Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bravia, debunked

This breaks my heart.
Not that the commercial isn't still fucking badass.

Read about it on adrants. If you must.

Turns out "balls" was stolen too. sorta.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I bought a huge bottle of Jack Daniels. And I'm having second thoughts.

Sunday I had guests who, as it turns out, like a little Jack as an afternoon cocktail. And they drank all of mine. And I needed more.

So I bought a new one. A new huge one.

I didn't like emptying a bottle of liquor in a crowd. From my meager bar. And I certainly didn't like wondering what I would offer Jack Daniels drinkers after the Jack Daniels ran out. Those are not questions I'm prepared to answer.

Jack is not bourbon. Or scotch. Or blended so on and so forth. It's Tennessee whiskey. And there's only one. Certainly to a Jack drinker. Offering such a man vodka would be the equivalent of offering a Harley enthusiast a ride in your Civic. He'll take you up on it if he's on his way somewhere, but he knows he's giving up a little piece of his soul in the process. A compromise. Which is not very Jack at all.

So I bought a really, really big bottle of Jack Daniels.

The handle size - at least it would be, but it's Jack. And Jack doesn't come in a handle. It just comes in a much bigger (sort of awkward) version of its signature square bottle. You have to cradle it in your arms like a baby. Which is how the man behind the counter described my technique. I laughed but I was thinking "there's really no good way to carry it that doesn't look careful, and quite honestly can you really handle a vessel of booze of these proportions with anything less than cautious - uh - protection?"

It's huge all right. Big enough that I could use it as a bookend. And hold up a set of encyclopedias. Hell, I could hold up a a party with a bottle of Jack like that. I'm not sure I'd want to be at the party where that bottle of Jack ran out. Although I suppose it'll be here. Because I'm afraid to carry it. I've pushed my luck carrying it from the liquor store to my car and from my car to my bar.

I haven't opened it yet. I've just been sitting here sharing its presence. Sort of hulking. Sissifying the bottle of Pinot Noir. Looming over the very reasonable bottle of Hendrick's Gin in the corner. And the well-loved and mostly empty bottle of Herradura I nabbed from a Christmas basket three jobs ago. Scoffing at the half-full McCallan like Slash appraising a kilt-wearing, golf-club-swinging Scot. You got a problem, man?

It's a goddamned huge bottle of Jack. Truly out-proportioned. Like David's hand. If it was full of whiskey. The bottle David would be carrying if Michelangelo was working after 1866.

Do you ever buy things and then think, guiltily, why the hell did I do that? Like a gallon of extra virgin olive oil or a case of motor oil or twenty cases of car wash soap? And then just think: Huh. Maybe I over did it.

I'm thinking about this huge bottle of Jack - a shrine to alcohol on my suburban bar. A bottle of Jack Daniels of that size is a commitment. A statement. Some Texas marriages don't last as long as that bottle could last in this house. I mean, I like Jack but that bottle is huge.

And clearly I'm losing sleep over it.

message vs. content

The venerable Bob Greenberg on message vs. content. Not a lot of new information here, but he words it well.

I do beg to differ on the underlying premise: that digital media has languished in a prehistoric agency infrastructure/methodology. Quite the contrary, traditional advertising has learned to bend digital to its own means. And digital has learned some of its best tricks from traditional media's track record.

Both teams are winning. And the sooner everyone - including Bob Greenberg (does it sound like he has a chip on his shoulder re: traditional?) embraces the fact that advertising and interactive can - nay MUST - coexist, the better.

"The people who work in agencies—from planners (whose job is to come up with the insights that can fuel the one key idea) to copywriters (whose job is to reduce brands to a single punch line) to art directors (whose job is to create the brand look)—are organized around reductive messages."

That's pretty traditional (and terrifyingly simplistic) thinking from the guy who founded RG/A. And by the look of RGA's careers section, Bob is still hiring copywriters and art directors this week. Although they seem to, strangely, work in different departments. Oh. Kay?

Magazines aren't going anywhere in the next five years (they'd better not - my Texas monthly subscription runs through 2015). Same for paid television. And traditional advertising strengths - brevity, focus, clarity, visual dynamism - are all things that digital needs to learn. They're what makes a microsite effective. Face it - digital was nothing until it finally got video right. Why? People love to watch big, pretty images move across their plasma screens. 12 point green type doesn't cut it in 2007. And don't begrudge the role broadcast production has played in traditional media - it's borrowing from one of the most venerable of all industries: the movie industry. And movies aren't going anywhere either.

The brands that make the seamless integration from short traditional, focused narratives to deep and wide coverage online (and subsequent grassroots embracing from brand advocates who pick up the torch at the traditional or digital level) are the ones that will succeed.

Is traditional dead? Probably. But aren't we all? And there's plenty to see in the next five to twenty years of traditional advertising. Witness the reductive, but unbelievably compelling, work Sony is doing for Bravia right now. On TV and online.

It will be a far more exciting decline than the phase out of Beta.