Thursday, November 27, 2008

American Express/Amex TV Spot with Dave Matthews, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brian Grazer and Tina Turner

Just saw the first spot in a new celebrity campaign called "Membership Moments" from American Express/Amex featuring Dave Matthews, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brian Grazer (producer) and Tina Turner. The omnibus spot was long and it faced the tough task of breaking through a Thanksgiving crowd. Without hearing the signaled the familiar membership/prestige theme. More later.

Happy Thanksgiving!'s Black Friday and I'm still stuffed. I just looked at this spot another dozen times in the last 24 hours.

Here's my problem: The spot has the patina of sophisticated advertising: great timbre to the voices, an engaging track, terrific production to piece together all the discrete footage, previously shot. All that lulls you into a soporific state where you don't really consider what's really being said. But when you look and listen carefully, it's problematic. Somehow, huge emotional events in these stars live are linked directly to the date they became members. Dave is empowered in '94. Gwyneth becomes independent in '94. Brian becomes confident because Amex somehow "validates" and "respects" him (fortunately no one else would agree to say that). And Tina gains her freedom in '77 (which she actually did in that period from Ike).

I'm not buying it one bit. By and large seems like a sell-out to me. And, if advertising ain't believable, it's pretty much worthless.

Click here to visit Jugular Advertising.
Please visit our new group blog on television marketing, which includes posts by noted new media critic Daisy Whitney, Cable Marketing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Macy's 2008 Thanksgiving Day Parade Behind the Scenes Preparations in New York

1 PM Wed, 11/26 Macy's Herald Square is in serious behind the scenes preparation mode two blocks from our office and the entire area from 34th St to 35th on Broadway is abuzz with floodlights, spots and monitors for the performers and even fake autumnal trees with gorgeous golden and red leaves. Tremendous sense of energy. The six incredible holiday/Christmas windows only add to the general sense of merriment.

Again...why write about a parade on "The New Advertising"? Because it started in 1924 and has contributed enormously to Macy's brand reputation. What's the foremost reason Macy's gets so much out of town traffic? This is the original grandaddy of sponsorships...driven even further by the advent of television which took it nationwide. Now the internet makes it even more viral.

Getting the announcer booth ready. See: backlights behind anchors who will face forward. Teleprompter. Fake trees.

Wider camera set up shot. Color bar test!

Soon these will be up!'s what's coming this afternoon on the Upper West Side. Inflation that's fun...not financial.

Please visit our new group blog on television marketing, which includes posts by noted new media critic Daisy Whitney, Cable Marketing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Macy's Herald Square Christmas/Holiday Windows for 2008 in New York City/NYC

I'm officially excited. Macy's 2008 Christmas/Holiday windows in Herald Square, New York City were unveiled at 6:30 PM Sunday 11/23. The windows facing Broadway between 34th and 35th St premiered. So...why the big fuss on a site labeled "The New Advertising." First, and most important, this year (I hope, I hope they work well) the windows will be interactive. And second, windows are one of the oldest forms of outdoor advertising. If you build the windows, they will come to the store...and hopefully buy. That's particularly important this year.

Here's a good overview (and most important the best existing film images and sound so far) of the Broadway windows.

Here's a great view of all the Macy's windows on Broadway, (through 2:03) and the annual "Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street widows on, of course, 34th Street (remainder of video).

What are the two big things to know now that I've taken a close look for a couple days? The theme is "Believe", and it's played out consistently and elegantly. There are several touch pads (as referenced in the AdAge video above). A touch pad outside window 4 that moves "ingredients in a big arcade game" inside the display (24/7 for 6 weeks) is the grandest.

Here's a daytime look at the interactive devices. The scoop and crane weren't working quite right this AM...look carefully in the first shot and you'll see the guy in the window.

Here's a video of the same interactive window: (#4...just to right of front door on Broadway)

Here's a bit of copy that's hard to read due to a reflection that sets the theme of the display in window #1. Click on the visual to blow it up (like all of them).

Here's a piece of the VERY modern high-tech looking devices hidden throughout the windows.

More still nightshots are coming. After all I do have a day job, damn it.

When to go? Before 10 AM if you don't like crowds. Just before daybreak on a warmer winter day would be just spectacular.

Click here to visit our agency website, Jugular.

Please visit our new group blog on television marketing, which includes posts by noted new media critic Daisy Whitney, Cable Marketing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Salvation Army Slogan: "Doing the Most Good"

The Salvation Army has adopted a new competitive slogan "Doing the Most Good". I walked out of Penn Station in New York City this morning and saw this stand for the collections bucket.'s holiday time and the Salvation Army of bell ringers are out. Times, supposedly, of good will toward man.

So what's with the competitive slogan with the open comparative? More than who? The Red Cross? The American Heart Association? Wrong approach...charitable not-for-profits should embrace their competitors...not imply that you're better. Time to fix a bad slogan for a great organization. And, by the way, the whole graphic presentation..logo, layout--all of it. Make it new.

Important Update:

I've just taken a terrific comment from a Salvation Army cadet and included it in the blog post. Take a look at the history of the line. And what a nice way to disagree. I still don't love the line. I see the intention.

From Anonymous:


I am one of the Cadets who stood at the Penn Station red kettle Monday through Saturday this past Christmas season. I wish you would have stopped and talked to us. I would have gladly told you about the Army, about the "Doing the Most Good" campaign and about my personal feelings about it.

While it can be viewed in a negative way, which is unfortunate, the original intention is the opposite. The "doing the most good" is a promise to the public who support us so largely and is also a challenge for us as an organization to do better, even in our PR and branding strategy.

A proclamation such as "doing the most good" carries a heavy responsibility. It's a responsibility that we, as the Army, do not take lightly at all.

Thank you for taking the time to think about our branding campaign.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Motrin Attacks Moms and Child Carriers: Twitter Users Fight Back.

Why, oh why, would you take on Moms and their babies in an online spot about child carriers? All to sell Motrin. No, not good...not good at all.

As of last night, Motrin was the #1 searched story on Twitter, bumping SNL for the first time since the election. Moms and more (including me) expressed outrage. Viral attacks are spreading.

Poor production values with cheap and uninspired graphics that mimic a training video--only add insult to injury.

At 11 PM EST Sunday, Nov, 16 the Motrin site is down. Due to volume of traffic? Strangely-enough the spot looks more like the quick, inexpensively assembled crisis management spots for Tylenol years ago. Now, we have a advertising-inspired crisis. Ironically, Motrin needs crisis management. Pronto.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Word Train for 2008 Presidential Election from New York Times Website.

Forget slick anchors manipulating touch screens. This was the most addictive coverage I saw during the election. It's called a Word Train and it appeared on the New York Times Website. You were asked to enter one word to describe your state of mind about the election at that specific time. The 5 PM Tues., Nov. 4th screen above consolidated all emotions, irregardless of party...with the biggest words being the most frequently submitted.

Even more fascinating... look at the results split by party (as self-identified by the user). Now I remind you this is at 5 PM before any results were in. Look at the common anxiety in both camps, but the underlying optimism for Obama and the underlying negativity for McCain. Foretold the election...didn't it?

Here's the final 1 AM New York Times results, still in motion. What one word describes your current state of mind?

I'm studying interactivity right now and am very interested in watching this technology migrate to television screens where you can just text in your feelings with a mobile phone. We'll be there sooner than you think.

Have any of you seen this elsewhere? Please let me know.