Friday, July 2, 2010

Free Idea Friday

The Greatest Idea Ever

Thanks to a handful of brave visionaries who were willing to stand up to tyranny, we are able to live the lives we choose, pursue our dreams and enjoy freedoms that prior to the creation of this document were unparalleled. If you'd like to read the full text and remind yourself of the circumstances and values on which this nation was founded, you'll find it here.

Have a great holiday, and be safe this weekend.

This blog will return on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A seriously funny ad

Fresh off their Grand Prix win at the Cannes Advertising festival, Old spice is at it again with a new commercial featuring the man women want and men want to be, Isaiah Mustafa.

Another funny spot and judging by the comments on their Youtube and Facebook pages, it's sure to be a huge viral success. So why does this spot work when so many others that try to be funny don't? Let's break it down.

First, it has a sound strategic base. Old Spice's main competition, Axe, has used its hormone induced communications to suggest it will turn you into a nympho magnet. Thus it has become the aroma of choice of Junior High School boys. Old Spice, on the other hand is promising you'll "smell like a man." A much more believable proposition. Also, addressing the spot to women acknowledges their role in the process, and puts guys in the audience on alert... "Hey, why is this dude talking to my girl?"

The copy is first rate. Lines like "Do you want a man who smells like he can bake you a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built for you with his own hands." balance product sell, humor and fantasy. There is a repeatable copy line. Don't be surprised if you hear "Swan Dive" repeated over and over soon.

The art direction and production have just enough of a "how did they do that" factor to encourage repeated viewings of this spot. Did they really do it in one take? How did they get him into the hot tub and on the motorcycle?

And finally, it's strongly branded. It opens with a product shot and closes with the famous Old Spice audio signature. They're not trying to bury the brand in humor, they're actually selling the brand with humor.

And that's what makes this campaign one of the best in recent memory.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is it really work if you're wearing a bathing suit?

The web has changed the way I work. Apparently, I'm not the only one. According to this article in Businessweek, more and more people are making the beach their office.

Actually, it's not as glamorous as it sounds and frankly I'm just lucky that I bought this house on the lake before I decided to go out on my own. But what this article really points out is that the way we work has changed.

If you have an idea, a skill and provide value, you can do it from anywhere whether it's a sixth floor walk up in The Village or a room in your basement in the suburbs. There are fewer and fewer barriers to starting a new business. And even fewer reasons not to.

Working for a company provides no more security than working for yourself. And aside from the headaches of having to figure out healthcare, billing, marketing, and all the other administrative chores, self-employment allows you to focus in a way that's hard when you're part of a larger organization.

It's not for everyone. But as millions of people have proved over the last decade or so, it's not impossible to do the things you love from a place you'd like to be and make a reasonable living while doing it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When less isn't more

Ad Age reported that in the recent upfront for TV advertising, media buyers were paying more for shows this year that are expected to deliver fewer viewers than last year.

Basically this demonstrates the broken model of media and advertising.

With the increased penetration of cable, satellite, DVRs, online programming and even people watching video on their smart phones, the days of tens of millions of people sitting down in front of their sets at once to watch the same program are over.

So as inventories of shows with wide appeal dwindle, media buyers drive up costs for those few remaining hits.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to attract more viewers, Hollywood spends more money on star-studded casts and big production values, increasing the cost of the product that fewer consumers are willing to spend time watching.

The system is unsustainable.

Maybe it's time for a new reality show. Desperate Television Executives.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Small is big

After two decades when everything seemed to be getting bigger, SUVs like the Sequoia and Expedition ruled the roads and size of an average home grew 25%, it seems that small is making a comeback.

Companies like the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company are feeding this less is more attitude selling houses that range from just 65 to 837 square feet. And while these homes are inexpensive, they're not cheap, using premium materials, top of the line appliances and state-of-the-art energy systems.

They're not for everyone.

In fact, I'm sure that the average home will continue to get larger and most people will still want bigger cars and trucks. But this is just another instance where there's a business opportunity in doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.