Sunday, July 31, 2005

The French are different. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I guess this is to appeal to the anxiety people experience with Paris's subway system - it turns us into scared, situationally-challenged bunnies!

The French, however, must experience this sense of terror more often than others.

Or, maybe the subway doors are faster than a rabbit? No...that kind of cruelty is for the Germans or the Chicago Transit Authority.

Or, maybe the warning is only to rabbits? No...rabbits can't read. But, then again, they're FRENCH rabbits, which means they're SMARTER than other rabbits...


The French are just weird.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Whirlpool Food Converter

Convertible vegetables/meats.

Dad: (exclaims, holding refrigerator door open) Dangit!

Mom: What's wrong, honey?

Dad: You bought parsnips again!

Mom: What's wrong, honey?

Dad: They're an inconvertible vegetable!

Ok - does this mean there are vegetables that are convertible into other things - metals, plastics, elastic polymers? Or perhaps, there are some kind of "sporty" vegetables that benefit from a "top-down" treatment?

What about the "/meats"? Does this mean that there are some convertible meats, too? Maybe there's a vegetable/meat catagory - kind of like, "plant flesh"?


This industro-copy is probably written by the same people who deemed the lunchbox, "a food storage system."

Friday, July 22, 2005

From here, you can see Cupertino!

Definition: "Vista"

noun [C]

1. LITERARY; a view, especially a splendid view from a high position.
Example: After a hard climb, we were rewarded by a picture-postcard vista of rolling hills under a deep blue summer sky.

2. a possible future action or event that you can imagine.
Example: As leader, he opened up exciting vistas of global co-operation.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)


3. the edge of a cliff.
Example: I bought Microsoft's new operating system, "Vista" and all it did was take me to the edge and make me look longingly for some other place far off into the horizon.

Microsoft blew it. Vista is a bum name for a new software.

Now, naming things for commerce isn't easy. There's always the risk of some fly-in-the-ointment just rotting away for that day of exposure...

Mother1 to Mother 2 at grocery store: Oh look! Jif Peanut Butter is on sale!

Mother 2 to Mother 1: Eeeeew. Jif!

Mother1: What's wrong with Jif?!

Mother 2: Well, probably nothing, but did you know that "Jif" is the Hindu god of explosive diarrhea?!"

Mother 1: NO! YUCK! (grabs a jar of Peter Pan Chunky).

While Microsoft's new operating system, "Vista," may not cause explosive diarrhea, it does miss the point of software completely - to work, NOW.

The picture attached is of Microsoft's own homepage. It shows a climber looking out over an expansive...well, vista. Nice visual. Except that most computer users don't want to climb mountains only to be greated with a chasm between them and their destination. Computer users want their computer to work. NOW.

Fast forward to 2006...

Computer user 1: Man, I just installed Vista!

Computer user 2: Really? How is it?

Computer user 1: It took me four hours, I sweated, I grunted, I groaned and finally, just when I was about to give up, I reached the top! A successful installation!

Computer user 2: Really? How is it?

Computer user 1: Well, I think I can see how it might work!

Of course, the idea of a technological Vista is somewhat romantic - computers afford great promise; to manage enterprise, create art, communicate with the world, etc. Microsoft wants to be known as far-reaching, progressive - a worthy ambition. But average people aren't as taken by company mission-statements. Average people want software, products, ideas that simply work, NOW.

What Microsoft should have done is create a name that provides the user what they want - a computer OS that works NOW. Right now. As in, "install this and do what you want to do, now."

"Microsoft Now. The most amazing operating system on earth, Now."

Well, anyway, we'll see. Maybe I'm wrong. 2006 is a long way away in computer-terms. But from what I hear from Windows users, they've been sitting atop their own "vista" for quite some time.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sadvertising - I'm sticking to it.

The advertising/marketing profession is the most powerful profession on earth, bar none. Marketers control words, pictures and ideas that are transacted as effortlessly as breathing.

This blog was created to critique and parody my profession's sloppy practices: needless negativity, short-sighted strategies, hypocrisy, self-importance, lies... This is called "Sadvertising."

"Sadvertising" is everywhere and its influence on average life is a lot like the famous story, The Princess and the Pea - its source may be hidden, but its effect is noticed. When negativity, short-sightedness, hypocrisy, self-importance, lies, etc. are commonly transacted, the result is that the bar of standards is lowered.

In practice, a line of poorly written copy on the back of a Diet Pepsi bottle doesn't change the earth's rotation. It doesn't create serial kilers. It doesn't incite race riots. But if you believe that one drop can raise the ocean, that little line of copy becomes more significant. As the Bible states, "A little leaven wrecks the loaf."

So far, most of the readers here are people of influence - CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders. If, by repetition and suggestion, one of these people of influence raise their own standards, change will happen and that change can't help but be positive.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Diet Pepsi Smarts.

It's a good bet that there's a little bit of tension in the Pepsi family marketing departments. How so? Five words - "Smart," "Choice," "Among," "Soft" and "Drinks."

If Diet Pepsi were a stand-alone brand, it'd be one thing. But that Diet Pepsi is part of a family of brands, it doesn't make much sense to be dissing the bro down the hall, especially using the word "smart." If you're not smart, you're...average? Mediocre? Maybe...DUMB?!


Scene: The offices of Diet Pepsi's marketing department. Rich woods, marble flooring and beautiful Persian rugs are the decor - bookcases of gilt-edged, leather bound works of super-smart genius writers line the atrium. Staff are having thoughtful discussions over snifters of cognac and plates of exotic cheeses.

Vivaldi's Four Seasons is being played by a tuxedoed quartet. A waterfall bubbles in the background. An English butler stands at the ready besides a mahogany desk. water-cooler.

Suddenly, the 10-paneled cherry-wood door opens and a roughly dressed, unshaven man stumbles in like a drunken Bill Murray. The room becomes silent and all eyes train on the ill-dressed man that has noisily intruded their abode.

Diet Pepsi butler: Excuse we...know you?

Guy: Yo! Check the digs of this place! This's LIVIN!

Diet Pepsi butler: May we be...of service somehow...Mister...?

Guy: Call me Billy-bob! (extends hand for handshake). Don't mind the open sores. We'been blowin up firecrackers!

Diet Pepsi butler: (looks at swollen, puss-filled hand) "No thank you."

Guy: AnyHOO, I'm from down the hall - ya know, Mountain DEW? We're the piss-yeller pop with caffeine?! (laughs).

Diet Pepsi butler: Please state your purpose.

Guy: Well, we done busted the copier playin with Ellie May's rottweiler and we need to borrow some ink toner. Got some?

Diet Pepsi butler: No. Please leave.

Guy: Well, guess we're fired then. Ok, see ya'at the company picnic - and bring yer gater wrastlin clothes!

(door slams, the quartet begins where it stopped, the thoughtful discussions on developing the Diet Pepsi brand resume)


Appreciating that Diet Pepsi drinkers are not likely to cross brands, it's still no reason to cast disrespect on the other Pepsi brands. The current wording is too negative and too...well, "nothing."

How about this:

"Diet Pepsi is the perfect soft drink for people who can sacrifice calories, carbs and sugar, but not taste."

This copy hits the main attributes of DP and presents them in a positive light, emphasizing DP's differentiator over its competition, taste without demeaning the sister brands.

One positive note - the DP label copy did inspire my thirst; a thirst for the ultimate ZERO carb, ZERO calorie, ZERO sugar beverage...WATER.

And I can drink as much as I want for free. Smart, huh?