Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

27 January 2010

Think He Planned This?

Steve Jobs, 2 years ago to date, on Kindle: "The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."

Perhaps because he's not a stupid man, iPad is positioned thus:

The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down.

(Because the "book" and the "reading" parts go without saying.)

Image credit: Kimberly White, Reuters.

AdVerve Episode 16: Life After Social Media Snake Oil

To parasteal from Bono, Joseph Jaffe stole the :30 spot — and we’re takin’ it back.

It’s been almost five years since he pissed off people in Ad Land™ talking about Life After The :30 Spot; we look back to see what still holds up.

Supporting that theme is this idea of the social-media-as-snake-oil bias still prevalent in advertising circles. If you were among those that the Chief Interruptor (at crayon, in turn acquired by Power) disrupted, listen close: what's really in question is the advertising model in general. We also manage to get in a few shots at Facebook, Walmart and the Stupor Bowl mindset.

(Want more Jaffe Juice? Catch him on Twitter.)

Download the show directly here. Or subscribe via iTunes: Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

26 January 2010

Debutantes, Light Up: The Very First Flashmob?

Following the release of AdVerve's "Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms" episode, a PR guy sent me the above Chesterfield ad from the 1930s.

It speaks to the empowerment women felt when they lit up a smoke -- repurcussions of a marketing campaign I mentioned in passing during the podcast, when, around the time of woman's suffrage, a tobacco company encouraged a number of wealthy debutantes to light up on the streets at exactly the same time.

That's pretty much all I knew about the effort, but after seeing the Chesterfield ad I decided to look it up. Here's what I found:

It was George Washington Hill, president of the American Tobacco Company, who recognised that an important part of his market was not being tapped into, and he hired [Freud's nephew Edward Bernays] to expand the sales of his Lucky Strike cigarettes to women.
Bernays applied his talent to the problem. Recognising that women were still riding high on the suffrage movement, Bernays used this as the basis for his campaign. He consulted Dr A A Brill, a leading New York psychoanalyst, to find out the psychological basis for women's smoking. Brill said that cigarettes were equated subconsciously with penises, which women were envious of.
He gave Bernays the idea that, if he could connect cigarettes with the idea of challenging male power, smoking in public could be sold to women, who would then have their own penises. So he came up with an idea for presenting cigarettes as 'torches of freedom'.

Bernays proceeded to stage an event at the annual Easter Day Parade, held in New York and attracting thousands, to introduce this totally irrational notion to American womanhood and it caused a national stir. He got a group of rich debutantes to agree to hide cigarettes in their clothing and, at a given signal, light up together.
He then informed the press this would happen and of course photographers were present in droves and stories appeared in newspapers throughout America.
- Adam Curtis, "A Seething Mass of Desires: Freud's Hold Over History"
This all went down in the mid-1920s; thereafter, Bernays was able to persuade female film stars to light up -- resulting in the adoption of cigarettes among US women in the millions. The big takeaway: in one fell swoop, smoking was successfully linked to "feelings of independence, power and freedom" among those that so needed it.

Does this not astound and amaze? And doesn't the image of smug untouchable rich girls on the street puff-puffing in tandem totally blow away this nonsense? (Not endorsing one or the other; just sayin'.)

24 January 2010

Shiny Disco Ball!

French conceptual artist Michel de Broin illuminated Paris during this year's Nuit Blanche with his Maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel.

On Why We Launched a Podcast ... in a Podcast.

Social media manager Esteban Contreras of Samsung (@socialnerdia) was recently kind enough to have Bill Green and me on his Social Nerdia podcast. We discuss social media, up-and-coming versus traditional agencies, the merits of having a complete context (no matter WHAT you've been asked to do for a client) and why Bill and I launched AdVerve.

23 January 2010

Non-Embeddable YouTube Videos + Country Viewing Restrictions: OK Go's Take

This open letter made me love OK Go and want to buy their music (which is also pretty nifty).

What's it about? In short: how our consumer fight for liberation from Big Extortionist Record Labels™ has made it really hard for the one-time champions of said REVOLUTION!! to both take money from record labels and get their YouTube videos embeddable.

Also, OK Go explains why it'll never get 50 zillion views on a video again. You'll cry for the passing of a time -- when things were wild, online video was anarchic and that fume in the air was laced with hope.

Or something to that effect.


Because We Like to Think that When Robots Are Finally Self-Aware, They Will Also Have Feelings and Growing Pains and Crippling Self-Doubt.*

ABSOLUT Vodka -- which has apparently decided that selling kindness and vulnerability are the way to go for market differentiation -- partnered with Spike Jonze to develop a short film called I'm Here.

It doesn't seem like it'll take itself too seriously, but it's got enough ennui-laced warm-fuzzies to at least win views from a Cannes judge or two or three.

The film will appear on the I'm Here website in March. I'll probably watch it because I dig Spike Jonze and the fact that it's billed as "a robot love story." That is, if I don't forget in the wake of some great calamity -- like Chris Crocker getting a network deal.


*Because maybe then they won't all kill us, and people can mate with them, like in Bladerunner.

21 January 2010

Hope You Didn't Pay for that Placement.*

Was checking my Facebook messages today when I saw this stream of ads just hangin' out below the response box. Uh, I like how Zuck et al. apparently decided in advance that I like them. (Note the generous J'aimes just below each creative masterpiece.)

You guys need a little help over there...?


*Well, Facebook's PPC last I checked so I guess they're not. But still though, if I knew that's where my ads were appearing, I'd be pissed.

20 January 2010

AdVerve Episode 15: Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

Who can’t use more of each?

After exploring most of the adult vices we could think of, we devote the show to one of our favorite segments, 10 For 10. (We basically hit each other with topics the other doesn’t know about ahead of time.)

From there, Ben Kunz of Media Associates delivers a Five Minutes With... showing why he’s smart. Like, blog smart, especially on his Thought Gadgets where he lives. Whatever that means. We then wrap as only we can—for another 10 minutes and cover things like the idea of heroes and drowning. IT’s 97 MINUTES OF PURE PLEASURE.

Download the show directly here. Or subscribe via iTunes: Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

15 January 2010

When Identity's à la Carte, Will There Be Room for You?

In "Drop Out," a doll struggles with who s/he is in a genetically-engineered world. A teeny watch, not too detailed, but trippy thought food nonetheless.

Also see the making-of chez The Curious Brain.

14 January 2010

AdVerve Episode 14: Music Madness

Music freaks, rejoice!

No, this won't be some sheisty Top 10 list. In this segment we talk about technology and its effect on music. From creating it to sharing and making money from it to where things are headed. WE GO THERE.

That we do this without mentioning Black Eyed Peas once is a testament to something, just not sure what.

Joining the fun is Darryl Ohrt and Matt Hunsberger from The Greatest Agency In All The Land. Find Darryl on Twitter; Matt can be found there and fronting Pop Heroes.

Download the show directly here. Or subscribe via iTunes: Bill Green and Angela Natividad - AdVerve - AdVerve

Reflective Trash!

11 January 2010

The So-Called Mobile Era: AAPL and GOOG Start the Sumo

Long-suffering Bob invited me onto the BeanCast yesterday, along with Christopher Baccus, Bret Bernhoft and Al Gadbut. The episode title is Worse than Cancer on account of some typically awkward thing I said after thinking Bob was done recording.

You can check out the topics in the above link, but the episode basically revolved around mobile coming into itself: ad men hankering to incorporate their brands more intuitively on this most intimate of technologies, as well as Google and Apple beginning to butt heads, what with the former going into mobile hardware and the latter dipping its toes into mobile advertising.

As the 'net embeds itself into all facets of our lives, we're gonna see more tech companies stepping out of their respective métiers and going head-to-head against each other in unexpected arenas: competing to own audiences in mobile search, for example, and trying to control points of entry for wifi and ad penetration. 2008 and 2009 manifested the beginning of this blurring of specialization; now we'll see prominent names and new services start taking shape in the melting pot.

Google's foray into lead generation also dominated the conversation; applications for it are endless, but I can already smell the realtors and car salesmen jumpin' on that like there's no tomorrow. =P

Oh yeah, and then there was that whole H&M PR nightmare. (*coughs up a hairball*)

Tastebuds tingling? Have a listen here.

10 January 2010

The Passing-Down of Precious Knowledge, and Bringing Divinity Back to Creativity

It's funny about TED Talks: how those of us that haven't had the good fortune to be able to attend have started passing these 18-minute nuggets of insight around.

It's a nice little ritual that feels as precious as sitting in on a Socratic circle: you look forward to the moment, to being with other thirsty people and hearing something that will add nuance to your perspective.

Maybe that's the only way the Meaning of Life™ can be transmitted: petit à petit, in shared and cultivated insights whose essences we must try and hold onto, to internalize and build on, so we can construct the tapestry of our existences beautifully, vividly and with conviction.

I have yet to see a TED Talk that hasn't moved me to either enthusiastic agreement or vehement disagreement. That means every time I watch one, I am learning how to think, flexing muscles that, for many of us, are on autopilot because we've turned most aspects of our daily lives into rituals: the shower, the email-checking, the smalltalk in the breakroom.

The one above is of author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love. A friend passed it to me a month or so ago but I didn't have the chance to look at it. Then, on Facebook, another friend posted Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice talk. I couldn't swallow the thesis at all, and the discussion that followed kicked off The Ritual: the sharing of other TED talks.

That's how the Gilbert one came back to me. And I'm really glad I didn't miss it this time around, because anyone working in the "creative" capacity -- that is, where you have to improve upon or adapt what's been done before, using only what you manage to wrestle out of your obstinate mind -- needs to hear this.

How she starts:
We've completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked, and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish. And the question that I want to ask everybody here today is, um, are you guys all cool with that idea? Are you at all comfortable with that?!
She argues that in the realm of creativity, we have to let go of the rationalist idea that it's 100% our responsibility. This notion leads to overinflated egos when something is a success, and, on the darker side of the coin, suicide or the drinking habits for which writers, musicians and ad men are particularly notorious.

Frankly, giving yourself over to "what you were put on this earth to do" shouldn't have to feel as if it's killing you every. Single. Day.

What's her solution? To return to an ancient idea: think of real creativity -- that moment when it's flowing out of you like water, and you need to get it all down superfast OR ELSE DIE -- as a caprice of the divine. Keep showing up for your job, and hopefully your supernatural helper shows up for his.

This is less mysticism than an acknowledgement that creativity is not at all rational. It doesn't come when it's called or work on your timetable. And if you can't find a proper way to put this bitch of a muse into context, she will make you crazy.

08 January 2010

All Alight Over 'Avatar'? Go Be One Then.

IMVU, which seems to want to corner the market on deluded fantasies of virtual identity, has seized a most golden opportunity with its latest slew of display ads: piggybacking on the popularity of a certain Disney James Cameron film.

07 January 2010

AdVerve Episode 13: Bloggers Suck

It’s harder for us to title these things anymore since we go off in so many different directions in each show now. The timestamp breakdown gives you a semblance of what we covered, from dudes who love cars a little too much to my new giggity-giggity* gigs.

The topics we spend the most time on include how blogs are still not taken seriously by “real” journalists (or some ad agencies), and the fear about being too open on them. The show devolves into a cultural ceviche from there.

We also have back a regular feature, 5 Minutes With..., featuring Matt McDermott of Renegade. (Follow him on Twitter as well as on the agency's blog.)

06 January 2010

What IS the Appeal of that Blanket with Sleeves?

Consumer Reports burrows into the science of attraction behind infomercial products, including ShamWow, Snuggie, PedEgg and Slap Chop.


The fun starts with dramatizations of a problem you didn't know you had, followed by the incredible solution, then a series of ever more amazing product benefits, bonuses, and giveaways, all leading to the final thrilling plunge of an unbelievably low price. After the ride, Lindstrom says, "dopamine levels drop in 5 or 6 minutes. That's why infomercials ask you to buy in the next 3 minutes."

Now excuse me while I futz with my non-functioning Handi-Stitch for the umpteenth time.

04 January 2010

Hypios: On Learning to Love Problems

It's been a period of significant change, what with the move to France, and leaving Adrants and MarketingVOX, where I've camped out for the last handful of years.

Unemployment + immigration angst = big problem.

But like most things that appear to suck, a bad turn proves good. I decided to stay here. And once I decided that, it was easier to relax and watch for the right opportunity. So I went on vacation, made friends, worked on some cool projects for other companies, and even started a podcast with my homie Bill Green. With time to yourself you get to reflect, and here is something I realized I really wanted to do: execute, not just write.

Liked Me on Adrants? You'll Love Me on Culture Buzz.

(Though to be fair, the above is probably just a gross presumption on my part.)

Seriously though. As of last week, I'm posting a coupla cool campaigns a day for Culture Buzz, the equal-opportunity-ad-loving arm of agency Vanksen. Check it out, throw feedback our way, and -- better yet -- send me shit! Yeah, PR people, you can do that again. Here's where:

angela [dot] natividad [at] gmail [dot] com.

More fun-tastic employment news in the coming hours. (*does a wicked little dance*)