Friday, January 23, 2015

"EAT LESS FOR PUTIN" Propaganda Posters.

The AP reported this morning that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at Davos, said that the Russian people will "eat less" for their dear leader as the country struggles through a recession and Western sanctions.

Simultaneously, Russia's Ministry of Propaganda, thought to be long defunct, released three posters which they say will be plastered on billboards across the country starting next week.

NOTE: The typeface chosen by the Ministry is "Hunger Games".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

12 Advertising Headlines That Mean Absolutely Fucking Nothing.

(via some mall in Atlanta)

Shakespeare once described advertising (or maybe it was Life) as "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Today, of course, most advertising means little or nothing. But some of it means more nothing than the rest. Here is some of that—a collection I've been compiling for awhile.

(snapped on the Upper West Side)

Well, that's...right? Better than "like smegma".
(I do like the product shot art direction of Stoli's new campaign, very Commie.)

(on an A train)

Forget the "CARPE P.M." groaner pun, focus on the sign-off line. "Most Refreshing"? That doesn't mean "tastiest". What does it mean? The most water? Now add in "The Night's" and the line actually becomes less than meaningless.

(in Times Square)

Latin-based puns are hot now.
If this was an ad for the NSA, it would make sense. But it isn't.

(near Columbus Circle)

Ready for what—besides taking my money? To be robbed? And who's "New York"? Anyway: who had the better beard? Wells? or Fargo?

How about that for a USP? Coffee you can actually drink. Donuts you can actually eat. VISIBLE WORDS YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE.

The meaningless of this line is headache-inducing, much like cable company customer service. The four words add up to nothing to the power of infinity, xfinity.

(via Australia)

Ad bursting with bullshit.
I see only "OH!" on the bottle. Maybe 'YEAH!" is listed in the ingredients.

(on an A train)

It's in "quotes" I guess to emphasis the spoken-ness. How bout "English"? Is that "spoken" there, stupid New Jersey school of "higher" "learning"?

The shit-beer's all-encompassing, utterly meaningless tagline for a couple years now.
• Friend just got eaten by a bear? PERFECT.
• Sharted? PERFECT.
•Beer-tasting contest? PERFECT.

Not only means nothing, but is about the laziest piece of copywriting I've ever seen. What do I win? Are you giving away a free beer to everybody who sees this ad? Find yourself a new agency, Corona. (Ad is by Cramer-Krasselt.)

(in Penn Station)

Another literal headache-inducer.

Friday, January 09, 2015

What the HELL is going on in this new Shell ad?

(click image to enlarge)

The ad, created by JWT London, was released late last month. It features the Forth Bridge, the iconic cantilever railroad bridge in Scotland. It also features a menacing attack-balloon full of CO2.

The url in the ad leads to this page about the Peterhead CCS Project, whose goal is to capture "up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions...from the Peterhead Power Station." The emissions would be "transported by pipeline offshore for long-term storage deep under the North Sea." This is a drop in the global cooling bucket.
It's always fun when Big Oil trots out their disingenuous "environmental" ads. Before the Gulf Spill, bp featured the cutest alternative energy logo you'll ever see. That logo and program are now as dead as all the wildlife that little oopsie-daisy disaster destroyed, and is still destroying.

Back to the above image. Of all the ways an art director could show "captured CO2", why create this scene?!? First off, that doesn't look like that much CO2—like about from one car from one trip to the country and back. Secondly, as soon as that attack-balloon hits the bridge, it's gonna burst, and all that carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere—joining the shittonnes of CO2 created and not captured by petrochemical companies like Shell. The nonflammable explosion will certainly capsize that boat and probably damage the bridge, maybe even destroy it.

Below is a US Shell ad from 2007 that ran in the Wall Street Journal. Yes, those are flowers coming out of Shell smokestacks because, "What we can do is find creative ways to recycle. Greenhouses use our waste CO2 to grow flowers..."

Careful you don't choke on that thick irony.

(click image to enlarge)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Which of these Apple Christmas Ad Post Headlines is the Most Hyperbolic?

As Charlie Brooker (creator of "Black Mirror" and former ace ad critic) recently wrote, "exaggeration is the official language of the internet."

Released last week, Apple's "The Song" (by TBWA) sent bloggers desperately searching deep into their souls (or asses) to pull out the most disingenuously exaggerated, clickbaitiest heds. The only review I've read that came close to getting it right was Hannah Jane Parkinson's for The Guardian. She's correct: that's a very personal recording of the grandmother's, and the selfish granddaughter makes a gift that's all about HER.

Anyway, below are the worst ones. NOTE: I won't be linking to any of the posts because, simply, fuck them.

1. Jezebel

"Edgy" Jezebel uses an edgy cussy word to launch the ole "fake outrage" enticement. Feel the immediacy. You're clicking on the image, aren't you?

2. Complex

"Cool" website Complex "challenges" you not to click the link (stop clicking it, it's just a screengrab). "Make you cry" is so banal. They red-lined the overstatement meter.

3. ETonline

The tried and trite "guaranteed".
Seriously, fuck you Entertainment Tonight.

4. Pajiba
Own it?

5. WREG TV, Memphis

 Sorry, my dead grandmas. Please try to continue resting in peace.

6. Refinery29

Below, me, after watching the ad.

7. BuzzFeed

I would've bet a million bucks "FEELS" would show up in the BuzzFeed post. I believe they've trademarked the word. Which is a better form of mush: ball or puddle?

8. copyranter



Friday, December 19, 2014

IT’S THE END OF ADVERTISING CREATIVITY AS WE KNOW IT (and you should not feel fine).

(portion of a 2008 ad for ad school The Creative Circus)

This year’s advertising was shit. Digital, social, native, mobile—shit. Even the “traditional” advertising, created by supposedly trained creative pros, was mostly shit. And, it wasn’t just shit-ineffective, it was shit-garbage: unentertaining, uninteresting, unfunny, unstimulating, un-authentic (bear with me), unfocused, un-selling. Uncreative.

Of course, Facebook and Twitter have had a lot to do with fostering this new-age GIF/meme creative witlessness. But they are only platforms. People make ads. And more and more, the people making the advertising “content” are untrained, inexperienced but “tech-savvy” people: People who don’t know what a campaign is, don’t know how to dramatically communicate a product benefit, don’t know how to consistently image-brand, don’t even know what the fuck branding is.

This is #sad.

The overuse and near meaninglessness of “Creativity”—the “C” word—has been a long-running joke, both inside and outside the industry. Seriously: What the actual fuck is a “Creative” Director” (cool white bro)? But, the new digital/social/native agencies popping up like lowermybills ads are trying to eliminate the “old-school” creative element of advertising. They’re trying to make it artificially complicated, trying to turn it into a technology. Advertising is not technology. It is communication. And good advertising is persuasive communication. Which means it is an “art”, not a science. Sorry, all you Silicon Valley disrupters with Peaky Blinders haircuts.

2014 has seen the continued growth of: StuntVertising, ShockVertising, PrankVertising, EventVertising, CelebVertising, CrowdsourcedVertising, EmpowermentVertising, FemVertising (pathetic), StorytellingVertising, ContentVertising, Appvertising, and CatVertising. Everything but IdeaVertising. Ad people know what I mean when I say IdeaVertising, but for you others, what it means is: a consistent ad concept, across all media (What Millennial nitwits now call “seamless storytelling”). But we’re seeing less and less of this because coming up with a GREAT, BIG idea that sells the bejesus out of a brand is hard work. Really hard work. It takes time, and a lot of meetings between client and agency(s).

It takes experience, something that’s becoming less important this generation by the second. “Pfft. I can learn what you know, in a day on the internet, pops.” No, you can’t, child. Just like you can’t learn a great hockey wrist shot in a day, you can’t learn how to make great creative advertising in a day. It takes practice. Take 100,000 wrist shots, and you’ll get yourself a better wrist shot. It is inevitable, I learned.

(2010 ad for South Africa's Eagle awards. Billions of bunnies bit it this year.)

I’m not going to link to any specific 2014 examples of what big-time media bloggers who’ve never created an ad in their lives called “great” ads—ads that at best, were mediocre. But I will say that many of those bloggers lauded those ads without believing their own words, glowingly posting them strictly for pageviews. That’s not just #sad. That’s #unethical.

Why should you believe this pessimistic assessment of my industry? Because I’ve been obsessively following advertising creativity for 25 years now, via this copyranter blog (started in 2005) and as a New York City copywriter/creative director. Very few—if any, I would confidently wager—ad creatives/critics in the world have looked at/sat through as many ads as I have during this period. I’m not really bragging; I’m mentally damaged from browsing the same 50+ shitty websites day-in, day-out, seven days a week.

I’ve watched the quality of creativity decline steadily over the last 10 years, and even more so in the last two years. This trend is indisputable.

And I see no renaissance coming.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Look at this fucking obnoxious California dates ad.

1978 was the year I graduated high school. Bikers were cool in 1978. Bikers were people you didn't fuck with,  at bars or anywhere else. A few years later, after college, I witnessed a biker beat the living shit out of a huge bodybuilder outside of a rural northwestern New Jersey bar. The bullet head insisted that they go outside and fight. The biker did not want to fight. The pump monkey wouldn't take "no" for an answer. The biker unenthusiastically followed gym boy outside to the parking lot. And then, he nearly killed him by repeatedly bashing his perfect blonde-haired head against a car bumper. The biker was about 6-4, but flabby, no muscle tone. The bodybuilder's girlfriend was screaming maniacally. It was fucking cool.

You should know that weightlifters are, for the most part, all show and no go.

I don't who know who the California Date Commission's ad agency was in 1978, but judging by the aesthetically pleasing layout and perfectly wrapped body copy, it was probably a bigshot "creative" Los Angeles ad agency.

To the shameful copy, which was probably written by a Cali "est" graduate who got his brilliant idea for the ad while driving on the freeway in his Honda Civic getting passed by Hells Angels on loud Harleys. My fantasy is that a couple Angels hunted him down, and torched his rice burner.

He doesn't get many dates? I think he got many more than the average douchebag copywriter did/does. Chicks dig bikes, and not the ten-speed kind. And what the fuck is he going to do with a ten-speed in the LA metro area?

And nice segue there asshole, using the hackneyed "After all" to transition to the complete bullshit product benefit claim. "Hey Butch, Bear, Slider, check it out—I have a new healthy outlook since I started eating dates." Imagine the ensuing laughter and probable beat-down.

Next hackneyed segue: "So who knows?"—which leads to est-boy's ending flourish of "creativity". That's what pro CWs do: end body copy with Big Clever. Except this flourish is overwritten and unfunny. Note the double use of "running" and officers-office hooey.

Dates. They turn Bikers into Politicians. Brilliant.

I went to the Commission's website "datesaregreat" searching for more recent ads. Above is their press page. Nothing. Except that mysterious, unexplainable "Dec 31, 1969".

NOTE: I fucking hate dates, especially in bread.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ashton Kutcher's new Uber ads.

The amazingly successful ride-sharing start-up has had a tough PR week. But Kutcher (@aplusk), an Uber investor, immediately and expertly went into damage control mode on Twitter, showing a savviness lacking within the company's own marketing department.

And now Kutcher, using his own money, will soon launch an online Uber ad campaign utilizing the wildly popular Indian character "Raj" he created to promote popchips. (another brand he's invested in).

copyranter has exclusively obtained early rough executions.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This is a great "disruptive" print ad.

Disruptive Innovation.

Buzzwords so buzzy, they *vibrate* with intensity.

The Wikipedia entry for "Disruptive Innovation" is well over 4,000 words.

Native Advertising is considered a Disruptive Innovation.

That's rich. And ironic. Because it is designed to not be "disruptive". It is designed to blend in, deceive. And it is not an "innovation". Branded "native" print editorial content has been around for over 100 years.

This ad ran in the November 7th issue of the Guardian (click to enlarge).

(images via Creative Review)

In case you don't understand what you're looking at, that's a double full-page spread ad (you know, the paper kind). How many people—do you think—who saw that headline didn't read the copy? Sorry digital gurus, there are no exact metrics for you to study and put into one of your priceless decks.

But let me give you a ballpark figure: ZERO.

This is a brilliant example of what social media dipshits try—and fail at—every day: newsjacking.

Except, ecotricity (Britain's leading green energy supplier) actual had some pretty big news to report, as I'm sure you're reading about right now.

I see something like this, and I think—momentarily and warily—that just maybe, advertising creativity might survive this stupid generation.

NOTE: you may remember ecotricity's popular video ad from 2012 featuring the collapsing cooling towers, and the follow-up spot, farting gas towers.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Click images to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Best Ad of the Week, #1.

It's a new optimistic copyranter feature!
I figure, if I like an ad, even just once a week, the ad world would maybe?!?—like me back!
And maybe (DOUBLE FINGERS CROSSED) I would get a job! Karma!

The Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam proudly boasts that it's "The Worst Hotel In The World". For over a decade, through their agency Kessels Kramer, they've produced consistently hilarious advertising. Recently, they put out a series of videos as part of a Facebook Like-grubbing campaign. Above is the best of the lot. This, is how you do social media begging, digital dipshits.

This will now be a regular copyranter feature, every Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is "Native Advertising"?

(I sincerely apologize for the e-card)

Media people are hungry for, curious about, perplexed by, or scared of, it, depending on the medium. Well, it's really a simple thing. Don't let the Social Media experts (dipshits) complicate it with their buzzword-filled explanations that go and on and on.

 But what is it?

Wikipedia: "a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears."

That's what it does, but what IS it?

Below is the definitive definition of "Native Advertising":

That's it.

Anybody tells you different, politely get up and excuse yourself from the room, walk briskly to the elevator, and then sprint out of their building (unless the person is your boss, then just sit there and nod your head like one of those toy dogs in the back of a car).

I'm kidding. Don't make a scene.

But that's not "advertising", you might be thinking. And you might be asking: Why would an advertiser want to advertise without advertising themselves? Well (chuckle), that's also very simple: (BUZZWORD alert x 2) Engagement and Metrics.

Native Advertising is Sponsored Content, but not all Sponsored Content is Native Advertising. Like the Wikipedia definition reads, Native Advertising looks and feels like editorial content. That's what gets readers to click sponsored links (Engagement) on sites like BuzzFeed (more on them here), Mashable, Huffington Post, etc.

Advertisers have fallen in deep dirty lust with those clicks (Metrics). The native post doesn't sell our product or brand name whatsoever? Who cares! MET-TRICKS!

Many Native Advertising experts are, not coincidentally, trying to dismiss/kill dead what they themselves have buzz-coined as "Traditional Advertising". Like this expert. (WARNING: I lost count at 50 buzzwords in that post. Didn't you see the Tom Hanks advertising movie, Nothing In Common, sir?) He basically speaks for every single Social Media expert out there. And he, and they, are as wrong as slush.

Readers respond foremost to creativity. What will happen—is happening, s l o w l y—is a marriage between Native and Traditional. Advertisers will start to see more and more that clicks ≠ sales. (Right, ship-my-pants Kmart?) And they will start to demand that their Native Advertising be Creative Advertising that sells the shit out of their brand (minus, stupid puns).

And who can make this marriage work?

Not Social Media experts.