Sunday, December 20, 2009

hey, hipster creatives, the world is uglier than you may think

One of the things I appreciate most about a beach vacation (hello, Puerto Rico) is the opportunity to catch up on hand-held reading. So many magazines, so much down time. Which brings me to NyQuil ads saturating the print waves. Tagline: "For a Better Looking Tomorrow". Wha? Took me a re-read to get this concept: colds make you look really, really ugly but now there's an overnight remedy that gets you back to your old (beautiful) self. Trouble is, what's shown to be "ugly" is how lots of people look every day if they're not in advertising or in Santa Monica. (Other shots in the series can be seen here.) Hey, 20-something urban creative hotties: look up from your email next time you're on the subway. Sheesh. No wonder ad agencies have a reputation for being insular.

And, speaking of standards set by undue emphasis on attractiveness--how come there's a hyphen between "better" and "looking"? Because the art director thought it looked prettier that way?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

is radio the new TV?

Thanks to wonders of The Worldwide Internet, radio listening is on the rise, and as TV audiences continue to dwindle, I wonder if at some point we'll hit ratios of listeners vs. viewers we haven't seen since 1959.

Part of what accounts for radio's comeback is podcasting, which allows you to tune into discussions that mine whatever esoteric subject you're interested in. If you're reading this blog (hey, thanks, btw) you're no doubt interested in advertising, and two podcasts devoted to this subject stand out.

You may already know about the excellent Beancast, a weekly roundtable discussion hosted by Bob Knorpp. Now, two friends of Beancast have launched Adverve, a less formal podcast devoted to deconstructing the industry. Bill Green (of Make the Logo Bigger) and Angela Natividad (of Adrants) launched the first episode in October exploring a subject rarely spoken of in polite company: Racism in Advertising. Guest speaker Hadji Williams (whom you may know from Racialicious) had so many interesting things to say on the matter, the show was promptly downloaded almost 2000 times. (You can grab it in its entirety here and here .) Bill and Angela have pledged to explore all the "isms" in the business, and I was glad to be tapped for their recent show on ageism. What's next? Possibilities abound: Sexism. Plagiarism. Narcissm. And (paging Don Draper) alcoholism. Angela suggests renaming the series "Adverve Intervention." Ear buds and a sidecar, please.

Monday, December 14, 2009

crowdsourcing santa

A downside of being out of town this weekend--or upside, depending on your tolerance for Christmas spirit(s)-- was missing out on the sight of thousands of Santas who came out for the annual Santacon. Despite it's being billed as NOT A PUB CRAWL, it's a pub crawl taking place annually in cities around the world from New York to Chicago to Pasadena to Beijing. (In China, Christmas is a romantic holiday.)

If you're in next year, read the ground rules before going, which include "Not just a hat", "No making kids cry" and "Pay with cash."

Photo by Marc Whalen. The rest of his SantaCon series here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

when you care enough to send the merry best

It's snowing like crazy outside my window (Dutchess county) which reminds me of UK Ogilvy's brilliant holiday greeting. It isn't a card, it's an iphone app that lets you seasonalize any photo with falling snow.

Jealous of Adrants who just received picture-perfect greetings from 1963. Production is Mad Men-meticulous, down to sunburst clock and wood paneling. Not to mention aluminum trees, a nice, shiny touch from Cultivator Advertising.

And from the folks who brought you last year's viral "An Advertising Parable for the Holidays" comes the jolly "It Came Upon a Movie Clip", a retelling of the classic carol using scenes from 41 TCM picks. Even more mesmerizing is "the making of" version which airs longer cuts. Oh, those talented elves at WorldWideWadio. Enjoy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

laid off? freelancing? the pretend office makes you feel at home

A downside of freelance if you're a people-person is how much of your work is done in solitary confinement. But now SBUX isn't the only place to find company. Dispatches from the Pretend Office make you feel more like a normal, socialized dweeb immersed in the world of Christmas Holiday parties, stolen fridge items, time sheet nazis and fire alarm tests.

It's the brainchild of Phil Gyford, a freelance (of course) web designer who set up the Pretend Office mailing list on a lark and circulated it to a few friends. Soon, they were adopting characters and sending officious announcements, booking meeting rooms, tracking the comings and goings of couriers and sending embarrassing emails to everyone in the company. Hey, they should make a TV show about this.

tipped by reading illuminating talk by Russell Davies at Playful