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Archive for July, 2011

TV Commercial Power Hour

by Nick Faber
Friday, July 29th, 2011

Say advertising professional, want to let loose this weekend but don’t know how to leave your work in the office? Well have we got the drinking game for you.

It’s the TV Commercial Power Hour. As you watch the video, you take a shot of beer a minute for the entire hour. Sixty shots and over 100 commercials later, you’ll have had 6 whole beers, and maybe done a little creative brainstorming in the process. Don’t forget to jot down those inspired ideas!

Featured Blogger Interview: Valerie Marino and Kevin Norris of Triangle Music

by Paige Wilcox
Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The Triangle is a unique magnet for captivating music. The venues, artists and music lovers that make up the Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina, music scene have provided Triangle Music Founders Valerie Marino and Kevin Norris with plenty of music reviews and news to share with their readers. In addition to visiting the site, stay connected by following Triangle Music on Twitter and Facebook!


Triangle Music's Founders Kevin Norris and Valerie Marino

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: We started Triangle Music in May 2006. It was purely selfish at first — we just wanted an outlet to write about the bands we were listening to and any shows we happened to go to.

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst other music blogs?

A: A lot of music sites focus on a particular genre of music, but Triangle Music’s cornerstone is its diversity. We started the blog by writing about the music we like, and that’s anyone from Gillian Welch to Arcade Fire. Our goal is to inform our readers about not just local acts but to stay up to speed on the latest concert announcements and other music news that impacts the Triangle.

Q: How has the Triangle music scene changed since you started blogging?

A: The scene seems to have exploded in the last five years since we started Triangle Music. There have always been some great local bands, but these days it’s a hotbed of activity from new festivals like Hopscotch to all the new venues that have cropped up and bands like The Love Language and Lost In The Trees garnering national attention. (more…)

East Coast agencies to watch — that aren’t based in New York, part 2

by Nick Faber
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

We’ve dug into iMedia’s East Coast Agencies to Watch to find the best ad work outside of New York. In part 1, we looked at great campaigns from agencies in Washington, DC and Boston. Today, we avoid 95 altogether to check out two of New England’s top agencies.

Humongo (Danbury, CT) – ECKO UNLTD. “Indie for Life”

You may already know Humongo’s founder Darryl Ohrt for his industry blog brandflakesforbreakfast. Ecko turned to Darryl’s shop to get fans excited about its UNLTD watches this year. The campaign, “Indie for Life,” includes an incentive-heavy Facebook page with a series of live video interviews with indie entrepreneurs called ‘The Marc Ecko Time Chamber.'” The first interview is with “indie time-changer” Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos.com.


East Coast agencies to watch — that aren’t based in New York, part 1

by Nick Faber
Friday, July 22nd, 2011

In sports, they call it East Coast Bias. It’s the extra weight and attention teams on the East Coast get in sports coverage. But as east-coasters who aren’t in New York, we know that “East Coast” bias is really “New York bias.”

When iMedia released its list of 25 East Coast Agencies to Watch, nearly half of the honorees were in New York, and another quarter of them were based in the Midwest. So we thought it would nice to shed some light on the rest of the list, our fellow-east coasters who are working on some great stuff outside of the Big Apple.

In the first of three installments, we take 95 from Boston to DC, bypassing New York City on the way. OK, we cut through the Bronx.

Arnold Worldwide (Boston) – Jack Daniels “Independence”

This beautiful mini-doc is just one of four prongs of Arnold’s “Independence” campaign, which focuses on Jack Daniel’s independent spirt craftsmanship. In addition to this video is a TV spot called “As American As,” which likens Jack to many other great American innovations, a set of 10 original letterpress posters from Yee-Haw Industries, and a Facebook app that allows you to consume and share everything but the Whiskey itself.

As Dabitch sees it, this All-American campaign is all about love: “Forget the latest digital hype, some things are made with love the same way they were made so many years ago.” (more…)

Wendi Deng, Twitter folk hero

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

In case you haven’t heard yet, Rupert Murdoch’s wife smacked the hell out of a would-be pie thrower at her husband’s Parliamentary hearing today.

Once the foam settled, and the hearings resumed, the slap’s aftershock continued to ripple through Twitter, like a lede-burying folk tune:

Rupert Murdoch can recover all losses from this scandal by having 20th Century Fox remake Fist of Fury starring Wendi Deng.
Joel Stein
"Wendi Deng just became Wendi DAAAAAAAAAAANG." - @ #letthememesbegin
Jenna Wortham

well, one thing is for sure: wendi deng is pretty bad ass.
Brian Morrissey

Featured Blogger: Kristi Diehm of The Story Siren

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Kristi Diehm has transformed her personal passion for reading  into a community to share her enthusiasm for young adult books on The Story Siren blog. In addition to providing YA book reviews, author interviews and giveaways on The Story Siren, Diehm spends her time as a wife and orthodontic assistant. Stay connected with Diehm and The Story Siren news on Twitter and Facebook!

The Story Siren Blogger Kristi Diehm

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: I started The Story Siren in 2007. I had a personal blog before then that consisted of mostly day to day mundane antics. And it was very mundane and boring. I’ve always been a reading fool, and often posted my thoughts about books on my personal blog, and soon it was overrun by nothing but books, so then I made the transition from personal blog to book blog, and I never looked back!

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: My enthusiasm. I absolutely LOVE blogging and reading, and I think that comes through on my blog and people enjoy that. My reviews are also really personable and simple. I want people to feel like they’re discussing a book with their best friend, I don’t want a literary analysis, I just want it to be fun!

Q: What other book genres do you enjoy reading?

A: I love Romance novels. Paranormal…. historical… I’ll read anything! I also enjoy Urban Fantasy as well. (more…)

Advertising to Women: 1918 and Today

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

The question is as old as advertising itself: How do we reach women?

Two years before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the J. Walter Thompson Company ran an ad in Printers’ Ink with its simple but revolutionary answer: hire women.

Ove a period of years, this staff has illustrated that women, thoroughly trained in advertising, working with men, can establish facts which cannot be even approximated by men working alone.

It seems like a quaint notion considering that women have made up over 50% of the advertising industry for at least 20 years. (Source: AAAA [doc])

Now that we are all well-staffed with people who understand a woman’s point of view, we can focus on a new question for the modern ad agency: How do we reach women?

Women at NBCUniversal has the answer. AdPulp’s David Burn boils it down to two avenues: On their smartphones and through their friends. Women@NBCU’s findings show that women are early tech adopters who are open to retailer innovation, and are more social online than men. So they’re more likely to “friend” a brand and to share deals and discounts with friends.

Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of Trends and Strategic Insights, Integrated Media at NBCUniversal, says, “As this growing number of digitally-dependent women alters the landscape in unexpected ways, marketers need to react in real-time – super-serving her with highly curated and relevant content, products and information.”

So now that we’ve figured out know how to reach today’s women, we can focus on a the burning question for future advertisers: How do we reach women?


Image Source:
Advertising Ephemera Collection – Database #A0160
Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Connecting the dots on UK press skulduggery

by Henry Copeland
Monday, July 18th, 2011

The circle of complicity in the UK phone hacking conspiracy is spiraling outward and upward, with the arrest yesterday of Rupert Murdoch’s protégée Rebekah Brooks and the resignation of Scotland Yard chief Paul Stephenson.

As the New York Times noted yesterday, Scotland Yard has been willfully negligent, if not actively collusive, in its investigation of the hacking into the phones of UK celebrities and crime victims by journalists at News of the World.

So far, the focus has been on NOTW and Murdoch’s hirelings and cronies. But isn’t it now obvious that the conspiracy to cover up the journalistic phone hacking probably goes far wider, implicating many members of the UK press itself?

While the UK press has slumbered, the aggressive reporting about phone hacking has been consistently led by US journalists, for example in the September 2010 investigative blast in the New York Times magazine.

As the Times reported then, “interviews with more than a dozen former reporters and editors at News of the World … described a frantic, sometimes degrading atmosphere in which some reporters openly pursued hacking or other improper tactics to satisfy demanding editors.”

Let’s assume that, at best, hacking was only perpetrated by NOTW journalists. That premise would still make hundreds of members of the UK press complicit in the hacking, since many either have once worked at NOTW and known about the hacking or had friends who worked there.

In an interview (below) before Brooks resigned, a TV journalist asks a spokesman for Newscorp, NOTW’s owner, whether Rebekah Brooks could honestly lead an investigation into actions that had occurred under her own watch as editor of NOTW. The spokesman shudders and stutters, trying to avoid saying the obvious: you can’t investigate yourself. The same logic must be true for many members (and former members) of the UK press itself.

For example…

Tina Brown, editor in chief at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, quipped after the NYT’s expose last September that “I’m shocked, shocked to learn … that the voice mail messages of celebrities have been bugged for tidbits of gossip—can you believe it?—by the Murdoch press in London.” At the time, I’d assumed that Brown’s use of Captain Renault’s iconic “I’m shocked” line from Casablanca was just an playful way of saying she’d strongly suspected there was hacking.

In fact, it’s possible that Brown was giving a self-indicting double wink. That, like Renault, Brown’s knowledge likely wasn’t theoretical or speculative and that within the UK press fraternity, the practice was common knowledge. After all, Brown was formerly the editor of UK magazine Tatler and is married to Sir Harold Evans , former long-time editor of The Sunday Times known for his investigative prowess and one-time Murdoch employee. As a former member of the UK press herself, Brown may have intimate knowledge of the phone hacking habits of her peers. Being friends with some of the miscreants, or friends of friends, Brown is doubtless cautious about throwing too many stones herself.

Again, the best case scenario is that no former NOTW staffers were silly enough to take their phone hacking skills when they changed jobs. At worst, journalists at multiple publications were engaged in the hacking, and the UK presses’ persistent investigative lethargy is not just the product of professional courtesy to fellow club members, but an attempt to avoid wielding a tar brush that might be turned on itself.

The Times says that the practice was widespread in the UK (saying in the 2003 slide of its NOTW timeline that “Former reporters say that hacking into the voice-mail of story targets was a widespread practice at NOTW and elsewhere”) but doesn’t follow-through on the implications of what amounts to a giant conspiracy of silence in the UK.

For now, the UK press is focused on chasing the scandal ever higher inside Newscorp. It’s obviously exciting to ask whether billionaire James Murdoch will be arrested soon too. It’s not just exciting, though. It’s useful. Keeping the spotlight headed upwards helps the UK press avoid asking hard questions of itself.

So it is up to the US press (and UK bloggers?) to ask: who at The Financial Times doing phone hacking? The Independent? The Daily Mail? The Guardian? The Sunday Times? The Telegraph?

(Update: Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger offers a stunning chronicle of his own paper’s attempt to report on NOTW’s misdeeds and the overall ‘omerta‘ in the UK press.)

Connecting the dots shouldn’t be too hard. As social network expert Valdis Krebs notes, network analysis might be one good tool for journalists to use in unraveling this story. By tracking which NOTW reporters moved on to other UK publications, you might find patterns that would trace the infectious spread of hacking practices.

Tools like Influence Networks might help. Or our tool, Twiangulate.

So. Onward into the muck.

(Update: Here is Reuter’s take on NOTW’s ethical vacuum:

New staff would be given the cold shoulder until they’d proved themselves to be “thoroughly disreputable” so their colleagues could trust them. It was no place for anyone to pipe up and say: ‘This doesn’t seem ethical to me.’ That would have made you a laughing stock.”

Journalists didn’t explicitly ask for private investigators to get involved in their work, but help would be provided if a reporter got stuck on a promising story. “How it arrived on your desk was a bit of a mystery. You didn’t know and you didn’t ask,” said the reporter. “Every week, somebody’s mobile phone records, somebody’s landline records, sometimes even somebody’s medical records. It was common enough not to be notable.”

It looks like London mayor Boris Jordan agrees with me:

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, a former journalist, has a typically contrarian view: “I think we’re going through one of these periodic firestorms of hypocrisy,” he told NEWSWEEK. “I’ve got no doubt that a good number of papers were engaged in identical practices to those of News of the World. The confected outrage about the intrusions that you’re reading in some newspapers that I won’t mention by name, except to say that they’re the Daily Mail—I’d be amazed if these papers weren’t engaged in similar practices. Including the Daily Mirror and maybe others as well.”)

Trash Talk: Levi’s explosions met with a “meh”

by Nick Faber
Friday, July 15th, 2011

The Portuguese artist Vhils is known for his “destructive” approach to art, carving murals into public walls, transforming abandoned billboards, and often blowing things up.

So when Levi’s (with W+K Amsterdam) hired Vhils to create murals on Berlin walls for its Go Forth campaign, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he would also blow them up. And that Levi’s would make a video of it.

This morning, ad journalists who have seen the video are wondering, So what?

AdFreak’s Gabriel Beltrone says Levi’s “attempt to look cool” is in contention with Beck’s Green Door to Nowhere for “Artsy Advertiser of the week:”

Exploding murals is apparently a signature medium for Vhils, who have a whole abstract theoretical line as to why it’s like archaeology. We’re not sure about all that, and the whole slow-motion thing ends up feeling being a bit melodramatic, and the boom a bit anemic.

Steve Hall at AdRants says exposions are a tired way of being (wannabe) cool:

Every last tactic used to appear cool and hip and all connected and shit has been used. And used. And used. Over and over. And over again. And again. But, apparently, a good explosion is always worth a minute or two of your time. Or at least that what Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdamn thinks.

Alice Arsham, of the French marketing blog MinuteBuzz, calls the video, roughly translated, “least impressive” and says it’s reminiscent of Levi’s own ads from 2006.

So, have slow-motion explosions had their time in the sun? What about really, really slow slow-motion explosions?

10 American celebrities in embarrassing foreign TV ads

by Nick Faber
Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Mr. Sparkle from the Simpsons

It used to be that a famous American celebrity could make a quick buck overseas starring in a TV commercial he would never dream of making stateside. The only way an American could catch Hulk Hogan hawking Hitachis in Japan was if a friend overseas taped it off air.

That is no longer the case. In light of the attention the dancing Hugh Jackman billboards in Moscow have been getting, we now look back at foreign commercials starring American celebrities that were never meant to be see by American audiences.

1. Cindy Crawford – Pocari Sweat (Japan, 1986)


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