Sunday, October 19, 2014

How To Be A "Creative"


As former Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton sang on his 1976, 11 million copy-selling live album, Frampton Comes Alive, "something's happening" in the advertising industry. All of a sudden, everybody/anybody can be a "creative". That's because everybody—brogrammers, consumers, account ass-suckers, clients, even PR morons—is creating ads. Except nobody is calling it ads. Everybody is calling it "Content".

Fine. For the purposes of this post, I'll call it Content with a CAP C. Thing is: most of these new "creatives" wouldn't know creative Content if it shit in their eyes.

That's why I, an international multi-award-winning, formerly highly-paid advertising creative pro with over 20 years experience in the bloodiest all-nighter, 7-day work week ad trenches, one of the hallowed Mad Men, will now—for free—tell you exactly how to become an advertising "creative" capable of creating creative Content.

The first thing you need to get through your brain before you sit down to create creative Content (or stand-up, on one of those idiotic treadmill desks) is that you're dead. You were born dead. You're dead right now. And you're still gonna be dead tomorrow. It's the human condition. If you don't have this inner Deadness (it's the opposite of "Zen"), close tab, and stare into a dark void (any dirty toilet is good) until you do, and only then, come back to this webpage.

Pure creativity grows best in pessimistic emptiness.

Secondly, erase from your brain that Kumbaya brainstorming sound bite you may have heard before, you know the one—"Always say 'yes and' not 'no but'!". This roundtable Collaborative Optimism method of creating Content is Creativity's new #1 killer; a shit concept is always obviously shit to a good creative and must be killed with spitting hate immediately before it ends up bought by a clueless client. Hurt feelings are for five-year-olds. YOU ARE A SOULLESS RHINO. This doesn't mean you have to be an asshole, just don't be a fake-liker. for fucks sake. Those fake-smile cretins are the absolute worst.

Now. The "Creative Process" is one of the great mysteries to civilians/marketing doofuses, as it should be. As it reads in the above definition, creativity is a transcendental process that takes years to just become shitty at, let alone a solidly above average copywriter like me.

You? You are not ready to even be shitty. Sorry, uncreative civilian/marketing doofus.

But by the time you finish reading these five steps, you'll be on the correct path to becoming a shitty creative who could at some point in the future go ahead and apply for an internship in the shitty internal wrongly-collaborative creative departments at any of the big "Social" "Media" "News" sites. Maybe you'll help improve their shitty Native Content.

Creating Creative Content, Step #1—Get A Hotshot Creative Partner.

The two-person copywriter/art director team, the dynamic that has created pretty much every great ad in advertising history, is being replaced, somewhat, by this new, new-media, 10-monkeys-fucking-a-football collaborative Content kaka. Fuck that. If you're a copywriter, find a great art director (or vice versa) who is as cynical as you are, and team up. BUT THIS IS KEY: He/She must be talented as fuck AND pissed off as fuck—BOTH attributes are equally important. This is the ONLY collaboration that can create cracking Creative Content (copy note: avoid forced alliterations). I've worked with a shit-ton of ADs before computers, and with computers, and this is the only collaboration that works. And when I say "talented as fuck", I of course mean much more creative than you are because ADs still need at least an average CW (and vice versa) no matter how good they are.

The alternative is to go it alone, which can still work, (it's what I'm doing now) if you're good enough, which you are not.

Creating Creative Content, Step #2—Google Images Is Your New Best Friend.

Are you ready to see the aforementioned great creative mystery unravel right before your uncreative eyes? This is how to create creative Content, Content that is more creative than any of the awful "Native" ads you see on your various popular daily web stops.

https://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi&ei=2PJCVK6aB6rjsASixYDwCA&ved=0CAQQqi4oAg

Whatever product or service you're creating creative Content for, there will be a Brief or at least a Key Message. There is always a Key Message. With stupid clients who try to jam 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag, there are sometimes three or four Key Messages. It might be a product benefit, it might not be, it doesn't matter. Within that Key Message(s), there will be an obvious Key Word or two. Type that Word, and—this is important—ALL variations/synonyms/antonyms of that Word into Google Images. And, search and search and search until you feel even more soulless. (You can also do this with stock photos sites. You can also stab yourself in the hand with an X-Acto™ knife. You have freewill.)

It doesn't matter if your Content assignment is print, digital what-not, video, a matchbook cover, even a bullshit sponsored post trying to mask itself as editorial—the best way to arrest consumers is visually, not with your stupid puns and wordplays. Find an image in your search that stops you, and you're on your way to creating the rare creative piece of Content. But, and this is a Nicki Minaj But, what I can't teach you doofuses is this: you have to know it when you see it, it being an image that perfectly helps dramatically and entertainingly communicate your Key Message. And you only learn that by doing creative work over and over and over and etc. And it might not be one image, of course, but a combo of two or more images, or part of an image, the result being a somewhat original image. Or you'll see an image that makes you think of another image. The point being, get your brain thinking VISUALLY.

Also take photos. Everywhere. Of anything.

Creating Creative Content, Step #3—Get A Shitty Thesaurus.



Get both of these books, but especially the left one. It is a very imprecise thesaurus, horrible for a novelist, but perfect for an ad creative. It gives hundreds of words and phrases that don't mean anything within ICBM range of the original word. But that's good for the imprecise "art" of ad (sorry, Content) making.

Keep a running tally of your image/word/phrase finds. You might find the spark of a great idea hanging out in that big mess of catfish you collect.

Creating Creative Content, Step #4—Start Making Swipe Folders Of Categorized Images.



Categorized by benefit, color, setting, whatever, you're a creative. Speed. Reliability. Toughness. "High Tech". Price. Grow A Bigger Dick, etc. And not just digital folders, actual physical folders with ads, magazine images, photos, etc. If you have access to back issues of Communication Arts or Archive, Spend days/weeks/months going through them and making copies of all the cool images you find. (If they're not your magazines, don't tear out images, you selfish douchebag.) Expensive art magazines are also good image sources. It's called borrowed interest. Or, stealing, if you prefer. Picasso advocated it, so get off your fucking high horse (then, take a photo of his big dick though, for your files). Just because you're soulless, doesn't mean you get to be incurious.

Creating Creative Content, Step #5—You Need Deadline Pressure.

(for the clueless, this "concept" image is posted as an ironic joke)

The best concepts come to the trained pro when he/she is under pressure. Sorry, that's just the way the mind works. Oh sure: you can create some decent, pretty Content a week out from your presentation date. But rarely is it GREAT Content. This is what makes the job hard, when it is hard. Because there will be times when the pressure wins, and you don't come up with jack shit. Fail too much, and it's time to become an account person, or a PR writer, or Native ad post writer, or listicle ad post maker.

That's all I got. I'd say Godspeed, but you're soulless.

Bill gets the last word:


Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's Write Some New Taglines For Red Bull!


As you've heard, Red Bull agreed to a $13 million settlement over an American class action lawsuit that alleged that the energy drink was “misleading customers” by making claims about the “functional beverage” and its ability to “give you wings”.  

So. Red Bull Gives You Wings is as dead as the fucking dodo.

Let's write some new taglines for the impossibly popular energy drink.

1.

Technically, still "wings" but it could confuse the courts for awhile. Company could maybe use it as a temporary placeholder until Ad Agency comes up with something original.

2.

If you're going to use the animals on your packaging, then why not use their famous virility in your ads? This slogan would require a slight modification to be made to their "energy" formula, maybe just add a bucket of Horny Goat Weed into each fresh vat. While thinnish, bull penises are normally about three feet long. I would also recommend adjusting the can artwork to display the dangling penises.

3.

Popularized by Wayne's World to mean "boner", Schwing could be a more attractive alternative, both linguistically and legally, to "Bull Dick". It would still require adding another bogus ingredient to the formula back at the plant.

4.

That's the formula for kinetic energy, or energy in motion. OK, it doesn't roll off the tongue, but it's educational! When's the last time a tagline taught you anything? That's right, never.

5.

Recalling a concept put forth in the 1990 advertising movie Crazy People (where Dudley Moore's character got ad headlines from his fellow mental patients), maybe honesty is the way to go to regain the public's trust in your specious product, post-settlement. Worth a shot. If I was CEO Dietrich Mateschitz (and had his $5 billion in the bank), this would be my "disruptive" move.

6.

Who knows? Might double sales.

7.

When the world knows you're weak, legally, it's time to bust out what we call in the industry the "wiggle" words: "nearly", "in its category", etc. Right, Carlsberg?

8.

9.

Maybe create an "interactive" tagline, let the people finish it in their minds.
That's some ace consumer "engagement", right marketing MBAs?

10.

(This is an inside joke for my former creative director.)

11.

Again, the best creatives steal. So why not steal from this SNL sketch (from back when SNL was funny), "Shimmer Floor Wax"? Just need to add a harmless manly fragrance to the formula. BOOM—could double sales overnight.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Disingenuousness of Cable Company Taglines, Ranked.

(TWC's previous trademarked slogan was so meaningless, it induced head pain. It's almost as if they were shifting the responsibility for their dreadful service onto "you". Their reps should have ended every angry, shouting unresolved customer call with "That's the power of you!")
__________

Cable. The future doesn't look good for it. It is Ugly Rob Lowe. That's why America's top two cable companies want to merge and form BigMotherFuckingKissOurGoddamnAssCable, to hang onto their crumbling monopolies for a few more precious years.

But we're not here to get into that discussion. We're here for a class on taglines, slogans, or straplines, as the Brits call them. They are the advertising tie-off. When they're good, they leave you with a nice, if uneasy, feeling (Don't Leave Home Without, Just Do It, We're Number 2, We Try Harder, etc.).

None of these are good.

4. FiOS

A NETWORK AHEAD (no ™ or ®, so they're not married to it). 

The youngest (2005) of America's cable behemoths is 5th in the country, based on number of customers. Verizon only offers its fiber-optic network in about a third of the 50 states, mostly coastal ones.

This is, easily, the least disingenuousness of the cable slogans simply because it says nothing. They mean "ahead" of TWC and Comcast, of course, and also "ahead" as in "in the future". No unfulfilled customer benefits can be pulled from those three words. Sly but impersonal.

3. Cox Communications

your friend in the digital age®.

Cox, #3 in the US, is based in Georgia. They have over 6 million customers and over $9 billion in revenue annually. They are a private family business started and still run by a bunch of Cox's.

Cox has a mascot. His name is "Digi" (that's him, above). He is one of many "Digeez" (see this commercial). He is your "friend". Their previous mascot, who was also your friend, was "Digital Max" (2005-2008, RIP) who looked like Honda's Mr. Opportunity on steroids.

Cox's Facebook page has over 1 million "Likes" which they probably equate to "friends". In their tagline, "your friend" is bolded for emphasis so that when you read it you should say the first two words louder than the following four words.

Their headquarters is located at 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, near Atlanta. Next time you're in the area, stop in (tip: say your last name is Cox) and march right upstairs and say hi to one of the Cox's. I'm sure you'll be met as a long lost family friend.



ENJOY BETTER (also not ™ed or ®ed).

TWC uses this phrase to promote everything they offer, i.e.: Enjoy Sports Better, Enjoy Movies Better, Enjoy HBO Better, etc. But a tagline must stand on its own, and this one does not stand very true. It is such an American phrase, it could be our country's tagline. It doesn't say you will enjoy better, no, although TWC execs will tell you that's what it's supposed to mean. Bullshit. You should never have to tell me what your fucking tagline means, that's up to me. And to me, this is just a command, an order, ENJOY BETTER, asshole. (I am a TWC customer.)

1. xfinity (Comcast)

the future of awesome™

Number 1 with a bullet is xfiinity, what Comcast calls its cable service. It is outright guffaw-able in both its stupidity and disingenuousness. It reads like something Bill or Ted would say in one of their Excellent Adventures. It needs a "dude" added to it, plus a high-five or fistbumpexplosion. It is so over-the-top positive, it feels like a parody.

While we're here, how bout that word xfinity? Comcast (probably) paid a consulting firm high 6 figures to come up with that word. What does it mean? What it means to me is: X= an unknown, porn, or death (x-ed out eyes). So it means infinite unknown/porn/death. Let's go with Infinite Death.
__________

ADDENDUM: What will the tagline of ComcastxfinityTimeWarnerCable be?
I think they should go with: ENJOY AWESOME BETTER®.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Justin Bieber's Tattoos, Branded.

(the canvas)

As we all know, The Bieb's ever-growing tats collection is a road map of his spiritual journal from boy to man to king to god. And thousands of despicable websites have made lots of money off of obsessively documenting JB's ink for the hungry-for-Bieber-news masses.

That's fucking bullshit. Justin? It's time for you to turn your sweet ink into cash for your own brand by allowing brands to use your tattoos to sell shit.  Your loyal Belieber Army would march to stores, both manually and digitally, to empty shelves, both manual and digital. It would be one of the only instances in advertising history where ads could be guaranteed to work. The skrilla you would rake in, Bizzle.

Here are some possibilities, free of charge.
(click images to enlarge)

1. Owl

The owl is perched on a key. The key image was used during Bieber's Believe tour. Symbolism. Owls are symbols of wisdom. (Remember this classic Tootsie Pop commercial?) His owl looks very similar to the Wise brand owl. Done, and done. Wise would be kicking Frito-Lay's ass within months of launching the campaign.

2. Believe

Make. Believe (no second period) has been Sony's tagline since 2009. It's confusing, and it sure ain't as good as their previous one "Like No Other" or even the goofy "No Baloney". And the company currently is in deep shit. But Bieber, and his "Believe" ink—despite the awful typeface—would instantly send Sony's sales across all platforms God-ward. No doubt. BELIEVE.

3. Forgive

Inked by JB's favorite tattoo artist, "Bang-Bang". Bieber reportedly texted Bang-Bang: "Forgiveness is powerful, forgive as Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins." Forgiveness is powerful, and nothing says "forgiveness" better than a pre-written card by Hallmark. A hallmark Hallmark sales year would ensue as weeping Beliebers flooded America's dying malls and scared the shit out of all the nice helpful old ladies in the Hallmark stores.

4. Tiger

There are only about 3,000 wild tigers left on earth—they're as good as dead. Way to go, human consciousness. Unless. Could Beliebers save the tiger? I wouldn't bet against them.

5. Compass

Internet Explorer would finally be killed dead, as would Firefox, Chrome, etc. Try to imagine how much money that would be worth to Apple.

6. Chief

What to do with Bieb's "racist" (not my word, the nanny internet's) chief tat. Give the kid a break, it's the mascot of the Stratford Cullitons (formerly, Warriors), a junior hockey team in Ontario. Bieber's dad took him to their games. Anyone who likes hockey is A1 in my people book.
Anyway, attach JB to the movement to get the Washington Redskins to change their racist name/mascot, and it would happen overnight.

7. YESHUA (Jesus)

Bieber, who is not Jewish, nevertheless recites the prayer Shema Yisrael before every performance (according to his manager). This tattoo resides on his ribcage. Tribe has gotten some bad PR recently about their new ad campaign here in NYC, and they are getting trounced by rival hummus Sabra in the US market. Using JB's tattoo (and endorsement), they should change their tagline from "You're Either A Member Or You're Not" (too snooty) to: YESHUA, THAT'S GOOD HUMMUS!


8. Psalm

Using a bible verse in advertising is wrong, I guess. But! what would Jesus do...about the energy crisis facing God's green earth? I think he would sign off on this ad, and ask his Father for forgiveness.

9. Mom's Eye

Bieber says he got a tattoo of his mom's eye to represent that she is always watching over him. That's nice. CBS, like all the major TV networks, could use a boost in the battle with HBO, Showtime, and Netflix. Design note: for 60+ years, the eye came after CBS in their logo. It was only recently changed, for some stupid reason.


10. Selena Gomez

Getting a (tacky) tattoo of your on-again off-again sweetie pie is nice and all, but how about helping a girl sell some clothes? That's chivalry, little man.


11. Jesus

JB's calf tattoo is based on Rubens' Ecce Homo painting. He is pro-life and has said that abortion = killing babies. Roe v. Wade would be in serious trouble in Bieber got actively involved. Note: You wanna get your eyes assaulted, Google "Pro-Life Logo".

12. Crown

Bieber's upper chest crown ink is supposedly a tribute to Michael Jackson, who of course was a big endorser of Pepsi, setting his hair on fire for the brand. Royal Crown used to be a legitimate 3rd player in the cola war. No more. They're now owned by Snapple who is own by Schweppes, and consumers have mostly forgotten they exist. JB could change all that with his tat. The Beliebers would force wider distribution, BOOM, saving the brand. I think MJ would approve.


13. Knight

I don't really get this Knight/Castle part of your arm sleeve Biebs, but whatevs. The HBO show, I would guess, ain't that popular with your loyal clan, but one noble nod from you and that would change instantly.

14. Rose

Supposedly related to the fact that he gave Gomez a rose for her 21st birthday. Meh. You're probably not gonna get your own big shoe deal Bieber. Better to help a playa like Derrick Rose out and get a piece of that rich pie. Rose not only has an Adidas deal but his own fucking logo. In fact, you should just get your tattoo altered to make it official and authentic.


15. Seagull

Lastly, there's Bieber first tattoo which he got on his 16th birthday, a seagull-ish thing on his lower abdomen, supposedly a reference to Bach's novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull (His dad and uncle have the same tattoo). Well, even an endorsement from you JB ain't gonna get kids to read that tedious allegory. So, Hollister it is. Not that the $1.5 billion brand needs any help.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Bullshittiest Buzzwordiest Advertising Week Tweets.


It was "Advertising Week" in New York City, this week.

What does that mean?

Nothing.

Not one fucking thing worth mentioning to anybody, anywhere on the entire fucking planet.

For four days every Fall, "luminaries" (their word) come to New York City for Advertising Week to talk about "creativity", and "storytelling", and "content." The word "content" was said cluelessly 100 trillion times in the last four days. Because the one thing almost every one of these luminaries has in common is that they have never made ad content. Not once. Never even had to face the challenge. In fact, the scenario of having to face a blank page or screen, over/underwritten brief in hand, would make most of them stop breathing/shit their fucking pants.

And yet: They all know what makes good content. They sit on director's chairs on daises for hours talking about it until their mouths run out of fucking saliva.

Get your nose clothespins, bullshit ahoy.

(CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE)


Let's start with the C-word. These are just three of the 100 trillion aforementioned mentions.
Which one is the most meaningless? If one of these was the last thing you heard before you died, which one would help things along the best?


WAIT! I forgot one C-word mention.
Yep. Even Kevin Fucking Spacey broke it out.
Spacey's ad expertise includes saying the word "hurty" in a UK Olympus commercial.


Sticking with celebrity ad experts, Jared Leto, former graphic designer for about five minutes, gives us his five cents. His non-stage NYC outfit was spotted by Jezebel.


"Culture" was the another big C-word all week.
Top—only if they have signed permission slips.
Bottom—That new "Marketing Mandate" replaces the old one: Get Out Of My Dreams And Into My Car.


What's the arrow pointing to? Hell.


Water Cooler Moments, also where brands drown.


"Fans" aka "consumers" aka "humans" were mentioned a lot.
Fan Rituals. Say it five times in a row, and it actually gains some meaning.


CHANGE WILL NEVER BE THIS SLOW AGAIN, says the penis graph.
Thank you, Hyper Island, who "enables companies and individuals to develop, grow and rise to the challenges of tomorrow's transformative technology," according to their boring-ass website.



Speaking of "Change", Microsoft is selling it.
"DATA IS YOUR FRIEND," class. Now put your heads down and take a nap.



The Goog was all up in the Week's ass, of course.
The Sims live online. And some tech-savvy homeless people, I guess.
R—I bet that panel was fucking side-splitting.



Oh they're fast friends, alright.
They've been secretly banging the snot out of each other for years.


Millennials got their dicks and pussies licked a lot.


You forgot "Masturbation".


GOD, just STFU Wonder Man.


CORRECTION: Crumpled wrist bands on FAKE Grecian art sums it up.

What a stupid fucking logo.

—All images via AdAge.