Friday, March 31, 2006

Visa's Breakdancing Worm

This is one of the best commercials I've ever seen. It starts by drawing you in, and ends with a great twist for the payoff. Brilliantly done.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Time For A Little Book Report

Pick Me: Breaking Into Advertising and Staying There by Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin.

This is a must read for anyone looking for a career as a copywriter or art director. The book is a compilation of questions and answers from the Ask Jancy column of The book answered every general question I had about finding, landing, and succeeding in a job as a copywriter. It even answered many of my specific concerns. It also got great reviews from AmericanCopywriter, and their professional opinions mean a hell of a lot more than mine. But, as someone who is out there trying to land a job, I can say this book definitely gives great guidance.

This is a great read and you'll definitely end up much wiser than you started. However, if you don't find an answer to your question in this book, just ask Jancy.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Proof That Older People Are Just Big Kids

During my spring break I spent lots of time hanging out with my family. We watched a lot of basketball games on TV and as a result, we also watched a lot of ads. Seeing my various family members reactions to many of these ads have me some perspective about how people of different ages see commercials.

My little brother and sister frequently sang along to the jingles. Their favorite sing-along came from a Budweiser commercial. "This is Budweiser, this is beer." To them, it was practicly content, just another source of entertainment. They also really liked the Intel Centrino commercial with Jacques Villeneuve. The commercial probably played ten times during the week, and every time she saw it my sister would say, "Monaco, baby!"

My grandpa also showed interest in advertising. Twice in one evening, he mentioned, in detail, an ad that he saw in the paper. He is retired, so he has a lot of time on his hands and likely spends more time with the newspaper each day. Which means he also spends more time with the ads in the newspaper everyday.

It is very interesting to two gorups of people on completely different ends of the age spectrum viewed commercials in a fairly similar manner. Maybe advertising just runs in our blood.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March Sadness in Lawrence

After KU's first-round exit from the NCAA tournament there are a lot of sad people in and around Lawrence. I would have posted this sooner, but this is a very sensitive subject, and frankly I'm still not ready to deal with it. However, there is much more to deal with than just the agony of defeat.

The amount of money local businesses make during KU's tournament runs is incredible. Every KU basketball game means packed bars and restaurants throughout Lawrence and Kansas City. So if Kansas' tournament run comes to a quick ending, as it did the last two years, these businesses loose thousands of dollars.

These losses also extend to advertising. With KU out, bars and restaurants don't advertise to get patrons to watch the game at their establishment. The University Daily Kansan, KU's student newspaper, we lost on tons of revenue because KU didn't make another tournament run.

As they say, there's always next year, and next year, we're loaded with young talent. Hopefully, local businesses will also be loaded after profiting from a long tournament run.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hofficial Pepsi Samba Site

If loving David Haselhoff is wrong, then this site just isn't right.

Everyone who sees this asks me if it's a joke. It's not. It's dead serious. We all knew that Germany loved the Hoff, but who knew Australia also harbored the same fascination with the man, who is more myth than legend.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Sportsline Blackout

There is a lot of buzz about CBS Sportsline's free broadcast of NCAA tournament games over the Internet. CBS will broadcast the first three rounds of the tournament and show video highlights of all the games for free. The idea is great because it drives traffic to their Web site and the video streaming is actually pretty good. There can be some wait time to get the streaming video feed if you’re not a VIP member, but the innovation makes small problems like this minor.

However, the blackout of local games is a huge problem with the service. Most people want to use the service to watch their team play while they're at work, but they are unable to because the game is blacked out because it is on TV in their area. I understand that the local stations have the rights to show the local games, and that is what causes the blackout, but there has to be some way around it. If CBS really expects to make this service a must-have, they need to find a way to broadcast the local games trough the site.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Congress Evaluates Political Speech in Blogs

A story in today's Kansas City Star explored the topic of blogs as political speech. Congress is also evaluating this issue to determine if campaign blogs and Web sites are subject to the transparency required of television commercials or if they are protected from campaign disclosure, like newspaper editorials.

Congress is scheduled to debate this today. One plan wants to protect bloggers and the internet. Another alternative plan only regulates blogs and Web sites that spend less than a certain amount on an issue. This alternative aims to protect "99% of bloggers" but regulate parties or groups acting as individuals.

The evaluation of blog speech by Congress certainly proves the legitimacy and the power of blogs. Any legislation from Congress could ultimately determine how much power blogs will continue to have.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Catch A Viral From TV

Virals used to be spread solely through e-mail and word of mouth, but now there are many other outlets that spread the viral love. These include YouTube, Google Video, Viral Chart, and now, television.

Bravo has a new show called "Outrageous and Contagious Viral Videos." The show airs Mondays at 10/9C and features all sorts of virals including ads and spoofs of ads. I've only seen two or three real ads on the show, perhaps because companies have been hesitant to release them. For example, NBC pulled SNL clips from YouTube because they only wanted the videos distributed from their own Web site. Many bloggers jumped all over NBC, and rightfully so, because they halted the free publicity YouTube provided. In a world where advertisers strive to create content, instead of traditional ads, any free publicity or syndication should be welcomed.

The creation of this TV show indicates that advertisers are creating content people actually want to watch, even is no one will admit it. Hats off to everyone out there making cheeky virals, hopefully I'll see your work on TV soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Rockin' Contest

Kansas City radio station 98.9 The Rock wants listeners to create a 30 second television commercial for the prize of $20,000. What a great way to get listeners involved and give them an opportunity to create their own content. Check it out.

The contest is open to anyone, including advertising agencies. But the $20,000 prize is much less than the price The Rock would pay to have an agency for a commercial. The station's Howard-Stern-like morning man, Johnny Dare, said they want a made-in-the basement feel for the spot. Dare implored listeners to cut their houses in half, paint "The Rock" on water towers, and blow up their trailers to make the winning commercial. The only limitation is that the commercial has to be suitable to air on television. I can’t wait to see the winning spot.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Unmistakebly Jordan

Millions upon millions of shots have been taken since James Naismith invented the game of basketball, but these are unmistakably Jordan. None of these moments could possibly belong to anyone else. Brilliant.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Order of the Serpentine

Axe built its brand on clever potty humor and sexual references. Sophomoric, but very entertaining for their target audience of young males. Lately, Axe has turned to more sophisticated means of promoting the brand, such as the Gamekillers TV show and integrated Mo Rocca lecture series. Axe's latest ploy focuses on the shame of a "Questionable hookup," and a secret society that can cleanse you of that shame.

The campaign starts with television commercials promoting "The Order of the Serpentine" and directing traffic to a Web site, where the meat and potatoes of the campaign await. The site contains fake investigative news reports about the origins and secrets of the order, all of the TV commercials, and an opportunity to join the order and get some free product.

The fake investigative reports are absolutely hilarious, and offer a much more sophisticated approach than the poo poo jokes of Axe's past. This is a great online campaign that incorporates humor, wit, and emotions many young men can relate to. The campaign brings the viewer in and lets them interact with it to create an experience they are a part of. It lets them feel privileged because they discovered the secrets of an exclusive and interesting secret society. Not to mention it's hilarious.

So one again, a job well done by Axe, and a step toward creating a more sophisticated image for the brand.

Friday, March 03, 2006

This Just In: Einstein A Genius

In a business that is all about producing creativity on demand, there is much mystery and intrigue about how to discover great ideas. Frequently, great ideas from long ago inspire the great ideas of today, with a modern spin and a little technology mixed in. So the theory that there a truly no new ideas because every idea has already been discovered seems to hold water.

Even geniuses from the past have come to the same conclusion. Albert Einstein was one of the great creative geniuses that ever lived. He applied his creativity to equations and scientific theories, but the man knew how to create new ideas. He also discovered that new ideas are just repackaged old ideas. He said, "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." I find it fitting that the words of a genius from the past still ring true today.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Red Means Go

The St. Louis Cardinals have done some pretty good stuff to promote the club. Last year they came up with one of my all-time favorite taglines; "Red means go." This line was so popular, it became a rallying cry for Cards' fans everywhere, and as anyone from St. Louis will tell you, red means the Cardinals.

This year the team put up billboards all around town with Cardinals on them. After the billboards were up for a while, they staged the theft of Cardinals from boards. They also created a MySpace profile for the bird-napper and performed a red bird-bearing dash in front of local newspaper reporters to generate hype buzz about the team.

This marketing effort is a testament to the strength and worth of the Cardinals' brand. The team has a brand new ballpark and already sold out all season ticket packages for the year, yet it still put forth a good campaign. Much love to the organization for maintaining the Cardinals as St. Louis' team.