February 10, 2009
I’ve already Tweeted about it, but I can’t help but add to the web-wide snickering about the leaked presentation that was created by Arnell, the ad agency that designed the underwhelming (to put it kindly) new Pepsi logo.
I first read about the debacle this morning here, and later in the day ran across several online articles clowning Arnell — most notably here and here. (Download the presentation at any of these sites. Seriously. Do it. No, REALLY, do it.)
Now I’ve worked with some advertising folks so full of their own bullshit it was coming out of their ears. But nothing I’ve encountered comes close to comparing to the audacity and clueless, tone-deaf arrogance of the creative team that put this presentation together. Now, to be fair, that’s partly because most of the creative directors I’ve worked with lack the technical skill, knowledge and imagination to aspire to bullshit of this magnitude. The bullshit I’ve witnessed is strictly garden variety stuff: buzzword-studded presentations, insanely unrealistic projections of media interest, stuff like that. But this — this is some truly inspired bullshit.
Pepsi must have thought so, too, because they paid millions of dollars for a derivative, flat and forgettable logo based on this presentation. It’s hard not to wonder what the reactions of those executives will be when they run across the hundreds of snarky, incredulous, un-uh-no-they-didn’t responses to this presentation that are cropping up everywhere on the web as I type. Oh, they’ll probably rationalize it (when you spend that kind of cash on something, it ain’t easy to accept that you basically got got, as the kids say). More interesting would be the reactions of the Arnell team. Do they really believe in this? And if so, are they an anomaly in the ad business, or is this kind of byzantine, smoke-and-mirrors shit the norm at big-money agencies these days?
January 13, 2009
Burger King won the enthusiastic admiration of countless creative directors when it launched Whopper Sacrifice last week. Already widely acknowledged as the king (if you don’t mind) of irreverent marketing and advertising (e.g. the Subservient Chicken and the Creepy King), BK hit the jackpot with this clever little Facebook app.
Like most smart interactive marketing gambits, Whopper Sacrifice is simple in its elegance. Users just install it, choose 10 of their Facebook friends to de-friend (or “sacrifice”) and sit back and wait for a free Whopper coupon to arrive in the mail (unless they’re Canadian, in which case they’re screwed.)
It’s a deliciously prankish little game. And it further contributes to Burger King’s status as the rule-breaking smart-ass in the fast food market — an enviable position when your target audience is largely young and male.
Whopper Sacrifice hasn’t come without a price, though. First off, no matter how “cool” the whole shebang might seem to most people, nobody hates a slick, successful online marketing campaign more than young computer hacks. Attempts to hack Whopper Sacrifice have so far been unsucessful. But don’t count ’em out yet. Also, users are finding creative ways to cheat the system. In a particularly pathetic case, this young woman posted a Craigslist ad to recruit new “friends” for the express purpose of de-friending them so she can get her free Whopper without actually offending any of her real online friends.
Really, though, all this attention is exactly what BK wanted. And now matter what you think about them, it’s refreshing to see a big company willing to do the daring stuff their marketing agency (the It boys at Crispin Porter + Bogusky) designs for them. As for me, I won’t be deleting any friends. But that’s because Whoppers are like Boone’s Farm and clove cigarettes. If you’re over 30, you probably know better.