Breaking the Code

The news cameraman and their stills photographer counterpart form a very small and exclusive club. Being at what is often the front line of a war without actually taking part is not an easy thing. It creates a bond between these newsmen who are comrades while waiting for something to happen and competitors when the action starts.

Recently a Channel 9 Melbourne cameraman insulted the father of a man charged with several crimes, including rioting, after being verbally abused by the father outside a court. It’s happened before. Many times. I’ve witnessed it. When you see footage showing angry mourners or defendants or their families attacking news crews typically you don’t see or hear anything from the cameramen or photographers. There’s two reasons for this:

  1. 99 times out of a hundred nothing is said by the newsmen,
  2. That one time something is said the ‘code’ is such that no other news putlet would report the incident.

But with this story the ABC in Victoria have removed themselves from the club by breaking the code. The SMH and all Fairfax papers are also out now. In fact, not only out, but ripe for retribution from the Nine Network.

But here’s the interesting thing about this story; if the son is found guilty, the cameraman will not have been insulting the father but stating fact.

iPhone killers don’t need to outsell

According to Asher Moses of the Fairfax tech stable in his review of HTC’s new Desire handset, “the Desire is undoubtedly an iPhone killer, even if it doesn’t end up selling nearly as many units.”

HTC Desire review.

Are you fucking kidding me you fool! Then what does make an iPhoen killer Asher; a phone that is prettier, has a bigger screen, uses anything but the iPhone OS. Ipso facto, any other phone.

Go back to school, would you please!

And by the way Fairfax, inserting an HTC ad, topping it with another ad and then putting your Technology opener and closer at each end is not quality content.

For fuck’s sake!

Earth Hour 2010

Once again I ventured out to capture what was promised to be a spectacular demonstration of individuals and corporations proclaiming together that something must be done about climate change. Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much sense and neither does Earth Hour anymore.

Annual events like Earth Hour need to make changes to the patter every year tin order to remain relevant. I’ve now made a time lapse movie of Sydney during each of the four Earth Hours and it’s easy to see that this year had FAIL all over it. My interest is only because it affords Larso and myself the opportunity to blaze up on the only thing Cuba exports of any value; cigars!

For the event this year it appeared that the word didn’t get around too well. Most people I spoke to didn’t know it was on and those that did thought it started at 7:30. So did a few building managers by the looks. The Millionaires’ Factory did their best but forgot to come back on. Australia Square went off, came on to early and had to shut down again. Westpac went off way too early. And the harbour party boats had the festoon lights on overdrive.

The Secret to Writing Great Copy…

… is not using typographical tricks like placing an ellipsis at the end of a headline to “lure” the reader in.

I mention this because I have just received another marketing/spam email offering me the opportunity to learn the ‘Top Tips’ of a master sales copywriter. I’ve already learned the craft of copywriting from some of the legends of the industry; writers who can take the smallest or most seemingly insignificant benefit of a product or service and create a big idea to entertain and persuade their audience to change their behaviour. No easy task.

In the email I received there are at least another 30 “Top Tips” that the so called expert copywriter is willing to teach ordinary people. (I’ve never meet an ordinary human especially as there are 6 billion unique models running around the planet).

Let’s be very clear; the best copywriters in the world work for the best advertising agencies in the world. They do not write spam emails about how to write spam emails under the guise of Internet marketing.

So here is my three top tips for spotting scam copy online or in an email;

  1. It’s very, very, very long – You’re halfway through it before you have any idea what it’s about except you’re promised that your salary or penis will be much larger for little cost and/or effort just by clicking a link.
  2. It’s too good to be true – turn your annual salary into your monthly, weekly or daily salary. Quadruple your profits overnight. But you only get to the ‘offer’ after reading a type of prose which is a written is a style that is half evangelical and half brain washing.
  3. It’s full of praise – Typically the praise is for a person or system that the sender is trying to convince you to use.

What I really hate about this kind of Internet marketing is that it preys on the naive, gullible, simple or desperate. And for this reason alone I will do my best to educate people as to the different types of deplorable tricks that the majority of Internet marketers use.

Truth told not so well

In late April of this year two young creatives from the advertising agency George Patterson/Y&R created the attached video. It’s all very funny. Their premise is that by taking an ordinary item on eBay and reselling that item on eBay but by adding ‘creativity’ they can increase profits.

So that’s what their little video proves. But we’re also asked to suspend reality because there is no way in Hell that any of the statements made in their eBay ad could be applied or translated in any way whatsoever to a real world product. And not get fined by the relative governing authorities or ridiculed by the public. Contrary to the belief of some PR hacks, controversy does NOT create cash.

Rather then demonstrating how ‘creativity’ can help sell, I think all this exercise does is to further portray advertising as a profession based on telling falsehoods; that we lie for a living. Real advertising is so much more and it’s a pity that these two kids, and their bosses at what was once the largest agency in the country, think lying is what advertising is all about.

McCann-Erickson have a great corporate motto which I have always tried to live up to in my advertising days; truth told well.

Australian advertising creativity gets sponsored into the 21st century

Google’s creative push sees it become AWARD School’s main sponsor

With the new sponsorship arrangement between AWARD and Google there is a high probablilit that future copywriters and art directors will be taught beyond the full page ad or 60 sec TVC.

For many years these formats have been the holy grail of a creatives’ career. The effectiveness as a marketing tool however has been sliding for almost the same time.