Friday, December 28, 2007

I Challenge You to a Duel

Last week, ABC aired a game show called Duel—a cross between Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-type trivia questions and poker-like wagering. I stumbled across it during the last few minutes of an episode and was hooked. The contestants—regular people like a used car salesman, a nurse and an alligator wrestler, of course—battled it out every night for a week, with someone walking away with over $1.7 million on the Sunday night finale.

Two of the game show’s questions were advertising-related, so I thought I’d post them here:

What product was advertised on the very first TV commercial ever broadcast?
A. Bulova watch
B. Ford Mustang
C. Campbell’s soup
D. Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra

The phrase “often a bridesmaid, never a bride” was made famous in ads for which product?
A. Listerine
B. Avon
C. Secret
D. L’eggs

Get the answers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What inspires you?

Since working in the ad industry, I've started to pay much closer attention to commercials and ads than I ever did as a consumer. I analyze them, think about their effectiveness and scrutinize the art direction and copywriting. Sometimes I mentally file away a cool technique or concept and sometime I just shake my head at the poor typography or a bad retouching job. However, some commercial spur a long train of thought, deconstructing the ad and wondering how on earth the creatives ever came up with that idea. Knowing the absurd ways creative brilliance sometime presents itself, I invent stories as to how the creatives involved in this project stumbled across the seedling idea for this concept. How did it change? One commercial that recently sparked this train of thought for me was this Skittles commercial. How do you think the concept came about?


Just can't get enough.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ads as entertainment

At about 10:30ish last Friday night I was sitting on my couch channel-flipping when I stumbled across the ION network and a show called Firebrand TV. A glass of wine in one hand and a bag of chocolate in the other, I was more than content to watch entertaining TV spots for the next half hour.

It was an unusual show. The entire content was 'good' ads with a host (a CJ, Commercial Jockey, or so I've learned) breaking up the groups of ads. As an ad junkie and art director in an ad agency, I've always found it absurd how difficult it can be to find ads you love on the internet. They're out there, but often only with a paid subscription of a fee to download the spot. These sites are mainly aimed at people in the ad world who want the spots as reference or just because they love the medium. As a poor student a few years back, I found this infuriating! Aren't ads one medium that the creators should want to give to you? Want you to show around to your friends? They've made the content entertaining in order to sell the product, not the ad, so you should want it to be viral and posted all over the internet, right? I consistently ran into this problem trying to find one of my favorite spots, the IKEA Lamp commercial. So brilliant, but often removed from wherever it was posted on the internet.

YouTube has alleviated this problem, to a degree. The trouble with YouTube, and simultaneously it's greatest feature, is that the content is user generated. Look up IKEA lamp and you'll likely find the commercial, in varying degrees of quality, but it's buried amidst a plethora of home-made knock-offs from wanna-be web celebrities.

That's where Firebrand comes in.

Firebrand's main presence isn't this random show I stumbled across, but a website filled with good ads from a large variety of brands. The target audience isn't necessarily people in the industry as much as people who enjoy a good commercial as much as a good show. It's a recent startup and the site is still in Beta form, but so far their content is great and easy to access. The search function works beautifully and you don't have to log in to view the ads. Plus, you can download any of the ads for free in a variety of formats from specific to your iPod or iPhone to Window Media Player files. Beautiful.

So here's one of the weirdest, but most memorable spots I've seen in a long time. Easy to access thanks to Firebrand. (Did I mention they make their videos as easy to blog as YouTube?)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How do you like my bubbles?

Creative coolers have bubbles too.

Here are the answers to the Duel questions:
1. A
The first TV ad, run by the Bulova Watch Company, was broadcast on July 1, 1941.

2. A
Listerine tried to convince women that the reason they were still single was due to bad breath.

The box of Harry & David pears lasted five whole minutes

Our vendors tend to spoil us during the holiday season, and this year is no different. An excess of goodies have begun to be delivered to the agency. We currently have:

  • Chocolate-covered potato chips
  • Butter toffee
  • Shortbread and chocolate chip cookies
  • Mint, caramel, dark and peppermint bark Ghirardelli chocolate
  • Beef sticks
  • Five various kinds of Wisconsin cheeses
  • Four different sausages
  • Three bags of nuts--almonds, pistacios and cashews
  • Two boxes of crackers

...And a hummingbird in a plastic tree.

Do you have change for a quid?

Sometimes our work causes us to stumble across completely random things, like this. (Kinda makes you wonder what tomorrow holds.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's a sad, sad day

When after publishing the header for this blog, two separate copywriters could name the font used. Is it a rut I'm in? Or is it acceptable to use Filosofia Unicase, my absolute favorite font, anywhere and everywhere I can? Perhaps I need to branch out.

A Spoof on a Spoof? Or just a Blatant Rip-Off?

I saw this ad on TV this past weekend. Within the first 1.3 seconds, I recognized the treatment and automatically assumed it was a new spot for Geico. A big fan of Geico's spots, I watched in pleasure, waiting for the punchline I was certain was coming.

Imagine my disappointment when the actual product reveal came.

First, this spot isn't done quite as well as Geico's. Second, it doesn't seem to work as a parody of Geico's parodies, which leads me to think it's just a blatant rip-off of a concept that has worked so successfully for the auto insurance company. Geico has done such a good job with spoof concepts (I love their Tiny House spot) that recognition is there even when it's not supposed to be.

Or maybe it's just me.

What do you think? Has Geico become the master of The Spoof? Does this spot's message get lost in translation because it so closely resembles Geico? Can I really use the word "Geico" one more time in this post? Or is it really just me?

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The world of advertising is constantly evolving, from the emergence of earth-shattering new concepts to accounts in review to executives playing musical chairs.

Though we really can’t explain why, advertising has always intrigued us. We’ve been around for a few years now, just two 20-something creatives trying to figure it all out. We love our craft. We love agency life. And we want to share it. We’ll use CC to express the way we see things in advertising, from our own clichĂ©d corner of the universe.