Monday, March 30, 2015

Brands: Stop Hiring Journalists to Write Native Ads.

(If you were Hunter Thompson, then yes, I would let you write a native ad for my brand. But you're not. He's dead.)

Now, well-educated, delusional, underpaid journalists think that they can do advertising better than ad copywriters. This is poppycock. Read why here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why did it take Facebook 11 f#©king years to advertise "friendship"?

We all remember the Most Depressing Tech Commercial in History, the 2012 Facebook "Chairs" ad that opened with a scene that looked it was from an episode of True Detective. Zuckerberg followed up that video with even more Dystopian ads.

Well now, finally, Facebook has done something that makes sense. Read why, and see the new ads here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The "Big Idea" ain't dead yet. Here's proof.

"No Bollocks" is a great Big Idea.

If I were a CMO? I’d run my brand downtown to the Wall Street office of Droga5 and scream, Fry-like, “Shut up and take my money,” give Dave Droga a blank check, and then go to the lobby and sleep on their couch for two weeks or so, use Droga’s private shower, eat their food, go to New York Dolls with a couple of their chatty account doofs, watch them make it rain singles on smirking strippers — all while their creatives worked 18 hour days on my Big Idea.

Read the rest on Digiday.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Digital is Destroying All Creativity.

Note: this is an ironic visual.

In News. In Fashion. And especially, in Advertising.
LINK, on Digiday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Creative Director, Copywriter, or Art Director—Who is the Biggest Creative Department Douchebag?

The answer will surprise you! Or it won't. LINK, on Digiday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Create Creative Content in 10 Not-So-Easy Steps.

( a metaphor for your current shitty content)

Here it isI finally reveal the secrets that every good traditional ad creative knows about the mysterious "concepting" process. For goddamn free. (LINK, on Digiday).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can a Brand be Your Friend? FUCK No.

Gawker's Nick Denton thinks "a brand can be your friend".
I successfully refute his bullshit on Digiday. LINK.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Native Advertising is Killing Ad Creativity.

I wrote this for Digiday (LINK).
Please share it.
Thank you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

copyranter®, Inc. is open for business!

(me, creating your great ideas)

I've (well actually my wonderful wife) registered the trademark copyranter®. So I'm now official as fuck.

You want great ad concepts? I'll give you them. Any medium. Any product, from toothpaste to SheMale escort services. Three campaigns for the price of one.

Brands? You want great 'branded content" ideas? I will give you better ideas than any big media website's "creative studio" (Gawker, Vice, etc.) could ever give you. I guaran-fucking-tee it. Then, you can take my idea to their studio and make them execute it. I'll hold their hands to make sure they don't fuck it up.

Also! If you creative studio creative directors want to bring in a hired gun who will give you five ideas better than what your inexperienced creatives could ever hatch, I'm here for you, too. You can even take all the credit, I don't give a crap.

I've given several of these creative studios the chance to hire me at a ridiculously cut rate. You know better than them. It's their loss.

I charge by the day.

Examples of my CLIO/One Show award-winning work available to serious inquirers.


I already have one client, so you won't be the first!

NOTE: I am trying to get out of the ad journalism profession, but people keep paying me to write about this inane industry. So, the ranting continues...

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

10 Awkward Stock Photos Of Businesspeople Holding Oversized Puzzle Pieces (With Undercurrents Of Sexual Tension).

Of all the depressing, cliched business theme stock photo sets, the "final piece of the puzzle" ones are the saddest. They make you want to give up your middle manager dreams and start a life of crime.

Again—for a reason that escapes me—I searched through thousands of photos to bring you this curated collection. Enjoy. Or, start planning your burglary spree.

Click images to enlarge.

Look at the dude's face, right. Oh yeah baby, you like it when I wiggle it around, don't you?

This time, the woman has the penis piece, a metaphor for "pegging".

He loves interracial porn, obviously, preferably black man/white woman.

If you know anything about Japanese porn, then you now that his red piece should be pixelated. Nice O face on her.


Bob & Carol always liked a quickie before the big Friday lunch orgy started.

Ever do it on a conference room table, baby? C'mon, stop teasing me, can't you see I've got blue balls?

It's their first time.

Puzzle-fucked his way to the top.

Her (L): It's smaller than I imagined.
Him (R): I'm a grower, baby.

PREVIOUSLY: the 19 worst "business teamwork" stock photos.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"EAT LESS FOR PUTIN" Propaganda Posters.

The AP reported this morning that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at Davos, said that the Russian people will "eat less" for their dear leader as the country struggles through a recession and Western sanctions.

Simultaneously, Russia's Ministry of Propaganda, thought to be long defunct, released three posters which they say will be plastered on billboards across the country starting next week.

NOTE: The typeface chosen by the Ministry is "Hunger Games".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

12 Advertising Headlines That Mean Absolutely Fucking Nothing.

(via some mall in Atlanta)

Shakespeare once described advertising (or maybe it was Life) as "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Today, of course, most advertising means little or nothing. But some of it means more nothing than the rest. Here is some of that—a collection I've been compiling for awhile.

(snapped on the Upper West Side)

Well, that's...right? Better than "like smegma".
(I do like the product shot art direction of Stoli's new campaign, very Commie.)

(on an A train)

Forget the "CARPE P.M." groaner pun, focus on the sign-off line. "Most Refreshing"? That doesn't mean "tastiest". What does it mean? The most water? Now add in "The Night's" and the line actually becomes less than meaningless.

(in Times Square)

Latin-based puns are hot now.
If this was an ad for the NSA, it would make sense. But it isn't.

(near Columbus Circle)

Ready for what—besides taking my money? To be robbed? And who's "New York"? Anyway: who had the better beard? Wells? or Fargo?

How about that for a USP? Coffee you can actually drink. Donuts you can actually eat. VISIBLE WORDS YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE.

The meaningless of this line is headache-inducing, much like cable company customer service. The four words add up to nothing to the power of infinity, xfinity.

(via Australia)

Ad bursting with bullshit.
I see only "OH!" on the bottle. Maybe 'YEAH!" is listed in the ingredients.

(on an A train)

It's in "quotes" I guess to emphasis the spoken-ness. How bout "English"? Is that "spoken" there, stupid New Jersey school of "higher" "learning"?

The shit-beer's all-encompassing, utterly meaningless tagline for a couple years now.
• Friend just got eaten by a bear? PERFECT.
• Sharted? PERFECT.
•Beer-tasting contest? PERFECT.

Not only means nothing, but is about the laziest piece of copywriting I've ever seen. What do I win? Are you giving away a free beer to everybody who sees this ad? Find yourself a new agency, Corona. (Ad is by Cramer-Krasselt.)

(in Penn Station)

Another literal headache-inducer.

Friday, January 09, 2015

What the HELL is going on in this new Shell ad?

(click image to enlarge)

The ad, created by JWT London, was released late last month. It features the Forth Bridge, the iconic cantilever railroad bridge in Scotland. It also features a menacing attack-balloon full of CO2.

The url in the ad leads to this page about the Peterhead CCS Project, whose goal is to capture "up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions...from the Peterhead Power Station." The emissions would be "transported by pipeline offshore for long-term storage deep under the North Sea." This is a drop in the global cooling bucket.
It's always fun when Big Oil trots out their disingenuous "environmental" ads. Before the Gulf Spill, bp featured the cutest alternative energy logo you'll ever see. That logo and program are now as dead as all the wildlife that little oopsie-daisy disaster destroyed, and is still destroying.

Back to the above image. Of all the ways an art director could show "captured CO2", why create this scene?!? First off, that doesn't look like that much CO2—like about from one car from one trip to the country and back. Secondly, as soon as that attack-balloon hits the bridge, it's gonna burst, and all that carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere—joining the shittonnes of CO2 created and not captured by petrochemical companies like Shell. The nonflammable explosion will certainly capsize that boat and probably damage the bridge, maybe even destroy it.

Below is a US Shell ad from 2007 that ran in the Wall Street Journal. Yes, those are flowers coming out of Shell smokestacks because, "What we can do is find creative ways to recycle. Greenhouses use our waste CO2 to grow flowers..."

Careful you don't choke on that thick irony.

(click image to enlarge)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Which of these Apple Christmas Ad Post Headlines is the Most Hyperbolic?

As Charlie Brooker (creator of "Black Mirror" and former ace ad critic) recently wrote, "exaggeration is the official language of the internet."

Released last week, Apple's "The Song" (by TBWA) sent bloggers desperately searching deep into their souls (or asses) to pull out the most disingenuously exaggerated, clickbaitiest heds. The only review I've read that came close to getting it right was Hannah Jane Parkinson's for The Guardian. She's correct: that's a very personal recording of the grandmother's, and the selfish granddaughter makes a gift that's all about HER.

Anyway, below are the worst ones. NOTE: I won't be linking to any of the posts because, simply, fuck them.

1. Jezebel

"Edgy" Jezebel uses an edgy cussy word to launch the ole "fake outrage" enticement. Feel the immediacy. You're clicking on the image, aren't you?

2. Complex

"Cool" website Complex "challenges" you not to click the link (stop clicking it, it's just a screengrab). "Make you cry" is so banal. They red-lined the overstatement meter.

3. ETonline

The tried and trite "guaranteed".
Seriously, fuck you Entertainment Tonight.

4. Pajiba
Own it?

5. WREG TV, Memphis

 Sorry, my dead grandmas. Please try to continue resting in peace.

6. Refinery29

Below, me, after watching the ad.

7. BuzzFeed

I would've bet a million bucks "FEELS" would show up in the BuzzFeed post. I believe they've trademarked the word. Which is a better form of mush: ball or puddle?

8. copyranter



Friday, December 19, 2014

IT’S THE END OF ADVERTISING CREATIVITY AS WE KNOW IT (and you should not feel fine).

(portion of a 2008 ad for ad school The Creative Circus)

This year’s advertising was shit. Digital, social, native, mobile—shit. Even the “traditional” advertising, created by supposedly trained creative pros, was mostly shit. And, it wasn’t just shit-ineffective, it was shit-garbage: unentertaining, uninteresting, unfunny, unstimulating, un-authentic (bear with me), unfocused, un-selling. Uncreative.

Of course, Facebook and Twitter have had a lot to do with fostering this new-age GIF/meme creative witlessness. But they are only platforms. People make ads. And more and more, the people making the advertising “content” are untrained, inexperienced but “tech-savvy” people: People who don’t know what a campaign is, don’t know how to dramatically communicate a product benefit, don’t know how to consistently image-brand, don’t even know what the fuck branding is.

This is #sad.

The overuse and near meaninglessness of “Creativity”—the “C” word—has been a long-running joke, both inside and outside the industry. Seriously: What the actual fuck is a “Creative” Director” (cool white bro)? But, the new digital/social/native agencies popping up like lowermybills ads are trying to eliminate the “old-school” creative element of advertising. They’re trying to make it artificially complicated, trying to turn it into a technology. Advertising is not technology. It is communication. And good advertising is persuasive communication. Which means it is an “art”, not a science. Sorry, all you Silicon Valley disrupters with Peaky Blinders haircuts.

2014 has seen the continued growth of: StuntVertising, ShockVertising, PrankVertising, EventVertising, CelebVertising, CrowdsourcedVertising, EmpowermentVertising, FemVertising (pathetic), StorytellingVertising, ContentVertising, Appvertising, and CatVertising. Everything but IdeaVertising. Ad people know what I mean when I say IdeaVertising, but for you others, what it means is: a consistent ad concept, across all media (What Millennial nitwits now call “seamless storytelling”). But we’re seeing less and less of this because coming up with a GREAT, BIG idea that sells the bejesus out of a brand is hard work. Really hard work. It takes time, and a lot of meetings between client and agency(s).

It takes experience, something that’s becoming less important this generation by the second. “Pfft. I can learn what you know, in a day on the internet, pops.” No, you can’t, child. Just like you can’t learn a great hockey wrist shot in a day, you can’t learn how to make great creative advertising in a day. It takes practice. Take 100,000 wrist shots, and you’ll get yourself a better wrist shot. It is inevitable, I learned.

(2010 ad for South Africa's Eagle awards. Billions of bunnies bit it this year.)

I’m not going to link to any specific 2014 examples of what big-time media bloggers who’ve never created an ad in their lives called “great” ads—ads that at best, were mediocre. But I will say that many of those bloggers lauded those ads without believing their own words, glowingly posting them strictly for pageviews. That’s not just #sad. That’s #unethical.

Why should you believe this pessimistic assessment of my industry? Because I’ve been obsessively following advertising creativity for 25 years now, via this copyranter blog (started in 2005) and as a New York City copywriter/creative director. Very few—if any, I would confidently wager—ad creatives/critics in the world have looked at/sat through as many ads as I have during this period. I’m not really bragging; I’m mentally damaged from browsing the same 50+ shitty websites day-in, day-out, seven days a week.

I’ve watched the quality of creativity decline steadily over the last 10 years, and even more so in the last two years. This trend is indisputable.

And I see no renaissance coming.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Look at this fucking obnoxious California dates ad.

1978 was the year I graduated high school. Bikers were cool in 1978. Bikers were people you didn't fuck with,  at bars or anywhere else. A few years later, after college, I witnessed a biker beat the living shit out of a huge bodybuilder outside of a rural northwestern New Jersey bar. The bullet head insisted that they go outside and fight. The biker did not want to fight. The pump monkey wouldn't take "no" for an answer. The biker unenthusiastically followed gym boy outside to the parking lot. And then, he nearly killed him by repeatedly bashing his perfect blonde-haired head against a car bumper. The biker was about 6-4, but flabby, no muscle tone. The bodybuilder's girlfriend was screaming maniacally. It was fucking cool.

You should know that weightlifters are, for the most part, all show and no go.

I don't who know who the California Date Commission's ad agency was in 1978, but judging by the aesthetically pleasing layout and perfectly wrapped body copy, it was probably a bigshot "creative" Los Angeles ad agency.

To the shameful copy, which was probably written by a Cali "est" graduate who got his brilliant idea for the ad while driving on the freeway in his Honda Civic getting passed by Hells Angels on loud Harleys. My fantasy is that a couple Angels hunted him down, and torched his rice burner.

He doesn't get many dates? I think he got many more than the average douchebag copywriter did/does. Chicks dig bikes, and not the ten-speed kind. And what the fuck is he going to do with a ten-speed in the LA metro area?

And nice segue there asshole, using the hackneyed "After all" to transition to the complete bullshit product benefit claim. "Hey Butch, Bear, Slider, check it out—I have a new healthy outlook since I started eating dates." Imagine the ensuing laughter and probable beat-down.

Next hackneyed segue: "So who knows?"—which leads to est-boy's ending flourish of "creativity". That's what pro CWs do: end body copy with Big Clever. Except this flourish is overwritten and unfunny. Note the double use of "running" and officers-office hooey.

Dates. They turn Bikers into Politicians. Brilliant.

I went to the Commission's website "datesaregreat" searching for more recent ads. Above is their press page. Nothing. Except that mysterious, unexplainable "Dec 31, 1969".

NOTE: I fucking hate dates, especially in bread.