Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When the truth comes out

"The most powerful element in advertising is the truth."
-William Bernbach, co-founder of DDB

I'd like to present two cases where advertising and marketing overshadowed the reality of the product.

1) The New York Times has an article about how wireless carriers charge for SMS (text messages). In summary, a text message is extra data carried on existing cell phone transmissions. This extra data takes up no extra space. So you're being charged for air. The smartest and most creative commercials can't overcome this revelation.

Via Fast Company and the New York Times

2) GM. Despite improving product quality, the perception that foreign cars were better than domestic cars drove away buyers. Spending $3 billion on advertising for subpar quality products won't help improve the product quality.

Via Google News search and Money Morning

images from zedomax and routing by rumor

update on text messaging: A California teenager sends and receives more than 14,000 text messages a month!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas from AKQA

I'm back from traveling for the holidays and catching up. This is a video from It's Nice That. Eco-friendly? No. Creative? Yes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Monopoly Re-design (spec)

Stumbled upon this re-designed Monopoly box (from a design student in Maryland). So cool and so clean...

I would love to see how a re-designed Candyland or Chutes and Ladders might look. This could be a really cool art director's project - what a great way to re-vamp something so iconic.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Things I Have Learned in the Past 42 Months

What I have learned from college, aside from the book stuff, most of which I have forgotten already:

1. Good professors inspire their students to reach beyond their potentials.

2. Brains will take you far, but hard work will take you farther.

3. There's this thing called, "inspired work." It comes when you surround yourself with the right people.

4. Ask for help. You'll get a lot more done, and make good friends along the way too. Then, offer help to others.

5. Do more than just one thing, and do some random things. You'll have more fun eating a box of assorted Jelly Bellies than a box of all Cherry-flavored ones. And, finding a peanut in the midst of the Jelly Bellies is always amusing.

6. Nothing feels better than reaching your goals.

7. It's important to slack off too.

8. You know you are comfortable with who you are when you wear baggy sweatpants, an XL t-shirt, no make-up and a messy pony-tail to public places. Sometimes picking out a wedgie in public becomes pretty bland too.

9. You can never get too many manicures and pedicures.

10. Talk to everyone. You'll meet and bond with people you never would have before.

11. Forever friends are ones you have spent weeks with, without ever arguing or getting annoyed. Instead, you sleep converse, make butt indentions in their carpet from having sat there for too long. And meep. All the time.

12. I'm going to miss UT.

13. Make a baby during your college career, figuratively. Leave a legacy!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Some branding tips

Here are some links about how to brand yourself for dating, how to brand your hospital, and how to brand your tourism campaign.

1. Seattle Children's Hospital

From Brand New. Be sure to download their simple and effective branding brochure.

2. Tip 107 - If You Are Single, You Are in Sales

From Never Eat Alone.

Technically, this is sales. But sales and branding are intertwined


We're all in sales. Do you want a raise or a promotion? You're in sales. Do you have a new idea at work? You're in sales. Are you single? You are DEFINITELY in sales. Even though I was a CMO at Deloitte and then Starwood (where I also led sales for awhile), in fact I was really terrible at applying this "sales" wisdom in bars when I was single. But the rules are the same, whether you're selling a house, the services of your start-up, or yourself:

1. Understand your product. That's you. Know who you are - your strengths, your weaknesses, your mission - and what you have to offer someone.

2. Know your target. Focus on the other person. Ask about his or her passions. Be sensitive to the other person's emotional temperament (wild, introverted, etc.) and tweak your conversational style accordingly.

3. Solve someone's problem. Be generous by introducing her to a person she would benefit from knowing or offering him advice on his struggles. If the problem is a dateless Friday night, cha-ching!

Oh, yeah, if you're no longer single, you're also in sales! This is a great time of year to develop a little more "currency" with the one you love. Go overboard this year to remind her or him how much your relationship means to you! We're all in sales.

Happy Valentine's Day.


3. The iconic I Love New York campaign

From Brand New. It's nice to see a campaign develop around this classic logo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How big is a whale?

Something to brighten your day with.

"We snuck out into the middle of Broad Street to snap a pic in front of City Hall and all the crowds. When Will raised his hands for the picture, cheers erupted. So he continued to repeat the gesture, getting wild response from the crowd on both sides of the street up and down the street as far as we could see. We couldn't have planned this if we practiced and practiced. I wish the video was longer."

via it's Nice That

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yet another creative ad for a foreign car company

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Good and Slightly Ugly


This site's design isn't completely up to par yet...lacking input from lovely individuals we call Art Directors, but the idea behind it is awesome.

Basically, post your ideas, let employers see them, clients see them. If someone likes it, they will pay you for it. So for example, in P3 you come up with a campaign for Home Depot. The Richards Group, or The Home Depot, find it on the site, fall in love, and pay you for the idea.

Revolutionary way of doing advertising/job-hunting?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Random commercial

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spend this amount, get elected?

Obama’s ad spending in top tier
Posted: 02:32 PM ET

(CNN) — Presidential candidates are sold in much the same way a new product is: with an expensive, flashy, and ubiquitous television campaign.

And according to advertising figures provided by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s consultant on ad spending, Barack Obama’s campaign has spent more money selling its candidate on television than most major brand name companies do selling their products.

The Illinois senator’s campaign is projected to have spent $250 million on ads in the past four months — a number that is equivalent to $750 million in a full year. Only AT&T, with a yearly advertising budget of about $1.3 billion, and Verizon, which shells out $950 million a year on ads, spends more than the Democratic presidential nominee. Most major companies spend far less, including McDonald’s ($588 million), Sprint PCS ($482 million) and T-Mobile ($404 million).

John McCain is projected to have spent about $110 million since the general election began.

–From CNN’s Alexander Mooney

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are Microsoft and Crispin copycats?

Microsoft's new ad campaign is titled "Life Takes Vista". Sound familiar? Back in February, Visa was rebranded with "Life Takes Visa". The AOR (agency of record) for Microsoft Windows is Crispin Porter + Bogusky while the AOR for Visa is TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Coincidentally, this is round two of Crispins clients directly-or indirectly-taking on TBWA\C\Ds clients. Apple is a client of TBWA\C\D. The first round was the I'm a PC vs. I'm a Mac ads.

Thanks to Lornie for the link.

update: I'd like to apologize to The Ranch readers for not verifying "Lornie" and the authenticity of the information before posting it. I'm assuming that's a basic rule of journalism.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Free PS brushes

From Austin-based Nathan Brown. Download these high quality brushes here. Be sure to click on "Related Posts" as well.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Burma PSA

Great idea. Even better execution.

CRISIS IN BURMA from Scott Denton on Vimeo.

Client: MTV/Burma Arts Board
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam
ECD/Copywriter: Carl Le Blond
Agency Producer: Brenda Bentz van den Berg
Production Company: Shilo, HANraHAN
Director: Shilo
Creative Director (Shilo): Andre Stringer, Jose Gomez

Friday, October 03, 2008

37 pictures the world must see

“I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it, in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”
-James Nachtwey

from TED e-newsletter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Hidden Cost of War

Very nice motion graphics and message. It reminds me of another anti-Iraq war motion graphics video that links the war to America's quest for oil that's on ihaveanidea. Does anyone know what i'm referring to?

Via It's Nice That and GOOD magazine.

TAG in Dallas

"A group of Texas Advertising students will be making a trip to Dallas to tour some ad agencies. On Thursday, TAG is hosting a happy hour. We'd love for you join us! Feel free to extend this invite to others (yes, even non-Texas grads!)

October 2, 2008 | 6-8 p.m.
Texas Land and Cattle | 3130 Lemmon Ave. Dallas, TX 75204
Appetizers and drinks will be provided!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Levis 501 and Toyota short films

Levis UK has produced some HD short films. Warning: some of the short films are NSFW*. While the concept is interesting and very well-produced, I prefer it when the logo and company mention is more subtle i.e. Toyota's new campaign for the Tundra pickup featuring small town high school football teams.

*Not Safe For Work.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Turning your creativity off can be good for you

Tom Monahan is the founder and former ECD of Leonard/Monahan and now runs a creative consulting firm called Before and After. He's also the author of the best-selling Do It Yourself Lobotomy which interestingly enough you can read for free at Google Books.

There's a post on the Before and After blog about how turning off your creativity can allow you to be more creative.

I though this excerpt was insightful and it also echoes what Sean, Matt, and Maria taught us in Portfolio classes. I remember Sean's syllabus instructing us to watch movies, watch TV, read magazines, watch people at the mall (but not in a creepy way).

When you’re working on a problem head on, so to speak, it’s your conscious mind that’s doing virtually all of the work. Your conscious mind is what you’re processing on the conscious level - mostly your observations, knowledge and recollections. Even when you’re trying to imagine new things, what’s the raw material for the new thoughts? Stuff you know. I mean, you can only think about what you know, right?

Well, the conscious mind is quite disciplined by nature. It likes order. It likes to make sense of everything. This is a good thing most of the time. It keeps you on he right side of the road when you’re driving. It helps you deliver your work on time. But when you’re using this orderly machine to find new ideas, yes it can serve you, but it’s like a car in perfect alignment, whether you’re steering or not, it tends to go where it’s pointed. So your thoughts tend to be linear, therefore predictable.

There’s another side of your mind that is a lot less disciplined, much less predictable. That’s your subconscious mind. Where we can only process a mere seven or eight thousand bits of data a minute on the conscious level, we are processing literally billions of bits of data on the subconscious level at any given moment. That’s an absolutely immense well of possibilities to tap into...

Bringing this back to the main topic of this article - the on/of method of thinking - when you’re “not” thinking about something consciously your subconscious mind is free to toss around some ideas on the subject in that gigantic thought auger where anything goes. So when you’re not using the conscious linear method you’re simply more likely to have fresh combinations of data that materialize as new thoughts.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Voice of God is gone

Don LaFontaine has passed away at age 68. He is famous for his phrase "in a world where..." and he was recently part of the catchy Geico commercials.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The future of democracy is here

Piryx is a website designed to help the democratic process through new technologies. Check out their blog. The following is from Naveed

Our company, Piryx Inc., has recently been backed by angel investors – providing us with the focus to achieve our vision. We are passionate about empowering people, and through our endeavors we aim to enhance the democratic process. Our vision site will be launching very soon, so stayed tuned for more information!

Most importantly, we want to extend a huge appreciation and thanks to those who have supported our vision along the way. There are many of you out there, and without your help we wouldn’t be here today. This is just Chapter 1, and we look forward to showing you more.

Lastly, we ask for your support again in helping this Austin Startup get into the 2009 SXSW Interactive Festival. Vote for our panel discussion “Politics, Technology, and Pop Culture – Bridging the Gap" and feel free to comment. Visit our preview page for more information on how to help, and get a sneak peak of our upcoming launch.

Thank you again,

Tom Serres
Chief Executive Officer

Naveed Lalani
Chief Interaction Officer

The future of coworking is here

Conjuncted is a coworking concept that recently launched in Austin where freelancers or others can pay a small fee to share a professional work environment with others. The following is from one of the founders and Texas Creative alumni Cesar.

Coworking is quickly gaining popularity in our backyard. Just this Sunday, Conjunctured was featured with our friends at LaunchPad Coworking and Caroline Collective (Houston) on the front page of the Statesman's Life & Arts section. Our pal Omar did a great job capturing the developments with the story, video and pictures—view the extensive coverage here:

Since July 1, we've had time to repair the A/C (whoo Texas!), stock the place with snacks and drinks and get some superfast wi-fi installed. We even acquired a few temporary pieces of furniture (folding/rolly chairs, plastic tables) so we could fire up our laptops. Check conjunctured.com/rates for a list of current features and amenities and a wish list we need help with. Our goal is to furnish this place well-enough by the end of the month then throw a shindig to celebrate, which you're totally invited to—more details as they develop.

We're working with a local interior designer, Adrienne Breaux, to help sketch out a dream plan for the interior that will encourage work + play + community. Moving forward, we don't expect to have this plan fulfilled right off the bat, but we're fine with that. Just as several of you helped us lease the space by paying months in advance (you are rock stars!), we're bootstrapping this all the way.

When the plan is complete, it will serve as our vision—something to work towards. In the moment, however, let's get coworking in the space, and in Austin, ASAP! The free coffee's a-flowin' and we're paying rent regardless of ugly paint or a lack of furniture. :) Come see the space—help us imagine the layout, share your thoughts. Or, if you're like us and excited about the opening of Austin's first coworking space, come work with the five paying coworkers who are willing to work on the temporary furniture we've got!

As always, thanks SO much for helping us bring Conjunctured Coworking to Austin.

Lots of love,
Cesar, David, Dusty + John

PS: As always, we're looking for desk or conference room sponsors (we want to keep costs as low as possible for everyone) and new great people like you to be a part of the community. Contact us if you have questions/leads!

Save Denver Water- pt 2

Here is part 2 of the killer Save Denver Water campaign. I love the ambient media aspect of it. View part 1 here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

another suspicious ad from asia?

The word on the street is that asian advertising agencies aren't known for actually running highly creative ads in TV and print. They're merely entered in to award shows. Creative ads that are actually approved by clients are the most impressive work.

Via I believe in adv.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Speaking of user-generated content

This is kind of cool. Weezer performed their songs along with some die-hard fans.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Entry Level Salary Survey

This is from DHorridge.

"I'm trying to learn more about what entry level positions are paying these days. So, if you've been hired within the past 6-7 years, do me a favor and fill out this survey that I created. It only takes a couple minutes.

I get 100 respondents so it's first come, first served.

People are always asking me about salary advice, so I'm hoping this will really help out. We'll see."

You can also read the AIGA 2008 Salary Survey here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our world is changing

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Things are not always what they seem

Thanks to Elizabeth, The American Creativity Association - UT Chapter President, for the link

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time's 50 best websites of 2008

The 2008 edition of Time's 50 best websites is out. I always enjoy clicking through their choices and discovering obscure gems.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Say hello to ecopop

Say Goodbye to 86 the onions. Say hello to ecopop.

ecopop is a living fun factory of innovative ideas designed to instigate positive change in individuals, community and the world. It's a virtual product development, branded content, and consulting collective that specializes in merging capitalism with global responsibility. ecopop.com is a free idea exchange invites the creative community to help solve problems that truly matter in the world.

After more than 14 years of creating influence, demand, social currency, and profitability for 130+ iconic brands around the world, visionary brand innovator and serial entrepreneur Chad Rea (A Texas Tech alumni) repositioned his efforts to bring conscious consumerism out of the exclusive fringe and into the accessible mainstream.

Rea's mission is to use his creative problem solving talents, pop culture sensibilities, proven intuition, and integrated marketing and new media prowess to solve problems that matter to the world and ensure that constructive brands have the creative tools necessary to compete with leading mainstream brands. And to do this is a way that entertains and embraces people through pop culture.

Working directly with visionary entrepreneurs and ambitious enterprises, ecopop provide expert advice, innovative ideas, and actionable marketing assistance across all aspects of business, including product development, branding, advertising, design, marketing, media, branded content/entertainment, and public relations.

There has been a paradigm shift. In Rea's opinion and experience, those companies that align their product with their global responsibility, and package themselves in an authentic way that appeals to a broader audience, will reign. The race is on. And it couldn’t be more exciting.

"More pop. Less crunch."

editor's note: At first glance, I couldn't figure out what ecopop is so here's the About Us page.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Learn from every job

Photo by Seraphimc

USA Today has a great article about how CEOs learned invaluable lessons from their first jobs growing up. This article reminded me of pushing grocery carts and being a dishwasher and busboy when I was 14 and 15. This excerpt particularly caught my eye because it seems like a lot of recent college graduates want their first full-time job to be their dream job at so-and-so dream company. It doesn't always work that way. What the first job can be, however, is a stepping stone toward your dream job at so-and-so dream company.

Chris Kearney, 52 and CEO of industrial products giant SPX, was 13 in 1968 when he made $100 a week loading trucks for the family-owned beer distributorship in Mount Pleasant, Pa., something generations of Kearney boys have done since the end of Prohibition.

Today's teens should think of every job opportunity as an important building block in life, no matter how menial it seems, Kearney says. "A successful career is built incrementally, one step at a time."

Friday, May 23, 2008

News Roundup

Monday, May 19, 2008

First Ever Promiscuous Mothers Day

Happy Belated Mother's Day.

From alumni Greg Hunter, Rob Baird, and other former Longhorns at Mother NY

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drink Drench water

Friday, May 09, 2008

21st century story telling

Basically, advertising is story telling. And story telling is about communication. Both are about communicating to people a certain plot line, memory, or message. The internet and new technologies have allowed people to communicate even more effectively and interactively. More often than not, it has enhanced the conveyed message. In the case of Local Projects, it has also fostered community.

Below are some examples.

A very inspirational digital storytelling company called Local Projects. From Dwell.

An interactive twise on the traditional (especially in the Southern US) story telling quilt. Via Its Nice That.

Amen brother

Created by 22-year old Misssissippi State Univ. student Will Bryant.

Via BySoandSo and HOW Blog

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Photoshop Disasters

I just found the funniest blog ever... for art directors. I was laughing out loud at my desk and some account people were like "I don't get it."

Anyway, enjoy Photoshop Disasters

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You too can be a pro footballer

Very creative camera angles by Guy Ritchie for Nike Football. Because of the first-person view, the story can be told without a script. Has anybody seen this run on TV or is it only on youtube?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Rock

I found this online somewhere and didn't bookmark it. Anybody know who designed this?

Rampenfest is here

Check out this new film. The arresting cover image is what made me watch it. It's an entertaining and well-filmed story. The official story is that this is the creation of Jeff Schultz, an independent filmmaker. But word has it that its it's the work of two former Texas Creatives at GSD&M.

Read more at Stephen Gates blog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Please pardon the dust

Blogger is a pain. The Ranch is undergoing a complete overhaul. All links and portfolios will be restored shortly.

Monday, April 07, 2008

New British Currency

The British have new money and it is gorgeous.

From Simplebits

Update: The new $5 bill is out too.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The importance of college brand perception

disclaimer: For obvious reasons, the opinions expressed may, actually they probably will, contain a pro-longhorn bias.

A while back, I read an ESPN article about Todd Reesing and Chase Daniel. These two college quarterbacks are very talented and desperately wanted to attend UT-Austin on a football scholarship. UT didn't want them.

Like thousands of Texas high school quarterbacks before him, Daniel had wanted to be a Longhorn. But the Horns, who were in the midst of the Vince Young revival at that time, did not reciprocate.

When I read that, I realized what a true statement that is. In Texas, UT-Austin is the name brand school. Sports teams help define a university's "prestige" and brand image. Certain sports are always associated with specific colleges. Univ of N. Carolina, Duke, Univ. of Connecticut = basketball. University of Oklahoma, The Ohio State University, Univ. of S. California, Univ. of Michigan = football. Those sports also have a historical association with the schools. Commentators always say that school has a "winning tradition."

The clout developed in the community by successful sports and academics also helps define the school's brand image. Schools constantly tout their school rankings (based on the controversial US News rankings) and number of National Merit or Rhodes Scholars. Why? To establish themselves as having high standards. I noticed that Davidson College, this year's Cinderella team, even has this as their school statement.

Davidson College is a liberal arts institution founded in 1837 by ministers of the Concord Presbytery. Its 1,700 students come from almost every state in the nation and many foreign countries. A highly selective admission process brings students who are proven scholars and leaders to a close campus community in the small town of Davidson, North Carolina.

For those schools with unsuccessful athletics, advertising is helping them sell their brand image. Two Texas schools, Baylor and Texas A&M, hired two Austin agencies, Kolar and GSD&M Idea City, to help them. With the exception of Baylor women's basketball and baseball, those two schools have had few winning teams. It seems like no matter how well a school's branding is, the perception often comes down to historical prestige and athletic success.

update: I just read in the Dallas Morning News that there are different levels of universities. The highest is being accredited as a Tier One Research University. According to the Association of American Universities, only 62 universities in the US and Canada have this status. Texas has three: Rice, Texas A&M, and UT. Apparently, it's a big deal to be classified a Tier One Research University as that brings in a lot of money.

Robot ad

If Honda sells this to consumers, this and Segways will be two of the biggest wastes of money.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Modernista! angers Wikipedia gods

Modernista!'s new website, or whatever you want to call it, is making Wikipedia very mad. But before we get into why, I must explain that Modernista!'s website recently underwent a revamp and is no longer a website at all. In fact, when I went to Modernista.com, I was actually redirected to DARPA's website for no apparent reason. Anyway, the only thing that is consistent about Modernista!'s new site is a static, ugly red menu.

You see, Modernista! no longer has a proper "About" page. It just links to the Modernista! entry in Wikipedia. When you click this link, the red menu stays on top of the Wikipedia page after it loads.

Wikipedia's response:

The website for this company obscures our logo with their own, and may lead the viewer to believe that Wikipedia serves as their homepage provider. This is not correct. Wikipedia has no affiliation with Modernista and has requested that Modernista cease this use of our website.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written from a neutral point of view and does not endorse nor condemn Modernista, but is opposed to being used as a promotional mechanism in this manner for any third party.
Ooo, burn! Wikipedia even left off the exclamation point in Modernista!'s name! DOUBLE WHAMMY.

EDIT: I should add: Modernista!'s new site is an attempt to show the world they understand Web 2.0 by using Flickr, Facebook, del.icio.us and YouTube (among others) as the various "sections" of their site. Some have called it bold and brilliant while others say it's just plain lazy. Check it out and decide for yourself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Church Marketing Sucks

For those of us who work in the branding/marketing communications department of churches, there's a site called Church Marketing Sucks. I think it's intriguing how more and more churches are hiring business people and applying marketing communication principles to spreading the Gospel of Christ. I first read about how many non-profits fail because they don't even have basic business operating fundamentals in The Cathedral Within by Bill Shore. If you go to Volunteer Match, a lot of the help wanted listings are for marketing help. As more and more churches are growing, I hear of more and more churches hiring art directors, creative directors, marketing directors, and account executives from the for-profit world.


The following is paid for from ReviewMe. I normally don't do these but this is relevant to helping high school seniors.

There are a bunch of college-oriented websites/social communities popping up because of the cash and PR cow that facebook has become. Now, there's a new site called ULVUTV. What I noticed first about their UT-Austin page is that the postal address is very odd. The address they give is of the Psychology building which is on the outskirts of campus. As for the ratings, I think they're somewhat accurate except for the dorms. Jester, the 14-story, 2,846 person dorm, actually has more spacious rooms than the majority of dorms in the country. Plus, mini-fridges and microwaves are included.

While I think the concept for LVUTV is neat, 1 minute clips of wild college kids can't portray an accurate picture of a college. I also think that the "incredible job placement services" varies depending on degree.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Piano mastery

Goodby Silverstein & Partners is the master of using simple, piano-driven commercials to try to stir something inside you. What is it about piano music that makes it so effective?

Recent example:

Old example:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

News Roundup

The Richards Group has a flash-based recruitment site now.

There's a new website designed especially for advertising students to review and get internships called YouIntern.

GSD&M Idea City has hired an ECD, finally.

Dustin Lane, of BMF Sydney, has a new book out.

And last but not least, Luke Sullivan has released the third version of the famous Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hollywood writers strike ad

via Ads of the World

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mark lives in IKEA

My boss sent me this and suggested I post it here so therefore I'm going to post about it.

By the way, Rule #1 for you college students: In the future, when your boss suggests you do something, it's a good idea to do what he or she suggests.

Mark Malkoff, a comedian who works for the Colbert Report, is living in IKEA for a week. My boss said that this is brilliant and cost-effective marketing because all they have to do is allow him permission to film and post on youtube and give away some products.

I'm going to have to agree with him.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Two musical Jeep ads

Compare this recent German made Jeep commercial with a recent American made Jeep commercial.

Agency: KNSK- Hamburg, Germany

Agency: BBDO Detroit?

Which one do you like better and why?

I like the German commercial as it gets away from the "winding road and tight cockpit shot required by the client" formula that all American car commercials seem to require.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Best Car Ad. EVER.

I found this last year and it's been taped to my door since.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

funny self-promotion

I received these jpgs from Federico Russo. It's always a safety net to use well-known celebrities to promote lesser known clients i.e. yourself!

TITLE: Lovers
CLIENT/PRODUCT: federicorusso.com
ART DIRECTOR: Alessandro Izzillo
COPYWRITER: Federico Russo
PHOTOGRAPHER: Alessandro Izzillo (Erik Vervroegen), Federico Russo (David Droga), Fabio Di Malio (Alex Bogusky)
POST PRODUCTION: Alessandro Izzillo

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Model Citizen or Model Consumer?

Model Citizen or Model Consumer?

by Dean Terry, Art & Technology professor at The University of Texas at Dallas

editor's note:
In somewhat related news, Dean Terry has produced a film about isolation and lack of community in contemporary suburbia entitled Subdivided. Read press coverage here and here. Thanks to Jenny for the link to this article.

Originally Published in the Dallas Morning News

It comes as no surprise that Americans are under severe stress due to crushing debt levels and a savings rate that is basically zero. It’s not surprising because we are encouraged to over-consume by nearly every facet of culture and media. Worse, we have internalized consumerism to the point where it has become our value system.

As media critic Mark Crispin Miller told me recently, we have been reduced to being “receivers of messages that constantly tell us that the only thing that matters in life is to go shopping and then stay home with your stuff.” Which is, as he says, “profoundly anti-democratic.”

We have replaced the model of “citizen” with the model of “consumer.” The citizen model encouraged group involvement, debate, and community. The consumer model encourages immediate gratification and personal indulgence. It replaces the real empowerment of civic engagement with a fantasy of empowerment enabled through consumer products.

And not only has the role of consumer become our primary function in society, it has, in large respects, become our religion.

The new Ikea is like the big blue consumer cathedral of Frisco, dominating the landscape like the pyramids (except much uglier). And the hype surrounding its opening is like any new blip on the shopping landscape: its novelty arouses us for a short while, but then we’re on the hunt again for the next promise of material salvation.

And if consumerism is our new religion, one aspect is conspicuously absent: the ethical one. We shop without considering the larger ramifications of our purchases. How and where was this product made? Who and what am I supporting by paying for this thing? How are the workers treated? (The difference between Wal-Mart and Costco, for example). We are encouraged to isolate the buying experience into how it will make us feel in the moment and to ignore the larger effects. These days the effects reach all around the world.

And as Americans we like to think we have a system and ideas worthy of exporting to the world. If the American Dream has degenerated in to a consumer dystopia, we might want to do some rethinking. Here in the wealthiest county in Texas we serve as a kind of model. It is an unsustainable ideal. Our hyper consumptive, supersized lifestyle is a disastrous example for the rest of the world. Especially in booming places like China, where if everyone drove the aptly named Suburban and bought oversized houses the environment would literally collapse.

Some say “personal responsibility” is the answer. True enough when it’s a fair fight, but it’s not. As individuals we are grossly outmatched by enormous propaganda campaigns, market studies, Ivy League psychologists, and “perception managers” who do just that – manage our perceptions of everything. Sadly, they also manage the perceptions we have of ourselves.

This is especially offensive when it comes to our children. The marketing most of us were subjected to growing up seems quaint compared to the industry that is aggressively targeting the youth of today.

Our kids are being trained to be good consumers, which is certainly not the same thing as being a good person, or a good American. Girls get shopping mall games and boys get mini-Hummers, the very symbol of excessive, wasteful consumption.

And everything is branded. Few well-designed toys exist that are not cross-selling something else: sugary snacks, sugary pop idols, animated characters.

Walking through a mega toy store you get the sense that life is nothing but a series of acquisitions. That basically childhood is a matter of working your way through the different departments, front to back. Then you get to head to the big box stores and the SUV lot. Then you get a starter castle. Your identity is defined by what you have, even if it’s the same thing everyone else has.

If consumerism has replaced citizenship, then the more stuff you have the higher your status. And as long as status is equated with stuff our personal, financial, and civic lives will continue to deteriorate. It’s good for the marketers, but it’s bad for democracy.

The American philosopher William James said that worship of success was our national disease. The problem is, in order to cure the disease, we have to admit that we are afflicted in the first place.

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LEGAL STUFF: The views expressed on The Ranch are not officially representative of the The University of Texas at Austin. © 2008. All rights reserved. Founded by David Wen, with Silver Cuellar's help, on a lonely February 14, 2006 in Austin, TX for the benefit of all.