Archives For February 2010

Google translator translated “great” and “idea” into what you see below. Hopefully they are all close to “great idea.”

Finnish: upea ajatuksesta

Turkish: büyük fikir

Swahili: kubwa wazo

Indonesian: hebat ide

German: großartig Idee

Icelandic: frábær hugmynd

Danish: stor idé

Romanian: grandios ideea

Afrikaans: wonderlik idee

Welsh: mawr syniad

My pal Lee Becker sent me this new spot for Old Spice. It’s a great piece of smart and creative advertising, which doesn’t happen a whole lot.

It’s great stuff. They leverage an insight of The Manly Man Heritage, which is smart, and they make that insight funny, which is creative and smart. So it’s like, double smart.

Exhibit A: my Dad. He was a World War II army guy, and a woodworker, and he drank whiskey, and he golfed on Men’s Day, and he sang college fight songs, and he was a world-class cusser. Manly man material. He had a ditty bag for his toiletries. Vitalis, Brylcreme, Aqua Velva…and the king of them all…Old Spice, in the old school bottle.

Procter & Gamble, Old Spice’s Dad, knows that there is tremendous heritage and history in that dippy white bottle, and in the whistling Old Spice jingle that my generation associated with it.

Their ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy grabbed this powerful insight, and made The Manly Man Heritage of Old Spice relevant to today’s young men. They’re letting Axe go for the horn-dog teen scene, and are positioning themselves as the “once you’ve grown into man pants, try us” brand. It’s a great strategy.

All Axe has is the knucklehead approach: “Axe will get you the ladies.” That strategy, if you can call it one, will surely die before Old Spice’s.

Axe started the Stink War in 2002, and Old Spice woke up to the threat the next year. And it’s funny; I worked with a guy who made Old Spice spots prior Axe shaking up the category. He said every ad had to have a side-by-side comparison. A wetness test, a dryness test, a protection test, a smooth glide test. Yawn. Insight-driven communication beats functional communication every time.

Old Spice shot back at Axe with a great approach that the category really hadn’t seen before: tapping The Manly Man Heritage in a really funny way. The campaign was called “Experience is Everything.” Check out this spot with Bruce Campbell. Here’s another proving he’s a man, but not very good at singing Duran Duran, which doesn’t matter because he’s such a man.

The campaign has had some great evolution.

This spot uses about 3,158 sports metaphors.

Here’s Will Ferrel being manly for Old Spice.

This spot shows that they have a variety of manly scents for men.

The Old Spice website is great. “A man should smell like jet fighters and punching.”

Their “Swaggerize Your Wallet” idea is an olde schoole promotion. In adland, promotions can really suck. But this one’s cool. It gets their customers and prospects talking and talking about Old Spice.

The category of men’s personal grooming looks like it’s been falling in general. Maybe the economy has finally deemed those expensive and environmentally ridiculous plastic bottles of body wash a dumber idea than using a bar of soap. But among the big two contenders, it appears as though Old Spice is winning.

In business, great design is power. The better something looks, the more appealing it seems, and the more we want it, so the more we’ll buy, and re-buy, and re-re-buy.

If fruit packaging looked like these old fruit crate art labels, I’d be the healthiest guy in four counties, which would certainly make some produce companies more dough.

Would you buy more fruit and veggies if the packaging looked better? Would you buy more if the shopping environment was more appealing? Would you become healthier? And would that make you want to keep buying the healthy stuff?

There are a few activities that have occurred over the past several millennia that, one by one, devolved into the great time-suck we now know as TV. For the benefit of science and history, here they are.

1. Staring at Nature Stuff. Sunrises, bears goring coyotes, sunsets, bunny-shaped cumulus cloud formations, palm trees swaying in the wind, snow falling onto bears as they gore coyotes. Nature was the first TV.

2. Starting at Each Other. This lasted for about two weeks. Ratings were abysmal. Click.

3. Fire Gazing. Eventually, some brainiac hominid figured out fire. It was a big, big hit, and sponsored by the wood industry. But problems arose. Knuckle-dragging cave-teens were known to veg out to fire long after their cave-parents went to bed, causing parents much concern. Nature-Staring purists grew outraged, blaming this man-made phenom on the decline of the family unit.

4. Star Gazing. Late-night entertainment ratings wars soon brewed between Fire Gazing and Star Gazing. People would wait for hours for the star and constellation channels to come on. Cloudy nights were met with chagrin. And fire. But clear nights would result in story telling, and making up crap like, “Look kids, that obtuse, dented half-parallelogram is an archer!” This is when children began to mistrust authority.

5. Ridiculously Enormous Slave-Built Structure Construction Watching. Gigantic pyramid, sphinx and tower construction watching was in fashion for a while, sometimes holding viewer’s attention for over a century, with the aristocracy sitting on hard benches, riveted by the site one of these big-budget edifices getting built.

6. Orator and Philosopher Watching. These trouble-making misfits caused great consternation among the dumb-dumb class, and were, over time, given the boot. No shocker there. Understanding their mind-bending thoughts was deemed too much work, so that by the time Nietzsche rolled around, he had a very slim chance at being a pop star or having has face put on t-shirts.

7. Watching Animals Maiming Other Living Creatures in a Ring. This mindless entertainment activity was popularized by Romans, who put camels and elephants and lions and peacocks and minimum wage workers in a ring, just to see what *wink* would happen, which was pure entertainment genius. This is where the pratfall and the chase scene was born. The ratings were huge. It was a smash hit.

8. Observing Minstrels, Jesters, Lute Players and Harlequins. Kings and queens would employ these hack entertainers as a diversion from their traditional peasant beheadings and pillages and turkey leg feasts. Never, in the history of civilization, was there such a colossal waste of gay and merry fabric.

9. The Reading of Gigantic Books. Huge books, with soooooooo many taxing, soul-sucking words began to flood the market. They could take months to finish. And without employing sophisticated yet catchy entertainment devices like explosions, hilarious talking animals and bank heists, this medium was doomed. Moreover, an insidious insistence on b.s. like “story” and “character” and “plot”, makes it no wonder that the human attention span eventually said “enough!” to gigantic books.

10. The Three Stooges. What could be better than watching dumb guys whacking each other with frying pans? Nothing. Finally, after this technological evolutionary breakthrough, involving television could be born.

Television can be cool. And fun. And awesome. But according to the Nielsen Company, the average American watches about 5 hours of TV each day. That’s 140 hours per month. That’s 7o days every year. This will melt brains.

Let’s be careful out there.

As my dad aged, he grew chins. He didn’t get chubby wubby, but his wattle certianly grew. This interview proves a few things: I love advertising,  I’m definitely my father’s son and I should be more of a treadmiller to prevent the chin-spawn.

What were your favorite ads? And how many chins do you have?

I bought Knupp & Watson in August of 2008. It was not exactly the best time to purchase a company, let alone an advertising, marketing, creative communications company. If you’ll recall, that recession thing had just taken off like a rocket around that time. Needless to say, Mrs. Wallman was a very brave soul.

But the company had a great 2009, adding clients, and staff, and we had a hell of a good time along the way. We’ve created some fantastic work, achieved some great successes for our clients, and worked to make it the best place our people will ever work.

Yesterday, we officially became Knupp & Watson & Wallman. (As a co-worker put it, “the ego has landed.” Ha!)

The name change signals the second generation of this 23 year-old company. We’re pushing ideas and creative communications like never before, and are offering more and more web and motion services, in addition to the traditional communications vehicles that have existed since my Grandfather had a shop on Madison Avenue in the 1930’s.

Check us out here. Our new Web site is a living breathing organism that, like the rest of the online world, will be in a constant state of exciting change and evolution. Check back frequently.

Part of the site includes a big effort to participate, find, and share things within social networks. We park a lot of the insightful and inspirational ideas for you to enjoy here.

With one day under the belt, things are feeling very good. We’ve already received tons of congratulatory emails and calls from throughout Wisconsin, and beyond. We thank you for that.

How do we feel about our future? Well, our good friend Frank sums it up here.

Hey folks, that was a fun Super Bowl party. A whole ton of you came by to check out the blahbiddy blah blah. Man, did it get crowded for awhile there. But we had plenty of Mackerel Pudding, and Pineapple Cheese Olive Loaf, and dip.

I had a great time yapping about the Super Bowl ads. Hope you enjoyed it as well.

I really thought the recession cut into the stereotypical Super Duper Super Bowl ad this year. Smaller budgets lead to smaller ideas and smaller production dollars and smaller amounts of typical wowsie splash. Fewer celebs, explosions, famous pieces of music, and schnazzzz = :(

Some of the big boys bowing out kind of felt different. Pepsi and GM taking a seat? Weird.

What worked?

I really liked the Snickers ad. Funny. Slapstick. Celebs. And it sold something. Probably my favorite ad of the game.

Doritos had a great effort. The ideas, like last year, came from consumers. That was fantastic. Lots of great, funny stuff.

Audi was funny. A reach, to say they’re going to represent America’s green standard. But funny regardless. was hilarious. And I really liked the strategy of “even the smartest people need help.” Really cool. Great production values too. It used to be when more of the Super Bowl ads were big and smart, like this one.

The Emerald Nuts/Pop Secret ad was reallllly funny. And I like the co-brand. That was smart.

Vizio was fantastic. My kids got it in a way I didn’t. It showed all the hip stuff from YouTube that their generation got like crazy. That was smart, to bring that next generation into the Vizio brand. They WANTED what Vizio was selling.

The Volkswagon ad was really, really good. A classic Super Bowl ad, with a great idea: to bring “slug bug” back. I can’t tell you how many whacks to the upper arm I have given, received and witnessed in my 45 years, but it’s easily in the hundreds. That was smart. I hope it works for them.

Google had a great ad, but they cheated. The spot first ran in November. That’s not very Super Bowlish. What the heck?

Slapstick. Celebs. Surprise. That’s great Super Bowl ad fodder. But this ad actually sold something: the idea that a Snickers will pick you up. It wasn’t just a jokes for joke’s sake.

Tru TV
“Punxatawny Polamalu!” Haaa! “Six more weeks of football!” Bwwaaaahahah! Very funny sight gags. And the perfect message for a football fan during the Super Bowl.

Boost Mobile
Jim McMahon looking as old as Betty White and Abe Vigoda. Funny because I hate the Bears.

Classic Super Bowl ad style, with tons of smackstick – amish, pregnant, kids, blind people, famous people, all smackin’ each other. Smart strategy for VW to bring back such a simple cultural phenom. Hope it helps `em. And hope the build better cars too.

“Don’t touch my mama or my Doritos.” Great line. They had a lot of good funny this year, again supplied by consumers in a contest. “Tim’s Locker” had a lot of funny for the money.

Emerald Nuts + Pop Secret
Great Super Bowl ad, and smart strategy to bring two brands together in one ad. Special effects, silly humor, good ad. My family saw one of those aquatic shows once. What a great spoof that was.
Second year in a row with the same idea. But really well executed, and a breath of refreshing non-slapstick fresh air.

A promo! A freakin’ promo! The promos for the network during a Super Bowl ad typically suck, and are phoned in. This one was really timely and great. The LA Times has a good story on how it happened.

“Green Police” was funny and it’ll be memorable. I kind of think they’re wrong for going that far with the green message. If it positions Audi as a green leader, it’ll be a success. But to do that in just one ad is an uphill climb unless major, major internal changes are afoot.

It’s the third year with talking babies in the Super Bowl. Kind of sad that without “Look Who’s Talking” we may never have seen them. Not sure who that’s sad for. Probably someone.

The computer animation gets better each year.

But what really dials it up this year is the social media stuff that they’ve done this year. The babies are tweeting here. Really funny. Those babies must be really smart, because they can talk like hip grownups, AND they can use Twitter very well.

Here is there 2008 pukey Super Bowl ad. Their 2009 ad. Check out the outtakes from a year or two ago. Really good.