BY KEN WHEATON
When campaigns go to the crowds
Real London Fog adman
not happy about ‘Mad Men’
We received the following
correspondence from Richard
Gilbert, whose book “Marching Up
Madison Avenue,” was previously
written about in this space.
Richard’s got a bone to pick with the
creators of “Mad Men” and, instead
of translating his frustrations, we
figured we’d just run his
commentary as is. Richard writes:
“I believe, quite strongly, that
Advertising Age should always
advance editorial opinion,
particularly when others are
attempting to tell the story of our industry. The current well-acclaimed
series ‘Mad Men’ is a perfect example.
“The show is, above all, slick and professional. It would be no less slick
and professional if it were also cautiously accurate. Here, I think of this
season’s opening episode that was devoted to London Fog. It was
presented as a tired, 40-year-old company whose advertising was in
trouble. Sterling Cooper was the agency and Don Draper, the creative
lead in the show, has a business-saving ad for Israeland Jon Myers,
owners of the company. [The ad] shows a nude model in a London Fog
flashing the audience and the headline ‘Limit Your Exposure.’
“London Fog was not a tired, 40-year-old brand at the time, as it was
launched in 1954 when it changed from Londontown Clothes, a Baltimore
men’s clothing manufacturer, to its current brand title and rainwear
emphasis. Gilbert Advertising handled the brand through the ‘60s and
built a body of work that was acclaimed for its creative brilliance and
brand dominance. London Fog’s 65% Dacron/35% cotton fabric was the
soul of the rainwear industry, and in 1960 the company was at the
beginning of its advertising ascendency.
“It is also questionable whether a warm, traditional, avuncular Jewish
tailor like Israel Myers would ever be seen in the halls of a Sterling Cooper.
From a chemistry, personality and sociological point of view, it was an
impossible match. Further, in 1960, magazine censors would never
accept such a ‘flashing’ image. We did an ad at the time for After Six
Formals with a model unfurling the bow tie of a male model under the
headline, ‘The next affair you have, make it formal.’ The New Yorker
accepted the ad, but the woman’s hand had to go.
“The show’s producers claim that they did meticulous research, and
they obviously did—on girdles, cigarettes, clothing, furnishings, art work,
etc. But they seem to have done little or none on advertising for an
“All our ads were available, many in art-director annual collections. My
memoir, ‘Marching Up Madison Avenue,’ was also in print [and contained]
a lengthy chapter on the history of London Fog and its advertising. It is also
personally depressing to hear from some of the incredible young talents
who worked for me asking, ‘Do they have a right to do this?’
“Even more shameful is that ‘Mad Men’ concentrates on a decaying era
of American advertising at a time when we were actually experiencing a
great creative revolution led by the incomparable Doyle Dane Bernbach.
The industry also benefited from an exciting infusion of new talent with
Jewish writers and Italian art directors bringing refreshing humor,
warmth, irreverence, entertainment and believability to the printed page
and TV screen. ‘Mad Men,’ in truth, is locked in the ’50s, and by the early
’60s, the men portrayed were dinosaurs on their way to extinction.
“But give Matthew Weinerand his Emmy-award-winning writers
credit. They’re turning those dinosaurs into rock stars.”
MAD MAN OR BAD MAN? That’s a
Scotch fog, not a London fog.
opment to consumers. Last year, the
Dewmocracy brands accounted for 25
million cases—or a couple hundred
million dollars, according to John
Sicher, editor and publisher of
Beverage Digest. By comparison,
Coke Zero, a major growth engine
and core brand for Coca-Cola, sold 96
million cases last year.
“It really is a good piece of business for a line extension, even in
this big a category,” Mr. Sicher said.
When Dewmocracy launched in
2007, it involved an online game.
This time around, Mtn Dew is using
Facebook, Twitter and its private
online Dew Labs Community to
determine the flavor, color, packaging and names of the new products.
Now, it’s also allowing consumers to
select the agencies that will produce
15-second spots for each of the new
flavors. Digital advertising and
point-of-sale materials could also
become a part of the mix. Once the
flavors and advertising break in April
2010, consumers will vote to determine which flavor will become a permanent part of the Mtn Dew lineup.
Mtn Dew is adamant that the new
effort will not impact its relationship
with agency of record BBDO
Worldwide, noting that it has been a
part of Dewmocracy from the beginning and continues to play an important role in the process. BBDO directed a call for comment to the client.
Brett O’Brien, Mtn Dew’s direc-tor-marketing, said that the broadcast
spots created by the selected agencies
will be supported by a “robust media
plan,” noting that marketing is a key
part of the Dewmocracy process.
“If we’re going to have a dialogue
with consumers and have consumers
play a role in dictating the future of
our brand, they’ve got to play a role
in all aspects of it,” said Mr. O’Brien
of the decision to let consumers select
Crowd-sourcing is a growing
phenomenon among major brands
such as Unilever and Amazon. Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand has run three
consecutive “Crash the Super Bowl”
campaigns, which ask consumers to
vote on their favorite consumer-generated spot. The latest contest offered
a $1 million prize if the winner
topped the USAToday ad poll, which
it did. But while contests like that
have been decidedly gimmicky, a
From Page 1
Crowd-sourcing isn’t new, but it’s increasingly popular, with major brands
turning to consumers to create marketing for all sorts of products.
AMAZON: The online retailer turned to consumers this year for TV
concepts, eventually awarding $20,000 to the winner, a photographer
based in Los Angeles.
CAREERBUILDER: In May, CareerBuilder dropped Wieden & Kennedy.
That same month it began promoting the HireMyTvAd contest. The
winning ad could be shown during the 2010 Super Bowl.
CHEVROLET: In 2006, a contest to create ads for the Chevy Tahoe
resulted in anti-SUV spoofs, but it did garner plenty of attention.
DORITOS: For three years running, the Frito-Lay brand has run a “Crash
the Super Bowl” campaign featuring consumer-generated ads.
HP: To promote its Artist Edition laptops, HP launched the You on You
Project this summer. It asked consumers to upload videos or remix a
commercial using stock footage.
PEPERAMI: The Unilever snack brand dismissed Lowe, London, earlier this
year in favor of a crowd-sourcing strategy to find new ideas for TV and print.
more troubling trend for agencies is
emerging. This fall, Unilever’s
Peperami brand dismissed Lowe,
London, in favor of running a contest
to find TV and print ad ideas. Just this
month, two former senior managers
at Crispin Porter & Bogusky
launched Victors & Spoils, billed as
the world’s first creative agency built
on crowd-sourcing principles.
“Most agency relationships,
they’re still the brand steward. They
understand the brand they’re working with at an almost molecular
level,” said Chick Foxgrover, 4A’s
chief information officer. “It’s unclear
whether [crowd-sourcing] will be a
trend that takes hold in a universal
way or whether it’s more of an experiment. … In general, there’s a lot of
experimentation going on in agency
compensation. This fits into the context of that larger conversation.”
Mr. O’Brien said the review will
be promoted to indie agencies, indie
film companies, universities and film
schools, as well as via online messaging and word-of-mouth. BBDO handled advertising for the previous
Dewmocracy product launches. This
time, BBDO will work on an umbrella spot that explains the overall
Dewmocracy program, while the
selected agencies work independently
on the launch creative.
“I don’t know … that they’ll
bring something different—certainly
they may have a different perspective,” Mr. O’Brien said about the
prospect of using a smaller agency or
a film company, rather than a large,
traditional agency. “It lets us get an
interesting and unique perspective on
the brand from people that aren’t living and breathing it every day.”
Asked whether the agencies
tapped for the product launches
could pick up more Mtn Dew business, Mr. O’Brien said he didn’t
know, adding that “it’s certainly
TBD.” PepsiCo has worked with
small agencies in the past, especially
in the digital space, and recently
tapped Interpublic Group of Cos.
digital agency Huge to handle a
piece of business for brand Pepsi.
Mtn Dew has been one of the
few trademarks growing in the carbonated soft-drink space, with volume up 1% in the first half, as the
overall category declined 2.7%,
according to Beverage Digest.
“[Dewmocracy] contributes to our
growth. … The Dew fan is excited
about engaging with new offerings
from Dew. But it also attracts new
people into the Dew fan base that say,
‘hey, this is something really interesting, let me give it a try,’” explained
Mr. O’Brien. “And retailers love it,
because it’s interesting news that drives folks into the stores.”
Nudist turns out to be corporate tool
Hey New Yorkers, remember that naked guy in running shoes eating
tacos in Williamsburg? In September, you may have spotted his YouTube
videos on Gawker or Huffington Post, or seen his bare speedy booty—he
calls himself the World’s Fastest Nudist—firsthand in Union Square Park.
The WFN isn’t a real New York wacko exhibitionist; he’s a marketing stunt
courtesy of Zappos, the online retailer.
New York-based agency Agent 16 and production company Bullet are
behind the WFN videos. His name is not even Donnie! He’s an actor
named Kyle Overstreet. –KUNUR PATEL
aren’tvery good at
Send your “Mad Men”-inspired rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simmons survey of 25,000 adults
said visits to Starbucks were down
4.5% for the year ended spring
2009, compared to a 1% drop for
Dunkin’ over the same period.
“It’s the companies [like
Dunkin’] who can afford to be
proactive rather than reactive that
are in a good position,” said Mr.
Tristano. “To make some shifts or
changes to the way they do things,
cut costs and increase sales, it may
be a luxury they have that other
But it hasn’t been entirely good
From Page 6
news for Dunkin’, which suffered
several highly-publicized franchisee
bankruptcies this year. “You’re
going to have franchisees that
aren’t very good at managing
restaurants, [and they are] going to
fail,” Mr. Tristano said. “That’s
inevitable in a franchise model.”
However both Messrs. Travis
and Costello said that corporate
relations with franchisees are
strong, and they have both been
devoting time for meetings with
key franchisees over what’s working in the business—and what isn’t.
Of the changing competitive
landscape, Mr. Travis said, “it’s
sharpened our approach to the business.” As CEO of Papa John’s
between 2005 and 2008, he helped
establish the brand as a vibrant,
even disruptive, third-place competitor. “I’ve got the highest respect
for Starbucks and McDonald’s,”
Mr. Travis said of the coffee market.
“I think they’ll continue to do a
great job and make us do an even