Jordan’s Announce, “They Are Cheap”

29 10 2007

I was sad when the hated Boston Red Sox and their stupid antics won the World Series. Matt Holliday suddenly turned into Travis Hafner, and with Papelbon on the mound, it never seemed close. It seemed inevitable that eventually Papelbon and the rest of the idiots would be celebrating like stupid Japanese Stormtroopers eventually. I turned off the TV with a heavy heart, but somehow I knew someone in Boston was going to pay.

And today, my wish came true. It seems (and I vaguely remember when this contest was announced) that Jordan’s Furniture of Massachusetts will have to reimburse thousands of customers (and millions of dollars) because the Sox won the World Series. The contest stated, simply enough, that if the Red Sox won the World Championship, anyone who bought furniture between March 7th and April 16th at Jordan’s would be reimbursed.

This become a huge PR move for Jordan’s, since this has become a big time story today. And they could be totally on top of it, smiling and happily recounting some great rebate stories. I’m sure there were some people who dropped a ton of money and just prayed the Sox would win. Why doesn’t Jordan’s do a press conference with them? Or schedule to have their new furniture shown off? What if Jordan’s had a special “Red Sox 2007, World Series champs” catalog, filled with the pics of those who won big in this promotion?

But instead, in every single bit of coverage on this story, I hear about how Jordan’s President, Eliot Tatelman, won’t have to cover all the contest expenses because he got contest insurance.

Well doesn’t that just deflate the “WIN” balloons that were streaming from the ceiling after winning the contest. The whole thing was just for the PR, since Jordan’s never intended on following through on their offer. You have to believe that since an insurance company is involved, people may spend years waiting for their rebates. Damn.

So to the people of Boston, it looks like you win twice. First, your beloved Red Sox have struck again. And second, that couch you are lounging in may some day be free. But when is a different story. And thanks, Jordan’s furniture, for tarnishing a great feel good story. I love my feel good stories.

Businesses, not Cities, Win
Fox 4 Coverage
USA Today Coverage Write-Up


Open Letter to Ad Execs re: windorphins

12 09 2007

This is a post that most surely will be edited, revised, re-written, added on to, addendum-ed, fixed, etc. in the months to come. Basically, this was the catch-all title for my rants on different topics. Today’s topic (well, I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days) is advertising on the MTA, or the New York City Subway.

So let’s begin with what I, and no doubt everyone around me on the subway, hate. WHY oh why is every inch of most trains covered in the exact same ad? Just yesterday I rode on the Justin Timberlake train, followed by the Budweiser train, and then finally the hated Windorphins train.

windorph_subway.jpgSeriously, I hate these Windorphins. No idea what they are, and don’t want to know (although if you do, fellow blogger Syposphere did some research). I just want them gone.

I would probably be hooked, or interested, if the ad wasn’t played to death all over the train. Maybe one ad on the train, maybe two to be sure and cover most of the car. But every single panel? What is the advantage of that? Haven’t any of you ever ridden on the train for more than 5 minutes? You do a lot of looking around, and not just at the people (that gets creepy fast) you really DO look at the ad panels. So change it up a bit (and not just the already annoying copy).

But note what I said there – I DO look at the ads. I do notice them. So the Subway is a good place for ads – no, its a great place for ads. There I am, stuck in a train, listening to some music and just looking around for a good 30 minutes. I am ready to be inundated with advertising messages. But for the love of Mike Staub can you make them interesting? (or at least humorous, as this was)

It’s incredible (but not necessarily surprising) to me when a singular individual, with a tiny tiny ad budget, does better advertising than most professionals in the subway. A few days ago someone had posted their rap group’s flyer over the Justin Timberlake ads. All the flyer included was the name of the group, a website, and then the copy: “(famous rapper) would approve!”

That was it. Was it great advertising? No. Do I remember the group name or the website. No. But someone probably did, and it cost them nothing to make a few hundred paper copies of their flyer. I wish I had taken a picture to provide.

So what can a company do to make an impact in the MTA. Well, a long long while ago I covered a great example of just that (read that post here). The short answer is, make the experience memorable, make it innovative, or give the commuters something to smile about and take with them the rest of their day. ANY of those would work, and a combination just makes it better. And none of those are particularly hard with some thinking.

So don’t just take the JT ad from the magazine, stretch it to fit the subway panel, then send it out. Nope, that sucks.

Instead, create a new concept for this media, base it on the same big idea and appearance, and send it out.ds-subway.jpg Or, if you are going to completely inundate subway riders with your ad content, make it interactive. I was riding yesterday and thinking…what if Allstate replaced subway seats with giant hands…”you’re in good hands…” Run that for a month on a few select train cars, get people laughing, giggling, taking and sending their friends pictures. Then, when the event is over, put brand new benches in the hands’ place. This provides a lasting benefit for the riders – and believe me they won’t quickly forget that.

And yeah, you are going to weird some people out. You might annoy some. But as long as your advertising isn’t inherently annoying like the windorphins, you are good in my book.

Or how about a ski mountain ad running above the swinging hand holds over the seats? Unlucky people who are stuck holding them will appear to be taking a ride up to the top of a mountain. Have I designed it? No, but someone can. Replace the handles with ski grips and you are good to go. A water skiing school or wakeboard gear shop could benefit from this idea as well.

As an industry, we should be working towards making people’s days happier, more enjoyable. Call it a rosy view, but if we all had that as one of our goals, I believe we would be more successful.

I guess the best place to start is getting rid of those damn windorphins.

More links to come over at the scary basement.

Spirit Airlines Amps Up the Idiocy

30 08 2007

baldanzasmall.jpgSo who has heard of Spirit Airlines? Yeah, me neither. But I can tell you, their CEO doesn’t give a damn about you, that’s for sure. Their CEO, Ben B, wrote, and I am quoting, “Screw these people,” when talking about two of his dissatisfied customers.

I mean this is hilarious, you can’t make it up! But it’s already been covered well over at Agency Spy so I won’t go in to too much detail. But if you are a small airline trying to grow, hating your customers is not a good start.

OK, on to some good ads. These new Mountain Dew: Amp Energy Drink are awesome. Love the animation, and the story these ads tells goes along with the Amp brand story.

Will this campaign get me to stop guzzling Red Bull? No, I love the Red Bull taste, I love the product. But Amp is definitely in my top-of-mind brands group. If Red Bull wasn’t around, the Amp drink works for me. If you don’t already have a energy drink of choice, go out and try some Amp Energy drink. Look at that I’m a brand evangelist, and I don’t even drink the stuff.

Mountain Dew Ads from both Ads of the World and Scary Ideas.


Bad Intel

30 07 2007

first, view this Intel ad. via scary ideasOK, I’m not going to write much about this advertisement. I just don’t think Intel deserves any type of buzz either way for this. But I will definitely think differently about the Intel corporation in the future.But let’s also talk about the agencies in charge of the Intel account. As far as I know, Intel is still with the Interpublic group, and has been since March 2005. I heard Intel had a rocky relationship with McCann Worldgroup, their latest agency of record. While I’m not sure McCann created this ad, I want to find out soon. Honestly, how does this get past anyone? How did the photographer who shot this ad not say, “hey, ummm something doesn’t look right man”.I have never had a subtle eye for racism in advertising. There is a lot written about sexism and gender roles in advertising, see here for books, but ads this blatently lopsided rarely appear, in my limited experience.So what do you do, as a consumer, to stop this type of ad from surfacing? Well first, you strike at the top goals of both the Intel Company and their advertising agency. You stop buying their products. I’m writing this post on a MacBook containing an Intel chip, but you better believe I won’t buy another while Intel stands by this ad.Secondly, tell people how you feel. Write about it on your blog. Write about it on my blog. Write an email to Intel. If you feel strongly about this, spread the word.Am I going a bit overboard with this? Maybe. There are certainly worse images out there in advertising. And you can see where a creative director could have gotten completely lost with the racing imagery and not noticed the awful implications. But the only way for Intel to fix this is to issue a statement. They have to not only repeal the ad, but replace it with an apology. After all, this gives all advertising a bad name.


30 07 2007

This guy…what a joker.As many of you know, I am an avid reader of Shawn Waite’s blog, Shedwa. I almost always read his first every day, and generally agree with his opinions on advertising. The other day, he commented on an article from Adweek Magazine entitled “Art & Commerce: The Education Gap”. (original article here)Written by Bob Greenberg, the article outlines the current problems the ad industry is having ‘cultivating new talent’. Bob Greenberg writes that this problem is, ‘the most pressing issue facing our industry’.Mr. Greenberg details how a ‘shortage of talent’ has driven up salaries, has caused a stall in progress, and may be the reason for every poor ad ever made. He says the ad industry should be pulling their new talents from ‘sources as diverse as business schools, design schools, and specialized programs like VCU Adcenter and Miami Ad School’.Let me say this first. The Park School at Ithaca College is not a portfolio school. Professors like John Locke are trying to change that, but its slow going. But as an Integrated Marketing Communications grad from the Park School, I have seen many fellow grads create professional quality work. Mr. Greenberg is wrong when he says there is a lack of talent out there. The problem is, it seems extremely hard to get a shot at showing the talent that is out there.Let me also say this, Mr. Greenberg. HIRE ME. Or those like me. We are stoked to get started in this exciting industry. After all, we have heard stories and read articles and studied the history and economics of marketing for four years (or five in some rare cases). We are ready to work hard, bring in money, reach clients, build relationships. We are the next wave of talent. It isn’t always from the Miami Ad School (although I’m sure that is a grand establishment). It’s from everyone who has ever watched an ad and said “I can do that better” or “they just totally missed their target audience” or “what the heck was that?”. We are out there. Take a risk. Hire me. I don’t cost much, and I promise to go quietly if I can’t cut it. But I am willing to stick my neck out there. Make a few mistakes. Fail. But I know I’m going to learn. And eventually I will succeed.So, back to my original point. Shedwa has a great analysis of this article. If you are struggling to score an interview like me, or feel stuck in an entry level position, check it out. You may agree with it, may not. But it is interesting to read about the opinions that are out here: Less Junior Talent and Higher Pay? Where?”