Tag Archives: University of Georgia

Maker’s Mark Campaign Misses The Mark

For the past eight months or so, Jimmy Fallon has been popping up on my television talking about Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon in their It is what it isn’t campaign. After eight months, I have the same opinion I had at day one: I just can’t see this campaign being a success.

I commend the effort. You certainly can’t wear a pink oxford shirt instead of a blue oxford shirt and call yourself an innovator. It isn’t easy to stand out advertising spirits. Everybody can’t tell an inspiring story like Johnny Walker and expect sales to skyrocket. If you want to do something amazing, you have to do something really different.

A well-regarded brand of bourbon hiring a late night talk show host as spokesman is really different, but it’s the classic square/rectangle case: All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. All extraordinary ads buck the norm, but not all ads that buck the norm are extraordinary.

Here’s the copy in full.

It isn’t Hip Hop. It isn’t Heavy Metal! It is definitely not Techno. So why is Maker’s Mark® a hit with so many people? Maybe it’s because even though we’ve never been cool, we’ve always been us – a full bodied whiskey that’s remarkably easy to drink. Just call us the unplugged bourbon. To quote our founder: “It is what it isn’t.™”

He describes a brand that is consistent. A brand that is true. A brand that has never wavered from what it believes in. On its own, that sounds pretty damn good.

The problem  is that the messenger makes the message utterly unbelievable. That’s Jimmy Fallon talking. That’s Jimmy Idiot Boyfriend Weekend Update Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ Fallon! He’s a celebrity. He’s cool. He’s funny. We’ve never been cool, we’ve always been us? It just isn’t believable. He’s reading copy that suggests he grew up sleeping in a bed with a white oak cask for a headboard. You gotta love the guy, but at this stage in his life he was not meant to deliver a marketing message for a Kentucky bourbon. I hate to say it, but he is what Maker’s Mark isn’t.

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Quotability Gives Ads Longevity

Just a quick thought this afternoon: My roommate Jay and I have a commercial that we often quote to each other. This commercial isn’t inspirational like Apple’s Think Different spot, nor does it  “push the envelope” like Axe’s Even Angels Will Fall. It’s just simple copy mixed with perfectly casted talent. This ad debuted approximately six months ago. We’re still quoting it today, even though I think it has run its course on television, and now only lives on the internet.

The ad that I think has this very redeeming quality is a spot for ESPN’s It’s not crazy, it’s sports campaign developed by Wieden+Kennedy New York that features Alabama Crimson Tide fans reciting their most-hallowed phrase, roll tide, in a bevy of different situations. This ad hit my roommate and I at the four second mark of the commercial, with an older Alabama gentlemen (pictured above) who appears to have a voice weathered by decades of chewing tobacco use and screaming in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I am by no means a Crimson Tide fan, and I would proudly pledge allegiance to a Georgia G if there was such a pledge, but there’s something about the way he says roll tide that makes me say it happily. Like the slogan says, it’s not crazy, it’s sports.

Can you think of any ads that you regularly quote?

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Return of the Cats

Cats are making a serious comeback. Here’s four commercials, all featuring cats (two featuring Keyboard Cat), that have come out in the past four months. I hope you’re not allergic.



Wonderful Pistachios


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Rope Swing & Twilight Criterium Videos

Last Saturday marked two firsts: My first trip to a great rope swing located at the Georgia State Botanical Gardens, and my buddy Clark Hurst’s first appearance in a Twilight Criterium bike race. What an awesome day!

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New Old Spice Guy?

I hope Old Spice and ad agency Wieden+Kennedy aren’t completely phasing out Isaiah Mustafa, but this new ad (with new guy) is awesome and hilarious.

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Rebecca Black, The Worst Ads, & Success

This blog post was inspired by Rebecca Black

Last Tuesday, our AdClub speaker Richard Evelyn of Fitzgerald+Company brought up a hot topic at the dinner table. He mentioned the recent success of 13-year-old Rebecca Black and her hit song (most would say a hit in the groin) titled Friday. After discussing the matter for a few minutes, we came to realize that her song is so bad that it’s good. While that’s not much of a revelation (see William Hung), it did lead us to connecting the Rebecca Black case to advertising.

With music, it’s pretty easy to recall the artists that you love and the artists that you hate. I personally love Queen, Kanye West, and Alicia Keys, while I can’t stand listening to Pink. The point is that it’s much easier to list off good and bad artists than it is to give you a list of mediocre ones. I think this same idea applies to advertising. I can now recite the first two Old Spice commercials featuring Isaiah Mustafa word for word. I can also tell you how much I hate those darn singing cats that Quiznos gave us last year. We have the Effies, Addys, and Cannes Lions to award the strongest advertising, yet we also have the The Consumerist’s Worst Ad in America Awards and The Tracy Awards to congratulate, or should I say acknowledge, the weakest advertising.

Is it really true that any press is good press? Is it better for almost everyone and their mother to have a negative opinon of a brand’s advertising than for few people to be able to recall it at all? My good friend Margaret Warner shared this ad with me on Twitter that she believes is the worst ad on television right now:

That is a pretty crappy Zyrtec ad, Marg. Let’s think about this, though. Are the worst commercials really the worst commercials, or are their mediocre counterparts that fail to elicit any response from viewers worse? Can an ad be good by being really bad? Is winning a Tracy Award better than winning no award at all? I say yes, as long as the product is good and the message of the ad is not bad in an immoral sense. I’m not a fan of Progressive’s Flo, but if they can give me the best rate on car insurance, I’m still going to buy it.

So in the case of Margaret’s Zyrtec ad, I think she’s right in saying it is one of the worst ads on television right now. But by being one of the worst, it motivated Margaret to talk about it, no longer making it one of the worst ads. Crazy stuff.

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Gillette’s Biggest Competition? Gillette.

Most of us are familiar with the Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests, as well as countless other ads revolving around product comparisons; from AT&T vs. Verizon to Mac vs. PC.  All of these that I’ve mentioned have at least one common thread, and that is that one brand is comparing itself to its chief competition in the product category.

Enter the Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor, Gillette’s latest technologically-advanced facial lawn mower. In the non-electric razor market, it is Gillette and then everybody else. Don’t believe me? Here’s one of the ads for this campaign, which has been running since last summer. What’s wild about this is that their biggest problem seems to be getting loyal Gillette customers to buy a NEW Gillette razor. That’s right. They aren’t comparing their new ProGlide razor to a Schick or a Bic, but instead against a razor that they themselves created back in 1998!

How would you solve this odd problem that Gillette is currently facing?


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