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Archives: June 2008

To Catch a Predator: No More

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It appears that NBC’s “Dateline: To Catch a Predator” series will not tape any new shows after settling a lawsuit filed by the brother of the Texas county prosecutor that killed himself after being exposed by the show. The show reported explicit communication between the prosecutor and one of the show’s investigative team members posing as a minor to the local authorities who then headed to his home to arrest him. Before the arrest could be made, he shot himself. The $150 million lawsuit settlement appears to be the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

For the like three or four of you that haven’t seen it- The show often showed activist group, Perverted Justice, engaging in communication with men believing they were contacting underage boys and girls for sexual encounters and then luring them to a house where the cameras would “catch” them in the act and local authorities would be waiting to arrest them. It was a wildly popular show. But it turns out that many of the charges in the arrests made were ultimately dropped.

NBC says it stands by the investigations, but thinks the series has become to highly charged to continue. Seems like the show was difficult to sustain even without its legal troubles. Towards the end of production for the show, the NY Times talked about how advertisers were distancing themselves from the show anyway. No one wanted to be associated with a show about pedophiles. And it’s said that NBC “spent tens of thousands of dollars on each sting, installing hidden cameras and microphones. It has also paid Perverted Justice a consulting fee of roughly $70,000 for each episode.”

So while the show was good for viewership it was bad for business. I guess NBC won’t be going down that road again.

Critical Mess Continues

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Matt posted about a tip that AS got that Critical Mass canned 13 people earlier in the week. Well, AS got another whisper that the reason for the mass firing was “loss in billings”. Care to elaborate tipster?

Said tipster also hinted that rumor is swirling that the Chicago office is closing.

Sheesh, one after the next. Domino effect…

Alcoholic Energy Drink (Oxymoron?)

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According to Bizjournal, Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. agreed to stop selling its caffeinated alcoholic drinks after an investigation from attorney generals of 11 states showed they were marketing the products to underage people illegally.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, says Anheuser-Busch was making “false or misleading statements about the health and energizing effects of Tilt and Bud Extra.”

Cuomo also said, “Drinking is not a sport, a race, or an endurance test. Adding alcohol to energy drinks sends exactly the wrong message about responsible drinking, most especially to young people.” This guy seems like a blast to drink with. Drinking is exactly all of those things. I mean at least for anyone drinking Tilt and Bud Extra. C’mon, the same people drinking this stuff are also still playing beer pong.

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Copywriters Needed?

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I had an interesting email exchange with an AS reader from an agency in Richmond about unemployment and how the VA ad agencies are doing. Said reader had this insightful tidbit to say regarding the state of the industry as it relates to smaller shops and how the market is booming for copywriters:

“Larger agencies will start going after accounts they used to consider not worth their time, in the $3-7million range. Could put many small and mid-sized agencies out of business, coast-to-coast.

There’s an incredible amount of freelance work out there for copywriters. Most people can’t write worth shit, even something as simple as a business letter. My former Creative Director (copywriter) left to freelance about 5 years ago. He’s been pulling in six figures ever since.”

I think it’s a really fair assestment of the types of clients larger agencies will try and pull. Agencies are becoming less demanding in terms of which accounts they deem worthy. Gotta go where the money is, right? I find it interested to hear that about copywriters, though. I have noticed agencies posting more availability for those positions. But I hadn’t heard that pay was commensurate with the demand.

Renetta McCann’s New Home

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When Renetta McCann left her position as CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group, to take a sabbatical there was speculation as to why. Some thought she was leaving to campaign for Barack Obama (she publicly denied those claims).

Now the speculation is over. AdAge has reported that McCann will join Managing Partners David Kenny, former CEO of Digitas and Jack Klues, chairman of Starcom MediaVest in their new venture.

That new venture and the reason for this family reunion is VivaKi (yeah, I know). This is Publicis Groupe’s new effort to master the digital-media world. As per Adage, “VivaKi will aim to combine the market muscle and resources of Starcom, MediaVest, Zenith Optimedia and Digitas, to create a more powerful media negotiator and fund new marketing technologies.” McCann will be in charge of talent development for Vivaki; and Curt Hecht, the chief digital officer of Starcom MediaVest and GM Planworks, will head the VivaKi Nerve Center.

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Big Spaceship Screwed at Cannes?

You may have heard by now, via Tribble, AdAge or the grapevine, BBDO won a few things over in Cannes. One of those awards, says Big Spaceship CEO Mike Lebowitz, should have gone to his agency.

BS put together a little Web site for HBO Voyeur that’s setting a standard in the digital approach. But since BS was commissioned by BBDO (which has laid claim to the “idea”), the Cannes judges didn’t recognize BS’s efforts.

Not the first time this kind of thing has happened, so why the hubbub? Lebowitz is calling for a change to the antiquated system.

“This isn’t about digital agencies getting credit,” and “it’s not just about BBDO and Big Spaceship,” said Mr. Lebowitz. “It’s a larger problem, and it’s about shifting the tenor of the industry overall.”

He had a few choice words about BBDO’s participation in the debaucle, noting that they’re not “completely innocent in this…I tremendously admire what BBDO did … they shot an incredible piece of film. But to qualify us as a production company is to sell short the tremendous amount of insight it takes to take a traditional piece of media and put it out into the world in a natively digital way. Certainly, a lot of people came up to me and said ‘sorry’ when I was in Cannes.”

We’re sorry, too. And with no further adieu, here’s our contribution to fixing the issue.

Should Cannes Get…Canned?
( surveys)

Check out Parker’s take on a similar Cannes screw up.

Luxury Copywriters, it’s No Wukkas Time

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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” comes to mind as I post the following copywriting gig. Buyers beware, this is not an agency job. Maybe I should only open this one to Grey folks then, or maybe DraftFCB. Alternate headline: Hey Grey! Luxury Copywriters, it’s No Wukkas Time.

For what it’s worth, Bergdorf Goodman’s in-house shop is hiring a writer:

&#151 5 or more years of copywriting work experience

&#151 Editing and proofreading experience are important

&#151 Excellent organizational and communication skills are a must

&#151 Must be detail-oriented and able to handle a high volume of writing under tight deadlines

&#151 Strong follow up and research skills and the ability to work independently to get projects completed

&#151 Must understand the competitive landscape and stay updated on fashion/beauty/accessory trends

&#151 Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Communications, Advertising, Marketing, Direct Response or Promotion (or comparable work experience) from an accredited college

&#151 Working knowledge of Macintosh, proficiency with Word, experience with database tools and knowledge of Internet technology

Desperate times call for reconsidering how important your pride really is. Or not. But hey, now you know it’s there.

note: Hey fake Han Solo, your…your hair is great…good luck with that.

What Do People Think of Your Brand? (repost)

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That’s the question that Marketing Consultant, Noah Brier, is asking with his new web project- Brand Tags.
It’s a sort of social experiment, if you will, that measures how a brand is viewed.

The idea behind the site is to explore how different people think of brands differently. When you visit the site, you are shown a logo and asked to type in the first thought that comes to mind when you see that logo. Those thoughts are entered into the databse for that brand and the site calculates how often the words or phrases were used. You can look at what people have entered in about certain brands. And there is even a battle mode is which brands are pitted against eachother and you pick the brand that resonates with you more.

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Check Out Their Cowboy Boots

This commercial gets me everytime. Each time I watch it, it just cracks up. I don’t really have much to say about it, because I’m too busy lmao. But I love that Mustard is eating a salad. And the blue cowboy boots are classic.

Enjoy!

Hell Hath No Fury Like An Employee Annoyed

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We hear that The VIA Group out in Portland, the agency behind those sexy new Maidenform advertisements does some things just to keep up appearances.

A tipster sent us a nice little email-

“despite our constant claim–on the site (vianow.com), in every press release, and in every pitch we do–that we have “offices in Boston and New York,” the fact is that we have NEVER, EVER had a New York office. Not ever. (We just have a phone number.) And the Boston office was mothballed last year. Chalk the tactic up to management’s native Mainer insecurity, I guess. Also, I guess that for our bullying sports-dad ECD Greg Smith (quoted in all the recent articles), the fact that VIA is his first job in advertising–no, I’m not making this up–kind of enhances his need to make the place seem bigger…even if it’s only for pretend.”

Their website doesn’t list a Boston office or contact and earlier the New York contact number was being answered by an automated service that directs you call the Portland office for immediate assistance.

I think it’s safe to say that said employee thinks these tactics being used to impress perspective clients are ridiculous. How many of you agree?

The tipster was also curious to know if other agencies do this kind of stuff. And the answering is very plainly, Yes. Some agencies have “offices” in other cities or countries that are nothing more than just a contact number often times with a consultant that lives in the area.

All is fair in love and war, and advertising. Right?

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