Monday, January 31, 2011

At Super Bowl time, remembering the spot that changed everything.

Steve Hayden's recent piece in Adweek recalls Apple's "1984" spot launching the Macintosh personal computer. Hayden describes how the piece was made - by no less than film director Ridley Scott - and how it almost didn't get made. Then he goes on to describe how Apple's board of directors hated it, and wanted to vote, right then and there, to fire the agency.

The "1984" spot was a 60. Advertising lore has the spot being aired only once, during that Super Bowl in 1984, but Hayden says they ran it in movie theaters and cut a 30-second version that was run in several spot markets, including Boca Raton, FL of all places. Why? That's where IBM's PC business was based, and they just wanted to stick it to 'em.

The impact of that single ad - the blonde heroine running with the hammer, then hurling it at "Big Brother" - sent ripples through the entire industry, and established the Super Bowl as THE place to launch something new, regardless of the product.

Even if you're not a big Macintosh fan like I am, you have to recognize the significance of this breakthrough work from Chiat/Day. The vast majority of the work being created for, and aired during, the Super Bowl doesn't even come close to this.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Carolla's book is a real piece of work.

Adam Carolla's book, In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks, is priceless. Okay, so Amazon's got it for 15 bucks for hardcover or 9 bucks for kindle, but you know what I mean. I didn't pay too much attention to Carolla on The Man Show, but I became a fan when I saw his 2005 reality show, The Adam Carolla Project. It was great stuff, and a delightful comedic counterpart to all those formulaic "flip this house" shows.

I think this book, which my son gave me as a Christmas gift this year, is some of the funniest shit ever printed, and a must-read for any middle-aged guy who grew up before political correctness and the Internet totally fucked up our society. After seeing Carolla plugging the book in an interview on MSNBC one morning, I immediately began dropping the "hey this would make a great gift for someone" hints.

Want to know what's wrong with our society? Carolla will tell you all about it.

The jacket quotes alone are pretty funny. Here's one attributed to Alec Baldwin - "Reading Adam Carolla is akin to having a horrible illness. Alone with your thoughts, you struggle with whether you want to even go on living. When you're done, you're a stronger, better person."

Saying goodbye to Susan.

My wife and I attended a mass and Celebration of Life yesterday for the late wife of our friend and creative cohort Don Adamec. Admittedly, we never got to know Susan Adamec very well, but Don is one of my favorite people and we've been doing great work together, off and on, for many years.

I won't go into detail about yesterday, but one thing stands out. Anyone who knew Susan, or knows Don, also knows that light in their eyes. The light isn't caused by poor lighting or whatever they had for lunch. The light is their beautiful daughter, Ashleigh Brooke Adamec. On Saturday, we finally got a chance to see her dance, in a tribute to her mom, and it was very moving. I know Susan is very proud. And as Ashleigh continues to study dance, currently at Sante Fe College and soon at Florida State, I know that light will go on shining.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

AAF-Suncoast to present 50th Anniversary ADDY Awards.

It's hard to believe 50 years have gone by since the advertising professionals of the American Advertising Federation's Fourth District created the ADDYs. While ADDY may be eligible for AARP membership, he's certainly not over the hill.

Our local Ad Fed, now called AAF-Suncoast, will present the ADDYs at the Asolo Rep Theater on Monday, February 21. The call-for-entries, now closed, was brisk. A full house is anticipated, with a gallery showing of the entries, cocktails and live awards presentation. As a past-president, board member and ADDY entrant, I recommend attending, and also urge marketing professionals - whether creative-types or not - to join the Ad Fed. Tickets to the ADDY Gala are $50 each. Contact the AAF Suncoast for info. I hope to see you there.

Breathing new life into custom publishing for healthcare.

Stephen A. Smith & Associates announces the launch of Consonant Custom Media (CCM), LLC. The firm will focus exclusively on the development of custom content for healthcare and medical research institutions.

Responding to the demand for high-quality, strategic direct marketing that is “consonant” or in harmony with a health concern’s brand positioning, CCM mobilizes a highly experienced, award-winning creative team and a stable of medical and scientific writers to develop and distribute highly customized content across print, Web, video and mobile platforms for each client.

John Wark, an award-winning journalist, media strategist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, has joined CCM as consulting partner, and will assist in business development and editorial supervision. Mr. Wark is the founder of Florida Media Strategies, a successful strategic communications and public relations firm.

The enterprise met with early success in 2010 under the "SAS" banner, securing contracts with two major Tampa Bay healthcare institutions – the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and Florida Hospital Zephyrhills. The magazine we developed for Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, called Better!, recently won two awards – for design and strategic marketing communications – from the International Association of Business Communicators.

Recent studies confirm that organizations are shifting dollars away from traditional advertising to new forms such as custom publishing or custom content that are more measurable and sustainable, and the forecast is for continued growth of custom content. Based on that, and our early success, we’ve decided to make this a stand-alone enterprise and put our strongest resources behind it.