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 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.