Bits & Pieces?
The winning photo this week helps prove a theory of mine, which is, anything involving a cat and/or kitten on the internet is going to get far more attention and love than whatever else it is you trying to advertise, read, or look at. It’s a scientific fact, and with that said I’ve decided any banner ads we do from now on should only be pictures of kittens, and nothing else. Click-thrus, Yes please. However, I do not want to discredit our winner, it is a fantastic shot for many other reasons including superior talent, and awesomeness.
The results go like this:
1. Jen (G. Tusker) – 16 votes
2. Michael (F. Snow Bunny) – 13 votes
3. Ben (E. Wake) – 9 votes
4. Tied between Nick (A. Early Frost) and Myself (D. Looks to Kill) – 7 votes
5. Danielle (C. Eye) – 5 votes
6. Sue (B. Dutch) – 1 vote
Next week the theme is going to be “Snow“. I figured the 9-20 inches we are supposed get should allow a plethora of photo ops. But, I do have to say a meteorologist saying 9-20 inches is like a cable guy saying he’ll be there between 8:30AM and 3:00PM. Thanks for the info!
So the day of the 45th Super Bowl is almost here. Wait, can I say that? What I meant is the day of the big game is almost here. Please don’t sue me Mr. NFL. And so comes my question of the day. Is the NFL simply protecting its product and brand, or has it become the greedy old man looking to suck every last nickel out of its adoring audience?
There is no question that football is the king of sports in the United States with the NFL coming in as the top dog and college football ranking number three in a recent Harris poll. But is the NFL going overboard with the protection of their product? Obviously steps need to be taken to protect ticket prices and discourage profiteering, but it seems a little ridiculous that even though everyone alive knows “the big game” is synonymous with the Super Bowl when used in the winter of every year.
Why can’t we just call it the Super Bowl? I understand the NFL not wanting its prize game to become a generic term like Kleenex or Post-It, but is there really a threat of Super Bowl becoming the name that refers to all championship games everywhere? I just don’t see SB replacing the fall classic and it becoming the Major League Baseball Super Bowl.
If the NFL is protecting its brand and is concerned with the image of the league (as they should be) then why are they so reluctant to hold its players – the product – to the same standards? This past week it was announced that Michael Vick just signed a deal to endorse shoulder pads. How quickly we forget that he was recently in jail due to being involved with dog fighting. Or the fact that Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre have both been linked to inappropriate behavior with very little in the way of repercussions. Hell, Roethlisberger is even in the “big game”.
If the NFL is so concerned with its brand, perhaps it should start looking in the mirror instead of looking for churches with a big screen.
Recently, I re-watched the documentary film Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fnojZw54ls
This movie shows Joan Rivers is smart. Determined. Hard-working. Outspoken. She’s an inspiration, and this movie is packed with nuggets of good advice and sage wisdom for all of us in advertising.
“I prepare like a crazy lady.”
She writes and writes and writes and writes and writes some more. She’s been writing for over 40 years, and she’s not stopping.
“He who limps is still walking.”
Joan Rivers’ career has been a sine wave. She’s been up (Permanent Guest Host of The Tonight Show). And she’s been down (she competed on Celebrity Family Feud against Ice-T and Coco). But even when she’s down, she keeps on going. I’m sure many creatives can identify with the ups and downs (As a Creative Director told me, “Some days you’re in the White House. Some days you’re in the shit house. That’s advertising.”). It’s inspiring to see someone who has been through decades of ups and downs still remain optimistic and hardworking. She says, “I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”
“Yeah, but what am I doing Monday?”
To illustrate Joan River’s approach to work, her business manager tells a story about Richard Pryor. This manager spent a good deal of time developing long-term goals and mapping out a years-long career trajectory. After he finished presenting this detailed, elaborate plan, Richard Pryor turns to him and asks: “Yeah, this is great, but what am I doing on Monday?” Focus on the here and now – what a great way to approach working and building a career in any field, especially creative lines of work.
“I will do anything. I will wear diapers if I have to.”
Joan Rivers doesn’t turn down work. In the movie, she tells her agent that she’ll do anything to book a commercial, even wear diapers. She talks about playing the Bronx at 4:30 in the afternoon. She agrees to a celebrity roast on Comedy Central. She’s not happy about these things, but she does them. She keeps working until her career is once again on the upswing.
She actively creates the upturn by constantly finding new ways to get her name, and brand, in front of the public. She’s recorded comedy albums, written and produced plays, hosted talk shows, invented the pre-awards show red carpet fashion critique (“Who are you wearing?” Who cared before Joan.), created a jewelry and fashion line that’s sold on QVC, done voice-over work, been a part of television shows like “How’d You Get So Rich?” and is featured in a new reality show with her daughter – just to name a few of the many things she’s done. When one opportunity ends, she invents a new one. She creates her own success. And so can we.
“I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”
Love her. Hate her. It doesn’t matter. She’s inspiring. And she is a great example for anyone in a field where success is dependent on your wits, creativity and ability to pick yourself up from losses and keep on going.
I’ve been going through a hard drive of mine recently finding a lot of little nuggets from my past advertising agency experience. As most who have been in the biz 15+ years would attest, you pick up a lot from different people along the way – mentors, business leaders, creative people, and yes, the internet.
I ran across a doc I must have pulled off the web somewhere (I wish I had a source but I don’t) that tackles the age old bane of creative people: “Make the logo bigger.” It quotes legendary creatives Neil French and Luke Sullivan. I’m guessing the page numbers refer to Sullivan’s “Hey Whipple Squeeze This” book (which I highly recommend). There’s a lot of wisdom in these words:
Neil French, a stellar copywriter, once told stellar creative director, Luke Sullivan: Every element you add to a layout reduces the importance of all the other elements. And conversely, every item you subtract raises the visibility and importance of what’s left (65-66).
A logo says, “This message brought to you by…” An ad without a logo just says, “This message.” (Sullivan 208).
Now, we’re not suggesting that we take logos out of everything. In some cases, a logo makes a strong point.
Take recent Nike ads for example. They tried to get rid of the swoosh and replace it with just Nike. It wasn’t working. Some ads don’t even say Nike anymore. They just have the swoosh, and you even have to search for the swoosh. They don’t scream it. They don’t have to. And neither do you.
Your logo tells people who you are. That’s it. It’s like signing your name to the bottom of a letter. You don’t put your signature across the entire page. As Luke Sullivan puts it, “When introducing yourself, do you say your name in a booming voice? ‘Hi, my name is Bob Johnson!’” (208).
We don’t try to hide logos; we just try not to let it all hang out, so to speak. Shouting is one way to get attention, but so is whispering. It just depends on the particular situation.
“There’s a dynamic involved here,” states Luke Sullivan. “If it’s agreed the ad successfully stops a reader and engages him with an offer that intrigues, what do you suppose the reader will look for next? The reader’s just seen something he wants. Where can he get it? The logo. …The reader will almost certainly find it, no matter what its size”
Do you think this is a good rationalization for the age old request to “Make the logo bigger?” I’d love to hear what clients would have to say about this. It may be right, or it may be wrong., But I’m thinking it makes a convincing argument. What say you?
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