July 07, 2011

AC #69 Now Available.

The Thrity Rooms To Hide In Addition.

John and Tug talk with Master Jedi Luke Sullivan about his new book Thirty Rooms To Hide In, creativity and getting out of advertising. It's a great Sunday afternoon chat with almost no cursing and only minorly bothersome mouth sounds.

Give it a listen won't you?

And stay tuned. 'Coming in August 2011: The American Copywriter Reboot.


Click to preview book


May 09, 2011

Dear Cannes: We ain't scared


Frankly, it's probably about time we put our mouths where our clients' money is. Er, you get what I mean.

October 05, 2010

Snickers runs terrifying ad.

Seriously, this is the most disturbing thing I've seen since the Lion Lady.

 Honestly, I get this spot and think it's kind of funny. But, shit, it is CREEPY.

July 27, 2010

Hate is not a superpower.


For years around the parts JJ and I call home, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church has been spreading hate with his family and followers. Last week they protested the San Diego Comicon. (I'm guessing for the hot looking superhero chicks and also the "dark magic" of many heroes' unearthly powers. Look, I don't know. None of it makes a whole lot of sense to me.) 

Anyhow, this time, they were rebuffed by a counter protest by Comicon attendees who, I must say, are much cleverer than the members of Phelps' congregation. Their signs are a blast.

In World Cup terms I'm calling it Super Heroes 1, Hate nil.

Via Comics Alliance.

May 27, 2010

AC #67 now available

The First Half of 2010 Edition.

Cruise into your Memorial Day weekend by cracking a cold one, settling down in your lawn chair and catching up with John and Tug via this rambling assemblage of various podcasts recorded in several locations and times.

00:00 Preamble about current affairs

01:43 Nike + World Cup - Glory

03:59 Chevy moves fast

05:03 HOW Design Conference news

06:54 Geeked up about the World Cup

12:39 Be less evil

19:08 Southwest flavor

20:05 John, Tug and Tiger

31:01 Kindling for the fire

Total running time 40:35

It should be a good one so why don't you download it already? Oh, and sorry for the wonky audio there at the beginning, JJ promises to figure it out for next time. Have a great holiday everyone!

December 23, 2009

"Cold Mountain" is Not a Christmas Song


A few years ago my brother Brad used to be in a band called The Grand Fiasco. (Great name, I know.) They catered to the local jamband fans and played a lot of shows in KC and a couple out of town, too. He plays bass, guitar and pretty much anything else he wants to try -- the jerk. Anyway, he wrote a song called "Cold Mountain" that everybody really dug.

And while it's not a Christmas song, the following sentiment makes me feel really good.

"So what if there are times when we’re left to wonder
If we’ve been out here for too long
And all these influences we’re under
Up on cold mountain they’re playin’ our song
Up on cold mountain they’re playin’ our song"

Here's the track. And here's why I think it's relevant today.

I think the first couple lines capture how many of us in our industry feel about being caught between clients and brands and agencies and departments. It captures how we feel when we create work we're not especially proud of and then see other agencies' work that we are so, so jealous of.

But when you get to the last line, we end on an upnote. To me it says that, at the end of the day, we work in a pretty fucking sweet industry that pays us well, lets us use our creative brains, lets us wear pretty much what we want and, for the most part, champions our odd behavior and strange habits.

To me, at least, it seems that up on cold mountain, they are – in fact – playing our song.

Happy Holidays everybody. See you in 2010.

November 30, 2009

Master Jedi Copywriter Luke Sullivan Speaks.

Luke Sullivan from Mediastash.tv on Vimeo. Via adland.

If you still don't own Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This, it's time to get yourself an early Christmas present.

November 24, 2009

PETA says "Don't eat a turkey this year." I just say, "Pass the gravy."

Sheesh PETA, this spot's righteous indignation is at about 50 and I need it closer to 4.

For the record, I have no problem with vegetarianism. (I myself dabbled in it. Not in 'Nam of course.) It's just that I just don't want to be made to guilty for taking part in something as American as Thanksgiving.

*BuzzFeed is reporting that NBC won't air it.

November 04, 2009

Attention Media: Quit fucking trying to terrify parents.


Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Am I sick and tired of the media's constant attempts to scare the shit out of us. The latest target: Rice Krispies. Seems they've got an added antioxidant claim on their box. (Antioxidants, if you didn't know, are being pimped hard lately because they theoretically help keep you from getting sick by strengthening your immune system.)

But what really chaps my hide about this situation is this quote from a USA TODAY article.

"Kellogg, based in Battle Creek, Mich., said it has heard very little concern from consumers about the claim, but is responding to concerns in the media about the timing of this front-of-the-box claim and the swine flu outbreak."

So what the media is saying, I guess, is that consumers may get confused into thinking that if they feed Rice or Cocoa Krispies to their children, the little ones won't be susceptible to H1N1 (from now on referred to as "The Hinny") thanks to the added AOX.

"Very little concern" from consumers. But the media went and made a stink, getting their column inches and their way. (If you're looking for journalistic integrity somewhere in here, you'll need to keep on looking.) Now Kellogg is bowing to the pressure and is removing the claims from their packages, a lengthy and costly proposition to be sure. It's Rice Krispies for shit's sake -- they've got a few boxes of cereal out there.

So, to recap – consumers don't seem to be worried about it but some media outlet can run a nothing story and end up costing a corporation hundreds of thousands of dollars and likely a good amount of negative PR.

Seems like a load of partially-digested Krispies to me.

June 18, 2009

Schlitz embraces the more recent past.


My grandfather had a silver cup that hung on a hook in the kitchen of 2020 Moyle Street. Printed on clear glass at the bottom of the cup was the phrase, "When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer." I drank Dr. Pepper out of that cup every summer as a kid. Zipping home the other day, I heard a radio spot announcing that, "...the classic Schlitz formula, the one that made Schlitz the most popular beer in the country in the 60's is back." I thought it was an interesting enough play and hopped on the Schlitz site where I found that the campaign was paid off with loads of 60's ads and merchandise (sorry, no silver cups).

Then I saw this post on Adpulp. The retro trend has been hot forever it seems. For years, however, we played more with iconography that hailed from 50's and early 60's (yeah, 30's and 40's, too). Today, it seems that retro design is sprinting toward late 60's, 70's and even, gulp, the 80's. It all makes sense, of course. Since 2001 times have been more than a little unsure. Whether they really were or not it's soothing to our senses to look back at "simpler times." Well, that that and all the art directors are watching Mad Men.

Somewhere someone got asked the question, "How do we make Schlitz relevant again?" I think the decision to just let its old brand shine again is right play (although I am certain there were meetings where someone said, 'Why do we want to look old? We need to be contemporary!").

Could be I'm biased by my grandpa's old cup, but I'm buying Schlitz this weekend.

File under: marketing to men

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