Sunday 31 December 2006

What’s a CD Daddy?

Way back in April the name Gnarls Barkley looked and sounded a lot like an April fools joke.

Look who’s laughing now.

Their song Crazy was surely the tipping point for the digital music revolution.

Its success heralding the final days of flipping thru the racks at your local record store.

Crazy became the first ever song to top the UK singles chart without selling a single single.

Even more amazing, around 20% of the digital downloads of the song were to mobile phones.

As we enter 2007, downloads now account for almost 80% of single song sales in the UK.

If you’d have predicted that back in April people would have said you were crazy.

Saturday 30 December 2006

Telecoms in Tokyo

I wrote a post a little while ago about multinational agencies setting up agencies to get around client conflicts.

No such problems for Dentsu in Japan, who hold the accounts of the country’s top three telecom companies.

Surely there has to be some sort of conflict in an arrangement that complex?

Via John in Tokyo

Listen up kids

If you got yourself an iPod for Christmas head over to The Advertising Show site and download an interesting podcast interview with legendary art director George Lois.

One of adland’s true mavericks, Lois talks about his time with Bill Bernbach, his groundbreaking work at Esquire magazine and his new book on Muhammad Ali.

I should warn you that you’ll have to put up with a bit of aimless waffle and chit-chat before George hits his stride, but he’s definitely worth the wait.

Click here to download the George Lois podcast from AdShow.

For more info about Lois click here visit his personal website.

Friday 29 December 2006

Music for the masses

I’ve always been in two minds about the use of pop songs in TV ads.

Are these songs merely a substitute for a strong idea, or are they so powerful that the song itself really is the idea?

Like I said, I’m in two minds.

I remember back in the Eighties when Nike did one of the first pop song powered TV spots, using Revolution by The Beatles.

Paul McCartney was so miffed at the time he declared, “Songs like Revolution don't mean a pair of sneakers, they mean revolution!"

As much as I agreed with McCartney, I couldn’t help disagreeing as well, because it was a damn good ad.

Same goes for the classic David Fincher directed Nike commercial below, which featured John Lennon’s rallying cry Instant Karma.

From the sublime to the pathetically ridiculous is the following dog turd of an ad for some sort of American Express card.

This ad features a song called Gimme Some Money from the movie Spinal Tap.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but who the hell would want a credit card from the guys who gave us such classics as Smell My Love Pump and Break Like The Wind?

They’re not even a real bloody band, so we can’t even accuse them of selling out.

Like I said all that time ago, I’m in two minds.

As far as I’m concerned Nike and Apple can ransack my cd collection anytime. Great ads and great music.

The Amex Simply Cash creatives however should be locked in a room with A3 pads and a couple of Pentels and not be allowed out ‘till they’ve managed to crack a real idea.

Oh, and make sure someone confiscates their DVD of Spinal Tap.

Back to the future

Can you really call yourself a ‘trendspotter’ when you’re spotting trends that have already emerged?

Let me tell you, that’s exactly how I felt after receiving an email that JWT had just issued their 2007 Trend Forecast.

As you can imagine I was keen to see what lay over the horizon for 2007.


Have a look at JWT’s top three trends for 2007: Skype/VOIP, Wii and next generation gaming and the business of social networking.

Now I hate to be critical of the agency network that made me the creative thinker I am today, but talk about missing the boat.

My Dad’s been using VOIP for at least 18 months and he’s 70 next year! He’s also managed to get most of his relatives into it as well, which is a great example of social networking if you ask me.

So how on earth can VOIP be a trend for 2007? You really can’t get more mainstream than my old man.

The next generation gaming thing is interesting, especially after the point that my son made in my previous post. Me thinks the whole notion of next generation gaming has been completely rewritten by the success of the Wii.

If, as young Max says, the 360 is just an X-Box with better graphics, surely neither it nor the Playstation 3 can be considered next generation gaming?

As for the business of social networking, surely the dotcom era amounts of money paid for MySpace and YouTube confirm that social networking has long since passed the status of trend?

Like I said earlier, I hate to criticise JWT. It’s great to see some of the innovative thinking Aussie boy Craig Davis has brought to the network. But this trends thing looks like it should have been written a year ago, not this week.

Thursday 28 December 2006

Wisdom of a 10 year old

My son Max and I were in the car this morning when he made a very perceptive comment on a poster he'd seen for the X-Box 360.

I’ve searched in vain to try and find the ad in question, but I’ve come up empty handed.

The ads feature a young male, shirt off, with different types of appendage sown on to where their arms would be.

There’s one with rippling biceps and another with white feathered wings. Hopefully you get the picture.

Anyway Max said that he reckoned "They were pretty good ads, but they're not right for the 360."

When I asked him why he said, “They’re more like the kind of ads you’d expect to see for something interactive, like the Wii.”

“The 360 can’t make you feel like the ads say you will. It’s just an X-Box but with better graphics.”

Geez! The kid’s only 10 and he’s already so aware of media and messaging it’s just not funny.

If he’s representative of the kids of today, the advertisers of tomorrow are gonna have to start raising their game. And fast.

Wednesday 27 December 2006

An iPod on every street corner

When I was in Japan last year I couldn’t believe the sheer number of vending machines.

It seemed like there was a machine on every street corner, selling just about anything from toothpaste to beer.

I guess if you make and sell commodity products, a vending machine is a pretty easy way to retail them.

Which is probably why Apple has just introduced a limited number of iPod vending machines in the US.

Of course the iPod is anything but a commodity product, but it could easily become one if Apple have their way.

To me the iPod vending machine shows how Apple understand that the kids of today don’t need to have the iPod explained to them.

This generation of digital natives is completely at ease with computer products, so the last thing they need is some guy with too many pens in his shirt pocket trying to sell them something.

Pic courtesy BEL

Tuesday 26 December 2006

It’s a ‘mouse rage’ epidemic

The Social Issues Reseach Centre in the UK has recently identified a new ailment.

Symptoms include sweating, altered immune system function and negative cardiac function.

The ailment is known as Mouse Rage and is defined as furious clicking and bashing of a computer mouse.

Causes of Mouse Rage include memory hungry flash based websites, inconsistent site navigation, banners ads and pop ups.

I’ve been suffering this condition for many years. My symptoms are especially bad whenever I am forced to sit through a site loading notice.

When are our web jockeys going to realise that when people are searching for information what they want is information, not superfluous entertainment?

Sunday 24 December 2006

Santa takes a break

Via adpulp

Saturday 23 December 2006

Have a cool Yule

Love and best wishes to each and every person, brand and agency that made writing Brand DNA so much fun this year.

Friday 22 December 2006

Kiss your old iPod goodbye

Guess what I'm hoping to find in my stocking on Christmas morning?

I love I hate ads

Who would have picked sleepy Brisbane as the home of post modernist ad agency self promotion?

Certainly not me, that’s for sure.

Trade mag AdNews this week carried an upside down page filled with ‘I Hate Ads’ speech bubble stickers.

Talk about biting the hand.

Curiosity aroused I switched on my computer and visited the I Hate Ads website. Turns out Brisbane agency DePasquale was behind the idea.

How very post modern of DePasquale to advertise itself by embracing the everyday criticism beloved of consumers across the world.

Who knows, perhaps Brisbane could go on to become Australian advertising’s answer to Portland or Miami.

Stranger things have happened.

Thursday 21 December 2006

Preserving a great brand

If you ask me, marketing people everywhere should be taking a bit of time over the Xmas break to think about Shane Warne.

By announcing his retirement today, he is ensuring that one of the world’s great brands will live forever.

I’m sure cricket fans everywhere would love to see Warnie carry on playing. But he’s smart enough to know better.

His brand will hit new heights at the MCG when he takes his 700th wicket. By ending his career on a high he will guarantee that the Warne brand remains at its peak forever.

Of course you don’t need me to tell you that the Shane Warne brand has taken a bit of a beating over the years.

But has it really?

Despite all the text messages, diet pills and the divorce, Warne is still a premium brand.

And by maintaining his focus on the talent and skills that made him a premium brand, he has transcended mere brand status and surely become what Kevin Roberts would call a Lovemark.

Just as books like The Art Of War have become business bibles, I reckon there’s a great marketing and branding book buried within the Shane Warne story.

If only he could find someone, preferably male, that he trusts enough to write it.

Wednesday 20 December 2006

Direct marketing goes green

I was absolutely staggered to discover that almost four tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced during the manufacture of a tonne of paper.

If you stop and think about how much paper we use every day, that’s a hell of a lot of crap going out into the atmosphere.

Thanks to UK based print firm Four Corners, direct marketers now have the chance to run environmentally responsible mail campaigns.

As part of its ‘responsible print’ initiative all paper used has at least 50% recycled content and inks are vegetable based.

Finally the amount of paper used, and any waste produced, is measured and a payment made to offset the carbon dioxide emission.

Almost makes me feel good sifting through the mountain of junk mail that lands on my doorstep every day.

Tuesday 19 December 2006

Not another advertising agency

What is it with the advertising agency holding companies?

How on earth can they think that the best way to solve a client conflict issue is to simply go and set up another agency?

The latest client conflict currently in the news has resulted from the merger of Draft and FCB in the US.

It seems they both have some telephony business, so there's a conflict.

Their solution? Go start another agency of course!

Nice one Interpublic.

Monday 18 December 2006

It seems I've been tagged

There’s an interesting viral idea meets chain letter mash up currently doing the rounds of the blogosphere.

It landed at Brand DNA the other day courtesy of Vando from the Jason Recliner.

In a nutshell it seems I have been ‘tagged’ and I now have to reveal five things you didn’t know about me. So here goes…

1: I have never owned anything by Nike. I’m an old school sportswear purist I’m afraid, so it’s strictly Adidas or Puma for me.

2: If it wasn’t for my wife I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. She recognised my latent creativity and gave me the confidence to leave behind my job in the real world to pursue a career in advertising.

3: The highlight of my career was when a CD in London said that if he could have his career over he would have come to Melbourne to work with me.

4: I wouldn’t be half as smart as I am today if it wasn’t for my children. I know it’s a cliché, but they really do keep you young.

5: As much as I love the independence of working one on one with my own select group of clients I have to admit I really miss the buzz of working in a big agency.

The five people I’ve tagged are:

Ed who is a smart young lad from the RMIT Advertising degree.
Albert who is a friend of Ed and has one of my fave blogs.
The lovely Amber who shares my love of Eric Anderson.
One woman running around trying to get into advertising called Abi.
Up and coming young Melbourne creative Glenn Peters.

The power of You

The announcement of Time magazine’s Person (nee Man) Of The Year is always guaranteed to generate a bit of buzz and conversation.

Some of the biggest names of the 20th century have scored Time’s most important cover, including Bill’s Gates and Clinton, Lech Walesa, Anwar Sadat, JFK, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill and Stalin.

This year Time has named You as the Person Of The Year. Yes You!

Tipping the hat to the community building, information sharing, video uploading power of the worldwide web, Time sees 2006 as the year the digital revolution empowered everyone with the ability to connect to it.

It’s not the first time they’ve done something like this either. They named The Computer as Person Of The Year back in 1982, two years before the launch of the Macintosh.

Saturday 16 December 2006

Being Digital

Thanks to Lynette

I’m digging McDonalds

I’ve been working on a big design project for a plant hire company recently.

Which is why anything to do with bulldozers and caterpillars is sure to catch my eye.

This clever print ad for a McDonalds store renovation from DDB Copenhagen really made me smile.

There must be absolutely loads of visual ideas using the golden arches, but this is one of the nicest I’ve seen.

If only McDonalds food was as tasty as this advertising.

Friday 15 December 2006

The future is already here

A recent survey of senior marketing people by Sapient found that more than half of those polled considered advertising agencies ill-suited to handle online marketing.

That’s a staggering finding, but surely not unexpected.

According to the survey around 49% of marketers felt that ad agencies had trouble thinking beyond the traditional media of print and television.

Interestingly almost 70% of those surveyed said that they would prefer to work with multiple agencies to gain the benefits of working with specialists.

Given Sapient’s background in technology, the survey could possibly be seen by agencies as being a little biased.

But the fact remains that digital is no longer merely a part of the marketing mix. It is much more important than that.

And the smart thinkers out there in adland who recognize and embrace this could easily go on to become the 21st century equivalent of people like David Ogilvy and the Saatchi brothers.

Thursday 14 December 2006

Christmas cheer from Coca Cola

For as long as I can remember Coca Cola have been making wonderful Christmas ads.

Rumour has it they even invented the idea of the now ubiquitous red suited Father Christmas.

This Christmas Coke has joined forces with YouTube to create the Holiday Wishcast.

The Wishcast lets you create your own video card to share with family and friends.

If you’re a bit of a bah humbug and can’t be bothered to make a video, there’s also a gallery of pre-recorded messages.

Heaps of fun, as you’d expect from the Coke side of life.

Wednesday 13 December 2006

Campbells soup does a Warhol

New York Department store Barneys has a selection of limited edition Andy Warhol Campbells soups.

They’re part of Barneys’ Happy Warholidays range.

After the success of the ‘pink can’ for breast cancer earlier this year, I’d say Campbells soups must be pretty hot right now.

Tuesday 12 December 2006

I'm lovin' this

Here's one from the archive that's well worth a minute of your time.

It's the original launch ad for Ronald McDonald.

It's old and not the best quality pic, but I have to say "I'm lovin' it!"

Ambush marketers ambushed

There has been much ballyhoo about the Holden blimp here in Melbourne over the last few months.

Much ado about not very much if you ask me.

Sure the blimp can be annoying, but I very much doubt people are actually persuaded to go out and buy a new Holden after seeing the blimp hovering over an event.

Big business however doesn’t agree.

After much lobbying, Premier Steve Bracks has announced a ban on ambush marketing, with the first casualty being the Holden blimp.

With non-aligned sponsors now outlawed, where does that leave spectators at sporting events?

Could Adidas have Nike shirts and sneakers banned from the upcoming Australian Open?

Probably not to be honest, but you never know…

Monday 11 December 2006

Message from Al Qaeda

Believe it or not I just got an email from Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The subject was ‘State News KFDM Secrets.’

As you can imagine, I couldn’t resist opening it.

And what did it say? Just a bunch of gibberish about some bullshit share listing.

Yes, you guessed it, yet another bloody junk mail.

How much lower can the spammers of the world can sink?

Using Al Qaeda as a hook has really lowered the bar me thinks.

Sunday 10 December 2006

Punk Rock Attitude

I just finished reading Punk Rock - An Oral History by John Robb.

A must read for anyone either working in advertising or looking to get in to advertising.

Much like Don Letts Punk Attitude documentary, it really captures the spirit and ethos behind Punk.

It shows how Punk is not about leather jackets and noisy music.

It's a state of mind. An attitude. A just do it long before Nike started just doing it.

If we could get that sort of passion into advertising I suspect we'd see a lot less crappy ads on the telly.

Goodby and Droga

Adcritic have just posted a terrific fireside chat between Jeff Goodby and David Droga.

They discuss all sorts of interesting stuff. It's well worth a look.

Droga of course needs no introduction down under.

Jeff Goodby, for our younger readers, is an adland legend.

He's also the man behind the great quote in my previous post on the Got Milk bus-shelter debacle.

Click here to watch the chat.

Friday 8 December 2006

Revenge of the cookie monsters

I can't believe the cookie scented bus -shelters I posted about a day or two ago have brought the Californian wowsers out of the woodwork.

AdAge reports that a 'special interest' group representing the homeless, the obese and diabetics had lobbied the bus company, who have since ordered the scent strips to be removed.

Jeff Goodby from the agency behind the idea, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, commented that California, "Has once again made herself safe for bus shelters that smell like urine and vomit."

Thursday 7 December 2006

Indulge in the Xmas spirit

A big pat on the back to the team at DDB Sydney, for coming to the rescue of all of us who like to have a drink or two more than we should at the Xmas party.

They’ve set up a great site where you can get yourself a set of bogus business cards.

What’s so good about that I hear you asking. Well you simply hand out the cards to people you don’t know at the Xmas party.

That way if you get up to something you shouldn’t, your alternative identity will take the blame.

Here’s a classic quote from a very satisfied customer.

“I groped the daughter of my boss and then got into a fight with her boyfriend. But thanks to DDB, they think it was Frank Johnstone from Art Supplies Incorporated. Thanks DDB!”

Click here and get your new business cards pronto.

Wednesday 6 December 2006

A nice bit of copy

Given how every client with a keyboard thinks they can write copy these days, it's always nice to come across some good copywriting.

I found this over at Sidewalk Life. It's the back of a thrift-store truck.

This could very easily have been nothing more than just a logo and a phone number.

So congratulations to the clever copywriter who used it as a blank page for some lovely unexpected copy.


To help push milk sales in California they're installing choc-chip cookie scented bus shelters.

Despite smelling suspiciously like urban spam to me, I have to give this idea a big thumbs up.


Because it's a brave client who pays top dollar to promote a product other than their own.

Sure the shelters are plastered with 'Got Milk' signs, but I reckon this idea will sell a lot more cookies than milk.

And that's where the bravery comes in, because as any cookie monster will tell you, you can't have cookies without milk.

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Please don't look at me

Given the number of boring billboards currently lining the highways of Melbourne, a massive poster of former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins sounds to me like a great idea.

However the Melbourne City Council obviously didn’t think so and they've ordered the Myer department store to remove their three story ad featuring the lovely Jennifer.

Catherine Ng from the council said, "These are the kind of signs which scream look at me, look at me, rather than just promoting their goods and services."

Funny thing is I always thought grabbing the attention is what posters were intended to do.

PC going cheap!

Looks like the rumours about the Mac guy getting dropped from the Mac ads were just that, rumours.

He doesn't have a lot to say in this latest installment, which sees PC pull out all the stops.

Another fun ad in the series. What more can I say?

Monday 4 December 2006

Sputnik stirs World Vision

Melbourne agency Sputnik has asked World Vision not to spend its Xmas advertising budget this year.

Instead they want them to donate a dollar every time a visitor joins Stir, the online community for young people who care about world issues.

Over 1,500 people have already signed up. To show your support click here and sign up at

Saturday 2 December 2006

Living in a box

Having revolutionised the furniture market by bringing smart design to the masses Ikea is now moving into housing.

The Swedish giant is introducing a range of prefabricated low-cost houses to help low income families get into the property market.

Continuing the Ikea tradition of obscure product names the houses are called Bokloks.

Unlike most Ikea products however you probably won't be able to put a Boklok together with nothing more than a small allen key.

Visit the Boklok site.

Friday 1 December 2006

Like Crispin Porter Bogusky

A couple of young creative punks have come up with a great way to get themselves noticed in adland.

They've built themselves a website called Like Crispin Porter Bogusky.

And just like CPB they seem have no shortage of great ideas.

Check out the site here.

Be sure and have a look at the Like President Bush page. Very funny.

Building customer loyalty

Over the last few months there's been a lot of press coverage in Australia about football television rights.

The two free-to-air channels who won the bidding war for the rights have still not come to an agreement with Oz cable operator Foxtel.

As a result Foxtel has shut down its dedicated Footy Channel. Since most Foxtel subscribers are football junkies this seemed a short sighted move.

Although not quite as shortsighted as the 'incentive' they're going to offer to the stubborn subscribers who have yet to switch to digital.

CEO Kim Williams said that a range of incentives would be offered including the removal of channels from the analogue signal.

Wow! Now that's what I call an incentive.

Not just no dedicated football channel, but no bloody channels at all.

That's sure to do wonders for customer loyalty.