It's All Advertising

I have an illness that makes it impossible to not find parallels between advertising and everything else. This blog is a way for me to express all the weird ways I look at ads and my random new ways of thinking about them. Sometimes it’ll be smart, sometimes it’ll be stupid, and maybe some time it will change your view on everything in the world. But let's be honest. It's all advertising.

Tuesday, February 28

Skin Watch

This really cool watch concept comes from a strange and oddly amazing design place called Yanko Design. It's a "non-permanent" watch. Which from what I can gather means disposable. It seems to be part of a growing trend to make daily wares disposable. What about one time use ads? You see it once and then throw it away... oh, I guess we already have those.

Adarchy in the UK

Sex Pistols will never sell out...ever.

Apparently the crew essentially told off the music industry in a "formal" refusal letter for thinking they could conform them (or induct them) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And here I thought punk was dead and its corpse was being used for marketing.

So the Sex Pistols might hate me forever for comparing them to a brand, but here it is: What great brand consistency for the Sex Pistols. If any other brand had this kind of strength, maybe they would be punk as hell too.

Monday, February 27


This is a picture from Venice Beach. It's a giant foosball table that has steering wheel like things on the end to turn the players. It's a really beautiful concept (Chiat-San Fran I believe) and it looks really cool. It's something big that was made small that was made big again. It was created as part of a bigger event with live junior soccer games on small fields, and a bunch of other "football" stuff, all created to help promote Adidas and the World Cup. The functionality isn't that awesome because it's difficult to turn the players and to get the ball out after a goal, but shhh, nobody in the awards shows needs to know. Nice job guys.
NOTE: Excuse the picture quality, all I had was my cell phone camera.

Friday, February 24

Yet more free Nintendo advertising

This guy has made screenshots of Nintendo games with legos. Very cool. As I've writen before, it seems Nintendo might be better off just letting others do their marketing for them.

Interesting Marketing

Artist Judi Werthein has created shoes for jumping the border into the US called "Brincos" that she's giving out for free to migrants at the Tijuana border fence. Apparently they are built tough to help them across the dangerous terrain.

The same exact shoes sell at shops for over $215.

You can feel however you want about what she does, but man is that some great guerilla marketing. What better proof could you give that these are real rugged shoes? I see them becoming very popular with people who never step off of paved sidewalks (hey, it worked for the SUV).

Thursday, February 23

Nice going Cali...

Maybe a few of those tax dollars should've been spent on education. :)

This was taken while I was in Los Angeles. I love that there are all sorts of sponsors and logos on it. This isn't in some far off place either, it's on a busy highway. What does this say about the state of California? To me it says...funny.

Tuesday, February 21

Love Potion Number 9.2

Gee, I wonder if this product will sell? It's apparently been banned in several countries, but this "aphrodisiac soda" is going to be sold in the good ol' US of A. The fact that there is a guy and a girl going at it on the front of the can guarantees that millions of teenage boys will undoubtedly be buying it. The fact that it's called a "love drink" guarantees that sleezy dudes will too. "Hey baby, you, me, and some love potion?"

Nintendo doesn't even need an agency

Either they have the most brilliant guerilla marketing minds ever on the Nintendo account, or people are just obsessed all on their own. I showed a few video clips in an earlier post, but now check this out, a guy made an old school Nintendo alarm clock.

Robots in Disguise?

It's not quite the same without the sounds, but today is a joyous day my friends. Myself, and millions in my generation have waited for this glorious moment. After a brief glimmer of hope with the CP+B transformer campaign (which was sweet by the way, but not real), here's the real deal. Yes my friends, it is true. Now how about that movie we've been waiting for?

Monday, February 20

Nice Guerilla

The St. Louis Cardinals have ripped down part of their own billboard for the sake of advertising. Cardinals from the billboard will apparently begin appearing on other billboards. Sounds pretty cool. I think it would be great if all boring billboards ripped themselves down and put themselves on one giant uber-lame billboard. And we could put it in Madison Wisconsin.

People Don't Care About Your Product!

It's sad but true. Nobody out there gives a crap about your company and how you're changing/evolving/feeling/doing. You are not their buddy, you're a brand. If you want them to like you/pay attention to you/love you, you have to give them a damn good reason. Just because your ad gets across a brand message doesn't mean they will give a s#!t about that brand message, or believe it.

Sprint is Lame

Sorry creatives, we know you wanted to do something fun and cool with this but I think you missed the mark. Just because it is technically interactive, and it plays off a tagline that you made up, sorta. Doesn't make it good viral. I think it could've been very cool if I actually cared/knew the guy in the car, but I don't.

Additional note: I'm not slamming the creatives that worked on this, I'm sure something key got mangled.

Saturday, February 18

What the Phi?

This plastic surgeon fellow named Marquardt used the golden ratio (1:1.618) to show all the ratios in the face that make someone look beautiful. Apparently this same ratio exists in just about everything that looks visually appealing. Does it exist in good ads? Can we check these ratios against the most visually perfect ads?

By the way, I'm not ever going to say that advertising can be simplified to a science, because it's the slight imperfections that make something really beautiful (like Cindy Crawford's Mole) and that's the art that comes down to good creative.

Cool. Let's Put an Ad in It!

Here's this cool thing done by VW/Google. It's an Onstar like thing, but with 3d graphics of the road ahead. Hey... I bet you could put billboards on all the buildings, and flying through the sky, and there's already a VW logo on the bottom, so we're off to a good start. What if the roads were fruit roll-ups? Haha. Anyways, it's a cool technology and new media.

Some fun for creatives

Here's a cool site to help you think. It's a sketch swap.

Consumer's Make Their Own Ads for Fun

A friend of mine forwarded me this Nintendo related link. Just as a common forwarded email, I watched it, laughed, thought it was cool, forwarded it on to a bunch of people, but it wasn't until a few hours later that I thought... that was pretty much an ad. No logo, no brand name, no annoying announcer, but one hell of a brand recognition.

Here's a Chorus singing for Nintendo. this one's really cool. If anyone has any more, please comment. Looks like Nintendo's agency needs to pay attention.

Mad kudos to littlejohn for mentioning this killer 11 string bass rendition of some classic Mario

Friday, February 17

Brooke Burke is a burger slut

Saw this post on adrants about Brooke Burke going to McDonalds. Looks like a primo opportunity for a messy celebrity style break-up with the King. Let's hope my buddies at Crispin don't miss the chance.

Tuesday, February 14

Everything's in the details

The Lord of the Rings trilogy were obviously some of the most successful movies of all time. I remember watching the special features and hearing them talk about the incredible detail they went into for every aspect of the making. At one point they were talking about how the suits of armor were incredibly heavy, so they had a bar that they could lean against to support some of the weight when they weren't acting. This is how it had been done in the past too, but here was a bar that nobody would ever see on the screen, and they engraved it with the symbols of Gondor.

That's the kind of ultimate attention to detail that makes something truly great. A CD friend of mine once said that in a truly great commercial, you could freeze any frame, and you could see the entire overall brand.

Look at CP+B, or any of the great houses of advertising, and you'll see that even if the big idea is lacking, the details are nearly flawless.

Saturday, February 11

Degrees of ad seperation

When someone comes up to me and says "I'm cool" the first thing I think is "no, you're not". But if someone else tells me that the person is cool, I'm more inclined to believe it. The degree of seperation makes it more plausible for some reason. I was thinking about those CoqRoq ads that were on, and one of the things that made them cool (until people realized just how BS they were) was that it was a third party endorser of Burger King.Rather than advertising Chicken Fries, CP+B only had to advertise CoqRoq, and CoqRoq would endorse the product.

This used to be done all the time in the 80's with the Leo Burnett's critters. They only had to draw attention to the critters, and the critters would sell the product.

Of course nowadays few agencies do icons this way. Many will advertise the product and then have a character just standing there for some random reason, probably because the client put them there "our focus groups show that people like puppies". Bad client...bad.

Friday, February 10


I've given a lot of thought to why ads like wake up with the King and the VW wedding commercial, (an awesome spot my buddy and I decided is in both of our top 10 best ads ever lists). One of the things I think that makes them so successful is they have a lot of tension. There is some feeling you have in your stomach that is moderately uncomfortable when you watch them. Just like a good story, if there's good tension, people will keep paying attention (hey that rhymes, that makes it even cooler. Consider it trademarked).

Thursday, February 9

You know what's

Yesterday I was thinking about a commercial done by a friend of mine that was supposed to be a huge hit, but for some reason fizzled. One of the reasons I think was that

Isn't it captivating to stop in mid-sentence? I'm reminded of an old Gossage ad where he ended the full page long copy ad in the middle of a sentence and continued it the following week (that man was a genius). This brings me back to my friend. His ad had a complete resolution at the end. There was nothing left to think about. There were actually 2 full anti-climaxes to the ad.

why would anyone keep thinking about an ad if there's nothing left to think about?

Tuesday, February 7

Where are your balls?

Starting out, every successful creative did some stupid ballsy thing that got them to where they are. They talked back, took a risk, trusted their gut, and did something that nobody thought could/should be done.

Each time we do it we get something better (or get totally screwed...that happens too) and we all of a sudden have more things on the line. Eventually it seems that everyone gets to a point where A) they think they're already doing everything the right way, or B) they have so much at stake that they start convincing themselves that giving up a little of themselves is worth it to not shake things up.

I see it with rule breakers in every industry. I hope I never lose my balls, and I'm always willing to do the "stupid" thing because I think it's right. And if not, I hope my Bahama home is worth selling out for.

Monday, February 6


OK, we all pretty much agree that the Super Bowl ads were disappointing. So I'd like to take a look at an underlying question that most people aren't thinking about. If your client came to you and said "hey, we want a Super Bowl commercial", and they weren't known for letting you get away with crazy stuff, would you tell them "no, sorry, I don't think that your ad will be good enough"? (I might, but I'm ballsy and stupid)

BTW, you can view them here.

Friday, February 3

Volcano Creative

Most creatives I've met function like some type of volcano. There are basically 3 different types.

One type is like a shield volcano. In a shield volcano the lava steadily flows at all times from the volcano. This type of creative will steadily give out good ideas, but the lava never builds up, so they are always just good ideas.

Then there are the cinder cone volcanoes. They violently erupt from a single opening and shoot globs of lava into the air. This type of creative is the Neil French type (before the scandal). They are very powerful and great, but they have a single style that they are known for.

There is also the third type. The strato volcanoes. They general have large build ups of gases under the thicker magma. It makes them erupt only after a tremendous ammount of pressure has built up. This type of creative will give hundreds of ok ideas until eventually the one big idea explodes out, and might change the industry.

Thursday, February 2

Not Absolute

I took a fiction writing class a while ago, and we were discussing what makes a good character in a story. Apparently, if you make a good guy, he should have a negative quality (a weakness) and if you make a bad guy, he should have a redeeming quality.

The reason is that we have a built-in distrust of absolutes. If we see something as all good, or all bad, we just don’t believe it is real. Therefore writers often add in these things to make the story more believable.

In advertising a lot of times we try and make our brand flawless. Our commercials show it saving the day, or being the perfect solution to a challenge. Maybe this is why nobody believes advertising. It doesn’t sound authentic because it’s too polished. Maybe our adds would pull better if we admitted a product fault.

Wednesday, February 1

Love and Advertising

Scientists have shown that the chemical response of romantic love fades away as you stay with the same person over time, and is replaced with a different chemical response that makes the couple stay together through friendship and a sense of bonding.

I wonder if a similar thing occurs with the love of a product.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve had a lot of product one night stands. Over time brands become boring and the infatuation disappears, leaving you with the feeling of waking up in the bed next to a now uninteresting person you once thought you were crazy about.

The initial spark of brand love is a necessity, but how do we convert this into a sense of friendship and bonding to convert it into long term brand loyalty?

In an article about love, National Geographic wrote about different types of relationship counseling programs created to help long term love and romance. One thing they mention is long term eye contact. Does this mean that an ad that has long copy could help to create better long term brand bonds (please stare into my beautiful copy). Maybe it’s just about spending longer amounts of time in the mind of brand lovers.

I think the brand has to find some new way of exciting us. Some surprise we didn’t expect. How about role playing? Could we find temporary new love with Sears if they rocked our socks with an ad involving cheerleaders??