Archive for April, 2013

Never let ’em off the hook

April 30, 2013

Not sure why I wanted to show it, but my sone just did a report for school on change agents, and he got Jackie Robinson.

You know I wanted to like this ad a lot more than I did. I love the opening line, “Here’s to first…,” and I also love the New Era (they sell hats you know) tag, “Fly your own flag.”

I wanted to like this ad, in many ways it reminded of this Apple ad:

But where the Apple ad moved and inspired me, the New Era ad despite being well shot left me flat. Maybe it’s because it’s seems to be trying too hard, it had me on the hook at the beginning but then it loses. Somehow it feels like New Era doesn’t really have a point to make, the ad’s not really about being first nor about Flying your own flag. Where the Apple ad is dedicated to the “Think Different” proposition. What’s my walk away from the New Era ad? What am I supposed to feel? The ad doesn’t sufficiently guide me there and seeing the sign of Jackie Robinson park at the end feels less like a payoff and more like a cheat.

If you can’t say something nice….

April 23, 2013

When things are going wrong on your campaign, you have two choices: (1) Try to defend or push back against the attacks, or (2) Change the subject and attack the shit out of our opponenents.

Fresh on charges of tresspassing on his ex-wife’s lawn (you know the one who he cheated on, telling aides he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail, meanwhile flying to South America to be with his mistress) and this ad from the DCCC Mark Sanford has a choice:

Guess he’s going with door #2.

Watching the ads the ads back to back like this, I was struck by the subtilty and directness of the ad attacking Sanford.

The Sanford attack feels slightly desperate. I understand they hate unions in South Carolina, but I watched it a couple of times and the Boeing line threw me off (and yes, I know the general situation with Boeing, probably as much as the average voter).

So Sanford is trying to muddy the waters, hey look, she’s not your voice, I may be a lying cheater, but I’m going to be your voice. That’s the subtext, and frankly the only thing keeping a Democrat in this race his the fact of his lying and cheating. Throwing the Pelosi peice in there also feels odd, again I understand the rationale, but without the context it’s just can come across like mudslinging (which is what it actually is).

The message itself isn’t bad, but the vehicle for that message feels a little sloppy.


It’s a fine line between stupid and clever

April 22, 2013

Pretty funny ad from Kmart.

The ad is of course provacative, and at it’s core basically a gimmick. I laughed at the execution, and I think it will be successful to the extent that Kmart’s message is tied into the gimmick. Essentially could the ad be from another retailer in the same market space, let’s say Target or JC Penny?

At the end of the day how much do people connect the “ship my pants” ad to Kmart or do they jsut remember some department store had the “ship my pants” ad? In other words does it succeed in pushing the message or does it simple amuse?

More railing against talking points

April 18, 2013

What sells a product? Is it how well it works? Or how well you think it works? Is it what it says about itself or what it stands for?

Much like the Ebay motorcycle ad, this ad isn’t filled with talking points. It’s not making any claims about its product, its just a brand saying this is what our values are, this is what we stand for, this is what we are about. To the extent that story is authentic and resonates to how the audience sees the product, it is effective.

This video from Dove is absolutely on-emotion and because of that it’s on message for the brand. It’s easy to be on-message, much harder to be on-emotion, but ultiamtely more important.


April 16, 2013

Let’s take a trip to LA, where they’re having a big Mayor’s race.

This ad is really pretty, well executed ad, but it leaves me feeling flat. Maybe’s it’s Wendy Gruel’s delivery, maybe it’s just that it feels like it’s trying too hard, but in any case it doesn’t grab me they it should given the elements. Like somehow the ad doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts.

You call this negative?

April 15, 2013

For followers of this blog, you know I love it when consumer brands go negative:

1. It tickles me because many traditional advertisers have a holier than thou attitude towards negative advertising,

2. and it’s always interesting to see their takes on negative ads. Some like Apple do it very very well, others like Direct TV and Dish, eh not so much.

Mircosoft is the latest to join the negative ad bandwagon. They have a whole “don’t get scroggled campaign” which generally goes after google for being less than their vaunted “do no evil” policy. The appoach is interesting because previously they tried to show how their search engine Bing was superior. I guess that campaign wasn’t so successful so Microsfot decided they would (horrow) go negative.

So is their negative campaign any better than their positive one (which sucked)?

Wow, you get two ads for the price of one.

Ad One is two real people conversing casually… expect their spouting Bing talking points. These ads work to the extent that the acting and diologue sound authentic and real. This ad fails in that respect… fails pretty miserably. The acting is stiff, but maybe that’s cause the dialogue sounds more like they’re reading from a memo. Seriously Microsoft this is the best you can do?

Ad two is a ponteially interesting concept, having these goofy Internet type people, intereacting with the two actors because they know so much about him. I think the ad would have been better served moving full force with this concept, rather than trying to balance the two concept. It has potential for humor and more critically potential to show the viewer what’s wrong with Google, rather than telling them via awkward talking points.

This is almost a parody of a negative ad, and it’s neither this nor that. Not funny enough to be interesting and not pointed enough to make it’s point with force.  Without this sounding too snarky it feels like a pollster’s ad, all message but poor execution.

Let me tell you a story

April 11, 2013

Next time someone says you need more facts, more message, more talking points, I want you to show them this video:

Ebay isn’t about how safe it is, or how cheap it is, it’s about finding that thing that makes you whole again. This is the power of story. Remember it.

How do you say… M-E-M-E?

April 10, 2013

What makes a good parody?

It has to be true to the original.

It has to twist the original content in a way that’s unexpected and/or taps into an exisitng meme about the origianl.

I keep trying to think of a third item (thanks Bob Shrum for teaching me the rule of threes), but I’m outta ideas.


However you break it down, this is brilliant parody. It caputres the tone and feel of cable ads perfectly before twisting it into a sharp satire of the cable companies’ business model. Ultimately, I think it’s successful because it links into the meme that the cables companies are a**holes who care more about making money than they do about providing a good product.

My wife asked me who was responsible for this video, why did they do it? It’s not part of some anti-cable campagin as far as I can tell, but maybe it ought to be because it perfectly crystalizes everything that’s wrong with them.

Beware your friends

April 9, 2013

If you longed for the good old day of negative advertising.

If you’ve said gosh they don’t make ’em like they used to….

Then this negative ad attacking Christine Quinn in the New York Mayor’s race is for you.

Gosh, from the music the effects to the overbearing narrator, this ad felt like it should be running in the 90’s. Negative ads have come a long since then, using more pointed attacks, humor, and just generally not being so overwrought with the negativity. Does the ad have some good points to make, it sure seemed like it. The quotes were all good and tough, but instead of letting the evidence speak for itself, the creators of this ad tried really hard to let you know, these were bad things (as if we couldn’t tell for ourselves).

The problem is that there’s no room for the viewer in an ad like this. They’re telling instead of showing, they’re making statements instead of asking the question. It’s a classic blunder, the first of which is never get in a land war in SE Asia, and the second is never go up against a Scillian with death on the line.

The ultimate question then is this: Does this ad help or hurt? How could it hurt? As an outside group, coming in attacking the only woman in the race, does it seem too mean spirited? Are they injecting important information into the race or are they beating up on Quinn? Again, I don’t question the validaty of their attack, just the tone. The ad is tone deaf. Better to give the quotes straight then ask the question. (Shaking my head).It’s clear the people making it hated Quinn, but it’s too clear, it seems personal, like they want New Yorkers to hate Quinn as much as they do.

To the extent that this ad sticks and the information gets through it’ll be effective. To the extend that it is seen as too negative or just plain mean spirited, it’ll backfire.


%d bloggers like this: