Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Barbie's new ad campaign for this season is very nostalgic, aiming at those fond memories women my age and a few years older have of playing with Barbies as children. Since those blissful days, Barbie has gotten a bit of criticism for its unrealistic proportions etc. Enough, perhaps, that women might now feel a bit guilty about giving a Barbie to their impressionable young daughters. Barbie seems to be combatting those thoughts with a heafty dose of nostalgia, and I for one, think it's working.
The commercials themselves aren't anything new, but the conversational stories and vintage footage of old Barbie Dream Houses worked like charm to bring back fond memories of playing with Barbies. I absolutely adored my flimsy cardboard and plastic Dream House, complete with modern '80s plastic furniture. All it needed was the Barbie Corvette...
The spots really would have made me consider giving my child a Barbie this Christmas, if I had children of course, but I am a 26 year old single woman without children though, so while I am the target age group, I'm not entirely their target audience. Are there any mothers out there for whom these spots evoked the same fond memories? Did they work?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Maybe I just don't get it. Has anyone out there actually played this game? Maybe you can shed some light on the mystery.
Friday, December 19, 2008
If you weren't among the throngs of people terrified by the King before, you probably are now. That image is truly, truly horrifying.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
It's all very well done, but would you expect any less from Fallon?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In this post from Friday, Postaer sums it up nicely:
Crispin looks for work that will create buzz, urgency, relevance and drama.
They are willing to tip over bunches of sacred cows to get it.
They are maddeningly consistent. They always delight or piss everyone off.
One of the two. Sometimes both. They are seldom, if ever,
He discusses CP+B's philosophy of making their clients "famous" and "relevant." And he calls them a sweatshop. (Heck, CP+B's own Web site admits they're a factory.) Postaer's post is a good read. The comments from his readers are insightful, too.
Today, in related news, Creativity has named CP+B 2008 Agency of the Year. Big surprise, right?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
A year later we're blogging 'pros' and eagerly experimenting in all sorts of different social media outlets. We've sincerely enjoyed writing this blog for the past year and we hope you will continue to read through an even better second one!
In celebration of our first birthday, we've launched a little sideline to get some of our non-client related, fun ideas out in the world. If you've been following this blog, you've probably noticed I voice my opinions about fonts rather strongly. To the point where Megan, and other writers in the agency, can identify certain fonts and immediately know my approval rating of them. I am a known Helvetica opponent and in one of many discussions on the font, a little t-shirt idea sprung up and we ran with it. You can find it at our new Cafe Press store.
We promise there will be more tees and other goodies available soon. We have plenty of ideas floating around, but we wanted to get off the ground. We hope you enjoy our new little extension to the blog! Please let us know of anything you'd like to see on the blog in the coming year!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This copywriter thinks the art direction on these new spots is super fun and exciting. Yes, 'super fun and exciting' is a technical term. I've always been a fan of seeing copy animated and love the thrilling twists, turns and drops these new Ford spots feature. They've extended the campaign with Web banner ads and a cool Web site with lots of interactivity and heavy duty videos.
Ford has used Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs as its celebrity endorser. The 2009 F150 often has superb product placement in the episodes this season.
**We love comments on our blog, please comment about anything and everything, but if you spam our readers in your comments, they will be deleted. Sorry. Nobody likes a spammer.**
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The premise of the campaign is for JCP's jewelry department. Attention Men: Get Your Wives and Girlfriends Jewelry And Stay Out Of The Doghouse. It's a pretty cliché concept, but taken to a brilliant extreme by Saatchi & Saatchi. The Beware Of The Doghouse website houses the almost 5 minute mini-film as well as options to put someone in the doghouse (or warn them). The mini-film is entertaining enough to warrant 5 minutes of your time, while the simple web component ties in nicely and works well enough to get user participation. Meanwhile the site links directly and intelligently to the JCP jewelry website.
Considering some of JC Penney's campaign flops and PR nightmares this year, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Do you have anyone to send to the Doghouse?
Monday, December 8, 2008
The reviews have been mixed and I sit a bit mixed myself. The mini-documentary was nothing unexpected. It seems like a pretty straight and serious little documentary. The campaign has come under fire mostly due to the idea of feeding unhealthy, trans-fat laden food to healthier rural cultures and presenting it as a wonderful thing. My personal problem with it is how heroic Burger King seems to paint themselves. Really? I mean I love to travel, learn about other cultures and teach them about mine in return, but the Whopper is not something I epitomize as American. The hamburger, maybe, but that hamburger wouldn't be fast food. Granted, I realize it's a commercial for Burger King, but still, really?
The other major problem with this ad is the question of whether they're making fun of these cultures. At first, I thought documentary seemed sincere and had issues with it then, but after a debate with my creative director, I'm not so sure. His take was that the documentary is really poking fun at these cultures and their naivety of the hamburger, Christopher Guest style. I'm not entirely convinced, but given it's by CP+B, who knows? If it is really intended to be a mockumentary, then I really have a problem with its condescending tone, but I'm just not sure if it's quite absurd enough to qualify.
AdWeek's Barbara Lippert has an interesting review too.
What do you think? Is it intended to be serious or absurd? Is it condescending or funny? Is infiltrating foreign cultures with Whoppers something to be ashamed of or proud of?
Friday, December 5, 2008
That is not the case.
Driving home last night, I was listening to NPR and they were discussing a new ad campaign launching today from the Alliance for Climate Protection headed by Al Gore. Robert Siegel interviewed both Al Gore and Joe Lucas, vice president for communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and covered their dispute over the term 'clean coal' and the ads below that started running today.
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but based on my experience with the term as I described above, I sided with Gore on this one. According to Joe Lucas, clean coal technology is a relative term, like medical technology. It refers to technological advancements in that industry, meaning our current polluting coal plants are using clean coal technology right now since they are cleaner than they used to be and as the technology progresses, they will continue to get even cleaner.
Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection, however, suggest the clean coal technology simply doesn't exist, at least not right now and maybe never. Again, it's all in how you choose to interpret it. Gore's argument is the industry is throwing around the term as if clean coal currently exists and is as clean as other alternative energy sources. He asserts that is simply not true. Gore suggests that the industry is using the term to get authority to build plants now with a 'plan' to retrofit these plants with 'clean coal technology' when (or if) it becomes available. Much of the argument is semantics, but this is the argument behind the Alliance for Climate Protection's new ad spot.
As much as I agree with clarifying that we don't currently have clean coal technology, the ad implies not only that it doesn't exist, but can't exist. The truth is, it doesn't exist yet, and maybe it never will, but it makes the ad itself a bit confusing and misleading. I think it's on the right path and I agree with its mission, but it doesn't come close to telling me what I should know about clean coal. Outright calling clean coal's existance a lie actually makes me skeptical without further information. There is a website with some information and links, but the URL is barely visible at the end of the ad for less than a second. I had to re-watch the ad and specifically look for it to see it at all. The site itself is pretty basic, so while there's a web component, with the amount of education needed, I'm surprised the web component isn't more extensive. As someone sympathetic to their cause, if the ad makes me skeptical at first, what chance does it have of convincing anyone?
Great idea and worthy cause, but this campaign just isn't cutting it.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The site, whoppervirgins.com, is just a tease with flash banner visuals, some looping music and a count down at the moment, but hopefully once the campaign gets going it'll become more interactive. We'll see...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The ad mimics the cyclical nature of abuse very effectively. It's a little hard to watch, but I think that's what makes it good. Really good. Maybe it's a little violent for prime time, but hey, they do warn you. What do you think? Is it too violent?
Monday, December 1, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I wonder if this will this affect the quality of the ads we see. Are companies also going to drop money on new stand-out ads? Or do you think we'll see more repeat ads and less originality this year?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
And no, this odd ad won't be extending outside of Australia, which is fine by me since I don't think most Americans would have understood the beaver reference in the slightest. It must be an Australian thing.
The difference between the company reactions is interesting to note, especially since Motrin is now getting some criticism for succumbing to the vocal minority.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Though the offer is a free Dr. Pepper for everyone in America, the recorded message at the toll-free number limits one per household.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
So why does watching this new Welch's ad featuring Alton Brown irk me like it does? In theory, using Alton Brown to explain and illustrate the antioxidants you can get from grapes and drinking grape juice is a great idea. He's perfect for it. It's exactly what he does on his show every day. I think my issue with this spot is exclusively with the art direction.
The feel of the ad just seems too color saturated, dreamlike and whimsical where Alton Brown's quick delivery style and show seem a bit more goofy. The spot pulled a couple characteristics from the show in the beginning, but his show has a quirky low budget feel to it that suits his hands-on, prop-using way of teaching about food. So Alton Brown walking around in a fake-looking, idealistic vineyard with a too-perfect looking chalkboard just feels jarringly wrong. I want him drawing and illustration or using some props to show me about polyphenals and antioxidants, not just checking off generic terms on a preplanned chalkboard. They used the perfect celebrity spokesperson, but left a huge chunk of the celebrity spokeperson's individual style.
Great idea, poor execution. Am I being to harsh?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Honestly, I would have preferred the logo without the eagle. It's just plain ugly. It's has bad color choices and far too much gradient action happening. Yuck. And the type? Well it has an unnecessary, though slight, drop shadow on it. Enough said.
Another thing to note, why does the AB have such a different type treatment? I realize it's probably to separate the two different companies, but it really feels like two different logos with an eagle plopped on top. Thoughts?
Monday, November 17, 2008
I'm not a mom, so I really don't fit the demographic they're appealing to here, but I get the tongue-in-cheek humor Motrin was going for. As a creative in the industry, I don't think I would have guessed this ad would offend so much and cause the ruckus that it caused, but at the same time I can see exactly where some of the problems lie.
The art direction is fabulous. I love the technique, though it seems to be a bit trendy at the moment, and the typography and illustration styles are wonderful. The offensiveness comes from a few turns of phrases: in theory it's a good idea, supposedly it's a real bonding experience, etc. They're just a bit too condescending.
There are countless blog posts ranting against this ad as well as the occasional one defending it, and you can view all the Twitter chatter with the #motrinmoms hash tag if you'd like to follow the social media storm.
What do you think? How has social media changed this uproar? Did it blow a little thing into an overboard uproar, giving Motrin some seriously bad PR? Or is it giving Motrin the feedback, and PR, its offensive ad deserves?
I saw the new TV spot for Terminal 5 this weekend. The spot is beautiful. I really do like it. But besides being a beautiful ad, it doesn't have much meaning. Now that I've visited the Web site the spot makes a bit more sense, but the ad on its own doesn't convey any of the wonderful features that are supposed to make the new Terminal 5 better than the rest.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
When there's no registered copywright, there's no registered credit. Even when the mark is first designed there's no byline or signature so the credit is unknown to many. How many of you non-designers out there know who designed the Nike logo? The post on ESPN is about two designers who both claimed to have created the logo. No, not two guys who worked together at the same agency or anything, two totally separate designers who both believed they designed it. Neither, however, have any proof. You can't really blame them though, the logo was designed 40 years ago. Who keeps their files that long? All Major League Baseball has is the name of the agency hired, not the individual designer. In this case, that information and a little math did the trick, but what about when the name of the agency isn't enough? Then you need agency files and people's memories to figure out who individually gets the credit. Even in this digital age, files can get lost, agencies can go under and memories can falter.
I have a few logos out there the I'm proud to have designed. Maybe they'll stand the test of time, maybe not, but I think I'll go back up my files anyway.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
In the follow-up post it's determined the hidden countenances are friends and family of the Cascadian Farm brand, first put on the packaging by designers over a decade ago.
Kinda creepy. Kinda cool.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The key with any campaign like this is, will people participate? I think yes. The call for entries only requires you to finish an open ended sentence with whatever you like. The clips need only be 5 seconds long and low quality footage by the looks of their TV spots. Plus the chance to be in one of Microsoft's commercials that will circulate the internet and possibly national TV? I see a lot of PC using web celebrity wannabes 'uploading' themselves. Will you upload yourself?
Monday, October 27, 2008
What do you think? Do you interpret the new Pepsi logos as smiles? Do you think this new flexible brand approach will work?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Stride Gum - Parking Garage
Stride Gum - Office Park
Keeping in Burger King style, they also have a Web site, haveityourway08.com, that supplies two Poll-a-rizer applications (one for Facebook, one for MySpace) that lets users take a questionnaire to see where on the political spectrum they fall. It then entertains by showing which "advisors" and "opponents" they might consider, and lets their friends see the results.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the video anywhere yet. If I come across it soon, I'll be sure to post it.
Click here to read more about this effort from Burger King.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The Environmental Defense Fund ran a guerilla marketing effort in New York encouraging riding the subway over driving to help stop the effects of global warming. It's a simple, but brilliant execution.
Check out Creativity for the credits.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Apple also responded to Microsoft's new Mojave Experiment spots with another new Mac vs. PC ad. Check it out here:
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Granted, the price tag is a pretty lame visual conceptually, but its shape and bright yellow had equity. My biggest issue is that in the name of becoming 'clean' and 'modern' Best Buy has made their logo feel more generic. I was not a fan of their old font, old color or even the old shape, but I don't think this new logo is serving the brand very well either. It's lost most of it's visual equity in the transition. I agree it's cleaner and part of me definitely likes the new price tag, but as a whole it just feels so generic. I can't help but think there was something in between. The old font was terrible, so the new one is an upgrade, but wasn't there a way to do that without taking the whole logo as far away from the original as they have? What do you think?
Also check out Under Consideration's Brand New for further critique and a peek at their new store signage.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Do you know how I learned (very quickly) not to use the term "gay" to mean anything other than homosexual? By going to a liberal college where, if someone overheard you say, "That's so gay," he'd kick your ass.
So what do you think? Is it an issue of deep-seeded homophobia, or simply political correctness gone too far? Will Ad Council's campaign work?
Monday, October 13, 2008
The ad speculates that women everywhere are getting pregnant in order to justify their purchase of the new VW Routan minivan. Women. Like it's a one-sided deal. Like women are mischievous and manipulative. Like our duty in life is to have babies and drive minivans.
Yeah, I know it's a joke. It's supposed to be a playful spoof on the "soccer mom" stigma. But I'm a college educated woman and, in fact, a mom. And though I don't consider myself a feminist by any means, as a Women's Studies minor sometimes things evoke a sense of sexism for me. And this is one of those times.
Last week, I saw the TV spot:
In her article in Adweek, Barbara Lippert critiques the spot for a few far-fetched connections, like those it supposedly has between the phrase "German engineering" and "genetic engineering," reminiscent of the tragedy Hitler caused, and the struggle with post-partum depression Brooke Shields had after her last pregnancy.
Listen, I'm not trying to nitpick here, but this one really does disturb me. It seems the "role" of women in our society is so ingrained that no one thinks twice about it. Yeah, I know they're trying to get past the label "soccer mom," but can't they do it in a way that doesn't offend educated women and career moms? It could be as simple as CP+B using the word "families" instead of "women."
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
So Microsoft has decided to challenge that perception and try to remove the bias from the media and friends (not to mention those pesky Mac commercials). In theory it makes sense as a way to show the world they're unfairly biased against Vista. However, like any other 'hidden camera' commercials, you can't help but question how 'real' it is. In a campaign where the legitimacy doesn't matter, like the Office Max penny commercials, the technique works, but in this instance, the campaingn's success will hinge on people believing they're completely real.
My first thought was how extensively did the focus group use it? Was the focus group using it on a brand new, fast computer with a large hard drive? Or a computer that's a couple years old and loaded up with digital photos and mp3s? Did they focus group anyone who had used Vista and hated it? Or just people who assumed they'd hate it? Maybe I'm just a bit cynical. What do you think? Does this campaign encourage you to try Vista?
On a side note, please keep in mind that I've only watched the commercial above and although I did go to mojaveexperiment.com, I didn't/couldn't watch any of the videos. Perhaps there was more convincing material on the site, but I'm on a Mac you see, and to watch any of the video Microsoft wanted me to download Silverlight. (Okay, I'm going to rant here) Frankly I find it annoying when I have to download new programs to visit a website. Are you really going to make me download your own software to view your site? It struck me as frustratingly self-serving. I already have Flash and Quicktime, how many media players do you expect me to install? As a casual visitor, I'm more likely to leave your site than download yet another media player. True, there was an option to see the site without downloading Silverlight, but as I soon discovered, it wouldn't play any of the video. Thanks Microsoft.
Alltop is a Web site and blog aggregator aiming to bring its users "all the top" sites from around the WWW. And recently, to our pleasant surprise, The Creative Cooler was added to the mix!
You can find us listed in the Design and Marketing categories at Alltop.
(Special thanks to the best blog partner for making the CC a standout! Thanks for all your hard work, Christine!)
Monday, October 6, 2008
What gives? Is the creative team really that strapped for ideas that this is all they can come up with? Or are their executives feeling pressure to jump on the "hidden camera bandwagon" because everyone else is doing it?
At least Hardee's/Carl's Jr. has figured out where to reach people: They've created a Fake Restaurant account on youtube and have uploaded 16 videos, mostly director's cuts of their spots (which is equally annoying--who wants to watch a three-minute Hardee's ad?).
If you really can't get enough of the been there, done that hidden camera ad, here's one from Carl's Jr:
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
This ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacks North Carolina democratic candidate for Senate Kay Hagan. This post explains the ad (and the Coke tax).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have a designer's love affair with typography. I find fonts beautiful. Well, maybe nor comic sans, but in general. The thing is, type is really just specific shapes that we recognize and you can form those beautiful shapes into art that has nothing to do with words. Take, for example, the mixed media work from one of my favorite college professors. (She taught a class called Reconstruction, Recognition and the Found.) Her work uses letterforms to create something new.
There's an interesting site called Type Is Art that let's you play around with the 20 different identifiable pieces of letters and use them to create art. Here are two little pieces I put together. Visit typeisart.com to see more work or to create your own!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A guy named LuisDS on Flickr discovered the data and there's some good info on it at Roughly Drafted.
Friday, September 19, 2008
That being said, I do like the new spot. It exceeded the very low expectations I outlined in my last post. The funky music, amusing characters and nice editing make the vignettes much more interesting than I expected. It's not a new idea by any means—a pretty straight and traditional concept actually, but it's well executed and thus nice to watch. Check it out below:
The biggest question in my mind is, did it work? My boss, a PC user, would say yes, they totally called out Mac's stereotyping. I, a Mac user, am a little less eager to praise it. Yes, they called out Mac's stereotype, but it was a satire, so it was supposed to be. I mean did those Mac commercials really make PC users feel dorkier? Did anyone not know that PCs are 97% of the market share and used everywhere? I mean, being in the minority is one of one of the things I've always like about being a Mac user. And I've been a Mac user since it was an even smaller minority, way before it was 'cool' and even before I went into design. But as a die-hard Mac user I doubt I'm the target audience, so I guess if it's making PC users feel better about being PC users, we should call it a success. What do you think?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Further research this morning gave me a glimpse of the upcoming campaign and yeah, maybe it didn't ever have Seinfeld in it since apparently there will be cameos from Eva Longoria, Deepak Chopra, Pharrell Williams and reappearances of Gates. The upcoming campaign is supposed to feature real PC users as well as a John Hodgman look-alike in an attempt to reposition what it means to be a PC user in an attempt to directly play off of the Mac/PC commercials Mac has been successfully running for the past few years.
Following a set of teasers that I can only imagine were supposed to be a lot funnier than they were, I can't say I have high expectations for the rest of the campaign. Are they planning to make the PC character unpitiable? Good luck. And short PC user testimonial vignettes? Like that hasn't been done before. I'll refrain from any additional thoughts until I actually see the new spots, but I'm not holding my breath.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Earlier posted about our boss's first chalkboard wall, Song Lyrics. Once the song lyrics were erased, we started in on movie quotes and now that we've filled the wall again, we'll erase and start over. This round is an agency collaborative story contributed one sentence at a time.
This should be interesting.
View the large, and legible, image of the movie quotes wall by clicking on the photo above.
Friday, September 12, 2008
At an even longer length than the first one, this spot just drags and lacks humor even more than the first. Bill Gates doing the robot? Are we going to be cursed with one of those at the end of every one of these spots? Yuck.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Anyone watching tv this weekend, probably noticed this new commercial from Microsoft. At 90 seconds long and featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, it's a little hard to miss. But did it work? I remember, despite Bill Gates front and center, being surprised and a little disappointed that it was a Microsoft commercial. I guess I naively thought Seinfeld and Gates were endorsing something entirely different and expected some sort of better pay off. Or maybe I just don't get it.
It's such an oddball spot for any brand, especially Microsoft. Was it amusing? Yes. Did it hold my attention? Yes (although mostly in an effort to figure out where the spot was going). Did I laugh? A little. Was it memorable? Sure. Did it improve Microsoft's image to me? No, but then again I'm a die hard mac user. The trouble is, while the first time I watched rather amused at Bill Gates' attempt to act, by my second time watching it (for this post) I really wasn't a fan of it at all. I found it much less entertaining and rather annoyingly long. Am I being too harsh?
This TechCrunch post gives us a little insider information into Microsoft's marketing with an internal memo posted there. Apparently they're going for humor and humanity. I see it, but I just don't think it's working. We'll just have to see how the rest of the campaign unfolds... What do you think?
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Idea generation sites cropped up awhile ago, mystarbucksidea.com probably taking the prize of most well known and popular, but Dell's ideastorm.com and make your own idea generation site kindlingapp.com are out there too. They're kind of the new hot web 2.0 gimmick, but they're not always appropriate and need quite a commitment from the host brand to really work without disillusioning their 'idea generators'.
Ohboyobama.com has been around since the primaries, but now that the election is finally in full swing we can see voters voice their opinions on all sorts of ideas from how he should handle McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin to what issues voters think he still needs to clarify. I find it a fascinating way for web 2.0 to play a part in politics and a great way for voters to get their voices heard to their candidates. The key will be, as it is in any idea generation site, how much and how well Obama actually listens to and implements these ideas.
We'll just have to wait and see.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
The result? Some great ideas playing it straight as well as plenty of tongue-and-cheek ads on both candidates. Check out the Adweek article to see the work and be sure to visit the video player in the side bar or you'll miss my two favorites—the satirical McCain and Obama tv spots from Goodby Silverstien and Partners.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Learn how to hack at 5min.com
Did you watch all the way through? Up until the end, did you realize this was a Sprite commercial/video? I sure didn't. After seeing Sprite and their lime green at the end, I did remember flashes of it throughout the video. Until the end, however, I completely didn't realize it was a promotional video at all. Now that I do know it's for Sprite, I'm a bit torn. I love that they were so subtle throughout the video, but now that I know it was a sponsored video, I wonder how much of it was staged. I wondered that while watching it anyway, but knowing it's a commercial makes me assume most of it was staged and it loses a bit of its charm. What do you think? Did you like how Sprite handled branding the video? Did knowledge of Sprite's involvement also make you question the 'real' quality of the video?
We're thinking the Youtuber who posted the original video never would have guessed Tiger Woods himself would have a hand in responding. How cool.