January 2007
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Month January 2007

Hi there. I'm a Partner at Undercurrent, where I lead a team focused on helping ambitious organizations operate in ways that are beneficial to all their users.

OfficeMax ImPress: Cleveland the Pimp

I love, love love these ads. You cool cats at DDB Chicago… well done. I can’t find the other one on YouTube (the one with the jury, which is almost funnier), but when I do, it’ll be here.

Plus there’s a pimp in it. Pimps are funny. Not that I condone pimpin’. As Big Daddy Kane said, “Pimpin’ ain’t easy.” But now it’ll be easier with OfficeMax ImPress.

Emerald Nuts

I think the important thing to talk about here is getting the creative right. If you’re spending $2.6 million dollars for thirty seconds of airtime, you better be able to drag some eyeballs off the pizza, the chicken wings and the beer. The stakes are high. If you’ve got enough cash to pay for a spot, people probably know what you’re selling.

So no matter what you’re trying to hock in your commercial, in this situation, it’s about a one-and-done flaming piece of advertising glory. Look at the Emerald Nuts commercial from last year:

I suppose it’s not particularly pyrotechnic, but it captures the imagination. There’s nothing in there but strange, juicy interestingness. And their sales went up by 36 percent in the next week, and they’re back again this year, so it must have been worth it. I mean, really…”Eagle-eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs”? That must have been tough to come up with. Why not ask consumers for some ideas? I can see that working.

Help me out: Superbowl radio interview

Hey there, blog friends and readers who’ve yet to comment…I’m going on the radio tomorrow. WCRX 88.1 here in Chicago is the radio station for Columbia College, and they’ve asked me to talk about Super Bowl Advertising (yes, with a capital A…for $2.6 million you get upstyle; that’s just part of the deal).

So I’d like to do the responsible adverblogger thing and ask for some recommendations, feedback and opinions. I’m hoping to sound knowledgeable, and the interesting tidbits I’ve found so far are:

  1. Christ, it’s expensive. $86,667/second means life after the 30 second spot is pretty much, well…bankruptcy.
  2. HP’s doing the smart integrated thing by offering a $350 CPU/Monitor/Printer deal in conjunction with their Super ad, which will feature Paul from Orange Country Choppers talking about the stuff in his computer, just like Jay-Hova and Shaun White did to great success.
  3. Butler, Shine & Stern divorced GoDaddy.com over their efforts, citing creative differences. In other divorce-related Super Bowl ad news, K-Fed’s going to be featured somewhere. While K-Fed is terrible, he’s the luckiest guy in the world. One year you’re a backup dancer from Fresno, the next you’re a celebrity. Amazing.
  4. Doritos, Chevy and the NFL all have CGM ads. Is this the tip of the iceberg, is this a good thing, or are they just going to suck?
  5. Local media…apparently, here in Chicago, there’s quite a bit of space left for local advertisers. Are they cowed by the sheer size of the audience? Not sure if it’s worth it? I have no idea how much local space is going for, but it can’t be cheap.
  6. Did you know that Emerald Nuts’ business grew by 36 percent (over the previous week) after their Super Bowl ad aired last year? Talk about your effective TV.

Be a good blog friend/reader and shoot me some comments. I’m going on the air at 8AM CST, and I’ll post my notes just before.

Bliss, Honesty and…


Anybody know what’s going on here? No, not “An open cab door”, I’m referring to the “Bliss” card… On Saturday I saw an “Honesty” card on Lincoln, and today as I left my apartment I was greeted with this joyful message. I wonder what the other messages are, and I wonder who’s doing this and what they’re up to. I hope it’s just some benevolent advertiser trying to make days brighter.

Lo-Fi Blog 5


Mom, I’m just joking about the drinkr thing.

I’m not sure this is a good medium for a coffee morning roundup, but it’s worth a shot. I like the drawings, though. And take a look at Katie Chatfield’s Get Shouty blog. She’s hilarious.

Branding Process Visual


Nod: Richard (specifically this post: “Building better brand ideas“)

Lo-Fi Blog 4


Nod to Noah.



Just before my first big meeting presenting my ideas to a (rather large) client’s President/CEO.

Looking quite dapper, I must say, despite the goofy look.

And they bought what I had to say, so tonight is “Hooray Me!” night. Please don’t tell anyone that I am always a little surprised when that happens. Have a good weekend. I’ve got some great video that I will be editing and subsequently sharing on Monday. And Chicago Coffee Morning arrives in 2007 next Friday. Until then…

The 39 Second Single

39 Second Single

If you’ve not seen the 39 Second Single, you must immediately go to http://www.39secondsingle.blogspot.com/ and watch the six available episodes. They’re brilliant. They’re short. They’re the future of TV, or rather, disposable entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean disposable as in inconsequential. I mean that these aren’t going to DVD anytime soon, at least not without a movie deal. The first episode is the best, which is obviously pretty important for an online series. But now I’m hooked and the subsequent episodes are like onlinevideocrack-hits. Feel free to quote me on “onlinevideocrack”.

But really, if there were more online video series of this quality, why would you need the network/cable junk? True, there are some gems out there in the 30-minute/hour sitcom/drama format, but by and large, it’s crap. Emeril, for all his success, would be much more tolerable in 2-5 minute bits. Existing ‘legacy’ media formats are dying. My dad is almost sixty, for crissakes, and ALL HE DOES IS READ BLOGS. It was the weirdest sensation when I was home a couple weeks back. There’s my dad, be-robed, sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee and the glow of his widescreen HP laptop. He knows every Windows shortcut, and I think the biggest problem in his life is that there’s no “minimize” keystroke.

On a related note, did you notice that both 24 and American Idol are planning 4-hour season premieres? That seems crazy to me. Weren’t attention spans supposed to be dwindling?

By the way, middle-fi blogs are still fun.

Hi-Fi Blog 1: Big Monster Toys

So here’s my first video. Gonna try to do them on the way to work. This one is about a building that I like to look at on my walk to work: Big Monster Toys, LLC. They’re apparently the remains of Marvin Glass & Associates, a board-game maker that has since dwindled to obscurity. Oh well. They have a sweet front door. Check it out.

Being on video is really weird. I’m normally not very self-conscious but I felt strange doing a little ‘report’ on the street. I had to wait until the passers-by actually passed by, and I still was very uncomfortable. Anyhow, I think it’s a nice contrast to the lo-fi stuff, which I’m glad y’all like.