Big Ideas from a Small World

Moving to C-level pastures.

If your reading this there is a way bigger party in town.

I’ve joined the ranks of the business owners and opened up my own shop – Switch Advertising.

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To the 10,000+ people who have read this blog thank you.

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I loves me some lowbrow humor:

Posted in Red States by Ryan Thomas on June 1, 2009

It don’t get anymore lowbrow than Nascar, cleavage, and pay as you go cellphones.

Awesome.

Denny’s got dinos but it’s the unicorn that steals the show.

Posted in Blue States, Red States by Ryan Thomas on May 13, 2009

Yesterday from French Canada we saw clowns tourtured for the teen market. Now it looks like Denny’s has shifted to the what the hell strategy made famous by brands like Skittles.

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American (re)Design Porn

Posted in Blue States, Make Friends, Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on May 7, 2009

I caught this over on Super Punch this morning and wanted to share.

Papermag has asked some brilliant minds in American art, design and advertising to rebrand the United States, yes Shep is on the list.

Check it out.

Peter Buchanan Smith

Peter Buchanan Smith

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

How to get away with the craziest stunts?

Posted in Blue States, Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on April 23, 2009

I have been thinking a lot about this.

If your brand has a personality, consumers expect it to speak in that voice.

If your brand is in the advertising media, your claims need to be true.

If Jimmy K and Mel Gibson want to make brand satire, you can break every rule in the book and talk to your consumers in a real meaningful way… for free.

I’m not kidding.

The age of Jimmy Kimmel’s viewers line up perfectly with KFC’s target market. Peta can’t touch what was said in this spot, there is no opening for counter dialoge if KFC is in on the joke.

It is, in short, the perfect 2:13 commercial. It’s insensitive, brand relevant, top of mind and honestly the funnest most socially irresponsible thing ever.

Sorta like eating at KFC.

Don’t litigate, encourage this kind of behaviour – because sometimes a whole bunch of wrongs make a right.

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Inspiration Corner: Context Is Everything

Posted in Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on April 22, 2009

By now you have seen this local BMW dealership response to Audi’s national ad challenging the brand:

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Context is an amazing thing.

So how about a McD’s ad that has something to say about being Pro-Choice?

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Zing!

Now I’m sure this was an accident but next time you’re looking to add value – consider the contextual surroundings of your ad.

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“Does anything that amazing ever turn out to be true?”

Posted in Blue States, Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on April 13, 2009

It’s nice when a television commercial can do something to surprise you.

(Super Punch has the details)

Comcast + Stride Non-Stop Mint Challage

Posted in Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on April 9, 2009

Cashing in on the success of Doritos (www.doritosguru.ca) contest. Stride gum has expanded its marketing campaign and core concept.

Win $10,000 by coming up with a better name for Stride Gum’s Non-Stop Mint. Personally I love the Stride campaign, the increasingly desperate marketing efforts of a company whose product is too good.

Normally I’m adverse to campaigns that reference advertising or marketing, but most people who have at least seen Back to The Future know of the Delorean – the unicorn of too perfect production.

Right now Spike’s new show Deadliest Warrior has a full 3:00 promo for the Stride Contest.

And well… Deadliest Warrior is amazing. Think Mythbusters + UFC. It’s nice.

KFC’s misguided help.

Posted in Blue States, Red States by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009

KFC seems to be sending a lot of mixed messages recently. If you have been watching Canadian TV right now, there’s a spot is in heavy rotation. It features a salt of the earth – too attractive truck driver telling me he knows I’m worried that KFC’s chicken might not be fresh.

In truth, no one has ever worried about the freshness of KFC. Sure I have worried about my looks from eating greasy fried bird, about GMO’s and super chickens, and that PETA lady screaming blue murder every time I get near KFC’s front door. I worry about a lot of things when I walk into a KFC.

What I have never worried about is the freshness of their flawlessly deep fried chicken treat. This spot is classic misdirection or honestly misguided.

Which is why I remembered it when I saw this delightful little piece:

KFC RE-FRESH

I can think of about a million companies I would be happy to have fill my pot holes. KFC, you are not one of them. It’s just odd.

Sure, I love that you have hired a fatter Sanders, but why pot holes or freshness issues for that matter?

And when this idea was pitched to city leaders in Chicago it was pitched:

Via KFC’s Homepage:

March 25, 2009

Dear Mayor:

It is estimated that U.S. roads are riddled with more than 350 million potholes nationwide – that’s one for every man, woman and child in America! Because of long, harsh winters and heavy traffic, cities everywhere are left with more potholes than ever. Add in the fact that asphalt is an expensive product, and the cost of those repairs is higher than ever.

Because of the financially tough times, many cities are delaying construction projects because they need to spend money patching these potholes instead. Some cities are even being forced to cut back on road services and maintenance crews. We at KFC understand that filling every one of these potholes is important and we’re here to help!

In honor of our “Fresh Tastes Best” campaign, we want to come and Re-“Fresh” your roads! The Colonel and his crew are on a mission to help out America and sponsor your city’s “Fresh”ly repaired roads. Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel’s very own stamp of approval.

KFC has been bringing communities together over buckets of chicken for more than 50 years. We invite you and your city to become a part of a new tradition and accept our offer to Re-“Fresh” your roads. Together, we can give your community a much needed break and help keep America moving.

Sincerely,

Roger Eaton
President of KFC

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Schick’s Ready For Summer – (Insert Frank and Gordon Joke Here)

Posted in Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on March 22, 2009

Schick’s never ending quest to make us all hairless has taken another step forward this week – so what are the odds a prominent feminist blog disapproves:

This commercial actually brings up the issue of nature and control. I think women should be able to do whatever the hell they please with the hair down there, but I’m also a pretty big fan of letting it just be. Too many of us spend an exorbitant amount of time on “maintenance” when it comes to our bodies, often motivated–not by a sense of playfulness or joy–but obligation, shame, societal pressure. If you find it fun to trim around or wax it off, more power to you, but I wish women didn’t feel like they had to do anything in particular with their own pubic hair in order to be pretty, clean, or acceptable.

Personally I see no harm here. Schick and JWT are late to the body grooming party, first of all, and this same style of spot was comic gold when Philips did it for men.

Could the difference be in the direct comedic read?

Does any ad dealing with our nether regions require comedy to brake through the uncomfortable feelings some people have about their genitals?

Personally the only issue I can see is that most spots that cover these kinds of issues tend to use more dialogue to humanize the actors. This spot was the most complained about spot of the year in Australia:

Again no dialogue and a classic metaphor, the same combo that has got everyone commenting and posting on Schick’s newest ad.

Yet this campaign from Leo Burnett Worldwide for Tampax was received as a breath of fresh air – it’s comedic, full of dialogue and yet still riddled with classic metaphor.

In fact this campaign was so well received that LB and P&G took this campaign to the streets:

So it’s gotta be the writing that sets beef apart from non-beef, or it’s that self actualizing bullshit tone that has been foisted on women for years.

Watch the Schick spot again.

That tone is more unnecessary than an 8th blade and CGI sports heroes.

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