Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The best ideas...

...are always the simplest...and so is this the case for the newest from DDBLondon (of course) for
the clothier Harvey Nichols...there are no words, you don't need them...watch:

Friday, June 10, 2011


Sanders Wingo is a smallish independent Texas agency. They handle mostly regional accounts from what I have seen on their website. One is the El Paso Convention Board. I have embedded a short version of a much longer video they did probably for some kind of meeting for the board. I am sure they used existing footage or a mix of existing and some shot to enhance the music.

Having worked on tourism myself, we all are asked to cobble these kinds of PowerPoint, rally videos and I have almost gone cross-eyed going down this same path for another state.

But what Sanders Wingo so cleverly does, is edit the footage to a very powerful music track,  limiting their copy to maybe two sentences. The net result is you are pulled into the rhythm and synchronicity of the visuals and music. The TexMex feeling of it becomes powerfully tribal.

They also do this for State Farm Insurance. Still beauty shots of great restored 50's cars against a strong and very appropriate music track.

Where most agencies today treat and view audio as filler and white noise, Sanders Wingo proves how  emotive it can be and makes it an essential part of the end result.

I love this agency. They do fresh, original, tasteful work. The idea is king and you know this by the lack of big production values. It's their level of thinking, their level of writing, their level of ideas, their use of strong emotive music and even more brilliant is their use of holding back, that answers one of their main criteria: "is it magical".

Check them out: http://www.sanderswingo.com/

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Walmart does it right with the Martin Agency

Walmart's ad campaign from the Martin Agency is fabulous.
The series feature a few seconds opening with several items. Some I am sure, are shown and mentioned because alone, they don't constitute enough revenue to get a commercial, but as part of a group they warrant a see and say (which is very clever on the agency's part). So items relevant to the story coming up are featured on the checkout belt before the spot begins. Then we get the scenario for using the items by kids ages oh 4 to 7 I would guess. The 3 spots I have seen so far have been charming. One for skin cream, one for fabric softener and laundry detergent and another for a chain saw and shortening.

The thing about Walmart and its ads is they are such a huge chain, with many years of advertising behind them from every agency known to man. Some are good spots but none have been great, until now. I can only imagine how difficult it is to sell in anything charming or funny to the boys from Benton. But Martin Agency has managed to do it. And to incorporate the co-oping of products relevant to these spots upfront is a brilliant way to answer what I am sure was probably a strategy "must have" seamlessly into the spots.

What is also great is the directing. Whoever is handling the shoots for these is a genius. The kids are really natural in their delivery. Which is what makes these commercials so very special.

The tone, the attitude, the delivery, the writing and art directing are bang on. Kudos to the Martin Agency who has shown us that having a behemoth account like Walmart doesn't mean you have to give up and sacrifice great creative, which every other agency that's ever worked with them has done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Discover Card - Peggy Customer Service #1

Discover Peggy

The Martin Agency does it again: this time for the Discover Card. The folks at that shop just know how to deliver great funny work on huge accounts and they do it seamlessly. The agency obviously has tapped into a few of the consumer's biggest gripes about credit cards: 1.) the rewards systems 2.) customer service and 3.) replacing a lost card and on and on and on.... and Peggy can address all these problems and more....and so he does with brilliant writing, fabulous acting and a charming set. These spots can't help but make you smile and better yet, colorfully tap into the consumer's imagination of who is really on the other end of their customer service calls. This is brilliant, charming, memorable and has all the right stuff that great advertising is all about. Cudos to a big agency that sold this to Discover Card. Martin Agency disproves the idea that big accounts can't be managed well and can't deliver great creative. My hat's off to everybody there from Account Service to Planners to Creative because these folks are showing the rest of us how you take care of big business!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The NEW Harley Davidson campaign

Carmichael Lynch lost Harley Davidson in an agency review, where they decided not to participate. Here is a brand that had been with Carmichael Lynch basically forever. You could probably go so far as to say that Carmichael Lynch literally created the brand. I think they were together something like over thirty years. That is a long marriage these days.

Yesterday the new ad campaign was launched from an upstart agency called Victors and Spoils. This agency works on the premise that everything they do is "Consumer Created" work. And the ideas are actually sourced from regular folks out there who think they know all about advertising and that just about anybody and their monkey can do ads.

The particular TV spot that we have all seen is the brainchild of a fellow Harley owner from Kentucky named Whit Hiler. It is based on the biker moniker that anyone who doesn't ride a motorcycle is in a "cage" meaning a car. Victors and Spoils tries to extend this to all people who do not ride Harleys live in a cage. The spot shows people in all walks of life performing their daily tasks...right you got it....in a cage. And of course, the only person not in a cage is a guy on his Harley who passes another guy in a car/cage and goes cycling on down the street.

In the meantime, the voiceover and ending shows a bike being customized, which has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on with people in cages.

First of all, I am prejudiced. I LOVE Carmichael Lynch and every bit of work they do. I would give them my right, no, left arm to work there. I would work there as a janitor, just so I could empty their wastebaskets and see the ad ideas that they threw away. I am not kidding.

So when I see this drivel that was born from a gimmick driven agency model of "consumer consensus" ideas being the face of the ad game future, it makes me gag. This TV spot is worse than any first year advertising's students attempt at creative. It is an embarrassment and compete slap in the face to all creative agencies, most of all, Carmichael Lynch.

Harley Davidson deserves to fail. And it will if it continues on with this "agency".

Sadly, it is THIS kind of new communal ad model and variations thereof that are beginning to pepper the industry. And sadly, this kind of new communal ad model is beginning to sink those of us who have spent years and years working and honing our craft and talent; sinking the real ad agencies whose creative people are trained to know the brand as well or better than the client. Agencies made up of a group of creatives who have lived, eaten and slept with a client's brand for years. Agencies whose creative people arm themselves with the kind of knowledge that becomes strategically highly intuitive. Long term agency relationships with the brand and client forges advertising that is not only brilliant and expansive but most importantly, over time, iconic. And sometimes, like the years and years of work Carmichael Lynch did building that brand for Harley Davidson, the advertising can also become Art.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last week weather forecasters proclaimed we were going to have the biggest blizzard in I don't know how many years. All the media in NorthAmerica picked up on it and everyone was rushing around buying candles and batteries, groceries, rearranging plane tickets as airlines and airports began to cancel flights ahead of time. When the storm finally hit, it was nothing horrific like we had been told. It was really just a regular snow storm for most areas. And the media-hype was far more disproportionate than the actual event.

Well same can be said for this years Superbowl ads. All the hype, all the pre-game teasers were just so much of the same....hype with no substance.

When I looked at these and saw all the production money, the over the top bit parts for big stars commanding HUGE $$$$ for guys like Eminem, I cringed.

It's no wonder the ad game is in shambles. We are in WORSE SHAPE creatively than Detroit in my opinion. At least Detroit is trying to recover and their anthemic spot was not bad.

These ads, with almost no exception, were PATHETIC. Including the one everyone is touting as being so precious: The little darth vader VW ad. Now I have worked on VW and this ad doesn't even begin to resonate with the calibre of work that has been done for that brand in the past. The sad thing is, people don't even recognize that the charm in this ad was completely lost. The magic moment should have been when the kid's dad turned on the car and the kid should have FREAKED!!! and run away....that would have been charming.

His bespoke Vader costume was too over the top for me....what kid is gonna have a costume so well articulated as this one in his play box? Come on....if he'd had a homemade costume that looked enough like Vader, had some real HUMAN RELATIONSHIP with us as consumers, it would have worked far far better. Even Dad and Mom had no reaction to the kid's response which made the ad distant for me as a consumer. It didn't have that magic moment.

We have lost touch with what really touches us. We have become robotic in our approach to human nature.

Many of the ads had a real "gotcha" mean edge to them, which isn't funny and isn't cool and isn't a creative idea. One in particular is for PepsiLight or whatever they call their alternative low cal drink, where a black couple are on a bench outside and a blonde white woman sits down and black girlfriend or wife lobs the can at boyfriend, husband whatever and he ducks and the blonde takes it in the face...this is not funny, here is a woman, who takes it in the face and what do the perps do??? RUN AWAY...Yeah, that's really funny, that's really a big idea.....
Yet people laugh because this kind of cruelty has somehow been rationalized to represent slap-stick humor so now instead of pies in the face aka Soupy Sales, Lucille Ball et.al , people are getting smacked with pop cans or Roseanne Barr is whacked with a log or Betty White is tackled, but none of it has the punch it needs to take it to big idea land. Frankly these old vaudeville tricks just aren't funny any more. And to see two or three or more ads that are just variations on that same theme within the same game, is even more pathetic.

I did like the Best Buy spot with Ozzie and Bieber. It was hilarious. Good for BestBuy and using Osbourne the way he is in his persona. It works.

I did like Career Builders spot with the chimps. It works. And it's funny. And it's simple and memorable.

All the BEER spots: espeically Stella and all of Budweiser's, all the CAR spots, all the DOT COM spots were terrible. The DORITOS spots were terrible. The SNICKERS spot was an abomination and I have worked on Snickers so that doesn't surprise me. The COKE spots were terrible as were all the PEPSI spots.

The Groupon ad with Timothy Hutton; the agency that did that abomination should be fired and the marketing group at Groupon that okayed that abomination should be fired.

The Golden Age of Advertising was short lived. One decade, maybe two. And we've never been able to even remotely get back to that place since on a national level. Sad sad sad....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Kitty Midnight Madness

Now this is a great ad for the Winnipeg Humane Society. It's fun, cute, well written, and very very charming.

The monolog is a parody of a used car salesman and works beautifully for hawking an overabundance of cats and kitties. The video is strictly low budget just like you find on your local tv stations, shot with a cheap digital camera and transferred to scotch tape hahaha. Which makes it even more charming. Forget any production values here it is lots of quick cuts to kitty calendar cutouts and badly photoshopped cats popping on couches torn and mended with duck tape.

I love his "buy one and get five free" claim hahaha and the "scratch and dent" models for kittys who have been through some spats.
This is a great way to make saving an animal less serious and dire. There's no sob stories, no begging or tear jerking guilt. "Looks like someone left the kitty making machine on overnight and we have a cat-astrophe on our hands." hahahaha.
Very very clever writing. I bet there was a lineup at the Winnipeg Humane Society after this ran. He made pet ownership seem fun.