “____-free!” claims on food items were riding the coattails of popular diets hard. Water, of course, has always been carb-free. Chocolate syrup has always been low-fat, but it only started claiming that fact during the "FAT IS BAD" craze. But the eye-catching starburst catches the twitchy attention of the desperate dieter searching for anything that could wiggle in under his particular food restriction--and voila! A potentially ignored purchase is made.

A more deceptive ploy is the “Made with real _____!” claim. Technically, a smooch of 100% cheese lightly dusted on a thumb and then pressed gently against the advertised cracker validates that claim. The bigger the claim looks on the box, though, the more a Cheez-It sounds like a slice of fresh cheese, and the healthier a loaf of bread "made with whole grain wheat" sounds.

So the moral of this is: food wants to be eaten, regardless of your darn diet--and you will be trapped into eating it.

On that note, Your Friday Ad haiku: A Dieter's Epiphany:

On low-carb diet.
Ugh. Hungry, hungry, hungry—

- Hannah Cheng, Hungry Creative Department Intern

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5:
The Writer's Hangover

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Desperate FoodSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

14 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Hate Snuggies? Taste the Irony!

This is a public service warning: if you’ve ever made fun of Snuggies—online, over the phone, at your grandmum’s tea party—you’ve been an important part of the Snuggie Revolution.

Your ridicule was the key to the Snuggie’s success. It’s ironic, and it stinks, but it’s true. Your laughter and outrage at the original commercial piqued the interest of others. You were a link in the whole word-of-mouth chain that brought the infection to daytime television.

Sure, you may not be as guilty as Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres and Jon Stewart, who all dedicated segments of their shows to ridiculing the oversized blanket. Regardless of who’s most at fault—the grassroots haters or the celebrity jokers—Facebook and YouTube are rife with hundreds of fans, anti-fans and parodies of Snuggies. Hundreds who have seen the Snuggie’s original commercial—and have spread the zombie virus of Snuggism.

So now, a lot of people want to buy a Snuggie. My best friend, for one. Her five-aunt-and-uncle extended family, for more.

Why? The Snuggie’s now on par with that silly Halloween costume or that perplexing high fashion outfit. It's cool to be weird! So instead of leaving their backwards bathrobe at home, people have taken the Snuggie to the street for Snuggie pub crawls.

Thanks to the Snuggie’s high demand, its creators have recently released some new sexy prints that featured in the New York Fashion Week.

Soon enough, the Snuggie will come in satin and silk—you know, for those formal/intimate (yes, they’ll be interchangeable) occasions. After all, who doesn’t want to be warm while looking absolutely snazzy?

It won’t stop there; we’ll have leather Snuggies for the tough motorcycle crowds, because they get cold too. And of course: standard cotton Snuggies for the everyday man relaxing on his day off and for the mumsies wanting to kick off all their clothes after caring for their spawn all day.

Let’s not ignore the fact that, if the Snuggie is properly secured with a belt, it could totally be work-appropriate attire. Take a moment to imagine your coworkers shrouded in the loving warmth of Snuggies. Sure, some of them might end up looking like slouches, but others could probably pull off the medieval monk look with pizazz.

Take the Grim Reaper, for example. The hard-working chap cuts quite the dashing figure.

The possibilities of Snuggie expansion are endless. So if you’re really trying to end the tyrannical reign of pants, ridicule the Snuggie some more. The cult will only grow.

Hannah Cheng, Creative Intern

Also from the Snuggie files: Stern drink s big ol' glass of Snuggie Haterade.

Intern Sweatshop: Hate Snuggies? Taste the Irony!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The envelope, please...

So, the Baltimore Sun's inaugural Mobbies Awards results are in. And, well damn folks, we're really humbled by your support. Our lil' ol' ad blog peeped its head out in the standings here and there, and we couldn't be more pleased.

And we couldn't have done it without you. Seriously.

Below you'll find the list of the winners, conveniently compiled by the good people over at Inside Charm City. If you're in Baltimore - or are just obsessed with this town - I highly recommend checking them out; every one of 'em deserves a spot in your RSS feed. And in your hearts. [single tear]

Best Overall – Renegade Agency Confessional
Foodie – Dining Dish
Humor – The City That Breeds
Pop Culture – MamaPop
Music – Bmore Musically Informed
Neighborhood – Baltimore City’s Past and Present
Politics – Tales of Two Cities
Sports – Testudo Times
Ravens – Right Off Russell
Orioles – Camden Chat
Terps – Shell Games
Family – The Land of Bean
Personal – The City That Breeds
Photography – John Waire
Art + DIY – Baltimore Etsy Street Team
Business + Technology – Renegade Agency Confessional
Misfits: defying categorization – You Don’t Say

Now, we celebrate. If you're within gunshot range of Baltimore, get your arse down to the Metro Gallery TONIGHT to commingle with all the fine folks - the nominees, the winners, the organizers, the bartenders - who made this whole thing possible.

Click to make the map all big and stuff.

Again, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. Or whatever it is we advertising people have pumping blood through our bodies.

The envelope, please...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

09 October, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku

Well, today our intern delivers a haiku on what many of us have had to endure at least once in our lives (or we've lied about it and said we haven't--not while working here of course)--going to work...with a hangover.

Let me get this out right away. I'm not advocating drinking. I'm advocating creativity through drinking. My 21+ year old roommate was tossing in bed when I left this morning--hangover. I knew she had to get up and go to work not long after me, so I set up her hangover-suppression routine: one glass of water next to the bed, a Tylenol on the side, another glass of water at the sink, and the path to the bathroom cleared of toe-jamming obstacles.

I’ve done this whole working with hangover thing once--I worked at Potbelly at the time--so you can understand why I've never done that again. When it comes to writing for a living, though, I can’t help but wonder if Absinthe-chugging writers like Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde wrote their best after a serious hangover. Maybe their drinking was basically brain exfoliation: killing off the old, unproductive brain cells to reveal the gushing geysers of legendary creativity.

While I’ve opted out of testing this hypothesis, I fully support anyone interested in thorough experimentation. The Friday Ad Haiku: The Writer's Hangover

Spare the rod and you’ll
Spoil the brain; so punish it
With late night drinking.

-Hannah Cheng, Good Girl Creative Department Intern

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Spec Work

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06 October, 2009

HD or Bad Trip?

While doing some research on HD commercials I came across these two gems. The first, titled "Experiment" is actually more than two years old and is from Fallon London, the company behind two previous Sony Bravia spots--Balls and Paint. This one, however, features every Sony HD product you can think of, plus a poodle, half a '71 mustang and Iron Maiden. After this assault on your senses, you may need a cold shower afterwards.

Do you think that was some creative director's last hurrah? Okay guys, I've always wanted to do a commercial with all of these things. Oh, and does anyone recognize the pooch from this spot? He must be the Christopher Walken of advertising.

This next spot won't cause you to question your religion, but it does raise some serious ethical questions about Samsung.

We're Samsung. And we want to tease your baby.

-Captain Awesome, Copywriter

HD or Bad Trip?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

05 October, 2009

God the Bounty Hunter

In Baltimore, we do small business big. Like, biblically big:

I was barely able to get a picture off before this guy ascended into heaven (or turned down Lexington Street), leaving me with nothing but questions. Can't blame him for wanting to affiliate his company with a blue-chip name, I guess.

It gets better. They have access to a video camera, editing equipment and local cable ad buys:

Safe to say the Man Upstairs has put Judgment Day on His calendar. In ink.

Other acts of vehicular adslaughter: Rage Rover; Your Busses Are Belong to Us.
And the ad gospel according to J-hizzy: Spiritual Water; ShamWow for the Soul.

God the Bounty HunterSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

01 October, 2009

How to be a social media jerkhole: Follow everyone who follows you on Twitter.

In a perfect world, there's nothing wrong with returning a favor. Being cordial and such. But Twitter's not the real world. It's a bizarro world where people take pictures of lunch and share it with friends. It's a good world. A world you should be a part of - particularly in this business. But a strange world.

And while reciprocity is a cornerstone of social media, it's also the conduit for spammers to get in your face, kinda like a little kid who sneezes in your mouth when trying to give you a hug. See, spammers are brilliant bastards. Where there's a channel available to reach people, there'll be someone looking to abuse it in bulk.

Blindly following them is part of the problem. It encourages them. And it makes it a lot harder for spammers to push the Follower/Following threshold that Twitter uses to keep spam out.

So don't do it. Be more selective. No one likes a followslut. Before you go following someone like @$workathome on Twitter, use a vetting process. Don't have one? Here's what I look for before I give my love away:

1. Follower-to-Following Ratio. Not the end all be all, but it's a good start. If they are following WAY more people than are following them back, think twice. It's probably not worth it. Their account'll probably be suspended by Twitter for violating TOS anyway. On the other hand, if someone has more followers than the number of folks they're following, it could mean that they are a valuable source of info and conversation, and that they don't give freely of their attention. Or it could mean they follow a crap-ton of people, then ditch them later on to make their follow-ratio look good - kinda like the cheerleader who dates the lovable dork, but then totally stands him up to go to prom with the quarterback. Or something.

2. Profile Page. Did the user build a bio? Are they using the default Twitter avatar? Or did they take time to upload a picture? Is there a background design? Spammers deal in bulk and rarely build this stuff out. If I don't see any effort to build a profile, I don't follow.

3. Location. I'm a homer. I admit it. Even if the Orioles waterproof the basement of the American League East for the rest of my life, I'll continue to root for them. And for Baltimore. If you're from my town, you get preferential treatment. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because there's a better likelihood that you'll have something to say that interests me, whether it's recommending a local coffee shop or suggesting places around town not to get shot.

4. Tweet Content. I look for a good mix of retweet, @ mentions, and link sharing. It tells me that the user reads and shares others' content, has conversations, and posts potentially interesting information. They could be worth a follow. If any of their tweets include the phrases "making money from home", "look at my pictures", or "social media expert": run.

5. Frequency of retweets. I like an active tweeter. What I can't stand is someone who tweets incessantly and clogs my twitter stream. It gets exhausting to follow. Set a tolerance level - how many tweets are you willing to see from this person per hour? For me, if you tweet more than 6 times per hour consistently, I won't follow.

6. API. If I'm still on the fence, I check the API (Application Programming Interface) the user's broadcasting their tweets over. Are they using Tweetdeck? The web? Twitterfeed? That can help give you clues as to whether this is simply an account that rebroadcasts RSS feeds or is manned by a sentient being. I prefer to follow people who talk back.

So, what's your process? How do you determine which followers make the cut and which ones can go pound spam?

Previously in How To Be a Social Jerkhole: Talk about yourself all the time.

How to be a social media jerkhole: Follow everyone who follows you on Twitter.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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