Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Continuing my apparent dominance of Chivalry House in October, here’s a little story that’s vaguely related to the work we do (well, it’s about brands, and we’ve got brands in our title).

Marge Simpson, matriarch of the yellow, four-fingered clan of the same name, has posed for Playboy to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Simpsons as a show in it’s own right (it started in ’87 as sketches on the Tracey Ullman, breaking free in ’89 on it’s own).  Aside from the fact a TV show that  gets past four series is on its way to legendary status (Two Pints of Lager notswithstanding), this is an interesting arrangement for both.

The Simpsons, whilst perhaps not reaching the critical heights of its earlier series, is a huge brand that shows few signs of waning. Playboy, on the other hand, is a shadow of its former self, and as confused about its brand identity as any company has ever been.  Is it a porno? Is it a literary mag (don’t laugh, some big literary guns have written for it)? Is it a guide for gentlemen, a sort of GQ-esque establishment? I don’t think it helps that the man who embodies its supposed qualities is a parody of his younger self.  Hugh Hefner tries to maintain his image of a debonair, sophisticated man of means and taste, yet hasn’t adjusted his approach to this image to cater for his advancing years. What worked at forty doesn’t work at eighty.

The magazine itself has suffered at the hands of a wider malaise affecting the print industry. Its online brands have been undermined by the proliferation of free porn sites, and overall it is unable to shake the feeling that its really just grot for kids without the balls to buy the proper stuff.  This is a shame, as it could have been one of the great journals.  As mentioned above, big name writers (with both commercial and critical clout)  have contributed to its pages, with Stephen King on the front cover of the Simpson issue. If it hadn’t gone down the pseudo-Nuts/Zoo route, it might be a brand that makes it to the second half of the 21st century. At the moment, only the Simpsons seem poised to get beyond the next few years.


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Just seen the US Federal Trade Commission is going to be cracking down on astro-turfing. Before the all-weather pitch fans amongst you get up in arms about this threat to a hockey player’s civil liberties, they’re talking about the nefarious business promoting practice type, not the fake grass type. Without wanting to sound too sanctimonious, it’s about time too. It might be that I’ve spent the last couple of years listening to division6 and others at the agency talk about the need for transparency on t’Internet, but when people get caught astroturfing (also known as flogging and puppeteering, apparently), it seems school-boy in the extreme.

The US is slightly behind the UK and the EU on this, with our legislation coming into effect last year (although there are questions as to how effectively it can be policed). Perhaps with the threat of punishment in the offline world, we’ll now see a clean up of online practices. Definitely worth seeing how things progress.

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Ok, so you will find the links to these blogs on the blog roll on right hand side of the page but I wanted to draw your attention to Dave Trott’s writing.

Dave is creative director of CST Advertising (who work for the likes of DWP, Daihatsu, Silver SPoon, NS&I etc) and writes regularly for both the CST blog and for Brand Republic. He has a fantastic writing style – direct, engaging and interesting – and his advice is creative, thoughtful and quite often brilliant. Useful for anyone working in the marketing industry.

Hat tip to Scot for directing me to Dave’s work. If you are so inclined, Dave is also on Twitter.

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These might be a little old but still made us smile.

dunking donuts

14 others here – some funnier than others!

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Honda’s advertising winning awards is nothing new.  Everyone knows about the amazing success of adverts like  Cog and the  Choir and the live SkyDive. So it wasn’t surprising to read in Media Guardian this morning that they’ve done it again.

This time Honda’s press ads celebrating the reopening of its Swindon factory has picked up the an award for best national newspaper campaign of last month. According to judges at the ANNA’s (Awards for National Newspaper Advertising)

“The Honda work is news in the form of advertising. There is an actual story to be told here, told simply and with charm. Good news amongst the gloom – Honda Swindon is reopening for business….The reopening could have been swept under the carpet all too easily – the shutdown being seen as a real blow to the pride of the brand. But thankfully client and agency saw sense.”


More from Mark Sweney here.

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I hear with glee that series 3 of Mad Men is airing in the US this summer.  This means it should hit our shores during the autumn.  This is a very good thing.

Communications folks like me enjoy Mad Men as it takes us back to a bygone age where a hard day’s work involved rolling up around 11am, attending the odd meeting, lunching heartily and putting away more Old Fashioneds than you could shake a stick at.  And that’s not to mention the frequent and passionate discussions of the Ugandan situation with female co-workers.

Setting aside the naughtiness however, Mad Men includes some truly classic pieces of TV.  Don Draper’s presentation of the Kodak Carousel at the end of S1 is compulsory viewing for anyone who has to pitch for a living.  His wife Betty shooting ducks in her dressing gown, cigarette in mouth, during S2 is another.

Consider your cards duly marked.

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‘Mad Avenue Blues’ is a really funny (in my humble opinion) re-working of the Don Mclean classic ‘American Pie’, which you may remember was not so lovingly butchered by Madonna a few years ago.

At almost 10 minutes long, it is the same length as the original version of the song and has a multitude of silly pictures of ad execs in cheesy old school poses (think Mad Men for those who have seen it) to accompany it.

The basic gist of it is how advertising industry has been challenged by the explosion of online content. Example lyrics include: “Bye bye, those big upfront buys, pitched the client who was pliant, but the pitch didn’t fly…singing ‘tech has taken us for a ride…'”

Watch it here:

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