Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Best Superbowl Spot Ever: Apple 1984

With the Super Bowl coming up in 72 hours or so, let's take a look at what, to me, is hands down and without rival, the best Super Bowl tv spot ever. Apple 1984, which ran January 22nd, 1984, introduced the world's first Macintosh and immediately took the world by storm.

What's usually not considered in any discussion like this is the competitive context this spot appeared in: Apple had introduced the Apple II in 1977 which became in many people's minds the first mass market, popular personal computer. The introduction of spreadsheets for the Apple II drove the computer into the home and small business market. IBM, then the mainframe computer company accustomed to dictating "Big Brother" style to its users, made the radical decision to take a small group of IBM engineers, sequester them in Boca Raton with the charge of developing a competitor to the Apple II quickly...not confined by the typical circuitous, bureaucratic IBM development cycle. IBM launched their first PC, together with LOTUS Accounting software, on August 12, 1981 with a wily advertising campaign featuring the "Little Tramp" Charlie Chaplin figure which warmed up the cold IBM corporate image and was used to demonstrate how easy the computer was to use.

IBM immediately legitimized the market and was instantly carried by new IBM PC stores...and Computerland stores which sold both Apple and IBM products.

By summer 1983, six months before the 1984 Super Bowl, the IBM PC was on backorder and supplies were so low that the company suspended advertising for most of the summer and early fall. At the same time, IBM continued work on their top secret "home" computer, ultimately called PCjr which was to launch with a 1984 Super Bowl commercial featuring Chaplin in home use...sweet little Charlie continuing to interact with his PCjr, introduced from a baby carriage.

I worked on the IBM PC account as a very young kid (the source of much of the background for this entry) at the time and little did any of us every expect to see the spot which Apple, their agency Chiat Day and director Ridley Scott unleashed on the world that January 22, 1984.

This spot strikes back with a glorious competitive and imaginative vengeance never seen before on a Super Bowl and never quite seen since. IBM is equated to Big Brother (they were know at the time as Big Blue). Hordes of shackled workers/prisoners shuffle toward the telescreen to hear IBM's indoctrination. They are the faceless, lifeless corporate workers who have no choice but to use the BORING computers IBM produces (forget that cute little Charlie Chaplin, please...this Big Brother world is the real IBM).

Apple presents a vivid, athletic and vivacious aggressive woman who destroys Big Brother and liberates his followers with a remarkable javelin throw, setting the business world free for a truly innovative, easy to use personal computer. that's the backstory...why is this the best?

1. No other spot has ever created such a frightening and exhilarating self-contained world.
2. No other spot has ever been as competitive...or as violent.
3. This is the most beautiful Super Bowl spot ever shot. Gorgeous sets, beautiful lighting, an enormous range of gray tones.
4. The powerful and sexy javelin thrower is a brilliant choice to destroy Big Brother.
5. No ever spot has been as successful at reversing a rival's ad campaign, sending IBM right back to the position they were trying to escape from with Chaplin. Apple bursts right into the lucrative business market. The IBM PC (for business) was on back order and trumpeting a jr computer (why, why, call it that??)
6. And what a way for Apple to enter the business market. They're still there with the a whole line of innovative laptops while IBM no longer even manufactures personal who has the last laugh now. Well...this was just written on my MacBook Pro.
7. The spot was the first Super Bowl blockbuster. Many followed.
8. Viral...well, in retrospect, this was the one of the forerunners of viral.

For Jugular Advertising click here

This is a modified version of an entry originally written two years ago for The New Advertising.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why You Should Read What Lincoln Read

Abraham Lincoln, perhaps our most literate President, grew up as a voracious reader--often walking twenty miles to borrow a book from a neighbor. He read late into the night until his candle burned out and in the fields when he should have been working. What were Lincoln's primary sources? The Bible and Shakespeare. He committed many passages to memory and could draw, at will, on their descriptive language and rich cadences.

Wonder where the Gettysburg address came from? Lincoln's deep reading in classical texts. It's just ten sentences. If only all modern communication could be so brief and so remarkably effective.

The Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

One of my resolutions this year is to follow Lincoln's reading list. Less television, less contemporary fiction, less business books and articles on how to use the latest social networking tools. Sure I'll read them. But I'm going to focus on The Bible and Shakespeare. It's easier than ever...I can carry them around in my pocket on my iPhone or iTouch. Or even my new Apple Tablet. I don't have to walk 20 miles to borrow a copy. Which eliminates a lot of excuses.

I have no illusions of writing anything like the Gettysburg address. But I do believe I'll have a better view of mankind, both good and bad, when I'm done and, hopefully, be more articulate, concise and engaging. After all, how can I go wrong with The Bible and Shakespeare?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blogging vs Tweeting: A New Year's Resolution

It's been a very long time since I sat down to write a considered blog post. But I'm back here on my blog at 4:15 pm on December 31st 2009 poised at the precipice of a new decade.

Why am I back? Keith Burtis. You may very well know him. During his tenure at Best Buy he made major strides in growing their online community. Now he's a consultant...helping many other companies. So fine you say. So what? Here's what. He recently left me a comment on Twitter that he enjoyed this blog. Don't we all love unexpected praise from an industry expert?

So, thanks to Keith (to reinforce a growing feeling), I'm back with a 2010 New Year's resolution to blog more and use Twitter less often. And that will not be an easy resolution to keep.

Why? Twitter (and all the various social media sites like it), primarily, are short form social media. You can share your views quickly & easily and get instant fulfillment. You know this. Tweets, at least in my mind, don't demand a beginning, middle and and end like a good blog post.

And Twitter, particularly for me, has become addictive. @scottlackey; @jugularnyc (our communications and social media agency), @nycstories (a multimedia site which includes bizarre true stories, my photos and music--all about New York City); and @nycsongs -- (a nyc music Twitter station). And that doesn't even include client social media pages.

Blogging is different. A well developed post for me takes 45-60 minutes and requires, again for me (maybe not you), a more analytical perspective. It requires commitment and time. But blogging does do one crucial thing. It forces you to evaluate a subject more thoroughly and express your feelings about it in a more organized, and hopefully more detailed, fashion.

And it's time to do that. My New Year's resolutions are to blog more. To write more analytical posts. To do less straight reporting. To be more original. To support assertions. To write about what's on my mind and what we're encountering every day at Jugular, and I'm encountering in my life. Our work with terrific indie musicians in Brooklyn and colleges and the websites we're building in the health field. And much more.

I don't want to leave Twitter entirely...just strike a better balance. I hope I keep my resolution.

And..thank you Keith. Happy New Year.

P.S. Here's an article from today's Huffington Post which I just Googled "How To Keep Your New Year's Resolution (Without Feeling Guilty)" At least I've got #2 down. "How To Keep New Year's Resolutions".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Toyota Prius Marketing. Free Solar Powered Wi-Fi at Broadway & 23rd Street in New York City.

This is smart. Very smart. Take a look at the installation that popped up a few weeks ago in the middle of one of the new enlarged, Bloomberg-inspired traffic islands at Broadway and 23rd St. In fact it's so "noisy" it borders on the invasive. But you can't miss it--no way. Perfect too for the Prius brand energy efficiency positioning...isn't it?

Why is it so good? It helps you and, best of all, it's not literal. Now cars in a special mall display here.

Images by Scott Lackey. Permission required for reuse.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Chanel No 5 Audrey Tautou TV Ad/Spot/Commercial: Reclaiming the Brand's French Heritage

This is just unbelievable. I think better acting and intrigue than the Nicole Kidman/Baz Luhrmann phantasmagoria (great...but time to move on). And...after all the railway drama--Billie Holiday enters, halfway through, singing "I'm a Fool to Want You" begins. Yup, fabulous stuff. Tautou, who stars here, was terrific in Amelie, whose director Jean Pierre Jeaunet also directed this spot.

I love the forlorn-ness of Tautou, which is not typical of Chanel. More youthful and key to attract a younger audence. Most important, the ultimate Frenchness of the brand is reclaimed...which has been so central to its success.

This is the long version. A 60 second version also exists. Thanks to Denis Florent and his great blog for bringing it to my attention.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

PJ Bland's (Chili's) New Campaign: Social Media and TV Spot Attacks Boring Casual Dining Chains.

A terrific new spoof campaign was launched today that reaches across the world of social media from a website to Twitter to Flickr to YouTube to Howcast--and many more-- about a fictitious (and ubiquitous) corrugated burger/casual dining chain called P.J. Blands. Yup, ubiquitous. Wonder who that refers to?

I found it on my Twitter stream this afternoon as @PJBlands engaged many of the Twitter elite that I follow in comic repartee about it's "bland" food (please click to enlarge to full screen):

This led to a terrific, expensive, and well executed web page which signaled you weren't in Kansas anymore--but you were dealing with a sophisticated company mounting a major campaign and putting some serious dollars behind it. Featuring a bland (of course) pitchman , the site is deep and filled with video links to food stylists, the history of the company and more.
Take a look by clicking here.

Or...take a look at this new "behind the scenes " YouTube video on the filming of their newest commercial.

There are still shots on Flickr which set up the line of attack on burgers very clearly:

And there are numerous other specialized sites on the list too..some empty shells waiting to receive P.J. Bland's ammo.

What's the point you say? The campaign is being run by Brinker International, who owns Chili's Grill & Bar, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Maggiano's Little Italy.

Why advertise cardboard fast food? To set up a straw man strategy that their "high flavor restaurants" offer an alternative. P.J. Bland's = the good, old boring burger chain/casual dining restaurant devoid of flavor (hyperbolically corrugated cardboard) versus a "hot" and "spicy" alternative. Where does Maggiano's fit? We'll see. Maybe not.

Smart start. Let's see how it rolls out and how the Chili's, On the Border and (maybe) Maggiano's brands enter the fray. The web site promises a spot on this week's Saturday Night Live (4/11). Perhaps the battle will start there.

Update: Sunday 4/12 at 12:41 AM. P.J. Bland's did run a spot on Saturday Night Live (SNL) tonight. P.J. Bland wandered about a "casual dining" restaurant showing his bland, cardboard entrees and interacting with customers and showing his entrees.

Update: Sunday 4/12 at 1:35. Here's the the YouTube "PJ Bland's Official SNL Commercial" spot which I was sent directly from PJ Bland on Twitter a few moments ago (with a kind note thanking me for "the great coverage.") They work late at P.J. Bland's. But this isn't the actual Chili's spot that aired on SNL because the jokes never stop with P.J. Bland. I'll get to that. Take a look first.

What's missing is the ending from Chili's, the real sponsor. Why? Because the real spot that aired is ultimately critical of bland food. The actual SNL spot THAT AIRED ends with a wham, as a bright red Chili's logo is quickly stamped on the screen--together with a flavor line. I'm looking for the an embed code to post the spot that actually aired here. It will be up as soon as I find it.

Monday 2:10 pm. Someone helpful (you guess) just sent me the actual Chili's Saturday Night Live spot: Take a look:

So at this point the P.J. Bland's campaign looks like strawman campaign only for Chili's, without reference to any other Brinker International restaurants (especially On the Border).

A problem I had with the media buy is that the spot appeared in position 1A, the first spot immediately following the opening monologue. Frequently, spoof spots appear there. The P.J. Bland's spot appeared as if it was a SNL spoof, particularly since the Chili's logo appeared for such a short period of time that many people may have missed it.

So...despite the massive social media plan there's still a role for bet. Why. The number of eyeballs and the ability to build reach quickly.

Let's see what follows. My bet...more detailed Chili's spots building the comparison. And more fun stunts.

To visit Jugular (our agency) click here

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Getting College Students to Watch a TV Series: Choose The Right Day & Wait for Word of Mouth

Please welcome our guest blogger, Katie Milot, Lafayette College '09.

What gets kids hooked onto certain TV shows? And how can cable networks market their shows to reach the college audience? After asking my friends what they thought, some definite trends started to emerge:

My friend Val, a 21-year-old senior, said: “I think college kids watch whatever their friends are watching...more often than not, they're sharing a TV so they have to compromise with their roommate or if it’s a common room in a dorm--their floor mates. I would have NEVER watched a single episode of Girls Next Door if my roommate didn’t make me watch it with her freshman year. Since I know what’s going on now, I don’t mind it as much and I’ll watch it once in a while.”

Each person I interviewed attributed watching at least one TV show to their roommate or their friends. Watching TV seems to have an underlying social component: it gives people a reason to get together.

However, when it comes to marketing a TV show to the college student, the key is the day it is broadcast. Most channels don’t broadcast their hit series on Friday and Saturday nights because it’s a TV show graveyard. Well for a college student, this TV graveyard extends into Thursdays and maybe even Wednesdays. With the stresses and pressure of school, college students may be going out with friends on Wednesday or Thursday nights to let off some steam. Therefore, if you want to market your TV show to the college audience, your best bet is to broadcast it on a Monday or Tuesday night. Earlier in the week, students are typically staying in to do work and are looking for an excuse to put down the textbook and pick up the remote.

Lauren, a 20 year old sophomore, expressed why her social schedule has prohibited her from watching a particular show: “I wanted to watch The Starter Wife, but its on at 10pm on a Wednesday nights, nights that I am usually out.”

There is an outlet for those shows whose broadcast interferes with the schedule of the avid social butterfly: Post the episodes online. Many TV shows are posted online after the original air date. Not only does it allow students to catch up on the shows they miss, but many students I spoke with also have started watching particular shows online, and are now devoted fans.

Kristyn, a 19-year-old freshman, stated, “I watch Lost because I could watch every season online.” Similarly, Sarah, a 21-year-old junior, said, “My roommate got me hooked last January and made me watch all four seasons of Lost on and now I can’t wait for the new season to start this week!” isn’t the only place people are watching TV. Hulu is a big go-to to catch up on shows, or a place to start watching them. Family Guy, Lipstick Jungle, and The L Word are all shows people said they started watching online.

In addition to the time of the broadcast and the online availability of shows, there are also some similarities in what kind of shows some college students enjoy watching: Entourage, Gossip Girl, The City and The Hills. What do these shows have in common? They all portray the celebrity life, filled with money, fame and attention from the opposite sex. Perhaps the lives portrayed in these shows appeal to the typical college kid because it’s a life they secretly wish they had.

Hawley, a 22-year-old senior, who is a fan of The City and the Hills said, “ …I watch these shows because I like the clothes and their completely absurd lifestyles. I also find them to be aesthetically pleasing.”

Chris, a 20-year-old junior, who watches Entourage on Sunday night religiously with his fraternity brothers said, “ I mean these guys live the life. They are rich and they get the girls. While they live the high life, I can still relate to them through their humor and the friendship they have with each other.”

There seems to be a fantasy component that contributes to the appeal of these shows, yet they preserve aspects of reality, allowing one to believe that you too can attain this lifestyle. The shows that preserve reality and make them relatable to the college audience seem to be the ones students continue to watch.

From the feedback I have received, it is relatively easy to turn a college student on to a particular TV show. For example, Carolyn, Rachel and Nicole, all 22-year-old seniors, started watching Summer Heights High simply because they saw humorous clips of it on YouTube before it premiered on HBO. They are now avid fans.

For most of these students, it didn’t take a brilliant ad campaign to capture their interest: It took one person to tell them they enjoyed a show, or they randomly came across the show online where they could watch it for free. Perhaps a way to spark interest among college students is to post the pilot episode online or even distribute DVDs of select episodes on campus. Bottom line: It doesn’t take much to distract students from their work, especially if the episode can be watched for free at the convenience of the student.

Guest Columnist
Katie Milot
Lafayette College '09