Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The completely true story of how Reese's PB Cups were created:


Oh, how I wish I could go back to the 80s. It was all Walkman's and strutting around with peanut butter. So if there's anyone here who doesn't love Reese's, they can stop reading now, because what I'm about to say won't apply (BTW, I question your sanity): Peanut butter and chocolate have always been perfect for each other. It has a magnetic pull that draws two awesome people in headphones crashing into each other in the '80s. Or perhaps more attractively, they fit together like a fine-tuned gear.

Thanks to Arnold Worldwide, we are now graced with these little show-stopper spots. Little 15 second tv ads that create a hush that falls over the living room and everyone wishes that they had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Right. Now. This campaign reminds us all how powerful simple can be. There is the deep-rooted consumer insight: people love this candy, just the way it is. They simply need to be reminded, in a quick and funny way. Simplicity is not limiting. Simplicity is perfect. It can be amusing time and time again, and cause people to stop flipping channels when they see the Reese's-orange screen and the catchy-music.

It can be used to remind people that The Avengers is even better with chocolate and peanut butter,


or that global warming is bad, mmk? 


Great job Arnold, you have reminded us all how powerful simple can be. Now, I'm going to see the Avengers, smuggle in a jar of peanut butter and see who comes crashing into me with a bar of chocolate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cultural warrior

Guerrilla warfare. From what I remember from those history classes I took years ago, there are people hiding in the woods, probably civilians, but organized enough that they were very effective in ambushing their enemies. It was a strategy that made a mark on any war in which the tactic made an appearance.

Business loves making reference to war in their strategies, and the advertising and marketing industry decided the sneak attack sounded promising. From this idea, guerrilla marketing was born: sneak up on your audience, get them when they are least suspecting and engage them in a way that is nearly impossible for them to forget the brand.

For the most part this is just fun and creative. It gets people's attentions and starts a conversation. A steaming man hole as a pot of coffee; a huge bottle of white out that apparently painted the lines for the crosswalk; the Red Bull Mini passing out cans of energy. But I think there is a power in this tactic that can really start a movement.

Enter The Girl Store by StrawberryFrog.

I noticed this campaign from the controversy it stirred up. Is it too provocative? I think not. I think it's exactly right. It gets you angry. You should be angry. This is something that we shouldn't just look away from; it's something we can't look away from once those beautiful brown eyes are staring you in the face.

The Girl Store from StrawberryFrog on Vimeo.

This isn't fun. It's real life, and it's presented in a way that the lucky people in America can understand (online shopping).

Sure, catching people off guard is a tactic that any advertiser can use. It's good for a laugh or a wow and gets some recognition. But I like this as an example, because it shows that advertising isn't always trying to win its own battle. Advertising can help fight for the people.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Favorite Ad Campaign

I would be lying if I told you that my favorite ad campaign was something obscure and artsy. The truth is, I'm in love with the Smell Like a Man, Man campaign with Isaiah Mustafa. You know the one, the third most watched YouTube video of 2010. Look at the video, back at me, now back to the video.

The first time I saw this ad I actually looked at my man, back at him, back at my man, back at him. The husband wasn't impressed. Oh well, I'm the one who does the shopping. Which is exactly why I love this video. It's sexy, so the women are interested; it's manly enough that the men don't object. In fact, many men have a new role model.

It's not enough to just appeal to the ladies. Old Spice (and W+K) had problems. Old Spice was exactly that--old. For many years now, they've been fighting their position as your grandfather's aftershave. The brand was getting its ass kicked by Axe. Everyone knows sex sells, therefore Axe sells. Your grandfather does not.

I'm lucky enough to have gained a contact in Wieden + Kennedy, a strategic planner for this campaign. He gave me a little run down about how the Smell Like a Man, Man came to be. They started by trying to copy Axe, selling with sex. It wasn't working.

So then they tried decided to change it from "old" to "experienced" with a hilarious spot featuring Bruce Campbell.

The problem with this campaign was that they were having a difficult time presenting the different products and different scents. So they moved on. There was a slice of luck with Isaiah Mustafa being so charismatic, but the strategy is spot on.

Even the media strategy was genius. They took Twitter mentions and YouTube comments and turned them into YouTube responses. Zero media buy, limited production budget, huge impact. Every person that got mentioned spread that video as far as they could. It was brilliant.

From @TheEllenShow:

To the unknown Raondy, who doesn't need perfect grammar to be admired by the man:

Unbelievably effective advertising, which is why this has to be my favorite campaign.

Ice cream? yes please.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh no you didn't...

I'm not easily offended, especially when it comes to advertising. We're all constantly bombarded with images and words that are in poor taste, and it's sad to say that I've been kind of desensitized.

Sure, looking back on some of the stuff that was acceptable before the civil rights movement is offensive.

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant the majority of people were just a few years ago. Heck they're still ignorant.

This ad actually made it past the approval of UNICEF.

Image borrowed from One Dollar a Day Blog . The captions are in German and translate as 'First kid: “I’m waiting for my last day in school, the children in Africa still for their first one.” Second kid: “In Africa, many kids would be glad to worry about school” Third kid: “In Africa, kids don’t come to school late, but not at all” Fourth kid: “Some teachers suck. no teachers sucks even more.”' The writer of this blog sums it up nicely: "Bottom lines of this campaign are: Black = mud = African = uneducated. White = educated." In my own opinion, those kids are just creepy; smiling like they think they're cute with their black faces.

Advertising for shoes or jeans rarely gets to me. It's only when advertising gets in the way of the advancement of our society that I start to get pissed off.

I also hate being blatantly lied to, like this one that popped up on YouTube right after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Of course it's less advertising and more PR gone horribly, horribly wrong. I was offended enough that I took a screenshot and saved it so that I could rant about it.

But this:

and this:

and this:

... I'm alright with that. I mean, I hope my future are projects are in a little better taste. OK, the "hire a blind person" campaign was a little offensive.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick! You only have 2 seconds.

Most of the time, billboards suck. Some people just don't grasp the idea that people only have 2 seconds to read it before it's gone. But sometimes, those 2 seconds actually create brand awareness. Sometimes, it only takes 2 seconds to change a person's behavior.

Those billboards that extend out of the box to create some three-dimensional effect are cool. This one removes the box altogether. Advertisers for airlines often have a hard time making really creative advertising. You sit in a plane, you go someplace else. Preferably you want to remind the audience of going someplace beautiful. But this ad, well, it really hits home that you just want to pay a good price, no matter where you're going. Get the sky on sale.

Did you know that antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest word in the English language, besides all of those chemistry terms, and some word made up just to describe long words (hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian)? Well, I did, and I think this billboard is hilarious. Yea, I'm nerdy. I like impressing people by saying antidisestablishmentarianism. I can spell antidisestablishmentarianism without looking it up. In fact, I picked this ad to share with you just so I could talk about antidisestablishmentarianism. And if I saw this ad in person, I would bring everyone I knew by it, just so I could talk to them about antidisestablishmentarianism.

My ill-received ads about bike helmets made me think that I should have went further with that idea about "being confident enough to wear those shorts." This ad made me laugh, and if I were in the market for a bike, I would probably stop in the shop to check out what they had. However, I don't know if I would still consider wearing the shorts if I were a middle-aged man in the market for a bike. Still, it is effective; short, not-so-sweet, and to the point.

I always stare at the lotto billboards, dreaming about the car I would be driving if I hit that jackpot. I think a lot of people do the same thing, because people invariably swerve into my lane at that part of the highway. While I don't know about the ethics of advertising liquor on a billboard, I think this is fun. I wish this was an absolut world.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Can You Learn Creativity?

I've always surrounded myself with creative people. I'm a sucker for a guy who can play an instrument. I hung out in the art wing in high school. My only extra-curricular activity was with the creative writing magazine. But I've never been able to really direct my creativity.

But man, I love selling stuff. It helps if I believe in the product or service, but I've learned that half the battle is tricking myself into believing that I believe in the product.

So what's the other half? Creative selling! I've been flipping through this great book, Creative Advertising by Mario Pricken, and he has a few ideas about directing your creativity to help sell things. The following are few examples of creative tactics that can serve as a springboard for diving into the creative process.

Playing with Time:

OK, I'll stop getting so angry when my daughter ruins stuff. "Oh, I know she seems unruly, but she's just innovating. I would discipline her, but I'm hoping she'll put me up in a nice retirement village in So-Cal when I'm senile. I'm too good for Florida."

Changed my behavior: check. This ad works. But why?

Playing with Time can be a powerful creative tool. That little boy could be your son, or he could be you when you were younger. I know you're trying to remember all the reasons that you got in trouble. Go ahead, do it--and then give me a bunch of stock in your company for showing you this ad.

So what am I working on... bike helmets. hmmm, maybe I'll put one on and jump out of tree, or go streaking down the snow-covered road with only the helmet on. What would my daughter do? She would probably pretend it's a princess crown and dance around. I should probably just buy this magazine, because I'm sure it can help innovate some creative solution.

Provocation and Shock Tactics

Yes! Breast Cancer Awareness ads have been growing this cause by leaps and bounds, but with all that growth, the ads can get really monotonous. This ad is provocative, to say the least.

I know most of my classmates haven't known the joy of having a child. When parents say that their children are miracles, it doesn't really strike home until you feel something so real growing inside of you. It doesn't really make sense until you see your eyes on another person's face, or experience your own bad (and good) habits being thrown back at you.

And when you match that tiny miracle against this horrendous disease, it really pisses you off. As a mother, I would do anything to protect her from feeling anything bad.

Now look at me, getting all deep on you. That's provocation for you.

That last one extremely effective because not only was it provocative, but added a dash of...

Paradoxes and Optical Illusions:

This ad for a reality series on Channel 4 (Great Britain) is intriguing. I've been staring at little thumbnail pictures for about a half an hour, and this one broke through all of the noise and made me say, "what is this..."

I love how the pretty blonde is contrast with the guy with the tear drop tattoos. It's cut apart, but they chose to highlight that feature, so you know that he's probably in a gang or spent time in prison, or both.

Even the tag line is a little paradoxical: "A New Reality." There is nothing new about the diversity that we all encounter everyday, but many of us choose to ignore it. That is, we ignore it until someone throws in our face, point-blank, like this ad does. I kind of wish that we had Channel 4 here in the States.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All 61 ads from Super Bowl XLV in 2 minutes

For all the disappointment I felt on Sunday, this kind of makes up for it. Fun!