MadAveJournal.com Reveals Advertising's Effect On Pop Culture
MadAveJournal.com was founded by Tim McHale, a former DDB executive and president of Madison Avenue Consultants, an integrated marketing consultancy, and Kurt Brokaw, a former ad agency vet who's on the faculty of the New School for Social Research. McHale serves as the site's publisher, while Brokaw is its culture editor. Both men say they wanted to pay tribute to Madison Avenue through the lens of pop culture that goes far beyond the trade.
"The inspiration really was Advertising Week," McHale said, adding: "We love advertising and popular culture, and we wanted to build a community of people to share their thoughts about pop culture as it relates to Madison Avenue. MadAveJournal.com will ask readers to register, and fresh content in the form of essays and criticism will be published at least once a month. MadAveJournal will include the "Madison Avenue Gallery," a list of the top 10 films and books that have had an impact on advertising over the last 100 years, accompanied by a series of mini essays.
For example, "The Hucksters"--a popular film from the 1940s--is featured, as is a more recent movie "The Insider," which captured the corporate pressures on broadcast journalism. The first essay in MadAveJournal.com contrasts Mel Gibson's blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" with a little-known book published in 1925 called "The Man Nobody Knows," by Bruce Barton. The book by Barton, a former BBDO president, set up Christ as an ad man, and offered an elaboration of the organizational principles that Jesus brought to his life. The book eventually became a non-fiction bestseller.
A forthcoming essay compares and contrasts the first half hour of documentary filmmaker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911" to "The Manchurian Candidate." The essay illuminates the Bush Administration's relationships to Halliburton and the Carlyle Group, and the advertising linkage between Moore's documentary and Jonathan Demme's "Manchurian Candidate." Commercials for John Kerry have begun positing a connection between the Bush Administration and Saudi Arabia. There will also be a serialized work of fiction in which readers will be offered an opportunity to tell their Madison Ave. stories--good or bad, McHale said.
"We are working in an industry where there were once thousands of shops on Madison Avenue. Now it's like 10, and in some way we've lost a certain essence or passion about why people got into this business," McHale explained.
The publication will be ad-supported--and so far, three advertisers have signed up, but won't appear on the site until Oct. 15, according to McHale. Diversified Media Design, New York, a design and brand identity firm, built the MadAveJournal site, designed the logo and look, and will add new community features in coming months. The agency, whose clients include Hunter Douglas and the Guggenheim Museum, employed a proprietary tool called Smart Site to create the site, which features Flash and animation that allows a reader to feel as though she's walking down Madison Avenue.
"If the content we publish helps us celebrate and better understand how pop culture works in mass culture, which then gets translated into long-lived campaigns that brand products forever, it's doing its job," Brokaw said. And Brokaw should know. He was the creative director of advertising at RCA's first in-house agency and developed promotional campaigns for artists including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Elvis Presley, Jefferson Airplane, and Townes Van Zandt. As an ad man, Brokaw wrote the Texaco campaign featuring Jack Benny for four years. He's also written a survey of pulp magazines, and is author of "A Night in Transylvania: The Dracula Scrapbook."
For more information about MadAveJournal.com, go to HYPERLINK "http://www.madavejournal.com" www.madavejournal.com .