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Sunday, August 6, 2017

KELLOGG'S: You Should Have Called The Media Guy!

Surfing around Amazon today and I came across an oldie but a goodie written by yours truly: European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970, in the Australian National Gallery Hardcover – 1992. Yeah, you can buy the book on Amazon but the $1800 price tag might scare you aware from this out-of-print beauty.

In a related story, there's no truth to the rumor that the book has gold-tipped pages. It's just hard to find these days. Yet, I digress...

Okay, so where am I?

I'm on a bit of a retreat as I search my soul to find a handful of Big Ideas for some upcoming campaigns. It's a lovely property with butler service, 24-hour gourmet room service, sounds of the ocean from my lanai, and a pond with huge lily pads. It's the perfect mix of civilization and nature that inspired the right blend of inspiration and meditation to spark the creative juices.

A good place to start the creative process is to look at what's out there. The more I scrape the bottom of the creative barrel, the older I know I am. I mean, I feel like I'm the only guy that watches television commercials anymore, but based on the soaring budgets for these spots and the cost to do media buys, the more I know it's simply a myth that commercials don't work. They do, and when you get a solid spot with a decent media plan, the word spreads fast.

So there I am flipping through shows and maybe the worst example yet of awful, New Age “femvertising” pops up in the form of a Special K commercial...take a peek:

“Women? We eat. We don’t doubt it. We own it.”

Wait, whaaaaaat? As a reformed misogynist, every time I see a spot like this I feel like I'm reverting to my old Mel Gibson What Women Want ways and needing a good hair dryer zap to fully get me in tune with advertising geared at women.

So there I was watching this commercial saying "who in the holy hell is writing these inane commercials" while looking for a pencil to jab into my eye so I could stop the pain of ingesting these kinds of ads. Any wouldn't you know it, there wasn't a pencil to be found to end the suffering.

If you don't think I'm a man of simple tastes and pleasures ask me what the highlight of my last vacations was...


Still waiting...

A properly-filled scantron was the first step towards an A test!
Give up? Well, I checked into beautiful European hotel and boy they don't skimp on the super neat amenities. In my room, sitting atop the note pads on a Resolute Desk replica were elegant golden pencils. New pencils. Erasers unused with lead at a fine point. My memory drifted back to a noisy fourth grade classroom as I searched for the fresh scent of new pencil shavings as the formed a mini mountain underneath the manual sharpener.

Memories moved to the odd lectures from mostly well-intended teachers urging you to fill the circles completely on your scantron in order to receive proper credit for all of your guesses answers. Remember your teachers reminding you to use your mighty yellow Ticonderoga pencils with the ever-important number two lead? I sure do! Begrudgingly tolerated the of the mechanical pencil.

Try and find a pencil at home or in your office these days. Impossible! What ever happened to the noble pencil?

Most of this monster was started with a pencil...
History romanticizes the quill pen. It begrudgingly tolerated the unnatural abomination of the mechanical pencil. It resigned itself to the mass production of Bic's ballpoint. And all the while, the pencil was there being taken for granted and waiting for nostalgia to sweep it back into relevance.

Yeah, we are still waiting and waiting for that to happen.

It wasn't pens that beggars sold from their tin cups during the Great Depression, it was pencils. The world greatest sketches and poetry arose from lead points. Even the art of pencil sharpening was a way to both take a break during a difficult quiz and simultaneous show off to your classmates as you shaved the wood head with economical strokes that told your world you were a true craftsman.

All of this was during my time when cursive writing wasn't banned in school and pencilmanship was still a grade that counted towards your elementary GPA. It was a time when the US Postal Service bustled with snail speed to deliver the letters we wrote on fine linen stock. I digress yet again.

At the end, I called several of my female friends, imploring them to watch the Special K commercial with me on youtube and the general consensus was that the spot was terrible and they were searching for pencils too.

The moral of the story? The marketing execs at Kellogg's or even the ad men at Leo Burnett (the agency that handles Special K) should have called the Media Guy to write their "We Own It" spot. I guarantee you I would have crushed it, Clio-style or worked for free.

Looking back though, I thank America's apathy for the pencil for saving my left eye as I searched for that Big Idea today!



Check out this fun story about a professional pencil sharpener with Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning: