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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tommy Lee Jones Doesn't Give A Good Goddamn About Your Retirement.

Look at that pained face.
He looks like his IBS is acting up.
That is the face of an uninvested spokesperson.
You can unfurl all the big-ass banners behind him you want, Ameriprise. He is not going to change his Fuck You face or up his energy level one iota.
Is he squinting at the cue cards? Probably.
You want memorization? That's an extra mil.

But I'm fine with that! Jones shouldn't give a shit about my retirement, because Ameriprise doesn't either, except for how it can increase their year over year revenue.

Jones' three spots for Ameriprise have been in rotation the last couple of weeks. Their previous spokesman, Dennis Hopper (RIP), at least looked like he gave a shit. Before that, their campaign featured models posing as real people standing on red Eames chairs, for some undefined reason.

Back to Jones' sell job. These are the takes the client picked. Imagine what his less enthusiastic takes look like. I want to see those. But for now, let's look a bit closer at each ad.

1. "Tommy Lee Jones visits a shopping mall to ask people an important retirement question..."

The above bolded copy is how Amerprise describes this commercial on their YouTube page. First off, Jones sure as shit smells didn't "ask people" anything. Secondly, even though his hand is apparently on one of the mall's rails, I question if he was even in that mall. I smell—besides shit—digital trickery. Thirdly, that big banner was not unfurled in that mall—could have killed somebody. Fourthly, those people are of course actors, not shoppers. Fifthly, celebrity testimonials are the absolutely worst creative cop out available to advertisers with big money and no imagination. Sixthly, these are the worst celebrity testimonial ads I've ever seen. Seventhly, Malls are dying, like me, thanks for the reminder, Ameriprise.

2. "Tommy Lee Jones visits a small town. He asks residents a retirement question..."

OK, this one is more obvious: Jones is not in that "small town", he's in a studio. And again, he asked nobody nothing, though I do appreciate that he shows his gut here. And that even bigger banner was not unfurled in that "small town". And why don't the banners say something interesting/smart/something besides exactly what Jones is saying? Because Jones' readings are so devoid of personality, Ameriprise needed to bang Baby Boomers/GenXers over the head with their hard sell message. More actors, of course. WHERE ARE THE REAL, UGLY SMALL TOWN PEOPLE WITH FIVE GRAND IN A SOCK UNDER THEIR MATTRESS?

3. "Tommy Lee Jones reminds us that everyone has important retirement questions..."

Here, "City" Tommy...
No, I can't and won't do this anymore.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

What if other brands went insane like McDonald's?

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that starting in January, McDonald's is going to launch a new campaign tagged with the childish na-na-na-na-na na! line "Lovin' Beats Hatin". The entire internet immediately hate-shat on it. Then this week, McDonald's said that they are not going to use it (yeah, we'll see), but they did trademark two other phrases, above bottom, which are, as you can see, even more inane. A greater-than sign? Jesus Christ in a fucking Happy Meal.

It is hard to believe that a cabal of old white men (of which, I am one), some with MBAs, approved any of this. Really hard. With the insipid but harmless I'm Lovin' It drilled into the world's head after 10+ years, following up with these phrases says to me that, not only is McDonald's acknowledging that people out there hate their food, but that they might be right—assuming that the undefined"It" has represented their food this whole time.

And wait til they see what the hatin' internet trolls (of which, I am one) are going to do when this campaign launches. I think McDonald's is seriously underestimating the powerfulness and resourcefulness of said trolls.

The old white men are obviously shitting their tighty-whiteys (or greys) as sales continue to drop like their wrinkly ball sacks (of which, I have one). This must be some extra-pushy marketing doofus's desperate idea of "connecting" with the "Youngs". I don' care what the commercials look like, this effort will not work. I guarantee it.

Anyway! Here are some equally deft imagined rebrandings.

Just Do It is just really an obnoxious tagline, don't you think? It's based on the last words of spree killer Gary Gilmore before he was executed. ("Let's do it." True story.) You just do it, shoe-empire-assholes. Who cares if it's the most successful tagline in marketing history, I need to be coddled and cajoled into exercising, don't you?

The energy drink recently settled a lawsuit which legally killed their "Gives You Wings" tagline. Their latest TV spot uses the can copy line "Vitalizes Body And Mind" as the kicker, which is a weenie move.

I say, just abandon your specious claims and say exactly what the U.S. District Court ruled about your rank product. Shove it right back at the Haters. I bet sales wouldn't suffer one bit, might even double.

Remember the rather racist Make A Run For The Border Taco Bell slogan from the 1990s? Well in the last few years, the Yum! Brands brand has been trying to capitalize on their deep Mexican heritage by using partial Spanish taglines. For you extreme xenophobes, Más means "more" (or "most").

But again, Live More/Most strikes me as a vague but overly aggressive command—it needs a 2014 update. Their slogan is a custom handwritten font. I'm a copywriter not an art director, so I just chose the "Wide Latin" typeface for their new taglines. They should keep using Spanglish to continue exploiting their rich Latin roots, but maybe be a little less macho. Top right: I mean, why not get right to the gluttonous, profitable point? Bottom left: "Live A Little More". Bottom right: Menos means "less".

Although you don't see the phrase much in their ads anymore, "Eat Fresh" is still the official tagline of Subway and has been for over 10 years. If you've eaten in at least a few of their restaurants, as I have, you probably have beef with that tagline. No matter.

Since they have mostly abandoned Eat Fresh, it's time Subway rolled out a new slogan. Why not steal McDonald's, since they're going to be dropping it? (They say "temporarily", but I say bullshit. You watch.) Start selling shitty microwaved hamburgers, too. Might get a big influx of new customers.

Lower left: Maybe go minimalist. Two-word taglines are so over. Got Milk? (dead). Never Follow (Audi, dead). Live Richly (shut-up Citibank). Everybody's gotta eat, right?

Or...they could bring back spokesmodel Jared in a big way, as long as he hasn't porked back up—everybody loved his electric on-screen presence. Plus—he's in the news! Some fat teenager who apparently tried the "Jared diet" robbed four of their restaurants because it didn't work. Real-time marketing, baby! Go brands, go!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Time to pick a new Betty Crocker, for Chrissakes.

As you can see, we've had the same damn Betty Crocker for 18 years.

That's bullshit.

That 1996 Crocker is, according to their website, "a combination of 75 real-life women of diverse backgrounds and ages" (bold mine).


Big-time bullshit, General Mills.

They also say every previous Crocker painting is not based on a real woman, but an original artwork.

Who do they think they're kidding?

Anyway, let's pick a new one for 2015.

1. This stock photo woman @ Getty Images.

I searched through hundreds of women in "red" in a "kitchen".
The above woman is called "happy young housewife".
She can fry an egg. And drink soda.
She looks very "All-American".

2. Naomi Campbell.

You wanna really be diverse, General Mills? Here ya go.
Campbell, I'm sure, has plenty of red outfits.
She has been unfairly shunned by the ad industry. It would be a great PR move for you.
She has never been married, though, probably a big no-no in Crocker World.

3. This stock photo woman @ Getty Images.

Campbell would cost you tens of millions, General Mills.
If you wanna diversify for much less, here's another stock option.
I'd keep the afro.

4. The "Woman In Red" from The Matrix.

I don't know her name, I just searched "woman in red".

Plenty of options, General Mills.
My consultant fee is $500,000.
PayPal me, please.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How To Be A "Creative"

As former Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton sang on his 1976, 11 million copy-selling live album, Frampton Comes Alive, "something's happening" in the advertising industry. All of a sudden, everybody/anybody can be a "creative". That's because everybody—brogrammers, consumers, account ass-suckers, clients, even PR morons—is creating ads. Except nobody is calling it ads. Everybody is calling it "Content".

Fine. For the purposes of this post, I'll call it Content with a CAP C. Thing is: most of these new "creatives" wouldn't know creative Content if it shit in their eyes.

That's why I, an international multi-award-winning, formerly highly-paid advertising creative pro with over 20 years experience in the bloodiest all-nighter, 7-day work week ad trenches, one of the hallowed Mad Men, will now—for free—tell you exactly how to become an advertising "creative" capable of creating creative Content.

The first thing you need to get through your brain before you sit down to create creative Content (or stand-up, on one of those idiotic treadmill desks) is that you're dead. You were born dead. You're dead right now. And you're still gonna be dead tomorrow. It's the human condition. If you don't have this inner Deadness (it's the opposite of "Zen"), close tab, and stare into a dark void (any dirty toilet is good) until you do, and only then, come back to this webpage.

Pure creativity grows best in pessimistic emptiness.

Secondly, erase from your brain that Kumbaya brainstorming sound bite you may have heard before, you know the one—"Always say 'yes and' not 'no but'!". This roundtable Collaborative Optimism method of creating Content is Creativity's new #1 killer; a shit concept is always obviously shit to a good creative and must be killed with spitting hate immediately before it ends up bought by a clueless client. Hurt feelings are for five-year-olds. YOU ARE A SOULLESS RHINO. This doesn't mean you have to be an asshole, just don't be a fake-liker. for fucks sake. Those fake-smile cretins are the absolute worst.

Now. The "Creative Process" is one of the great mysteries to civilians/marketing doofuses, as it should be. As it reads in the above definition, creativity is a transcendental process that takes years to just become shitty at, let alone a solidly above average copywriter like me.

You? You are not ready to even be shitty. Sorry, uncreative civilian/marketing doofus.

But by the time you finish reading these five steps, you'll be on the correct path to becoming a shitty creative who could at some point in the future go ahead and apply for an internship in the shitty internal wrongly-collaborative creative departments at any of the big "Social" "Media" "News" sites. Maybe you'll help improve their shitty Native Content.

Creating Creative Content, Step #1—Get A Hotshot Creative Partner.

The two-person copywriter/art director team, the dynamic that has created pretty much every great ad in advertising history, is being replaced, somewhat, by this new, new-media, 10-monkeys-fucking-a-football collaborative Content kaka. Fuck that. If you're a copywriter, find a great art director (or vice versa) who is as cynical as you are, and team up. BUT THIS IS KEY: He/She must be talented as fuck AND pissed off as fuck—BOTH attributes are equally important. This is the ONLY collaboration that can create cracking Creative Content (copy note: avoid forced alliterations). I've worked with a shit-ton of ADs before computers, and with computers, and this is the only collaboration that works. And when I say "talented as fuck", I of course mean much more creative than you are because ADs still need at least an average CW (and vice versa) no matter how good they are.

The alternative is to go it alone, which can still work, (it's what I'm doing now) if you're good enough, which you are not.

Creating Creative Content, Step #2—Google Images Is Your New Best Friend.

Are you ready to see the aforementioned great creative mystery unravel right before your uncreative eyes? This is how to create creative Content, Content that is more creative than any of the awful "Native" ads you see on your various popular daily web stops.

Whatever product or service you're creating creative Content for, there will be a Brief or at least a Key Message. There is always a Key Message. With stupid clients who try to jam 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag, there are sometimes three or four Key Messages. It might be a product benefit, it might not be, it doesn't matter. Within that Key Message(s), there will be an obvious Key Word or two. Type that Word, and—this is important—ALL variations/synonyms/antonyms of that Word into Google Images. And, search and search and search until you feel even more soulless. (You can also do this with stock photos sites. You can also stab yourself in the hand with an X-Acto™ knife. You have freewill.)

It doesn't matter if your Content assignment is print, digital what-not, video, a matchbook cover, even a bullshit sponsored post trying to mask itself as editorial—the best way to arrest consumers is visually, not with your stupid puns and wordplays. Find an image in your search that stops you, and you're on your way to creating the rare creative piece of Content. But, and this is a Nicki Minaj But, what I can't teach you doofuses is this: you have to know it when you see it, it being an image that perfectly helps dramatically and entertainingly communicate your Key Message. And you only learn that by doing creative work over and over and over and etc. And it might not be one image, of course, but a combo of two or more images, or part of an image, the result being a somewhat original image. Or you'll see an image that makes you think of another image. The point being, get your brain thinking VISUALLY.

Also take photos. Everywhere. Of anything.

Creating Creative Content, Step #3—Get A Shitty Thesaurus.

Get both of these books, but especially the left one. It is a very imprecise thesaurus, horrible for a novelist, but perfect for an ad creative. It gives hundreds of words and phrases that don't mean anything within ICBM range of the original word. But that's good for the imprecise "art" of ad (sorry, Content) making.

Keep a running tally of your image/word/phrase finds. You might find the spark of a great idea hanging out in that big mess of catfish you collect.

Creating Creative Content, Step #4—Start Making Swipe Folders Of Categorized Images.

Categorized by benefit, color, setting, whatever, you're a creative. Speed. Reliability. Toughness. "High Tech". Price. Grow A Bigger Dick, etc. And not just digital folders, actual physical folders with ads, magazine images, photos, etc. If you have access to back issues of Communication Arts or Archive, Spend days/weeks/months going through them and making copies of all the cool images you find. (If they're not your magazines, don't tear out images, you selfish douchebag.) Expensive art magazines are also good image sources. It's called borrowed interest. Or, stealing, if you prefer. Picasso advocated it, so get off your fucking high horse (then, take a photo of his big dick though, for your files). Just because you're soulless, doesn't mean you get to be incurious.

Creating Creative Content, Step #5—You Need Deadline Pressure.

(for the clueless, this "concept" image is posted as an ironic joke)

The best concepts come to the trained pro when he/she is under pressure. Sorry, that's just the way the mind works. Oh sure: you can create some decent, pretty Content a week out from your presentation date. But rarely is it GREAT Content. This is what makes the job hard, when it is hard. Because there will be times when the pressure wins, and you don't come up with jack shit. Fail too much, and it's time to become an account person, or a PR writer, or Native ad post writer, or listicle ad post maker.

That's all I got. I'd say Godspeed, but you're soulless.

Bill gets the last word:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's Write Some New Taglines For Red Bull!

As you've heard, Red Bull agreed to a $13 million settlement over an American class action lawsuit that alleged that the energy drink was “misleading customers” by making claims about the “functional beverage” and its ability to “give you wings”.  

So. Red Bull Gives You Wings is as dead as the fucking dodo.

Let's write some new taglines for the impossibly popular energy drink.


Technically, still "wings" but it could confuse the courts for awhile. Company could maybe use it as a temporary placeholder until Ad Agency comes up with something original.


If you're going to use the animals on your packaging, then why not use their famous virility in your ads? This slogan would require a slight modification to be made to their "energy" formula, maybe just add a bucket of Horny Goat Weed into each fresh vat. While thinnish, bull penises are normally about three feet long. I would also recommend adjusting the can artwork to display the dangling penises.


Popularized by Wayne's World to mean "boner", Schwing could be a more attractive alternative, both linguistically and legally, to "Bull Dick". It would still require adding another bogus ingredient to the formula back at the plant.


That's the formula for kinetic energy, or energy in motion. OK, it doesn't roll off the tongue, but it's educational! When's the last time a tagline taught you anything? That's right, never.


Recalling a concept put forth in the 1990 advertising movie Crazy People (where Dudley Moore's character got ad headlines from his fellow mental patients), maybe honesty is the way to go to regain the public's trust in your specious product, post-settlement. Worth a shot. If I was CEO Dietrich Mateschitz (and had his $5 billion in the bank), this would be my "disruptive" move.


Who knows? Might double sales.


When the world knows you're weak, legally, it's time to bust out what we call in the industry the "wiggle" words: "nearly", "in its category", etc. Right, Carlsberg?



Maybe create an "interactive" tagline, let the people finish it in their minds.
That's some ace consumer "engagement", right marketing MBAs?


(This is an inside joke for my former creative director.)


Again, the best creatives steal. So why not steal from this SNL sketch (from back when SNL was funny), "Shimmer Floor Wax"? Just need to add a harmless manly fragrance to the formula. BOOM—could double sales overnight.