Thursday, July 24, 2014

GEN WHINE.

I would genuinely like to apologize to Gen Y-ers/Millennials for this post. I didn't really mean everything ... most everything ... half ... a lot ... OK, some of what was written here previously. I am going through a "life-event" that has me very, very, very, very, VERY angry at said life (Well, more than usual. No, it's not my ongoing unemployment). Sorry. Carry on, conquer the world, etc. But if you'd like a transcript, let me know!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Examination of the Metaphorical Representation of Shit in Advertising.

"Complex Shit", by Paul McCarthy, 2008.

Constipation. Diarrhea. Explosive Diarrhea. We've all had them. We will all continue to have them. Thus, Shit Manipulation is big business for Big Pharma. But how does one visually address such a disgusting topic in ads? Let's take a figurative look up your asshole.

Dulcolax. "Only You Can Set Them Free."
(click image to enlarge)

Above is a new ad just pushed out the PR poop chute this week by McCann China. Dulcolax is one of the world's leading laxative brands, made by $15 billion German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim.
The anthropomorphized "Shits" here are imprisoned in your anus, as you can see. The Shits have eyes. A couple of the Shits have boobs. Child Shits are present. One of the Shits, the one marking the days on the "prison" wall has been up your ass a long time. If you've ever had a colonic, you know this is accurate. Dulcolax will not save him.
The "prison" execution, however, is not an original one in Shitvertising. (It's even been done before, using an anthropomorphized Sperm, to sell condoms in Brazil.)

Dulcolax. "Set It Free."
(click image to enlarge)

The above Dulcolax ad was done by Saatchi & Saatchi Italy back in 2009. (There's also a chicken leg layout.) Saatchi went for the more tasteful visual approach of showing your stuck Shit still in its pre-digested form. The protest sign headline/product shot is a nice touch. Still, I prefer McCann's artwork. There are no original ideas anymore, anywhere, ad infinitum, etc.

Dulcolax. "Rats"
(click image to enlarge)

Borrowing heavily and suspiciously from "Ratatouille", this 2009 Dulcolax ad by Callegari Berville Grey in Paris is some funny shit. The Shit here of course is an unseen roaring subterranean river. Note the rat with Mickey Mouse ears, and another one with an "End Is Near" sign.

Dulcolax. "Rollercoaster"
This is a student concept ambient piece from 2012, via South Korea.
Here, you, the people, play the part of—thanks to Dulcolax—fast-moving Shit.


Dulcolax. "Moses"
(click image to enlarge)
We will end the Dulcolax run, so to speak, with this biblical 2009 ad via Brazil, titled (by me): "Let my people go...to the bathroom." Here, the Dulcolax package is Moses, the pills are the Ten Commandments tablets (note that two pills have apparently been swallowed), the Red Sea is your colon, the Jews are foodstuffs (uh, Shit), and Canaan is a toilet.

That is some Epic Shit.

Bisolax. "Because Shit Is Not Worth Collecting."

(click images to enlarge)

Next: here's a rather graphic campaign from last year via Thailand for Bisolax, a smaller laxative brand popular in the country. (ad agency: KingKong, Bangkok). We have a trophy on the wall Shit, and a commemorative plate Shit. If you can provide me with proof that these ads were approved by the client and actually ran in a publication, I will eat Shit.

Bisolax. "Lamp Post."

Staying in Thailand, this is a Bisolax ad from 2005, by BBDO Bangkok.
We have an anthropomorphic Mom Shit grabbing her toy-store-enamored Child Shit, because it's...TIME TO GO.

Levolac. "It's so easy to do a poo..."

Translation:
"Even if you're constipated, no need to feel ill-fated.
It's so easy to do a poo with Levolac helping you."

Back to 2007, and a Finnish TV spot for Levolac (by agency Bob Helsinki). Here you, the people, again play the part of pieces of Shit. The revolving door and train scenes are fine, but the trees scene is a bit forced, so to speak.

All-Bran. "Do It. Feel It."

This 2007 commercial is, in my estimation, the best piece of American Shitvertising ever created. The three Shit metaphors are perfect: The steel beam; the barrels seemingly rolling right out of the man's ass; and finally, the "shitload" of bricks. Excruciatingly painful, shitty sign off line. Still, bravo, Leo Burnett, Chicago.

Activia. "Release Yourself From Constipation."
(click image to enlarge)

Activia yogurt campaign from 2012, by Y&R Mexico (there are also cow and sheep versions). It's similar to the prison ideas, with the animals playing the part of stuck Shit. Maybe just eat less meat? The mouse hole is of course your asshole.

Senokot Laxative. "Hitler"

Having shit, Shitler is now as happy as shit, I guess.
Ad from 2012 by EuroRSCG Johannesburg.

Imodium. "Subway"

Lastly, a couple of executions form the other end of the Shitting spectrum, so to speak. In this 2010 Imodium (a McNeil/Johnson & Johnson cash cow) ad by JWT Spain, the good people of Tokyo play the part of Shit (in this case Diarrhea). But: this photo would work better for a laxative, as opposed to a costive, right? This is some weak-ass Shit.

Imodium. "Golfer"
This ad, from 2011 by JWT Canada, doesn't really fit the criterion of the post, as Shit is represented by actual Shit. But I just thought it was funny.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

When Advertising, and Humanity, Tried Harder.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

The 19 worst "Business Teamwork" stock photos.

1. (four associates examine a bell pepper)

I searched "Business Group Teamwork" on Getty and sifted through 41,177 photos to bring you this post. For authenticity, I didn't sign in to remove the watermarks.
Click photos to enlarge.

2. These "coworkers" have absolutely nothing in their offices. Not one fucking thing.

3. Title: "Authority".
That's it. That's all it said.

4. Title: "Acting Savagely".
Lord of the Flies office.

5. Just turn in your reports,
you metaphorical doofus.

6. All three women are wearing the exact same pair of fuck-me pumps. Nice work, stylist.

7. I have nothing to add.

8. On the floor.

9. Cliche + Racism = Awkward Stock Photo Hall of Fame.

 10. Subtle, Getty.

11. Part of the "business people outside with colored big balls" series. There are also "yellow ball" and "white ball" sets.

12. The man is using two water glasses as binoculars. This is not mentioned in the description.

13. I believe they're headed to a scheduled mass suicide.

14. I don't know.

15. Either making sure they haven't hired any black people, or clean hands = clean decks, or something.

16. It's "Red Shirt Friday", Mary.
WHERE'S YOUR RED SHIRT?

17. HERE IT IS, TEAM.
THE "MISSING PIECE TO THE PUZZLE".

18. Happy Birthday, Boss.

19. Lastly, there's this grey- and blue-besuited group of pale white middle managers looking for divine intervention to save their useless jobs.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Men's Deodorant Marketing is Malarkey.

Remember:
Mitchum—So Effective, You Can Skip A Day

That was the Revlon brand's tagline for about 20 years, up until 2005. I mean, what the fuck do we have an FDA for if an antiperspirant can get away with that bald face lie?

Today, spurred by Unilever's Degree, men's deodorant has become a field of biotechnology, at least according to the ridiculous language used in its marketing. To Degree's webpage.


RECHARGE TECHNOLOGY™

Read that copy. Take in every word.

• It has RECHARGE TECHNOLOGY™? Can I plug my iPhone into it? Can I apply some on my tongue during a long run?

• It's "engineered to help you stay ahead of sweat." How-now-what? Does it go into my glands and sit there waiting with microscopic shammies?

• "Up to 3x strength wetness protection... "Up to"—one of the most powerful wiggle ad terms ever created. 'Up to" basically means "not". And "3x" what, exactly? Nothing? Water? Your shitty original basic deodorant?

•"...continuously rebuilds odor fighters..." Are your "odor fighters" nanobots, Degree? And if so, I guess your formula also includes maintenance nanoids who rebuild the fighting nanobots? Do you have a detailed diagram to show me exactly how this works?


MOTIONSENSE™ TECHNOLOGY

MOTIONSENSE™ TECHNOLOGY— is this the same "technology" used with advanced infrared security systems? Does it call the odor fighting nanobots when it detects sweat? Or does this formula not have that bit of engineering in it? Should I maybe use a half stroke of each of these two Degrees for optimum perspiration excretion retardation?

(above: Epinephrine [adrenaline] structure)

• "...responds to increases in adrenaline..."Really? How does it respond? Does it...produce a chemical reaction that releases noradrenaline into the blood stream?  Does it shrug? Does it respond to both the adrenaline "secreted by the medulla of the adrenal glands...", and that "produced at the ends of sympathetic nerve fibres" (Wikipedia)?

• "...responds directly to your body movement..." OK, less of biochemical claim here. But again: how does it respond? And what the fuck does "responds directly" mean?  And, what "body movement" does it respond to, because my body moves for many hours 100% of the time after I put on my deodorant in the morning.


Degree has been running this Clint Dempsey soccer ad during the World Cup. The copy starts with this asinine statement: "Everything can be improved..." And we finally get a chart! It claims that Degree beats Old Spice with regards to a longer lasting smell of "freshness/fragrance" based on a "consumer home use study". Not a very scientific study, then. Ho-kay.



DEGREE GIRL

Meanwhile, above is how Degree promotes their "Girl" formula.

MITCHUM

"FIGHTS ODOR BEFORE IT EVEN STARTS". Mitchum doesn't get as scientific as Degree, but they've got their own technologically specious, trademarked website copy. And they're basically claiming the same thing—it works on something that isn't there.
 

Even though "skip a day" is no longer their tagline, Mitchum is still trying to claim that it works for 48 straight hours, though less aggressively.

Oxygen Odor Control Technology™ Oxygen, huh? How does this "technology" work, exactly?

•"...releases pure oxygen...throughout the day..." Pure oxygen. Gets released. Does the oxygen in your formula break free from its water compound buddy hydrogen? Why not have your formula release pure hydrogen? That would burn everything away—odor, sweat, hair, skin, etc. Very painful, but very effective. You could call this scent version "Barbecued Meat".

Funny, nobody mentions aluminum anymore in their deodorant marketing copy—most leading antiperspirant brands contain aluminum compounds and it is the main ingredient that actually "fights" wetness, and therefore, odor. This omission is probably because of that whole deodorants & antiperspirants cause breast cancer kerfuffle.

ADDENDUM


Speaking of deodorant marketing, let's take a trip back to 2005 to check out one of the dumbest bro-targeted campaigns of the bro generation. It was this "Mitchum Man" effort which courted the dumbest, basest of bros, and also encouraged future revenge porn (far right ad, click image).

The website is long dead, but it featured a "man-o-meter" hosted of course by a stripping model.

While I'm no fan of the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" Isaiah Mustafa goofiness, it wins these days simply by default.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Are Ad Agencies Still Cool?


(Back in 2011, one of the largest ad agencies in the world flew this banner over the hordes at the Cannes ad festival. Note the spelling of "famously".)

Short answer: No. Long answer: FUCK No.

Today’s ad agencies are nothing like Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in the 1960s. They’re not even like Crispin Porter + Bogusky in 2005.

If you’re a young creative, you’re not going to be Don Draper or Peggy Olson or even Stan Rizzo. You’re definitely not going to be Alex Bogusky.

You have no new truly original ideas in your portfolio. You’re lucky if you have even one mildly interesting idea amongst all the hackneyed, derivative dogshit. I know this: I’ve seen your portfolio. 100 fucking times.

Ad students have been sending me their portfolios—nearly daily, unsolicited—for 8 years, asking for advice. I never write them back.

This is my mass response.

If you want a “cool” ad agency creative department job, it’s there, waiting for you (at least at the big mega-merged bloated shops) if you happen to be one of those few young creatives with one (better, two) of those mildly interesting ideas in your portfolio. Because agencies these days are as desperate as a virgin male 2nd semester college senior.

Last fall, freelance designer Murat Mutlu wrote a 2,100 word article, republished to a wide audience on Creative Review, titled: "Why talented creatives are leaving your agency."

If you work at an ad agency, worked at an ad agency, or especially, if you're planning on working at an ad agency: read it. It is well worth your time.

This trend of good copywriters, art directors, and designers bolting or eschewing established ad agencies is not a new one. AdAge published a piece about it back in 2010. But, it is a trend that is gaining momentum, exponentially. Established creatives are heading to social start-ups and media websites. More and more brands are hiring these disgruntled creatives and bringing their ad work in-house.

Meanwhile, as Mutlu says:
"Agencies...are happy to keep trying to live in a world which is ceasing to exist. Clinging onto the same ideas, tools, and ways of working with CEOs who are either oblivious to the current mindset or too frightened to instigate change. It's the perfect storm of increasing entrepreneurialism, decreasing loyalty and an industry reveling in mediocrity."
Of course, all the creative directors at all of ad agencies of all sizes will still use the "C" (creative) and "I" (innovative) words in your interview. If you're a "hotshot" who they're hot to hire and you've got a good feeling about the place, tell them you'd like to freelance for a couple of months first. Facades are easy to erect.

Unless you have inside info, it’s hard to tell how “creative” an ad agency’s work environment is. One clue is to look at is the agency’s own self-promo stuff.

I've gathered together some recent agency self-promo and recruitment ads/videos/staff press photos—instances where ad agencies try to show the world just how fucking cool they really are.


Take a look, and see if these seem like the kind of places you'd like to spend working 10, 12 (or more, depending on the shop) hours a day.


The Ungar Group: "No Regrets"


Chicago's Ungar Group aired this spot, locally, during an April episode of last season's Mad Men.

Copy: "If you're looking for an advertising agency and don't meet with The Ungar Group. you will regret it for the rest of your lives."

Why is the man a zombie? I think they were trying to reference the Walking Dead (also on AMC). Why would you give your money to this ad agency? Because you're fucking brain dead. Back in 2007, Ungar created another cracking self-promo video where they threatened a kitten with a .357 Magnum.

SapientNitro "Idea Engineers"

SapientNitro has 37 offices worldwide, and is considered a "hot" "edgy" digital ad agency. What happened here with this auto-tuned "rap" song, I'm educatedly guessing, is one of the upper management guys desperately wanted to show off his guitar "skills".

"We're thinking not sinking..." Idea Engineers...

Planet Earth deserves to be destroyed by the Volgons because of this video.

DigitasLBi: "Inheritance"

This is the shop where every young "digital" creative wants to work. Their logo is a unicorn.
From the press note about the ad:
"...we're firm believers in practicing what we preach. And what we preach is that creating content that intrigues, engages and even entertains is a much better way of getting noticed than slavishly manufacturing marketing messages. We also believe in being brave (how quaint) and giving new things a try...Inheritance isn't about who we are, what we do or even what we think about the world. It is however meant to be so very us (what?)."
I'm disappointed they didn't slip "storytelling" in there somewhere.

Do you want your two minutes back? Write them, and ask them to get their magical fucking unicorn to make it happen.

How bout some print promo ads.

"JWT Brazil. 76 years (old), so what?"
(sigh)

TBWA Poland.

WHERE IDEAS ARE BORN. SEE, BECAUSE, A "LIGHT BULB" IS THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL FOR "IDEA". Bloody brilliant.

Now, some staff press photos (click for closer looks).

Press photos from two firms considered "hot" and "creative". L—El Segundo's David & Goliath. GET IT? R—NYC's Sagmeister & Walsh. They're wearing space helmets because they're "explorers". They're naked because they're morons.

Both Philadelphia's Red Tettemer & Partners (L) and BBH NYC (R) go the hadouken route. WHO HAD IT FIRST?
(agency promo photos via Business Insider)
__________

In conclusion: stop sending me your portfolios, and drop out of ad school.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brands Talking To Men Badly.

(Like rape culture enabler Axe, Brut is a Unilever product.)

Bros? Have you noticed more and more ads these days speaking your bro-language? That's because the early aughts Banana Republic-wearing manscaped Metrosexual is dead. It's time, yet again, to MAN UP, to let your body hair grow, to reaffirm your Bromitment.

Brut's latest online ads (one of which is above) call on you dudes to release your dormant inner man, and once out, splash some stinky man juice on him (which is actually now only 33% strength, because that's all the juice you younger pantywaists can handle).

It's a continuation of a campaign (by Sigma Group), launched with the manliest 15 seconds ever shot, commercially.



But, when I look at Brut's ads of the last 20 years, I get confused about my man-self.

The above print ads are from 2000 (by Lowe/Lintas). Note the all-caps tagline (click image): INSIDE EVERY MAN IS A GUY. (The kickoff ad was the middle one. That third ad is something special, eh?)

So: is there one more step that I'm missing, today, when I "let out" my man? Is there still a guy inside him, and is this "guy" tougher than my just released inner man?

Wait. Hold your hormones.

The above Brut magazine ad is from 1993. With the help of the stinky man juice, did this "boxer" let his inner man—who was "back"—out? Did he used to be a "guy"? Or was there a guy still inside him, and did the "man" beat the shit out of him on his way back out?

Lastly, let's go all the way back to the 1960s, when Brut, then owned by Fabergé (as in, EGGS, how unmanly), first came to market. If I have any doubts about myself? You're the confused dickheads here. I mean look at those illustrations, those guys/men are oozing metrosexuality.

Thing is, Brut had it figured out all along, they just didn't know it.

DISCLOSURE: I do not wear a "fragrance" because I like my own musk, and have found, through experience, that everybody else does, too.

Next up: Viagra.




These are two of the spots from Viagra's new campaign: "THIS IS THE AGE OF VIAGRA." The latest three 2014 spots aren't on YouTube, but you can watch them here on Viagra's website.

Cialis ads of course always feature a man and woman because of their stupid bathtub sign-off. Viagra's past ads have featured couples, but not this go-round because...

THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF...THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE...THIS IS THE AGE OF KNOWING HOW TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN—all copy lines from the ads, both V/Oed and supered in ALL CAPS because, men? THIS IS THE AGE OF BEING BANGED OVER THE HEAD WITH BULLSHIT COPYWRITING.

Despite their rugged good looks, these men/guys appear to be loners, ex-felons (rapists?) even.
Maybe THIS IS THE AGE OF QUIET MASTURBATION.

Lastly, here's the latest Dockers ad, #STOPDADPANTS:



The spot stars NFL coach and former quarterback Jim Harbaugh's hot, horrible-acting wife. Dockers are of course as dad-pantsy as a man can get, so who the fuck do they think they're kidding?

This campaign follows up their much lambasted WEAR THE PANTS effort.

"BEHOLD THE SECOND DAWN OF MAN." Yes, somebody at ad agency DraftFCB San Francisco actually wrote that line, and the marketing manager at Dockers approved it. Also part of this inartful targeting of the ALPHA MALE was a direct mail campaign where Dockers sent out ALPHA KHAKIS in whiskey-like packages directly to consumers. Alpha. Khakis.

Here's the TV spot from the campaign, which laughable equates Dockers-wearing "men" to "supermen". Dockers is so proud of the commercial, it's nowhere to be found on their YouTube page.



See? It's not just women that ad agencies have no idea how to talk to. Although when targeting men, agencies have at least reached a consensus that ONLY ALL CAPS WILL DO.