Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I came across this attractive little video on Agency Spy for European energy company Electrabel and thought it'd be a nice send off into the new year.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Barbie Plays Up Nostalgia

Oh, Barbie. It's a pretty iconic brand, but seems to have dropped out of the lime light recently, or perhaps thats just because I don't pay too much attention to the popularity of various childrens toys. I was an '80s child though and Barbie was all the rage when I was a little girl.

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

Would Anyone Actually Cross Over To Animal Crossing?

A couple weeks ago, I saw this commercial and my jaw literally dropped. Seriously? Is this really a product on the market for Wii? Animal Crossing seems like a child-like video game version of Second Life. While that's not really my cup of tea, I guess I could see some people liking it—like kids. The weird thing is, this game does not seem remotely aimed at kids. The commercial features two 20-something women in nice houses discussing their activities of the day and then deciding to 'go watch the fireworks' together. Oops, but the catch is, they are doing all of these activities on the video game while talking to each other. They're actually sitting on their couches watching cartoon fireworks. Seriously? The whole thing seems bizarrely out of sync and their target market off base. Are they really getting a 20-something market for this product? Are they getting anyone for this product?

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

Just in Time for Christmas: Men's Body Spray from Burger King

In its latest stunt, Burger King (yes, CP+B) has released a men's body spray called "Flame." For just $3.99, you can have your man smelling like "seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat." But unless you live in NYC you'll have to order it online at the Web site dedicated to the spray. To see the fragrance make its debut on TODAY, visit this link.

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

We Are Fallon Plaque Is Complete

Because we blogged about this a few months ago, the good people at Fallon sent us an update on their We Are Fallon plaque. The idea was, they solicited former and current employees to donate awards they'd won at the agency to be melted together into a giant plaque to hang in Fallon's new office space. The idea is very cool, melting together awards to represent what's made the agency what it is today. They received over one hundred donated awards for the project! More than one from some ad greats like Bob Barrie. Speaking of which, you should check a few more of the promo videos that came out since we last blogged about this as well as the final making of the plaque videos at their website for the project.

It's all very well done, but would you expect any less from Fallon?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nothing Scares More Than a Clown

Came across this video on an old friend's facebook page. He stars as the clown. I won't tell you what the ad is for, just that it's a fun three minutes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just Where They Like to Be: CP+B In Headlines Again

We're not the only ones talking about Crispin Porter + Bogusky lately (see BK's Whopper Virgins most recently). Turns out Steffan Postaer, Chairman and CCO at Euro RSCG Chicago, is weighing in on his blog as well.

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

Charlie Brown As A Copywriter

Our agency is a much more friendly work environment than what's portrayed here, but I thought this little twist on a Charlie Brown Christmas is a fun little piece for anyone in the ad world.

(via AdFreak)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To The Creative Cooler!

That's right, today the Creative Cooler turns one year old. We published our first post on 12/12/2007, a bit nervous with the knowledge that what we were writing was being broadcast across the internet for everyone to read. We shouldn't have been quite so nervous since, well, we didn't have any readers yet...

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

2009 Ford F150 Spots Impress

Every once in a great while there's a vehicle campaign that's actually kinda cool. And this time it's not Mini. It's Ford. Spend just one weekend watching football and you're bound to catch this ad or one of its counterparts.

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.

Truth In Advertising #71

People are often annoyed by advertising. They are even more annoyed by spam.

**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

JC Penney Finally Hits Home With A Great Holiday Campaign

This mini-film and website seem to be making their way through marketing's unpredictable viral channels—I found out about it because the mini-film was forwarded to me. Viral is always tricky and unpredictable and I have no idea how well it's done so far, but I'm a fan and intend to forward it on—and blog about it of course.

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

Is the Whopper Virgins Taste Test In Bad Taste?

Last night BK revealed its Whopper Virgins campaign. If you didn't already know, teasers have been circulating for a couple weeks now with a reveal of their documentary type video of the taste test last night.

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

Cleaning Up Clean Coal Misconceptions

Clean coal is quite the buzz word this year. It was thrown around during the elections by both parties and it's been popping up in various news stories and industry speak all over the place. I try to keep up on climate control measures and sustainability, but when the term 'clean coal' started cropping up everywhere, I really didn't know what it meant. I really wasn't sure how I felt about clean coal since it seemed a bit like an oxymoron, plus it still depletes natural resources. I intended to look into it someday, but never quite got around to it. I inferred from all the references I'd heard, however, that 'clean coal technology' was something that was currently available and clean (aka as clean or close to as clean as other alternative energies like wind or solar).

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

Some Topics Are Just Off Limits

Will advertisers ever learn? Pepsi Max has a new print ad featuring a very lonely calorie that's committing suicide. Oh, dear. Does this sound familiar? Will advertisers ever learn that even if the creative concept itself is great, sometimes you just don't go there. Suicide is one of those subjects. Conceptually, it's great, but no matter how right the concept is, or how great the art direction is, consumers are NEVER going to find it funny.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

BK Seeks Outside Taste Buds

Burger King's latest campaign, the Whopper Virgin taste test, is intriguing. It pits the BK Whopper against the McDonald's Big Mac. Hmm...I wonder what the outcome will be? The Whopper? It's a clever way to refresh the age-old taste test idea and I'm curious to see what CP+B pulls out for the final taste test results reveal next Monday.

The site,, 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

Complaining Consumers Isn't Always A Sign Of A Bad Ad

Recently, we've discussed two brands with ads that upset consumers and they're respective actions, the Motrin and Kotex ads, weren't necessarily the best ads, whether or not the amount of complaints was warranted. This new British Public Service Announcement, via AdFreak, uses an effective, violent shock factor that, not surprisingly, has a number of people up in arms.

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

Wii Music Brings Back Memories

Back in January, I posted about a weird video game music concert that came to town and this Christmas a Wii commercial caught my attention and reminded me of that odd concert tour. While I'm not really a big enough fan to ever want to go to a video game concert, you have to admit, hearing the old Super Mario Brothers theme song brings back memories (like my brother running around screaming 'thank you fat man in the red suit' for our Nintendo under the tree—oh yes, it's on video). Santa and childhood memories aside, I really enjoy this new Wii commercial. Simple and nostalgic, it's a nicely executed, clever way to advertise the new Wii Music for the holidays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers—we are very thankful for all of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Has The Recession Hit The Super Bowl?

NBC is still trying to sell eight slots of its $3M per 30 second ad space for the Super Bowl in 2009. Originally, NBC reported that it was selling ad space faster than usual—of course that was in September. Much has happened in the economy since then and it appears the $3M price tag is seeming a little steep for some companies this year. Regulars like FedEx, Garmin and GM are sitting this one out. It should be too much of a surprise given that GM may have difficulty getting congressional support for a bailout if it's very publicly dropping that kind of cash on ads. According to the AP, even with a few drop outs NBC says it's in negotiations with other companies to fill the spots.

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

Kotex Australia Keeps Its Beaver, Despite Consumer Controversy

According to Adage Kotex Australia has announced plans to keep a contoversial animated beaver character despite numerous consumer complaints. A beaver? Yes, apparently its a popular private part nickname for women in Australia (who knew?) and a clear enough reference that some people are up in arms about the 'inappropriate' nature of the ad. Kotex, however, has said that the ad increased sales regardless of the complaints so they're keeping the beaver for another year. It makes me wonder how Motrin's sales are these days...

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

Dr. Pepper Extends Free Soda Offer Through Monday Night

According to an article in MarketWatch, Dr. Pepper is extending its offer for a free Dr. Pepper through 6 p.m. EST tonight. With overwhelming demand, the Dr. Pepper Web site was down almost all day Sunday. They've added a toll-free number for those unable to access the site: 1-888-DRPEPPER.

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

Dr. Pepper Pays Up at the Release of New Guns N' Roses Album

A few weeks ago my husband came home from work all excited because he had heard a radio DJ announce the release of a new Guns N' Roses album, and with it, a free Dr. Pepper. I offered the usual shrug and, "That's nice," clearly not sharing in his enthusiasm. I've never been a hardcore fan of rock 'n roll music and certainly don't know anything about its history. To the shame of my husband, I can't even tell the difference between Metallica and Def Leppard and AC/DC. I'm surprised he married me.

I'd forgotten about this until he came home yesterday saying that people could get their free Dr. Pepper on one day only. I hadn't seen any advertising about this offer, and didn't really understand it, so I did a few seconds' worth of googling to let you know what I know.
Apparently, fans have been waiting for Guns N' Roses new album, Chinese Democracy, since 1994. Yes, 1994. The band hasn't released an album of new songs since 1991. And along the way the band members had issues with each other causing, I think, the break-up of the original band. (Anyone that knows anything about rock music can correct me if I'm wrong.) Since fans have been waiting for so long with canceled release dates and not much hope they'd ever actually see (or hear) the album, Dr. Pepper thought they'd challenge the band by promising a free soda to every person if Chinese Democracy hit shelves in 2008.

Guess what? The album releases tomorrow, Sunday the 23rd. If you want your free Dr. Pepper you must sign up for the coupon on Dr. Pepper's Web site, and you only have tomorrow to do it.
My thing is, why would Dr. Pepper give the challenge if they're not going to promote it?

At any rate, I think I'll sign up for my complimentary Dr. Pepper alongside my husband tomorrow. Anything I can do to make him proud.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Alton Brown Endorses Welch's

I love to cook, I love to bake and I am addicted to the Food Network. Alton Brown is probably my favorite chef on the Food Network and Good Eats might just be my favorite Food Network show. Why? Definitely not because of the weird antics on the show that seem aimed at elementary school students but rather because he explains why on his show. Why are some chocolate chip cookies flat and others are puffy? What chemically makes them bake one certain way vs another? He can have an entire show on lentils (and he does) and I will watch it rapt with attention even though I have no desire or ambition to make lentils any time in the near future.

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

AB InBev Logo Fails To Excite

Back in July we posted about Anheuser Busch being bought by Belgian brewer InBev and the subtle change in Budweiser's ads from the sale. No longer was Budweiser touting its US ownership, but just trying to enforce the idea without actually saying it.Yesterday AB InBev unveiled their new corporate logo and Brand New made an interesting point about the inclusion of the eagle in a post this afternoon. It's so American. The company is not. So why is this international company using such an American symbol? Yes, there's the argument that AB has quite a bit of equity in the eagle, whereas InBev's logo has little to none, but perhaps it's partially to make us forget AB is no longer American owned?
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

Social Media Takes A Toll On Motrin

If you follow any Mom blogs or you're on Twitter, it was hard to miss the social media madness around the latest Motrin ad from yesterday and today. Many baby wearing mothers were clearly offended by the Motrin ad which suggests baby wearing can give you back or shoulder pain, and they've made their voices heard—via blogs and Twitter. As far as I can tell, this whole uproar started sometime Saturday afternoon and by mid day today, Motrin had pulled the ad from their homepage and put up an apology letter. Wow.

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?

Does British Airways Sink or Float with new Terminal 5 Ad?

London Heathrow has just opened its brand-spanking-new Terminal 5. It promises to get you through check-in and security within minutes, tempts with six lounges that include a spa and a cinema, and features a state-of-the-art baggage claim system. Flying through Terminal 5 actually sounds, well, enjoyable.

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

Truth in Advertising #31

Concepting doesn't get any easier no matter your longitude, latitude or the fact that you can work in your own comfy slippers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And The Credit Goes To...?

Today I came across an interesting post about the mystery of the Major League Baseball logo designer and it brought up one of the interesting oddities of what graphic artists do for a living. Unlike fine artists we are work for hire, no copywrights for work, no royalties, no claim whatsoever. Those copywrights go to our clients that have paid us for the work. Wit going into a long and never ending debate about copywright law, I'd like to discuss something that goes along with it: credit.

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

How Aware Are You II?

Back in April, Megan posted about a PSA from London that went viral by challenging the viewer's awareness to notice what should be obvious. A second spot is now circulating the web and though I don't think it's nearly as good as the first, it's still a fun spot to watch. How aware are you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Have You Voted Yet?

AIGA invited designers across the country to participate in their Get Out the Vote 2008 poster campaign. There are tons of fabulous designs at AIGA's website and I've included a couple favorites here. So if you haven't voted yet today, get to it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hidden Heads on Cascadian Farm Packaging

A friend forwarded a link to me last week from Bread and Honey, a blog about all things food-related. In this post, they reveal a shocking discovery: Tiny, mysterious faces hidden on the packaging of Cascadian Farm-branded frozen broccoli. It's quite frightening, actually. (Click here to read the post and see the pictures for yourself.)

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

Microsoft Extends "I'm A PC" Campaign

Microsoft has extended their 'I'm a PC' campaign into the Web 2.0 world by inviting PC users to 'upload' themselves. I like the way Microsoft has opened up the campaign to its users' creativity—it's a nice extension to the campaign and brings in a great interactive element.

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

Pepsi Is Smiling

In the past few months we've blogged about new logo redesigns for Applebee's, Walmart and Best Buy, and it seems that Pepsi is now joining in with a new, smiling, brand redesign.

Pepsi has evolved it's logo a number of times in it's history, but this latest move is pretty drastic in the grand scheme of identity evolutions. Where did the white wave in the middle of the pepsi logo go? Oh, it turned into a smile. Yes, a smile, at least according to Pepsi that's what it's supposed to be. Sorry, never would have guessed that if I hadn't read it in AdAge. Apparently the 'smile' will change based on what product it is on. I'm not a fan of the new 'smile' mark, or the new, unnecessary name change of Mountain Dew to Mtn Dew. I do,however, like the super clean new packaging of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max, just not their new weird 'smiling' logos.

On the flip side, in this new age of digital media, where a brand's logo will be altered by consumers whether the brand likes it or not, Joseph Jaffe suggests in Join the Conversation that in this digital age, brands need to be more flexible with their brand standards. Part of me wants to scream no to that idea, especially when I see casual and prevalent use of drop shadows and badly set type, but another part of me understands the necessity to let go a little in this new media age. In that respect, I think this new approach from Pepsi is a nice step in that direction and works as a flexible mark. I just wish they hadn't messed with the wave, especially since no one is going to understand the new mark as a smile without some prodding.

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

Taking It in Stride on Friday

It's Friday, so I thought I'd give you something lighthearted to watch this afternoon. Maybe you've already seen some of Stride gum's ads. I just love the randomness of the lederhosen and the ram. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

Stride Gum - Parking Garage

Stride Gum - Office Park

Burger King Wants Everyone to Have It Your Way in Election 2008

Apparently not a week can go by without us mentioning CP+B. This time, I'm impressed. Their latest work for Burger King shows regular drive-thru customers ordering exactly what they want--no onions, can you cut the fries in half?--to symbolize the voice we all have, and use, every day. The voiceover then encourages us to have it our way while the screen reads "VOTE 2008." It's actually an engaging and thoughtful ad.

Keeping in Burger King style, they also have a Web site,, 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

Happy Smurfday!

That's right. Smurfday. The little blue guys turn 50 today and in celebration the Smurfs have been touring around Europe all year, leaving little white Smurf figurines in arrangements all over each city they visit. Passers by are invited to take the figurines, decorate them however they like and enter them in the creativity contest online. Check out some of the videos from various cities and the fun (and abundant) white figurines set up all over the city. Such a fun way to celebrate a birthday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ride, Don't Drive For Our Polar Bears

Anyone even remotely paying attention to global warming knows that the melting of the polar ice cap is seriously threatening the world's polar bears. It's been one of the most publicized and earliest effects of global warming. Who doesn't love a polar bear?

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.

(via ProductionQueen)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mac Laughs Back At Microsoft's New Campaign

Microsoft recently responded to Apple's long time Mac vs. PC campaign with their own John Hodgeman look-alike and proud-to-be-a-PC spots. We blogged about it quite a bit when they first came out. Well, as these wars go round and round, Apple has now fired back with a couple new Mac vs. PC spots. The core difference between the Apple and Microsoft campaigns is that Apple's ads, while maybe a touch mean spirited, hit the nail on the head in their pokes on Microsoft. Plus they're funny. So funny I want to watch them again and again. Microsoft's ads, while nicely executed, already bore me. I immediately tune out rather than intently listen and wait for the punch line as I often do with the Apple ads. Check out Apple's new spot below:

Apple also responded to Microsoft's new Mojave Experiment spots with another new Mac vs. PC ad. Check it out here:

Our COO Is Using Us As Guinea Pigs

But we're okay with it, because we are Thanksgiving Pie guinea pigs. We all strode into the Creative Department this morning to see a homemade Sweet Potato Pie and rating sheet to greet us. Our COO apparently wants to test out his Thanksgiving Pie options on us prior to the Big Day. It's a thankless job, but we're willing to take it on and dive in, even if it is 9 a.m. I'm hoping for more to compare it to in the coming weeks. (hint, hint)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, the Great Pumpkin!

Last Thursday we had a Creative Department excursion for a little creative fun and bonding between our art directors, designers and copywriters. We headed out to a local pumpkin patch, picked out our canvases and headed back to the office for some creative carving. Today, the rest of the office is voting on their favorites. Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Best Buy's New Understated Logo?

Yes, Best Buy seems to have jumped on the bandwagon of updating its logo to be cleaner and more modern. Similar to my post a few months ago about Walmart's new logo design, I can't say I'm a huge fan. They seem to have the same branding advisors as Walmart. Especially when the two logo shifts are eerily similar and only a few months apart. Can we now expect all brands to go mostly text with a little icon at the end? Is UPS going to downgrade it's shield to an afterthought like Best Buy's price tag is?

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

Let's End Poverty As ONE

Today is Blog Action Day 2008—focusing on poverty. I thought I'd use today's post to call attention to the ONE Campaign, an organization who's goal is "to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in developing countries." Most people are familiar with (RED)—U2 singer Bono's fight against AIDS organization who's cross promotional products with Gap and Apple (to name a few) have taken off. ONE is a little similar with it's edgy look and celebrity endorsements (including Bono). ONE's signature look is black and white, with white wristbands to show support and less cross promotional products, although you can buy your ONE apparel here. Check out ONE's recent promotional video below and visit the website to find out how you can get invloved!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ad Council's Attempt to Dissuade "That's So Gay"

Last week, AdFreak reported that the Ad Council has come out with a new campaign trying to curb the use of the phrase "That's so gay." There are TV spots, print ads and a Web site targeting a young audience. Two of the spots use celebrities Wanda Sykes and Hilary Duff (below).

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

Brooke Shields and VW Routan Team Up - For Sexism?

A couple weeks ago, I was driving around town and heard a new radio spot featuring Brooke Shields for VW. A day or two later, I heard the same ad and it bugged me just as much as the first time I'd heard it.

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

Baz Luhrman Directs New Australian Tourism Campaign

Australian director Baz Luhrman, of Moulin Rouge , Romeo & Juliet and Everybody's Free (To Where Sunscreen) fame, is taking on Australia's tourism advertising with these new spots. As a big fan of Lurhman's (way back to Strictly Ballroom) I struggle a little with these ads. They're much more somber and missing the fast-paced editing and visual flair I'm used to seeing in his work. I never would have guessed it was directed by Baz Luhrman if I hadn't read it. It makes me a little curious what sort of style his upcoming movie Australia will follow. Other than that, it's quite nicely produced, though the general concept's been done for tourism a million times over. Come see us and find yourself. Eh. It doesn't really do anything for me. What do you think?

(via AdFreak)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Microsoft Goes Hidden Camera Too

Well it seems Microsoft has also jumped on the hidden camera band wagon in a campaign called the Mojave Experiment. (Will it ever end?) Okay, in this particular case it might actually make some sense. Microsoft's Vista has a pretty bad reputation. People hate it, openly discuss hating it and it's gotten to the point where people who have never used Vista openly discuss how much they hate it. Ouch! That's a pretty bad position for your product.

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, 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.

One of All the Top Sites!

Congratulations, you're reading one of Alltop's newest blogs!

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

Another Hidden Camera Ad

I know we've been following the hidden camera trend in television ads lately, but I've been putting off posting about the Hardee's/Carl's Jr. fake restaurant spots because I'M SO SICK OF HIDDEN CAMERAS. It's gotten quite annoying, actually. Almost like they're wasting air time.

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

A Different Approach To A Car Commercial

I thought this was a pretty eye catching and unique car commercial. The art direction is wonderful and it sells a relatively mundane feature in a highly unique way, while the music and rythem just make it fun to watch. Check it out:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dr. Seuss Goes Political

TV is swamped with political ads right now. One way to stand out from the rest? Channel your inner 3-year-old.

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

A Second Pay Off?

As I read on Ad Freak, Seinfeld-Gates could have taken some cues from the Fey-Scorsese as a way to use celebrity in an actually funny way. Not only was the first spot amusing, but starting last night there is a 'bonus' or follow up spot that's equally funny. It continues the scene in the first spot, advertising a different service for the American Express than the first one did, and it works. Brilliant.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Type Is Art

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 to see more work or to create your own!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh, The Irony

Microsoft's new ad touts how PCs are used everywhere for everything. Too bad they didn't think about how Macs rule the world of design before producing the ad. Yes, there are some agencies out there that use PCs, but they're few and far between, so it's not a big surprise to me to find out the PC ads were actually made on Macs. It's just a little funny. I'm sure it's what the CP+B designers, art directors and vendors use for everything and probably no one thought about it, at least until the meta data was pulled from the photos posted online. Oops...

A guy named LuisDS on Flickr discovered the data and there's some good info on it at Roughly Drafted.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Microsoft's Latest Spot

So the Microsoft advertising saga continues. Each time I read about what's happening I get a bit more confused. If you want more clarification and a good critique, check out this Joseph Jaffe post. The latest ad came out yesterday, for the 'new' campaign, which I guess I thought would at least somewhat tie to the bizarre Seinfeld teasers, but no, it's very much a separate campaign. It doesn't connect to the teasers in tone or messaging which begs the question, what was the purpose of the Seinfeld spots? Just to create a bunch of buzz and then never lead us anywhere? Highly annoying.

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

Will Microsoft's Campaign Ever Deliver More?

The blog world is abuzz this morning as news that Microsoft's continued campaign will no longer feature Jerry Seinfeld. What? Was he fired because the commercials sucked? Ouch... In the meantime Microsoft tries to claim it's all part of the bigger plan. Sure...

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

2016 Olympic Bid City Logos

Here are the logos for the shortlisted bid cities for the 2016 Olympics and I must say, no matter who is picked it'll infinitely better than London's hideous 2012 flashback to the '80s. I think Rio is topping the list for me, but it's a very close call. What's your favorite?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Moving On From Movie Quotes

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

Microsoft Part II Still Fails To Deliver

This must still be in the build up stage, but I still don't entirely understand where Microsoft is going with this. TechCrunch hits the nail on the head about the mixed messaging going on here. The message seems to be 'We're getting in touch with real people," but Jerry and Bill are failing miserably at doing so and come across as completely out of touch.

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.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Microsoft Goes Funny?

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

Pantone My Apartment Please

English company W2 has created a number of Pantone items for the designer's home. Varieties of Pantone mugs and messenger bags are all that's available in their Pantone collection now, although it inspires me to think what else we could make Pantone for an apartment like mine. Pantone plates and bowls too? A Pantone KitchenAid? Pantone wall paint? Pantone fabric? Ooh the possibilites...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh Boy!

Obama's campaign has been marked as one of the first to use the internet to its fullest capacity, from raising small sums of money from a large base to great uses of blogs, Twitter and Facebook. One of the most intriguing parts of his campaign, however, has to be, his idea generation site.

Idea generation sites cropped up awhile ago, probably taking the prize of most well known and popular, but Dell's and make your own idea generation site 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'. 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

Truth in Advertising #27

New business projects are often the most demanding.

(Busy with new biz—we'll post something new soon.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Adweek Gets Political

Adweek asked a number of Creative Directors from agencies around the country and to make fake ads for the 2008 elections. In a time when political ads seem to be pretty creatively dead with nothing more than politicians kissing babies or bashing the other candidate, I was excited to see what some top creatives could come up with.

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

Subtlety Is Key

This is a fun little video with a sort of surprising end—at least to me. Watch it, then read below.

Learn how to hack at

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?

EA Sports Walks on Water with New Ad

How's this for Youtube recognition? According to this post at Awful Announcing, EA Sports created an ad for its new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 in direct response to a gamer's post on Youtube.

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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Brilliant Piece of Animation

I just couldn't leave our blog sitting on that last horrendous commercial, so I'm sliding in this fantastic little animated piece set to a John Lennon interview. It's really brilliantly done.