Monday, November 24, 2008

so you want to be a media trainer

Downsizing, shutdowns, collapses worldwide means carnage in Adland but an upsurge in two businesses: fortune telling and media training. You might not have what it takes to tell fortunes, but surely all those new business pitches puts you in good stead to be a media trainer. For your bag of tricks: this oldie but goodie, a short film demonstrating how not to do damage control. Courtesy, A Current Affair, the Australian version of SNL's Weekend Update. If you're looking for clients, seems the folks over at Motrin could use your services.

hat tip to Scott at MyExtraLife

Saturday, November 22, 2008

if you're a boomer, you remember where you were 45 years ago today

November 22, 1963 was a defining moment for kids growing up in post-war America, a date we recalled to each other for years, and still recall to each other when younger (more employable) people aren't in the room.

Our memories aren't of Warren reports or conspiracy theory, but of how the world a kid took for granted, its safety, its social orders, was shattered in the space of a single afternoon. (As our own kids' vision of world order would be similarly detonated, 38 years later.)

I was in third grade, enduring arithmetic class. Suddenly, Sister Superior burst through the door and whispered something to our teacher, who began to cry. She fumbled in her mysterious robes, pulled out a hankie, and told us the news: the President had been shot, but not killed. Then, schoolbuses magically appeared outside the windows, hours before it was time for dismissal.

When I got home, the television was on, which was unusual in our house during the day. Even more unusual was that all three channels showed the same thing, so that we watched what was previously unthinkable come to pass, not just once, but over and over.

Of the events shown, the one most shocking to me was unseemliness on the part of Jackie, who'd been held up to me as a role model, being the first Catholic First Lady. One minute, she was seated beside her husband, looking proper in her pink pillbox hat, matching coat and white gloves. The next minute, she was clambering across the trunk of a car⎯behavior so inappropriate for a First Lady, not to mention one who was Catholic, that every time the scene was replayed, I half expected she'd do something else, and so was astonished again and again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

used to be there wasn't enough fuss about a woman getting a job as a secretary

Whether or not you agree with Obama's pick, you have to admit that Hillary's appointment says something about how times have changed since I was a kid, when girls grew up to be only one kind of secretary and the only cabinet they worked with was in a kitchen.

Being a secretary was a job I did not aspire to. (I thought waitressing better: at least you got tips.) So when I was in college and looking for summer work, I snubbed Katy Gibbs and Kelly Girl and drove over to Manpower Employment Agency instead. As its name suggested, it listed jobs for men. But by the early 70s, there were laws that said they had to list jobs for women, too.

I'd seen an ad they'd run for a landscape worker, thinking how nice and tan I'd get by July. But when I asked about it, I was told I'd come to the wrong place. "This is the men's side. The woman's side is around the corner."

I went back out and through another door and there I found listings for secretaries, cashiers, nannies, candystripers, restaurant help. But no jobs outdoors. And no pay that approached what was offered on the other side.

So, I drove home, took off my interview dress, put on overalls, came back and (deep breath) walked through the men's door. My reappearance caused much consternation. "You can't take a job away from a man supporting his family, honey," I heard not only from the woman (!) behind the desk, but from men in line behind me, hoping for work. I saw their point. I really did. Part of me felt sorry for them. But part of me felt I had a right to work, too.

I held out for a day or so before taking a summer job as a waitress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

make your copy read itself to the client

Now you can paste your copy onto a website and hear it instantly read out loud. OK, the female voice isn't SAG quality, but it's at least as good as the one on your GIS system. iSpeech was launched on November 11 as announced on the Speech Technology Magazine Blog. The site voice-converts not only text, but blogs and websites, too.
"iSpeech is a web-based solution that allows users to convert websites and blogs into audio. iSpeech … does not require users to download or install anything. They simply cut and paste what they want to convert into the box provided on the site, or upload the files in question. After that, it’s easy to share the files in pretty much any format or forum.
The site's still in beta, but pretty impressive. It converts not only .doc files, but pdf, txt, even excel. Once you translate your doc into audio, you can post as a url. So who says you have to fly out to that pitch meeting in Milwaukee?

FYI, click here for the iSpeech version of this post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ad broad goes to china

I just discovered I'm being reposted in Mandarin. (Thanks, Google Translator.) In Beijing and Shanghai, I'm not Ad Broad, I'm 广告广泛.

My site isn't converted entirely to pinyin characters, though. English words that don't translate float between characters, unchanged, looking oddly foreign. Unsurprisingly, there's no translation for twitterverse. Or snuglis. Or babywearers. But back pain? Impressive! Chinese medicine must be even more powerful than I thought. Still, they must be needing Western relief for something. Because even tweeters over there noticed the outage.


taxi crashes on motrin

No doubt Daniel Ravinowicz, president of Taxi NYC is waking up with a Motrin headache today. His agency was responsible for launch of a video on Motrin's website that caused such an uproar in the twitterverse this weekend, the site had to be taken down and apologies zapped to protesters pronto. (Yea, that job must have made somebody's Sunday.)

Taxi's intentions were admirable: create a site-promo to target a niche audience, timed to coincide with inauguration of International Babywearing Week. (Babywearing? When I wore snuglis it was called…wearing snuglis.) Babywearing causes back pain + Motrin relieves backpain = Easy Sell. Or should have been. Problem was, team who created the video had obviously never had to wear a snugli or sling or whatever trendier contraption babywearers wear these days. That they weren't babybearers themselves and never consulted with people who were, seemed painfully obvious from copy intimating that wearing your baby is akin to accessorizing and one does it to "totally look like an official mom." (Um. Hello. It's 2008. Huge percentage of babywearers are dads.)

Spot went viral, but not in the way that they'd hoped.

Jessica Gottlieb, a blogger/mom who writes for National Lampoon, saw it and posted her outrage on the microblogging site Twitter. A few hours (and thousands of anti-Motrin tweets) later, #MotrinMoms was the #1 search on the site, eclipsing SNL for first time since Obama was elected.

Then it went youtube. Katja Presnal, PR and Social Media Consultant/Mom tweeted Holy Cow. I just can't believe the motrin ad. Speechless. But not for long. Her next post was, I'm making a video to boycot motrin-pls send your baby wearing pics if I can use them! A few hours later, she posted a protest video to youtube. As of this writing, it's received over 4000 hits.

Katja's video went live at 3 AM Sunday morning. By 8 PM the same day, the Motrin site hosting the offending ad had come down and apologies sent to commenters who'd posted objections to it.

Big Pharma: welcome to the world of social media, where it takes sore consumers less than 24 hours to make corporate bumblers responsible for it, feel their pain.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

and speaking of hatchets, buy now while supplies last

As if reports of worldwide doom and gloom weren't depressing enough, this alarming list is making the rounds: The First 100 Items to Disappear in a Panic. (Hatchets are #26.) First circulated in '99, during millennium mania. Supposedly, it's compiled by a war survivor from Sarajevo, whose addendum does make it sound pretty convincing. But I'm hoping it's a merely a ploy by marketers at Amazon to incite a run on its languishing inventory. (Studies show ad practitioners are predominantly optimists.)

100 Items to Disappear First in a Panic

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY - note - food grade if for drinking.
14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won't heat a room.)
15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {"Strike Anywhere" preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting - if with wheels)
49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)

(next fifty after the jump. But how can duct tape be so low on the list? Remember how hard it was to find after 9/11?)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

wanna be happy? start doing hatchet jobs.

Hard to believe, but roving knife-grinders still exist in New York, giving you the opportunity (if you've got a street-facing apartment and can hear the clangs) to gather your Wusthofs and hurry down to the street (probably giving your neighbors a fright in the elevator) and have them restored to their glittering, fresh-from-Williams-Sonoma state while u wait.

I always seem to miss Del Re when he makes his rounds. His truck appears on no particular schedule. He doesn't make appointments. According to a New York Times profile (of course, he'd have a New York Times profile): "I'm like the fisherman. He doesn't make an appointment with the fish."

His unfettered work life contrasts sharply with his former job as Wall Street commodities trader. The firm he was working for went bust in the 1987 crash and, to support his family on Staten Island, he bought a truck from his retiring uncle and gladly threw off his suit and commute and has been working without a dayplanner ever since.

His only advertising (isn't it refreshing?) are illustrations on his truck that look like they were painted by Grandma Moses, announcing that he services not just your knives, but your scissors, your hatchet, your ice skates, your lawnmower (lawnmower?)

Today, I was sorry to see him driving away, just when I was tempted to run up to the apartment and haul out my butcher block full of dullards. But later, trawling the web for info about him before writing this, I came across conflicting assessments of his work.

So, given the need for cuts these days (sorry), maybe instead I'll finally learn how to sharpen a knife myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

applying yourself, freelance

I went for a freelance interview today. As is usually the case, I was referred for the job. Someone with whom I had endured a series of difficult meetings—another creative director—had recommended me for freelance in his department.

The agency is so big, it is spread out all over town. The job I was seeing about was in a building downtown far away from the midtown locations I’d worked in before. When I got off the elevator the receptionist greeted me with a friendly smile and startled me by passing me a clipboard and asking me to fill out an employment application. An employment application! I hadn’t seen one in years.

The receptionist suggested I take a seat and make myself comfortable. I retreated to a trendily upholstered sofa and stared for a while at the form in my hands. Why was it making me feel so demeaned? Why did I resent being asked to put down the date and previous addresses if less than five years at current address? Why was I confused by the simple question What Job Are You Applying For? And insulted by a request for the names and contact information for 5 business persons not related to me? (Do they think without that caveat you will reference your mother?)

It took me a few minutes to get over feeling affronted (the job is guaranteed to last many months) and I bought time to get over my hesitation by conducting a full-out search for a pen in my bag. (The fact that the clipboard hadn't come with a pen on a cord consoled me, for some reason.) Finally, reluctantly, I got down to business.

Just as I was checking boxes to indicate which office equipment and machinery I knew how to operate (options included: calculator? typewriter? copier? postage meter? Was I was applying to Sterling Cooper in 1962?) the receptionist’s phone rang and when she hung up, she said person I’d come for was ready to see me. “I didn’t know you were freelance,” she said. “Sorry. You don’t have to fill out the form.” Ridiculously, her words restored me to full height as I rose to pass her the empty clipboard.

The incident reminded me of what it was like to break into a business, before jobs came to me through word of mouth, before I was accorded professional courtesies and privileges that I now take for granted. For jobhunters in receptions filling out forms today--hats off to you and good luck.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quit Your Boring Job - Be a Google Millionaire!!!

I must have deleted this subject line 14 times before finally opening the email. Which made me instantly grateful for my boring job. Because it made me imagine not the wildly unlikely prospect of becoming a Google Millionaire, but the far more likely one of being the Ad Hack hired to write copy like this. Which I'm posting just in case you're on the lookout for new opportunity…

Do you wish you could:
Quit your stupid job and stay home all day?
Be with your kids instead of your coworkers?
Save all that $$ you are throwing into your gas tank to drive to work?
Make more money from home than you do from your job?
Pay off your credit cards and other nagging debt?
Finally, prove to everyone else that you have what it takes to succeed?

Learn How A Stay At Home Mom, With No Experience, Earned $107,389 In Six Months Just Filling Out Forms & Doing Searches On Google & Yahoo!

AdBroad: Nikky R. from Alabama made over $1130.00 in her First Week- You Can Too!

Click Here For Information AND Photos of My House! My Land Rover! My Vacation in the Maldive Islands!
Suddenly writing concept statements for soap doesn't seem onerous, nope, not at all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

yes we did

Sunday, November 2, 2008

if obama doesn't win, it's alan wolk's fault

As any well-informed reader of ad blogs knows, Alan Wolk (aka Tangerine Toad) is vacationing in Disney World this week. While that may bode well for his family relations, Wolk's absence from the polls on Tuesday could have huge ramifications for the rest of us, as this video shows. No doubt you'll be receiving your own personalized copy  soon, if you haven't already. (Reason #2355 why Barak Obama won landslide victory for Ad Age Marketer of the Year.) Don't forget to vote.

found by The Finder, KLR