Inspiration from Rolls-Royce ad? Or imitation?

May 3, 2014

Quick advertising history lesson.

The ad below is widely considered one of the most famous long copy print ads of all time. At least in advertising circles it is.  Written by David Ogilvy, this was when people actually read copy and copywriters were afforded the time to write persuasive and informative copy worth reading. Maybe the ad and the copy are so great because they didn’t need it yesterday.

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David Ogilvy actually spent three weeks reading about the car, interviewing engineers, Rolls Royce owners and driving the product before writing the ad. So, how did anyone know that the copy was read??? He got countless letters for using the word “diffident” in section 13. So that’s the original from 1959.

Fast forward to June, 1982. Out came the ad below which gave the target audience the brilliant emotional benefit of Rolls Royce ownership.  I remember this appearing as a spread in the New York Times magazine. It redoubled my efforts to become a copywriter.

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Truly a wonderful variation on the original. And so is the copy.

Then this morning I see this web ad for the new BMW i3 electric car.

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I think it’s a great ad for an electric car. I bet the BMW client did too. The problem is I liked this headline the first time I saw it. Thirty two years ago.

What’s your take? Imitation? Inspiration? Or a fluke?

 

 

 

 

Five ideas I could punch myself for not thinking of (updated).

April 10, 2014

While I’ve done my share of marketing that has pushed the limit, a bunch of it sits in files and on foam core.   Let’s call it the “Keep bringing us work like that, perhaps down the road” folder. Every marketing creative since the beginning of time has one of those folders.

I did, however, win the award for the best campaign of the year that never saw the light of day from The One Club. The first Night of the Living Dead award. It was a great campaign I did with Tracy Wong, Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Wong Doody when we were at Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Ex-Lax was the client.

Thanks to Susan Morris for tracking this sample down!

Ex-Lax_72

Anyway, here are 5 of my favorites I wish I had done:

1) Apotek Swedish Pharmacy interactive billboard.

Interactive product dramatization that’s a “sticky idea.”

2) Burger King Subservient Chicken.

chicken

Talk about delivering on the overall brand promise of “Have It Your Way.”  You would type in what you wanted the chicken to do and it did it.  Things like:

Turn off the stereo

Jump on the couch

Turn the lights out

The subservient chicken was the one that started it all on the interactive side. I wish the site was still live.

3) The greatest marriage proposal ever.

Even if you’ve seen this before, it’s so wonderful it’s worth another look. This proposal makes Kanye West’s proposal seem tame even though Kanye rented out an entire ball park for 200 grand. And he bought a 15 carat ring for 1.25 mill. But I bet he wished he did this:

No one may raise the proposal bar like this again, but I sure hope someone does.

4) Dove Beauty Sketches.

Studies showed that only 4 percent of women considered themselves beautiful. Dove performed this social experiment using a forensic sketch artist. And the results certainly are beautiful.

5) Say something nice.

This will restore your faith in humanity. The famous songwriter Hal David said it in this 1965 lyric, “What the world needs now is love.”

So what’s a great idea you wish you thought of?

~Mike

 

 

 

Great play…coach!

November 29, 2013

Well hasn’t this been fun?

If you didn’t catch these great 6th man and 12th man plays, here they are for your enjoyment.

Play #1

Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd has no time outs left. But still needs a time out. Look at this from the newly-minted Coach Kidd.

Play #2

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin plays some wily D on Jacoby Jones.

No penalty, no fine. Nothing.

My take: One intentional, one semi-intentional.  As a a creative guy, I admire the out of the box thinking from Coach Kidd.  He’s not coaching Pop Warner league. He’s coaching professionally at the highest level. Yes, it’s win at all costs. The cost? That little stunt knocked him back 50 grand while similar fines usually set back a coach 25-35 grand.

And play #2 with Coach Tomlin? I was thinking I could go either way. But then I changed my mind. Mike Tomlin knows exactly where he is and what he’s doing every second of every game. That’s why he gets 5.75 million a year to coach, the eighth highest coaching salary in professional sports.

What’s your take on these two plays? Great play coach? Or “bending” the rules?

Where were you 50 years ago today?

November 22, 2013

It was my first memory and I was just 3 years old.

But I remember it like it was yesterday and I can even remember the littlest of details. Right down to what kind of comforter I was wrapped in. I was in our apartment at 1560 Warburton Avenue in Yonkers, N.Y. watching “Wonderama” with Sonny Fox.

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Then they cut into the show. I started crying. Thinking back, I can’t remember if I was crying because the president had been assassinated or because everyone else was crying. Odd thing is that I don’t remember where my parents were at the time. So it was just 3 year old me witnessing this whole thing all alone. I can even remember the floor plan of the apartment and exactly where I was. Sorry, I’m not such a great artist but this is a really close sketch for 50 years ago.

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Like I said I can remember the comforter. It had a floral pattern with a tan background and it was a rather scratchy comforter. Probably a new one. I guess I remember that because I was holding it so tightly.

Where were you 50 years ago today?

Congratulations Selfie!

November 19, 2013

According to the Oxford Dictionaries, the word of the year for 2013 is “selfie.”  And why not? Usage has gone up 17,000% since this time last year. With that, I thought I’d dispense few selfie observations mixed in with a little selfie advice.

1) “The Weiner selfie.”  This brand of selfie does not need to contain a picture of Anthony Weiner in order to fall into this category.  Ladies and gentlemen, please remember that we leave digital footprints with every keystroke we make both in public and in what you think may be private. Even if you don’t put it on the internet. When you press “send” to anyone, you send to the world.

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2) “The be aware of the of the wardrobe selfie.” Pictured below, this reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s love interest only seems to have one wardrobe. Might want to mix it up a bit. Three times on the same dress in a close date range? You can do better than that.

wardrobe best

3)   “The car selfie.” I don’t know what it is about the car selfie. Could it be that you are just dressed, fresh and ready to go? Does the rear view mirror give you the idea?  Whatever it is, the car selfie seems to be one of the most popular selfies out there. At least I see people wearing their seat belts more often than not.

car selfie 3

car selfie 1

4)    “The Bathroom selfie.”  Think you’re hot?  Think you’re really the shit? Well, you may or may not have great physical attributes, but the bathroom selfie (just the thought of it) doesn’t really help you out. With a bathroom selfie, you really are the shit. Avoid at all costs.

bathroom

5)    “The leg selfie.” I get it. You’re at the beach and I’m not. Maybe I’m just jaded on this one since I’m in Miami.  I’d be interested in your thoughts on the leg selfie.

leg selfie

leg selfie 2a

6)    The peace sign selfie.” I don’t even know if a peace sign is called a peace sign anymore– I’m so not hip.  Maybe this is some type of code for something else, but I sure see a lot of them. The bottom picture happens to be of my son and he refuses to explain the peace sign thing to me…

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diego peace

7)    “The I’m not aware of what’s in the background selfie.”  This is a variation of “The Wiener selfie ” but warrants its own little mention here.

be careful before You publish selfie

8)    “Best use of the selfie, selfie.” Many have given the Pope Francis selfie the selfie of the year nod.

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But to me, the below is the best selfie series I have seen.

best use of the selfie

best use of selfie 2

So congratulations you! It’s the year of the selfie. Please let me know what some of your favorite selfie types are or what I missed here.

Hope everyone has been well.

~Mike

As a quick postscript, I will add that Twerk was in the running. Thank goodness for small miracles.

So proud of my alma mater supporting Sandy Hook

December 21, 2012

Coach Geno Auriemma has led the UConn women’s basketball team to seven NCAA Division I basketball championships, and has won six national Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.

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But what he has put in place yesterday may be his greatest leadership achievement yet. He has established the Sandy Hook Scholarship Fund at UCONN. It will help support the college costs for any siblings of those killed in the assault, the dependents of the adults who also lost their lives, as well as students currently enrolled at the elementary school.

What this provides in all of the darkness is a bright future to a great University I was fortunate to attend on a scholarship myself. Something that will provide sustaining hope for so many. So it’s time to pay it forward.

Donation

Please join me by donating at www.friends.uconn.edu/sandyhook. I just participated in the National Moment of Silence. Now it’s time to get loud with your donation. Might be the best holiday present you can give.

~Mike

The greatest Olympic performance ever?

August 4, 2012

Usain Bolt? No.

Jim Thorpe? Ryan Lochte? Wilma Rudolph? Nadia Comăneci? My beloved Mark Spitz? Sadly, no to all.

Sure the measure of a true Olympian may be their “body of work.” But the true measure of greatness, in Olympics as in life, is who brings it on that day – in that moment when the pressure is on.

I am a firm believer that the greatest Olympic performance of all time was by Jason Lezak, anchor in the 400 meter meter freestyle relay in Beijing in 2008.  When all the chips were down (France was leading by an enormous margin) and it wasn’t looking good for the US, Jason Lezak sprinted to the fastest 100 meter freestyle leg in history of 46.06.  It was the fastest 100 ever recorded by six tenths of a second which is a fortnight in swimming times. Not only did he help to bring home the gold for the U.S. team, this near out of body performance secured Michael Phelps’ record setting 8 gold medal performance in 2008.

As a proud American and former scholarship swimmer, I believe this is worth your time to view it.

Ask Rowdy Gaines. Ask Ryan Lochte, Nadia Comăneci, the Legendary Mark Spitz. Send an email or Tweet to Michael Phelps himself. I’m sure he’ll agree. Do you?

~Mike

As a bittersweet footnote about the economic times we live in, Jason Lezak was effectively unemployed after this astounding accomplishment.

Lezak, 36,  is the oldest swimmer on the 2012 U.S. men’s swimming squad. He is also one of the five captains for the 530-member American contingent.

Deserved.

Saying goodbye

April 11, 2012

Sometimes the hardest part of photographing the homeless is saying goodbye.

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Some of my time spent with the homeless is happy. Sometimes it’s sad. But usually, it both.  Because I don’t just shoot and run. I spend time. I make a friend.

Then comes the tough part. Saying goodbye. Some ask me for a ride somewhere. And despite the unknowns and the distinct homeless smell, I have brought them where they need to go. Some ask me where I live. Some ask me for my phone number so they can stay in touch. I’ve found that about half do have cell phones. I asked one man this weekend how he pays for his phone. He said he shows up in the wee hours after the nightclub crowd has thinned and he cleans up the outside of the place. They throw him a few bucks and some food and he’s ok with that.

They charge their phones by filthy public bathrooms and sit policing it so no one takes it. Last week one man wanted to share the pictures he took on his cell phone with me and I couldn’t wait to see what he had captured…what he found important enough to document.  But his phone was dead. And wet. So he put it out to dry in the hot Miami sun hoping it would work again.

He asked me to come back to share his pictures with me. And I will. I hope his lifeline to the world works when I see him again. So it’s not goodbye. It’s just goodbye for now and it’s tough. ~Mike

Got hit by a van yesterday…

February 20, 2012

So about 400 of us gathered together at BarCamp Miami 2012 at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami on Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what BarCamps are, they are nicknamed “un-conferences” where anyone can speak about anything they want. Mostly social media and techie types attend and many came from all over the state for this one.

The great thing about BarCamps is that nothing is planned. Especially getting hit by a van. Some people had presentations prepared. And some people didn’t. Guess which category I fell into.

I decided that I would speak about Instagram and made up a quick title: Instagram: The most social of the social networks. So right after lunch break, as I was walking back to give my presentation, I spotted a homeless man who wouldn’t tell me his name but as you’ll see let me take a few pictures. We spent about 5 minutes together. I gave him a few bucks and he blessed me for the money and promised he would use it for food but I didn’t have time to enforce it. I asked if I could snap a couple of pictures but he said under one condition: that he could tell me where to stand so I could take the best pictures. And I listened to him.

I was so taken by our brief time spent together that I just couldn’t wait to look at the pictures that I had just captured. So I’m walking back looking at them on my phone. And as I was crossing the street, SCREECH! And bam, a van loaded with shoppers headed for Bayfront Park clipped me. The mirror hit my arm and spun me around real quick before the back tire could run over my foot. Everyone on the van screamed. The driver stopped and screamed, ” Are you OK? Are you OK? I tried to stop! I tried to stop!” It really happened so fast.

I asked him if he would stand for a picture and he agreed even though it was difficult for him.  The only thing he wouldn’t let me photograph up close was his socks. Why? Because that’s where he told me he kept his private and valuable stuff.

I have spoken with Jeff Zelaya many times about public speaking and I was lucky that I got to spend much of the day with him at BarCamp. I’ve always said that one of the keys to public speaking was having a great opening. Well, I had one. I just got popped by a van for the love of Instagram.

Maybe I’ll think of something a little safer next time.

Have a great short week everyone.

~Mike

Trust no one

February 18, 2012

They say that the best camera you will ever have is the one you have in your hand.

So I’m minding my own business getting gas on US1 in South Miami which is a rare event in itself when you drive a Prius. And then, I see him.

He said his name was Vanny. He wasn’t panhandling and he looked a little worse for the wear. Actually even worse than that. So I struck up a conversation with him and gave him a dollar. He had just gotten out of the hospital and told me he had been beaten pretty badly the day before but he said he’s used to it. I needed a moment to gather myself and digest that one.

I asked him if I could take some pictures and he said that he didn’t think he looked so great after the beating but as you can see he was fine with it. Actually he even hammed it up.

Then Vanny and I sat down and had a beer together. He told me he is a college graduate, he says he’s retired but wouldn’t say from what and is homeless.

He was so kind to let me take many, many pictures. But the one he liked most was the one of him making a “face like a shark”. He begged me to use that one if I used any of them so here it is.

It was quite the shoot here in South Miami today.

By the way, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram. I find it to be one of the most enjoyable and engaging social networks. If you have an iPhone, give it a try. Or an iPad 2 will work and so will an iPod touch. The download is free. Android user? You’re out of luck for a while. I just read an article published yesterday that says that version is running behind.

Now I have to go share this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and I’m probably forgetting about 10 others…

Happy shooting everyone.

~Mike


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