Crowdsourced Star Wars

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Although this is a few weeks old, I just stumbled on it and love the idea. A few rabid fans have decided to remake Star Wars using user generated clips cut together. Simply go to their microsite, register for one of the 1100 or so 15 second clips and shoot your segment. Upload it to the site and the team will stitch together the entire film for all fans to see.

While this might seem incredibly geeky, I think this could become a huge idea. The amount of passion behind film and television creates niche groups who love this type of stuff. I can think of a dozen shows that would be fun to re-create in the 'real world' and hope that more sites like Star Wars Uncut sprout up in the near future.

Found via Socialgraph.


The Best Ad of the Year?

It's not a TV spot or a website. Not an experiential marketing tactic or social media promotion. Not a banner ad, billboard, branded game or special product placement. Not a CRM program or integrated campaign. It's not global campaign, it's a one-off execution.

And it's just a newspaper ad. A black and white newspaper ad. From former Toronto Blue Jay, Roy Halladay.

Halladay was recently traded to the Philadelphia Philly's. He'd been the face of the (struggling) Blue Jays for years and always gave fans a steadfast hope that anything was possible. A true class act and champion.

To truly express his feelings, he ran this ad in the Toronto Star today:

The full copy reads:

"My wife Brandy, sons Braden and Ryan, and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, its incredible fans, and the city of Toronto.

I feel blessed to have been part of the Blue Jays since 1995 and am extremely thankful for the opportunities it has provided. Throughout the past 15 years, there have been so many people within the organization that have made a wonderful and significant impact in my life, it would be impossible to name them all.

I am sincerely grateful for the incredible support and compassion the Blue Jays fans have shown me. I am in awe of your overwhelming passion and devotion.

Toronto will forever have a special place in my heart.

The memories will last a lifetime and so will my gratitude.

Best Regards,


A class act rarely seen in today's sports world. For a guy who has made millions and has been consistently one of the greatest pitchers in the game but has never won a championship, he never had to do something like this. It's not the $50K he spent on media to make this happen, it's the thought that he wanted to do it in the first place.

Great brand management? For sure. But I get the sense that he did this for us - the fans - more than he did for himself. After all, we would have loved him no matter what. This just makes him that much better.

Nice work, Doc.

Found here. Image credit.

Monday Send your Warmest Wishes

Extreme Group (where I work) is out with our holiday cheer.

With stream options including normal, trickle, firehose and tipsy you can customize your own warm wishes in the snowbank for all of your loved ones to see. A full video of your masterpiece is shared with all to see from first drip to the last drop of warm holiday love.

Drop by to create your own.


Guiness Scout: A drop of greatness in every man

This spot will be running through-out Africa to coincide with the African Cup of Nations and FIFA 2010. I have a feeling Guiness sales will be up over the next few months in Africa.

Best Christmas themed ad of 2009?

I have a feeling that these ads will be getting talked about a lot more over the next few weeks. These :10 second spots take classic Christmas imagery and add some live action arms and voice-overs to bring to life the party.

It is excellent and entertaining creative from Mother London.

Orangina: Maybe too bloody

Maybe this is a brand missed in the top 10 bad ass brands of 2009 requested by Emma.

I guess they think an out-of-shape naked man being dominated by a sex panther will sell juice.

My god this ad sucks

Are you kidding me? How about another alcohol brand creates an ad that shows that their product is for care-free, we live by our own rules, create our own party, cool and spontaneous people. Give me a break. It's a load of shit. We don't buy it and neither do consumers.

People die so you can propose

Ok, the title might be a little harsh but...well nevermind. This spot is both intriguing, well shot and well a good idea.

They should create a site where you can enter your diamonds certification number and see the area it was mined and its "safe and legal" journey to its new home.


Top 10 'Badass' Brands of 2009

For our first Top 10 list, Emma has asked us to do a rundown of the best 'Badass' brands of the year. Prior to doing so, I had to look up what Badass actually meant and the always-accurate Urban dictionary has a good definition:

"1. adjective. having extremely favorable qualities
2. adjective. pertaining to a person or thing that is rugged, strong, and/or ready to show these qualities"

For the purposes of this list, I'm going to skew the above definitions and include brands who have 'Badass' stories, ideas, executions and work. While the definition is pretty broad, here is your list to the most 'Badass' brands of the year.

10. Tom Ford

Debatable I know (he probably could have been #1 on the arrogant list as well), but when you run ads that feature women putting lipstick on using a guys belt buckle as a mirror or showcasing your product in various 'positions', you've got an attitude and you're not afraid to stand out. Just look at one of his 2009 catalogs to get a sense of his 'style'. All in all, you can't ignore his style, ego or any of his ads. Hard to say that about other brands these days.

9. Harley Davidson
As I was putting this list together, I asked a few colleagues to think of one 'badass' brand and Harley was - by far - the one that was mentioned most. Whether it's their biker dude ads, their site which encourages you to be bad or the fact that a ton of hardcore guys actually have the logo tattooed on their arm, something about their story continues to resonate with (mostly) boomer guys. You might think this is a cop-out because the creative hasn't been stellar over the last few years (including this video showcasing the new 'Nightster') but if you asked anyone over 45 about what brands are 'badass', I guarantee you this would be one.

8. West Coast Chopper

Despite the fact that Jesse James has gone a bit mainstream with recent appearances on The Apprentice and this brutal T-Mobile spot, he still has a brand that is known for it's individuality, outlaw appeal and 'hardcore' guy image. I don't know a ton about Harley vs. West Coast but from a brand perspective, West Coast seems newer, cooler and different. A quick search on YouTube also proves that hundreds of thousands of dudes love nothing more than to watch Jesse take his new bikes out for a test ride.

Why would a website that encourages you to cheat on your partner be considered Badass? For starters, it's morally questionable and a pretty unique idea. But they get our #7 spot because of their sneaky advertising strategy. In Toronto, they tried to advertise on the TTC (our public transit system). The ownership of the TTC really didn't want the "Life is short, have an affair" slogan plastered on the subway system so they denied the ads. But AshleyMadison went further and told commuters that if the ads were allowed, anyone riding in car with an ad wouldn't have to pay the $0.25 rate hike (a controversial issue here). The government ended the debate and no ads were run but they still get a mention on our top 10 for trying.

6. Calvin Klein
CK has a history of running ads that push the envelope. Whether it's Marky Mark or some scantly clad model, they always seem to create executions that generate controversy. This year was no different. In the spring, CK put up this billboard in a popular center in LA (I actually saw this in April and was pretty surprised that it was located near a mall with hundreds of kids running around). Nothing like a topless teen girl sandwiched between two guys with another waiting for his turn on the floor. The ad was torn apart by CBS and various groups and was eventually taken down. That said, I'm sure the media generated from the billboard was valued way more than the actual cost to make the ad.

5. Rockstar Games
No explanation required but I'll give a brief one anyway. The company responsible for the Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne and Midnight club. Remember that GTA is the game that encourages car jacking, senseless street killing, drug deals, the gangster lifestyle and hookers. And even though it's not technically targeted to kids, we all know that the TV spots air during times when your 13 year old is going to be hanging out with his friends in the basement. And even if you keep the TV off, with over 10 million views on YouTube, the kids are going to find a way to watch.

If you want to know the gossip behind Silicon Valley's greatest tech billionaires, start-up nerds or just the latest on who made out with who at an industry party, look no further. For years, Gawker Media's Valleywag has provided readers with the low down on the most popular web companies out there. Want to see pics of Mark Zukerberg that he wouldn't want you to find? No problem. Interested in what young blond Google's Eric Schmidt is currently dating? Find it here. I can't imagine how many times the site has been sued but for tech nerds out there, it's the closest thing to being truly badass.

3. American Apparel

A clothing company that uses scantly clad (teen) models and adult film 'stars' to promote their products. If you're a mother with a teen girl and you've never seen these ads before, my guess is that you're going to change the settings on your daughters computer and make sure that she never leaves the house unaccompanied. If you've you've walked by one of the stores in the past few weeks you probably either felt sick after seeing one of their ads or compelled to go inside and actually confront someone who works there (and ask them how shit like this is OK to promote). I'm quite surprised that there hasn't been more of an uprising against this creative. It's not even isolated to 2009. This is what they do - all the time.

2. DC Shoes
I've been a fan of DC for a long time. Their work has constantly pushed the limit and they've embraced their cool, skater target in a way that is authentic and different. Remember the video that they shot in 2008 with the Chairman of DC driving his Subaru in a snowboard park? They followed up the video with another on in 2009 that shows Ken Block (Chairman) and rally driver Gymkana driving a souped up Subaru through a port authority loading dock. The shots are unbelievable as are the stunts and track. Badass to the max.

1. Vivid Entertainment
Yes. A porn company. But Steve Hirsch (the owner and founder) isn't just any run-in-the-mill adult 'businessman'. He's the type of guy who signs deals with 'actresses' that he knows people (males mostly) will pay to see. Why is his brand #1 on our 2009 list?

You may have heard of Tiger Woods having some 'troubles' over the past few weeks. Well one of Tigers mistresses is the LA-based pornstar Holly Sampson. She's been all over the daily talk shows telling everyone about her 'experience' with Tiger. So what does Steve decide to do? He decides that he's going to write a script about her experiences, cast her in a new 'video' and have her re-live the experience live for everyone to see. He says the film is a 'docudrama' about Holly and Tiger; how they met, how they 'loved' and how they lived (I'm sure the dialog is going to be stellar).

Now, Tiger probably isn't very happy about this move and who knows if it will ever see the light of day but you can't argue that Vivid is pretty badass (and that there is no level that is too low for Vivid to try and make a buck).

Thanks to Emma for the first list idea and please feel free to add more in the comments.


What Top 10 Do Want to See?

It's the end of the year which means that every blog, social media 'guru', publication and creative group are putting together lists of everything. The top viral video's of the year, the top ads, the top experiences, magazines, podcasts, Facebook fan pages, Tweets, name it. AdJoke has done some posts like this in the past but I'm going to throw it out there to you guys. Tell us the Top 10 and I'll put it together. Only condition is that it has to be advertising related. And yes, the Top 10 worst ads of 2009 is a category.

So comment, Tweet and tell us. We'll post and give you full creds for the idea.


Silence Speaks

A series of videos has been created for the Nova Scotia workers compensation board highlighting how being silent at the work place doesn't really help at all. In fact it makes the workplace more dangerous.

Well Silence is tired of being silent and he has finally began to speak.

Here is the latest video: Silence Speaks

A Gentleman Bear has been let on the grounds? ...hilarious.

Epson Projectors: Extreme Gamer

An interesting way to showcase the power, clarity, lightness and portability (kind-of) of an Epson projector.

The decade according to 9-year olds

The decade according to 9-year-olds from allison louie-garcia on Vimeo.

Found on The Curious Brain

Unbelievable quotes. A very interesting look at the world that 9-year olds are living in.


We've got that B-Roll and just having fun

This video is funny, looked like it was fun to make and for both those reasons kick-ass. Too often we forget that life should be about fun not stress, deadlines and being all serious and shit. So, what is going to be your "We've got that B-roll" video?

Google Goggles

It has been a long time coming. How long do you think it will take before retail store designers consider the ability of tools like this to recognize the store front in their design? Or what about font selection of your business cards, etc?


I am really excited to see this movie: The Babies

Amazing idea, especially at this time in our world where norms, cultures and traditions are beginning to transcend the lines of imaginary borders.

The Sun deliver Newspaper 4.0

Headline and post thanks to @martindelaney

I am not going to lie. I read a newspaper every 3 or 4 weeks and I also like this ad.

The Toronto Metro is a...Porn Mag?

In case you missed this morning's Toronto Metro, they decided that publishing a picture of a student with his 'member' sticking out would be a good thing. A colleague 'pointed' it out to me and the first thing I wondered was doesn't the Metro have at least a 3-stage approval for anything that goes to print?

For starters, a photographer took this shot and probably uploaded it, with a ton of others, up to a computer. Then an assistant editor picked from a few reco's and recommended to run it. Then the senior editor flipped through the whole issue and totally missed it.

Then it got printed. And went out to about 1 million people in Toronto. On their morning commute. For free.

Yes. This is a huge mistake. I just feel bad for the children.

Thanks to Mike and Jennifer for the update and link!


Just Remember...

For all that's going on in Tiger's life, he is one mentally tough guy.


Before You Text, Give it a Ponder

LG has just launched a new campaign featuring James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio. The campaign is build around Lipton and his famous beard. It promotes the idea that teens need to think before they text. The 4 launch spots drive to a great microsite that pushes users to specific social destinations (Facebook, YouTube, Flickr) to 'experience the beard'. I'm sure that the irreverence and humour of this campaign will resonate with the youth target. Nice work, LG.


Shiny Suds for Method

Droga 5 kills another brief.

Thank you Christopher Hirst for tweeting this one.


Reebok EasyTone

I don't know what to say.

"Ads! Gross" - Wikipedia

A colleague recently tipped me off to a permanent 'ad' that Wikipedia is running on their site. The leaderboard asks Wikipedia users to to donate money to help keep the site going. I've read that Wikipedia is only staffed by about 30 people and costs approximately $8-10 million to operate annually (most likely due to hosting / server costs for the billions of articles up there).

I like the approach of this message. Help us keep the doors to the site open and we'll reward you by not advertising - ever.


It is Grey Cup Sunday

I am not the biggest fan of the CFL or montages but I have always enjoyed the writing in this spot.

May the best team win. Whoever is playing in the game.

Football is Hardcore

I've got an unhealthy obsession with football and, as a result, love pretty much any football work that contains a good track and voice-over. This spot for the Dallas Cowboys is no different. Shot, cut and edited in less than a week, the spot is meant to capture the work that the team goes through when they aren't playing on Sunday's. Nice stuff.


Guiness Slider: Just slide other peoples ideas into a spot

Ok. Here is the idea. We are going to take inspiration from Cog, and the movie Baby's Day out but then change the ending to show how cool and bold Guinness drinkers are.

You are Incredibly lucky: Quit Smoking

Intriguing and excellent. Why would anyone waste such an amazing and lucky opportunity... to live?


Contextual Advertising Fail

Here is my guess. Because this song is titled 'Rain Dogs' the contextual media buy purchased for Cesar decided that people viewing the whisky fueled genius that is Tom Waits probably have tiny little manicured and well groomed pets hungry for a little nibble of 26 essential nutrients.

Normally I would write a paragraph rant about how this is bullshit but I think everyone would agree with me. Another online contextual advertising fail.

Kettle Chips utilizes the thematic Narrative

The copywriting in this spot is pure genius. Congratulations to the client who bought the script. Three cheers to the director.


I am happy my life doesn't look like this. I have been working for a while but I still see it as playing. That being said rejection shows up a lot more often in my life.

This is digital strategy...

A simple idea, based on a popular platform using the most common user behaviour usually creates great results. I've always been a big fan of 'tagging' and have constantly tried to apply the behaviour to brands that I work with. That said, you've got to fit the behaviour with the product or brand and you can't force-fit a strategy just because you like it (believe me, I've tried).

But for IKEA, this is the perfect fit with a great, creative, promotional idea. So simple.

I'd be interested in understanding the media support they had behind this campaign and whether it truly was all viral (which I doubt). That said, the 'first tag, first win' approach creates a rapid fanbase who is always waiting for your next photo upload.

Excellent work. Found via Mashable.


Where Books Come to Life

This video created by BBDO for the New Zealand Book Council is phenomenal. It pulls you in immediately and while entertaining you delivers the message. You get the message long before the last 10 seconds of the spot. This is the type of advertising people want to see and share.

Thanks to Mary for sharing this on Facebook.

Another case of advertisers spending and not thinking

I've been watching the American Music Awards tonight and although the performances have been mediocre at best, the missed opportunities by the advertisers have been the biggest story for me.

Currently the search term "American Music Awards 2009" is the 10th most searched term on Google. Guess how many advertisers have paid to have sponsored search ads appear? None. Dozens of brands see an opportunity to connect with consumers on TV during the broadcast but no one saw the opportunity to connect with these same consumers (even days) before, during or after online.

Not only is there a big missed opportunity within aligning their search keywords with the major Television event but the brands themselves are not buying search aligned to their TV spots.

One example is Maple Leaf Prime Gourmet Chicken product launch . They actually have a good commercial but that is where my praise for them ends.

The first time I saw the spot I immediately went online and performed a video search for the commercial (which isn't posted), then searched the product name and was hit with a sponsored search ad that takes me to their homepage where oddly enough the product that they are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars (probably) for multiple spots on the AMAs is not even showcased. Really Maple Leaf? Please call me - your ad agency isn't doing their job.

They should have sponsored search driving directly to the product page, as a secondary tactic feature it on your home page and post your TV spot so that people like me can post it to our blogs, share it on twitter and help you out for free.

In February I wrote a rant about the Oscars and all of their missed opportunities for increased engagement and revenue. Obviously the American Music Awards didn't read it...but you can check it out here.

Post Financial Crisis = Opportunity

In the consumer world post-financial crisis opportunity now looms where we used to just see doom.

In this TEDxKC talk John Gerzema identifies four cultural shifts behind new consumer behavior and shows how businesses are evolving to connect with thoughtful spending. Just press play already.

Toyota Australia - Nothing Soft Gets In

A whole new attitude for Toyota where apparently nothing soft gets in down under.

This position doesn't make any sense for the me. I see Toyota as a brand that appeals to and has a large market share with the latte drinking, chest shaving, manicured metrosexuals, but then again maybe that is just in Canada (I doubt it).

This spot feels more beer, less automotive but nonetheless it is well written with amazing production value. It just feels off the mark for Toyota.


HTC - You are different than You

This spot has been running pretty heavily in North America over the last few weeks. For all the wireless and mobile work out there that's pretty easy to forget (and FFWD through without feeling like you want to actually stop and watch), this 60 hits the mark.

Communicate Like Google

I got an invite to Google Wave about a week ago and I've been playing with it for the past few days. At first, I was really into it. I liked the instant(ness) to it, the ability to comment on specific aspects of chats, to integrate videos and maps into a stream, etc. I liked being able to edit friends comments and see what they edited. I was hooked, interested and mostly happy to be one of the 'privelaged' few (ie. 1,000,000 or so) to get 'early' access to the product.

That's what I love about Google in general. Exclusive invites that are rolled out randomly to a few hundred thousand and then slowly distributed to more and more people. It's a brilliant strategy:

1. Come up with a new product (I know...pretty basic thought)

2. Create a (longwinded) demo and launch the product to your most loyal base

3. Set a start date for when the product will go out in beta

4. Let people sign up to have the chance to be one of the first to experience it

5. Distribute invites to about 100,000 or so and slowly roll your product out

6. Launch (whenever you feel like it)

Love the strategy. As for Google Wave, to be honest, after the initial 'I feel so cool to have an invite' phase, it's starting to wear off on me.

Seeing someone at your agency?

They're rampant. They're everywhere. Sometimes it's just for fun. Sometimes things get serious and work out for the best. Most times?

They can turn ugly. And awkward. Don't believe me? Here's a quick, personal account of one.

How well do you know your friends?

From across the pond in the UK, Orange has lauched a nice experience to promote the new Motorola DEXT. The site lets users login using Facebook Connect, Twitter and MySpace and asks them 10 questions about their friends. It's quite straightforward but I like how the questions really make you think.

For the record, I only scored 3 out of 10 (pretty awful, looks like I don't need the device). But still, test it out. Very simple and well developed.

Via @handypierce

How Did I Miss This?

The Gunn report was released last week and contains all the 'top' ranked work from the year (as well as the most awarded campaigns, agencies and networks). While I think that most award shows are simply gatherings to collectively pat one another on the back and talk about how great we all are, I think that the report nailed the fact that this Crest campaign truly created some good, global impact. A really nice idea, well executed. Check out the spots here:

Via SoSticky.


Listen. I'm all for nice spots. I like it when creatives come up with ideas that cost about $1 million to shoot. If they're great, people won't PVR them. They'll get posted to YouTube and get a couple of hundred thousand free views. Nice right?

But sometimes the creatives might be a bit off. And they might be really, really good at selling clients on their idea. Sure, it sounds nice in theory but in reality? It's just that. Nice. And totally unrelated to the brand.

Props to the production team that put this together. But to the clients and agency that sold this? Two thumbs down.

Another Social Media Stat Video

Yea, I know. It's easier to find a montage of digital stats on the web than a McDonald's these days, but still, some good stats in here that are hopefully true. Anyone want to verify them?

From Nick Burcher.

The Economist: Smarter Advertising

In an industry whose ad revenues continue to decline in record levels, The Economist has stood out as a magazine that maintains a feverishly loyal readership (I'm one of them) as well as a brand that has differentiated itself from all competitors. A magazine not for the common man, but one who strives to know more about worlds beyond his own.

My favorite part? The idea that if you don't read anything - no newspapers, no dailies, no blog posts or updates. If you only sat down for 3 hours every Sunday and read the latest issue of the Economist, I guarantee you that you'd be more 'in the know' and worldly than 99% of people that you meet.

Smart advertising. (hint: it's a treadmill). Via copyranter.

2 Phone Calls Away

It's been a tough year for agencies. Revenue's have been down, layoffs have been rampant and clients are thinking about making jumps in the new year. This isn't to say that there hasn't been good work done - their certainly has - but things haven't been easy.

There's a common saying in our industry that almost any agency is only two phone calls away from shutting their doors. It's a scary thought (and one that some of the mega-ones can handle) but it's true. Every client interaction, presentation, creative idea and brief might be one of the last for that particular relationship. Make it count.

1 Night. 10 Posts.

Alright I admit it, I've been behind. Call it work, call it being 'busy', but the fact of the matter is, Crowe has been holding AdJoke down for the past few weeks. So tonight I've decided to go for it. Quantity over thought out posts. My favorite stuff from the ad world from the last 14 days. Hope you enjoy and thanks for being patient (and reading!).


The Wire: 100 Greatest Quotes

I love The Wire. It is one of the best written shoes of all time (in my opinion).


I love a good story

This is totally f'in nuts.

My Weekend: Adland

I am really excited to read this book over the weekend. Tyler just finished it and only had great things to say about it.

He also wrote a fictional novel called The Futurist which I thoroughly enjoyed reading over the holidays last year.

Armchair Astronaut - Toshiba

I really like this project for two reasons:
  1. The ad business isn't easy. Long hours, shitty briefs, limited budgets, risk adverses clients, prescriptive feedback and clients that think they are art directors and copywriters usually take-over and take some of the fun out of the business. But, every now and then a client buys something FUN. Every now and then creative teams get an opportunity to sell that one spot that keeps them sane and allows them to pump out all the other crap they are asked to work on for the next 16 months.

  2. It is a great idea that will get people talking, blogging and sharing the Toshiba brand.


This is amazing. This is the future of OOH.

The intersection of architecture, art, technology and communications will be the future of out-of-home advertising in my personal opinion.

Here is an example of how a projector, architecture and a great idea can capture the attention of people while being aesthetically pleasing and adding value to the archtecture itself. Point being, everyone wins.

Now find a way to effectively integrate a brand message into this experience without ruining it and you too can win.

The Fun Theory Continues

I meant to post this for about a month now so you have probably seen it... but if not I bring to you, "Bottle Bank Arcade" from VW and their Fun Theory project.

Check out my earlier post here.

Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen's: The Row

Here is another example of a brand that has chosen to make a high-quality film for online consumption to launch a brand. The Row is the clothing line with the billionaire Full House twins behind it.

I enjoyed the video, even though I am far from the target audience. It showcased a large line of clothing in a interesting way while identifying the lines' versatility and creating a brand statement through the music, setting, casting and direction.

Nokia: The Journey Starts Here

The release of the N900 brings us another product where the brand is asking for their community to get involved and co-create. The difference here is that they acknowledge that not everyone will want to participate in this project so the user experience allows visitors to quickly jump to the exact information, opportunity and depth of brand engagement they are looking for. The options are buy, participate and discover.

The landing page features the 2+ minute video I've embedded below, minimal copy and then the 3 CTA's that launch you into 3 very different experiences.

The video is so good that it could justify it's own post. It will definitely do its job of creating awareness, driving interest and intrigue and getting consumers of all types to the site. It is at this stage that the site takes over.

Perfect site experiences once you leap off the landing But a strong digital experience has been delivered. Well done.

PS - another great example that obviously didn't start with a brief to the "mass team" on a TV spot, but with a brief to team that considered the digital experience and created a campaign.

Bad media placements: Part 260,456

Almost every time I am surfing the web I stumble across a bad media placement that makes me shake my head. Yes, it is true that generally speaking this is out of everyone's control, but nonetheless it is an unfortunate situation that media companies need to get better at avoiding.

When the Weather Network site loaded up the first thing I noticed was the face od the child in the big box and then I read that sad copy telling me that 2 Million kids will die this year. What did I read next? Well Wendy's telling me "You know when it's true". The placement at a glance made it look like Wendy's was sponsoring the message.


An Honest Agency Blog

Clark Kokich, the chairman of Razorfish, recently launched a blog called Something to Think About and I have to say it's one of the most honest blogs from an experienced CEO / Chairman that I've ever seen. It contains stories and perspectives from a career in digital and communications in general and the advice is extremely valuable - for anyone.

So valuable that I think everyone should read this post on the true value of experience - entitled "Experience Don't Mean S**T":

The headline above is a direct quote from basketball great Bill Russell. I used to have a boss who displayed that quote prominently on his desk. I was young then, so I agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Then I got older, and I started to believe that experience mattered (now that I had some).

In the old days of advertising, when you needed a surefire solution, you called in the graybeards. When the chips were down, you needed a battle-hardened veteran who could reach down into their bag of tricks and somehow pull out the answer. It was comforting to know that such people existed.

But now, everything those gurus learned over their long careers is hopelessly out of date. In fact, today, the best ideas often come from the youngest members of the team – those who are immersed in the digital world, and have been a part of it since they could reach the keyboard.

So what should us old folks do now? First, we need to listen more than we talk. We may still be smart, but we need to be humble as well. We’re looking for solutions wherever we can find them. It’s our job to surface the best ideas and to separate the winners from the losers. Then we need to sell those ideas and keep them sold. Turns out that’s where experience actually does come in handy.

Telling and insightful stuff. There are no silver bullets anymore. Just hard work that leads to good ideas. Bigger teams, more diverse perspectives and people who are just passionate about ideas and making things better.


Winner: Best use of a Karate kick in a commercial

Thanks to Ms. Jacky P for the heads up.

Porsche. Yes Please.

Porsche is my dream car. It has adorned my walls for the better part of my life, it has filled my dreams with horsepower and unbelievable aspirations and I cannot wait to own one. For that reason I hold their ads, products, designs and brand to a very high level of standards.

This spot showcases the cars that made me fall in love, inspires and recalls those emotions and moments that I experienced the first time I set eyes on a 911, touched a 944 or drove a Boxster. It brings me in emotionally and positively pre-disposes to me love whatever they show me next... even if it is a sedan (did you see that backseat interior?).

For that reason I think this spot accomplishes its goal of creating desire for a new and different Porsche product line extension.

Looking to buy a mobile home? Buy from this guy.

There is something great about the brutal honesty of this spot. That and the fact the guy is one hell of a tough mofo.

Yes it happened this quick

Google Maps GPS: Wicked Sick

It was only about 4 weeks ago I was commenting to a colleague about how cool it would be if your cars navigations showed you street views so you could see what your destination looked like.

Guess what? Google was way ahead of me.


Another good spot from accross the pond...

From the latest Shots Reel. Well shot and right in line with - arguably - the best global banking campaign around.


I'm in the UK this week and, as a result, have had the privilege of being exposed to some great advertising (don't worry, there is still the usual amount of crap here as well). Here's a spot from Orange that I'm really into:

Good message although I'd be interested to see how the brand truly plans on redefining the "internet". It seems to me like this is a pretty big promise to be making.

But hey, at least I remember the brand and would stop the PVR if this spot came on again. That's got to count for something right?

Thanks to Jackie and So Sticky!


How can you tell a real social media guru from a fake one?

A recent post from Jeremiah Owyang got me thinking about how you actually define someone who has social media capabilities vs. someone who just spends a lot of time in the space. Everyone seems to be talking about how social media platforms can change your business and there is no shortage of advice. But who can you actually trust and what qualities should you look for?

Here are some quick thoughts:

1. Do they have a presence in the space?
I think that conventional wisdom starts with, as David Armano put it, looking at their digital footprint. Do they have different profiles? Do they create content that’s meaningful to the industry? Do they come up first when you Google them? Although I find this a basic qualification step, it’s still a valid one. If I can’t find you in five seconds and understand a bit about who you are and what you’ve done, we’ve got an issue.

Now that you’ve found a bit about them, really look at what it is they do. One of the telltale signs for me of a classic “I’m a social media expert but I don’t really do anything” is the amount of conferences that they go to in a year. I’m astounded by the people who go to a different conference every week just to talk about the space or re-quote their other social media friends who are all after the same thing. While I’m a huge advocate of learning, I’m not a fan of using conferences as an example of how savvy you are in the space. Anyone can pay to go to a conference and talk about how brands have used social media. Few can actually advise those companies and set them in the right direction.

2. Do they work for a reputable company?
And if they do, does the firm they work with have their last name in it? It’s OK if it does, as long as they have a client or two that you’ve heard of. I’m shocked by the number of [Insert Last Name Here] Social Media Consultant companies out there.

Remember, it’s really easy to create a blog and write a couple of posts. It’s easy to create a “beta” site that is going to launch in a few years but is currently only available to a special few to see. Don’t take these to be credentials. They are nice things to discuss, but not to bet your business on.

3. Case Studies: Theirs or someone else’s?
You’re comfortable with their digital footprint and the company they work for. So you pick up the phone and arrange a meeting to go over their capabilities. They tell you a bit about themselves – the number of followers they have on Twitter, the conferences that they’ve spoken, the latest eBook they’ve published and the huge mailing list that they’ve amassed over the years. All excellent points and you are impressed.

You ask them about their cases. And instead of telling you about how they have helped brands achieve their communications objectives, they tell you a ton of great stories of other brands that have used social media to help them. They sound knowledgeable and they know what to say, but they don’t have their own examples. Their own projects. And really, their own clients.

This is a big red flag. It’s the difference between someone who has lived it – writing a strategy, getting it approved by a client, implementing it, managing it and learning from it vs. just talking about it after it’s been successful.

4. What is their revenue model?
Are you paying for their expertise or for them to manage a program for you? Or to create a short-term promotion or building a long-term community? Prior to engaging anyone, consider what the objective of your brand is. And remember, if you’re brand isn’t something people are dying to be a part of, building a community around it is going to take a lot more than launching a Fan page on Facebook.

Be wary of people who will “put a strategy” together without implementing it or standing behind it. Get someone who wants to help you for the long term and who recognizes that the first challenge with social media is helping your organization re-align to handle it.

5. How would they define the success of your program?
I’m constantly amazed at the number of times metrics get left out of any digital discussion. They seem to be an afterthought but they should be anything but. When you are briefing your expert on your goals, let them give you a few thoughts on how they would define success (hint: it goes beyond how many clicks your link received or how many followers your Twitter account has).

Do they have experience with CRM programs? With evaluating the actual revenues generated from a program? With identifying High Value Tasks to work the entire program against?

The best studies have clear success goals and benchmarks. Set yours and agree to them prior to signing on.

And always remember:

The web is less than two decades old and social media in its current form is less than five. Nobody is an expert. Nobody knows exactly how something should work. And there is no magic formula.

Pick a person who is curious, experienced and driven to help your brand succeed. And don’t worry - if you find someone but realize they’re just smoke and mirrors, you’ve just given them some more time to go to another conference and Tweet to the world about it.


A Beer Campaign Unlike Any Other

While watching the latest Shots reel last night (yes, that is what Crowe and I do on Friday nights), I came across this great VB campaign from Droga5 Sydney. The campaign, called Raise A Glass Appeal, features five people who tell stories of their friends and family that they've lost as a result of war. Featuring 5 spots and a microsite, VB created a fund with the goal of raising $1 million dollars for the Returned and Service League of Australia. To date, they have already raised $1.1 million.

The second I watched the 2 minute spot on the microsite, I was impressed. Not simply because they are extremely emotional, superbly edited and real, but because VB stands for something. It has a point of view. It wants to help and raise awareness for the lost soldiers of Australia. And it does so without telling the viewer that they are the only brand that cares. Just take a look at the ending supers:

Wherever you are. Whatever you're drinking,
Raise a glass.
For our fallen mates.

These spots mean something - not just to the people who have lost someone, but to everyone who supports a common cause. As someone with a good friend in the Army, VB instantly resonated with me. And Droga5 did it again.

The microsite experience is simple and straightforward. It lets anyone share their stories (or memories) and aside from the inability to embed the spots, it's a nice site.

As a whole, the campaign makes me think of people who matter to me. And the next time I'm in Australia, I guarantee that I'll think of VB the next time I order a pint. The marriage of a true insight with a brand is often fumbled. VB hits the mark.

Watch the full length spot.


Alexander Keith's Augmented Reality card

See the actual augmented reality card on


Levi's care tag for our planet

SAN FRANCISCO (October 21, 2009) – Levi Strauss & Co. and Goodwill® today announced “A Care Tag for our Planet,” a new initiative that aims to put billions of pounds of unwanted clothing to good use instead of into landfill. Beginning in January 2010, the Levi's® brand will be the first major retailer to include messaging on product care tags that encourages people to donate unwanted clothing.

John Anderson, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. said, “As a company built on values, we have long worked to promote sustainability in how we make our products and run our operations. This initiative uses our global voice to empower hundreds of millions of consumers around the world to join us by providing simple and actionable ways to help care for our planet.”

Well done Mrs. Elana Shea Firestone and the team at BBDO San Francisco

Did You Know 4.0

A new "Did you know" video speaking about convergence. At the speed convergence is moving they will need to update this every 2 weeks.

If you are a marketer, advertiser or business owner that doesn't know digital or doesn't understand how it applies to your business model and your communications it is time you did.

Thanks for the link Jammer.

NABS Prom Party: See you there Toronto

I hope to see you on October 29th at This is London in support of NABS.

My suit will be sick.

Purchase tickets HERE.

The National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) is the only charitable organization in Canada that provides assistance to communications and related industry professionals, who may need help due to illness, injury, unemployment or financial difficulties. NABS services include a national toll-free HELPLINE (1-888-355-5548), financial assistance, as well as emotional, personal and career counseling services. Founded in 1983, and supported 100% by the industry, NABS has contributed more than $8.0 Million to thousands of industry colleagues and their families.


Find More Friends...If you want them...

As the web continues to get older, more and more data is being stored across millions of different sources. Brands like Amazon and iTunes have been using this data to help create personalized recommendations for years. The classic "people who bought this also bought..." has become a staple of many sites - mainly because proper recommendation tools can generate a dramatic lift in sales and add value to the users themselves. It's quite a simple idea but one that takes a powerful algorithm to get it right. Netflix, as another example, has spent millions trying to perfect their recommendation engine because they know the powerful results associated with it.

What interests me isn't just the data and common-links that can be associated with different products, but they way that we can begin to connect with people we've never met via their data trail (and Social Graphs).

I recently posted about how eHarmony and other dating sites are using recommendation tools for people - fill out an extensive profile and they will provide you with your matches. While this process is has worked for some people, I find it very rigorous and demanding for a user (even if they are a bit desperate to find a partner). I do think, though, that with tools like Facebook connect being implemented across thousands of sites, friend recommendation engines could start to become more and more popular.

What will truly be interesting, though, is how you go about contacting someone who has been recommended to you by a system. It's not like your at a bar and you strike up a conversation, you've got to send a message to your recommended friend and hope that they respond.

What do you think? Do you use the engine on Facebook right now to add new friends or do you feel like you have way to many as it is?


Google Ripples: Enhanced Email

Bits and pieces of Wave functionality have started to arrive to keep the Google stock skyrocketing and feed the insatiable curiousity of the Digerati.

This enhanced email feature allows branded and up-to-date content to be included in the gmail. Users will be able to interact with content linked to the site directly from the email. Saving clicks, reducing load times, eliminating bounce rates and delivering the user directly to... well the point of the email is pretty exciting for those of us in the business of delivering effective digital experiences.

This is why you hire an ad agency

This campaign is ridiculous. Not only is it horrible, demeaning to women and the opposite of creative, but it is also highly illegal.

The ad itself is illegal as they feature George Laraque who sadly IS seen as a role model as well as the website has no legal drinking age qualifier.

In Canada we cannot use athletes or anyone who can be seen as a "role model" in alcohol related ads. I call this the Don Cherry rule, as it was after Don Cherry a famous Canadian hockey player, coach and broadcaster/commentator was featured in a Molson Canadian ad that all sports related role models were banned from appearing in alcohol ads. I have no idea how or why George Laraque's agent allowed this and I imagine that both the brand as well as him will be fined.

I warn you - if you have an ounce of intelligence this commercial will insult bit go on readers and press play.


The Fun Theory

Volkswagen it appears has followed up the staircase project with a second one, the worlds deepest trash bin.

I love the idea behind The Fun Theory , and I also love how the idea can ladder back to the brand. The extensions of showing that Volkswagen can make everyday activities, actions or items more exciting through experience and creativity is endless. I can see how they can take this brand positioning and extend it to their car launches, dealership experience, features, product innovation, sponsorships, partnerships and hopefully their digital experiences as well.

They have started the project by focusing on creating fun experiences that can make the world a better place, such as taking the stairs vs. escalator and increasing garbage collection and coming soon, they will show us how we can make recycling more fun. I am curious to see what other "making the world a better place" experiences they create.

Sony Soundville

Sony has released a new spot in Europe that shifts the focus from "Color Like No Other" to Sound. Created by Juan Cabrel (the guy who created the Cadbury Gorilla), the spot takes over a a small island town and installs speakers that play multiple types of music for a week straight.

The shots and tracks are nice and I think the piece creates cool impact. To be honest though, the brand message at the end seems a bit out of place. This would have been a great short film (brought to you by Sony) without forcing it into an ad at the last minute. Still pretty nice stuff though.

What do you think?


Stairs or Esclator?

Even though I can't understand the supers on this clip, my guess is that a small group wanted to see if they would make people at a tube station take the stair up vs. ride up an escalator. A nice thought (inspired by Big, I think).


What a story...

Thanks to Scott for the link!


The Perfect Presentation

I'll admit it, I've been late to jump on the Mad Men train. I watched a few episodes when it first came out on AMC but, to be honest, got a bit bored and went back to my HBO roots (The Wire, mostly). After hearing about the show from a number of colleagues for the past three years, I thought I'd give it a shot and recently just finished Season 1.

It's growing on me. But a scene from one of the last episode's resonated me more than anything today. It makes me think about what it truly is creative people do. Come up with great ideas and present them like they mean everything.

You can't do this with every product. But if you push enough for good work and make presentations like this (with all the AMC lighting, cool clothes and drama), it can make a huge impact.

I haven't been in the business that long but I hope that I can be in a presentation like this one day. Passionate. Well written. Over-the-top and dead on brief. Good strategy. Good stuff.

Can't embed due to AMC copyright but click here to watch it. You won't regret it.