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Sustainability

With the Door Open for Tebow Super Bowl Ad, In Come ‘The Gays’

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Wouldn’t it be awkward/hilarious if during the Super Bowl a commercial came on where two guys accidentally brush hands when grabbing for chips, and then they start voraciously making out? That’s exactly the ad Mancrunch submitted to CBS for review on January 18, reports FOXNews.

Though the ad is still in review by CBS, man-to-man dating Web site Mancrunch reps. don’t think it will ever air simply because it’s for a gay dating service. But in light of the network’s decision to permit an ad denouncing abortion (in so many words), CBS would be remiss not to at least consider this one.

CBS might be doing a bit of fibbing, too. It seems they told Mancrunch there aren’t any spots available, but the Pop Tarts people were told the opposite. We’ll spare you the Twinkie joke.

Mancrunch, ever vigilant, is semi-hopeful that a spot might open up and has asked CBS to review the ad anyway. The network agreed, but as of today has not come to a conclusion. “The ad is still under review, the process takes a little while,” a CBS rep told FOXNews. “We still have a lot of ads we have yet to review.”

Clearly, Mancrunch wants the attention this story is garnering. However, it does bring up a good question: how will CBS respond, considering they lifted a ban on so-called controversial ads in order to let in the Tebow spot. That’s something we’ll want to pay attention to.

Via Gawker

More:Smoking: So Gay (Not Really)

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Is Advertising Irrelevant?

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Gitamba Saila-Ngita asks “Is Advertising Irrelevant?” in a post on his posterous, above a quote from Tim Manners’ book, “Relevance: making stuff that matters“. We’ll be the first to admit that this quote is taken out of context, so the point of this post is not to lay it on Manners, rather discuss the proposition as a means to clarify where the business is currently sitting. Philosophy, sorta.

“…Advertising is no longer relevant and therefor no longer accountable because, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it does not help anyone solve any problems or live a happier life. It is simply an annoyance. Instead of addressing the question of how to make themselves relevant to consumers, advertisers tend to go in the opposite direction, which is to dream up new ways to disrupt our lives with their irrelevant messages.”

Anyway, communication is an ongoing process with a lot of noise and even more differentiation, to the point that it’s often difficult to discern ads from news from phone calls. But that doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day we only pay attention to the messages that a) move us or b) we have to pay attention to because it’s our job or detrimental to our lives some how.

So how does advertising fit in and in what ways, if any, is it still relevant. This is your chance to anonymously defend what you do. But pretend your name is on the answer &#151 and let’s see what you’re made of.

More: Love the comments in this story

Adobe Cuts 600; Are We to Blame?

Last week, Adobe announced that it was cutting 600 jobs, or about eight percent of its workforce. The company cited lower than expected sales of Creative Suite 4, software that has traditionally been a huge money maker.

Starting at $999 for the Web only version, CS can cost as much as $1,799 out of the box for more advanced versions (Web premium, Design premium). Add a dash of recession and it’s no surprise that Adobe reported the layoffs. And let’s not forget that upgrading from previous versions of the program can be avoided.

Adobe’s tools are more than industry standard &#151 CS is in many ways as vital to the business (today) as the computers that run it. But how many of us can say our copy of CS is legitimate? We’d venture a guess that many of you have at one point or another used a “stolen” version of the program. So, use the poll below to tell us how you got yours. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

How Did You Get Your Copy of Adobe Creative Suite?
( surveys)

More:Adobe’s ‘Agency of Record’ About 6 Mins too Long

ABC Says No To Gore’s Ad

ABC was the top-rated network last night during the presidential debate, making it the #1 network for both presidential debates and the VP debate according to our brother blog, TVNewser.

Awesome, except that one the other end, ABC may be losing some viewers due to their decision to refuse to wrong Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America during the debates. In fact, a digital campaign asking for folks to sign up in an attempt to peer-pressure the network to run the spot. As of right now, 130,069 people have signed on.

This just looks so bad for ABC. They aired a Chevron ad during the presidential debates, why not a green one?

More: Ogilvy Does Green And Grey Kinda Forgets

Hint, Hint For The New Evironmental Power Rangers

Maybe the environmental ad agency power rangers should take a hint from Good Magazine and Nigel Thomas when they begin to think about their UN-partnered eco-campaign. Forget the onus of responsibility. Please. While we all know that you guys make oodles of dollars, real Americans? They care about the cash. Hint, hint.

More: An Expert Speaks: The Greening Of Agencies

Ad Execs: The New Environmental Power Rangers

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Maurice Levy, Michael Roth, John Wren, Miles Nadal of MDC Partners; Seth Farbman of Ogilvy and representing WPP; David Jones of Euro RSCG Worldwide and representing Havas; Tom Carroll of TBWA Worldwide; Byron Lewis, UniWorld and Linda Sawyer of Deutsch walk into a bar. Marty says to Linda: “Oi. Is that my hat?” And then, Linda says…

No. That would be too awesome if I had a joke about all these guys. Instead, the Power Rangers of advertising got together to meet with UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. This meeting is to kick start a UN communications initiative to help combat climate change. The industry’s working group, which has yet to be selected, will be made of hand-picked directors from these various industries. Will it be you?
Notice also, there ain’t a digital agency chief on the list. Way to work together guys.

Anyway, Michael Lee, Executive Director of the IAA, said that: “The ultimate selling proposition might just be saving the planet. Nobody, anywhere, can surely defy the gravitational pull of responsibility?”

While this a good thing for advertising agencies to get involved with it, Lee is on crack. The gravitational pull of responsibility? Dude is just out of his mind. I hope that this effort doesn’t kick off with language touting the responsibility of all of us, because you know – that hasn’t worked for, ohhhh…. the last thirty years.

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More: Introducing The Social Media Advertising Council!!!

Ogilvy Does Green And Grey Kinda Forgets

The Environmental Defense Fund and Ogilvy New York have released a new series of broadcast and PSAs designed to urge Americans to take advantage of mass transit, carpooling and biking to combat global warming. I love the ad above, which features work from artist Joshua Allen Harris.

Remember when Grey New York went green in September 2007? They even started a website. It had a blog. It was last updated on April 9, 2008. It hasn’t even been a year and yet, Grey has let the whole thing just sputter and die. I’m sure that the office is still recycling, but this wonderful mission they were on to encourage other agencies to go green? Didn’t pan out so well. The only agency to join was one called, Ologie. At the same time, this whole “green thing” was a way in which, to improve and enhance the agency’s image. What happened to that? It’s shot to hell. That’s what happened. All hell just by slowly letting the program go. Didn’t your mama ever tell you not to start something you couldn’t finish?

More: John C Jay Is A Real Baller

Do You Really Want To Get Drenched?

<a href="PSFK just reminded me that the idea that we’ll be living in a Blade Runner-eque future where freshwater is a thing of the past is nearly present. A growing international water crisis is forcing governments to rethink how they value and use and manage water, especially because economic development hinges on water availability. By 2025 more than half the nations in the world will face freshwater stress or shortages and by 2050 as much as 75 percent of the world’s population could face freshwater scarcity. For a visual primer on the situation check out Good magazine. Some countries such as Pakistan or China are facing an imminent water crisis. Even good ol’Illinois is feeling the burden. Then there’s the droughts in Atlanta and the 50 percent chance Lake Mead (on the Arizona/Nevada border) will be dry by 2021.

Meanwhile, one bottle of bottled water takes three gallons to produce because of the length and complexity of the various “purification” processes and the evaporation loss that takes place.

And guess what? New bottled water brands keep being introduced to the marketplace. Check out the ad for a UK brand launched in 2006 (a little late the game for sure) called Drench which labels itself as a

“bottled water for the 21st century with added brand appeal for health conscious men and women aged 18-25.”


Hmm… if you’re health conscious you probably know better than to buy bottled water considering that it takes 15 million barrels of oil per year to make all of the plastic water bottles in America and 1,000 years for them to break down, CRI estimates. With college students acting up over the bottles and Nestle under attack for its Poland Spring brand one has to wonder how far a seriously fab (gawd it’s pretty good, no?) can take Drench. I’m going to guess not nearly far enough.

The Greening Of Agencies: Lessons Via MAP’s Marc Alt

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Meet <bMarc Alt who owns Marc Alt + Partners (MAP), a design, research and brand strategy agency dedicated to sustainable innovation. Marc Alt is involved in developing and speaking at a variety industry conferences on the topic of sustainability and is quoted frequently in media. Marc is also involved with several initiatives that are helping designers and companies come together to accelerate understanding of sustainable design principles, including the The Designers Accord and the AIGA Center for Sustainable Design.

1) How do you think agencies can best serve their clients who want to go green?

Well, let’s start off with the word green. Agencies and companies are beginning to reconsider the word green for a variety of reasons. The idea of “going green” is a highly charged and incredibly complex topic that often does not solely relate to environmental performance (i.e. green) and can encompass a very large set of variables.

Many traditional, large companies are finding themselves paralyzed about sending any kind of green message out into the media these days for fear of being labeled as greenwashers by a whole host of critics waiting in the wings – environmental and social NGOs, reporters, journalists and bloggers. The potential brand damage that can be caused by environmental mishaps, toxicity and health issues, hidden skeletons in the vendor, labor and supply chain closets, past wrong-doings and other nastiness coming to light is tremendous. In this day of instant, ubiquitous, socially networked information transfer, a brand disaster is literally just a blog post away and is not easily remedied via traditional PR or media efforts. The agency world (advertising, brand strategy or PR) is in the midst of coming to terms with this dynamic and these converging forces. So, as you can imagine, “going green” is not something to take lightly if you are worried about preserving intangible brand value.

To answer your question, though, the way that agencies can best serve their clients is to help them get back in touch with traditional business values. Those values I consider to be honesty, transparency and accountability…old fashioned values that should be the absolute north star of any company that is hoping to build trust with their customers as a “green” company.

2) What are the common mistakes agencies make when dealing with the greening of their clients?

The classic definition of greenwashing is highlighting some small environmental attribute or improvement that essentially hides much deeper systemic problems. That is about as clear and simple as it gets. There are endless examples and more and more by the day.

3) Can you name an agency who is currently doing great green work?

A number of large agencies are approaching this topic in a public way and I think that some of their competitors are intently sitting on the sidelines watching very carefully. Saatchi/Publicis have been very aggressive with their positioning on this, most recently by acquiring Adam Werbach’s consultancy and creating the new division, Saatchi S. Adam, who I know, has recently gone public with what he is deeming the “Birth of Blue” and a strong position on advocating for the power of making sustainability personal to the consumer, targeting a goal of creating awareness among 1 billion individuals over the next few years.

I personally feel that individual action on the part of consumers will be a huge and necessary part of the discussion, but certainly not enough. Big companies and industry “going green” in meaningful, measurable and accountable ways is truly the area where the rubber hits the road when you actually look at the numbers. Things like energy efficiency in buildings, reducing packaging and waste, investing in renewable energy, treating employees well, shifting to sustainable sourcing, protecting ecosystems and practicing good global citizenship…things that are mostly behind the scenes and invisible to the consumer. Consumers can definitely “vote with their dollars” by supporting companies that are making strides in the right direction, but those companies need to be truly making a deep and meaningful effort. The good news is that many are. Agencies like my own are endeavoring to tell the story of these companies.

There is also a growing communal intelligence and discussion that has spread beyond the traditional green “movement” to the larger public, which is great sign and an important trend that should guide the strategy of all agencies and companies in a big way.