New Name; Same Great Taste

bstouch000_ofmarketing&manWell, here we are. It’s a brand new year and things aren’t much different. I finally completed my 8-year-on-again-off-again tryst with higher education, though I have yet to land a job in my field. We weathered a couple hurricanes, survived exactly one Mayan apocalypse and the buttoned-up nancy boys of Madison Avenue are still churning out garbage at an alarming rate. It’s for those reasons that I’ve decided it’s time to take this little project of mine to the next level. That’s right, people. I purchased a real-live domain.

The new site, Of Marketing & Man, will carry the proverbial torch starting next week. Not much will change. There’s a fancy new banner image and a shorter URL to match the Steinbeckian name but don’t fret. You’ll find the same cynical observations of the advertising industry that you’ve come to expect and, dare I say, love.

So, I bid you a fond farewell from benjaminstouch.wordpress.com and leave you with this: a walk down memory lane including some hits, misses and just about everything else from the past 15 months.

  • LINsanity proved to be just another fleeting trend.
  • William Shatner reprised his role as the Priceline Negotiator following the character’s untimely death in early 2012. Witness his resurrection below:
  • New Jersey still stinks.
  • Kit-Kat finally stopped airing that God-awful Crunch commercial, only to re-release an older version of the same concept late in the year. Check out the cringe-worthy spot:
  • Chick-fil-A has yet to apologize for being a bunch of ignorant assholes with terrible food. But, as of January 2013, nine states – as well as the District of Columbia and two Native American tribes – have legalized same-sex marriage.
  • Axe’s Susan Glenn remains the most inspiring TV spot of the past 12 months, IMHO.
  • Despite receiving harsh criticism from just about everyone, Chanel released Wherever I Go, a sequel to the awkward ad for N°5 starring Brad Pitt. Part 2 is pretty much the same commercial. It uses the exact same copy with the addition of seemingly random stock videography. See it for yourself:
  • I went balls-out with my post about the upcoming film, Man of Steel, nearly doubling my readership within a period of 24 hours.

Sincerity hasn’t been very common around here, but I truly appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to read, comment on and link to my blog.  I hope to see all of you over at the new site and I’ll do my best to keep you informed, entertained and maybe even a little bit aroused throughout 2013. Happy New Year, everybody.

Seacrest, out.

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MLB Team Remains Brave in the Fight Against Anti-Racism

bstouch001_bravesWhen most bloggers are celebrating the holidays with their loved ones or releasing their annual “Best of/Worst of” lists, I’ve decided to stay the course and write a post as if this is just any old week. Besides, I skipped Christmas for the second consecutive year and I made a compilation of annoying ads way back in May, and I think it’s withstood the test of time. Instead, I bring you a story about racism and America’s favorite pastime.

In an era when more and more college sports teams are distancing themselves from anything that could be considered the slightest bit offensive, there are a few professional franchises who, throughout the years, have stuck with their longstanding, somewhat questionable namesakes. Recently, one such team (the MLB’s own Atlanta Braves) unveiled their new batting practice caps for the upcoming season. The hats prominently feature the team’s old “Screaming Savage” logo, which has been absent from their uniforms since someone came to their senses back in the early 90s.

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Ah, the 90s. They were simpler times, when racism was limited to police brutality and black stereotypes on reality TV.

While some might argue that the Braves’ Savage or the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo are merely paying homage to the Native American people whose land we stole and built sports complexes atop, it’s hard to see how anyone could look at these gross characterizations and not view them as at least somewhat insulting, especially when they look more like gay pop singers from the 80s. I think some Native Americans should get together and form a team of their own. Perhaps they could be called the Ho-Chunk Honkies or something, and their mascot could just be the most Anglo-Saxon lookin’ son of a bitch you’ve ever seen.

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The Second Noel: PA Lottery Recreates 20-year Old TV Spot

bstouch001_palotteryIt’s that time of year again. Some call it “the most wonderful.” I call it the final hurdle to leap on the way to a new year, which will hopefully be a little better than the one prior. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, one thing is certain: you can’t escape the ads. As a Pennsylvanian, one in particular has been a staple of the holiday season for most of my life.

In 1992, the PA Lottery released a 30-second spot entitled The 12 Days of Christmas to promote their numerous games as well as the new “Merry Millions” scratch-off tickets, and it’s aired every year since. This year, they’ve unveiled an updated version. Shot in HD, the frame-for-frame remake retains the same story as the original and even uses the 20-year old audio track. Connie Bliss, Marketing Director at Tierney, said of rehashing the beloved ad, “We meticulously examined each frame to match the outfits, props, location and other small details. We really wanted to get it right.” And here I thought Pennsylvanians were only good at erecting barns and finding new foods to fry. Apparently we’re also quite efficient when it comes to lazily remaking decades-old commercials.

Old Version:

New Version:

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It’s the End of the World As We Know It and I Feel… Horny?

bstouch054_durexFriends, colleagues, monkeys who have learned to read… the end is nigh. No, not the end of this blog. Although I’m sure there are those among you who would absolutely love to never again see one of these posts, I need the outlet. It’s an essential part of my plan to refrain from going ballistic on some unassuming hobo and I intend to continue publishing this thing until it’s noticed by someone with enough clout to make me famous. But alas, my efforts may have been in vain because, in the coming weeks, the world as we know it is scheduled to meet its maker. At least that’s what the Mayans, that guy downtown who wears a newspaper as a hat, and Daniel James Evans – an advertising creative working at Buzzman Paris – would have you believe.

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The series of ads for Durex (a brand whose marketing is usually quite effective, despite the subpar quality of their products) addresses an issue that’s plagued my thinker since I first heard of the ensuing apocalypse: How many babies are going to be conceived on December 21st, 2012? Well, folks, Daniel and I are here to remind you to wrap your special gift this holiday season because, regardless of what you’ve heard, we’re all probably still going to be here this time next year. I mean, how smart could the Mayans have been? They couldn’t even make it through a drought, for Christ’s sake. And speaking of the bearded baby…

Reverend Jose Funes – director of the Vatican Observatory (ed. note: The Vatican has an observatory?!) – stated earlier this week that, despite claims to the contrary, the world will in fact not be ending on December 21st. I’d very much like to know what sort of “science” Rev. Funes has based these findings upon. Get off your high-horse, Catholics! You don’t know what’s in store for us any more than an ancient civilization that thought human heads made suitable soccer balls.

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FDA Announces Salbutamol Shortage After Release of New ‘Man of Steel’ Poster

bstouch001_supermanIf there’s one thing in this world that I truly love, it’s puppies. If there are two things, puppies and strippers. But if there are three things, it’s puppies, strippers and movies based on comic books. And it’s because of the latter that I got so excited when, earlier this week, a new poster for Man of Steel – the gritty, Zack Snyder-directed reimagining of Superman – was released.

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The poster, seen above, shows everyone’s favorite Kryptonian (portrayed this time by Henry Cavill of “The Tudors” fame), handcuffed and being escorted down a dark hallway by a group of heavily armed soldiers. As with anything that’s ever been released for a franchise with a large, devoted following, the poster was met with immediate criticism all across the Internet.

“U CANT JUST PUT SUPERMAN IN HANDCUFFS,” one commenter summed up nicely, “UNLESS THEY’RE MADE OF KRYPTONITE!”

What you’re forgetting, fellow nerds, is that Superman is one peaceful S.O.B. It’s kind of his thing. Truth, justice, and all that crap. Remember? Clark Kent’s has always been a story wrought with intrapersonal conflict; the struggle of possessing the power of a god yet living amongst man, and the responsibility to use that power for good. If Superman is in handcuffs, it’s because he allowed it to happen. Clearly, this poster is a reflection of that notion and I trust the cast and crew of Man of Steel will leap it and other hot-button issues in a single bound.

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Swedish Insurance Ad Lands on All Fours

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a dog person. Not because I have an enhanced sense of smell and a tendency to slobber profusely every time someone mentions rawhide but because, when given the option between dogs and cats, man’s best friend wins every time. How could you not love something that gets that excited every time you walk through the front door, even if you’ve been gone all day? I tell ya, if I ever meet a woman who doesn’t require constant attention but still shakes her ass and jumps on me when I come home, I’ll put a ring on her finger. But my detest for felines goes much further than their alarming lack of personality. I’m also deathly allergic to them. Just being in the same room as one typically causes my throat to swell up and sometimes even results in an outbreak of hives. It’s not a good time and that’s why (despite having absolutely no clue what’s going on) I so thoroughly enjoyed this commercial for Folksam, a Swedish insurance agency.

That, and the brazen use of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”

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Introducing the Future of Viral Marketing

As President and CEO of this blog, I’m always on the lookout for fresh and exciting ways to obtain new readers. Upon publishing, I link each post to Facebook and Twitter in an effort to force-feed it to all of my friends and everyone else in my social media networks. I also utilize tags within the posts to increase search engine optimization (or “SEO” as we say in the business). But now, thanks to this revolutionary technology from Toronto-based super agency John St. (the geniuses who brought us such unignorable ideas as Catvertising), I may never have to do any work ever again.

I’m fully prepared to embrace my love of maple syrup and ice hockey, uproot my entire life and move to Canada if it means I’d have the opportunity to work with these people.

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There’s No Use Crying…

Just when I thought nothing could annoy me more than election coverage, Hurricane Sandy (AKA, the Frankenstorm) rolled into town and everyone on Facebook suddenly became a meteorologist. Three days ago, the mayor of Philadelphia declared a state of emergency, issuing an optional evacuation order and halting all forms of public transportation in preparation for the storm, which was scheduled to make it rain all over the eastern seaboard Monday night and throughout Tuesday.

Today, things are finally back to normal. The rivers are running a little higher than usual and everything’s generally kind of damp but, all-in-all, the City of Brotherly Love is no worse for wear. Unfortunately, New York City and part of New Jersey seem to have suffered the brunt of the damage. To be honest, though, that part of the country was probably long overdue for a good bath. While the death toll currently sits at 33, we can take solace in knowing our society was likely never going to benefit from the existence of people like these:

So, what’s any of this have to do with advertising? I’m so glad you asked. The answer, quite simply, is one word; the lifeblood of all mammalian beings…

Milk.

For years, I’ve suspected there’s some sort of conspiracy between the National Dairy Council and the National Weather Service. Every time inclement weather is on the horizon, people go crazy and stock up on milk in a manner that suggests Earth’s last cow just died. Why? Why milk? What are you going to do with all of it, especially if you lose power? Now you’re just sitting in a dark room with a fridge full of sour milk. Batteries and bottled water, sure. But milk? It just doesn’t make any sense unless someone at the NDC got wise and realized, “Hey, if that town loses power, all the milk in the grocery stores is going to go bad and we’re going to suffer a significant loss. We might as well unload it on the consumers. It’s your problem now, suckers!” And then they cackle in the way only a member of an evil council knows how.

It’s times like these I’m glad I’m lactose intolerant.

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Coke Zero Unlocks the Bond in All of Us

Blue Moon. It’s not just an awful beer. It’s also the exact frequency that I come across an ad campaign about which I have nothing negative to say. Take, for example, this promotion for the upcoming James Bond film, Skyfall. This Coke Zero vending machine recently appeared in Antwerp Central Station, giving customers a chance to win tickets to the premier – but not without first forcing them to enact every 12-year old boy’s fantasy (No. Not that fantasy, perv). Check it out below, and I challenge you to avoid getting the chills at the end of the video.

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Death, Taxes & Chanel N°5

I like Brad Pitt. I always have. I don’t know what it is about him but, whatever it is, he’s got enough of it to make me watch his movies (except for Tree of Life. That thing was a turd). He’s always struck me as one of those celebrities who just doesn’t really give a shit. I mean, you’ve got to admire a guy who was married to the star of one of television’s most popular sitcoms of the last few decades (not to mention a smokin’ hottie) but still thought to himself, “You know what? I think I’m going to bang Angelina Jolie.” That takes cojones. But sometimes, even the greatest men produce steaming piles of crap.

In the latest TV spot for their iconic N°5 fragrance, Chanel mixes things up a bit, using a male spokesperson for the first time. Perhaps this is their subtle way of acknowledging a shattered glass ceiling. No longer are fancy perfumes only bought for women by their boyfriends, husbands and sugar daddies. Now, they can afford things like Chanel N°5, diamond-encrusted vibrators, or whatever else women are into. So, we’d damn well better make ads that appeal to them. Right? Enter: Mr. Pitt.

The commercial (entitled There You Are) features more advertising clichés than I can shake a puppy at, and it seems to be the latest contender in an ongoing game I like call “Guess What They’re Marketing in 30 Seconds or Less.” There’s no indication of branding up until the very end and the copy is so vague and dull, I’m pretty sure I actually dozed off at one point. There are only two inevitabilities in life – and I hate to break it to you, Chanel – but perfume ain’t one ‘em.

I commend the brand for finally deciding to market to women rather than at them (if that is, in fact, what they’re trying to do) but to infer that the fairer sex would fall for this type of garbage speaks volumes.

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