Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can Bionic Woman fill the Battlestar Galactica-shaped void in my heart?

Main takeaway: Katee Sackhoff is now the go-to actress for all physically strong-emotionally victimized female roles. EW is right: "The problem is, if you're a fan of Sackhoff's throaty, chin-jutty delivery, she absolutely overpowers the callow Ryan, and if you're not a fan of Sackhoff...she still overpowers Ryan."

Best line: "Ta-da."

Worst line: "I just thought it was cool a girl could do that."

Also, not enough Aaron Douglas.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dove: the brand "for people who are giving up"

Did you read to the very end of the Ad Age article? Because the feel-good praise for the Campaign for Real Beauty eventually fades and you learn this: "Dove's success all along was probably more about product news than newsworthy advertising, said Ralph Blessing, a former Unilever marketer and now a consultant with Arbor Strategy Group, Chicago. And the product innovation may have faltered with Pro-Age....'Dove Pro-Age is a wonderful concept, a high concept. But people don't buy concepts. They buy products,' said Suzanne Grayson, a longtime beauty-industry consultant. She said the concept does appeal to many women, but embracing unvarnished aging when anti-aging products dominate skin care is risky. 'What they're saying is that [the brand] is for people who are giving up,' Ms. Grayson said."

Wow, Ms. Grayson. Way to harsh everyone's self-image mellow with the truth. Quick! Someone mention Cannes again!

Is Charmin really using Messiah's Hallelujah chorus?

Yes. Maybe Procter & Gamble is run by satanists.

Or idiots.

And no, I don't know what offends me more -- the appropriation of a solemn composition to sell toilet paper or the choice to go with music that's already been overused for a good 30 years.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Big Tex is here!

Yay! It's the final phase!

And I love the movie version, although it distressingly ends before boots are donned.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Maybe the problem is that the name "Bratz" is inherently a negative word. Probably shoulda thought about that.

I've tried to make my peace with Bratz dolls -- honest: this world seems big enough for Bratz, Barbie and Barbie's breasts -- but Tuesday's post brought it all up again. And it reminded me: what happened to the Bratz movie? Oh.

Barbie and Skipper send their condolences. Midge With Teeth could not be reached for comment.

But here's an interesting pre-release bit I missed: "negative public perception has prevented the Bratz from blossoming into a full-scale entertainment phenomenon. Parents and child advocacy groups have long argued that the dolls, with their fishnet stockings, pouty lips and micro-mini skirts, encourage pre-adolescent sexuality. With 'Bratz: The Movie,' MGA and Lionsgate want to change that image." The movie versions are evidently infused with a "newfound purity" and "Bratz might bare their midriffs, cake their faces in makeup and worship stiletto boots, but they know wrong from right: they decide to teach the school a lesson in diversity." Since I didn't see the movie, I have to ask: diversity of what?

I'm fully aware, though, that Barbie has had her share of problems. Mattel at first rejected a doll with, you know, a chest and feminists very nearly turned "Barbie doll" into a slur. But Barbie has always had an admirable narrative. Even those early outfits -- with names like "Commuter Set" and "Theater Date" -- suggested an intelligent, active woman. A Busy Gal! Although the doll's changed and is now meant for a much younger child, Barbie still reflects, I think, that original spirit. Maybe I don't know enough about Bratz to know if they have a story. I guess diversity is a start.

ADDED: Maybe it's the Bratz image that pushes some parents into the loving, educational arms of American Girl dolls and their newest movie -- which just from first looks alone, seems to be the anti-Paper Moon. And if you saw Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front, how old did it make you feel that they cast Molly Ringwald as the mother? God, that devastated me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dancing With The Stars: how excited are you?

Everything Mark Cuban does is a little cringe-inducing, isn't it? (Answer: until the Mavericks are actual NBA champs, yes oh hell yes.) My money's on Floyd Mayweather Jr. He's talented enough to get the steps, psychotic enough to charm the judges. He'll win that disco ball trophy and he'll beat Hatton too. And then we'll be sorry.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank Heaven for overly protective mothers of little girls

Sadly, this reaction to new Nair Pretty will be very much in the minority. "Today’s society is more obsessed than ever with looking perfect. Pre-teen girls are especially susceptible to this kind of marketing ploy because it plays upon their insecurities. It makes them look at their legs, probably covered with peach fuzz and think, 'Yuck, that needs to go.'" And I'll bet it does all that in a faux empowering "girls rule" sort of way. It's worse! "Chill. You're growing up... it's all good." See? Girls are even expected to talk like grownups.

We just don't let girls be girls for very long, do we? I mean, look at the clothes: "I don't understand what mother wants to advertise her child's sexuality by letting her proclaim she's juicy. If I have to choose between Baby Phat and Juicy Couture, I choose mandatory school uniforms."

This must be why things like American Girl, VeggieTales and -- until Vanessa ruined everything -- High School Musical films are so very huge. Even the popularity of The Dangerous Book For Boys seems to spring, in part, from a desire to preserve the fun and innocence of pre-teen years.

Is it a backlash?

I especially like it when grown men call him JuneBug

Why is Dale Earnhardt Jr announcing his new number and sponsor tomorrow at the Dallas Convention Center? Doesn't that seem weird? Is it because of the AMP-TracyLocke relationship? Can we assume that the featured AMP drink will be the icky cherry Overdrive? It's red! Which would mean my "I love Junior" RV wouldn't have to be totally repainted! Fingers crossed!

NEXT DAY UPDATE: No red! And the announcement was made in Dallas to tie in with a Pepsi bottlers convention. Gosh. All of a sudden, Junior seems so grown up, doesn't he? Well, doesn't he?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Seems fast. But in some ways, not fast enough.

Call me a brand racist if you must but I cheer this news: "it seems like the market for designer collaborations with cheap chic stores is on the wane. Simply Vera is already 30% off on the Kohls website, and it hasn't even been out for ten days."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Magazines I actually read

Jeff Bercovici: "the recent reinvigoration of seen by many as sheer luck, a result of the brand's fortuitous partnership with Project Runway (which, as I've noted, only came about because Vogue passed on the show)." Excellent point.

But you know what would really get me to buy a women's magazine -- any women's magazine? Better cover blurbs. Sure "Update Your Hair" and "Clear Skin Forever" are aspirational. I guess. But one look at the latest cover of Modern Drunkard Magazine -- "Kill That Heartache with Hooch" and "12 Most Important Drinks of the Day" -- and I was sold. That's the kind of useful, actionable advice that makes my life better. That I can engage with. I'm filling out the subscription card right this minute!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Moisturizers moisturize, fresheners freshen and cleansers cleanse. End of story."

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick is dead at 64. That's pretty shockingly young, isn't it? Other obits concentrate on her eco-friendliness, which is now seen as pioneering. But I like the NYTimes piece because it's filled with fun personal details ("When her husband later announced that he wanted to fulfill his dream of traveling on horseback from Buenos Aires to New York...Ms. Roddick took out a modest loan and in 1976 opened the Body Shop, her first, in Brighton"), apt observations ("Ms. Roddick, who rejected conventional marketing, was so recognizable with her wild hair, wild public pronouncements and unbusinesslike demeanor that she was probably her own best advertisement") and this marvelous quote: "'I have never felt that beauty products are the body and blood of Jesus Christ.'"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Help fight the seven signs of commodity categories

Does the mere mention of Procter & Gamble zap your will to live? I understand. I do. But I also think that's a sorta outdated mindset. I mean, look at this interview with global marketing officer Jim Stengel. Here's what struck me:

"I hate it when someone says they're in a commodity category. We don't accept that there are any commodity categories. We are growing Charmin and Bounty very well, and if there is any category that people could say is a commodity, it's paper towels and tissues. We have developed tremendous equities, tremendous loyalties from our consumers. So, no, I think that is a cop-out. That is bad marketing and an excuse. We are not in any commodity categories[....] If you go back at Procter & Gamble, and in a lot of the industry, we often thought of our brands in terms of functional benefits. But the equity of great brands has to be something that a consumer finds inspirational and an organization finds inspirational. You know, our baby-care business didn't start growing aggressively...until we changed Pampers from being about dryness to being about helping Mom with her baby's development. That was a sea change. Or look at all the different areas we are in at Olay. That's because Olay is not just about being a pink fluid that moisturizes. It is about helping women look better and feel better as they age."

Yes, "sea change" is a poor choice of words when discussing the diaper business but I take his point. All this reminded me of a Seth Godin post which I have taken to heart every single day since I read it. Really. Except for weekends.

And by the way, search Godin's blog for "how you make people feel" and, well, gosh. Seems to be important to the guy.

Vocabulary lessons

I need to start reading invitations more closely because, apparently, there are many important new terms to learn:

"ultra urban posh party"

"global inspired hors d' ouevres" [sic -- really!]


"California black tie"

Descriptive yet confusing. Evocative yet unfathomable. Why, it's literary genius!

Long holiday weekends always take a toll

The first day back after International Corinthian Leather Day can be so difficult.

Davy Crockett, king of the aspiring copywriters

Highlights from his final letter: "he praised Texas as 'the garden spot of the world' and said it was 'the best land and the best prospect for health' that he had seen."

Monday, September 03, 2007

"I have a friend who loves what you do every year"

LAGuy remembers the true meaning of Labor Day.

Why can't we admit it? The Jerry Lewis Telethon is our national tradition. Isn't it the annual event that started all live charity events? Didn't it give us the single most awesome moment in television? It even has its own traditional song. Although "You'll Never Walk Alone" can be re-done by everyone from soccer fans to Jordin Sparks -- a version I loved although others did not -- this song, for me, belongs to Lewis. What Bing Crosby's White Christmas is to December, that's what Lewis' MDA work is to Labor Day.