• Nomorobo Is A Defiant Fly In the Telemarketing Ointment
    It is Super Bowl week. There are lots of ads. Several of them feature celebrities. I'd like to talk about marketing-evasion.
  • I'm Not Hyped For Pepsi's Super Bowl Halftime Show

    Pity is the one emotion I don’t allow myself to feel, save for exceptional circumstances - when in the company of hopeful Jets fans, for instance, or when my soon-to-be-divorced friends start frantically posting photos of their kids on Facebook. Empathy? Sure. I’ll empathize until the cows come home, especially if said cows had an emotionally distant relationship with their bovine daddies. But nobody likes to pity or be pitied. It’s the saddest form of regard.

    Well, I pity Pepsi. In the wake of its relentless torrent of “Hyped For Halftime” brand puffery, I am genuinely concerned about every ...

  • Newcastle's 'Band of Brands' Falls Short, Like All Beer Marketing
    Which brings me to Newcastle Brown Ale and its second annual self-deprecating attempt at deflating the pomp and pageantry around Super Bowl beer ads. I loved the first one, which was understated and dismissive in ways that approximately zero percent of event-centric marketing usually is. This time around, however, the brand has gone the bigger-concept route - and, in the process, surrendered all the low-key charm that made its first dip into the anti-marketing marketing pool so appealing.
  • Onion Labs Hits The Right Tempo With Get Covered Illinois
    Hire The Onion - or, more specifically, its Onion Labs creative services arm. Because if its people can refashion Get Covered Illinois into a bona-fide original web brand with just a handful of subtle satirical bits, imagine what they could do with the crates of cash deposited on the loading docks of established brand-ad firms.
  • Top Videos of 2014

    Y’all know that I rarely traffic in sordid vulgarisms like “darn,” so you’ll understand just how profound a statement I’m making when I say that 2014 has been a darn fine year. The family unit got bigger, crises involving attic invaders and personal physical decay were handled with uncommon grace and I found some really comfortable new underwear. Indeed, in ways big and small, 2014 was very good to me. Since there’s nowhere else to express my gratitude, let me do so here: Thanks! That sure was swell of you!

    On the brand-video front, things were no ...

  • 'SNL' Named Video Critique Brand-Video-Making Brand Of The Year
    So I'm about to drop the little dude off at daycare last week when I notice somebody eyeing me from down the hall. Panicked by the thought of non-virtual communication, I grasp around in my pocket for a weapon but, alas, find only Chap Stick and two nickels. The corridor narrows and dims cinematically; I steel myself for the inevitable. Then the guy sidles over and, with a big smile, waits for the recognition to wash over me.
  • McDonald's 'Our Food. Your Questions.' Leaves More Questions Than Answers
    In a nifty bit of philosophical-nutritional synergy, while my mind was still fixed on burgers and mortality I happened upon the most recent video volley in McDonald's "Our Food. Your Questions." series of dietary propaganda. Previous installments attempted to answer queries like "what are McRib patties made of?," "why is the McRib seasonal?" and "where did the McRib come from?" These are all questions I have asked, usually when pondering secondary options as I encounter a 30-deep line at the bagel store after six beers. I love that McDonald's has bothered to answer them and believe they should give the ...
  • UPS' 'Your Wishes Delivered' Provides Artificial Uplift And Little Else
    For today's exercise, then, I set out to find a piece of brand video whose approach to the upcoming holidays might be described as "sardonic," "contemptuous towards those who would consume conspicuously" or "evidence of an imminent psychotic break in its creator." After an hour or two of clicking and then recoiling in horror upon hearing the first lite-jazz notes of a Starbucks-ified holiday classic, I gave up.
  • NPR Soars With 'Serial,' 'Wit' And 'Angel & Devil'
    I've never warmed up to NPR's offerings, despite the urging of family and friends to give them another chance. "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!," "A Prairie Home Companion" and the rest - they've always struck me as programming for people who crave wittiness and/or intelligence by association. This is just one guy's opinion, of course, and that one guy just declared his undying love for fart jokes.
  • Stove Top Should Have Done More With Its Thanksgiving Video Campaign
    As a brand director, then, I would marshal all my resources around Thanksgiving. Brand loyalties can't be forged or cemented in or around a holiday without much of a specific retail bent, you say? Hogwash! Betsy, withdraw our entire year's marketing budget from the bank. Small bills only. There are yams that need to be candied.
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