September 30, 2008

Twitters Never Win. Winners Never Twit.

Okay, I tried it.

Now my fair and balanced analysis: Twitter is the biggest, stupidest fucking waste of time since Cats.

How intelligent people can possibly squander their precious hours on Earth reading about how other people are about to get their drapes dry cleaned or their colons scoped is beyond comprehension.

It is a commentary on the nature of our age that we have to resort to such insubstantial means of conversing.

"Social media" is about the worst possible description for Twitter. The interactions are not social in any way. They are mostly anonymous, mechanical, and studied. If that's not the opposite of social, I don't know what is.

I'm out.

Having Said That...
My thanks to the twits who helped me with this experiment. Don't take my criticism personally -- I play golf and there's no more idiotic waste of time than that.

The Crisis of Advertising, Part 4 - Brain Drain

September 29, 2008

Copywriters Are Smarter Than Economists

At its heart, advertising is the art of giving people a reason to prefer a product when there is no reason.

Call me cynical.

The principal underlying this definition is that human beings are not logic machines. Their decisions are always emotional. Even when they utilize logic, they use it as one component of what is ultimately an emotional decision.

Copywriters understand this. Economists don't. Economists think people behave rationally.

The Parade Of Hypocrisy...
is breathtaking to behold.
  • Politicians, who for years jockeyed for position to kiss the asses of fat-boy financial ceo's and ride in their corporate jets, are now throwing them to the wolves.
  • The media, whose ceo's and news readers are some of the galaxy's biggest overfed corporate aristocrats, are wringing their hands over corporate avarice.
  • And the gluttonous public, who lined up to buy houses and cars they couldn't afford with someone else's money, are vilifying the greed of Wall Street.
The More They Owe You, The More They Own You
If someone owes you ten bucks, who cares if he goes broke? If he owes you a million bucks, you can't afford to let him go broke.

September 26, 2008

A Tribute To Second Rate Things

I like...
  • hamburger better than steak
  • spring training better than the regular season
  • tv better than movies
  • limericks better than poetry
  • rock better than jazz
  • beer better than wine
  • khakis better than slacks
  • sneakers better than shoes.
  • Timex better than Rolex
  • New Jersey better than New York
  • salesmen better than marketers
  • mutts better than poodles
  • Mel Brooks better than Woody Allen
  • candy corn better than caviar
  • products better than brands
  • Prairie Home Companion better than All Things Considered
  • crossword puzzles better than jigsaw puzzles
  • soft core better than hard core
  • tacos better than crepes
  • burritos better than wraps
  • entrepreneurs better than ceo's
  • pool rooms better than galleries
  • rye better than whole wheat
  • tuna sandwich better than tuna tartare
  • comedy better than drama
  • bars better than clubs
  • pizza better than anything
  • anything better than Broadway musicals

And The Winner Is...

Me. Nobody was able to come up with the source of "he was a cruel man, but fair," so I'm keeping the TAC Award of Merit right here in the ad cave. Here's your answer:

Next Week:
The Crisis of Advertising, Part 4: The Brain Drain

September 25, 2008

Ad Agency Nuclear Waste

Our agency has about 100 people. It's pretty big by independent agency standards, but tiny by global agency standards.

One thing I love about our agency is that my partners have developed their own morality about our business. One aspect of this is that they take particular interest in protecting the people who work for us.

People have left good jobs to come to work for us. Some have moved across the country. They work hard. We have a responsibility to these people to manage the company prudently and responsibly and protect them and their families to the best of our ability.

Yesterday, we concluded our annual management meeting. After two days of meetings, in anticipation of the economic shit-storm that's about to hit the ad industry, we were able to cut almost 1/2 million dollars of unnecessary expenses from our budget. For a company our size, this is big. Naturally, we hope the economy stabilizes and our business continues to grow. However, if the tide of shit hits, this will save a lot of jobs.

The thing that shocked me was that when we went through every expense item in our budget, we found that we spend almost $10,000 a year on bottled water. I almost had a stroke. Water comes out of the fucking tap for free.

Now here's the point.

If a little shit-ass company like ours can piss away $10,000 a year on water, can you imagine how much money the overfed fuckwits at AIG, Bear Stearns, etc. must have wasted on their fleets of private jets and the rest of their corporate bullshit? And how many jobless people are now suffering for having financed their arrogance and selfishness?

Just one more thing.

Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama -- please spare me your righteous indignation. You weren't indignant when these guys were making nice returns for you on your personal investments. You weren't indignant when you were sucking their dicks for campaign contributions. Where were you aristocratic senators when all this shit was going on? At least Palin has an excuse. She was up at the fucking north pole cooking fucking mooseburgers.

Where the fuck were you two?

Calling All Twits:
Now that I'm among you, I need help. I know nothing of Twitter etiquette. Am I supposed to follow the people who follow me? Is it an insult not to?

September 24, 2008

I Am A Twit

I believe that social media is one big circle jerk.

I am convinced that the same people read this blog every day. I am certain this is true of all blogs and social sites -- the only difference is the size of the circle and the vigor of the jerks.

Along those lines, those who follow TAC know that I have had very harsh words for people who Twitter. (See "How The Narcissistic Keep In Touch With The Feckless.")

However, here at Ad Contrarian Global Headquarters, we like to think of ourselves as fair -- cruel, but fair.

So I have decided to give Twitter a try for a while. Then I will report back. Here's my Twitter address:

Let's do it.

TAC Award of Merit the first person who can source "he was a cruel man, but fair". No Googling.

Coming Soon:
The Crisis of Advertising, Part 4: The Brain Drain

And Speaking Of Twits:

September 23, 2008

Is "Search" Advertising?

When I think of advertising on the web, I think of three different flavors:
  1. Search: Listings on Google or some other search engine.
  2. Display: Banners or other types of static or moving ad units.
  3. Social media: Advertising disguised as something else (blog, website, online community, etc.)
The most effective seems to be "search." It accounts for over 40% of all on-line ad dollars. From what I've been told by web experts, it seems to provide the best ROI in most cases. (Having said that, let me assure you that all data in this area is somewhere between "best guess" and bullshit.)

The question I have is this: Is search really advertising?

In the broad sense, all paid messages done for commercial purposes can be considered advertising. However, advertising as we know it in the common vernacular has certain characteristics:
  • It is purposefully created.
  • It tries to improve our opinion of the advertiser.
If you accept these characteristics of advertising, it is hard to determine whether search can be defined as advertising.
  • Search results are sometimes created purposefully (e.g., meta-tags for paid search), but mostly they are "generated" not created.
  • Its power to improve our opinion is downstream i.e., it relies on the strength of the actual ad (landing page, website, etc.) that we don't see until after we leave (click out of) the search engine.
The best analogy we have for search in the offline world is the Yellow Pages. In the Yellow Pages, we distinguish between a "listing" and an "ad."

As a matter of fact, Yellow Pages listings often conclude with the following type of statement 'see our ad on page 345', acknowledging the difference between a listing and an ad. In search, however, we often make no such distinction, and consider the listing itself to be advertising. It may be advertising in the broad sense, but is it an ad?

Your opinion please.

Coming Soon: The Crisis of Advertising, Part 4 - The Brain Drain

September 22, 2008

Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3: Talent

This is Part 3 of a 5-part series on "The Crisis of Advertising." You can find the first two parts here: Part 1, and here: Part 2.


At one point in my career I left the agency business for three years and did creative work directly for clients. During those three years I learned a very important lesson about ad agencies. Clients do not like working with us.

They mostly laugh (behind our backs) at our supposed strategic abilities. They see very little value in what we call "account service." They believe they can get media planning done anywhere.

They put up with us for one reason and one reason only. We're their only source for creativity.

Or at least we have been.

A very significant part of the crisis we are facing is that talented young creative people used to strive to work in advertising. They no longer do. And if we don't have creativity to sell, we got nothin'.

In Part 1 of this series, I stated that "The crisis is not being caused by the internet. The internet should be a boon to advertising." There is, however, one way in which the ascendancy of the web is harming ad agencies. We are allowing it to draw off a whole generation of talented creative people.

Not long ago, young people with creative talent had three options.

First, they could go into fine arts. They could write novels or plays. If they were visual artists they could go into painting or sculpture. If they were musicians they could play or compose serious music.

Second, if they were talented but not quite brilliant, they could go into the popular arts: writing for tv or movies, pop music, or popular art.

Third, if they were talented but couldn't make it in the world of fine art or popular art, there was commercial art, including advertising.

(I know. Gross generalizations. Obviously, there have been some brilliant commercial artists and some terrible "fine" artists. In general, however, it is true that there is a hierarchy of fine art, popular art, and commercial art.)

The web has changed this in two ways. For one thing, it is now possible to bypass the standard routes to creative success. Talented people who previously had no access to channels of artistic exposure can now show their work on the internet at a cost of about zero.

Next -- and most critical to us in the ad business -- working in digital media has become far more attractive to them than working in traditional advertising.

A great many talented young people who in the past would have been drawn to advertising are now choosing to create for the web. And they are not creating "ads" for the web. They are creating websites, games, social networks, blogs, videos, and all manner of oddball hybrids. They have an alternative to what we used to consider "commercial art."

Put yourself in the place of a young, talented person. You can work for a big, clumsy ad agency that is toiling for huge corporations and have dozens of dumb-as-dirt knuckleheads sticking their sweaty fingers into everything you do, or you can work for yourself, or a smaller entity, where you don't just use your imagination to sell things, you use it to actually create things.

The ad industry is not attracting these talented young people like it used to. And it needs them desperately.

If we cannot provide clients with the one thing they really want from us -- creativity -- there is little future for the ad industry as it is currently configured.

Later this week: The Crisis of Advertising, Part 4 - The Brain Drain

Speaking Of Brain Issues...
wishes for a quick recovery to The Ad Contrarian Contrarian.

The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 1
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 2: Consolidation
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3: Talent
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 4: Brain Drain
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 5: What To Do

September 19, 2008

3 Lessons From A Chaotic Week

There are lessons from the economic turmoil of the past week.

1. All social systems are flawed

When things go bad, it's comforting to have someone to blame. In this current cycle of hysteria there's certainly enough blame to go around.

However, even if there were people with perfect foresight; even if they could foresee what would happen; even if they had a perfect record of predicting economic events, our system of governance still couldn't keep pace with events. Events always outpace policies.

In a democracy, policies take time to develop. Events happen whenever the hell they feel like it.

Whether economic, political, or civil, social systems are all flawed. This is why there has never been a "cure" for poverty or crime and why there never will be. This is why there has always been political unrest and always will be. This is why there have always been economic meltdowns and always will be.

2. Nothing moves in a straight line

Einstein taught us that space is curved. Well, life is curved, too.

Just when you think you've got the graph pointed in a straight line, something's going to happen.

A few years ago we were having serious discussions with a client because forecasts showed that their advertising budget (which was tied to sales) would soon be way too large.

Today, the budget is 20 million dollars lower.

3. Security is always an illusion


And Now For Something Not Completely Different
AIG's most recent ad campaign? "The Strength To Be There"

Next week: The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3 - Talent

September 18, 2008

The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 2

Here at TAC Global Headquarters, we agree with the pundits who say the ad industry is all screwed up. However, we disagree with them about why it's screwed up. Over the next week or so, we're going to be looking at what's gone wrong, and why the business sucks so bad. Today's post is about consolidation.


There is one thing that the last 10 years has taught us about consolidation in service industries. Whether it's advertising, airlines or retailing, consolidation has been a nightmare for customers.

The startling thing is that airline customers get it. Retail customers get it. But, for the most part, clients of global ad agencies still don't get it.

Any survey of marketing companies makes it clear that they have lost confidence in ad agencies' abilities to positively affect their business. Yet they continue to hire the same five global agency networks over and over.

Not that long ago, Y&R had the largest share of market among advertising agencies at about 1.5%. Today five global behemoths control as much as 75 to 80% of advertising in America. Ask people who work for one of these monstrosities and 90% of the time you will hear how dysfunctional, corrupt, and greedy they have become.

Advertising was at its best when it was run by the entrepreneurs who were the "founding fathers" of the modern era. They started agencies because they thought they could do it better. They were mainly craftsmen -- copywriters, art directors, and account guys -- who had three goals: 1) to get out from under the thumbs of the schmucks who ran the dull agencies they were working at; 2) to make some money; 3) to make good ads.

Let's not be overly romantic here. The founding fathers (and a few founding mothers) of modern advertising were no less interested in making money than today's worldwide fat boys. However, they lived in a different world -- a world in which making money in advertising was a by-product. It came from making good ads.

They were interesting people. Not every one was George Lois or Jerry Della Femina, but for the most part they were not the stupefyingly dull men in gray suits that run today's global ad corporations.

Today's publicly traded behemoths are lead by lawyers, accountants and MBAs who could no more recognize a good ad than replace a carburetor. If their agencies never had to make another ad -- if they could just be consultants and branding bullshitters -- they'd be perfectly happy.

I am not naive enough to believe that the past was always better than today or that small is always better than big. And the ad industry has invariably had its share of con men, empty suits, and bullshit artists. However, having lived through it, I can tell you this -- the conglomeratized ad industry of today, compared to what it used to be, is a steaming pile of smelly shit.

Coming Soon: The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3 - "Talent"

The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 1
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 2: Consolidation
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3: Talent
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 4: Brain Drain
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 5: What To Do

September 17, 2008

The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 1

Advertising pundits are right about one thing. The ad industry is a fucking disaster.

They are wrong, however, about what is causing the problems.

The crisis is not being caused by the internet. The internet should be a boon to advertising.

The crisis is not being caused by "new media." New media should be stimulating a creative resurgence.

The crisis is not the result of consumers becoming immune to advertising. The idea that consumers are suddenly immune to advertising is just plain nonsense.

Unfortunately, the causes of the crisis are much deeper and intractable. They revolve around three factors.
1. Consolidation of the ad industry
2. Talent and brain drain
3. Mindless me-too-ism
In the next few days I'm going to explore these three factors and how they have influenced every one of us who works in advertising and marketing.

The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 1
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 2: Consolidation
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 3: Talent
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 4: Brain Drain
The Crisis Of Advertising, Part 5: What To Do

September 16, 2008

Obligations Of A Blogger

In the past couple of weeks, I have done some blogging about blogging (see this , this , this and this.) Here are some further thoughts.

Bloggers have obligations to their readers. These obligations fall into a few categories:

1. An obligation to be interesting. I don't care how much I agree or disagree with a blogger, if she is interesting she has done her job. I would much rather read an interesting post I completely disagree with than a bunch of agreeable pablum.

2. An obligation to be responsible. This one is tricky. Part of being interesting is to speak your mind, but part of being human is a responsibility to protect other people from unnecessary embarrassment.
I have struggled with this one. The solution I have come up with, when being critical, is to be specific about the media source, but not name the writer, or speaker.

Another ethical responsibility is to protect readers from the disturbing ravings of lunatics. I have never censored ("moderated" in web-speak) a comment on my blog. But if something disturbing or threatening came along, I would feel no compunction about doing so.

On the other hand, when a blogger opens an area of discussion for comments, his readers have a right to expect that every reasonable point of view will be allowed and that censorship will only be used to protect the reader, not the ego of the blogger.

Some bloggers (see Stalinist Cult Blogs) don't want comments. They want compliments.

3. An obligation to care enough to do it right. There is an alarming amount of sloppy blogging. From time to time everyone misspells a word or creates a typo. However, when I see a pattern of sloppy writing; when I see an inability to create a simple declarative sentence; when I see a stream of misspellings, I lose confidence in the blogger's ability to provide me with anything useful.

September 15, 2008

The First 'Star Wars' Election

Without noticing it, we are witnessing a very disturbing phenomenon.

Brand image has always (at least in my lifetime) been a factor in presidential politics. Now it has become the dominant factor.

Yesterday, in a very astute article, former Mayor of SF, Willie Brown, pointed out that this is the first election that will be determined by a vice presidential pick.

Although they are running for different offices, don't kid yourself -- the two major players in this race are Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

To partisans on either side, the other looks unqualified for high office. To non-partisan observers, an unbiased look at their resumes, executive experience, and accomplishments, raises the question of whether either of these people is qualified to run the country.

They are two attractive and amiable lightweights. What they have is star power.

In previous elections we've had candidates with star power running against candidates without (Kennedy vs Nixon; Reagan vs Carter/Mondale.) Each time, the star has won. This is the first time we have two "star power" candidates running at once.

In the entertainment age, star power rules. Literally.

But There's Hope:
Most Americans vote on brand (Democrat vs Republican; Liberal vs Conservative.) But the ones who determine presidential elections -- the independent voters -- are usually a little more thoughtful and read the ingredients. Maybe we can count on the independents this time to be more conscientious.

Yeah, right.

September 12, 2008

The Thought Police Are Watching

Freedom of speech is becoming subordinated to the feelings of special interest groups.

It is getting harder and harder to express unpopular opinions. This is particularly true of commercial speech.

If your message happens to "offend" some vocal special interest group, you are sure to be the target of an effort to silence you (see Super Bowl Vigilantes and Super Bowl Vigilantes Strike Again.)

The latest attack on free speech is aimed at the advertising industry in Europe. According to The Telegraph, the EU's "women's rights committee" wants to ban tv commercials "deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes."

Presumably, the "women's rights committee" would be the "deemers."

I yield to no one in my disdain for the stupidity and
inanity (and ugliness) of women's fashion advertising. As the father of a teenage girl, and a lifelong ad guy, I am often mortified by the way women are portrayed in advertising. Nonetheless, I completely oppose this idea.

Is showing a woman in a skimpy swimsuit portraying her as a sex object? Certainly. How about a woman in a dress -- does that reinforce gender stereotypes? It sure does. Does that mean that women in dresses cannot appear in tv commercials? How about a woman cooking a meal? If the committee "deems" that it reinforces gender stereotypes is that now going to be banned from television?

There is nothing that separates us from Luddite ignorance more unmistakeably than our tolerance of the right of others to express themselves freely -- regardless of the stupidity or foolishness of their utterances.

Attempting to further a political agenda -- no matter how well-intentioned -- by undermining this right is a huge, misguided step.

God help us if the day comes when some "rights committee" can decide what is permissible speech and what isn't.

September 11, 2008

How To Remain Positive

- Never go to any website that promises to calculate your cancer risk, retirement needs, or credit rating.

- Do not read your kid's Facebook page.

- Steer clear of out-of-work copywriters, political party volunteers, anyone whose job requires "funding," periodontists, and people named Bruce or Brian.

- Cancel all newspapers.

- Don't watch anything on tv that isn't brought to you, in part, by beer, fast food, or trucks.

- Never read any article that begins with these words: "A study published today in the scientific journal..."

- Watch "This Is Spinal Tap" once a week.

- Only order restaurant items that a nine-year-old would like.

- Only play golf with people worse than you.

- Avoid roofers, people with unusual food allergies, anyone whose job title includes the word "development," "sourcing" or "wellness", and people fond of saying "narrative."

- Get drunk at lunch at least once a month.

- Eat when you're hungry; sleep when you're tired; screw when you're horny.

- Send money to someone who needs it.

- Wear shorts whenever possible.

- Watch this:

September 10, 2008

Stalinist Cult Blogs

While talking about the four types of advertising and marketing blogs yesterday, I mentioned that my least favorite type is what I call the Stalinist Cult blog.

These blogs are ostensibly written for the benefit of the reader, but are really written for the enrichment and glorification of the blogger.

They are easily identified by reading the 'comments' section. Most comments are from fawning sycophants that are overwhelmingly congratulatory and focus on the genius of The Blessed Leader and the brilliance of whatever it is he's currently hustling. Comment "moderation" (web-speak for censorship) is used to filter out criticism.

The comment section usually has an inner circle of indentured ass-kissers who never miss an opportunity to suck The Blessed One's dick (I think I've gotten myself into a mixed metaphor of the profane.)

Mostly it's a giant scam to sell The Blessed Leader's crap -- which is plastered all over the page -- to the suckers who are so proud of being part of "the conversation" they don't even know they're being hustled.

Amazingly, these are some of the most popular marketing blogs on the web.

Mixed Metaphor Of The Profane:
Would have made a nice title for a novel. Maybe Norman Mailer.

Bookmark and Share

September 09, 2008

Blogging About Blogging

Back in the good old days when I was a creative director instead of whatever the hell I am now, I had one hard and fast rule -- no ads about advertising.

This week, I'm going to break the spirit of that rule by blogging about blogging.

I've been at this blogging thing a little over a year and I have some opinions about advertising and marketing blogs.

First of all, there is a hierarchy. It looks like this:

1. Blogs about ideas.
2. Blogs about things.
3. Blogs about people.
4. Stalinist cults

Blogs about ideas are at the top of the heap. These are blogs that make you think. Whether you agree with the blogger or not, these blogs cause you to reconsider what you're doing and why; make you question assumptions about advertising and marketing; make you see things in new ways.

Next in the hierarchy are blogs about things. Generally, they're about ad industry news, or ad campaigns. They can be interesting if written by a good writer but they're usually not. The writer is most often just an amateur critic posting ads and saying "This sucks" or "This doesn't suck."

Next come blogs about people. These are essentially gossip columns. They are often attack vehicles for malcontents. They sometimes feature "inside stories" which are just people using their connection with the blogger to exact retribution on colleagues, bosses or agencies. The worst of these are written by anonymous weasels too chicken to say who they really are.

My least favorite are the Stalinist Cult blogs. Some venom about these smelly things tomorrow.

New Gizmo:
At the top right, there's a new thing called "Follow This Blog." Click on it and it will do all kinds of nice things including uploading your face, or any other body part you'd like to display. That way, in case you forget what you look like, you can click on TAC and find out. It's reassuring.

September 08, 2008

Amazingly, Alarmingly Clueless

When it comes to campaign strategy, the Democrats are amazingly, alarmingly clueless.

In the midst of what could turn out to be the worst economy since the depression; in the midst of a hugely unpopular war; against the most unpopular head of state since Louis XVI; with a tremendously attractive and charismatic candidate, the Democrats still have a good chance of blowing the presidential election.

As Alan Wolk has pointed out here and here, the Republicans have been way ahead of the Democrats strategically.

Here are some unsolicited strategic thoughts for the Obama campaign that are no doubt worth every cent you paid for them.
1. You need a single, simple, specific example of "change" and you need to pound it. Bring the troops home in 6 months? 10% tax cut across the board? Free iPhones for everyone? Something concrete. Not a litany of philosophical hoo-hah, a single, simple, specific example.

2. You better get the Hollywood crowd to shut their stupid fucking mouths. The more these overfed morons rag on McCain and Palin, the more they alienate the people you need. The Republican strategy is "Us vs The Elite." Get it?

3. Do not play softball with Sarah Palin. She needs to be treated like any other candidate. Sending Hillary and other female surrogates out to criticize her is a stupid idea that will not work. It makes you look effete. You've got to show some balls and go after her yourself. You made a big mistake not making Hillary the veep candidate. It's too late to count on her now.
The Big Losers:
The big losers last week were the media. Their treatment of Sarah Palin was condescending, sexist, and shameful. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Sally Quinn say that at some point Palin is going to have to choose between family or country. Would she ever say that about a man? Regardless of your personal feelings about Palin, you have to be disgusted at this type of Neanderthal sexism.

In a poll taken late last week, an astounding 51% of Americans thought "most reporters are trying to hurt her (Palin's) campaign."

Biggest loser was CNN whose sneering, accusatory tone toward Palin was evident even to liberal commentators like
the excellent Media Curmudgeon, Charlie Warner:
"A new low point in cable news occurred this week with the focus on Sarah Palin’s family issues. Even after Barack Obama correctly and firmly said that family matters should be kept out of political coverage, cable news bloviators, like the gossip junkies they are, couldn’t help themselves. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, as usual, was the worst offender."
This adds firepower to the "Us vs The Elite" message of Republicans. It will cost CNN thousands of independent viewers. The unfair part is that it will also cost Obama -- who was terrific on this subject -- thousands of votes.

Also Obnoxious:
The other side of the coin: Fox's breathless boosterism of Palin.

September 05, 2008

Not All Blogs Suck

Earlier this week, in Returning My Award, I was unable to come up with 5 bloggers I thought were funny. I still haven't.

It got me thinking about the kinds of blogs I read. Frankly, I don't read many advertising or marketing blogs. Mainly they're pedantic, gossipy, or poorly written.

The ones I do read generally fall into one of three categories:

1. Blogs that I learn from. An example is Seth's Blog. Although I don't always agree with Seth, his blog is well-written and I learn things. He has interesting theories of his own and, unlike most online gurus, he doesn't just regurgitate other people's ideas. Also in this category is The Toad Stool.

2. Blogs that are entertaining. A good example is Itty-Biz. Naomi's blog is not about something I'm interested in (online marketing from home) but she's so funny, entertaining and honest that I have to read it. She has that John Belushi/Chris Farley "commit-to-the-bit" mania.

3. Blogs that are well-written. An example is Ad Broad. It's a pleasure when you know you're in professional hands -- when you have confidence that the subject matter will be interesting; when you can never predict what the next post might be about.

See, I can be nice.

Oh, Yeah, There's One Other Type Of Blogger I Read...
Brilliant bloggers that mention TAC. Including, but not limited to: Dear Jane Sample, AdPulp, thegirlRiot, Timothy Coote, Fabio, James Hipkin, DeepTechDive, Sell Sell, FreedomPictures, Kelly, TowelsForEveryone, Giania, conversationagent, TalentImitates,GeniusSteals, The Denver Egotist, BrandStory, HervieAuPaysDesCommunicants, Sonia Simone, Gaffney, GetANewBrowser, FutureNow, Where's Spot?, Creative Spark, OnsiteWebDesign, Todd Albertson, The Client Side, Marblehead Blog, Accidental Branding, Cory Trefelletti. More about bloggers and blogging next week.

Special Thanks To:
Lorraine Thompson, Ross Graham, Dennis Collins for the nice notes.

September 04, 2008

Lock Them In A Closet

Last week I dropped my daughter (The Only Person I Really Like) at college.

I highly recommend postponing this activity as long as possible. When you show up on campus, every kid but yours looks like one of the following:
  • a drug addict
  • a date rapist
  • a serial killer
  • a tattooed maniac
  • a home-schooled, God-bothering zomboid
  • a pierced and punctured Starbuckista
  • an incipient booze hound
  • a laundry-wearing crypto-terrorist
  • a sex fiend
  • a torturer of small mammals
  • a very bad influence
The male faculty all look like Humbert Humbert.

The female faculty are all NPR-addled cigarette jockeys.

The dorms look like minimum security whore houses.

The showers seem shrouded in male pubic hair.

The dorm supervisors are compulsive masturbators.

Don't laugh. This is serious.

Hot Tip For The DEA:
There is a direct relationship between frisbee playing and pot smoking. Get on it!

And Now For Something Completely Different:
For those of you who, like me, have a deep and abiding skepticism about consumer "research", I highly recommend this.

And Now For Something Else Completely Differenter:
After watching Hot Mom With Rifle last night, TAC believes Obama made a huge mistake not selecting Hillary as his running mate and it may cost him the presidency. TAC predicts the most interesting election in decades. (Reminder -- two things TAC is always wrong about: politics and driving directions.)

September 03, 2008

Returning My Award

This country has a long history of pompous, self-important jerks returning awards.

Today, I am proud to join that brotherhood (yeah, yeah, okay, sisterhood, too. I can see this Sarah Palin thing is going to be a real pain in the ass.)

Last week I won an award. It was an award for having a funny blog. (Apparently laughs are so hard to come by these days that "annoying" passes for "funny.")

It was given to me by other bloggers (in particular, the wonderful Kelly.) The problem is it comes with strings. Frankly, the award is kind of like a pyramid scheme. I can't announce the award until I bestow it on 5 other funny bloggers. Now where the hell am I going to find 5 funny bloggers?

Believe me, I've tried.

I googled "funny blogs" and "humorous blogs." There were long lists of blogs that were supposed to be funny. I spent all Saturday morning reading them. They were about as funny as a hernia operation.

Like I said to Kelly, finding 5 funny bloggers is like finding 5 coherent art directors, or 5 grateful teenagers, or five satisfactory husbands, or 5 McCain voters on the Upper West Side.

Anyone with a sense of humor is not blogging, he’s making fun of bloggers.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I'm afraid I may have to turn down the award. And if there's one thing I hate to turn down, it's an award. Or money. Or pizza. Oh, and Ketel One on the rocks with a twist. And a slow dance with a fast girl. And cupcakes. And did I mention Ketel One?

My only hope is you, gentle reader. Can you point me to some funny bloggers?

Speaking Of Awards For Funny:
My business partner, The Klever Mrs. Krinsky, once won an award for a radio commercial she wrote. It was in the "non-humor" category. She stepped up to the podium to accept her award. "Thank you so much for this lovely award. Just one thing. The fucking spot was supposed to be funny."

September 02, 2008

Marketing Genius Analyzes The Election

Now that all the presidential and vice presidential candidates are known, it's time to analyze the race.

As a certified marketing genius (hey, I have a blog, don't I?) The Ad Contrarian knows that the candidate whose "brand" best "resonates" with "mainstream consumers" is the one who is most likely to attract great numbers of voters and help his/her ticket.

So let's have a look at the four candidates and see how each one will help or hurt the ticket by examining the type of voter each one is most likely to attract:

Here's my analysis:
McCain: The Old Farts With 7 Houses vote is not reliable. They often have trouble finding the polling place. When they do find it, they mostly pull the lever in the mens' room and think they've voted (see Florida, 2004.)

Obama: I went to the Guys Whose Middle Name Is Hussein Facebook page. Not a lot of votes here. Plus they'll probably be pulled aside for secondary screening by TSA agents when they try to enter the voting booth.

Palin: From what I can tell, there just aren't enough Hot Moms With Rifles to make a difference. But please feel free to prove me wrong by sending snapshots.

Biden: Bald Guys In Denial? Billions of 'em. You can't swing a Conair 1450 without hitting a few. They've got sweep-overs, comb-arounds, spray-mounts, alarming toupees, low and high-density plug-jobs, nasty gray pony-tails, and half-empty mullets.
Consequently, TAC predicts that the key to this election is Joe Biden's unnerving hair-do. It will put the Democratic ticket over the top.

Still Hope For Republicans:
Two things TAC is always wrong about: politics and driving directions.