Opinion editorials on advertising and business


What Elvis can teach junior creatives

See that photo above? That was Elvis in his prime. During the Jailhouse Rock years. That photo above is also the definition of foreshadowing: A performer who performs in a prison.

See, Elvis Presley is more famous for dying on the toilet than his beginnings as one of the inventors of a country/rock-a-billy/RnB/gospel hybrid called rock n’ roll.


The Thanksgiver

You know the drill. It's often a tv spot, or as they say these days because tv is so passé, "a film." But there's also the more quick and dirty website version of the same idea, just embedded in a stand alone site instead of on Youtube.

If it's a website though, it must be a mysterious website. One must ask "from what teenaged bedroom where did this thing come from?" At least for the first two minutes. And then you realize it's too overproduced to be anything other than the usual stuff from an ad agency with too much time on its hands and a yearning to get on FWA.


You can't do that on Television, er, Youtube.

If you're an Apple geek, today's possibly fun speculative news that Apple is ramping up production on the Apple 5S as well as maybe, hopefully, a new Apple TV device, is just as quickly offset by the news that Google-owned Youtube is cutting funding for its Premium Channels service.


Veterans Day in Adland

While the mind can still conjure up the news reel glory days of American Veterans returning home from World War Two it was never quite the warm welcome we imagine.

Veterans have it hard. We ask them to defend our country, intervene in far off places, and then mostly write them off when they return. It's sometimes the most thankless necessary patriotic duty one can imagine. And yet.


Michael Moore cock punchin' for Obama

Michael Moore and are no doubt aware that International Election Monitors are going to observe this years' election, as has been the case since 2002. Still that doesn't stop the Upper East Side propagandist from exploiting The Greatest Generation to try and gin up some good old fashioned scare tactics anyway.


Publishers, Weakly: What The Penguin/Random House Merger Really Means

When I saw the word “synergies” applied to the proposed merger of publishing giants Penguin and Random House, I laughed out loud. “Synergies” is Wall Street-speak for “Let’s merge two failing companies, fire half the employees, run the resulting business more cheaply, suck out all the money we can as quickly as we can, and then leave the wounded, gasping beast that is the resulting company to die a miserable, public death.”

Which is exactly why “synergies” best describes the merger of two of the biggest names in the publishing industry, which is wringing its hands over the immediate consequences of this deal, which really represents one more death rattle of the once thriving book publishing trade.

Here’s what happens now: lots of editorial, marketing, and other jobs will vanish. Agents will have fewer places to sell books. Fewer books will be published. Authors will get even less money (if that’s even possible, since some publishers are paying zero advances whenever they can get away with it). And the pontificators will pontificate on what it all means to society (not much, since most of society has already given up on reading books).


Microwave Mentality part three: Advertising is dead, and other unoriginal ideas.

"Congratulate me, Joe! I just sold the business to the Resor boys. They don't know it, but the advertising agency business has seen its best days!"

I want you to let this sink in for a second. The quote above came from J Walter Thompson. In 1916.

Since the dawn of advertising, many people have scrambled up the top of the heap, King- Of-The-Hill-style, in an effort to be the first to proclaim their own industry dead.


Microwave mentality part two: All the news fit to gank

In Microwave mentality part one, Kidsleepy paints the picture of a world too busy to concentrate on one thing at a time, asking smart machines to do all the thinking for us, leaving us to get ever dumber. This isn't limited to the consumer, this is also highly visible in the world of the creators.


Microwave Mentality: part one

Here’s a big revelation for you: The way we live has changed.
Urban centers decayed when the middle class moved to the suburbs. The front porch got moved to the back. We used to know our neighbors. Now we’d rather know someone across the globe, at least online.

But it’s not just physical locations that change. The way we behave has changed. Our views of privacy are at once threatened and secured by autonomous digital corporations.


Trolls in Wonderland

Welcome to the hivemind, otherwise known as Collective Consciousness. You know: having a shared belief system. Similar group behavior. Polite society. In real life, anyway. Online the hive mind is the stuff of Kafka and Orwell, or their thirteen-year-old versions anyway.