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Original articles from Mike Zuckerman.
 
Have Klout, Will Advertise
Quite recently, General Motors teamed up with social network influence measurer/aggregator/tabulator/thingamajig Klout to help promote their 2012 Chevrolet Sonic via three-day loans of the brand-new subcompact vehicle to influential social networkers. The idea here is that folks with a Klout score of “35” or above are influential in the various social networking universes.

Up Next: Intra-Womb Advertising?
Let’s be honest: the ad industry, and the (mostly) proud folks who work within it, has a less-than-stellar reputation in the ever-so-judgmental eyes of the public. I mean, depending upon who you ask, we’re (again, the ad industry and its workers) seen as anywhere from stupid to invasive to annoying to unnecessarily capitalistic to sketchy to flat-out dangerous.

For Those Who Think Sheets’ Advertising is Sheety
I mean, unless you're the kind of guy (or gal) who spends a lot of time inside gas station convenience stores or, I dunno, Sports Chalet impulse purchase sections, you probably wouldn't have ever heard of this Sheets energy strips product. And, in an oversaturated "energy drink slash supplement slash whatever at this point" market, how could you be blamed?

Keep Your Religion and Your Politics Out of Your Ads
For me, the rules behind creating a piece of advertising are pretty simple…there are precisely zero rules to follow after heeding the first two, which are, in no particular order: unless you’re working on a piece of political advertising, keep politics out of your work and unless you’re working on some piece of religious advertising, keep religion out of your work.

I Don’t Write Ads Based on Race. I Write Ads Based on People.
Seeing the new Scope Dual-Blast mouthwash ad made me think of a recent article discussing the role of Caucasians, marketing-wise, in a "Multicultural America." After skipping it initially, this now felt like an interesting premise for a piece.

Jinglin’ Baby? Not Really.
I can’t possibly be the only writer who finds himself or herself daydreaming re: writing classic jingles, wishing we could somehow time travel back to the '70s and '80s, when conceptualizing ad jingles (aka original composed content) seemed to be the rule, not the exception. Unnecessary disclosures of my own proclivities aside, cogent arguments for and against the use of jingles do exist.

Is Your Concept Lacking Something? Just Jam a QR Code in There!
Today, a previously-destined-for-the-garbage-can advertising idea might very well possess the ability to net you that career-making Lion after all. We have a saving grace. A magic little modern multimedia panacea. It’s called the QR code, and you can jam, cram or stuff it into your print ad, your outdoor advertisement, your whatever. Client or account team blowin’ up your celly during lunchtime, requesting some dumb “interactive” or “online” idea? No sweat.

On Chomsky, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Viability of Crowdsourcing
Leading the way in the creative crowdsourcing ethos has been Boulder, Colorado-based “non-traditional” agency Victors & Spoils, which has found at least a modicum of recent success working with such clients as Dish Network and Harley-Davidson. Do I think crowdsourcing’s a decent way to cultivate ideas? Maybe, maybe not. Does it scare the crap out of me regardless? Absofreakinlutely.

With Copywriting Comes Great Responsibility
The vast majority of Summer Blockbuster Movies these days seem to be superhero- / comic book-inspired movies, which is a genre I just cannot seem to get into no matter how hard I try. And, to make matters worse, it now appears that Summer Blockbuster Movie-itis has even infected my beloved world of advertising.

Advertising Doesn’t Get Much Easier Than This
Three words. No image. Red background. Some timely/creative lighting. That’s it. No logo (unless you count the lights that project the famous Golden Arches at night). Super simple, and it's very eye-catching and different.

Truly Wasted Ad Dollars In Inaction
Many folks believe all forms of advertising are a great big waste of money because, hey, nobody’s paying attention anyway. Some think that using "traditional" methods of advertising (television, radio, print, etcetera) is akin to setting cash on fire because, hey, nobody who matters demographically or psychographically is utilizing those dinosaurs any longer.

SoBe: a Case Study in Boobvertising
It’s no mystery that (and why) sex sells. Boobvertising (a catchy name for the gratuitous tactical use of sex — specifically breasts — in ads first proffered by copyranter, I think) is, in my humble/male opinion, generally hugely heavy-handed and lacking in subtlety (think Paris Hilton and Carl’s Jr.) yet eye-catching and seems to resonate, um, emotionally.

Going Green and Meaning It This Time
Anyone familiar with the advertising industry and, really, business in general, is familiar with buzzwords and buzzphrases. You can immediately recognize them1 in memos, email, and meetings, and, if you’re anything like me, reflexively cringe a few milliseconds after that. To me, you, and most everyone else, these words hold little meaning until seen in action.

Justin Bieber Can Sell Ice to Teenage Female Eskimos
As you may or may not know, fancy-coiffed Canadian teenybopper pop/R&B sensation Justin Bieber recently appeared in a television spot serving as the announcement for the forthcoming release of his own line of perfume (ingeniously) named "Someday." And, as you can probably surmise, "Someday" will make a kajillion bucks.

Five Hundred Fifty-Five Words On Why I Hate Flash Mobs
As much fun as writing your traditional television and radio spots can be, sometimes (well, many times), a well-rounded advertising campaign requires (or, at the very least, would certainly benefit from) something that goes beyond traditional media. You know, experiential/interactive stuff like Burger King’s old (but fun) Subservient Chicken.

AutoZone: Is Winning Business at Any Cost Good for Business?
Last week, Doner announced “victory” in the controversial $60M AOR derby for automotive spare parts and accessories retailer AutoZone Inc. Though Doner seemingly “beat out” competitors DraftFCB and TracyLocke, one really has to wonder what the agencies considered when taking AutoZone’s pitch demands and general temperament into account.

Really Smart Liquor Ads Do Exist (Contrary to Public Opinion)
Sitting here, watching the healthy amount of NBA Playoffs that I am, you can probably guess just how overexposed to automobile, action flick, soda, fast food, performance beverage and, of course, liquor/beer ads I’ve recently been. Like the games themselves, some of the spots are entertaining and, of course, some aren’t.

My Favorite Ad Ever, Vol. 73: Lucky Me! Sweet & Spicy Instant Noodles
We American ad folks can be so uptight sometimes. While certain subjects (politics, religion, for obvious reasons) are best left out of advertising altogether, there are other things that we, as a group, for whatever reason, generally steer clear of in our work.

Hoover: When No Advertising Is Good Advertising
Sometimes, it can really feel like it’s all been done before, like every "new" idea we come up with is some rehashed, refurbished version of something we’ve already seen a zillion times before. But then are those ever-so-rare magical occasions when we go to sleep idealess and wake up the next morning with our work already done for us.

T-Mobile Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Something Confusing
By now, we are all very aware of the wireless provider megamerger news from last month, where AT&T announced a definitive agreement with Deutsche Telekom to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in cash and stock. Sure, this merger has its probable pros and cons, but I’m interested in the merger’s effects on advertising.

Some Man-Reading For Your Man-Brain
Beauty/hygiene product purveyor Dove has, without question, put out some absolutely amazing, not to mention inspirational, ad work in recent years. And while their newest campaign in support of Dove® Men+Care™ (watch a television spot supporting it here) is technically and aesthetically fine, the overtly manly messaging featured here just feels a bit misguided.

Does Baconalia Cross the Line Between Clever and Esoteric?
Denny’s Restaurants recently began promoting their new bacon-themed menu, titled Baconalia: a Celebration of Bacon, featuring heart-stopping delicacies like Bacon Meatloaf and a Maple Bacon Sundae. And while the rationale behind hosting a limited-time bacon feast is easy to understand (Americans love them some bacon), the advertising behind it (namely, the name of said celebration), for many of those same Americans, might not be. And that’s potentially quite dangerous. By now, everyone who works ad industry has had the acronym KISS thrown at us at least once.

Get ‘Em Early: The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy
In a style slightly-more-than-reminiscent of Fight Club, we’re all fully aware that the first and second rules of advertising are “get ‘em when they’re young, and they’ll be customers for life.” While this practice doesn’t feel nearly as predatory in practice as it may initially sound, it does involve some early-life indoctrination and undoubtedly means advertising your wares to a youth market. Mercedes-Benz USA, with its Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, is in the process of doing just that.

The Real Reality of Advertising Creative
Whether we admit it or not (we generally do), most of us advertising creatives really do fancy ourselves artists. Be it through graphic design or the written word, we consider our work to be our art. Thing is, though, we, in the back of our minds, have to remember that this work is ostensibly done in the name of, and fully funded by, commerce, and that there is a not-so-veiled expectation that additional commerce shall commence as a result of our efforts in support of said commerce.

Leave the Cap’n Alone (Until He Can No Longer Sell Cereal)
This week, sources like Daily Finance have been writing about the rumored demise of Cap’n Crunch's long-time mascot, Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch, the face of Quaker Oats’ Cap’n Crunch cereal since 1963, along with his ads. And while these rumors have been subsequently proven false, debate over the continued viability of ol’ Horatio as an advertising pitchman rages on.

What's the Real Value of Celebrity Voice-Overs?
Most folks who have ever seen a television commercial have, at some point, either thought to themselves or said aloud, “Hey, I know that voice.” Well, duh, of course you do, because it’s that of a popular celebrity. You’re supposed to know who it is.

If a Corporate Logo Changes In the Woods…
You can say a copywriter isn’t qualified to discuss the nuances of logo design. Look, I might not know Lucida Sans from Sanskrit, but I know the wasting of vast amounts of time and money when I see it. And, yeah, I’m looking at you, JCPenney, and your officially-unveiled-during-Sunday’s-Oscars new corporate logo.

Ken and Barbie’s True Love Based On Nothing But Cash
I, like many of you who live in Los Angeles or New York, started seeing billboards featuring cryptic, esoteric love messages from a Ken doll around town recently and became intrigued. It turns out that like most modern relationships, the love story of Ken and Barbie was based on nothing more than commerce.

Farting Horse, or Appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator
If you choose to use humor as your literary device, I prefer smart-funny to dumb-funny (or just plain dumb). If your ad concept isn’t funny enough to make someone smile or laugh unless it involves a groin shot, a passing of gas, or a semi-racist or unfortunately stereotypical punch line, I don’t think it’s even worth pursuing. Or is it?

Advertisers Running the Wrong Way Regarding MTV’s 'Skins'
MTV’s 10-episode scripted teen-whatever show “Skins,” has been collecting a tremendous amount of buzz lately concerning both its family-unfriendly content and its epic advertiser exodus. We'll focus on the marketing impact for now and why it’s quite possible that the fleeing advertisers in question are making a huge mistake in doing so.

Juicy Couture Is, Like, So Bohemian
Los Angeles-founded clothier Juicy Couture has recently unveiled its new Spring 2011 advertising campaign, presumably urging consumers to nostalgically hearken back to the carefree days of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon neighborhood of the 60’s and 70’s via its clothing line. Unfortunately, Juicy’s campaign ends up coming off as a tad disingenuous, and perhaps even strategically flawed, for reasons we shall explore further.

Don’t Blame Your Obesity On Starbucks. Blame Yourself.
By now, unless you live under a rock or frequent a coffee house not offering free Wi-Fi, you’ve more than likely heard that Starbucks will, starting in May at all U.S. locations, make available a 31-ounce coffee (or tea or shake or whatever they make these days) behemoth named the Trenta. Its name translates from Italian to English as “thirty,” as in ounces of beverage.

Attenshun Ad Writer’s: Grammar's Important
One certainly doesn't need to be a hardcore grammarian on the level of the late David Foster Wallace, but ad writers, on any career level and no matter the size of the client or budget, should pay extremely close attention to grammar, usage, and spelling in everything they write. In short, you need to make sure you know your principals from your principles.

Introducing Advertising’s Next Hot Creative Frontier…Outdoors!
Much like a 300-square-foot studio apartment, the social media marketing space just feels sort of, well, creatively confining. Constricting. Stifling. Only so much you can do on a Twitter feed or Facebook page, right?

Yes, Hank, We Are Obviously Ready For Some Football
Be it a spot featuring an SUV conversing with a dog, a perky housewife hawking tartar-control toothpaste or a handsome, bare-chested guy on a horse, creatives crave having their work seen by as many folks as possible. And whether this desire is purely ego-driven, sales-driven, or a mix of the two is up for debate, the old adage states, "the more eyes, the better."

The Rise and Fall of Madeupwordocity
Trends in advertising creative, like trends in everything else, are fleeting. Here today, tired tomorrow, gone the day after that. With this in mind, what’s up with the trend of using made-up words in advertising copy? Could it permanently change how copy is written? Circa 2005, cable television/ISP provier Comcast was described by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as being "Comcastic." Mars’ Snickers bars were once, courtesy of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, said to be "satisfectellent" and to feature "nougatocity" in an ad with Adam "Nougatieri."

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