Thursday, January 29, 2009
Look for my Super Bowl spot between the 1st and 2nd quarters. It features Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. See the teaser on You Tube:
Or go to www.tatersontires.com for teaser + behind the scenes footage.
Enjoy. And don't forget to vote the next day.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A few gems from A Big Life In Advertising by Mary Wells Lawrence, the head of the agency that came up with “Quality is Job One” for Ford and “I Love New York.” I want to meet her, have tea, and ask her about a zillion questions about everything.
"In some subtle way, every ad, every commercial should produce a feeling of love between the product and the potential buyer."
"Alchemy plays a big role in creative businesses. In the advertising business a writer and an art director are assigned to one another by agency management and they have to toss ideas at one another until they establish an intimacy and a trust, at which point a psychic marriage of their talents takes place and they are magically able to produce advertising that sings. Sometimes. Sometimes alchemy doesn't happen and you have to find them different partners. It is a mysterious process."
"...I've had my eye out for romantics in this business, they are full of ideas, and I am crazy about people who are happy in their work."
"Agencies and clients learn to live with each other, sometimes with enormous success, until, over time, one or the other loses interest or there is a disaster. It is a lot like getting married."
"I wanted a heroic agency, I dared everybody to be bold, to be thrilling and I dared our clients to be bold and thrilling. I kept saying that our goal was to have big, breakthrough ideas, not just to do good advertising. I wanted to create miracles."
"That, I realized, is what [advertising] and marketing are supposed to do—enlarge someone's life through her or his imagination."
"You could tell when a company had a great leader and guide; you could sense his presence in the halls, and the heart of him was evident in every development at the place."
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Marketing's New Red-Hot Seller: Humble Snuggie
After 4 Million Sold, There's Waiting List for Blanket With Arms
I try to teach you to be great, to swing for the fences, to treat your audience like they're at least as smart as you.
And then something like this comes along and totally blows every theory I have out of the water.
It's more popular than God, according to recent estimates. Against all odds, launching amid the worst recession since the Ice Age, it flies of the shelves. There's a bloody waiting list for these things. A waiting list to look like you're in a Jedi Knight hospital ward.
Bad ads, an idiotic product. One big joke. A joke that's helping someone, somewhere laugh all the way to the bank.
So what does this teach us, the idea snobs, the concept worshipers?
Well, maybe it teaches us that there are two ways into the hearts and minds of the populace: the front door, and the cellar door. If you come through the front door, you better be as charming as you possibly can. If you go through the cellar door, you better hit as hard as you can and hope your victims eventually come to enjoy the abuse.
One thing I will say: I wouldn't want to be known for those awful, awful Snuggie ads. But if I ever have an idea for a product that's so bad it's good, I know who I'm going to call to do my commercials.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
As sure as prehistoric fish grew legs
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.
Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire. You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.
They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.
The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants.
I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice"
And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.
Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
if each came to his or her blindness separately,
how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones?
And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why.
Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass
or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hide the rising softness that he feels.
By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, though Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon,"
which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better.
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
"Nothing has changed since Red Riding Hood," says the master of horror. Interesting. So if people are frightened of the same thing they were as children, does that mean they'll respond to the same charm they did as kids too?
The first two or three minutes of this are genius, and pertain directly to the creative process Kiran and I try to teach but, alas, cannot. In particular, the conversation about cliches right around the 2-minute mark.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
— Jack London