Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get me re-write!

I went back to the NYT fiction piece on Folgers online and saw to my excitement that the story had been corrected and updated--maybe they had gotten the credits and dates right!

Well....no. Here's the correction:

Correction: September 22, 2008
The Advertising column on Friday, about a marketing campaign by Folgers coffee, misstated the type of coffee beans used by a rival, Maxwell House. It primarily uses Arabica beans, not the less expensive Robusta.

That's their story and they're sticking to it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

History is written by the victors. And reported by the lazy.

I was more than a little surprised to read in last Thursday’s NYT ad column that Saatchi was Folgers Coffee “agency of over 50 years" and that "...Saatchi & Saatchi created the campaign, as well as the “Best part of waking up” jingle, which first aired in 1984."

No, and no.

Cunningham & Walsh was Folgers agency, in a relationship that predated the brand’s acquisition by Procter & Gamble. C&W created the “Waking Up” campaign before being acquired by N.W. Ayer, which became a part of D’Arcy which in turn was broken up and the P&G piece (including Folgers) wound up at Saatchi.

But who cares about this tedious chronology (besides those of us who were there)? Saatchi’s still here, and those other agencies aren’t. The Romans renamed all the Greek gods and claimed them as their own. Soviet-era history books deleted all mention, including birth records, of party apparatchiks who had fallen into disfavor. And today you can have a 30-year track record as a champion of financial deregulation and call yourself the Scourge of Wall Street.

As long as no one remembers and no one checks, you can, as Don Rumsfeld used to say, make your own reality.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And the winner in the non-traditional media category is...

Thanks to Daniel Maurer at Grub Street, New York Magazine's food blog, for catching this nicely opportunistic piece of copywriting.

Pata negra, as you may have guessed, is a breed of pig. Not an Alaskan variety, as far as I know.

9/11 + 7

Friday, September 05, 2008

Compared to what?

Watching McCain last night demanding regime change from the status quo when the status quo was standing right in front of him, got me thinking about comparisons.

Advertisers love comparisons, and with good reason: they work. Comparing your product to something else puts its worth in context. It's what consumers do anyway--you're just helping them along.

Less sophisticated marketers do literal and heavy-handed comparisons to branded competitors, accompanied by lawyered-up copy and disclaimers, and consumers hate them for it. Even the incredibly deft Mac/PC ads get their share of blowback from people who consider them mean-spirited. (BTW--it's amazing to me no one's done the Obama/McCain version of these spots..it would seem like a YouTube no-brainer...)

But the most sophisticated marketers, like P&G and some (largely Republican) political strategists, have grasped the deeper, more insidious truth:

It doesn't matter who or what you compare yourself to, as long as the comparison is in your favor.

Years ago, I worked on P&G's Puffs Tissues business. The client was absolutely insistent on a side-by-side demo in the advertising for their "new and improved" product, even though Puffs had no visible, demonstrable difference vs. Kleenex. We didn't even have a good comparison to the older, "unimproved" version of Puffs. Finally, the R&D folks at Procter pointed out that Puffs were, in fact, puffed up with air as their final step in manufacturing, so why not compare them to the unpuffed (that is to say, the unfinished) version? The result: a visual of a stack of Puffs towering over a sad short stack of unpuffed Puffs. And of course, it worked like a charm.

John McCain's handlers hope the same will hold true with their candidate. Comparisons with Barack Obama are not necessarily advantageous, so why not use the departing administration, which very nicely fits the "big-spending, me-first, do-nothing" requirements, as the foil? Who cares if they're Republican? They're un-Puffed!

Thanks to AD Kim "Crazy Fingers" Magher for the Photoshop work.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Location, location, location

Seen on the corner of Bowery and Spring Street yesterday:

Bet the Carerra sunglass people (the advertiser on the left--sorry for the crappy phone pic) didn't see this one coming, so to speak.

This kind of unfortunate message juxtaposition happens more often than you'd expect, in every medium. So much so that you might wonder whether some bored junior media folks are doing this for laughs after huffing a few spray cans.