Category Archives: Uncategorized

Barbie Goes Madmen, So Does Ken

The personification of Betty Draper as Barbie is particularly resonant… because she represents “the wife who lives in her dream house whose soul is eaten away.”

— Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse

Good point, but:

Isn’t  Mr. Draper/Dick Whitman equally entrapped in his dream house with his soul eaten away?

Hence the boozing, screwing, drawer of cash, etc?

Or Roger? Hence the boozing, screwing, trophy wifery?

The soullessness seems to be evenly weighted between the gals and the gents.

But I quibble. This is a genius brand extension for both sides, and has quite the hefty little margin on it. I wish there was a Mad Men Draper dream house and Betty’s awesome station wagon, and a little more padding on Joan.


A Madmen accessory line for ladies, gents and barcart. I love the fact that Joan’s doll has her pen-as-necklace—would love one for myself.


I Am Woman, My Man’ll Do the Talking

hold on, honey, I'll handle this

Mark Boal is a ball-hog.

There, I said it.

After waiting all day for this to emerge on the internets–unsuccessfully–I hereby put it down.

Whether The Hurt Locker truly was the best picture of the year or not, there is no question that the last few minutes of the telecast were a weird throwback to balance the breakthrough.

First, her Best Director win was greeted with Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” The women in my company with were guffawing in disbelief that such a relic (1972) would be used to trivialize a win for one of the more unflinching mainstream movies of the year. I was waiting for her to bust out a Virginia Slim and tell us “We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”

Then again, Carey Mulligan, age 24, was greeted with “Thank Heaven For Little Girls.”

Who is their music supervisor? Guy Lombardo?

But I digress. The strange quick-blurt-it-rewind-and-you-still-miss-it Best Picture announcement by Tom Hanks was followed by a most unusual speech.

First of all it, was led by a screenwriter – long known to the lowest form of life in Hollywood, well behind Craft Service.

Secondly, Boals was awkwardly holding her by the arm, seeming to quite literally hold her back. Very  small-town, bully-boyfriend style – as the men I watched it with concurred. It may not have been a Kanye moment, but it was not gracious.

Thirdly, he chewed up her airtime. Although he, too, had already had a shot at his own speech.

Typically, best picture speeches are all about the producers and perhaps the director. Maybe a marquee actor. The screenwriter?

It’s good to be Kathryn’s boyfriend. Just ask James Cameron.

image: getty

Chicks Are The New Dicks

Presented this at Ignite Minneapolis last night. I felt rather underprepared but it made me realize: I really do want to write this book. What do you think?

What TV News & Advertising Have In Common

photo by swanksalot on Flickr

Pet Peeve About TV News: When bosses believe the American people are too stupid or too uninterested to focus on substance and therefore pander to sensationalism.

– Christine Amanpour

Agency people and clients suffer a similar disease. Somehow, we often think we are smarter than the consumer is. The dumbed-down experiences lead to more crap, clutter and shut-downs. Oh yes, and boring work.

Not everyone wants a brand to challenge them or frankly, even engage them. But no one wants a brand to insult their intelligence.

Up in the Air

Unidentified opportunity: The Common Sense airline.

American announced its charging $8 for blankets. $25 per suitcase. Oh, by the way, there’s no room in the overhead bin and shove your handbag into your suitcase.  What’s next? Swipe-before-you-wipe in flight restrooms?

In the age of Expedia, et al, we all expect airfare to fluctuate wildly.

Opportunity: For one of the airlines to quietly raise their fares a bit and stop all the nickel and diming. They could probably make as much (or more money) and win massive amounts of goodwill.

While you’re at it, add a “family” section for people with kids. I guarantee  you will become preferred by many passengers WITHOUT kids immediately.

Virgin? JetBlue? Hey, why not Sun Country?

The Most Offensive Ad on TV

Give me your violent crotch shots, your fairly non-committal anti-abortion football players, your math-is-hard girlies who cry into their tax forms.

The most offensive ad on right now? Office Depot.

The Attempt: Reframe the type of soulless big box that ran valiant small business out of town as the savior that empowers valiant small business to run the soulless big box out of town.

Thereby saving a small business.

Thereby rewarding the superior service and heart of the small business.

Thereby, perhaps, keeping the vitality of the town intact when that box shuts – and it’s portrayed as broadly cocky and callow so we know exactly how soulless it is.

The Brief: “we help hard-working small biz compete and win” or something like it. Just like Staples. Just like Office Max. (I know, I worked on Staples back in the day)

Been to a mid/small town’s main street lately? There’s probably an empty storefront, dollar/pawn/check cashing joint or half-drunk can of Venom energy drink where the office supply store once thrummed.

How did they sell this?
Why did they approve this?

Where else can I get toner cartridges?

Prediction: In 2015, Unilever repurposes

Prediction: In 2015, Unilever repurposes “Onslaught” concept for guys its Axe brand warped in tweenhood.