02 November 2007

Playing Catch-Up & A Couple of Spots

Weird to see stuff I’ve been saying for years – in my book and in my blog – being passed off as ‘news’ by Gannett:

Boomers Logging On

I guess they’re playing catch-up.

Two TV spots getting a lot of press:

Dylan’s Cad commercial is, as you might guess, an oddball one. I don’t mind it because it’s not pandering or nostalgic. It’s Ol’ Bob today – embedded with new(er) music. Sure, the spot harkens back to one of his great pieces (directed by D.A. Pennebaker) – but it’s not junky like this. And he’s promoting his radio show. Smart guy.

People are arguing about whether Mr. Dylan has ‘sold out’. In fact, for the last forty-odd years any time he’s done anything that’s always been the main question. It’s a major, major concern among many. However, being in advertising, I often worry about the products. Did Fender (electric) Guitars sell out by letting Bob play one?

And Geico’s Chatty Cathy is just funny, clever - not nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.

28 October 2007

ADLAND by Mark Tungate

I should've spent a bit more time researching the person I was to meet in Paris during "The Tour"- but being frazzled and preparing for it all ...

The gentleman was Mark Tungate - and somehow or other I'd 'won' a copy of his book ADLAND. And I wanted it. I'm a sucker for any sort of history of advertising (as attendees of my presentations know, for I make them suffer through my own skewed, polemical version of it).

He was ready to send a copy - but I proposed a counteroffer: let's meet in Paris and exchange books.

I got the better deal.

Mark Tungate, I find out after our brief rendezvous at Bayard Presse, after returning home and reading his book, after jumping on the web and scurrying around, after emailing a few friends in France and England, is a heavyweight in the ad world. He's written a bunch of books, loads of articles for advertising and general interest magazines, has a TV talk show. He puts together the text for an 'everybody in the industry has to pour over it every year' annual overview of European advertising.

When we met, I had just finished a presentation, was tired, dizzy from adrenaline de-rush, and fumbling around. My more-significant-than-I-am other was with us and, I could tell, became more and more annoyed that I wasn't paying attention. She's smarter than I.

ADLAND: A Global History of Advertising is a worthy successor to my favorite history of advertising tome, The Mirror Makers by Stephen Fox. And, as the title says, it's not U.S. myopic.

What did I know already while reading ADLAND? Most of the U.S. stuff, maybe a little less than half of the U.K. stuff, a smidgeon about France, a dollop about Italy (actually more, since I worked on an Italian brand for a few years and had done some research), zip about Japan (except that Dentsu has a big building and they love to fly over American movie stars and pay them an absurd amount of money to hold up bottles of whatever - although according to Mark that silliness has run its course), zip about Spain, a little about Brazil and South America. I knew a lot but also learned a lot about the 1990s creative revolution in Amsterdam.

Then there is the obvious: Mark Tungate is an accomplished writer - so here's a business/history book wonderfully conceived and composed and fun to read. How often do you find that to be true?

Likewise no surprise to me: ADLAND has been selected as a classroom resource by The Advertising Educational Foundation. Which means that that Tungate has joined the advertising book-writing immortals such as Lawrence, Dusenberry, Fallon, Roberts, Nyren …..

??? Who??? What the **** is he doing on that list?

The company keeps getting better.

Update: Listen to Mark's interview on The Advertising Show (scroll to the sound files)

24 October 2007

Outsmart the MBA Clones

While digitally thumbing through my publisher's latest interactive catalogue, I chuckled at the title of an upcoming release:
Outsmart the MBA Clones
Why is so much of today's marketing, strategy, and branding alike? … Most marketers, brand managers, and competitive strategists are MBA graduates who think and operate in a typical manner--you might call them MBA Clones. This book will show you the tools and rules to outsmart your competitors' predicable MBA-Clone marketing …
My brother is the marketing manager for a pretty good-sized irrigation company, and is always telling me horror stories about MBAs marching in (just like on the cover) and mucking up everything.

I haven't read Outsmart the MBA Clones - but reviews of a few other books may be coming:

One tome is a real treat.

Another may be reviewed because I'm on 'the list' of a few PR/Publicity firms. I usually say "No", but for this one I said "Maybe" - meaning they can send it, if I like it I'll review it, and if I don't I'll ignore it.

20 October 2007

Baby boomers contemplate a variety of work options

Here's a piece by James E. Challenger:
Retirement Can Wait - Baby Boomers contemplate a variety of work options

According to a recent survey, eight in ten baby boomers plan to continue working in their retirement years. That's about 76 million fifty-something workers with no intention of quitting anytime soon ... Baby boomers are likely to be extremely adept at industry switching because of their diverse backgrounds and the fact that they are better educated than previous generations. The first step will be getting over the anxiety associated with change. After that, the opportunities for further career development are endless.
Not quite endless. Here's an email from someone who ...

Let's just say that if I mentioned the campaigns he worked on in the 1970s and 1980s, you'd be very impressed:
I know you are onto something regarding the Baby Boomer business … I wonder if there is a way for existing ad agencies to embrace this potential …There are a lot of other boomers who a) see age discrimination and/or b) wonder why the largest advertisers or agencies are not "getting it" ...

I have submitted my resume to the top 100 ad agencies and have received not a word. The people I know basically tell me that the agencies are looking only for young people. - Former Art Director, Grey Advertising
So what's the alternative? Here's another (expurgated) email:
Hi Chuck.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible ... Like you, I'm a copywriter/creative director/baby boomer.

I started my career at Doyle Dane Bernbach (when Bill Bernbach was still there), and have worked at Chiat/Day, BBDO, Ogilvy, FCB, and Dentsu. (During a phone chat a few days later, he mentioned that at his last job he was 'let go' when he turned fifty.) I was talking about it with my friend/art director/business partner, and found myself thinking that it would be interesting to start an "agency" that exclusively targeted baby boomers … At any rate, we recently got our first account … and I'm excitedly thinking we're on to something. Your company and book certainly help confirm that.
Sounds good to me. Of course, he has no other options.

And what about all those big agencies telling their clients that they are prepared to target the 50+ demographic? Should the advertisers believe them? And if they do - should the agencies, when creating campaigns, trust their guts?

Being a lightning rod for all things Boomer and Advertising, I'm forever amazed at the backwardness of the advertising industry. Will it ever catch up with the rest of the business world? Who knows.

13 October 2007

Chuck Nyren Advertising to Baby Boomers 2007 European Tour Presentation Video

Taped during The 2007 Brent Green/Carol Orsborn/Chuck Nyren European Tour sponsored by Bayard Presse (PLUS Magazines) and Roularta Media:

Special Thanks to Brent Green