Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Afternoon fun

New twist on an old fave. "Skatefall."

Low Point

You MAY be experiencing a career low if:

You are trying to coax a credible "Nationwide is on your side" out of Kevin Federline.

Your latest guerilla marketing tactic has been confused with guerilla warfare.

Your former employer has proof of your extra marital affair and is willing to use it to get you to drop your million dollar lawsuit.

You are casting the fifth round of Zelnorm bellies.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UPS Saga


Dear UPS:

I recently used UPS and Mailboxes etc. to ship a computer to my mother-in-law.

I spent $143.68 shipping a computer, a monitor, and some peripherals from Coppell, TX to Lynnfield, MA.
I requested that each box (2 boxes total) be insured for $250.
And I requested signature required.
I had the computer and monitor each packed by Mailboxes Etc. at the store - I wanted to make sure they were packed by professionals,
since they were fragile and valuable.

UPS attempted to deliver the boxes to my mother-in-law and she was
not home. Several attempts were made by my mother-in-law to reschedule the delivery - each time either UPS tried to redeliver at an incorrect
time, or didn't show up when promised.

When UPS did deliver the boxes, one of the boxes was in poor
condition. The delivery man a) asked her to sign for the delivery
BEFORE bringing the damaged box inside B) refused to accept a
complaint about the condition of the box.

My mother-in-law contacted UPS - who told her she couldn't make a
damage claim until she had ascertained damage of the shipment.
Unfortunately some of the peripherals (including a power cord and
the computer's mouse) didn't make it. Either A) they weren't packed
at all by the Mailboxes etc. staff or B) they fell out of the badly
damaged box in transit. In either case, my mother-in-law could not file a claim until she procured a new power cable and a new mouse.

And when she finally turned on the monitor, it was discovered that
it is, in fact damaged. When she called UPS to lodge her complaint, and they realized the packing was done by Mailboxes Etc, they said UPS and Mailboxes Etc would have to research the case and figure out whose responsibility the damage was before they could settle her claim.

My impression before this shipment was that UPS and Mailboxes etc.
were solution companies. It seems that both Mailboxes etc. and UPS failed at every
conceivable point: packing, shipping, delivering, and customer

I sit here in Coppell, TX with a charge for $143.68.
My mother-in-law sits in Lynnfield, MA with a damaged monitor,
missing a power cable and a mouse.

I'm sure there are forms to fill out and claims to be filed - but I
want it noted that I will no longer think of Mailboxes etc. or UPS
as solution companies. Unless there is an immediate and acceptable solution to this issue.

I want my money back.
I want my mother-in-law's monitor, mouse and power cord replaced.

And I don't want to have to waste one more second dealing with the
inadequacies of Mailboxes Etc. or UPS.

I think that is a reasonable request given the amount of energy
that I have poured into resolving this issue.

UPS Response:

Check Claim Status

Discussion Thread
Response (Keith David) 01/31/2007 11:47 AM
Dear James,

Thank you for your inquiry. If you are registered at you
can report this damage at . Once you are
logged into the Claims section of, select "Report a Damage”.

You may also obtain online help about claims at

If you are not registered with, you may do so at https://

I apologize for the damage to your package and its contents.

UPS will notify and finalize all claims with the shipper The UPS
Store in Coppell.

If you need help to process your request, please contact us at
1-800-PICK-UPS (1-800-742-5877).

Please contact us if you need any additional assistance.

Keith David
UPS Customer Service

Email #2:

02/01/2007 12:50 AM
I registered at but am unable to file a claim.
I just wasted half an hour setting up an acocunt I'll never use,
including giving UPS my credit card information, in order to resolve
this dispute. The online claims help you linked me to leads me back to you.

I don't need an apology, Keith.
I want someone to call me and tell me where to pick up my refund.
I want someone to call me and tell me when I'll be reimursed for my
insured package.
I want someone to treat me like a customer, not a request number.


UPS Response:

Thank you for your reply and patience. Please call 800-PICK-UPS (1-800-742-5877) and you can get the process started with a live person.

Please contact us if you need any additional assistance.

Keith David
UPS Customer Service

You are invited to participate in a survey to help us evaluate your overall e-mail experience with UPS. Please visit the following URL to access the survey:

At this point, my head exploded.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reality TV for smarter idiots

There are so many layers of irony and stupidity in The Burg, it makes the Real World look real. Characters you love hating to love. Language that makes you feel sorry for the poor children of rich parents. Wardrobe that would make Cindi Lauper twitch. The Burg has so flawlessly rendered hipster Williamsburg (to be fair, I have spent exactly zero minutes and zero seconds anywhere closer than a mile from Williamsburg/Brooklyn) that you stop caring about the characters at least once in every scene. And yet it's as addictive a sticking your tongue on a 9V battery.

Basically, it's YouTube Dynasty - with no money, attractive people, or intrigue. It's like Seinfeld without laughs. It's like The Real World San Francisco without Puck. It's like Desperate Housewives, without housewives.

I'll bet you get hooked.

Thanks to the Vulture, as always.

Gearing up for the...what?

Honestly, I could give two shits about the Superbowl.
And I like football. And I like advertising.

But as much as the "biggest game in sports" tends to be a serious let-down, the "biggest day in advertising" has never failed to let me down either. I think what both the football and the ads have managed to do is drive up their own hype to the point that no one seems to notice: we're all so high on MSG and MGD by kickoff, the two worst teams in sports could be playing, with a sprinkling of the worst commercials of all time, and we'd sit around placing bets on the point spread and the most gratuitous showing of cleavage. (I seriously doubt the Half Time show will win that one this year - Prince may be a lot of things, but "Stacked" doesn't come to mind.)

For those of us who create advertising for a living - while the TV spot may not be dead - the superbowl spot isn't the end-all of the genre the way it was even two years ago.

Nor is the microsite the panacea of the over-media'd masses. The problem seems to be that "smart advertising" and "huge budgets" are becoming mutually exclusive terms. Advertisers who make the decision to scrape up the dollars to run a spot on the superbowl leave very little for concept development. Smart advertisers are beginning to do the math - and see red numbers at the bottom of all that long division. And as the water boils with spots looking to get noticed - all of them fail to live up to the hype - and, more importantly, the expectations of those outlaying the bags of cash.

And if the hype of the game and the hype ads has become formulaic - now the ads themselves are formulaic too? Twas a time when the Superbowl was a staging ground for completely new stuff. eBay, eTrade, Apple, Budweiser - all have walked away with the honor of doing great work that broke through in the most cluttered of all broadcasting. But as Nationwide has proven with their pre-release of the K-Fed spot, the almighty Superbowl ad is getting cranked through the funny flter. It was pretty funny when MC Hammer did it. It was way less funny when Fabio did it. I've gone from faintly amused to downright eye-rolling on the latest riches-to-rags plot twist. Not only is K-Fed an ass, he's not even a funny ass.

I know, I know - who am I, Bob Garfield?

And now we get to endure a flurry of "make your own superbowl commercial" bullshit, too. Great. Taking YouTube to the big tube. I'm sure it'll get plenty of talk and it'll keep Adweek blabbering for weeks about how Joe-Digicam will eventually replace Joe Art Director. Great. Maybe I can take over Joe-Digicam's warm spot on the couch amid the Dorito crumbs and beer farts. I've been meaning to spend some time there for a few months, anyway.

Will I watch the game? Sure. Will I give a shit about either team that's playing? Maybe. Will any of the advertising appeal to me? Probably some. But will the sum total of the experience live up to 1/8 of the hype? I wouldn't bet on it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

..and on that note.

Here, for example, are some ideas.
I'll leave the judgement of their execution up to you.