Thursday, January 24, 2008

Favorites Among the Favorites

I've decided to heed Jake and J.D.'s call and post my favorite pieces from this year's CA Annual. It's wildly different from both of theirs. I think between us we've mentioned every piece in the book. Which isn't a bad thing.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, my choices:

Horton Crossbows/Factory Design Labs/p. 7
Orkin/Rethink/p. 43
Apple Beer/Richter7/p. 50
Mini-Oreo/Draftfcb/p. 21
Bud Light/DDB/p. 72
McDonalds/Leo Burnett/p. 52
Guinness/BBDO/p. 82
WWF/BBDO Guerra Ortega/p. 106
Public Radio International/Mono/p. 17
Nike/Cole & Weber United/p. 62

"The internet is responsible for the greatest generation gap since Rock and Roll."

This week PBS's Frontline examines what it means to be part of the first generation to come of age in the internet era. While it confronts some of the normal scaremongering we've heard before regarding teens and the internet, the most powerful observations are those concerning the generation gap between baby boomers and their children. It drives home the point that there are millions of Americans for whom Facebook, YouTube and Blogs are just words that may or may not carry any real meaning. While we take a wired world for granted, huge portions of our target market (and the people that control our jobs, countries, etc) have no idea what the fuck is going on. None at all.

I consider this essential viewing for anyone with aspirations of working in marketing. If you actually take a moment to think about the title quote of this post, you should be clamoring to see this film.

Preview is in the player above. The full film is available to watch online here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I think this commercial is just about the greatest thing that has ever been on television. It kicks the moon landing's ass."

The above quote comes from an inspiring segment of NPR's always sublime This American Life, in which the story behind Weiden's famous "Freestyle" is finally told. Originally aired in 2001, the piece proves that sometimes - sometimes - advertising can transcend its original purpose (selling) and move in to the realm of genuine art. The segment is great even if you don't give a damn about advertising, but for myself (and I think a lot of others as well) it's really, really encouraging.

Hear what I'm talking about in the player above.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2007

The title says it all. I know this is a blog about advertising, but good advertising needs good taste. You don't hear a lot of Nickelback in ads, do you? Without further ado, the 10 albums I liked the most this year. I've done them 1-10 so that you don't have to scroll down to see what my number one choice is. I know that's what everyone does.

1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
I'm aware that putting Radiohead atop any kind of best-of list is cliche. I don't care. Earnest and afraid, warm and meticulous, the piece organically describes what it was to be alive in 2007.

2. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
A lot of music is described as literate. This is the only artist that I actually wanted to talk about books with. Neither happy nor sad, Bird bests his previous release with erudition that inspires.

3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
The rockingest album on this list. Husky electric guitar and tambourines mesh with gruff vocals and appropriate underproduction to great effect. From its cover art to the last note, it's an album that will make you want to stay in the city no matter how crappy your studio apartment its.

4. Daft Punk - Alive 2007
How many artists can layer a bunch of their songs on top of each other and make new, better songs? How many artists don robot helmets and perform atop a seraphic neon pyramid? Only one. Only Daft Punk.

5. Handsome Furs - Plague Park
With bizarre lyrics moaned over almost-catchy guitar/synth hooks, Plague Park is like a good piece of performance art: commercially nonviable in a beautiful way.

6. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
The princes of Nu-Rave make good on their promising eps with a rip-roaring full length. For best results, this album should be put on repeat and played at a thunderous volume. For worst results, try and force yourself to stay still while listening to it.

7. Feist - The Reminder
With a voice that breaks hearts and sells iPods, Leslie Feist had a huge year. You're probably already familiar her quicker singles, so make a point to try some of the slow songs (I prefer So Sorry) for a sexy ache in your chest.

8. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Simple neo-folk that (perhaps unfortunately) eschews the melodrama of their previous release. The Stage Names forces consideration of just what it means to make your living being in a band, something that most of us will never really know.

9. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Get your rucksack. Put some sweaters and maps in it. I hope you like the Old Country. Indie-wunderkid Zach Condon entices us further east with a mix of ukulele, trumpet and accordion.

10. Clap Your hands and Say yeah - Some Loud Thunder
"Creative" guitar lines. Unconventional vocals that sound like they're in Italian (they're not). This is not an easy album to listen to, but it's absolutely worth the work. Nowhere else this year were the complexities of adult life refocused in such childish, fantastical ways.