Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dear Media: You're too Damn Late

As I do every day, I got up this morning and read the poorly worded punny headlines of Marketing Daily. I'm really glad I'm paying $200 a month for them to throw pop-up ads in my face while I inhale Raisin Bran, but I digress.

I noticed their headline today was "Most economists see end to U.S. recession in ’09".

Ha ha freaking ha, says I. This is their little positive spin effort after seven months of 'round the clock soul crushing coverage of THE RECESSION? Only now, as giant corporations go bust, and agencies layoff unheard of amounts of creatives, does the media finally see the error in their fear-mongering ways. Newsflash there you ravenous blood-thirsty journalists: you did this. You just created the shytestorm that we're in. Now you're getting laid off too. Boo freaking hoo.

It's a new world out there in the ad biz, and it's gonna weed out anyone who's less than %100 talented, and %200 committed.

I'll tell you what, peeps: no amount of positive spin will take us back to the way it was, and I'm fine with that. 

It's a new world of smaller operations, independent media, and talent that's forced to be the very best iteration of themselves. I for one, am in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Umm, Nova Scotia is like a cellphone how?

Here's the plan: We spend huge conceptual energy and 3D rendering dollars to create a cell phone that has everything. It's a metaphor for Nova Scotia! Get it? Get it?! Nove Scotia has everything! Like fish, and beer, aaand... beer.

Wow. This is all together a much too complicated method for communicating the fact that Nova Scotia "has everything you need". The statement in itself is likely the most ubiquitous Unique Selling Proposition I've ever heard.

As an example of how shoe-horned in this campaign is, and how little it has to do with Nova Scotia, I just had to go through this whole post and change everything to "Nova Scotia" - because I thought the damn campaign was for Newfoundland. What's the difference anyhow? Oh, I know, Nova Scotia is like a pink cell phone. Right?

Cool site though. Too bad it takes two hours to load.

See it here.

The death of the superstar makes way for millions of tiny bright lights

Unless you've been in a cave for the past 10 years, (Waddup Osama) you've watched an aging music industry creak and groan as its business model was stretched to its very limits. Metallica pissed and cried about it, Jacko went broke, and CD sales dragged like Rupaul on a Saturday night. On the other hand, Steve Jobs and his little company made enough money to buy black turtle necks and artsy glasses to last until the end of time. Music was free from the bonds of the record companies; people were sharing at an incredible rate, and they had no plans to stop.

In more recent times, a number of forward thinking bands have rejected the disintegrating label system, and made forays into new web-based forms of distribution. Radiohead with its "pay what you want" album teased our moral boundaries, and Phoenix offered their new single for free, as well as the layered track for DJ remixing. This is really the tip of the iceberg for a much better business model.

It's my feeling that the new model is this:

#1: Offer free single on sites like Big Stereo, Pitchfork, or the band's own
#1.5: Make the single not suck
#1.75: Get airplay on internet radio such as KCRW
#2: Sell the full album on iTunes
#3: Breathe deeeply as people share your album via Torrents, and your profits crumble
#4: Go on world tour. Make the lost profit back
#5: Grow as an artist, and make an even better album next time

Do lots of drugs, rinse, and repeat.

Now this does take longer then the traditional "get signed, get rich" model, but I think it opens the doors for a much wider variety of talent on the scene, and forces them to make the very best music possible. So I dig it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I heart V.I.A.

Quick shout-out to Vancouverisawesome.

You know who's awesome? You are - for finally getting behind our little burg.

People are always complaining about the lack of culture and community in this city, so it brings a smile to my face to see a group that's committed to actually creating it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Getting fat on great creative

I've been annoying the hell out of my lady-friend lately by losing my mind every time a new Weight Watchers spot comes on the tube. 
And no, it's not because I want us be the next couple on The Biggest Loser. It's because it's one of the best damn campaigns I've seen lately.

#1: The new look for the campaign: Minimal copy, simple fonts (yes, I am a sucker for Helvetica Bold; it must me the Northern European in me), and orange accent colours. 
Orange is the new black. Or red, or whatever.

#2: The name of the new program: Momentum. 
I think this speaks well to the fact that many people might lose weight, but then gain it all back after their initial goals are achieved. It says "we know this is a long-term fight, and we'll give you the tools to win for for the rest of your life".

#3: The new tag: Stop dieting. Start living. Shiiiit. That's good taggage. It's a call to action, it's simple, speaks about the consumer, identifies a unique aspect of the program, etc, etc... Love it to bits.

#4: The ads themselves. Okay, fair enough, I have a soft spot for Muppetish comedy, but that puppet embodying "Hungry" is brilliant - not to mention hilarious. When he slides in front of the T.V. Gold! Or when she opens up her laptop, and he opens the Pizza Box? More gold!

I can see the whiteboard in the strategy meeting now: 

Fat people =  jolly. Jolly people = like to laugh. Let's make these spots = hilarious.

Watch for yourself:


Hat tip to McCann Erickson NYC.   Know what? Keep the hat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Adcentric geek out!

My inner ad-nerd is sweating clean through its metaphysical black turtle-neck over the upcoming film by Doug Pray, Art & Copy.

Recently screened at Sundance, the thing sort of looks like the ad-guy equivalent of 2007's Helvetica.

I know, I know, it's just a big ad reel set to a burbling American-Beautyesque piano track, but this is my craft, goddamit. 

I for one will be dressed up as Don Draper, and camping overnight for tickets.

Let's see, what to pack... cigarettes, scotch, scotch, oh ya - cigarettes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Antlers. Music that bursts from your skull.

Quick post.
These guys have the sort of gentle melodies and epic scope that make the sky seem a little less cloudy.

Even if they do sing mostly about death, abuse, and terminal illness.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Rebranding thy daily bread

I love toast. I love it with Peanut Butter and Jam, I love it with Cheez Whiz, and I especially love it Dutch style: drowned in butter and Chocolate Hagelslaag. Nom nom nom.

For three years now, my bread of choice has been Silver Hills, a B.C. crafted number that comes in a dozen varieties, and is largely baked without flour, making it easy on my tum-tum.

So imagine my surprise when my little old loaf 'o' bread rocked up this morning in a funky re-designed package, sporting a saucy new moniker to boot. Being that my household is populated by one snooty writer (me), and one picky designer (my lady-partner), new packaging is scrutinized to the Nth degree. It is then chewed on by our third roomie, Luna (French Bulldog).

I'm happy to report though, the agency did one helluva job. The illustrations and bread names are authentic and not over-polished, and the copy is easy, smart, and conversational.

Nice work. Hat-tip to Karacters/DDB Vancouver.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tricks are for kids. And lazy writers.

This is something I've been pondering doing for some time now: compiling a list of some of the go-to Copywriting wordplay gems that get ridden hard, and put away wet. Okay, maybe not wet, but certainly tired.

Without further a due, I raise the curtain, and shine a harsh light on the lazy Copywriter's Toolbox:

1: The high/low

Cold treats, and hot prices
Big savings, on small luxuries
Bad headlines, good God am I lazy

2: Hyperbole

Cold treats *Image of bro enjoying a frozen treat. In a block of ice*
Savings so big, you'll need a wheelbarrow for your change
Headlines that suck like the moon's gravity


Cool treats *The Fonze holding ice cream cone*
Save big *Life Ring around a Gorilla... no, Elephant... Whale... Oprah!*
You're a hack! *Axe severing writer's hand*

4: One of these things is not like the other

Cool kids, cool treats
Big service, big savings, big deal
Bad copy, bad copy, bad copy

5: Colloquialism McTwist

When life gives you lemons, have a cool lemon frosty
Live large. Save even larger
Live to work, work to live. I care not if you stop doing both.

Alright, enough of that. I won't have anything left in the bag for my hungover days on deadline.