Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yes, pictures do say it all

I think ReallyTopDrawer is an awfully funny name for a blog, primarily because whenever I say it to myself, I hear Roger Smith's voice. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Taiwan bookstores want to make you feel right at home.

You know, between this and the toilet restaurant, you gotta wonder what's happening on that island.

Digital product placement: is this the best idea we got?

This is what they mean by a slippery slope. First, no one protests when Jabba the Hutt is inserted in the updated Episode 4 and now look: Kelloggs can make crackers appear in sitcom reruns. We should have seen it coming.

But just because you can digitally add a product into any scene of any show, should you? "Stacey Lynn Koerner, executive vice president for research at ad-buying agency Initiative, said much depends on how the placement is used. 'If the brand is striving to be considered as hip or on the cutting edge, and it is placed contextually in an environment with a very cool, hip character, repetitively ... there may be some value in that.'"

Yes, there may be. And tomorrow there may be monkeys flying out of my...oh never mind. I'm so underwhelmed by the small-time thinking here, I can't go on. Go ahead. Play around with your big computers in post, I don't care. Thing is, I bet no one else cares either.

It was winter. They were cold.

It is the way of my people to celebrate this day by making fastnachts. That's right. My DNA has been shaped by those who shunned parade floats and flashing in favor of tossing pastry dough into a pot of boiling fat. Well, don't knock it until you've lined your arteries with it.

And happy repenting.

For some a sigh of relief, for others the end of the expensable round

Despite putting up some impressive numbers, the company behind the Calvin Klein and Izod labels has fired their aggressively coiffed chief executive. The reason might be ad-related. "Board members became concerned over Weber's management style, which was more flamboyant than was his predecessor's. An avid golfer, Weber enjoyed tagging along on advertising shoots to exotic locales."


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Have you written your anti-Bode screed yet?

What's taking you so long? Admittedly, it will be hard to top Sally Jenkins: "It's not the winning, it's the trying. The point is that he acted like he didn't try, and didn't care. Failing is forgivable. Getting fatter on beer while you're here is not."

And with true skill and daring, Jenkins condemns the pre-Olympic Miller mania as if she and her media colleagues were simply hoodwinked by an out-of-control sponsor: "He was impossibly over-hyped coming into the Winter Games between Nike's ad campaign, his autobiography, and those nipple-baring magazine covers." As if the media had no choice. As if 60 Minutes had intended to profile Enrico Fabris but was prevented by the personal interference of Phil Knight. On a side note, is anyone else creeped out that Jenkins said "nipples?" Sally: I'm telling your dad.

But what about Nike? At first, you might think it's a shame they backed a loser. And if it's true that Knight is so worshipful of effort and commitment that he nearly flat-lined at Andre Agassi's "Image is everything" Canon campaign, then he must really be pissed, right?

I don't know. The anti-Bode storyline seems a little too convenient for reporters who watch downhill racing exactly once every 4 years. It's a dogpile. Maybe it doesn't yet make Bode Miller sympathetic but I think at some point -- like right now -- these attacks are going to feel so played out. Nike's current spots don't help much at the moment but that can be fixed pretty quickly. And then, Sally Jenkins will hate Bode Miller even more.

NEXT-DAY UPDATE: I'm not sure but I think Deadspin just officially started the anti-anti-Bode backlash.

I get no kick from cocaine

Sometimes commercials feature popular songs. Sometimes popular songs feature drug-related lyrics. Yeah, you can see where this is going, right?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Personally, I'd opt for more and better

Usually, I recommend avoiding Russian millionaires because they tend to get jailed or, you know, assassinated but Roustam Tariko is growing on me:

"Tariko, 44, a Russian tycoon who made his initial fortune in importing and banking...spent more than $3 million, inviting more than 1,000 people to the September event and feeding them Beluga caviar, blinis, quail eggs and, of course, red borscht - all washed down with his red-capped, $35-a-bottle Imperia vodka. 'I believe in emotional branding,' Tariko said this week in Moscow, freshly returned from Turin and the well-reported parties at Russia House in the Olympic village. 'I launched Imperia at the Statue of Liberty because I wanted to use something symbolic. I like American society because it always wants to do something new and better.'"

The communist-to-brand-storyteller transition was apparently a smooth one for Tariko, wasn't it? And he's right about us. "'A middle-class man making $40,000 might not be able to buy a new BMW,' said David Ozgo, chief economist at the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council. 'But he can buy the occasional bottle of vodka for $35 a bottle. People are drinking less than they once did, but they are drinking better.'"

So it's a great time to be a seller of superpremium liquor. AND it's a great time to be a middle-class American. Yay!

The huh? test

I can always tell Battlestar Galactica has returned to greatness when I only sorta understand the plot.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The beheadings will continue until we find a fertile, son-bearing wife, OK?

Sucks to be Gap Inc. Sucks worse to be a Gap executive not named Pressler.

Admit it. Jerry Rice danced his way into your heart.

Thanks to TVTattle -- who in a perfect world would post every hour instead of merely every day -- we can now contemplate this nation's latest controversy, which is: has Jerry Rice ruined his marketing potential by appearing on Dancing With The Stars?

"To Jo Muse, chairman of the multicultural marketing firm Muse Communications, Rice's TV dancing and his recent role as a Miss America pageant judge seem 'odd' and misdirected. 'I think he's a guy who had a great career, and he has been struggling since he retired to stand out and do something meaningful. He appears to be taking what comes along instead of crafting a branded direction.'"

Now see, I just don't get that. First, have you seen the ratings? More important, have you seen the show? Because intentional or not, Jerry Rice has spent the last few weeks winning fans among people who were maybe only vaguely aware of his football career -- which might matter if you think appealing to women is ever important to a brand. But he isn't simply upping his name recognition. As a sports guy who turned off the TV to take ballroom lessons, Jerry Rice has just become every woman's dream husband. He dances! And doesn't think it looks gay! He listens to direction! From his 5-year old daughter! Yeah, women love Jerry Rice. His conquest of America is complete.

That's not misdirected. It's genius.

But then, I love a good quick-step.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quote of the day

Dear God I wish I'd thought of this: "I have to have luxury, my work requires it."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What's wrong with us?

Lying about a theology degree may not be good for David Edmondson's eternal prospects but it's definitely earned him a spot as grand marshall in the big Dallas-area parade of broken businesses. Take a look: Radio Shack, Pier 1, Blockbuster, Zales. They're all based here and they're all currently, inarguably, in the crapper. Why?

And why do they seem to be failing in exactly the same way -- by not changing? At all?

See though, Sam Cooke is always right. A change is gonna come. Because such flamboyant failure gets people talking: "the 62% plunge in fourth-quarter earnings and a slowdown in cash flow 'point to a company in a virtual state of collapse'....'RadioShack's eroding stock will likely reignite buyout speculation.'" Buyout? That seems so last week, so Pier 1ish. Yet I fear the buyout. Housecleaning, culture clash, organ rejection -- choose whatever analogy you want, it's never an enjoyable process for the average employee. So can we get us some smart, honest CEOs around here? Can we stop having our neighbors get laid off every 2-3 years? And can we at long last pull it together for the good of the community or at least for the sake of my property value?

Surely JCPenney can't do it all themselves.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

An invocation, Fergie, then: Raptors!

Happy NASCAR Day. And remember, in racing as in life, it's never a good idea to make illegal adjustments to your rear end.

Fallon's Trump moment

ADWEEK continues their quest to squeeze a story out of the Silburn-Fallon turnip. This week, they worry about Pat Fallon's bluntness. "When Pat Fallon terminated ecd Paul Silburn in January, he took an unusual step: He said so."

Meanwhile, I'm worried about the people ADWEEK interviews. Amid all the hand-wringing about the need to look gracious, avoid lawsuits and not burn bridges, no one is worried at all about the fired employee. That person's fate -- their family, mortgage, relationship with colleagues -- evidently isn't a factor.

Am I naive? Don't we sugar-coat such announcements partly out of a sense of decency? Out of a sincere wish not to totally screw someone over? People who get fired eventually have to get back out there and make a living again. Do you honestly want your press release to prevent them from doing that? Yes? Well then: expect it to affect your Q quotient.

On a related note, if you ever do get forced out, is it really a compliment to be called "'the Jiminy Cricket for the organization?'"

Your proof of incompetence. Delivered.

When targeted communication goes horribly wrong.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Mars Blackmon Return: should I start the countdown or what?

Unless you're Josh Elliott's mom, you probably don't watch ESPN's Classic Now show. And usually that would be OK. Josh, cute as he is, can ramble. But on Wednesday, the guest was Spike Lee and the subject was Mars Blackmon so I endured the wordiness for an entire segment.

Cards on the table? I love those old Nike spots. I weep at their purity. You know, journalists have Woodward and Bernstein. Actors have Brando. Me, I have Weiden and Spike Lee and I think no one's come close to such perfection since. I wish I could find a transcript so I could check Lee's exact words because as much as he was there to hype the new Air Jordans, he seemed equally dedicated to giving credit to Knight, Weiden + Kennedy, and the original creative team. All of whom he mentioned. By name.

And then Lee did something that caused my ad heart -- which is like a human heart but smaller and coin-operated -- to skip a beat. He seemed to imply, maybe even plead, that he wants to bring Mars back for a new spot. I held my breath. I waited for details. And I watched as Josh changed the subject.

So I dunno. Maybe there'll be a new Nike spot to make me misty-eyed and nostalgic. Maybe not. I'm just gonna have to wait. Thanks a lot, Josh.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My idea for a ratings bonanza

Johnny Weir is now the Paris Hilton of these Winter Olympics. Only mouthier. That is, he tells us, how he rocks it! Well, good for him.

And to NBC: good luck with all that.

Because, even with Johnny, no one's really watching. Which is why I, after the most superficial consideration and research, propose UFC as an official Olympic sport. Yes, I'm saying Ultimate Fighting can save the ratings.

Do it now, IOC. Pull the trigger. Get some James Irvin in your 2008 Summer Games and the world will not be able to turn away. Because nothing brings out a sense of national pride more than watching a fighter run up to a rival nation's athlete and deliver a flying knee to the face. Stirring! And really, who wouldn't tear up at that medal ceremony? My friends, THAT is must-see TV.

Ideas: I got a million of 'em.

The Diana Eng Generation

Like all women, I always find it difficult to fill the 23 hours of the day when Oprah isn't on. How to feel? What to read? But now I realize I should get with the times and buy gadgets. "Women now spend $55 billion annually on high-tech goods such as PDAs, cellphones, MP3 players and DVDs....'women actually outpace men' in personal computer, DVD and video game ownership."

Interesting. And ultimately, a puzzle. As Steve Portigal points out, this trend has led marketers to launch such insightful, relevant product innovations like: phones. That are pink.

That makes me feel self-actualized. How 'bout you?

The Ms. Weber update: Yes she did, and eww.

Even when the NYPost is a week or two late on a story, they manage to make it their own through an unyielding commitment to true pervy sensibilities. Today their take on WPP: "The titillating details of the feud — including Sorrell's confirmation of an extramarital affair with Benatti's former top aide, Daniela Weber... — have attracted an unusual amount of attention."

Speculation was fun but such a blunt, unexpected public confirmation has a strange effect. I feel like maybe the whole ad world just threw up a little in its mouth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Or formal, slightly awkward pat on the shoulder -- whichever makes you more comfortable.

The Pixar Karma test

It's not exactly news that Michael Eisner is still a prick but it is interesting to review the current status of all those, who at one time or another, rebuffed Pixar.

George Lucas: after selling Pixar to Steve Jobs for divorce cash, Lucas' story is a mixed bag. He owes everyone on the planet an apology for Episode 1 and he still has the worst ear ever for dialogue. On the upside, Sith won a People's Choice Award!

Jeffrey Katzenberg: as head of Disney animation, he negotiated the original Disney-Pixar distribution deals and screwed Pixar over when it came to production compensation. Current status: SEC investigation.

Michael Eisner: famously turned down the chance to buy Pixar at the Lucas family garage sale but worse, he too antagonized Jobs during subsequent negotiations. Present situation: struggling talk show host -- on CNBC.

Of course, this is just a cursory examination. The lesson, though, couldn't be clearer. Now is a good time to become Robert Iger's best friend, neighbor or adoptive child because as history shows us, fortune is kind to those who are kind to Pixar.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Everybody's got a secret freelance gig but me

Brilliant: "The first printing of Josh Kilmer-Purcell's 'I Am Not Myself These Days,' his upcoming memoir about a buttoned-up ad exec who moonlights as a drag queen, will include an endorsement from Frey on the cover." Yeah, that Frey.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Me to BSG: dammit we need Kara Thrace on that wall!

So the kids over at Television Without Pity are heart-broken about Billy. I am too. A shocking, gut-wrenching loss. But I'm just as sick about Starbuck who has, in only one week, lost her top gun status and nearly killed yet another Adama brother. All while maybe not having her ovaries.

Look, I don't know where you Battlestar writers are going with this but leave Kara Thrace alone. I love her. She's a bully and a drunkard and a daredevil and through it all: hot! And funny! That's something we've never seen on TV. I like that. I don't want a weakened, chastened, no-skills-havin' Starbuck because where's the post-feminist fun in that? And if you minimize the one actress in Hollywood who can convincingly throw a punch, you'll have truly wasted a precious gift.

She better be back on the road to recovery is all I'm sayin.' Because it's this simple: I want my heroines to be doomed, brave, fucked-up, brilliant and licentious and if you can't understand that, then -- then maybe we don't have a future together.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Downhill fast

When Sly Stone ran backstage to hurl at the Grammys, was it really stagefright or simply a ratings premonition? At least now it can said with certainty: if you want to pursue a comeback of any consequence, you're going to have to do it via a theme night on Idol. Just ask Barry Manilow.

This of course bodes ill for the Olympics. NBC is wondering if anyone will watch while athletes are wondering about their payday. After all, if there are no overly long, tear-filled profile packages, how is anyone supposed to get an endorsement deal? Give a sequin-wearing ice dancer a break!

But upheaval can be fun. Just tune in February 23 to see. "A perfect storm is brewing that night. NBC's Olympics coverage, including the women's figure skating finals (aka the Winter Olympics Ratings Motherlode), must overcome not only that 'Idol' show...but also the final night of competition on the second edition of ABC's hit 'Dancing With the Stars' and an original episode of CBS's reality staple 'Survivor.'"

Can't wait.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Remember, these are the people who give us sex advice

Every time I open a women's magazine, I can feel several hundred of my brain cells start to die. Now I know why. Meet Cosmo's Kate White and her proven formula for success: "White put Rebecca Romijn on the cover, and that copy sold in record numbers. 'So we put only blonde models on the cover'....The models preferably pose in the butterfly position, again something that the post-mortem showed worked as per newsstand sales."

Is nothing sacred?

When will we advertisers stop ruining this country's great cultural institutions? If it's not swag at Sundance, it's product placement at Fashion Week. We must be stopped. After we get Mary-Kate's autograph.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The extent of my ambition

Let me see if I have this straight: when I work less hours, I help the economy?

I'm in!

Would a joke about leaving no footprints be too easy?

Some day, shortly after the intervention I would guess, I'll explore the exact reasons for my own cynicism. For now, it will have to do that I am not unrelentingly distrustful. Sure, I roll my eyes at things like Laurie David's big green magazine, but I'm sincerely impressed by Timberland's social activism. I'm even intrigued by this kind of attention to detail: "a 'nutritional label' for shoes and boots...which looks like the government-mandated ingredients labels on food, provides information on where the shoes or boots were made, how much energy was consumed to produce them and how much renewable energy the company uses." And: they care about Darfur too.

The tumbleweeds out on Legacy Drive

It's a shame that, over the last 6-8 years, EDS has laid off just about every staffer at their headquarters. Otherwise, someone in Plano might actually be happy that things are finally looking up.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

And cute too!

It's a final. Tiki Barber is the world's most likeable athlete.

What's a little labor trouble between friends?

It must have been an interesting interview. After downplaying that "learning experience" with American and focusing instead on his skills as a motivated self-starter, Don Carty got himself hired at Virgin Atlantic. You know? This is just the kind of shit that happens when the boss gets distracted.

Maybe we just don't need a new celebrity chef

Bravo gets their big gay feelings hurt because the Food Network rejects an ad for Top Chef. So mean! But, to be fair, isn't Top Chef a rip-off of Hell's Kitchen?

Nice work

The ad world is home to many creative souls. Marco Benatti is one of them but critics can't quite agree if his concepts are original. Overstating performance numbers, hiding ownership in companies while recommending them as acquisition targets -- it's been done before, right?

So maybe his genius is in the details: "After WPP CEO Martin Sorrell went to Milan to fire him on Jan. 9, WPP began its scrutiny, bringing in three Italian law firms—including one specializing in criminal law....Since then, the dispute has taken unexpected twists: WPP's Italian headquarters in Milan were broken into on the weekends of Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, with Benatti's office the focus."

That's brilliant. I wasn't expecting a flair for Nixonian intrigue, were you? There's also a mysterious company-paid apartment and, delightfully, this: WPP COO Daniella "Weber (whom Benatti described in the release as 'my pupil and assistant for 23 years') also had personal relationships with Benatti and Sorrell."

Wait a minute. You don't think...yes, yes, it seems that Ms. Weber might be the real creative genius here.

Madame, I salute you.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Quote of the day

I'm beginning to believe that Project Runway online recaps represent the very best in contemporary American writing. Admittedly, that's a judgment I'm willing to re-evaluate the next time I pick up an actual, you know, book or something.

There is however no question that the Fashion World's Line of the Week is this: "I can't believe people didn't know about me when I was a kid! I am so gay, I sweat glitter!"

Some things, you don't wanna see over and over

The iPod now gives us everything from ads to Fashion Week runway shows. (Runway shows, people!) Doesn't this fill you with wonder and awe? And perhaps reflection. Obviously, it's only through the grace of a benevolent God that the iPod was invented AFTER Katie's colonoscopy.

Bring back the cliche

Whatever really happened, Fallon and Silburn would have been better off simply wishing each other the best of luck. Because, while an article like this promises dirty secrets, it's in fact worthless. And damaging. When an agency staff will only comment anonymously -- and ultimately pettily -- to ADWEEK, everyone looks silly.

You can triple bill. We can help.

I don't know if I can handle such stunning news so early in the morning. First, Home Depot might be guilty of fraudulent pricing practices. Then -- then! -- if that's true, it might be an indication that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act isn't effective. If over-reaching, burdensome legislation can't cure the ills of society, what hope do we have?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Every account has good days and bad

The good news: you've just won the MSLO account. The bad news: you have to present to Martha Stewart. The good news: her daughter might sleep with you.