The Sausage of Peace

November 27, 2008

I came across some off-the-wall Christmas greeting cards and mementos available on The Sausage of Peace was a favourite of mine. It’s the perfect Christmas card for your straight-laced Canadian aunt that you see every 5 years. She’s bound to get a kick out of it…

Peace to the Sausage.


How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You…

November 25, 2008

Matthew Inman, co-founder of SEOmoz, deserves all the credit he gets for this hilarious site. What a brilliant way to promote his skills and personal brand.

The Killers have gone soft

November 25, 2008

Retro can be cool…unless you’re The Killers. If you thought “Human” (“Are we human, or are we dancers?”) was a cheesy 80’s-inspired sellout, wait until you hear their latest album, “Day & Age”.  Duran Duran springs to mind, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Critics have dubbed the album as “odd”. I wouldn’t mind if “odd” meant experimental or interesting, but I’m afraid their latest offering sounds like something pulled offf an A-ha  demo tape.

Disclaimer: I am a MASSIVE Killers fan. Group mourning welcome.

“I’m a PC” and I’m Bored of this Story

September 19, 2008

The latest Microsoft ads are below. Yawn.

Microsoft Sack Seinfeld

September 18, 2008

According to Microsoft underlings, the move was planned. Of course this had nothing to do with the tepid reviews that the two Seinfeld-Gates adverts received.

Naturally it was all part of Microsoft’s core strategy: pay a fat fee to an aging comedian to bewilder the public with two offbeat adverts, and then (wait for it) introduce an entirely new campaign (deemed “Phase 2” by Microsoft Marketing Big Knobs) to “reposition the PC”.  Ah, it all makes sense now.

“It did what it needed to do,” said Rob Reilly, partner and co-executive creative director at Crispin Porter in Boulder, Colo., and Miami. “People who got it, got it.”

OK, time for a headcount:

  • People who got it: 52 Crispin Porter employees
  • People who didn’t get it: 6,724,363,978

“Phase 2” of the campaign is allegedly a direct retort to Apple’s successful dig at Microsoft. The phrase “I’m a PC” will serve to “set up the notion [that] the real PC is not necessarily who we’ve been portrayed as” in the Apple ads. It sounds like a defamation suit doesn’t it? 😉 I think this is where Microsoft miss the boat – Apple didn’t get personal, they got clever…

“Phase 2” is a great name for “Plan B” isn’t it?

And what about Jerry Seinfeld? The official word is:

“Jerry is a friend of the agency and Microsoft,” Mr. Reilly of Crispin Porter said. “You like to keep your friends close — and your enemies closer.”

RIP Jerry Seinfeld’s career, 1976-2008.

Seinfeld and Gates “Connect with Real People” in Microsoft Advert Sequel

September 15, 2008

In the second installation of the new Microsoft advertising campaign, Seinfeld and Gates’ antics slowly begin to make sense. In retrospect it is clear that Crispin Porter + Bogusky clearly designed the first advert to be a perplexing teaser to do nothing more than generate interest and buzz around the brand. The second advert, depicting Seinfeld and Gates trying to live with an average American suburban family, begins to build a prevalent campaign theme: “Microsoft – perpetually connecting with real people”.

As Seinfeld says to Gates, “You and I are a little out of it. You’re living in some kinda moon house hovering over Seattle like the mother ship. I’ve got so many cars I get stuck in my own traffic. We need to connect with real people.”

“Real people” – am I the only one amused by this? I think the ad agency watched one too many “Simple Life” episodes when brainstorming this one. In saying “real people”, the advert distinguishes between the two groups (i.e. “celebrity” and “real”). Surely by creating distinctions you are not identifying or connecting with anyone?

Having said that though, the humor is more typical of Seinfeld, and the advert is at least somewhat entertaining. The ad uses two celebrities in desperate need of an image revamp to parody Microsoft’s uncool brand perception. And, presumably, the celebrities’ attempts to connect with “real people” is very much what Microsoft are trying to do with this campaign.

Has this been achieved? Well, the advertising agency has certainly secured some good media coverage. According to a Microsoft spokesman, the next advert is going to be more “Windows orientated”. Having secured the attention, the advertising agency will probably move from brand image building to more product focused advertising. The question is: is the objective to convert Mac users to PC or are Microsoft merely trying to retain the market share they risk losing?

From what I’ve seen so far, I think it may be the latter. After $300 million of Microsoft adspend, Vista users may just have a slightly warmer feeling when they wait 10 minutes for their PC to start up…

Think Again. Think McCain.

September 11, 2008

A few months ago I had a rather unfortunate experience with a frozen McCain lasagna. I could liken the culinary experience to licking an onion-infused construction worker’s armpit, but I won’t. To lessen the blow of going to bed with an empty stomach, I assured myself that I had learned a valuable lesson: “Think Again, Think McCain.”

Irrespective of your political affiliations, it’s hard to not find some amusement in coupling the frozen food producer’s tagline with US presidential candidate, John McCain. I can feeeeeeeel a sponsorship comin’ on 😉

Statistical Insignificance in Advertising

September 9, 2008

“1 in 2 who call us get a better deal”

Have you heard a customer promise more ridiculous than this? 50/50 odds don’t exactly fill me with confidence. Why? Look at the person standing next to you in the queue and think about the better deal that he is getting.

Unfortunately for this insurance company, they have wasted thousands on a campaign that decreases their credibility and encourages consumers to seek competitive quotes.

Statistics can, however, be a great way to sell a product – if they are in the consumer’s favour of course. The reality is that Americans have a 1 in 5 lifetime chance of dieing of heart disease, while you have a “1 in 2” chance of getting a “better deal” on your insurance. OUTsurance, iThink you should leave the statistics OUT of this one.

Seinfeld and Gates Put Apple Execs to Sleep with New Microsoft Advert

September 5, 2008

After 90 painful seconds of watching Jerry Seinfeld help Bill Gates with his discount shoe shopping, Jerry asks Bill, “Are they ever gonna come out with something that will make our computers moist and chewy like cake so we can just eat them while we’re working? If it’s yes, give me a signal. Adjust your shorts.”

Bill does a tame shimmy, and Jerry concludes, “I knew it”. The advert ends with the words, “The Future. Delicious”.

I bet the Apple execs had a sleepless night last night after watching this. Not only is the ad not funny or quirky, but it really does nothing to help resurrect the flailing image of an uncool brand. Sure, it humanizes Bill Gates a bit, but was this even needed? Bill Gates is practically a pensioner and no one thinks he is an evil monster trying to take over the world anymore. Why? Because he can’t, and we all know it.

Does Vista make our PC’s “moist and chewy like cake”? I certainly hope not. Perhaps likening an operating system (meant to be robust and durable) to a consumable is not the best approach.

As to the future being “delicious”? Well, I think that mainly depends on our future energy reserves, not our operating systems.

Hi-5 to Jerry Seinfeld though. That has got to be the easiest $10 million he has ever made…

Editors, Stay Under the Covers

September 1, 2008

There is nothing more discordant than the shriek of the Kraaifontein Cackle. And I hear it every morning on the radio – courtesy of South African Heat Magazine Editor, Melinda Shaw.

Magazine editors shouldn’t do voiceovers. Why? Well, just ask socialite Paris Hilton about her successful platinum selling solo career – she should be able to provide some insight into bridging the artistic divide.

Editors, as self-professed “masters” of the English word, should stay under the covers. Literally. Melinda Shaw should occupy most of her working hours thinking of synonyms for “porker”, “crack whore”, and “beach bloat” and less time trying to market the tabloid she works for. Honey, we have to face the facts – only your boyfriend can listen to that voice…