Friday, July 31, 2009

Flashback Fridays - First McDonalds Commercial

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the second installment of Flashback Fridays and man do I have a treat for you from McDonalds. I would recommend that you not watch this before be unless you want to be killed in your dreams by Ronald McDonald, talk about a creepy. Have a look and don't mind the quality...

See, what did I tell you. Maybe the creepiest commercial I have ever seen. "I like to do everything that little boys and girls like to do" ...amazing. I'm not sure who was in charge of costume design but that clown suit was fantastic, complete with paper cup nose and a magic feeding tray summed up with one hell of a jingle.

I hope that I can continue to find gems like these.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Madmen Yourself

Dear Madmen,

Like many from the Advertising and Marketing Industry and I think a few other common folk I am eagerly awaiting the season premier of Madmen on Sunday August 16. To help with the hype of the season premiere Madmen has launched a new feature on the site (hosted by AMC) that allows you to be a part of the show by creating your own character ('Madmen Yourself'). Much better than my character on World of Warcraft named Don Draper, my Peggy character on Habbo Hotel and my account under the name Pete Campbell I have on Plenty of Fish.

Seriously though this is a great little application to have some fun with if you are 'Mad' over Madmen (see what I did there). I suggest taking a run at it if you have a little time to kill. And if you really have what it takes Madmen has teamed up with Banana Republic for a 'Madmen Casting Call' to showcase Banana's new line of clothing.


Case of Mistaken Identity?

Dear Malibu,

I was walking to work today minding my business as usual when I noticed you had a new billboard with yet another flavour. I thought to myself man the ladies are really gonna love this (thinking to myself that this was the market they were going after), so I read on. "The best combo since topless & beach." Is it just me or does this seem to be way off? Unless of course its the ladies that get really excited about topless beaches and not us gentleman?

Malibu, I understand if you are trying to appeal to a new demographic but even the design of the billboard says that its a drink for the ladies. I think I will just stick to light beer the best combination since flavoured & lip gloss.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anytime, Anywhere

Dear Huggies,

I just saw some iterations of your 'Anytime, Anywhere' campaign for Huggies produced by Ogilvy in S.Paulo. I commend the work on its simplicity and give kudos to the clients for realizing that those little bundles of joy say enough with their cute little faces than a bigger logo and body copy ever could.

In addition to the aesthetics of the ads, I discovered that each image used was actually found on Flickr. Why use those conceded baby models when a natural photo can be found on one of many social media sites. I think that this may open up a new can of worms in the world of photography and how social media can be used in the future of advertising. This may not be a route that every brand would want to take but their are definitely some brands that thrive to use everyday people in everyday situations; Canadian Tire (currently promoting a contest on Flickr), Pedigree Dog Food (pictures of puppies playing), Bauer Hockey Equipment (showing kids at their first game), DeWalt Tools (guys building a deck or a cottage).

Honestly the list is endless as to how you could use something like a Flickr to promote your product to the everyday person, by actually using everyday people for once. But why stop at Flickr? Could advertisers use posts on Twitter for an out of home campaign? Blogger articles as PR releases (please someone pick this up)? Movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes instead of actual critics?

The point being that like YouTube there are a number of ways we can leverage social media to work for brands across a number of mediums. I for one look forward to the next level of social media's impact on marketing as we know it.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Flash Back Fridays

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the first edition of 'Flash Back Fridays'! Where we take a look at some advertising from the days of yore. I'll do my best to try and give you an idea of what I feel is the true insight to each ad and try to figure out how and why some of these ads were ever made. Remember the eighties? Man that was a crazy time in advertising. So get ready for a walk down memory lane mixed with a little bit nostalgia and a dash of mind blowing amazingness!

The whole reason I was inspired to add FBF's into the mix is because of the latest Heinz campaign celebrating their 100th anniversary. Heinz is running a number of 30s showing some of their favourite ads they used in the past. It only seems fitting that the first installment be a Heinz ad.

Recognize that guy? That's right it's Matthew Leblanc from that moderately sucessful show Friends. I bet you didn't know that at one point in his life this guy was in all kinds of commercials wearing sweet plaid shirts and not taking sh*t from anyone. For instance why would Matt waste his time putting ketchup on his hot dog like a regular person when he can lean a bottle of Heinz over the side of a building and get his Heniz that way. Heinz is delicious on Hot Dogs already but just how much more delicious it would be if it was poured off the top of a building.

Happy 100th Heinz.


Recessionary Advertising

Dear Media,

Who needs your expensive buys when you can do work like this. It just seems so simple.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crocs Extinct

Dear Crocs,

I just heard that your days are numbered and I can't say that I'm surprised. I'm not going to lie I never owned a pair and looked down on people who did but I do have to say that I thought there was a reason that you existed. While they weren't the shoes for me they were the shoes for; gardeners, nurses, hikers, cooks, dishwashers, boating and for people who just didn't have a clue. It seemed like a pretty sound business and was doing really really well in 2007 profiting $168.2 million. Pretty good for some shoes with holes in them.

Little did we know that Croc's head office was figuring out a way to put holes in everything; holes in shirt, holes in pants, holes in hats. Ok maybe that didn't happen but what did happen was that someone decided that instead of doing one thing really well they would try and be all things to everyone. They expanded there shoe line, added some clothes to the mix and opened up Croc stores!?!?

I guess they thought pretty highly of themselves to think that they were big enough to open there own stores. Converse has been around for 25 years plus and hasn't thought of opening their own store so where does Crocs get off thinking that this was a logical step. I guess they learned their lesson when they posted a loss of $185.1 million in 2008

A look at the best Crocs ad ever and maybe the last.


Monday, July 20, 2009

YouTube Adwords?

Dear YouTube,

Wow! It seems like this user generated content thing is really taking off who would of thought that everyday people would want anything to do with fame and hopefully fortune. I read last week that the Evian Babies Roller Skating spot reached 14 million views. This has shattered every YouTube advertising record to date.

What I find surprising is how YouTube hasn't taking a page our of Google's book and introduced the idea of Adwords to the world of user generated content. When I searched Evian babies I was expecting to see a Pampers display ad to pop up beside the different associated videos but instead received an ad about 'The 6 Big Fat Loss Mistakes'? Or when I type in Monkey's instead of matching the search with an advertisement for the zoo it was an RBC ad that appeared on the page.

Don't get me wrong I understand the risks involved with user generated material I just think that there might be ways to have more relevant material appear whenever I am surfing around YouTube.

In addition to relevant material there are enough YouTube stars out there looking for some fortune to go along with the fame they have received to date. Your telling me that the Star Wars kid wouldn't make a good spokesperson for Nasal Strips. Alright maybe these YouTube stars wouldn't be ideal advocates for your brand but buying the word 'Star Wars' on YouTube Adwords might come in handy for the next Comic Book hero flick movie trailor. Or maybe when you type in Water Skiing squirrel a display ad for motor boats appears.

All I'm saying is that I think there are some avenues yet to be explored on how we might better use YouTube for paid purposes.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rewarding Social Media Leaders

Hello Online Social Media and the Brands that use the outlets,

When I look back at the beginning of online social media we were so confused as marketers and advertisers about how we were going to harness the power of the consumer to help our own cause. Ohhh the aches and pains we suffered and the number of PR disasters their were along the way.

Smoking Smarties. Too much of this is sure to cause Diabetes (bad joke)

Domino's Pizza. They should have had better employee incentives. I will say that this was handled really well by Domino's head office.

Those two are great examples of how Social Media can work against you. But as time goes on we continue to find new and innovative ways to yield this awesome power and use it for good not evil. All I can say is that when it works really really well. Most recently I found a new example of a win for PF Chang:

Clearly PF Chang's head office gets how important their consumers are in the world of social media and has taken it to the next level by rewarding them for being brand advocates.

I think that this could be a very valuable model in the future of social media on how we can recognize our most valuable consumers. The only thing I am wary of is our ability to time and time again exploit these wins and diminish the credibility of these advocates as an extension of our own brands. I guess only time will tell.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TMN on Demand

Dear TMN,

Its great to see that you finally figured out a way to earn ad revenue without the need to expose your viewers to ads outside of previews for whats new this month on TMN and HBO. I have been a subscriber to TMN for about a year now and have enjoyed the service based on the quality of programming and its On Demand service. Until recently TMN had not allowed any brands to meddle in their programming. Being the ad person that I am I had been trying to think of ways for Brands to attach themselves to TMN's programming specifically the HBO shows.

Over the years HBO has produced and still produces some of the biggest hit TV Programming for a very wide demographic with shows like; Sex in the City, Entourage, Six Feet Under, Oz, True Blood, The Sopranos and Flight of the Concords just to name a few. Those who don't subscribe to TMN end up waiting a year or two before getting their first glimpse of these blockbuster shows and are left out of the water cooler conversation about Vince and the boys. I digress.

Recently TMN has discovered a way to have a sponsor for those of us using TMN On Demand. Alexander Keith's has jumped on board to pilot this project and all I can say is kudos to whoever made the decision to pull the trigger on spending those sponsorship dollars. Seems like a good place to own considering there is no other competition and the hit shows continue continue to roll out.

I will be interested to see how many other stations/shows will start to pick up this model of one brand per show as the PVR revolution continues.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buick Ads Make Brand Look Newic

Dear GM,

Caught your New Buick ad today and I have to say that I am not mad about it at all. Not only did it introduce the Buick in a younger light it also used the song 'Here Comes the Hotstepper' - which is a personal fave. Seriously though it is great to see Buick finaljavascript:void(0)ly introducing itself to a younger generation of car buyers. I guess its not just for my grandparents anymore.

What I really liked is that GM is moving away from this whole reinvention platform after announcing their bankruptcy. Who isn't going to announce a reinvention after you've gone bankrupt (I know I'm a little bit late on this but I wanted to get this off my chest). What would have been less obvious would be if they came our with a 'we're going to build even bigger cars campaign'. Now that what have turned some heads.


Monday, July 13, 2009


Dear Coke Zero,

I apologize if I'm reporting an old piece of creative but I just stumbled across this tv spot for Coke Zero that was created by Wieden+Kennedy and all I can say is 'unbelievable'.

I'm not sure if this is a platform that will continue to be explored but I think that while the combo idea may have been seen before I think that this might be an area that Coke Zero could hang their hat on. It seems since the launch of Coke Zero that the brand has had a hard time finding and sticking to one platform producing a number of spots unable to create any real synergy for the brand.

Don't get me wrong many entertaining spots have been produced as a result I'm just wondering if Coke Zero will ever be able to carve out clear strategy and communication for the brand.

This is still my favourite.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Casino Rama wants your vote...

Dear Casino Rama,

While I am all for excitement I struggle to be all for your current campaign. Let me get this straight I have to vote yes or no on whether I am for excitement...well that seems like a pretty easy answer who wouldn't want to vote 'yes' for...wait a minute I get it now this is kind of like opposite day where up is down and left is right and voting no to excitement is just plain ludicrous.

I want to start off by thanking Casino Rama and their AOR Marshall Fenn Communications for treating me like a dummy. What is even more unfortunate is the response that the campaign is getting, judging from the number of hits the site is getting. What is kind of funny though is that 'Voting No to Excitement' seems to be outweighing 'Voting Yes'. I guess I am not the only one feeling like Casino Rama doesn't think much of my intelligence or their current clienteles. I would have loved to be in that brainstorm/presentation when this idea seemed like a logical step for the brand.

( I only provided the link because all I could find on Youtube was one of the old spots attached to a BMO spot.

Once upon a time Casino Rama had a branded itself as the founder of excitement and that the word would not exist if it weren't for them. And now they are asking us to 'Vote for Excitement'? Seems a little backwards to me!?!?

The only vote they are going to get from me is a vote of silence until they figure out the proper way to evolve their communication as a brand that is the reason for excitement.


Friday, July 3, 2009

"The times they are a changin..."

While I’m not positive that Bob Dylan wrote that song or line for the Advertising Industry, but it has never been more true than right now. The industry as a whole has been taking a beating because of the economic downturn and everybody and their mother has asked for a bailout. And while we are not in an industry that gives handouts (aside from the odd NGO campaign) our services as advertising agencies seem to be the first expenditure on the chopping block. For years advertising agencies in general have been perceived as an overcharging, expensive and only looking out for ourselves not necessary but a ‘nice to have’ service by marketers.

There are some agencies that have heard this and are standing up for agencies to show that we will sacrifice the Kraft truck and champagne kisses in order to continue to do some great work.

Over the last month or so campaigns from agencies have been popping up across North America offering clients (marketers) the opportunity to remain competitive and active with their communications by providing advertising services at a reduced rate or no fees at all! An industry that has taken for so long has decided to give back in order to get their creative fix (like a junky in need of their next hit).

Why now? It’s simple really, this is a vulnerable time for the big agency and the small and medium size has recognized this and is using this opportunity to dangle their line in the water in hopes of landing one of the big fish. It has become apparent that a lot of the bigger agencies have taken their line out of the water for the time being and that the little guys being so nimble in size can afford the right bait for these hard times. I could use fish analogies all day but the point is that these hardships have brought new opportunities that marketing departments may never see again. The only challenge is getting past the fact that a lot of these companies remain relatively unknown in the big world of advertising.

Should these offers be taken seriously? It really depends on what it is your looking for.

Elemental Agency from Toronto recently launched the Marketing Budget Bailout campaign ( offering marketers a bailout package that includes strategy, the communication plan and creative without any sort of a payback.

Agency Nil from Virginia is offering its services for a price of ‘whatever you think the work is worth’ (

The Brainstorm Group recently ran a newspaper ad of a coupon giving clients $40,000 off if they signed up to work with them on a retainer worth $250,000 plus.

Do these campaigns work? Only time will tell. All I can say is that now is the time for small and medium sized agencies with their low overhead costs to finally reel in a large client. I look forward to these tall tales in the future about how they finally landed a big one.