Friday, January 22, 2010

Free Idea Friday

Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. Every Friday I will share an idea that's been rolling around in my head that I have neither the time nor the where-with-all to execute. Remember, it's free, so take it for what it's worth.

The Big Cheese
Most people think cheese is cheese. And when you consider that they rarely ever taste anything but individually wrapped processed singles, can you really blame them?

When I lived in Madison, I was always intrigued by the World Cheese Championships. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, this competition is truly global attracting participants from Europe, Australia, New Zealand as well as the Americas. And as a cheese lover, I've always wanted to taste all the different winners. One of the local markets buys and stocks a few, but it's hard to find them since they're all different brands with just a sticker on the package.

What if you created a brand for the winners, then packaged them under that brand, putting the individual cheesemaker's name, logo and story on the package as well? This would make it easy for people to find cheese that's been judged best in the world and give them a better understanding of where it comes from.

For this exercise, I've made up the names/brands of the cheesemakers. The packaging illustration by the incredibly talented Glenn Fuller, is not meant to be the final design, but I think it does a great job of communicating the idea.

Suddenly I have a craving for a cheese omelet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Actually, It Does Get Better Than This.

In an effort to contemporize its brand, Oscar Mayer has moved on from jingles to an original pop song, updated it's imagery with beautifully shot young adults enjoying their products, and appropriated a themeline that Old Milwaukee beer used in the '80s.

The new song (which you can hear here) is written by Joy Williams, a songwriter whose oeuvre includes original works for American Idol – apparently that's supposed to give it some street cred. Much like Oscar's products, the song is bland enough to appeal to a wide range of people. And images from the print campaign appear to be lifted right out of the pop-culture pantheon including Lady and the Tramp. Everything is incredibly well executed and thoroughly professional, but it doesn't do anything to change my perceptions of the brand. And it's certainly not new. Which brings me to the theme line...

I guess I shouldn't have expected an original idea from this mainstream American brand, and maybe I'm the only one to remember it, but it just seems odd that they'd steal a slogan from a popular priced beer brand and use it as a tag for a campaign that's supposed to bring Oscar Mayer into this century. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proof that anything's possible.

Every category has its conventions. Car advertising has amazing stunts. Soft drink advertising has shiny happy people. Sneaker advertising has sports stars. And pretty soon all the ads in each category are interchangeable. But every once in a while an advertiser manages to use the conventions to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

In this spot for a law firm in New York, they take the typical "I'm a victim, get me my money" approach and have a little fun with it.

It's a simple and refreshing idea. Using humor humanizes the law firm and gives people a dose of reality while making the attorneys seem like responsible legal professionals instead of ambulance chasing shysters who will promise you anything to get your case.

The other thing I like about this ad is that it proves you can do great advertising in any category. Hey, if they can make lawyers look good, creating a great car ad should be easy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Opportunities Are Everywhere

There are two ways to look at the economic crisis that we're in and (hopefully) on the way out of. You can adopt the victim's mentality and suffer helplessly at how events have conspired to ruin your life. Or you can try Conan O'Brien's approach and make something out of the opportunity created by the chaos.

I prefer Conan's approach.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Charging Into The Abyss

Maybe you heard the news last Thursday that Chrysler will make its return to the Super Bowl this year, making it the only domestic auto company to advertise in the big game. It's a bold move. Especially since their ad will feature the Dodge Charger, a five-year-old muscle car that's completely out of step with current automotive trends.

What the hell are they thinking?

The Super Bowl is an incredible advertising venue. With over 100 million viewers, it's the one true major event left on television. And even better, it's probably the only show where people actually look forward to watching the ads. It's the perfect place to launch a campaign when you have something important to say and a way to follow it up throughout the year.

So what does Chrysler do?  Spend nearly six million dollars featuring a product with dated styling, lousy fuel economy, and that sold just 54,000 units last year. Is this really the statement they want to make right now? Really?

It's been said that nothing can kill a bad product faster than great advertising. Given their agency, Wieden & Kennedy has a track record of producing excellent Super Bowl ads, then Chrysler is speeding its own demise by pursuing this strategy.