A well intentioned rant about the current state of Advertising, with particular emphasis on Big Dumb Agencies (BDA's) Because, no matter how bad you think it is, it's actually a great deal worse!
"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill pail." George Orwell.
This is an abridged version of a press release JWT just put out. My comments are in italics.
Announcing the renaming of the new J. Walter Thompson, Bob Jeffrey, Worldwide CEO of JWT, stated "Time is the new currency. Our job is to ensure more people spend more time with our clients' brands. We need to create ideas that people want to spend more time with. The better the idea the more time people will spend with it. (Congrats Bob, you just said “more time,” more times than Dubya said “freedom” in his inaugural address!) Jeffrey unveiled the concept at a management meeting in Miami (where else would it be held when New York is up to its armpits in snow and uncollected garbage?) The plan includes new Creative Standards that will move the agency beyond using financials as the sole performance measure. The ultimate goal is to transform JWT from a service-driven organization ruled by the rational to a creative organism inspired by the visceral, said Jeffrey. (OK Bob, so what you’re saying here is, fuck the money, from now on it’s all about doing great work! But what happens when Sir Martin sees next quarter’s financials and throws a hissy fit?) To encourage ideas that will command consumers' time, JWT has introduced a set of Creative Standards, against which work will be assessed across the network. Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, unveiled ten standards. These range from "world-beating" to "damaging." (Pardon me while I yawn, have a drink and light a smoke here.) Audiences are tough, said Davis. They don't have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. (Mmmm, does that mean I can get rid of my Tivo?) With a greater emphasis on creative output, JWT is moving beyond using financials as the sole performance measure. (Any bets on how long that will last?) Lew Trencher, JWT Chief Financial Officer, introduced a new quarterly reporting system. It’s called Health Check, (which means if you don’t make the numbers, you get your nuts cut off!) Apparently, this is an evaluation tool that considers an office's work, people, client relationships and reputation, in addition to the bottom line. (But c’mon Lew, we know that ultimately it’s all about the bottom line!) Signaling JWT's commitment to change, Jeffrey unveiled a new logo and corporate identity. From today, J. Walter Thompson will simply be known as JWT. (But guys, for as long as I’ve been around, which is a helluva long time, it’s always been known as JWT!) All JWT employees will now sign a Creative Partnership Contract, (and recite the JWT pledge of allegiance at morning assembly,) that reiterates the need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. This will symbolize a personal commitment and accountability to improving the creative product and shaping the agency's future,” said Jeffrey. This fresh way of thinking will fundamentally alter how our company operates and how it is perceived. It addresses an ever-changing media landscape and an increasingly savvy consumer, returning JWT to our pioneering roots of defining the future rather than chasing it. (Note to Bob: You’re in the communications business, plain English always beats the shit out of Management Babble!)
Well, all I can say is, in the immortal words of dear old Yogi… “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Forget about being a metrosexual, transsexual, or any other kind of sexual du jour. From now on, or at least 'til the next big thing comes along, you are a technosexual! No more pissy names like geek, nerd, dweeb, or Mr Computer Guy. So, next time you're at a party or trying to chat up a bird in your local pub, If any one asks what you do, stare them straight in the eye, take a long slow, deep drag on your Gitane, and in your coolest Bondian voice reply... I'm a technosexual! Can you imagine the reaction? And, if she has the nerve to ask exactly what that is... Tell her you're not only connected to your feminine side, you're connected to it across multiple platforms, and if she would like to come back to your place, you can show her more gigabytes than her hard drive can possibly handle. God. Isn't technology great?
Hot off the presses, the Madison Avenue Adverati are wetting their collective knickers at the prospect of going for the ultimate Cannes award in 2005... There is now a Titanium Lion!!! Which means Gold, Silver and Bronze are more passe than being caught dead wearing a pair of last years UGO boots with your brand new, $500 pre-worn, Rio-Grande-stained and locked in a container truck, highly stressed illegal alien jeans! In the words of jury president, Jeff Goodby, "The old categories are tired, limiting and often wasteful." Good point Jeff, so am I right in thinking there's no point in pissing away shitloads of money on all those outrageous entry fees for multiple categories? I should simply enter one thing, mark it as for consideration only in the Titanium Lion uber-bitch-fest, and be prepared to settle for nothing less. Makes sense to me!
Nike has just launched a new TV campaign aimed at women that promotes dance over sport. Using the tagline "Take sport. Add music." The main spot shows a woman in a dance studio "duelling" against three mega-bass speakers. Obviously, she wins the contest, thanks to her Nike outfit. No mention if steroids are involved in her training regime. Apparently, the choreography is by the same guy who puts together sweaty epics for Madonna, Ricky Martin and Uber-Nymph Britney. There are no reported "wardrobe malfunctions" in any of the spots. The copywriter of these terpsichorean treats is quoted as saying, "None of the moves are speeded up, check out the booty shake. These women really know their stuff and are top of their league." Personally, I can't wait 'til ballroom dancing is declared an Olympic event. Imagine, a sport where you can smoke and drink as you compete. What's next, English pub darts?
It was only a matter of time, Now it's happened. Creative outsourcing! New York based Banerjee & Partners, a bunch of ex-pat Indians and Tibetans will be outsourcing a size-able portion of the agency's creative work to their offices in Mumbai. They reckon this is going to save US clients between 40 and 60% on normal agency costs. Banerjee said that the agency will attempt to position itself based on the quality of its work. The cost, he said is merely an added benefit. OK, then why not just mark up the stuff from India and make a shitload of money? That's what the "Not so old poisoned dwarf" would do. In fact, I'll lay money he's probably all over it right now.
Remember when the Iraqi Interim Governing Council announced a new flag in April of last year? The winning design was supposedly chosen in an open competition, and, yes the winning design just happened to have been done by the younger brother of one of the council's senior members (kinda like being the ex-CEO of Halliburton, and just lucking into all those post invasion contracts). Anyway, seems like the genius that came up with the winning design happened to model it on the Israeli flag, which when you come to think about it, when you're designing a flag for an Arab nation, is not exactly smartest thing to do. But as the winning designer hadn't lived in Iraq for the last twenty years, you could understand how that might come about. Below are the two flags. The old and the new. Unfortunately, every time you watch CNN, you'll only see the old one. Because the new one lasted for less than 24 hours. In fact, if you could find one and auction it on ebay, you could probably retire rich!
In a recent survey AdWeek asked "What trend would you like to see die in 2005?"
Mary Baglivo, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi replied...
"The trend I would most like to see die is the frantic production of non-traditional, non-TV marketing ideas. In the quest to be smart, effective and media-agnostic, many marketeers have become manic."
She has a point, but someone still has to explain to me why the cost of producing a TV campaign is continually going up, whilst the size of the audience it reaches, is continually going down.
This and other weighty questions will be answered in "AdScam."
In their infinite wisdom, the State Legislators of Idaho have decided to change the state motto from "Famous Potato's" (that's what it says on every Idaho registered car's license plate), to "The VaderTater State." All state employees will be required to wear the costume illustrated.
Is it just me, or is anyone else out there convinced that not only is most advertising today clueless, it's also indescribably tasteless? Case in point, the recent advertising for Richard Jeni's (Who be that?) recent HBO special entitled... "A steaming pile of me!" And if you think the copy is bad, check out the visual. Is this somewhat reminiscent of a recent series of snapshots which only the other day was an essential piece of evidence that got ex-army sergeant Grainer 10 years in the pokie?
All I can say is, whoever the creative genius was who came up with this glaring example of bad taste, he should be stood on a box, have a KuKlux Clan shroud put over his head, then have a couple of 10,000 volt electrodes attached to his weenie.