Thursday, September 18, 2014

On EXTREME Copywriting.

 (2010 billboard. A phone is a bucket. With knuckles. Filled with female deer.)

At some point, in the last seven years or so, advertising copywriters started an EXTREME headline movement—in your face, provocative ads that make absolutely zero sense. Why this movement is happening now, and didn't happen back in the Xtreme 1990s, I don't know.

 This type of phenomenon happens often in our industry: the same creative linchpin pops up nearly simultaneously, all over the world. Sure sometimes it's just blatant idea larceny by shameless creative directors, or idiotic clients who say something like "Did you see that dancing babies ad? I want dancing babies in my ads."

But often, it's just an unexplained karmic mystery where copywriters/art directors have the same idea at the same time. Veteran ad creatives know what I'm talking about.

Anyway: the current main executor of this EXTREME headline movement is Wrigley's 5Gum, and their Chicago ad agency, Energy BBDO. But at about the same time that 5Gum launched, Ruffles and Cheetos (both PepsiCo brands) also started putting out EXTREME ads. Soon, several other brands also jumped on the EXTREME train.

But I think, if you're going to go EXTREME, than why not go FULL FUCKING RETARD EXTREME? Therefore, I've rewritten—pushed the envelope, we call it the creative department—some of these recent EXTREME ads.


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A couple of months ago, I stepped into an A train car that had been taken over by a new Trident campaign. This poster, in particular, made me gape. Chewy nunchucks? Nunchucks are unwieldy. I think my EXTREME Islamic take makes for a more explosive, targeted ad.

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If you're going anthropomorphize cavities as passive-aggressive stalkers, well then I say make them felonious terrorists.

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What the fuck is a mouth office?
Why not be proactive, instead of anthropomorphizing your gum sticks as passive "guards"? Make them armed-to-the-teeth (sorry) aggressive killers!

Ruffles & Cheetos

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These two PepsiCo snacks went violently EXTREME to hawk spicy sub-products. But again, especially when considering the Bro Demographic target, I don't think they pushed it enough.

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That's better.


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From 2007, this (L) was the first 5Gum ad I noticed (scanned from ESPN Magazine). 5Gum is so named because it supposedly appeals to all five senses. How does it appeal to sound? It's not bubble gum. No matter. First of all, you'd have to be Gulliver on Lilliput to be able lie on 1,000 cell phones. But fuck logic: this is EXTREME copywriting.

The message here is "tingling". Why not get tingled to death (R)?

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5Gum spearmint is so powerful, it takes over your body (very believable). And it lasts so long, if you chew a piece for a week, the flavor replaces your blood, eventually turning you into a refreshing zombie.

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The marketing geniuses at 5Gum decided to name their wintergreen product "Cobalt". Forgetting that if you tried "speed skating on dry ice," you'd break your neck, let's focus instead on Cobalt (chemical element "Co", atomic number 27). Cobalt is highly toxic, and "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen", according to the CDC. Now that's EXTREME.

This is a still from one of 5Gum's equally bombastic TV spots.
The copy is added.

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Another one.
Needed more electrifyingness.

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No, I've never tried that (L) because I'd be dead.
Let's call a tidal wave what it is, and provoke more FEARFUL fun.

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 These two ads were art only, so I added EXTREME headlines.

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More recent executions have been creepily sexually anthropomorphic.
Fuck 1st base, let's go hard to 3rd base, baby.


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