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Archives: September 2009

Starbucks Via Ad Causing Conservative Divide?

Starbucks’ Via ad launch during SNL last weekend probably did enough to overshadow Megan Fox‘s talent showcase. But the brew brand also touched on touchy political issues with this spot that mocks the irate town hall attendees we’ve been unable to ignore in recent times. A tipster tells us that the 15-second teaser is “making waves on conservative blogs” where some find it funny and others are offended.

While the ad is fairly benign as some will agree, it’s provoked commentary on blogs like Mediaite such as this one:

“This commercial doesn’t really bother me, and I’m one of these tea party, right wing nut jobs types according to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. However, since I like to patronize companies who have similar views as my own…I may have to find another place to purchase my triple latte each morning. Anyone know of a good coffee company which isn’t uber-communist?”

Can’t say da, can’t say nyet my friend, but it looks like at least some of your conservative colleagues aren’t buying the “outrageous outrage.”

More: “Does Starbucks Menu Makeover Entice You?

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End of Saturn? Penske Automotive Calls off Buy Talks

MarketWatch reports that Penske Automotive, which has been in talks with GM to purchase the Saturn brand, has ended the conversation:

In a statement, Penske said it became concerned about ‘the future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM’ during the due diligence process. ‘The company had negotiated a definitive agreement with GM to source vehicles on a contract-manufactured basis for a period of time,’ Penske said. ‘After this period, the company would have been required to source vehicles from another third party under a similar contract-manufacturing agreement.’

No word on whether any other companies are in line to consider the Saturn brand.

Update: In a statement, GM announced its intentions to “wind down” the Saturn brand.

“As a result of PAG’s decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network, in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM. Pursuant to the terms of those agreements, the wind down process will be determined and communicated shortly.” &#151 Jalopnik

The New GM Ad: Poop

Wednesday Odds and Ends

-San Fran firm Double Twist turns the tables on Steve Jobs with its own Orwellian parody. link

-The commercial for a Korean ramen brand has highly addictive music, or so someone says. link

-Kraft’s crowdsourcing effort backfires. link

-Tom Blackett was appointed UK chairman of Siegel+Gale. link

-Yep, this guy won “Hottest Guy on Twitter.” link

-Carolyn “CC” Concepcion and Omar Kardoudi joined New York-based agency Wing as business development supervisor and senior copywriter, respectively. link

-Nicole Romanik joined online video firm BBE as VP of Business Development. link

-Amy Winehouse‘s awful rapping goes “viral,” adds to already stellar career. link

-ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce signed an Affirmation Agreement supporting the ICANN model of governance of the global Internet addressing system. link

-Coca-Cola will revamp labels on its product packaging by the end of 2011. link

More: “Tuesday Odds and Ends

AgencySpy’s Secret to Social Media


I got an email earlier asking me if I agreed with some cockamamie social media strategy. Part of it went like this:

“…our belief is that there is no problem combining brand messages with our personal spaces, as long as sensitivity and care are used.”

My response grew into an idea that I talk about from time to time. Do you agree or disagree? Answer below:

Sort of &#151 success in social media is hard to define and even harder to attain. That’s because the brands that do it best express a certain air of humanity. For example, @aplusk. With the AgencySpy brand on Twitter, it’s basically just me. I don’t try to be likable &#151 I just say whatever I would normally say and deal with the consequences later. Not every brand can do that, but in an age where bad press is the only legitimate kind, it makes sense to stumble and fall.

Think of it this way &#151 most of the world’s greatest, most helpful inventions (electricity, penicillin, rubber) were created by accident. Indeed, some people believe the world itself was created by accident. So, although a brand may try to strategize and fit their message into the preformed media channels that have pervaded/bombarded consumers with commercial messaging over the last 50 years, they can’t plan when it comes to social media.

That’s due to a number of things &#151 the most important of which is human nature. We can tell when someone is being disingenuous. Another factor &#151 social media requires an almost never ending stream of thought, which is most effective when one person is behind it. If a camel is a horse designed by committee, a bad social media strategy is one that uses the boots-on-the-ground-input/voice of more than one person. Sure, creating the strategy can be done by more than one person, but to get that real human feeling, you need one consistent voice, everyday. Read: don’t be safe, be human.

At least &#151 that’s how we’ve grown our social media following. We don’t do gimmicks, we just inform and entertain and act like ourselves. That’s the secret.

I’m not a strategist. My job is to inform you, and with Twitter I broaden that to inform/entertain because no one wants to read advertising news all day. But at the same time it is my job to strengthen the AgencySpy brand, to solidify in your minds that we have something that no one else does. You know better than I do what that is, because you control how we’re defined in your eyes. In that way, I am a strategist &#151 but one that’s very hands off. The only strategy is to keep chugging along, interacting, reporting, typing.

Don’t believe that it’s working? Just over a year ago we had 150 followers on Twitter. Today that’s near 9,000. Who knows how many of those are bots or accounts that never get used. Fine. But considering AdAge has 35,000 and AdWeek has 12,000 I think we’re doing OK.

Now, you might not think that’s important, and I’d agree that it probably isn’t a big deal. But what it does suggest is that in the Twitter space, we’re 1/5 as relevant as AdAge and 3/4ths as relevant as AdWeek &#151 and all I did to make that happen was share interesting links. Cost: $0.

Follow us on Twitter.

More:We Hear: Draftfcb NY Behind Bad Taglines Tweeting?

Bing Protects Users From Web Scams


Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission have begun serving ads warning against the dangers of certain scam Web sites.

Users of Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, may notice that certain keyword searches will serve up ads warning users about sites purporting to fix credit scores and help with home foreclosure issues &#151 two hot issues, says Yahoo! Tech:

“Microsoft worked with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Postal Inspection Service, and Western Union to provide public service announcements (PSAs) in the form of advertising posted on relevant Bing results pages.

“‘We believe this program can help fight back against scams by reminding consumers to exercise their street smarts online right at the time they need it most,’ said Microsoft deputy general counsel Nancy Anderson.”

The ads, which are billed as PSAs, may only show up in the US and link to either Microsoft or FTC pages containing fraud prevention tips.

Mashable via Yahoo! Tech

Curt Detweiler to EVP/ECD at McCann North America


Former Ground Zero partner/executive creative director Curt Detweiler has taken on the newly created title of EVP/ECD at McCann Erickson North America.

The marks the first appointment for new McCann NA president Robert LePlae, who like Detweiler is a TBWA\Chiat\Day alum. At Chiat, both execs worked on the Mars business in New York while Detweiler also served as creative director in LA running Nissan.

By joining McCann, Detweiler becomes a member of the network’s Global Creative Collective and will oversee creative work in San Francisco, Detroit, LA and Canada (but not New York). Detweiler will be based in the SF office which despite its troubled recent history is still considered by McCann to be the agency’s North American leadership hub.

More: “Former TBWA Prez Robert LePlae Lands at McCann

NY Post Equates Sorrell to Napoleon


Never one to shy away from over-the-top headlines, the New York Post today compares Martin Sorrell to a “puffed-up” Napoleon in regards to the WPP chief’s “legal vendetta” against digital firm Spot Runner.

With a head that reads “Sorrell Comes Up Short,” the report states that the ad man isn’t giving up on his suit against the aforementioned agency, whose two founders and other investors allegedly sold $54 million in stock without telling other shareholders and cashed out “while the firm lost money and failed to build a sustainable business.”

Despite the fact that Spot Runner’s motion to dismiss the suit was granted by a California federal judge earlier this month, WPP was given an chance to file an amended claim by October 12th. The umbrella agency is gladly obliging it seems, stating “We intend to take full advantage of this opportunity to re-plead.”

While the Post’s “puffed up” idea was amusing, the “dict-ad-or” comment could use some work.



More: “Dispelling Spot Runner’s Watercooler Remarks

Craigslist Ad of the Day: Kids Bracelet – $20


Craigslist is full of goodness. Take this ad from an Indianapolis woman who went through her son’s stuff after he went away to college. Now, being a pioneering lady she decided to sell some of the items, one of which is the “bracelet” above. Though the ad is a fake from JerksinYourArea, it’s still really funny. The copy from the ad is pasted below.

“I’m selling this funky kids friendship bracelet and some other items from our garage sale. Found it in a box in my sons room after he moved out to college. I don’t think he has used it much, at least I never sawing him wearing it. He seemed really embarassed when I asked him why he had a girl’s bracelet in there! Anyway it seems to be in decent condition althought the rope has really taken a beating! Slightly stretched out. Still has good elasticity. It is great for a young girl as a going back-to-school gift. Im not exactly sure how it goes on… It could also make a funky anklet, or a key chain… that could be a bit cumbersome though. Could be added to a charm necklace as well. You get the idea. Respond to the email

Click here to see the full sized listing.

Via HighDefinite
More:Craigslist Ad of the Day: Porn Casting Couch $5000

Diageo Still Figuring Things Out Re: Jose Cuervo


Jose Cuervo is no longer with JWT &#151 after just a year on the account and with lead creative Kash Sree out of the picture, the pieces of the puzzle got shuffled around and now the business is up for grabs. Or at least that’s what one would assume based on what we already know.

But a source hints that the work may already be headed to Crispin. We called to check things out and Diageo, Cuervo’s owner, says they’re still trying to figure out what to do with the work. There has been no word of a review, and our source suggests CP+B picked it up without one.

A Diageo representative told us earlier that the company is debating about next steps.

The brand appears to be a fickle one, spending just a year with JWT. As Cuervo faces increasingly stiff competition from lux brands like Patron, it makes sense that they’d seek an out of the box campaign like Crispin is famous for.

More:JWT and Jose Cuervo Part

Chrysler Picks Richards Group for Dodge Ram Work


After handing Global Hue its global Jeep account a couple weeks ago, Chrysler is continuing to disseminate its Q4 ad work, this time selecting indie Dallas shop Richards Group to handle the Dodge Ram brand.

As we reported back at the end of August, Chrysler is steering its projects away from BBDO, which had already suffered from Chrysler setbacks in its Detroit office and beyond.

According to Automotive News, the winning agencies for the Chrysler 300 sedan, the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, the Dodge Journey and Dodge Charger work have yet to be decided. The report also notes that agencies presenting for Q4 work last week included Publicis & Hal Riney, Fallon, Cutwater and CP+B.

More: “WPP Ticks off Ford with Grey’s Chrysler Pitch