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.

Shaked Out

4 09 2007

Everyone has been talking about the new Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone commercial called “Shake Your City”. I’ve watched it a few times now, and I really don’t get it. Am I missing a product benefit? I don’t get it. It’s funny watching the two guys race through the city shaking things – but it’s not funny for a minute and a half. Cut it to :30, and make it funny, as Hamula would say. And at some point, it would be nice if they showed the product and why they are shaking everything. I’m not going to watch this again, but if you want to, it’s below and on Ads of the World.

Trap Your Little Customers

29 08 2007



This ad caught my eye immediately because it’s so close to my “Big Words”.

But then I really looked at it. What the hell? It’s a close up of a coffee table, with tiny little women trapped in an upside down glass.

My concerns:
1. I normally trap spiders like this.
2. Won’t they eventually run out of oxygen and die?
3. Why aren’t they trying to get out?

This is supposed to be self-promotion for Big House Communications. If you get a chance, their website is actually fun to visit and reminds me of the Naked site.

But this campaign is really unsettling to me. Here is what I think is their B2B ad in the campaign:


How creepy is that? Who wants to even think about that image, let alone associate it with someone you would hire? And the tag – yeah it doesn’t help the creepiness. “We Get Them” sounds like Big House goes out and traps them or kidnaps them.

When you are, as an agency, putting yourself out there, to me you should be presenting yourself honestly and creatively. Answering questions like what do you excel in, or what separates you from the competition, are huge pluses. If you can do all that in a fun self promo, you’ve got a great chance of connecting with the client. But if you produce scary work like this, you show no original creative thought, and you don’t separate yourself from the competition. And in today’s competitive world of pitches and image and tight budget, the most important thing might be establishing yourself and your identity clearly.

So how does this translate to the hiring process? If you approach an interview like a self promotion, you have to find ways to differentiate yourself and stand out. Putting things on your resume that are out of the ordinary is a great start. My experience as a short order cook went over so well when my interviewer was a huge Top Chef fan. Take a look at your experiences and skill set: what do you bring that the next guy won’t? Don’t wait for them to ask that question, establish yourself as early as possible.

If you are on the creative side of things, the connection is pretty clear. Your work and your portfolio needs to show not only your creativity and skills, but also how you think. How you approach problems, and how you communicate your message. With Big House, the message is, “notice us! we are cool! We Get Them!” in a way that is short on innovation and only pretends to be edgy. If you are going to go out there, go way out. If the agency doesn’t hire you, they aren’t challenging themselves the way you are challenging yourself. That is what breeds new ideas, and new ideas are what drives this industry!

Treat the Earth Like a Buddy

28 08 2007

As covered on Scary Ideas a few days ago, MTV has put out some sweet PSA’s. They urge our young demographic to reduce carbon emissions so that we can slow global warming. How do I know they are aimed at the younger target? The content of course!

The “Brad and Earth” series is actually funny, and shows in a simple way how we are treating the Earth. Big ups to Lowe Partners for creating these shorts. I mean really, its so great to see something aimed at the 18-25 year old demo that is actually funny and relevant. It’s so rare to see that combination of both, but it’s so necessary to make the ad stick and actually influence purchase decisions or increase loyalty. Of course a PSA wants to influence behavior and not purchase decisions, but an emotional connection is definitely required for both.

This ad for the Dairy Queen Blizzard is hilarious, but can hardly be considered relevant. So while I might laugh at it every time I see it, it really gets no message across. Hence the reason why other ads from this campaign have no connection to one another. Here is another example. This ad I don’t really like.  I feel like it’s just going over the top for the sake of it.  I get it, it’s a hot sandwich.

When the skeptical young person watches an ad, they know they are being sold to. And nothing makes us feel more sold to than an ad that is “lame funny”. You know, that funny that isn’t creative, or is an old joke, or is what old people think young people think is funny.  There are tons of examples out there, and the ads just don’t stick.

If you are going to have an ad aimed at young people, give the young people at your ad agency a chance to give you an honest opinion on it.  Chances are, if they don’t like it, your audience won’t either, regardless of what the client thinks.

Bodypaint is Back! (But I Still Don’t Get Diesel)

24 08 2007

The prolific day of posting continues here at Big Words! Man, if I posted like this every day, I could blog for a job (and not get paid, but in a perfect world).

So a while ago I posted a short commentary on Diesel’s Body Painting ad. In summary, I didn’t get the ad at all, or the campaign. Nor did I know it was for Diesel, or clothing of any kind.

Little did I know, that some marketing genius decided this was a great way to build buzz around Diesel clothing. And now, after a few weeks, I have some more information on this campaign, and in favor of equal coverage, I will share it with everyone.


First, I was told by a reader that I was doing a great job of spreading the buzz for Diesel by putting the video up on my blog. And perhaps that is true. I’m sure plenty of people were sitting on the edge of their chairs, drooling in anticipation of the cliff hanger to this campaign.

Second, I got a personal email from Eric and Zara, who I assume by their Ogilvy emails are working on the Diesel account. I think that’s awesome, they tracked the spread of the video and personally thanked people who helped build their buzz, free of charge. Definitely great PR.

But can anyone explain this campaign to me? Does anyone really know what it means? To me, this is a campaign that has been communicated so well, but with such crappy content.

I asked a media planner a few years ago if it was frustrating to work all day placing ads, trying to get them in front of the best audience, at the best time, in the best situation – and then have the ads suck. His eyes welled up a little, and he said, “yes.” He couldn’t go on for fear of losing it.

And that, my friends, has happened here. People like Eric and Zara are out performing great PR for the campaign, but the “big idea” is bad – in my opinion. Please feel free to comment and tell me how great this campaign is, or if you agree with me.

Agency Spy recently dedicated a post to this campaign (man, this day has been all about Agency Spy!). It includes the new video ads. Either they are still trying to build buzz, or I still don’t get it. And I think I might be in the target demo for these products, so don’t try arguing that. As Agency Spy says, the art direction is good, and it looks to fit into Diesel’s overall image, which is important to me. But the tag, “no fuel for life in my life” is just so stupidly confusing.

Is the perfume (I don’t believe in using cologne so it doesn’t exist to me) called “fuel”? Or “no fuel for life”? No, it’s called Elixir – WHAT? Alright I gotta end this post before I start bleeding from the ears. Seriously? Ogilvy I am disappointed. No, I’m not putting the videos or the website in this post as links. I simply don’t want any more visitors to this campaign’s website. Man, I feel like I need a nap.

Diesel ad, as stupid and pompous as it is, provided lovingly by Ads of the World.

Man I Painted Myself For Nothing…

11 08 2007

Hey guys, sorry I didn’t get a chance to update as much as I wanted yesterday. I still have about 9 campaigns sitting in my Dock waiting to be written into a post. I promise I will get to them soon. Today I am getting lunch with Phil and then heading to Watkins Glen to party up and catch the NASCAR race tomorrow. Maybe chug some milk, practice my back flips, that kind of thing.

I did want to put this ad in here, just to leave you all with this for the weekend: what the hell is this group against? Seriously, I can’t figure it out. I haven’t actually gone to the trouble of researching it yet, but if you want to, here is the link to the Society Against Legalization site.

Then check out the ad. Totally cool talent, I can’t do this. But this poor guy really doesn’t get anything across unfortunately. Well, hopefully you get more out of it than I do. I’ll be back Sunday night to check on you all. Have a blast.