24 November, 2010

|| From The Judges Corner ||

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Have a seat Mike Rowe, I’ve got this one covered. There are some things that people were born to do. I was born to judge people… in a bake-off.

As far as Tuesday mornings at the office go, this ranked among the best. Laid out before myself and the other judges were an array of deserts that could send the healthiest of people into a diabetic shock. We had pumpkin, we had chocolate, we had apple, I had collapsed in a sugar coma. I will say, when there is a smorgasbord-of-delicious laid out in the office, I feel bad having “more” than my share but being a judge means you get ONE OF EVERYTHING. I later found out that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Right out of the gate we had a clear front runner – pumpkin, white chocolate chip cookies. Simple, I know but the time and care that went into these… It really showcased the bakers expertise. They were moist but with a nice crust on the bottom. Not that thick char that I usually get. These morsels of heaven landed a strong 3rd in the competition.

In 2nd place, was my favorite, an apple pie with a delicious brown sugar and nut crumble. The apples were soft but not mushy. The crumble was a nice compliment without being overpowering. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

And the winner on the day was an office favorite – pumpkin cheesecake with a caramel drizzle. This judge is still challenging who actually baked it but unfortunately the criteria for the competition was on taste alone.

What a day. What a breakfast. Way to go Renegades. Anyone interested in a Christmas cookie bake-off? Or a birthday cake cook-off? Hot dog eating contest? Never mind. I’m going to lunch…

-- Jim Luparello Account Extraordinaire Lover of Little Debbie, Judger Of All

|| From The Judges Corner ||SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 November, 2010

Conan: Successful Social Media User

How does an ex-talk show host who has a very public spat with his old network for trying to change his timeslot, rebound after a do-not-appear-on-tv buyout deal, and end up at the top of the ratings?

The Answer: Social Media

Since his falling out with NBC in 2009, Conan was prohibited from appearing on television. Without his familiar zaniness outlet, Conan turned to one of the only places left for him to connect with his audience, a Twitter account.
This was literally the first fans would hear from Conan since the gag order.

Conan continually fed the masses of hungry fans who were bitter with NBC and Jay Leno for not supporting their uniquely-haired talk show host, bringing the #TeamCoco movement to a fever pitch.

Filling a stream with personal anecdotes and making headlines by following just one random Twitter user, Conan had tapped into the pulse of what drove his show, and in essence, himself to be such big hits.

Soon after, Conan also put on a brief 30-city tour, appropriately named "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, which featured such acts as Conan and Jim Carrey dressed as Kick Ass and Superman performing Five for Fightings' "Superman (It's Not Easy.)"

Around this time he launched the appropriately named TEAMCOCO, which became the nexus for all things Conan including a special announcement in September that he would be launching a new show on TBS in November.

He followed this up with a Facebook where he would randomly take a Facebook fan's question and answer them on his Youtube channel.

After that it's a whirlwind of a live 24-hour webcam event, a mock first show called Show Zero, and of course the Team Coco blimp which featured it's own Foursquare badge if you were lucky enough for it to float over your city.

Conan O'Brien's social media experience illustrates one of the most successful uses of social marketing by a celebrity in connecting with their audience.

He had interactions and influence numbers that marketers drool over.

And what was the result of all of these social shenaningans?

When Conan's show finally premiered on TBS, the audience he had gained through his career at Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the Tonight show, the audience he had gained through Dancing Tacos, I Miss Conan videos, and exclusive Foursquare badges tuned in and put him on the ratings throne of late night television.

With his attention back toward his TV show, will the stream of content be hindered so much so that Team Coco's social presense dwindles? Or was this all merely a stop gap until he made it back to the airwaves?

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Team Coco supporter

Conan: Successful Social Media UserSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A "digital" rebrand for prostate cancer awareness.

Now that our new contributors (Frick and Frack) have assumed the suit-n-tie role of thought-leadership and industry wonking, that leaves me free to spend my time mining the webz for things that make me giggle. Some of them even have a passing connection to advertising.

Exhibit A from Emery Pajer, hubbie of one of our loyal readers (and a good friend):

Conceptual Sketches for the Redesign of the Prostate Cancer Ribbon



Recruiters, I want a finder's fee when you get this guy hired.

In other advertising shoulda-been news: Foursquare badges that should exist

A "digital" rebrand for prostate cancer awareness.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

15 November, 2010

I'll take Ad Space for $9, Alex.

The "first" television ad in history cost only $9 for a 20 second placement.

In the day-to-day trials of getting a client-approved budget, I can't even imagine the conversation that takes place to sell a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad. Perhaps the best card was played by Miller Brewing Co. for their 1 second Miller High Life ads. Why pay almost $3mm for 30 seconds when you get your messaging across in 1. Just in case you blinked and missed it - click here.

The early part of my career was spent in a pretty sterile environment filled with pencils and calculators buying ad space. Granted, this wasn't that long ago but the point remains. It's like building a puzzle without a point of reference. The basic goal is to buy the best rated programs for the lowest price to reach your target market. A 30 second spot, during prime time, on a Thursday night? Forget about it. Especially if you were working with a bare-bones budget. And then it happened. "Head On. Apply directly to the forehead. Head On. Apply directly to the forehead. Head On. Apply directly to the forehead."

Am I freaking out? Did I just witness a glitch in the Matrix?

And then it happened again. Like a bad dream, televisions all over the nation were being attacked by this repetitious assault. Now, 5 years later, I see the genius behind this campaign. I don't know if this product is still around but I still remember the brand and tag line. Can Head On really be classified with the "Where's the beef?" lady?

The real shocker was that it only took 10 seconds to get across. Why am I paying for 30 second spots when I could be buying 10? I didn't even know that was possible. The truth is, 10 second ads have always been around. Advertisers just didn't know how to use them properly. At the very best, you could take a 30-second spot, split it down the middle and use it to bookend another spot. It gets the consumers attention but is it memorable?
I don't know how well the 1 second ad tracked but in doing some research, myself and a fellow colleague watched the reel of spots that never saw the light of day. It may have fallen short of it's 15 minutes of fame but thanks to YouTube, advertising will live on beyond it's allotted media space.
-- Jim Luparello III Assc. AE Frugal Bugle

I'll take Ad Space for $9, Alex.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

12 November, 2010

Last Day to Tell Us You Love Us

Hey faithful readers.

Today is the last day for voting in the Baltimore Sun's Mobbies Awards for the Best Blogs in Maryland. We've been battling neck and neck with another great Baltimore Agency for the top spot in Biz Tech. And we've climb to 6th for Best Overall as a bunch of Blogs have been jockeying for the top spots this past week. So thank you...big bunches. And if you still sort of, kind of, maybe a little bit like what you read here, please vote for us for Best Biz/Tech Blog here and Best Overall Blog, by typing in Renegade Agency Confessional here.

It really means a lot to us, 1) because the local recognition is just awesome (Hey, we wanna be the best agency in Maryland, re: the World), and 2) Matt's gonna bring in free breakfast for a week. So please don't ruin this for me. I love breakfast.

Thanks for voting. And thanks for reading, we hope we only occasionally disappoint.

The The Renegade Agency Confessional Team

Last Day to Tell Us You Love UsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Ads on Twitter Are Okay By Me

Being a part of the *special* 900,000 users that access Twitter through Hootsuite, couldn't help but notice something new popping up in my Feed.

A dull yellow highlight around the word Promoted Tweet (or Promoted depending on where you look) with a message from a big name brand like Nintendo or Best Buy, brands I don't actually follow.

These brands have paid a premium to Twitter to appear in users feeds via the Promoted Tweet veil.

Like most entrepreneurial ventures in life, it all comes back to earning/making money.

And this is the way Twitter chose to do it.

Announced back in April, Twitter has utilized these Promoted Tweets in a way where they're not terribly annoying, in my opinion that is.

Unlike other websites, where ads appear in the typical right hand column or in Banner ads, these purchased advertisement tweets show up in general feeds and haven't been too much of a distraction so far.

These ads feel like a natural extension of the service, much like other advertisements on the web.

When I go to YouTube, I can expect to watch commercials now.
When I want to read an article on the Baltimore Sun's website, some ads appear about a Baltimore mom making $134.95/hr.
Head to any of the big networks that host old episodes for streaming, and you're going to be treated to the same 30-sec ad from a sponsor at regular broadcast commercial spots.

Okay, so those are annoying, but we still use those services. Following this line of logic, I wouldn't expect Twitter users to be bothered by this new form of advertising.

I've done searching on Twitter, and am finding that few seem to share my apathetic attitude toward these ads:

Maybe I'm just not getting hit as hard as other users, but I really don't think these Promoted Tweets are the devil.

If anything, they're a smart way of reaching Twitter users with brand messaging. At least we're not being forced to watch a :30 sec Dove spot everytime we refresh our feed.

Jury's still out on all of this. What do you think about Promoted Tweets on Twitter?

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Promoted Tweeter (not really)

Ads on Twitter Are Okay By MeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 November, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: Beer Advertising, You Never Let Me Down

Over the years there has been one type of advertisement that people have called sexist, inappropriate, homophobic or stereotypical. But beer commercials are freaking hilarious.

I can’t keep track of all the times I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing while watching a football game or TV show and seen a new beer commercial. Beer advertisements have been cracking me up since long before I ever consumed the malted barley and hops they were advertising.

A perfect example is Budweiser’s classic “Wassup” commercial that aired during the 2000 Super Bowl. It was so simple, yet so hilarious—all ages could laugh at it. (Although, there is an ethical question about making beer commercials that appeal to children, but I won't get into that with this post.)

Check it out:

Over a decade later, beer advertising is still going strong. Yes, they may portray woman as sexy bartenders and party-goers and men as “manly” only if they drink the correct beer, but that doesn’t make them any less funny. I don’t know about you, but most commercials involving guys being made fun of for wearing Speedos or bejeweled jeans will always make me laugh.

These ads definitely display distinct differences in the genders through their ads, but they are obvious exaggerations to me. Also, sometimes it’s refreshing when commercials can make fun of stereotypes in an obvious way. Just like this Heineken ad from back in 2008—still hilarious in another language:

It’s nearly impossible to please every person watching your commercial, especially when it involves alcohol, sex and humor, but at the end of the day, as long as you get some big laughs, hold onto your loyal beer drinkers, and don’t offend too many people, you’ve done your job.

Cheers to beer ads: for giving me something to enjoy during halftime.

And I will be looking forward to seeing some funny ads tonight during the Ravens' game. So have any favorite or hated beer spots of your own? Dos Equis? Coors Light Press Conference? Almost any ad for Bud Light? Let us hear them!

Lisa Lucantoni, Brewksy-Ad Lovin' Intern

Here at the Agency Confessional we don't advocate drinking or not drinking, but if an over-21 intern brings us a 6-pack every now and then, well, that tends to look good on their reviews. Please drink responsibly.--George

Intern Sweatshop: Beer Advertising, You Never Let Me DownSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 November, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: RockMelt May Potentially Rock My Internet, Hopefully

RockMelt (yeah, it's an awful name) is a new browser based on Chrome that integrates social networking, chat and news right into your browsing.

It. Looks. Awesome.

Let's be honest, some of us have too many programs running on our computer. I, for one, am a big news/social network nut and can have five or six programs running at a time. RSS feed readers, chat clients, Twitter clients, link sharing apps, the kitchen sink: it's too much. I've tried moving it all online, using web apps for everything so I can do it all from my Internet browser. Good idea, but now I perpetually have five or six browser tabs open. This predicament is why I was very excited when RockMelt was announced yesterday.

You can check Twitter, share links and get feed updates without visiting any of those sites. It might finally be the all in one Internet workflow I have always dreamt cautious dreams about. Disclaimer: I am a bit weary of having things popping up right in my browser. With my present setup, I can ignore the tabs I have open or just close them if I need to focus. RockMelt might prove to be information overload. Techcrunch put it bluntly.

The other forseeable downside is privacy. Having all our social networks tied right into our browser could be the next step toward ol' Zuckerbug tracking literally everything we do. The implications are a bit creepy. Google and Facebook already tailor ads to your search terms and interests, respectively. Imagine if Facebook started sending you chat messages based on the sites you visited yesterday? Yeah, not cool.

Though I am a bit guarded in my excitement, I am definitely excited to try RockMelt. Downloading the browser is still invite only, so I'll have to wait for my potential social network salvation for now. Until then, check the intro video and let me know if you're as intruiged as I am.

Kyle Sacks, Future Early Adopters Anoymous Member/Intern

Intern Sweatshop: RockMelt May Potentially Rock My Internet, HopefullySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

04 November, 2010

Eye for an Eye or Thanks for a Vote

We can do this the easy way or the hard way...

Voting over at The Baltimore Sun Mobbies is currently underway and your(and ours) favorite blog, The Renegade Agency Confessional is currently sitting 2nd under the business + technology section.

2nd just isn't going to cut it.

So if you enjoy the absurdity and commentary that is standard fare here, please do us a favor and take a second and vote for us. Here I'll make it easier for ya:

Click here to vote for my blog ... early and often

If you do, (and even if you don't) we'll keep bringing you the constant stream of engaging, Mobbie-worthy content that you've come to expect from us.


The Renegade Agency Confessional Contributor Team
-M. M. McDermott
-George Convery
-Sean Sutherland

Eye for an Eye or Thanks for a VoteSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

03 November, 2010

Apparently Everyone Knows Photoshop

Those who espouse the viewpoint that You get what you pay for might want to take a look at this Texas Department of Public Safety Vehicle Inspection sticker.

It's not bad. It has it's own flair. And a cowboy coming from or heading to his horse with a saddle on his back just screams Texas. Was it done by some fancy agency or some graphic design whiz kid? No, it was created by inmates at the Texas State Prison. And according to this article from the San Antonio Express News, this particular image was scanned by an inmate serving a life term for aggravated sexual assault.

Unfortunately, it looks a lot like this photograph

because the image was taken from a photo in a 1998 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, taken by David K. Langford, who also still owns the copyright and is suing the state for damages. Langford said that photo has generated income for him for the past 25 years, and “If they'd called me first, I'd bet we'd have had a deal in five minutes."

Instead, what seemed like an inexpensive alternative to a traditional graphic designer will end up costing the state of Texas plenty. If you can do a cheaper and smarter than using a reliable designer or agency, you're a fool not to. But if you don't exactly know what you're doing, then the fool might end up being you.

One other note, I'd seriously investigate this prison. I saw The Shawshank Redemption, and who knows what else may be going on there between a crooked warden and yet another incarnation of the Kurgan from Highlander. The three people who get that joke will think it's hysterical.

Apparently Everyone Knows PhotoshopSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

01 November, 2010

Halloween, Yep We Celebrated

If you haven't been paying attention, Sunday was Halloween. Not content with letting the little ones have all the fun with costumes, Renegades represented in style.

As part of the annual Renegade Halloween Costume Contest and Awkward Parade, about a dozen or so Renegades donned outfits that ranged from the satirical to the outright weird all in the hope that Terri would give them an envelope with some form of prize in it.

Here, in order of their merit and vote getting, are your winners:

Jennifer Stine, EVP/COO, wins it with commitment as Neytiri from Avatar.

Ryan Engles, AAE, and part-time chilean Miner

Jason Bloom, Senior Editor, shows what happens when you work in Construction and have yourself an accident.

Head over to our Facebook page to check out more costuimes and other pictures from our Halloween hijinks.

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Zombie for Halloween Next Year

Halloween, Yep We CelebratedSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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