print ads vs internet ads

Even cool-looking, disturbing, visually pleasing, interesting print ads have nothing on click-able, customizable, interactive internet ads.

This may seem like an obvious observation. Maybe even a waste of space and time to write about.

But think about why print ads are boring for a moment?

Do print ads lose the battle with internet ads for attention because technology makes internet ads so much better?

Or maybe print ads make us yawn because they are part of a dying medium?

I thank the answers to both of the above, and other excuses, are cop-outs. Or at least the wrong questions to ask.

Closer to the right track might be thinking more along these lines:

Are print ads (and is print as a medium in general) boring because talent, creativity, and innovation have all gone to the internet?

I think the answer is “Yes,” and I am submitting this wonderful innovation as proof that the medium is not the problem (which should have you asking, “So, then, what is?”).

it’s just not breakfast without it

“Got Milk?” is one of the greatest advertising campaigns of all time.

Without going into the history of the campaign too much (which I promise to do between now and my 200th post), I want to point out the longevity of such a simple idea.

This print ad, featuring Selma Hayek and 1/3 of her daughter’s face, for example, is pretty stereotypical, dull, expected, and just generally uninteresting.

But the milk mustache, the presence of a star, and a simple tagline keep the campaign alive (and well).

Imagine a brand tagline that could last almost 20 years, including a total lack of effort over the last 15. That is incredible.

I am not bringing up this Selma Hayek ad to be a hater or to bemoan the lack of interest from the add agency (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) and California Milk Processor Board.

My intentions are quite the opposite, actually. The truth is that add campaigns this amazing do not come along very often.

Step outside the marketing realm for a minute. The “Got Milk?” question has grown larger than almost any slogan and has outgrown the advertising world. What two words in the English language that are not the name of a celebrity, a multi-national company, or Jesus Christ ring a bell with almost every American in the same way as “Got Milk”?

The “Got Milk?” campaign evolved into something new way back in the 1990s.

The fact that the campaign needs only an occasional presence online, on TV, and in print is an astounding feat. In other words, “Got Milk?” ads exist to keep the “Got Milk?” brand alive, not the campaign.

movie trailer tuesday – midnight in paris

Midnight in Paris is the best movie I have seen in a long time, so this post might be a little biased. I will do my best to treat the trailer as though I do not have a huge crush on the film itself.

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Not really.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


Like so many films I discuss on Movie Trailer Tuesday, the main reason I saw Midnight in Paris was word of mouth from people I know who’s opinions I trust.

A film as original and exceptional as this one is hard to make into a trailer.

Woody Allen is used to handling films like this, but Hollywood is not. Hollywood is accustomed to making trailers for formulaic movies with predictable plots, mainly sequels and novel-based pieces without an original idea within the entire project.

This trailer is better than many of those made for 2012 Best Film nominees, but it really does not convey the wondrous experience the film delivers.

Quick side note:

The best decision Woody Allen ever made just might be putting Owen Wilson in this film (especially if Allen himself was the other option). Had Midnight been made 20 years ago, it might have been an inferior film because of Wilson’s absence. Wilson is entertaining, energetic, and funny throughout. The “Holy-shit” face he pulls several times during his midnight adventures is one of the best film faces I have ever seen. That one expression conveys more than most actors can put forth with over-animated monologue deliveries and melodramatic emotional breakdowns. As my wife often says, “The best actors convey emotion with their faces and movements, not their words.”

more stupid

Embassy Suites hired Roman Coppola to help them with their integrated campaign “More of More” at the beginning of last year.

I decided to lead with this fact because I feel like they could have spent less money on a nobody director and received similar results. Maybe even better since newbies often have more to prove.

I like the concept behind these ads (more of more is never a bad thing), but after watching more of these “more” commercials, the only more I feel like Mr. More has has brought to my life is more stupid.

These spots are dull, stale, and lack imagination. I do not say they make me feel more stupid because it is the best insult I could come up with. I say that these commercials make me feel more stupid because as I watched one after another they got dumber and dumber and I really did begin to feel more stupid (for wasting my own time and because of the tired, lazy jokes).

And the only thing more stupid than more of Mr. More is spending more on a director who’s name and work means means less, not more.


I have  more problems with Embassy Suites $15 million ad campaign:

1. These spots are another lame knock off of the original Old Spice ads. Embassy Suites apparently thought a fast talking, kooky spokesman would do for them what “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” did for Old Spice. Happily, that is not how things work any more. Hard work and original ideas are starting to count for more again, thank goodness. Old Spice did it better and they did it first. I cannot figure out why companies keep trying to copy their ads instead of copying the thing that made those ads successful: Digging deep and creating something new, clever and risky.

2. More money (once again) failed to achieve better results. It is post 2008. I thought we were supposed to be doing more with less? Although, I have to admit that Embassy Suites spending more and getting less does fit their campaign in an odd, ironic way.

Credits: The More More campaign was created for Embassy Suites by ad agency BBDO-Atlanta.

the google mirror

I am not sure why McDonald’s keeps popping into my head as an example for different topics this week, but I am going to keep it going today.

Try typing in McDonald’s in to Google. Let me know when you are done. I’ll wait. Take your time.

You did it? Thank you for coming back!

OK. What happened?

The entire first page was only things the McDonald’s CEO would want there.

Here is the list, in order:

An ad for the official website.

A non-ad link to the official website.

A list of all the McDonald’s locations near you. In my case, near Seattle.

The McDonald’s Wikipedia website.

Two directory listings for local locations.

The McDonald’s corporate website.



Another McWebsite. This one is dedicated to locations around the country. Delightfully, it is called

Happy Meal’s personal website. (I had no idea such a thing existed, but I am not surprised.)

NYTimes news link for articles about McDonald’s.

And, finally, Google’s news links for “McDonald’s:

No, your company does not have as much McMoney or McManpower as McDonald’s. But your goal should always be for the first page of Google results, at least, to be a mirror you would b proud to hold up to your company.


best commercial ever

In an attempt to see what “the people” respond to, I typed in “best commercial ever” on Google and watched the first video that came up.


This gem has over 5.7 million views and nearly 11,500 comments.

Yesterday I commented on a McDonald’s commercial that I thought was really a great ad.  But results like these make me think hard about what makes a great ad.

It is impossible to say whether the 5.7 million You Tube viewers who saw this commercial are all now using condoms when they should, but you cannot argue with the numbers. People respond to comedy and cleverness.  We want to be entertained, even by commercials.

I have actually seen this commercial before, but I will give my thoughts on it as if this were my first viewing (because nothing has changed since I saw it for the first time).

I give “Best Commercial Ever” big points for managing to keep me, and 5.7 million others, around through such an obnoxious tantrum. I did not have any idea where the ad was going, and that question,”What could the product possibly be?” kept me watching.

“Use Condoms” is a terrific payoff that surprises, delights and rewards the viewer, justifying thirty five seconds of agony, embarrassment and annoyance.

The best way to get people to use your product, that is to buy into your story, is to capture their attention beyond the 30 to 60 seconds it takes them to watch your ad. I like to laugh, and the best comedy comes from the unexpected.  Most advertisements go for the cheap, easy laugh (see any Bud Light Super Bowl ad) so I always applaud ads that put a little extra thought into their comedy.  Easy has never kept people interested for very long. The Trojan ads we get here in the States are further examples of lazy advertising. They might make you chuckle, but they are more loud and blatently sexy than they are smart and thoughtful.

I may still be searching for the best commercial ever, but this one cure does an awful lot right.

“dream come true”


I would like to believe Frank Martinez is a real person.  I would also like to believe that everything he says in “Dream Come True” is in his own words. Sadly, it is more likely that he is an actor or his words were written for him, or both. McDonalds might consider clear notes regarding the authenticity of ads like this one in the future, because beyond that concern I thought this was a brilliant ad.

Skepticism and years of conditioning (all advertisements tell lies) aside, I really liked this ad. I think this is a smart direction for McDonald’s and the execution was beautiful. Recently there have been many ads like this one that have failed for other companies

There is a cinematic quality that some how does not take away from the importance or realness of the story. My own concepts and ideas about marketing may make me question the authenticity of the ad, but the ad itself hits all the right notes. The ad is subtle when it needs to be, clever (see the part near the end when Mr. Martinez mentions the best fries on earth as a shot of McDonald’s fries on his dashboard appears), and pretty to look at.

I almost forgot that the ad was for fast food.  I only thought, as intended, of Mr. Martinez, his dedication, his struggles and the care and patience he apparently puts into his potatoes.

A great product makes you feel good. But the seeds of that feeling are sewn long before you have the chance to interact with the product. A story of some kind about the product plants itself in our minds, and if that story is good enough we will already associate positive thoughts with the product. And McDonald’s new “Proud of Our Suppliers” ads tell a darn good story.

An important note, however I may feel about the ad, is that it has over 54,000 views on You Tube and not one comment. I am curious as to why viewers of this ad might not be moved enough to even post a comment – an act that many other ads posted on You Tube see regularly. I thought “Dream Come True” was a fantastic ad, but the lack of comments makes me wonder if something about it put off others?

an aside on great websites

It is difficult to put a value on a truly great website.

A company or product might have the best television or even social media marketing around.  But if the website is frustrating, difficult or dull, everything else goes out the window.

The interaction a company website can provide can still be special and engaging in ways that Facebook cannot.

As far as personal investment websites go, is at the top of the heap.  I invest with several different companies, and Vanguard blows them all out of the water.  Their website is user friendly, clean and easy to navigate.

I actually got joy from using it to open a Roth IRA for my wife this weekend.  It is that clever and well-designed.

I cannot remember a television ad ever making me feel as good as using a my favorite websites does.


Is there a better way to lose credibility on the internet instantly than to adorn your website with ads?

Facebook and Google may not have to worry much, but when I visit a new website jammed with hidden ads and pop-ups I am turned off immediately.  Instead of staying to become a customer, fan or member, I leave as fast as my mouse can find the “back” button on my browser.

These types of ads accost my attention and test my patience.  Most damaging of all, a website filled with ads makes me think the owner is more interested in ad revenue than creating a meaningful relationship with me.

And if there is a better way to lose credibility instantly on the internet, it is probably to be the company advertised in excessive banner ads and pop-ups.

Consumers can now be choosier than ever before, so it is befuddling to see many companies put in the hard work it takes to get noticed, only to squander tribe-building opportunities by opting for the quick and easy click, page view or sale.

The internet has given consumers and wannabe tribe members easy access to thousands of companies that treat their customers with dignity and respect.  Clever consumers no longer need to waste time and energy on websites we can quickly qualify as more interested in fast profits than providing a positive customer experience.

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