Posts by adfinity

Where does the time go?

September 19th, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

“Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug.”
John Lithgow

We live by commercials … life moving in 30-second increments. Whole stories are laid at our feet in half the time it takes to fix a batch of Minute Rice.

Consider the harried Traveler’s Insurance pooch: wake up, find bone, bury bone, fret about it, take it to the bank, go home, worry, worry, worry, back to bank, get bone, scurry to the back yard, cue the insurance. There’s character, exposition, action, conflict, soul-searching, symbolism, metaphor and resolution. It’s a work of art and literature.

This is a problem for a writer.

Thirty seconds of wide-open time has a way of shrinking, shriveling and decomposing before all the must-have, salient points start piling into each other at about :23 (set-up…atmosphere…laugh line…vital info…more info…… disclaimerphoneaddresslogodone).

Even in business-to-business advertising, which is largely commercial-less, we have the task of fitting every last, flipping fact into digestible blocs of type, tweets and mobile alerts. I’m involved in a video project now calling for interviewees to make a spontaneous statement within 10-15 seconds. Most finish in the twenties. One arrived with a 12-line cheat sheet that would have timed out at a minute.

Our perception of time is up for grabs. So perhaps we all should take Thomas Jefferson’s idea as our mantra: “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Now that I look at it, even he could have left out the words “that of” and cut a second.

Pass The Drano

July 15th, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Operating on the premise that an alarming number of brains can be blocked at any given moment (why you’re perusing this blog post instead of designing the next killer campaign maybe?), let me put in a few words about the roto-rootering (read more . . .)

Eyes Wide Open

March 11th, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

“You can observe a lot just by watching.Yogi Berra

Yogi’s taken a lot of flak for his whack-a-do pronouncements and command of the language, but I think he might have been onto something here.

We all live in the world. How do we miss stuff? We have an insane number of news sources – Internet, newspaper, network news, 24-hour cable news, e-mail, Twitter, Time, Newsweek. And we have unprecedented access to information about previous eras. I was just reading about the Norman Conquest…about 945 years after the fact. It’s all very literally at our fingertips.

At the same time, we also can suffer from information overload – I’m lookin’ at you, publicity machine for every lurch in Charlie Sheen’s self-implosion.

That aside, we learn by living and paying attention. So it’s not too defensible when we marketers, of all people – who put words in corporate mouths – deliver half-baked ideas that a little observation could have prevented. I submit:

– One of the Big Three car makers (the big One, actually) named a new car Beretta. If they’d been paying attention, they might have saved the half-million dollars it cost to settle a trademark infringement suit by the Italian gun maker. Don’t they go to the movies?

– There are translation sites all over the Web to run searches on potential names in other languages. Unfortunately, they all eluded IKEA who let the idea of a desk named “Fartfull” get out of the Swedish boardroom and over to the US.

– Somebody came out with a running shoe called Zyklon. Sounds techy. Didn’t take long for them to be labeled colossally thoughtless for resurrecting the name of a poisonous gas used in Nazi concentration camps. A quick Google search could have prevented that blunder. (I just tried it; bingo, right there.)

        That rant being said, I’m sure to be setting myself up for missing some cultural obscurity soon. In fact, I nearly proposed an ingredient name recently that was already in use by another client. No wonder it sounded so good.

        Yogi warned me.