Monday, June 30, 2008

U.S. Cellular Wants To Believe In Something Better

San Francisco agency Publicis & Hal Riney has just launched a new campaign for U.S. Cellular. The new tagline is "Believe in something better" from the old "We connect with you." The campaign goes for a soft, emotional feel, quite different from other mobile phone company advertising.

Here are a couple of the new spots:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Fun (and Food)

Every other Friday in the summer, the agency has a summer picnic. Have a brat, burger or chicken and bring a dish to pass. We all sit around chatting in the warm weather and stuffing ourselves with sides and salads and far too many desserts. As a baker, I love the cookouts and am generally responsible for one of those many desserts. It's a great time to chat with coworkers and add some new recipes to your repertoire, even if it leaves you in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon—or like today, buzzing from Jeff's delicious, but potent rum cake. Yum.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SOYJOY Spots Are SoJoy...ful

To break up the tedious string of posts about the Saatchi/JCPenney scandal, I thought I'd put up a couple refreshing spots for SOYJOY. (These aren't new; they've been running for a couple months, at least.) I love the illustration styles and the whimsy about them. And I love the tagline: Fortified with optimism. Nothing like a breath of fresh air. Ahh.

My favorite:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Award Show Reality Check

To continue my string of posts on this Cannes/JCPenney issue (which I apparently can't get enough of) this blog post might shed some light on how the spot came to Cannes. Was it unapproved "pork"? Or produced by Epoch just for giggles?

Another Fake JCPenney Spot

AdFreak alerted me to Epoch films having more than one fake JCPenney spot. While this one didn't win anything at Cannes. It's still an interesting, if a little dark, spot. Check it out!

This spot is also disappearing from YouTube, so if you can't see it in the post view it here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fake Ad, Real Award?

The ad world is chattering away about the JCPenney "Speed Dressing" win at Cannes last week. The chatter isn't just about how this amusing spot won a Bronze Lion, but that the spot itself is a fake. JCPenney says it had nothing to do with it and is up in arms about the spot ruining the company's wholesome image. The spot was not entered by JCPenney or its ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, but by Epoch Films in New York. JCPenney is currently trying to get the spot pulled from the internet, where it's flourished since its Cannes win.

The nagging question in my mind is, how did it win? I'm not expert on Cannes by any means, but awards generally require the work submitted to be legit and something that's actually run in the media. Cannes rules don't appear to be any different.

The whole debacle is pretty amusing to me (although I wouldn't want to be working JCPenney PR or on that account at Saatchi right now). JCPenney thinks the spot ruins their brand and image. Others argue all this press is nothing but good for the company and the spot will help them with a younger, more hip audience. You be the judge. Check out the spot below. Does it help or hurt?

This spot has been disappearing on YouTube. If you can't view it here, try this link.

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Will Be A Different Kind of Election

And not just because of our candidates. I just learned that Obama and McCain (well, designated people who work for them) will be participating in an online Twitter debate moderated by Time Magazine's blogger and sponsored by Personal Democracy Forum 2008 (PdF 2008). I think we're just seeing the beginning. This should be an interesting couple of months.

Is Mitsubishi Driving Its Entire Brand @Earth?

Check this out: Mitsubishi is apparently launching a new global tagline this summer. No, it doesn't have anything to do with being fuel efficient or environmentally conscious. The new tagline? Drive@earth.
And the logo (pictured) doesn't get much better. The blogger over at autoblog hits the nail on the head: It "looks like an intern tacked [the tagline] below the logo in Microsoft Word ten minutes ago... ." Nice.

Kinda seems like they're sending the kamikaze straight for their brand.

Watch Out in Public. You Might Be Filmed For The Next TV Spot

Has anyone else noticed the recent surge in national TV spots that feature actual consumers under hidden video surveillance? (OK, if you can call three spots a "surge.")

We blogged about the Pizza Hut Tuscani Pasta spot a while back, but lately I've seen a few others pop up: Miller Genuine Draft searching for "genuine" people and a customer in a VW dealership conversing with the German car.

I'll keep looking for these spots online and if I find them, I'll post 'em here. I generally find these spots, and this angle, interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

FontStruct: Make Your Own Fonts Online

There's a new website out called FontStruct that allows you create your own font online for free. The font creation abilities are limited, but it's an interesting extension of Web 2.0 into the design world. After you design your font, you can keep it private or choose to share it with a Creative Commons license. According an article in Slate, this site is popular with all kinds of font enthusiasts, not just designers.

My personal opinion is FontStruct is it's pretty fun to play around with, but incapable of creating any fonts that I might actually use. You are limited to pretty blocky, tech-y and ultimately gimmicky designs due to how the program is set up and the shapes available to build with. I was really excited about the site at first, but as I tried to design a font, I just got frustrated and annoyed that I was unable to make any of the designs that I wanted to. Call me a font snob, but I really hate gimmicky fonts and was overall, unimpressed by the gallery of fonts generated by users. The Slate article suggested that this site is so overwhelmingly popular it's been crashing. That scares me a bit. There are already many horrendous fonts out there, do we really need more? I think I'd be on board with this site if it had more capabilities to produce a wider range of designs because right now they're all too obviously made by building block shapes.

The Slate article quotes a user stating, "all of us are going to be little Adrian Frutiger[s]!" Sorry, but this program is nowhere near capable of producing a font like Univers. Not even close...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Did Weezer Steal the Idea for its New Viral Video?

Our astute creative director came across a posting by an astute (and presumably Canadian) blogger that reveals a Barenaked Ladies music video showcasing YouTube celebrities. Much like the recent Weezer video that's become a viral sensation we blogged about a couple weeks ago. The kicker? The BNL video was posted on YouTube well over a year ago.

I agree that the Weezer video is better. But it still begs the question: Is this a case of innocent coincidence, an unlikely compliment, or a blatant rip-off?

Here's the Barenaked Ladies version:

(And this isn't the first time we've written about a blatant rip-off.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cool Flash Site Intro

This Dutch retail site, Hema, has one of the most clever uses of flash I've seen in quite awhile. It's definitely worth checking out.

My only critique is it's hard to get to the rest of the site. Once the flash is over the only link I could find to the rest of the site appears only after you've emailed the flash link to someone else. A bit cocky, no? No matter how cool the flash is, it's not so economically smart to keep your customers from easily accessing the revenue generating portion of your site. If you do want to check out the retail side without emailing this to someone, here's a direct link.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Give me a Clue

As a bit of a nerdy crossword puzzle junkie myself, I found these crossword puzzle ads from Lincoln Financial Group's latest campaign amusing. The "Futureself" campaign has multiple executions, but I found this one to be the most catching and amusing. Maybe that's just because I love crosswords, but I think it has more to do with the ad and execution being specific to its media and location. I can't tell you how many great site- and media-specific concepts Megan and I present that unfortunately never make it to execution. A concept that's site specific makes it all that more tactile and relevant to the person viewing it. I just wish the help given was for a harder clue!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is This Really What Advertising Is All About?

So, I'm working on coming up with a tagline for a building project one of our clients has underway. As is typical of these sorts of assignments, I took a trip to to see if any synonyms would spark an idea. The first word I looked up was "build." Pretty straightforward given the assignment, right?

The sixth entry for the word "build" is this:

Main Entry: advertise
Part of Speech: phrasal verb
Definition: To make known vigorously the positive features of (a product).
Synonyms: ballyhoo, cry, popularize, promote, publicize, talk up

Am I really in the business of ballyhoo? I guess that makes me a ballyhooer.

My parents should be proud.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Evolution of the Starbucks Logo

As a designer, I've definitely looked closely at the Starbucks logo and wondered how it came to be, but a recent blog post on AdFreak led me to another blog and post about the history of the Starbucks logo. I thought it was pretty interesting—she's apparently has some scandalous roots and the original logo's use is getting uproar from conservatives.

The history post is a couple years old, but has a number of updates and a lengthy comment from the designer who took the original sketched logo to the green, graphical logo evolutions. But my favorite part is the last part of his comment:
To me at the time, it was just another logo job to do. Who would have thought I'd be sick of seeing it all over the place. It isn't one of my best logos.