Monday, June 07, 2004

Monday blahs

+ Nike taps Gawker Media for blog effort-"Called Art of Speed, the blog will spend about a month showcasing a series of 15 short films on the theme of speed, all commissioned by Nike. Gawker Media Contract Productions, a new division of Gawker Media, will supply layout, commentary, links and other features." Also from the article: "I'm skeptical that a lot of online readers would be interested in reading an advertorial blog," Patrick Phillips, the publisher of a blog called I Want Media, said. "If you got to a site, and you know you're being sold something, I don't know that there's going to be a lot of interest." Phillips brings up a very valid point. There's a big question as to how the weblog community would receive something like this. If it's related information and links to sports type stuff, it might be ok. But if they start trying to hawk their wares too hard, it will be a turn off. I don't think overall weblogs are a bad idea for companies or as an advertising message, but it needs to add value to the overall, well, value of the brand- be it emotional connection for the consumer or as a way to provide further information. And I'm not so sure that 15 short films about speed will do that.

+ Direct Mail is the UK's most hated industry according to a vote from BBC One's 'Brassed Off Britain' series. "Direct mail beat estate agents, mobile phone companies, call centres, dodgy builders and banks, pulling in 24% of the public's vote. However, second-placed banks were only just behind with 23% of the vote and third-placed call centres had 22%."

+ Death of the great advertising idea is a decent article that brings up some very interesting points. "The Idea was the central innovation of advertising's Creative Revolution. All other major elements -- the copywriter-art director creative team, the use of contemporary cultural references, the understanding that, as David Ogilvy put it, "the consumer is not an idiot, she is your wife" -- flowed from it. The Idea sought to connect a marketer's product to the consumer's interests, using as a bridge a clever, emotionally rich, culturally relevant story, told with fully integrated words and pictures." Rothenberg goes on to discuss that product placement, celebrity endorsements, sponsorships, and event marketing have sullied the "idea". There's a lot there that I agree with. Although I don't know that the "ideas" have totally died out in the ad industry. There are still some fabulous ads out there...just not a lot of them. Whether that responsibility stems from the agencies, clients or a little bit of both is hard to say. My guess is that it is a little bit of both. In recent years, a lot of creative has been not so great. Few great ideas were making their way out into the public eye. And of course, some of that had to do with budget cutbacks, layoffs, and other economy related things. As the economy goes south, clients rein in their ad budgets and tend to go the more conservative route- or look for cheaper ways to get their messages out there. But then too, agencies have a tendency to kowtow to the clients, giving them what they want, in an effort not to lose the account. Doing that results in bad work too. Like the article points out (and I think I might have before), you cannot have one celebrity taking on the spokesperson job for 6 different brands. It doesn't help the brand to be associated with someone who's already hawking a multitude of products- even if they are in different categories. Sometimes I wonder if that is a result of the client saying "Yeah, let's get X" and the agency just nodding in agreement to make the client happy. Throughout these last couple years it has been difficult for me to see some of the crap that gets through the agencies and out into the airwaves, into the magazines, etc. When I get complaints from people about the crappy advertising out there (for some reason because I work in the industry, they feel it's their responsibility to inform me about it), I tell them "well, it's not my fault." Sometimes that makes me feel a little better about not having a fulltime job, or working on high-profile accounts. But at the same time, it also fuels my desire to work to make a change in the crap that is out there. The inane concepts, stupid copy, and overall lame attempts to "cut through the clutter". There's something that should be done about it. And in some way agencies like CP+B are working towards that end. I just hope that eventually I get to be a part of this "idea revolution." And in time I'm sure I will...but the waiting is the hardest part. I could write more on this but for now I'll leave it at this. Maybe later I'll go off on another rant. ;)

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