Archives For April 2010

CareerCast.com (a job search site) did a survey, and weighed 21 factors that can create job stress. “Factors that weighed into stress levels  included work environment, job competitiveness, opportunity for  advancement and even perceived risk of unemployment.” The results?

Advertising account executive was rated the #9 most stressful job.

10. Real estate agent
9. Advertising account executive
8. Public relations officer
7. Highway patrol officer
6. Commercial pilot
5. Police officer
4. Surgeon
3. Taxi driver
2. Corporate executive
1. Firefighter

Yes, firefighters, surgeons, cops and pilots have stressful jobs. Bad stressful, not good stressful. People die and get maimed and horrifically scarred, physically and emotionally in these professions. That’s stress.

But advertising and public relations? C’mon. We’re here to help people, and sell stuff and change attitudes and perceptions and behaviors. Sure, it’s stressful. But nobody dies. Nobody gets maimed. There are no explosions, guns, fires, cancers, or crash landings. The scars are quite tiny by comparison. We get free pizza and make TV ads and we create art and have fun and laugh. And nobody dies.

I’ve  known tons of ad folks over these 20 years, and I’d say only a handful were stressed out to the point where it affected their life. Most took the stress as the fuel. The juice. The energy of the job. And many absolutely loved the juice. I sure do. It’s a daily, exciting affirmation of being alive.

Take that, musical instrument repairers. (They ranked 1st on the least stressful jobs.)

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I guess these rigs are also at some Nike stores in Japan. Wowww.

The Gomers heard that Smart Studios in Madison was going to close. Over the last 25 years, Gomer members have spent a lot of time there, recording with Butch Vig and Steve and Duke before they were producing stuff for Nirvana, U2, Green Day, and before they became Garbage. Lil’ Dave Adler of the Gomers has been recording there for over 30 years. Many great times, laughs, and creative tingles have happened there.

It’s a really special place. Like a secret fort clubhouse hideout. So when we heard it was closing, the only logical reaction was “we have to record one last record there.” So we polished off some tunes we had laying around, and recorded them. Mike Zirkle engineered, and once again proved his remarkable skill. He is such a great guy. All praise Mike. The band was in top form.

This will be the first Gomers recording in a few years. The band has been busier than ever, playing at least eight shows a month, usually more. Rock Star Gomeroke, the live band karaoke at the High Noon Saloon is a runaway hit, with six shows monthly. Its five year anniversary is coming up in May. In fact, a local website, dane101.com, recently named Gomeroke one of the coolest things about Madison or some such. The Slappy Hour Variety Show at the Frequency happens twice a month, and is building a really cool following. (I’m kinda more like a guest Gomer, doing one-ish gig a month. But the guys haven’t kicked me out yet, so that’s cool. Thank you, gents.)

Look for the record to be completed in May, with some kind of record release party to follow. I think it’s the best stuff the band has recorded. Lots of rock, fun, and soulful grooves.

After playing together for almost 25 years, Biff, Steve, Dave, Gordon and Geoff have become even better songwriters, musicians, and remarkably, they’ve become an even better band. Plus, they’re some of the nicest, coolest and most creative guys on planet Earth.

Stay tuned.

Old Spice and their ad agency Wieden + Kennedy have been cranking out some great ads. (“I’m on a horse.”) Here’s a new round of TV for their Odor Blocker body wash. They’re directed by Tim and Eric from Adult Swim’s  “The Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” on Comedy Central. (Why look, here’s a Tim and Eric film for Absolute Vodka, with Mr. Zach Galifianakis.)

Who’s creating consistently better advertising than Old Spice right now? Tough call, given all there is to dig about what they’re doing.

I dig the strategy, in that it uses manly exaggeration to sell the hell out of the beauty product. I dig that you KNOW what’s being sold here, and why it’s a good thing. I dig the manly tone of the manly copy: it “devastates” odors for 16 hours. I dig the director choice. I dig how they altered the Old Spice musical theme with the actor Terry Crews singing “pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-power!”

What do I dig most? These ads are funny, and funny leads to memorability for the viewer, and added word of mouth. You could watch `em 10 times and laugh 10 times. You’ll tell your pals about it while whining about your NCAA brackets. That, friends, is a very hard thing to do.

Bitching about the tactic of the yelling guy: it’s funny – but. Being in the edits, and in all the post production, and listening to Terry Crews yell and yell and yell certainly got to a point of “please punch me in the head with a log.”

Bitching about the category: body wash is a ripoff for consumers. Use soap. A bar. If Old Spice’s target audience really wanted to be manly, they sure as hell wouldn’t use a bottle of soap. Puh-leeze. Plus, compared to the manufacturing and packaging of a bar of soap, those damn body wash bottles are a massive environmental headache.

Bitching aside, they’re great ads.

Have you seen this? It’s a fan-tastic idea from Heineken in Italy.

Imagine being a crazy soccer/football fan. On the night of a HUGE game, you’re asked to not watch the game on TV, but to go to a classical concert. Watch how Heineken used this premise for a stunt that’ll be talked about for years.