Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

Imported from Detroit
February 24, 2011, 12:30 am
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: , , , , , ,

The SuperBowl has come and gone. The celebrations are over (almost), the foam fingers have been put away, and the fans have already started waiting for the start of the next season.

One of the most disappointing things about the Superbowl this year (other than the utterly disgraceful halftime show) was the lineup of commercials. At $3 million for 30 seconds, you’d think that the likes of Budweiser, Pepsi, Kia and the others would put together something truly memorable. The only thing memorable about those commercials, is how uninspiring they were – if that was the goal, mission accomplished.

A spot that really stood out from the others, by far, was the Chrysler commercial. With the issues faced by both the automaker and the city of Detroit, the last few years have been interesting in the Chrysler family. The arrival of the Fiat group and their cronies, namely Sergio Marchionne (CEO of Fiat & Chrysler Group) and Olivier Francois (CEO of Chrysler brand) brought with it immense change, including trimming the lineup of cars down to 3 – the 200, 300 and Town & Country.

The narration, the story, the familiar Eminem tune, all tie emotion into the Chrysler brand. The car is not the hero in the commercial, the brand is. At 120 seconds ($12 million!), talk about an impression.

The gloves are back on, and Chrysler is ready to play.

Imported from Detroit.



Best Print Ads in Newsweekly Magazines
April 29, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: , , , ,

The last few days have been extremely busy, and I apologize for not being able to contribute more often.

In the meantime, check out this slideshow by AdAge with some of the best print ads in news magazines:


My favorite have to be the ones for Marriott and Cartier.

And yours?


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #5
February 25, 2009, 11:00 pm
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Good – Onitsuka Tiger – Zodiac Race

I saw this one on AdAge’s creativity top 5 a few days ago, and there’s something about the full spot that is endearing and draws people in. The history of the Chinese zodiac goes back thousands of years, and the cartoon is a great way to characterize how it “coulda” been. Though the outcome of the story’s been known for centuries, it’s interesting to watch who actually wins the race – and how exactly the cat loses out on being part of the calendar. The Japanese-accent commentary is a great touch for a brand that is a cult classic worldwide. Take a peek at the full spot:


The Full Piece:


Bad – Zicam – Rhino

A few weeks ago I posted a really terrible Zicam commercial in which the lady in the spot turns a sick green and smiles very scarily. This Rhino ad is a step up – the concept is simple and clean. That being said, the creative is slightly bland making the spot boring and hard to watch which makes it just…bad. Bonus points for not being as ugly as before.


Ugly – Boost Mobile – Unwronged

I saw this spot a few days ago for the first time. The concept is way out in left field, and actually quite funny. The bicycle, the setup and the guy’s face as he’s being batted in the face by the hair. Funny turns to disgust though, and 30 seconds of looking at the girl’s armpit hair just makes the stomach turn. This one’s not something I’d want to watch while eating dinner. 


What do you think?

Just a Second
January 23, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: , , , ,

Having changed their AOR in the last few years, Miller High Life is back on track with some interesting creative. The agency continued to center the brand’s advertising around Wendell Middlebrooks, the roly-poly outspoken MHL delivery man and in my opinion a great personality for the brand. Some previous spots had Wendell walking into a club-suite at a football game and taking the High Life away because it’s drinkers did not appreciate it or teaching some tailgaters that it’s not cool to make turkey burgers.

The Big Game, just over a week away, is the pinnacle of the advertising industry. With prices for a 30 second spot hitting $3 million and the economy heading south, many companies are looking to other alternatives. Instead of competing with companies like Coca Cola and Anheuser Busch (which bought has exclusive rights to the national beer spots), Miller High Life created a series of blinks – ads that you WILL miss if you blink because they are one second long.

The idea was created with the thought that Miller High Life identifies with value. Why would a brand that emphasizes value pay $3 million for a spot? Why not buy a spot with just enough time to say one thing (Smart did this in Germany with radio ads a few years ago).

This is a smart move for the brand as the strategy stays true to its values and identity. By buying 1 second placements in targeted spot markets, they are still covering 60% of the 95 million viewers while paying a fraction of the price. Wendell Middlebrooks, the image that brings personality to the table, is set to do a great job in bringing attention to the brand in such a short time span. Finally, people watching the Super Bowl are already drinking beer. By creating this idea and promoting it before the game, the brand does a great job of reminding people what they SHOULD be drinking while they’re watching the Clydesdales parade across the screen.

This is definitely one of the campaigns to look forward to at this year’s Super Bowl. 

Just don’t blink.

Check out www.1secondad.com for some of the “rejected” spots. My favorite has to be the one where the director yells action and cut before Wendell can say anything.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #3
January 21, 2009, 12:00 pm
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The Good – Ford F-150

Despite the fact that almost all car manufacturers in the US lack an identity, the Ford F-150 has managed to carve out a name for itself in the vehicle industry. And there’s oh, almost 30 straight years of being the best-selling vehicle in America to back that up. That being said, the “Built Ford Tough” campaigns recently haven’t disappointed. Slightly longer with more copy, the spot effectively uses typography and moving objects to captivate the attention span of even the smallest child. A great reminder of the fact that the F-150 has captivated the American people for almost 30 years, the spot does a fantastic job of embracing new techniques and technology to continue the brand’s reign. 

The Bad – Geico Chinese Restaurant

Already sporting a platoon of mascots/characters, Geico throws another one onto the table – Kash. A stack of cash with googly eyes that kindergarteners stick on their artistic creations, the spot features a female on a date at a seedy Chinese restaurant (great place for a date, huh?) “shamelessly flirting” with Kash. I can’t say I’m a fan of the awkward silence while Kash is on screen, and I don’t really know if Geico needs another character to represent its brand as the Gecko, Cavemen and Rusty Wallace’s cousin have been quite successful on their own. What saves this spot in my mind is the waiter’s acting and accent – his role cracks me up every time.

The Ugly – Pizza Pops

I thought I’d seen some pretty terrible spots in the last few weeks and this one is definitely up there. I really don’t know what brand of crack the creative team was smoking when executing this concept, but it must have been potent. Hailing from Canada, these Pizza Pops spots are an abject failure at making a food product look appetizing. In an attempt to emphasize that these Pizza things are stuffed with large amounts of, well, stuff, a series of spots show the after effects of an exploding pastry. As funny as getting struck by lightning may be, the orange splatter looks like the culmination of a marathon drinking session and the mascot licking the kid’s arm just puts a cherry on top of this terrible sundae.



Thoughts? Comments? Bash away!

The Battle of the Big Three
January 5, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: ,

For the past few years there’s been an intense battle going on between the Big Three. And no, I’m not talking about Ford, GM and Chrysler. I’m talking about the Big Three of men’s cosmetics – Axe, Old Spice and Dial.

While Axe and Old Spice have taken on the extreme approach in appealing to men – beautiful women unable to keep their hands off (Axe) and the concept of being macho and manly (Old Spice), Dial seemed to fly under the radar in their advertising. Not anymore.

Dial’s new campaign included the company in a battle for the best, machoest shower gel. A man dressed for the office discusses cleaning the “man-suit” walking through a rugby game, bowling alley and other places where “real man” activities occur (axe throwing and sawing wood?).

Often described as the “budget” brand, Dial’s new approach will definitely include it in the fight, but is it to little too late? In the way that this category of advertising has evolved, probably not.

Although some may think otherwise, these images of manliness just might be the defining factor in pushing sales for these brand. In a society where a man no longer has to hunt, fight and protect his territory, there are less and less ways to prove oneself to the potential mate. At the end of the day, we are still hardwired for survival of the fittest which also goes for choosing the best partner.

So when spears, clubs and aggression no longer do men justice, they turn to another way of appealing to potential partners. Smell.

Now here is the difference between the three brands. Axe appeals to the late teenage, early college young man, recently independent and always ready for a good time. Old Spice on the other hand touts experience and most recently the gentlemanly swagger that comes with its products. Dial seems to appeal to the everyday macho-man, the lumberjack, axe-throwing, bowling man.

Will this hold true and actually work? Only time can tell.

From the desk of Alex Bogusky
December 3, 2008, 10:22 pm
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bkUnder Alex Bogusky’s helm, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has managed to blow new air into brands such as Burger King and Volkswagen. With the reintroduction of the mildly stalkerish and creepy King, Bogusky placed Burger King back on the fast food map of America. The success brought Burger King plenty of attention, and lifted The King to new realms fame and fan obsession. A few days ago, a new campaign graced our TV and computer screens – The Whopper Virgins.

The gist of the campaign is that Burger King has brought the classic taste test to people who “don’t have a word for burger”, remote villages in Romania, Greenland and the Golden Triangle. At first, this idea seems brilliant – who better to use for taste tests than people who haven’t tried either product? But putting this aside, Crispin is really pushing the envelope, particularly in the way it projects how Americans think about the rest of the world. A post on Adfreak, an industry blog, mentions that “it’s more embarrassing and emblematic of how ignorant Americans still seem to the rest of the world.”

I couldn’t agree more, and that’s the first thing I thought about when I saw the website and ads for the first time. I had the fortune of growing up as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), and despite being surrounded by plenty of political incorrectness, everyone knew when a line was crossed. Whopper Virgins crosses that line.

It is remarkable that these cultures have remained relatively untouched by the McDonaldization of the world, and it is quite despicable that they are being exploited for this reason. This isn’t to say that Burger King is dropping cases of Whoppers in these villages, but the idea that they would even pull the stunt for our entertainment pushes the limit.

As these people show up in the test locations dressed in their traditional attire, it feels like they are being paraded around with a similar aura as the African-Americans and little people paraded around the World Expo in Chicago over 70 years ago. Though on paper it seems like a great idea – having people who’ve never had a burger to complete a taste test – in theory it pushes cultural boundaries that are better left untouched. At least until BK or McDonalds set up shop in Greenland.

The countdown is on – in 3 days the documentary which the TV spots and sites advertise will go live. Check it out at WhopperVirgins.com 

What do you think?

Take a look: