Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Attention advertisers: bank robberies aren’t funny.

In Ad Creative, Just Thinkin' on January 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Sorry to depart from my usual good humor today. Bear with me, THAT Mike will be back soon. But today, I’ve had it. First it was E-Trade a while back, portraying how banks treat their customers. Then Jimmy John’s. Now Direct TV. If this makes me the “grumpy old man” of the marketing world, so be it, but here goes: enough already with the bank robberies.

There’s NOTHING funny about people being ordered to the floor by angry, shouting thugs bearing guns. NOTHING. Life has enough stresses – and Lord knows, enough very real people have been terrorized and yes, even killed, when these scenes play out in real life.

Maybe those sheltered  young ad agency creatives haven’t spent much time in banks, with their over-sized paychecks being direct-deposited and their cash needs handled nicely by the ATMs positioned conveniently adjacent to their Starbucks-and-sushi lifestyles.

What’s next?  Some witty repartee about backpacks at the scene of a school shooting, or maybe a hip young officer mourning the damage to a Beamer involved in a drunk driving fatality?

If you creatives are unable to recognize poor taste when you see it, how about if you just think of something else just because the bank robbery idea is trite? (I’ll take what I can get.) And advertisers, if your agency brings you a concept like this, I will be happy to supply a better alternative, free of charge, in 24 hours or less.

Prime time may be dominated by CSI: Wherever,  but there’s more to our world than that. And there certainly ought to be more to our advertising.


Lost, 24, and Mad Men (and women) -brought to you by Amtrak and Mother Nature.

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

It wasn’t the trip from hell – it was from Chicago, actually. But I might not have hopped aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr last Wednesday had I been able to “Flash Forward” and see the future. It left a bit late, around 2:15 p.m. And although it continued to fall further behind schedule, I still enjoyed the ride, nursing a Cabernet in the observation car watching the scenery pass by as daylight faded.

But at about 3 a.m. – a half hour after my originally scheduled arrival time – I was awakened by a mild lurch, and found myself in an eerie scene that had Stephen King all over it. I was apparently the only one awake in my train car – numerous snores confirmed that others were unaware of what had happened. The power went off, leaving only minimal auxiliary lighting and absolute silence, save the wind howling around the stopped train. No conductors. No announcements. No  visible movement or light outside – simply a dark, snowy landscape. The scene that would pop into your mind when the words “middle of nowhere” are spoken.

Lost? Well, not literally, of course, but it sure felt that way.

Several hours later, at first light, we were able to finally get coffee and details, both of Read the rest of this entry »