Pay attention

In the advertising spirit, I have written each of these commentaries in advertising length.

  1. Advertising traditionally consists of two things: having something to communicate and the act of communicating that something to an audience.
  2. The more intangible products and services are, the more indistinguishable advertising will be from what they do, and the more likely the product or service itself can be used as its own advertisement.
  3. Before you put out an ad, ask yourself, what is the point? Who cares? A lot of lives could be saved that way.
  4. SEX!
  5. This sentence is less interesting than the last one.
  6. Should the audience choose to respond to the advertising with something other than dollars, the advertiser has the option of listening or ignoring the audience. If the advertiser listens and engages in conversation, are they still advertising?
  7. Would you rather speak to the person at the party who wants to sell you something, or to the person who wants to talk to you?
  8. The inverse of the amount of energy spent shmoozing equals the degree to which one believes in the Genuine.
  9. We all believe we are Genuine.
  10. “A man is not a piece of fruit. Attention must be paid!”
  11. I was extolling the virtues of Karen Carpenter and her SoCal, rec room flavour of music hope at a party the other night, when I was challenged for my apparent lack of taste. So tired. So square. What the hell could I possibly find appealing in her? Karen had a beautiful voice that was so damned earnest. Not packaged ‘N Sync earnestness or self aware, camped-up, ironic earnest (nudge, nudge, wink wink), but the real deal. “Who else is earnest?” I challenged my friends (GenXrs®), “Name me one pop figure.”
  12. When the advertisement moves too far away from the thing it represents the product will be forgotten, but it’s name will live forever.
  13. There were once three free television channels. No one had heard of cable or the idea of paying for television. We all watched the same thing and went to school the next day and talked about it.
  14. One of my clearest memories of playing with my sister when I was about 10, was the time that we spent compsing our own commercials in the bathtub or in front of the bathroom mirror. I now recall these spontaneous pitch sessions with embarassment, but at the time it seemed so cool to show an imaginary audience the incredible way that a potion (ie. water) could clean something.
  15. As I got older, and took an animation class in college, I found out that my beloved Schoolhouse Rock Saturday morning experiences had been created by advertising executives. This was one of the few times when the creativity and form of memorable jingles and snappy sound bites was put to the good civic use of teaching kids about math, science, English and Civics. To this day, I can’t remember a thing I was told in high school, but I do know the functions of a conjunction.
  16. The thrill of artifice

  17. Television commercials are the first spiritual life lesson: ordinary things can be extraordinary.
  18. How can we criticize unreality when we love it so much?
  19. The two most fascinating things I learned working on television commercials were that:
    • a water truck was necessary to hose down the roads before a car was ever filmed driving on them, and
    • a mixture of beer and epsom salts can be painted on glass to give it that wintry, iced-over look
  20. The saddest thing I learned working on television commercials, all came from the directives given by the agency producer. This included the notion that a saxophone playing on a sound track could apparantly make a Cadillac commercial seem “too Black.”
  21. In advertising, a saxophone is never just a saxophone.
  22. The agony of the teat…

  23. Attention is the new currency in our economy.
  24. As more items and companies compete for the attentions and affections of an audience, the more often the advertising prospects of those items and products are valued as the prospects of the items and products themselves.
  25. The more the product is based on its advertising prospects, the shorter the life of the product, though that short life may burn very brightly.
  26. The Kato Kaelin effect: the more crowded the attention marketplace, the less the quality of that attention matters.
  27. Individuals have long established their “value” through the amount of attention paid to entire products and companies do the same.
  28. Just as the institution of individual celebrity has produced Zsa Zsa Gabor, the institution of business has produced the Dot Com.
  29. Advertising reached its modern era, self-consciousness and has begun to move into its post-modern era. The form has become far more visible and memorable than the substance. The Internet shifts advertising meaning by changing its context for each reader each time its seen.
  30. It is a greater validation of one’s ability to be perceived saleably and “endorsed” by product association, than to be evaluated in terms of accomplishment.
  31. Artificiality now works best when dressed as itself.
  32. From hard sell to soft sell to no sell

  33. Chosen sampling promises a form of honest advertising? A mark of product pride will be the small size of an advertising budget. This is nothing new. Kiehl’s has done it for over 100 years, but intangible products make it easier and cheaper.
  34. What’s the difference between advertising and information?
  35. The greatest stupidity of using sexualized women in your business advertising to attract men, is that this expression makes clear to a female audience that they are presumably invisible and therefore have no meaningful buying presence. See Network Associates Billboard Ad on the 101.
  36. Companies that are founded on the presumption that advertisers will love them should remember that they need to make something that is first and foremost for real people, not advertisers. The worst transgressors are all the developers of Interactive TV programming and the Bay Area company that makes a box that will make the Internet smell.
  37. Internet Myths and Lessons

  38. “We’ll charge less than anyone else for products, and make up the difference in advertising.”
  39. “Our marketing plan? We’re counting on a lot of word of mouth.”
  40. Let’s get something straight: the idea of “word of mouth” or “viral marketing” did not begin with Hotmail. It was not invented by a venture capitalist (no matter what they might say). It began long before the Net or even this century. It probably all started when one of our ancestors told another about a particularly nice shady spot to lie in.
  41. The stuff that gets energy online and spreads, that gets “the viral effect” if you will, is stuff that is participatory and works for people. The less advertising-oriented, and the more action-based the venture is, the more Genuine it seems, often becasue these are really the creation of new kinds of venues for people to comuncate with ech other in new ways: Shoutcast, Napster, the San Francisco-based Craig’s List community, Slashdot. All of these entities listen, and all have meaningful followings.
  42. Technologists tend to value form of delivery over content.
  43. Individually, the Dot Com ads were bad enough, but thrust upon the public as a whole, they were almost enough to put people off of the Internet completely. They came off like the adult inhabitants of a Charlie Brown special….”wahh wahh whawa waadotcom.” Who could tell one company or product or idea from the next? Who cared?
  44. VCs and investment banks may believe that poorly spent, huge advertising budgets were the reason for the Internet bubble burting. They’re partly right.
  45. VCs and investment bankers may believe that its impossible to establish a consumer brand with a new company and get a 50x ROI in 2 years, therefore it’s not worth investing in companies concerned with consumer, or rather, customer interests. They’re partly right.
  46. You can think of unmet people as potental friends or enemies. You can think of a faceless audience as Consumers or Customers, or even as people.
  47. VCs and investment bankers may believe that advertising that works is advertising that works with them. They’d be completely wrong.
  48. To technology advertisers: less is more.
  49. Can you remember a single banner ad you saw while surfing the web?
  50. Tomorrow and tomorrow

  51. Brands will become the entertainment labels of the future, Hallmark has had it’s own television production company for ages…
  52. Global brands will begin to take on the costs of the nation-state. Whether or not they will take on the responsibilities remains to be seen.
  53. Advertisements will soon give you something. You’ll be able to suck down little entertainment or informational or service testing packets from bus shelters, posters and billboards. Voluntarily choose your prosepctive advertising menu and sample it at your leisure.
  54. A 24/7 “Best of” commercials channel will appear on cable TV or the web. And it will have “new and different” commercials mixed in.
  55. Engineers think marketing is witchcraft.
  56. Marketers find technology mystical.
  57. It won’t just be the big athletic and entertainment stars that receive “endorsements” average people will be paid to wear branded merchandise too.
  58. All advertising is PR. Executives would rather spend money on it…it takes care of something many of them are uncomfortable with..comunicating feelings and image.
  59. The free market will continue to create anti-advertising products and companies.
  60. At some point, the majority of the U.S. work force will be employed in advertising work of some kind.
  61. Advertising is the only form of permissible emotion in the corporate world.
  62. Advertising to international markets is likely to make Americans more aware of other cultures than anything else.
  63. Without discipline, the amount of free mental space you have expands, depending upon the amount of advertising there is to consume.
  64. There will be a rash of marketing-based incubators that create emotional communities and products. None of them will start with the letter “e.”
  65. Some new media storytelling and “content,” like will write advertising into its story lines in ways that are consistent with the values and stories of the storytellers…an attempt to combine the Sponsored with the Genuine.
  66. Corporate communication is an oxymoron.