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Archives: August 2012

Meet Our Newest Potential Foe, ‘Terrible Copywriter’

Do you ever find yourself reading through AgencySpy’s critques of horrible ads and thought, “Golly, I wish there was another blog that critiqued horrible ads,” then realized AdFreak kind of does that and thought more specifically, “No. I meant a blog that critiqued horrible ads that was run by copywriters”? Well, Terrible Copywriter may very well be the copywriter-run ad-critiquing blog of your dreams. And, because they’re copywriters, they know better than to begin sentences with conjunctions and end sentences with prepositions—two “correct” writing strategies of which I am evidently not beholden to.

According to its debut blog post last Thursday, Terrible Copywriter says of itself:

Terrible Copywriter is a blog by working copywriters that’s dedicated to exposing bad creative work. You know, the stuff that gives advertising a label of distrust, a negative stigma, a bad name. Think of us as curators of “how the f*ck did that ever get approved” creative. We’ll tell it straight but it’s probably what you’re already thinking. If it’s harsh, it’s for a good cause. If it’s you, then please do better next time. (We know you can do it.) By influencing a rise in creative standards, our hope is to make the world a better—more entertaining and less annoying—place to live in. You’re welcome.

OH NO THEY DIDN’T! But, in case they did, you can submit bad advertising to them for review at Or, you can send it to Whatever. If makes you happy, it can’t be that bad. (But if it makes you happy, then why the hell are you all so sad?)

Energy BBDO Vying to Become Less Destructive Version of Skynet

If you don’t know who Austin Scott is, he’s a creative who has spent the last several months as a senior art director at Chicago’s Energy BBDO and is trying his damndest to help the agency build up its digital chops. How? Well, after his “Kickcam” effort from a few weeks ago, which showed off Energy folks’ shoes in an instant via Tumblr, Scott has returned with a seemingly most ambitious project, a robot named eB2DO. According to Scott, said bot is a nicer version of his “cousin Skynet” and serves as a Twitter personality for Energy BBDO’s hub.

Equipped with the same tech as Kickcam (including Arduino and Processing), eBDO rests on the 9th floor of Energy’s office tweeting away. Scott explains further, saying, “Every morning at 8am he takes the temperature in the office and depending on how hot or cold tweets so you know if you should bring a jacket. He’s got a button on his head that say’s ‘Press in case of free food’ so everyone knows when to swarm the kitchen.” Don’t worry, bevvie distribution is in tow as well. Scott continues, “There’s also a special beer cart button for when the cart starts making the rounds. A light sensor takes a reading every night to tell if the building lights are still on and if people are working. So far theirs always been people working late. It has a bunch of other sensors as well and we plan to keep expanding his capabilities.”

While we take bets on when eB2DO actually becomes self-aware, you can check out the robot’s Twitter page here.

A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern: Recapping a Two-Month Stint on Hilton Head Island

Summer may be winding down, but our intern contributions surely haven’t (though we imagine we’ll be slightly tweaking the headline in the next couple of weeks). Here’s this week’s installment from Joe Hickey, a senior at the University of South Carolina who just wrapped up a two-month internship at Bluffton, SC-based firm BFG Communications (which, of course, is not to be confused with BFG9000). The rather happy-looking lad, who is on his way to earning a degree in Visual Communications with a minor in Sports Management, shares what he’s learned from his experience at BFG.The floor’s yours, young man.

At the beginning of this summer I began my internship at the headquarters of BFG Communications in Hilton Head Island with no earthly idea of what to expect from the experience. The two months that followed showed me a small sample of advertising, marketing and communications, and also taught me a few very important lessons as I begin my journey into the business world.

The culture of BFG Communications is accentuated by the passion that drives everyone who works there. From the minute you walk in the door, the converted warehouse that holds both offices reminds you more of an indoor skate park than an office building, and the creativity of the people who call BFG home is displayed over every inch of the office. The creativity that flows through the office allowed me to enjoy my internship far more than those elsewhere whose internships were filled with long hours as gopher, getting coffee and pushing papers.

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Agency DW+H Hires Agency Victors and Spoils for Agency Re-Branding

Perhaps most recognized for their work on re-branding eHarmony and, Santa Monica-based agency DonatWald and Haque (DW+H) has reached a crossroads. You see, the agency re-branded itself early last year when partner Amir Haque added his name to the door, something he now apparently regrets. In a blog post on DW+H’s site, Haque writes:

Our company exists to accelerate business’ role as the most powerful force for positive change.  The problem is that our old-school advertising agency name simply does nothing to help us communicate that.  So earlier this year, Lucas and I decided to rename our company, taking our names off the door in favor of a new name that communicates the essence of what we do. So what’s the new name? Don’t know yet. But today is a big day.

Who does an ad agency turn to in order to re-brand itself? Apparently, it turns to those crowd-sourcing extraordinaires at Victors and Spoils, which is unleashing its legions of freelancing creatives on DW+H’s brief. As Haque notes, this is probably one of the first times an agency has ever hired another agency to do the job the formerly mentioned agency is generally responsible for. Of course, this isn’t sitting well with some. In fact, an anonymous tipster who claims to be a formal employee of DW+H has this to says of the agency’s second re-branding in as many years, “They spent tons of cash last year on new biz cards, t-shirts, painting the place–all this re-branding crap only to pay someone else to do the job not even a full year later! Who would hire an agency that can’t even brand itself?”

What say you, dear readers? Is this an innovative move within a constantly evolving industry, or, as the tipster says, is DW+H wasting its money? Before you answer, note that Haque does add in his post that, “It puts our agency philosophy and approach in front of 6,000 of our industry colleagues, and provides a platform for our own company to participate as well.”

Update: V&S chief John Winsor has updated his blog to discuss the DW+H proposition.

Virgin Mobile Phones Make People Happily Careless

Last we heard from Virgin Mobile, the brand and its agency Mother New York were regaling us with Richard Branson‘s rather whimsical life story. Now, the two parties have returned to actual product promotion by touting Virgin Mobile’s $35/month phones, which as you can see above, cause people to purposely ditch their current mobile devices in a variety of ways. In this world, the price point and lack of contract lock-ins at Virgin Mobile are deemed worthy enough to engage in a variety of “happy accidents,” whether it’s tossing your phone off a roof or into a blender. Credits after the jump.

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Robertson Leaving AKQA SF (Updated)

It’s been a busy week on the staffing front at AKQA’s Bay Area branch. After losing top creative Pierre Lipton to M&C Saatchi New York (but quickly finding his successors), the WPP agency’s San Francisco office is losing its head of strategy Kelli Robertson, sources familiar with matter confirm. AKQA wouldn’t provide comment, but Robertson nearly spent nearly six years at the shop, first as group planning director before eventually moving up to her most recent position. From what we hear, though, AKQA is in the process of rebuilding its SF strategy department.

In addition to Robertson’s imminent departure, but unrelated to it, we’ve received word that AKQA U.S. head of production Scott Wassmer, who’s also based in San Francisco and has logged nearly six years at the agency, is soon leaving for a gig on the East Coast. Once again, AKQA wouldn’t comment on the matter.

Update: Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Robertson isn’t moving very far as she’s joining Goodby Silverstein & Partners “in a couple of weeks.” Still waiting on a title, though.

Monday Morning Stir


-WPP-owned marketing tech firm 24/7 Media promoted Nicolle Pangis to the global role of president, Real Media Group. In addition, 24/7 has welcomed Irene Bondar as EVP, global client operations and former McCann Worldgroup/Ogilvy chief financial officer Gary Lee as CFO. link

-Speaking of WPP, Mark LaNeve, newly installed COO at the holding company’s Team Ford unit, is being tasked with helping “revitalize” the Lincoln brand as his first order of business. link

-And now, here’s your complete content program for Spikes Asia 2012. link

-In case you missed it, here’s a quick visual recap of last week’s “Roofies” party brought to you by The Barbarian Group. link

-Y&R Chicago has unveiled more work. This time, it’s an animated effort which was created in collaboration with production company, Nexus (above).

-So, what does Apple’s $1 billion victory over Samsung mean for your smartphone? link

The Best Ad-Related Videos of the Week

Good golly, only two weekends left. Soon, your clients will become responsible again and you’ll have to meet deadlines with their input (instead of without, which is worse anyway). So get your raving shoes on and get out into the world. Party. Dance. Sun. Sext. Whatever it takes to have enough fun to get you through the next 9 months, do it. Do it. Be the person the cowboy paid homage to when he said it’s good to know the Dude is out there, takin’ ‘er easy fer the rest uv us sinners. Or whatever it was.

4. In the course of life, there are things you will remember forever. ‘Game of Thrones opening sung by cat’ is easily one of them. See if you can get it out of your head. It may be catchier than ‘Legitimate Rape Song’ which is actually very catchy.

3.Who needs speeders when you have an actual hover bike? The only question that remains is why a person would use one of these when it is basically a hovercraft that doesn’t float on the water. It’s less useful, if not cooler.

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AKQA Finds Lipton Replacements

Once again, we have to give bravos for an agency being proactive. A day after learning that Pierre Lipton announced his departure from said agency, here’s the word from said agency: “AKQA announces that Neil Robinson and Stephen Clements, both respected creative leaders at the agency and in the industry, are taking the roles of joint Executive Creative Directors in San Francisco. Together, they will oversee the more than 100-person creative department at AKQA’s San Francisco office. Both Neil and Stephen will report directly to CCO, Rei Inamoto. ”

Inamoto adds, “Neil and Stephen bring years of leadership in creating some of the most inspiring and impactful work that has earned global recognition.”

Velveeta Reminds You to Eat Like that Guy at the Mall

While most general culture publications are using this week to run back-to-school features, The A.V. Club has been running a series about a much more influential part of the American experience–the mall. Reading it, it’s hard to not think about how my perspective of the local mall has changed over time. In middle school, I looked at the mall almost as an amusement park, a mini-EPCOT Center with different worlds mostly hidden behind showy storefronts. In high school, the mall became a place to kill time between minimum wage jobs, hoping to bump into your crush in the food-court during your 20-minute lunch break. In college, the mall became a place to avoid, a symbol of inflated consumerism and a reminder of how naive your worldview was in high school.

Now, I see the mall as an intimidatingly bizarre monolith, a place I feel horribly uncomfortable in whenever I’m forced to enter one for a quick errand. It’s hard to believe that a place where I spent an inordinate amount of time at 16 now seems so foreign. But, there are those people, who we’ll call “mall people,” that never change despite how much your perspective might. In fact, if I were to identify the polar opposite of myself among mall denizens, it would be the dude who works the remote-control helicopter kiosk. No one, not even the manager of the Gap, is more in his element than that guy. He’s the guy who gets free pretzels from Auntie Anne’s, dates that hot new girl who works at American Eagle, and the guy you hope will invite you to eat lunch at the cool table one day.

Well, W+K Portland is honoring that guy in a new TV campaign for Velveeta, “Eat Like That Guy You Know.” The guy in question here, who Bud Light would name “Mr. RC Helicopter Kiosk Employee,” has in my eyes gone from awesome to lame to actually kind of cool again as I grow up. Hey, he may not be pulling in six-figures, but he has the swagger of someone who pulls in seven.

On Kraft’s Velveeta website, visitors are encouraged to eat like many different archetypes they’re familiar with. Again, it has a “Real Men of Genius” vibe to it, but in classic Velveeta fashion, it’s just a little cheesier. Credits after the jump.

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