Archived entries for advertising

We don’t know what new discoveries lie ahead, but this is the very reason we must go.

If you’ll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.


Anti-pollution poster (Kenji Ito, 1973)

Via Pink Tentacle.

And, yes, I know there’s a slight nipple. But, if you’re really worried about such things, you probably shouldn’t be visiting a place like this during your work day, should you?

Now that we’ve been over the “What” of Hatsune Miku, let’s go over the “Why”. As in, why she’s important.

Pat commented yesterday that on stage Hatsune’s not that different from The Gorillaz live shows, and that her voice is still based on a real person’s voice. And he’s right about both of those things. The Gorillaz project animated performers onto a screen that masks human musicians, and Hatsune’s voice is built up from the phoneme recordings of a real person.

But her key difference from previous, similar things is that her plasticity, her artificiality, is COMPLETE. Absolutely nothing about her is real.

First, let’s think about her as an animated character.

Animated characters are tied to visuals and to voices. It can be argued that Mel Blanc was more key to popularizing most of the Warner Bros characters than their visual representations. The problem here is that Mel Blanc is a human, and humans, well not to spoil the end of your life for you, die. And when Blanc finally did expire, Warner had several years where they had to convince people that Bugs Bunny really sounded like this new guy, and not at all like that old, dead guy. Same thing with Kermit the Frog, or Tony the Tiger, or any character that’s deeply engrained in the social consciousness and voiced by a real human with an expiration date. Hatsune Miko has no expiration dates. Because her voice is created in a computer by the clever application of a few billions ones and zeroes, she’ll never get die. She’ll never get old, go through puberty, or ruin her voice with smoking and whiskey. A thousand years from now, she’ll sound the exact same as she does right now. She is the first voice of the future, because in the future she’ll sound exactly the same.

Now, let’s think about her as a commercial character.

Ultimately, Hatsune Miko was created as a bit of stunt by Crypton Future Media. They’re sound technology people. So, they made the apex of current sound technology. She was meant to raise awareness of the company that created her, and I’m sure her records sales are a nice bonus. Like Pandora and her box, Crypton’s unwittingly unleashed something on the world. There is no question that most Disney pop stars are trained and groomed from a young age to become billion dollar industries. There is also no question that Disney would probably love to not have said pop stars taking a chunk of their revenue and then spend it on things that get them plastered all over the front of grocery store tabloids. Making a pop star out of ray tracing and vocal synthesizers is one way to do that. And it doesn’t have to be Disney doing it, either. If a relatively small company like Crypton can do it, anyone can. Every new product or initiative could have a fake pop star attached to it, filling the air waves and fiber optic cables. And speaking as a guy in advertising who could pitch that to a client, this is fantastic and frightening

Lastly, let’s think about her as a musical character.

Touched on this a bit in the first one, but Hatsune and the future things like her, are fixed point in space. The point can be fixed as a 16 year old pop idol, or a 60 year old torch singer, or a 20 something folk-rocker. And since they are artificial, and built up by a team of people, they’ll never go off on some bizarre introspective tangent and make a record like Pet Sounds. Their music will be consistent, uniform across all of their releases. And if the people behind them ever get bored or want to try something different? They’ll just whip up a new vocaloid and create a new artist.

Hatsune Miko is important because of the simplicity of what she represents: The idea of an unchanging, easily replaceable commercial entity that you owe nothing to and will never do anything to embarrass or betray you.

While I could put money on their never being an indie-rock vocaloid success (ONLY because the hipsters won’t allow it, not because it couldn’t be good), I can’t put that same money on idorus like Hatsune Miko carving out a niche for themselves in pop music.

Growth – Life Science Library, 1966

Prince Lighters, 1974

(This guy reminds me a lot of Jack Terricloth.)

From the best blog on the Internet, Pink Tentacle. There are more at that link. Do yourself a favor, go check them out.

It always makes me happy to see a group take religion and package it in a way that puts them heads and shoulders above the crazies that are responsible for things like the Obama is the Angel of Death ad.

Sure, my views on religion are pretty harsh (I’m the guy that sides with the negative end of the Omnipotence Paradox), but I like people that can talk to me rationally about why they like a religion, why the believe in a faith. I mean after all, I’m living in sin with a girl who thinks Jesus is hot.

As to the prayer in school issue, since that was the actual point of the ad: My grandmother was an elementary school teacher. She was the first one to tell me the adage that so long as their are tests in school, there will be prayer in school. If students want to pray, let them pray. If students are made to pray, then everything has fallen apart.

Bottom line? Eloquent arguments are good. Shouting matches are bad.

Via Copyranter.

Psst, psst.


I don’t want anyone else to hear this. They’ll get mad if the secret gets out.

I’m going to tell you the truth about that whole “Hawking says there is no God.” lede you’ve been seeing everywhere. You know, the hubbub that’s spinning out of lines like this:

“Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” he wrote.

And this.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going.”

From his new book “The Grand Design”. (Out next Tuesday from Bantam Books, get your copy now! The publishers and marketers are working hard to get you to care!)

And the truth is this:

The publishers know what they are doing, and they’ve released ONLY the introduction to the book. A book which posits that M Theory is the only viable solver for a non-supernaturally created universe. An introduction which, when released like this, as the intended purpose of PISSING EVERY BELIEVER ON THE PLANET THE FUCK OFF. Which causes them to write about it, and causes the press to cover those writings.

But what I guarantee you isn’t in that introduction, but is somewhere in that book is a bit where Hawking will admit that M Theory, while not overtly active, probably does in fact meet some of the definitions of God.

After all, if M Theory really does solve out and create a unifying theory of everything, wouldn’t that, oh, I don’t know, BE GOD?

So, all of this vitriol and rhetoric that’s flying around right now? Don’t buy any of it. It’s all just hot air blowing about. It’ll die down in no time at all.

But, then again, I wouldn’t go buying the book either. Because even if you do, you’ll be justifying the publisher’s tactics to sell it.

That’s what libraries are for, after all.

“Much of the region’s [nonfishing boat] businesses — particularly the hotels — have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams,”

From Planet BP, BP’s online internal magazine.

Source- WSJ’s THE SOURCE blog

I’ve got a friend up in St Louis that’s set up a Cafe Press shop for these shirts. He, like all creatives, is poor and could use some of your money to put food in his mouth.

Male version here. Female version here.

Google Fiber, a fiber network a hundred times faster than anything available for the normal consumer. Quite possibly the Holy Grain of modern broadband. And Google knows it.

As part of their test rollout for Fiber, they are having a sort of contest where communities and residents of those communities can nominate themselves for consideration and then make tons and tons of user generated content to support that nomination. What ever community Google finally picks will have the fiber piped throughout the town and priced at a rate competitive to what is currently being offered.

Now this is where Google’s nature of being a little disingenuous comes in. Their guiding principle is to “not be evil”, but I wouldn’t say they fall squarely in the “good” camp, either. Google makes their billions by creating things that people want to use at no apparently cost to the user, and then they sell that user data to advertisers like me. You might say it’s a fair trade. Google Documents is free, where as Microsoft word is fairly pricey, but you have to deal with advertisements while you work. Google’s insidiousness lies in their subtlety. They are doing their damnedest to bring you the best possible Internet experience, but only so you’ll use more of their products and spend more time on the web so they can in turn sell you more ads. They are drug dealers, and information is their hustle.

For me, the disingenuousness with Google Fiber is in the appearance of giving every community a chance, a real chance, at actually becoming the test market, and that the content people are producing is actually not part of the application process, but a foundation for a marketing campaign.

Look at it like a reality TV show that has a user voting element. Everyone may love Person A, but the producers of the tv show think that person isn’t creating enough drama to keep ratings high, so they pull out their veto and kick that person off the show – regardless of the user voting numbers.

The Google Fiber application process is probably operating much in the same way. On some white board out in California, there is probably a short list of five to ten cities that Google has already scoped out for the Fiber test. Places under a certain population threshold are probably out, as are place over one. Go too small and no one notices, go too big and the cost is prohibitive. Places with climate or locations problems are most likely immediately discarded, too. Hawaii or Alaska? Not a chance. Live below or at sea level like New Orleans or Savannah? Won’t happen. Google is covering its ass is in the fact that the application is open, in the vein of all of Google’s “not be evil” projects. With thousands of cities and millions of people tossing around nominations, you can be sure that the cities on the Google white board are on that list, enabling the Big G to avoid any sticky accusations of them pulling the winning choice out of their ass. Sure, we’d all love to see our own cities get Google Fiber, but unless we meet the specific criteria Google is looking for, no amount preaching will matter. The producers veto the voters.

But if the application process is a sham, what does that mean for the all of the user generated content that out there extolling the reasons why Google Fiber should be put in City XYZ?

It means that Google has the smartest marketing time on the planet.

The marketing strategy behind this Google Fiber contest is multi-tiered and brilliant. The first level is the application process – the chance that Google will come charging out of their technological castle, a prince in fiber optic armor, to sweep you up and away from a life toiling away on slow, over priced networks – is enough to give everyone applying for Fiber a feeling of good will toward Google. After all, you can’t be mean to the person who’s considering giving you something for next to nothing, and in that act of giving, makes you the coolest kid on the block.

The next tier is the user generated content – which oddly enough even this blog posts falls into. User generated content isn’t like an adverting campaign. It doesn’t have an expiration date, it stays active and viewable forever. The deadline for Google Fiber nominations is this Friday, but two weeks from now there will still be videos and blog posts of people extolling the virtues of Google Fiber and why their city needs it. Before there is even a product to see, Google has created the perception that theirs is the absolute best. Comcast would spend hundreds of millions to have that said about their product, and Google got it for free by being just a bit more clever – and tricky.

My point in talking about all of this is one of truth. I like what Google is doing because it make communities think about their technological future as well as work together to get a message out to the world about why they are deserving of this. But I don’t like the fact that it is mainly a song and dance to lay the foundation for something that is most likely only really an option for a half dozen cities that Google has already vetted. Google is going about this in the least evil way they know how, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking that gift horse – or fiber – in the mouth. Everything you do to promote your city also promotes Google.

Just keep that in mind.

PS: Don’t forget to nominate Memphis if you haven’t already!

…what? I never said I wouldn’t do just about anything to get Google Fiber. You hear that, Google? ANYTHING. *licks lips*

The second piece of advertising for today, this one comes from a DK Books sales conference, and found its way onto the web.

Give it at least to the halfway point. You’ll know when the trick happens.

The New York Times ran an interesting piece on advertising the space race recently, which itself was inspired by a book called Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race.

It was “Mad Men” meets “Flash Gordon.”

The years from 1957 to 1962 were a golden age of science fiction, as well as paranoia and exhilaration on a cosmic scale. The future was still the future back then, some of us could dream of farms on the moon and heroically finned rockets blasting off from alien landscapes. Others worried about Russian moon bases.

Scientists debated whether robots or humans should explore space. Satellites and transistors were jazzy emblems of postwar technology, and we were about to unravel the secrets of the universe and tame the atom (if it did not kill us first).

Some of the most extravagant of these visions of the future came not from cheap paperbacks, but from corporations buffing their high-tech credentials and recruiting engineering talent in the heady days when zooming budgets for defense and NASA had created a gold rush in outer space.

One of the high points of the article was a quote from the author of the book.

“These images suggest that the furthest reach of what humankind hoped to find in space was in fact the very essence of infinity,” Ms. Prelinger writes.

Think about that.

A perpetual frontier waiting to be conquered, with no end in sight, ever.

You can find a collection of the images the article refers to here.

Blatant attempt at viral marketing by the people that make Gushers, but my god, what a beautifully brain-bleeding way to go about it.

One of my favorite parts of the Internet is hearing a bit of something whispered in a dark corner, then searching out the reality behind it.

While trying to suss out what the hell is behind the new Comcast commercial, I caught echoes of something involving Tom Waits and Chester Cheetah, the Frito-Lay mascot.

The Internet legend goes that Frito-Lay modeled Chester Cheetah off of Tom Waits, and Waits sued. He won millions in court, and this is the reason that he doesn’t tour very often.

The reality of the fact isn’t so far off. In 1988, Frito-Lay approached Waits to use his voice and a song for one of their radio advertisements. Waits turned down the offer, so Frito-Lay hired a sound-a-like to record a jingle that sounded like Waits’ “Step Right Up”. Waits heard the jingle and took Frito-Lay to court. He won, and Frito-Lay ended up having to pay him $2.6 million in damages and fees.

The real reason Tom Waits doesn’t tour very much these days it that he can’t. His gravely singing voice has nearly destroyed his vocal chords. Singings too much is painful and dangerous for him.

So, there you have it. From whispers in a corner, to the fact of the matter. A question created and answered by the Internet.

From the Vintage Ad Live Journal community.

The lack of any substantive content lately is because I’m actually using the fuck out of my brain at work.

We’ve been tapped to develop a web/social media based campaign to raise awareness for STDs in kids between the ages of 16 and 24. Part of this process involves me generating like 50 short tag lines that are supposed to smack the reader in the face, and a short factual statement to back that up. Since I’ve been ignoring my little festering army of malcontents to generate this stuff, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak as to what I’ve been doing.

Condoms break less than teenage hearts
-Use them to protect you from even more regrets.

Doubt can be costly. The answer is free.
-HIV test are free from your local sexual health clinic

Don’t like how condoms feel? Try having it burn when you pee.
-It only takes one time to get infected. Use a condom every time.

Pineapple, Strawberry or STD flavored.

-STDs can be transferred through oral sex. Use a condom.

Beds are made for two.
-Get tested. Make sure you’re not bringing an uninvited guest.

You wouldn’t drink sour milk. Why would you use expired condoms?
-Condoms expire, check the date before you use them

A since only a few are on the page at any one time, we’ve also been iterating on a them in a few cases:

Buying condoms: Embarrassing. Telling him he needs to get tested: Worse.
Buying condoms: Embarrassing. Buying diapers: Worse.
Buying condoms: Embarrassing. Getting them free: Awesome.

-Be safer. Use a condom every time you have sex.

Syphilis in your throat.
Gonorrhea in your mouth.
Herpes on your face.

-It can happen. STDs are transferred through oral sex. Use a condom.

And some of them are variations depending on the targeted sex. Which, conveniently, also works for gay/lesbian sex.

You trust her. Do you trust everyone she’s been with?
You trust him. Do you trust everyone he’s been with?

-Get tested together. It makes everyone safer.

It feels really good to be doing stuff at work that isn’t selling some one a new widget. If we pull this off, we’ll be making the world and people’s lives better. Which is inherently antithetical to me, I know, but as long as they’re paying my bills I don’t feel so bad.

I’ll keep you reprobates apraised when the stuff goes live.


She’s only 8.95 (or 12.95 if you want her peek-a-boo dress up bits) plus 95 cents shipping and handling, and she comes with a 10 day money back guarantee!

(Which brings up the horrible mental image of some poor sod cleaning out the dried cum from a blow-up doll and repackaging it. Oh God, you wonder why I drink.)

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