Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Repost

The most powerful word in the world


Toddlers know how to use it with great efficacy. But somewhere along the way, we forgot its power. It's especially tough to wield it in these recessionary times, but now we need "no" more than ever.

No. We won't do the project for 25% less because someone else will do it cheaper.

No. We won't change the design to please the president's wife who took a design class in college 30 years ago.

No. We won't take on that project because the extra money would be nice, but doing so would compromise the outcome of your project and the work we already have.

No. We won't give you our ideas for free just to show you how we'd approach the problem.


It's a great little word. And when used judiciously, it does wonders for your self respect.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thanks Steve

I'm not going to go deep into any analysis of his career, the difference he has made (and hopefully will continue to make) on technology, business and our world.

I'm just going to say "thank you" for being a champion of advertising and helping to lift the state of our industry by approving and paying for the production of some of the best commercials and campaigns of my lifetime.

Here's a great video of Jobs introducing the "1984" spot to people at Apple a week before it ran on the Super Bowl. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Toyota "learns" from Detroit

Yesterday Toyota unveiled the 2012 Camry to the press at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California and webcast the event online for all to see. After watching the entire video live during my lunch hour (I've embedded an edited version for you here), I have just one question, why?

Why would they hire dancers, actors, acrobats, free runners, and bmx riders, dress them in red and have them pretend this is the coolest car they've ever seen?

Why would they have Bob Carter (a very nice man, I'm sure) act as the main presenter and not coach him on the proper pronunciation of the word hybrid?

Why would you have the chief engineer, Yukihiro Okane drive the car to the stage, introduce him and then not let him say a word to the automotive journalists gathered there?

This kind of "theater" is what Detroit excelled at years ago when they'd introduce car after car with nothing new to say. The lame jokes, the pointless pomp, the obligatory indie L.A. rock band, they all add up to nothing.

I understand the new Camry is a big deal to Toyota. It's a big deal in the auto industry. It's been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the past seven years. Everybody – Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Kia – has it in their sights. But an event like makes it feel as though Toyota has nothing to say about the product so why not just put on a show.

Most automotive journalists I know are a pretty jaded bunch. They see events like this and roll their eyes while accepting the free travel, food and other entertainment from Toyota that surrounds the launch. But none of that is part of the story. None of it will make the pages of their magazines or the posts on their site.

And that's what's wrong with a launch event like this. The redesign looks good (if still a little on the blandtastic side). The performance numbers look good. The fuel economy has been improved. They lowered base prices across the line. All good things. Yet, it's all made a little less credible by this incredibly irrelevant event.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding with the past

If you're tired of riding the same Moto Guzzi, Ducati or Husqvarna that everyone else is, then maybe you should look at a Hammarhead Motorcycle.

Manufactured in Philadelphia by the handful, these bikes are inspired by some of the most iconic motorcycles of the past. My favorite, the Jack Pine, recreates the Triumph Scrambler to the smallest detail, except for the oil leaking all over your legs.

At $16,500 it seems like a bargain considering they're only building two next year. Put your order in now.

Pier 18 from Hammarhead Industries on Vimeo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

When advertising gets ugly

One of the necessary evils of the advertising business is the agency review.

Pitching new business is exhilarating, demeaning, exhausting and costly. When you win, you feel like you're on top of the world. When you lose, you wonder why you even bothered.

A major pitch, like the one just announced by Bud Light, will cost participating agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars each on research, travel, spec production and all the other things required by the process. It will take the time and attention of each agency's top talent away from their best clients putting those relationships at risk. And in the end, only one will walk away with the prize.

It's a rare industry where companies give their product away with only a 20% chance of winning new business. Until somebody figures out a better way to pick a new agency, we'll continue to be put through the wringer by clients who either are naive or have unrealistic expectations about the process.

Either way, a lot of good people will waste a lot of time developing good ideas for bad beer. And that, my friends, is a damn shame.