But it looked soooo good on TV?!

kfc chickenkfc chicken

When I was little I always wondered how the kids in the TV commercials poured such perfect bowls of cereal. A crunchy layer of cereal three-inches thick sat on top of a pool of bright white milk. Not a single sugary nugget was disturbed; and none of it ever got soggy when it hit the milk.

That’s never how my cereal bowls looked, I can tell you that! I eventually realized that “as seen on TV” isn’t how it happens in real life. Things are always a little more soggy, a little less golden brown, a bit messier and disproportioned, and never as juicy as they look in the ads. But boy, those food photographers do a heck of a job because they still pull us in every time.

fast food sandwichfast food sandwich

(For more food ads versus reality, check out this site!)

Is it ethical for advertisers to visually enhance their products for the photoshoot? Well, other commodity companies photoshop and air brush their models for ads every day. Is this any different? Not really. But can anyone blame them? If they did photograph and show you how their meal REALLY looks when it leaves the basking light of the heat lamp and hits your tray, would you go out of your way to get it? As consumers we’ve learned not to take certain advertising at face value. We’ve been conditioned on the mass market.

For example, we know that Happy Meals aren’t really nutritious, even if McDonald’s marketing stakes that claim while targeting kids with an irresistible ploy of toys and figurines. Now a public watchdog group in Silicon Valley, California has banned the fast food giant from including toys in their meals and marketing. Apparently they aren’t offering our kids “the best,” as they claim. Since when? Even so, is legal action against McDonald’s marketing focus necessary? What do you think?


Think outside of the box! Or, uh, the business card?

OK, so yes it’s probably the oldest cliche in the book, but I just had to use it because it was too perfect here. How cool is this business card? Now this is the type of innovative thinking that excites us.

Seriously, who’s going to be handed this business card and NOT be absolutely compelled to start a conversation about it? Most people have the wrong idea about business cards. They use them as an after thought instead of a real marketing tool. Your business card can be so much more! Use it as a billboard to build your brand; to reinforce your philosophy. Make it work for you. And yes, get creative!

Ridiculous and unchecked creativity is obviously not appropriate for every industry, but for a cargo shipping company, it definitely works. The origami-inspired leave-behind shows creativity and thought, yet isn’t too flashy. It seems professional but stands out at the same time. It’s appropriate yet unexpected. This Brazilian creative agency, Y&R,  deserves some props.

The creativity is great, but what’s the catch? It’s just not practical. Hey, we have some clients who worry about the cost of printing color on both sides of letterhead, let alone paying for collateral of this complexity. Printing 1,000 of these specialized business cards is not exactly cheap. If you’re worried about cost, you might want to treat this piece like your good china – only use it on special occasions.

We certainly appreciate great ideas, but smart marketing is about knowing how to use creativity in the real world. Have you seen any cool marketing ideas out there that just blow away the status quo? Share them with us!

Bet you can’t watch this Axe ad just once

If you haven’t seen the new Axe international ad, you really should. Actually, you should watch it at least twice. You’re probably going to miss a few things the first time. And that’s the point.

Why do we love the Axe ads so much? Well, the shirtless men are pretty easy to look at. But that’s besides the point. Their ads are just so darn entertaining. They speak to the general obliviousness of the young male population and their sometimes apathetic attempts at impressing girls, but nevertheless persistent pursuit of the opposite sex. Axe Rise Up gel promises to wake you up so that you never miss an opportunity. If we know what they mean ;)

Buzzman was the creative agency that found a fun and really clever way to illustrate it. Perhaps a little friendly competition between Old Spice and Axe has sparked the creativity lately (we also can’t get enough of the Old Spice guy on a horse).

If you liked those magic eye books as a kid, you’ll love Axe’s new creative piece. Without a spoiler alert, all we’ll say is to watch the guy closely until the end…

Text translation:

  • Look closely at this guy
  • He didn’t notice the 10 beautiful girls around him. Apparently neither did you.
  • Wake up and get ready.

Wassup?! DDB’s new creative director talks about how to engage

Remember the good old days?

We used to watch TV just for the iconic commercials that we loved to recite. On Budweiser’s prompt, we greeted each other with an affectionate “Wassup??” and serenaded friends when they acted as “real men of genius.” Remember this gem…

We can thank the creative minds at DDB for these well-loved campaigns that permeated into our national culture. But despite apparent recent turbulence, we may again look forward to a golden age of commercial creativity. One of the most acclaimed creative talents in London is returning to DDB, this time in Chicago, as Executive Creative Director. The American creative industry will soon greet Ewan Paterson.

Ad Age printed a short interview with Paterson yesterday, in which he explained his bounding expectations and high hopes for DDB Chicago. Even in just five questions, he continued to reference the lasting iconic and crowd-pleasing campaigns of DDB past, and the potential for future pop culture greatness. Continue reading

The hottest viral campaign: walking on water

The biggest human breakthrough this century and the hottest new sport in the country is a massive viral phenomenon. The video is hot and everyone is trying it at home, despite the advisory warnings. So what’s the catch to the advertising success of liquid mountaineering? It  isn’t a real past time at all. But it sure is brilliant marketing.

Well, according to its creators, a quirky group of sports shoe marketing creatives, liquid mountaineering, or literally walking on water, may not by possible by the law of physics, but  “you just have to believe.” Continue reading

Google: What, me worry?

Probably not. Hey, it’s Google, after all. Undoubtedly the most successful search engine in the world. So what in the world could possibly threaten the Google empire? The biggest competition doesn’t come from a search engine at all.

What is… Facebook??

OK, so it’s not direct competition in terms of core functionality, but still. It’s competing for consumers’ time and attention, and according to statistics from the UK, Facebook is winning.

Why should this even matter to Google?

Well, it’s all about the search engine’s main revenue source: advertising spend.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone who’s ever heard the phrase “social network” that Facebook is king of the status-phere. In the Hitwise study it collected 55% of all social site visits. Google beat Facebook in wider Web clicks overall, with 9.3% of total Web traffic to Facebook’s 7%. But when total Internet traffic was tabulated, social networks as a group won the race by a neck (or a few clicks!) with half of a percent more traffic than search engines – a first-time accomplishment for social networks. Continue reading

How you can make a difference in just 15 minutes

What can you do in 15 minutes?

Save money on your car insurance? Sure. But we’re looking deeper here, we want to make a difference in the world. I mean, everyone wants to help out, right? Well with the introduction at Mashable’s Media Summit yesterday of a new DIY fundraising Web site called Crowdrise, actor Edward Norton says you can bring about your own social change in just 15 minutes.

mashable on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Continue reading

Thinking outside the billboard

We make a point to work with as many non-for-profit organizations and charities as we can because we believe it’s important to give back to the community that has enabled you to succeed. From building Web site to designing fliers and collateral, to helping host events, we really enjoy running the campaigns that help fund a good cause.

When we heard about a text message and online donation campaign that an Austin, Texas-based marketing agency ran to raise money for a homeless family, we were impressed. Not just by the cause, but in the creative, and perhaps death defying way they pulled it off.

Marketing firm T3 was brainstorming of ways to help its client, a local mission that provides food and clothing to the homeless and working poor. After setting up a text message donation platform for the organization, the creative firm decided that they’d either go big or go home. Continue reading

Riding in cars with (mobile) toys

Over the past few years we’ve witnessed the compilation of the perfect storm: The economy is still hurting; everyone is going green; smartphone and mobile technology is growing by the minute; and the youngest generations no longer associate a sense of freedom with the reaction time of their cars, like their parents did, but instead they see freedom in the reaction time of their mobile screens.

What does it mean?

It means there’s been a paradigm shift. We’ve changed, our expected norms have changed, and the U.S. car culture has changed. Fewer and fewer younger people are driving, says a new Ad Age article that is based on data from the Department of Transportation, and they don’t really want to. While 92% of 19 year olds had a driver’s license in 1978, the number decreased to 77%  in 2008. Continue reading