Media X: Of Brands and Barnyards

Good news for the beleaguered art of brand building: Cows with names produce up to 5% more milk than generic bovines, says a study published in Anthrozoos, a "multidisciplinary journal of the interactions of people and animals."

I thought of the implications of that research when I saw the musical ode to Adweek's creative editor Eleftheria Parpis on Adrants, among other places, this week. The video also bears witness to the enduring power of image making. You can find it here:

The lovesick lyrics were penned by Mike Wolfsohn, executive vice president/creative director at Los Angeles agency Ignited. The guy who stars in the clip is art director Justin Genovese, but the music was written and performed by Ignited media planner Scott Beck. (He's the dude in the window with the guitar.)

The video has gone viral, particularly in L.A.'s small and inbred creative community, because it's so damn funny and clever and digironic. It even tweaks the magazine's nemesis with a melodious swipe at Ad Age ad critic Bob Garfield.



Sure, technically Barbara Lippert is Garfield's competition at Adweek, not the "ad Greek" goddess who is the object of the video's invented desire. And it's a little disingenuous, considering the creators have never met the "world's sexiest advertising journalist." If they had, they'd know that nobody calls Elly Parpis by her full first name, except maybe her mother. But that would require an entirely different set of rhyming words.

Anyway, here is where the people behind the video interact, if you will, with the farm animals. Like the cow study, the ode to Adweek's creative editor is testament to the still-relevant power of branding, as opposed to mere data collecting. Because the three brilliant magazine men who created Adweek 30 years ago gave it exactly the kind of personality the video plays off -- even down to the comparison with the big, bad competitor.

Sadly -- and this is where the video is personally poignant for me, considering that I worked at the magazine for about 12 years over two separate tours of duty -- the current incarnation of Adweek isn't even remotely close to the hippest ad trade in the room anymore. But that's not the point.

What is relevant is that even though Adweek's founders were media guys, not creatives, they knew how to build to last. That's why the brand lives on undiminished for the Ignited mischief makers.

This matters.

In a time when technology has elevated communications platforms far above marketing prose in importance, message-making gets only lip service, at best, in discussions about where advertising is headed. But well-built brands, even those whose best days are behind them, still have strength, staying power and impact. A lot more, in the long run, frankly, than the gazillion clicks you got from your Google search ad today.

This is why creative is too important not to be bundled into media shops. But that's a column for another time.

Right now, I'm too busy enjoying the Cow of the Month centerfold in Anthrozoos and writing an earnest poem expressing my undying love for Ad Age digital editor Abbey Klaassen. Whom I've never met.

2 comments about "Media X: Of Brands and Barnyards".
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  1. Joan Voight from Business media, February 11, 2009 at 1:36 p.m.

    Ex-Adweekers, like you and me, remind me of the ex-Riney folks, such as Goodby, Silverstein and numerous others.
    Fond for a brand of the past -- but sometimes underestimating the even more interesting brands of the present.
    Jack, you and Ellie Parpis are cool brands all on your own. Exactly opposite, but cool.
    Imagine the video they'd do about you. Yikes.

  2. Jack Feuer from UCLA, February 12, 2009 at 10:27 a.m.

    As long as it included twins, I'd be fine with it.

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