Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Worst stock photo of the week.

I found this particular affront (or paean to cornball) on Ad Age, illustrating an article felicitously entitled, "TV NETWORKS MEET ON THOR, NEW EFFORT TO PROVE THEIR ADS WORK."

The Yankees of the Bronx.

The temperature dropped about 25 degrees from yesterday to today, from about 70 degrees to 45 degrees. In other words, the weather (now that it is mid-October) is finally seasonable.

I remember when I was a kid when the weather started turning chilly around the start of the school year, my old lady bought me and my brother a light nylon windbreaker at Korvettes with the word "Yankees" in Yankee-script emblazoned in white across its Navy-blue front.

My mother tossed nickels around like manhole covers and rather than buying each of us a jacket, my brother and I, separated by just one grade and only a couple of inches, were meant to share the garment. Fred would get it on even days, me on odd.

These were the fading days of the Yankees' greatness, when they still had immortals on their squad, like Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and, of course, the most-immortalest of all Mickey Mantle. 

My brother and I were sure that this jacket had magical properties, that somehow it would gird us with super-human Mickey-Mantle-like strength and ability. We were certain this jacket would, on our day to wear it, turn mere boys into Yankees.

The jacket was perfect for temperatures in the low-60s or high-50s, but one day, I prevailed upon my mother to let me wear my prized Yankee jacket into November. All was fine as I ran to school kicking a can or a rock the whole way. But while I was in school, dark clouds rolled in and the temperatures dropped like a stone. I ran home, freezing in my light windbreaker, with the temperatures in the low 30s.

What bothered me as I ran home from school shivering wasn't that I was cold--what bothered me was that my mother had been right, and I knew that the Yankee jacket would be put away for some months, until Persephone's pomegranate seeds bloomed again and golden-fingered Spring was upon us.

Last night, as if the world had not turned Macbethian and topsy-turvy with foul fair and fair foul, the Yankees played in the Bronx, near the stadium of my youth--the one called "The House that Ruth Built." Now, that stadium destroyed, the Yankees play in "The House the Taxpayers Built that only the Rich can Afford." 

But still, I'm sure, little boys are careening through their tilted little neighborhoods, running to school, and wearing Yankee jackets against the cold, dreaming of being Didi Gregorius or Aaron Judge, Mickey Mantle, like so much else, disappeared deep into memory.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nobody asked me but....baseball playoffs edition.

Nobody asked me but….is my occasional tribute to the great New York sportswriter, and all-around raconteur, Jimmy Cannon, who, when he had nothing to write about on the sporting scene, would pen one of these.

Nobody asked me but….

…you’re better off not buying your next bottle of wine from a shop called “Grape Expectations.”

…you should follow the advice of Nelson Algren, who wrote, "Never play cards with a man called Doc.”

…or “eat at a place called Mom's.”

…Finally, “Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."

…I don’t know much about Nelson Algren, but those rules are good enough for me.

…Anyone who takes an online quiz—especially one on Facebook—has too much time on their hands.

…People were swimming at the beach yesterday.

…As if you need more proof for global warming.

…The major league baseball season as it is currently configured with three-rounds of playoffs is 30 games too long.

….That said, I’ll miss baseball when the season is over.

…I think the baseball season should start around tax day and end the first week of October.

…Does it ever occur to football fans that they’re cheering as the players get brain-damaged?

….I haven’t watched a single professional football down this year.

…Though I did listen to the last twenty minutes of Columbia’s overtime victory over Penn.

…Columbia has won more games this season than they did the entire time I was in college and grad school.

…If you read anything today, make it Charles Blow’s “Trump, Chieftain of Spite.”

….I may or may not be a workaholic, but I certainly hope Robert Mueller is one.

….I also hope he has a mean-streak a mile-wide.

….Those rotating ads behind home-plate during the ball game are disgusting.

…Advertising will perform better when we learn to give people space.

…You can say that about most relationships.

...Astros over the Yanks, in six. Dodgers over the Cubs, in five. Dodgers over Houston in the World Series in seven.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday rant-day.

It's probably apocryphal, and like so many apocryphal statements it's often attributed to Winston Churchill, that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

That statement pretty much sums up how I feel about traditional advertising. That it is the worst form of marketing communications except for all the others.

As such, and because for nearly 30 years it's been a ripe and fat target for corollary marketers seeking to win client-share-of-wallet, traditional marketing is frequently and vehemently assailed.

"No one:
              watches TV anymore.
              hasn't cut their cords.
              doesn't skip over commercials.
              likes interruptions.
              believes traditional marketing.
              reads print media.

The problem with these attacks is simple. What's the alternative?

I have more ad-blockers on my computers and phone than Carter has little liver pills, and, frankly, I have yet to organically get a social tile (much less be compelled by one) and only see banner ads when I write them, or when I go to my "other" browser--the one I use when I want to see ads.

As for Facebook ads and Linked In ads, well, let's just say I am (like so many others of my ilk) privacy-obsessed. Not only do my ad blockers help here, I also refuse to use location services and other tracking devices of the evil "do no evil-ers."

The same holds true for "experiential" conclaves. Jesus, I live in one of the world's great cities. And if I'm faced with a choice of seeing a great musician perform, or an opera as opposed to a late-night rave for Wells Fargo bank where I'll walk home with a cheap plastic lei in brand colors and a flimsy frisbee, well, I am not that interested in "branded entertainment." (Branded entertainment might be one of the great oxymorons of our age.)

What's more, when I do go the opera, or like last weekend to The New Yorker Festival, the logos that festoon the venues only piss me off. I paid $99 a seat to see Andy Borowitz last Saturday...what did sponsor Mastercard do except assault me with their Venn diagram?

I suppose this is essentially a long-winded way of saying there is a large-class of people (and affluent at that) who are almost wholly unreachable. Except when, like last night they can't sleep and turn on the ballgame to see the Cubbies beat the Nats, 9-8 in a late-night nail-biter. 

You can file this under, "George Preserving his Job," but it seems to me that the only way to reach the unreachable is to do work that is good, important and interesting enough to be viewable.

I suppose if I got a tissue ad the moment I was about to sneeze, I'd believe in data and targeting, but I've yet to see that promise pay out. Most of the direct marketing I get is for Viking River Cruises, which I will never go on, hair-loss remedies, and meet Olga and other Russian brides.

The targeting that gets to me is so transparent as to be offensively "stalky," so not only do I ignore it, I'm pissed off at the brand that sent it.

Long ago, David Ogilvy said something like "the consumer isn't a moron, she is your wife." (Forget the gender-bias there, and think of the sentiment.)

And the great Bob Levenson of DDB renown, who wrote more great Vokswagen ads than just about anyone else said this about writing copy: "Start off with 'Dear Charlie,' then say 'this is what I want to tell you about. Make believe that the person you're talking to is a perfectly intelligent friend who knows less about the product than you do. Then, when you've finished writing the copy, just cross out 'Dear Charlie'."

In other words, if you want people to like your advertising, treat them with respect, and offer them something of value, information or otherwise. 


And stop calling them "targets." Who wants to be a target?


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Today's "Incomprehensible of the Week."

From an agency that positions itself as a "transformation partner designed to help companies reimagine their business through radical customer-centricity."

“With more than 12,000 employees and 70 offices around the globe, our capabilities span growth and business model strategy, new product and service innovation, customer experience, enterprise digital transformation, IT modernization, omni-channel commerce, precision marketing, change management, digital operations, digital innovation, data strategy and advanced analytics.”