Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Dumb Fun on the YouTubes

I'm not sayin' YOU are batshit stupid for blindly running out and buying the iPhone 4. Or maybe I am. At any rate, this is pretty fucking funny.

There's a rebuttal, too (there are actually a ton of these things out there, I think incongruous, foul-mouthed Xtra Normal movies may be the Hitler meme of the new decade). But it's not as funny.

Once you get done cursing the crap wireless or exercising the Phone Death Grip or whatever it is you iPhone 4 users do, check it out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Indiana--finally trendy

Go Big Red

You can't swing a bunch of heirloom beets these days without hitting a site, a blog, an article or an advocacy group dedicated to the joys of locally grown, organic food. It's exhausting. I mean, who doesn't love tasty vegetables that you know are the product of some kindly farmer's hard work and emotional investment. There's something about buying your vegetables at a market stand from the folks who grew them that makes them taste better than the ones you rescue from under the fake thunderstorm in the Safeway produce aisle.

But a trip to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza market or the Boulder Farmer's Market is a journey through Pretentiousville. The self-righteous yuppies, hippies, and hipsters, oy. The prices, double oy. It's enough to make you want to tackle Alice Waters and beat her to death with Michael Pollan. Love-hate doesn't even begin to describe my relationship with the upscale town farmer's market.

But this weekend I went back to my roots. Literally. I was back home (again) in Indiana and realized something. For the first time in like, EVER, Indiana is cool. The buzz is all about locally grown, community supported, sustainable agriculture and the whole country is trying to make it happen. And this is where it all started. In terms of food, everyone wants to be Indiana.

I walked through my hometown farmer's market and thought, now THIS is a freakin' farmer's market. People grow stuff and sell it here not because it's trendy, and not because it's correct--it's because people GROW SHIT here. They always have. And they can't help it--whatever you stick in the ground here is gonna grow knee-high by July and yield a bumper crop of goodness. There are tables and tables of juicy beefsteak tomatoes, giant roasting ears of corn, pints full of shiny wild blackberries, and let's not even talk about the homemade cheese, beans, zucchini, oh my god I have to go lie down. And you know who is selling them? AMISH PEOPLE, that's who. I defy you to think of anything more realz than homegrown produce sold by Amish ladies.

And everything costs like three dollars. BAM!

No one dogs their home state more than I do (I mean come on), but I have to admit there's a certain satisfaction to watching upscale people pour lots of time, effort, money and activism into trying to live and eat like my peeps have for a couple hundred years. I mean, both of my parents grew up raising chickens and growing backyard vegetables--mostly because if they didn't, they'd fucking starve. And I've taken it for granted for so long. Well, Indiana, I have to give this round to you. Keep on growing, and show the rest of the country what REAL tomatoes and sweet corn taste like.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Knock it off

Every ad concept has its day. As a writer in the advertising and marketing bidness and a viewer of stuff, I'm here to say this: All those ads where people say or email or tweet something, only to have a truck show up at their door and transform their lives with product/money/conversion to the Right Side of consumer preference? Their day was some overcast Wednesday in the late 70s, when Ed McMahon still had a pulse and wasn't broke.

And yet we got two guys in a van ignoring the NO SOLICITORS sign from several agencies who can (and have) done better. This year CB+P did it with Domino's:

And then Wheat Thins came along, courtesy of Escape Pod:

I just spent some time checking out the advertising winners at Cannes. I gotta say, there is a bunch of cool stuff out there. But this concept? Not it. Not new, and never really that interesting in the first place. But wait, you say! It works! And this time it's different! Because we incorporate The Twitters! And skywriters! Um, yeah.

Plus, can anyone really top Publisher's Clearing House pulling up in the good times van with a giant million-dollar check for housewives all over mid-America? Never! Don't even try! I mean, I'm sure Claudia is happy to know that Domino's sucks marginally less now and Tabitha is now tiling her bathroom with Wheat Thins, but compared to a million bucks and some flowers from a marginal celebrity? Uh-unh.

Sometimes it does work. When Conan O'Brien picked one ordinary person to follow on Twitter, that was fairly awesome as a one-off. The only other way I've seen this done cleverly in recent times is this year's season's greeting from Mother, a smaller agency in London, New York, and a few other cool places. Basically, they played Nigerian prince for a day and sent out an email to their clients, partners and other supporters saying they were giving away $10,000 to one person. All that person had to do was respond with three bits of information--including, yes, their banking details. One guy answered. Then stuff happened. It's all here:

Yeah, maybe it's about as real as my hair color. But, like my hair color, it's bright and it makes me happy. And whether real or bogus, someone deserving gets 10 grand. That's always real.

But in general? Park the van, stop knocking and find a new schtick.