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.

Wednesday, March 29

Pulled over

Advertising For Peanuts pointed to the ad with the runner. And then I saw this ad for bicycles. It seems like it's a pretty common premise (pulled-over = fast). I really like the flip of the cop being on the bike instead of the person being pulled over. It's a pleasant twist. The other one might be a bit obvious, but it is nicely done.

Tuesday, March 28

Ad nerd shirt

Here's the link to buy this very nerdy/ very cool art director shirt. I think it's astounding. Here's what the creators wrote about it:

"Drop Shadows Not Bombs, PLAYGROUND OF THE STARS first t-shirt project, is inspired by endlessly dropping shadows while working in advertising combined with the "drop acid not bombs" and "make love not war" mantras of the sixties."

Cool stuff. Looking forward to other awesome/stupid shirts to come.

Monday, March 27

Why old people shouldn't try to be hip.

Even from some of the great agencies I've seen slop on the web. No doubt some CD in their 60s started explaining to their young creatives about how to write for young people. They probably said something like "look on the web, you just need to be random and stupid, that's what is viral, just something crazy!!!" And you know what...they're wrong. There is a deep sophistication to stuff that's popular on the web (tits and weird foreigners singing aside).

To an untrained (elder) mind, it may seem random, but it's the circular randomness (stupidity returning back on itself) that the web is great at. There seems to usually be some constant thought throughout whatever silly thing it is. Plus, (and this is crucial)it's not stupid done stupid, it's stupid done smart.

Also, webstuff is created in the author's voice. There are popular clips and websites from older web-folk, but they're not pretending that they're young and hip. I

That, and once something has been done, it's dead. If it's already popular on the web, you will find harsh blog backlash if you try and do it again.

I'd say the most obvious proof of how little most agencies get the web are their own websites (excluding Wexley School for Girls perhaps). If there are other amazing agency websites, drop a line and I'll update the post. I'd love to be proved wrong on this one.

Thursday, March 23

Vagrant Creatives

There was a time when I wanted to create a traveling creative team called the "Vagrant Creatives". But in this case I'm referring to the homeless community, and their occasional extremely witty approach. To start I'll mention a Chicago legend. The lovingly named "Shakespeare Bum" who despite wearing tattered clothing and having a ratty beard, quotes flawlessly from Shakespeare towards people passing on the street. He calls every man "kind sir" and every women "fair maiden". Quite a schtick.

I'm also reminded of a story (I believe attributed to the former DDB rockstar Susan Gillette). Supposedly known for her humanity and kindness, she once saw a blind man with a sign that read "Blind. Please Give Money" or something of that nature. She asked the man if she could edit his sign, she did, and the man was stunned as person after person began giving him money. He asked her what the sign said, she replied "It's a beautiful day outside, and I can't see it." Powerful stuff this advertising.

And most recently I saw a beggar on the streets in San Francisco with a sign that read "I bet you a $1 you'll read this sign." I say any sign that makes me laugh out loud deserves at least a dollar. Hell, there are billboards worth thousands that don't even make me smirk.

Personally I'm a fan of stories, and I always reward good ones with my hard earned duckets.

Wednesday, March 22

Adidas loves graffiti

Some companies fight the up and coming hipness that's all around them, but not Adidas. They've hit upon another masterful idea with this. They're cool outdoor boards that taunt graffiti artists to mess them up/pretty them up.

Thanks to Woostercollective for the pics.
Thanks to Billy for the tip.

Buckin' Writers!

Ok, I was going to wait to post this until I had a link to the actual spot, but nobody has come through and posted the clip. (well, except for Ad Critic, but then you have to subscribe).

So the writer, Jim Houck, actually used to ride rodeo. The spot seems so crazy and random, but if you consider his background, it's not that far off. But what's really cool about all this, is that I bet the rodeo riding itself is totally accurate. I mean, if you know it so well, you make it authentic, and that makes it extra good. Perhaps that's the allure of this spot (which I have to admit is my favorite CPB work as of late).

UPDATE: Aha! I found it! Here's the spot.

My photos

So sorry to my loyal readers for the occasional crappy photo quality. They're taken with my cell phone camera. You see, I actually have a really nice digital camera, but I can't find the USB cord for it. Don't believe me? I'll prove it. Here's a picture of my camera that I took with my cell phone camera. (I'd show you the cell phone too, but I'd have to use my really nice digital camera).

Piercing Bench Ad

Here's a cool little bench ad for a piercing parlor in Chicago. It's just a nice clean headline that let's you get what they're about. Nothing fluffy or pretty. I have no idea who did it, but good job.

Thursday, March 16

Doing what the brand promised

CITI Bank has put up little kiosk like phone booths next to their ATMs so customers can call them, and I think it's great. For several reasons I guess. One, if I ever feel the random overwhelming urge to talk to a guy in India, who is undoubtedly thousands of times smarter than me, then I can do so with ease. Secondly, what a great non-traditional marketing message! That phone probably costs them less than a single billboard, and it says so much more than they could ever put into words.

Monday, March 13

Is the AdWeak guy dead?

If you haven't ever visited Adweak, do so now, and then return bitter that the guy hasn't posted anything in like a year. I miss that random, witty, and often painfully true commentary on whatever crossed the editor's mind. Plus, I miss the constant apologizing for not having written in a while. I just miss it all... WHERE ARE YOU MASKED AD WONDER????

[Thanks to this site where I got the milk carton image from]

Hindi Burger King?

I knew it!!! CP+B stole "The King" from an Indian ad agency! (okay, so they totally didn't). Look at this guy though. The picture was linked from some awards through one of my favorite ad blogs called 24. Not sure what exactly the ad is saying. I think it's discouraging drunk driving by saying you might run over a burger icon wearing a silly disguise mustaches. You gotta love it.

The rest of the winners can be seen here.

Friday, March 10


For some reason people think that Harvardites are a bunch of lame snooty jerks. But Conan O'Brien came from there, and he's hilarious. But I digress (isn't that we people often do in this situation). Hadrian's Wall did this really smart, really cool ad for the Harvard Business Review that's approachable and smart. I really like it because it's rare to see a no-copy ad anymore that doesn't just show what the product is. That and I really like the agency. Any company that publicly makes silly football bets is ok in my book.

Thursday, March 9

Waterboy for Evian

A buddy just forwarded me the winner of 2004's Epica Awards (for those of you that don't know, the Epicas claim to be "Europe's premiere creative awards"). This video was done by BETC EURO RSCG (could they fit any more letters into their name).
Watch the video here

Mint ads unlike any other

A buddy of mine who is an illustrator/designer (not at all involved in advertising) somehow ended up interviewing at a tiny agency in Chicago. He went to the interview thinking they were looking for an illustrator, but what they really wanted was an illustrator/designer/art director.

He had no ads in his portfolio (obviously), but the guy wanted to test him, and told him to come up with a campaign for mints with the thought "extremely powerful mints". This was what he came up with.

They passed on him (stupidly), but when he showed me these ads I almost died. I think they are twisted, edgy and terrific, and I want to put them here so others can see.

You can see more of his work here

Sex dolls promote equal rights

According to a BBC article the Mexican government has created a campaign using sex dolls dressed in various work uniforms that are saying "women aren't sex objects". I guess it's a problem because even Mexico's president made a remark according to the article that "[women were just] washing machines with two legs". Take that Gloria Steinem!

Wednesday, March 8

If it ain't Crispin, it outta be

"Techmaster" on techeblog posted about a street legal VW bug that somebody apparently welded a giant jet engine onto. The guy, who supposedly has a Stanford PhD in mechanical engineering (who despite the distinction still refers to cars as "rides" *cough cough*), uses a GE Model T58-8F helicopter turboshaft engine converted to jet to make his car push 1350 horsepower(and says it's street legal). but maybe it's legit... riiiiight.

It's got 178 comments as of this writing, and I think it's still pretty new. It's no Brooke Burke/King (hilarity by the way!) but still plenty viral.

Wait...wasn't this a Darwin Award Winner?

Tuesday, March 7

New Chicago IKEA train wraps

This new train wrap for IKEA has the line "Los Angeles has Four, but they're probably fake" in regards to Chicagoland opening up its second IKEA. There were other train wraps including something about the twin cities only having one, and something else that wasn't as memorable apparently (since I can't seem to remember it).

It's just interesting that they would make a stab at their own company to be regionally relevant. Especially knowing that some jerk (me) might end up putting it on the web and stirring up some controversy. Los Angeles, can you believe they're talking that way about you? :)

Liquor Ads With Bite

Unicum Nite has taken an interesting approach to their malt beverage's advertising. Selling it based on what might be its greatest weakness.

Not sure if anyone out there has tried the malternative Unicum Nite (not sure if it's sold in US), or its full strength counterpart Zwack Unicum, but it bites like a teething otter (imagine Jagermeister, but 80 proof). Rather than hide from their beverage's fighting character, they embrace it and seem to make it a challenge.

It's a lot better way than what most brands do, which is ignore their shortcomings and hope no consumers notice. Szėp munka volt (Nice work).

[Ads by BBDO-Hungary]

Monday, March 6

CP+B Podcast

Maybe I've totally missed the boat here, but Crispin Porter + Bogusky has a podcast where their VP of agency communications interviews and talks with some advertising bigshots. It's called "The Hook, with Katie Kempner" and it airs live on Tuesdays at 2:00 on or you can listen to old shows here.

They take forever to download, and there are a bunch of stupid commercials (clearly not writen by CP+B), but worth checking out. There's no interviews with Alex Bogusky yet, but Chuck Porter was the first interview back in December, and he's about as cool a guy as they come.

Friday, March 3


There's a novel out there called Savage Girl by Alex Shakar, that talks about a really cool theory that seems to hold a lot of truth. It's called "paradessence" and it's essentially the thought that every successful product has an inherent paradox. I don't remember the examples from the book, but here are some I've thought of: Harley Davidson has created a community of individuality, McDonald's is a cold and undifferentiated family restaurant, bottled water is a commodity that's a luxury.

If you take this theory one step further you can actually begin to concept on your product this way. You take the characteristics of your brand, and you begin to market the opposite. Look at the H3 "Monster" ad, they don't sell the Hummer as big, they sell it as small.

I like to do this when I get writer's block, or I can't get my head around a brand benefit, I'll just draw a line with 2 arrows on the ends and put one aspect of the paradox on each end and think about where the brand is, and sell the opposite. It's kind of a Yin and Yang way of branding.

Untouchable Media

Could celebrity nipples be the next great ad medium? Think about it, any time a nipple happens to slip out, thousands of photographers capture it, and it's all over the web in a day. Go on ifilms top 100 and after movie trailers, the most common theme is nipple slips. I mean it's clearly not for everyone, but put a Nike swoosh on a nice, toned olympian tit, and you've just won marketing gold.

[Inspired by a Huffington Post article]

Blogger Time

I would have a nice introduction here, but I can't contain it... MC HAMMER HAS A BLOG!!! I read about it on the Huffington Post, and then looked at the site myself. It's got all kinds of crazy stuff like weird dreams he's had, sports talk, and a ton of other random stuff. How awesome is that? I've got one request though, Hammer...don't hurt 'em.

Thursday, March 2

Apple will eat your babies!!!

There's nothing cuter/scarier than turning your baby into an ipod. A site called ipopmybaby(obviously to avoid lawsuits) has created baby clothes that have the well-known ipod dial on them. It may seem wrong to some of you, but it's really just getting your child ready for the future when their shirts will probably be able to surf the web and send them penis enlargment pill promotion deals wherever they go.

Strange Potter People

After AdFreak's expose on one Hermoine Granger drinking Corona I think it's appropriate to use the image shown here and to talk about a weird/cool consumer generated blog thingy. It's called PotterPuffs and it's a mix of a popular cartoon show and of course the well-known movies and books. As far as I know there have been no cease and desist orders, which is good because they'd just blog it and make all the old people scrambling to hold onto the old ways look bad.

Wednesday, March 1

Lent for Advertising

I'm not catholic, but I've gotten into the habit of giving stuff up for Lent. Last year I gave up meat (that was really tough) and this year I'm doing no chocolate and no drinking.

I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for things that advertising people should give up for Lent? Here's the format: No..... for 40 days.
I'll start:

No ads with yoga on mountain tops for 40 days.

Banks and credit cards are next to go

Remember when music was purchased in a music store? Remember when Napster and Kazaa ruled the land and screwed record stores? Well, banks are next on the chopping block. This site called Prosper was created to allow people to privately and safely lend each other money at whatever interest rate they decide. Sort of an ebay for loans. Pretty cool if you ask me.