Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Memo Tuesday

From: CosmoDemonic HR Department
To: Staff
Re: Illness

The cold and flu season is already here. So here are a few tips on how you can stay well and not miss work.

Avoid other people. Stay away from your friends. If you have a spouse, do not touch them. If you have kids, get rid of them.

Take a tip from the germ-phobic community and wash your hands a lot. I mean a lot. 20-30 times day. And don’t forget to use plenty of hand sanitizer.

Get a flue shot. In fact, you might want to get two or three. Doctors say this can be dangerous, but hey, what do they know?

The verdict is still out on zinc, Airborne and Echinacea, but that doesn’t mean you can use them. And don’t forget to take mega doses of vitamin C. If your urine isn’t a healthy shade of burnt umber, you’re not taking enough.

Even if you follow all these rules, you may still get sick. So here is a quick reminder of our sick day policy:

You get 5 sick days a year. You DO NOT have to use them all. If you have some left over at the end of the year you’ll get…nothing. But try not to use them all anyway.

It is our official policy that you should remain at home if you are sick. However, keep in mind that it is also our “official” policy to reward hard work, promote from within, and not sexually harass hot interns.

If you do have to stay home be sure to call your supervisor. Give him or her details of your illness. Don’t leave anything out. (Even if it involves the bathroom!)

If you have to be out more than a day, you might want to request that some work be sent to your home. If you are going to be out more than two days, your position will be given to someone who isn’t so weak.

Stay healthy, or else.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things to do on Sunday night

The weekend is almost over (boo). So now it’s time to take care of all the shit you were supposed to get done over the last two days. Remember what you said on Friday?

“I am not going to fuck around all weekend. I’m going to get my work done and leave Sunday evening totally free.’

Well it’s Sunday evening, and you haven’t done shit. So turn off the TV, grab a fifth beer and get to work.

Work on your portfolio.
This job is never done. You either have to start it. Or if it’s done, you have to revise it.

Do the work you were supposed to do on Friday, but you didn’t.
It’s a scientific fact that none no one is capable of working after 3:30 on a Friday.

Send emails to freelance clients telling them that you are almost finished with their assignment.
Almost finished, almost started-same thing.

Charge phone, iPods, Bluetooth earpieces, etc.

Do your laundry.

Monday is not tank-top and Speedo day.

Work on your Secret Project.
You thought we didn’t know about it, did you? We are a blog, we know all.

Mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead.
I recommend making up a new nickname for the boss. (Dickweed, Asshat, Captain 80’s)

Get a good night’s sleep.
Use booze or pills.

Promise yourself that next weekend you will definitely NOT put off everything till Sunday night.
Repeat each week.

Write your blog post.
Uh, hey how about another list!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Advertising perks that aren’t really worth it.

Free Lunches
An hour spent talking shop with your co-workers. Or worse, TWO hours listening to the client talk about the renovations on their beach house.

Office Parties
Free food and free drinks. But you have to pretend that this is your idea of fun. Plus a sexual harassment lawsuit is always a Jager-shot away.

Free Agency T-Shirts
The “Property of CosmoDemonic Creative Department” shirt really looses its appeal after they lay you off.

Free Product
How many tubes of toothpaste do you really need?

Late-night Pizza

Other bloggers have already written about this so I’ll just add one thing. Who’s the fucker who always orders the veggie pizza?

First Class Travel
At the end of a 16 hour shoot, there is very little difference between the 4 Seasons and Motel 6.

Free Internet
The internet is not a “perk.” It’s a necessity.

Free Tickets to Sporting Events
Actually, that’s pretty cool.

Free Tickets to Sporting Events, But You Have to Sit in the Section Where Business People Network.
Oh shit. Shut the fuck up Lance. I can’t concentrate on the game while you’re trying to convince your client to buy six more units of Fleet enemas.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We are too big too

Okay, so here is the “bailout” plan summed up for simple people like us. The US government will take $700 billion in taxpayer money and give it to the financial industry to save their sorry asses. They may have made terrible decisions. They may have made really stupid mistakes. They may have committed crimes. But we have to do this because…THEY ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL.

But if you ask me, there is another group that is too big to fail. It’s the advertising industry. Imagine for a second what would happen if we stopped oiling the wheels of capitalism. People wouldn’t know what to buy. They would wander the aisles of supermarkets and malls with no one to guide them. They would be happy with their current cars. They wouldn’t worry about their weight. They would realize that fast-food tastes like shit.

And think about the social outcome. An army of virtually unemployable people would suddenly be out on the streets. With nowhere to go, it wouldn’t be long before they turned to violence or religion.

So here is my bailout plan. Every man, woman and junior art director in advertising will be given $1 million. (Jane, you figure out the Canadian equivalent.) And we will continue to do what we do best, convince people to buy shit they don’t need. Thus securing the future of the capitalist world.

Now if the powers that be are concerned that we are not to be trusted with that kind of cash, let me point out that we have made some terrible decisions (New Coke?) We have made some stupid mistakes (Jerry and Bill spots). And we have committed crimes so heinous, we won’t even confess to them on an anonymous blog,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

20 things to think about while your boss is talking to you.

1. My god, your nostrils are huge!

2. How did you rise to this level in your career? Was it dumb luck, or are you related to someone?

3. Why do you always smell like that?

4. I should quit right now. I should quit right now. I should quit right now.

5. Things would go so much smoother if you just stayed at home.

6. Give me the job and the due date. Then shut the fuck up.

7. Do you have any idea how much your staff hates you?

8. What is with your hair?

9. Why do you make three times as much as I do when I’m twice as smart?

10. Do you even know what YouTube is?

11. Do you ever fantasize about me? Ick!

12. Please don’t use hip-hop terms. It makes me cringe.

13. I wonder what sort of weird, freaky shit you get into outside the office.

14. Why do you keep repeating the same things over and over?

15. I can’t believe you get paid to do this.

16. Is the fact that you are my boss prove that the universe is completely unfair or simply in a state of chaos.

17. Do you realize that the hipper you dress, the sadder you look?

18. Am I going to turn into you one day?

19. Do you actually believe any of the shit you say?

20. When can I get up and leave?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 6-Freelancing
So you did a bunch of interviews, but the phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook. Well, these things take time. And luckily, you did get one phone call. An agency has asked if you would like to do some freelancing, and they want you to start tomorrow!

So what are you waiting for? Put on some jeans and your most ironic t-shirt and head to your first professional advertising gig.

You have arrived.
Well look at you. Your own cube. The crappy hand-me-down computer that no one else wants. You have totally made it. Hey, who’s that next door? It’s your cubical neighbor! Maybe you should pay them a visit. Well, that didn’t go so well. They were kind of…cold. It’s not your fault. You see, as a new freelancer, you are sort of a ghost person. No one is sure if you’re going to be there for a day or a decade. So people tend to be cautious about making attachments. (Note: If you are a wildly attractive man or woman this is not true.)

So with no hope of human interaction, you might as well get to work. What will you be working on? Usually when an agency hires freelancers it’s because they are swamped. So there will be lots of work to do. Copywriters may find themselves writing tons of TV scripts (cool) or even naming a product (shitty). Art Directors may find themselves working on layouts that some other AD started. (If you find yourself completing another AD’s layout, one of two things will be true. One, the other AD will have not labeled his layers. Two, the specs will be WRONG.)

So now that you’re a freelancer. It might be a good time to look at the Pluses and Minuses.

The Money-WOW! Look at that day rate! You’re making a fortune. Who cares if you never get a full-time gig? This is way better!

You don’t get health insurance. So you either have to self-insure, or you have to real careful crossing the street. And you might want to give Grandma a call and see if anything runs in the family. If you can’t talk to Grandma because she is dead, you definitely need health insurance.

I can work anytime I want!

You work anytime they want you. Dry spells can be loooong.

Shit! I finally got a fulltime job. Now I have to stop freelancing!
Uh, no you don’t. You see all creatives continue to do freelance work even after they become salaried employees. (Account people don’t get to do this. We figure they make their extra money buy skimming off the media budget.) Many creatives are quite open about doing freelance work, at work. They’ll use company printers to print their layouts. They’ll spend most of the day working on a pitch. I’ve seen creative duck out early when the agency is in full crisis mode, because they have a meeting with their freelance client. You’d think people would get in trouble for this, but almost no one ever does. The Creative directors are probably too busy doing their freelance jobs to notice.

A note on permalance.
Sometimes, when and agency is very confused, it will pay a freelancer for years. This is called permalance. You get all the benefits of a fulltime gig and the high pay of a freelancer. If you ever find yourself in this position, stay there.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Origin of Marketing Terms

Volume 1-
Definition- The use of repetition to create a brand identity in the mind of the consumer.

Client Definition-My boss approved last year’s ad, so let’s run it again.

Art Director Definition-I don’t want to come up with a new layout. Can’t I just use last year’s ad and switch out the photos?

Copywriter Definition-We’ll use the headline and copy from the brochure.

Media Buyer Definition-We must run the spot at least 6 times every hour.

Origin-Murky, but was most likely created as an excuse when a Creative Director wanted to know why no one had come up with any new ideas.

Examples of use.

Account Supervisor- We believe that our media buy and new creative strategy will solidify the brand identity in our target demographic, thus increasing our branding.

Creative- It’s not copied. It’s branding!

Global Head of Marketing-What the fuck is branding?

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm a PC

Okay, Microsoft's next big ad has hit the airwaves. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is. I'll wait.

Okay, now what do you notice besides that fact that this spot actually has a message?

Figured it out yet?

Someone or someones got to fly all over the world on Microsoft's dime. And I'm pretty sure they traveled first class.

There is a breed of Creative Director who views every assignment as a possible free vacation. The bigger the budget, the grander the trip. They will come up with really strange creative ideas to make travel necessary. Coffee house? We need to fly to Costa Rica. Tennis shoes? Wimbledon! Brake pads. Uh…..the autobahn! The funny thing is, these guys could afford to pay for their own trips. They just don't want to. (This also explains why they can expense $75 lunches, and you still haven't been paid back for that slice of pizza you bought at the airport.)

As for the spot itself, it's ok. I still don't know what I'm supposed to do.

Travel the world?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cloudy Windows

Today Microsoft will unveil round 3 (4? 7?) of its $300 million campaign designed to convince people that…


What are they trying to do? Get us to buy Windows-based computers? We already do. In droves. Oh sure, there’s the Cult of Apple. But their numbers don’t even come close to Microsoft’s. Apple’s advertising IS better. But so what? There are tons of small companies that do great advertising. But you don’t see massive corporation ns freaking out about it. If a small chain of sandwich shops puts together an award winning print campaign, you don’t see Subway changing their whole marketing plan.

I’m not sure why Microsoft is doing this. The Vista launch was screwed up, but so what? Windows 7 will be out in a year or so, and Vista will be a forgotten memory.

And why the mismatched ads? The "we switched their OS with Folgers Crystals" Mojave crap. The weird road trip with Jerry and Bill. And now, a direct dig at the “I’m a PC” spots. Why?

They seem to be acting like a CD I once knew. He was always in a state of panic. Every morning he came into the office hating everything that we had done the day before. We needed a new direction, new ides. Turn left, turn right, back-up. Always running, always chasing.

I do hope that Microsoft finds their way. $300 million is a fuck of a lot to spend on therapy. But hey, they can afford it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to lose a job in advertising

Sorry for the silence, but things have been awfully tense here at CosmoDemonic. So for all you people out there who are worried about your job, here’s a handy guide to lay-offs:

Always fire people on a Friday.
That’s the rule, but they almost never follow it.

First hired, first fired.
First hired=lowest salary. They’re staying.

Keep the upcoming layoffs a secret.
Management could do a better job at keeping things secret if they all walked around the office banging drums and wearing t-shirts that said, “Layoffs are coming!”

Don’t listen to rumors.
All rumors are true.

If all the VPs took a pay cut…
Ain’t gonna happen.

They're getting rid of all the deadwood.
Deadwood has an amazing, almost inexplicable ability to survive round after round of layoffs. You tell me why.

There nothing you can do to keep your job.
Not true. I suggest begging, bribery or blackmail.

“There will be no more layoffs.”
Until the ones next week.

A severance agreement is just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo.
That’s why you should have a lawyer look at it.

And finally:

Who’s staying?
Relatives, the boss everyone hates and the guy who never seems to do any work.

Who’s leaving?
The workhorse, the only person at the agency who knows how to build a webpage and the junior copywriter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where's the beef?

Shit, missed a Monday post. Never done that before. Guess I’d better come up with a damn good reason.

How’s this? The fur is flying at CosmoDemonic Advertising. Your humble blogger has avoided the spears, but he wasn’t up to writing a funny post yesterday.

Funny shit tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jerry and Bill part 2

The dynamic duo is back in the second episode of a bizarre ad campaign. This time the guys are hanging out with some “real” people. Definitely funnier than the first. Still without much of a point.

And what is with the 4 minute running time? When it takes that long to send a message, you might want to rethink your message.

This is how I imagine this campaign was born:



CD: We solved it!

GM: Yes we did.

CD: Tom and I were having dinner and we both realized we have to use Gates.

GM: He’s the brand.

CD: Right, and then we threw out some names and the one that stuck was…

GM: Seinfeld.

CD: That’s right Jerry Seinfeld.


CD: Boom, bah, doo, bow, bow!

GM: We’re gonna do real stream of consciousness stuff. Cutting-edge. Outside the box.

CD: So thanks for all your hard work, but we won’t be needing it.


CD: Doo, doo, doo, dum, dum!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Free" lancing

Sorry there was no Beef this morning. I’ve been busy working on a freelance job.

So with that in mind, here is The Freelancer’s Bill of Rights:

I am not your employee.
If you want me to be available 24/7, you’d better start paying me a regular salary with benefits.

Everything is “On the Clock.”
You can ask me to “think about it over the weekend”, “keep it in the back of my mind” or “check out our website.” But I’m not doing it for free. If I am thinking about your product AT ALL, I’m billing you.

Do not pay me in product.
I’m sure your product is wonderful, but I will not accept it instead of cash. This is not 1873, we are not farmers and I don’t want your chicken.

You must give me information.
You guys live with this product every day. You know everything about it. I only know what you tell me. Don’t send me emails asking me to explaining the benefits of your new microchip if you don’t tell me what they are. For all I know, it could be a new color.

Don’t ask me to tell you who you are.
This usually happens with a new company. A client will ask you to come up with theme lines or tag lines for their logo. They will throw out lots of benefits, lots of strategies, lots of ideas. Then they will tell you to get to work.

What they are really asking you to do is to come up with their mission statement. If a company is asking a FREELANCER to define their business, they are in serious trouble. Run.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 5-The Interview

Interviewing is like a little show that you are putting on for your potential boss. You want to prove to him or her that you can dress yourself, show up on time and show up sober. You want to show them that you have a sense of humor, that you can talk about sports, that you can speak in (mostly) complete sentences.

Make sure you arrive at your interview at least 2 hours early. You want the boss to walk in at 9am and see you sitting on the waiting room couch reading your fifth Adweek. It makes you look needy, and bosses love needy employees. If the boss asks you if you want anything, like coffee or water, say, “No.” If they say, “Are you sure?” Say, “No” again.

Now the interview can begin. They may start by looking at your portfolio. The will flip through the pages quickly, only stopping at the truly mediocre ads. If the corner of a printout has come unglued from the page, they will frown and repeatedly press it down with their thumb. If this happens a lot, you probably don’t want to start planning your morning commute.

IMPORTANT! Never point out the spec work in your portfolio. But if they ask you if an ad is spec, be truthful!

Then they will ask you questions. All bosses are different (sort of), but here are a few questions you should be prepared to answer:

What is your biggest success?

What is your biggest failure?

What makes a good ad?

What is your favorite ad?

Are you sure you don’t want some water?

After they have asked you a bunch of questions, you may notice a lull in the conversation. This is very common. Ending an interview is a very difficult task. They can’t hire you on the spot (they have 15 more candidates to interview). They can’t tell you that you don’t have a chance (you might shoot them). They can’t fuck you (lawsuit). So they start to ramble. They talk about commuting times, office parties, football, TV shows. You can’t end the interview either. So the two of you just sit there, talking about last night’s Mad Men, and hoping that that this nightmare will end.

Eventually, the boss will awkwardly announce that they have another meeting. They will say they like your work. They will say they will be in touch. They will say a lot of things.

Get your parking validated at reception, climb in your car and head to the nearest bar.

You need a drink.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bill and Jerry

If you’ve ever wondered what trying too hard looks like, take a gander at this:

Wow! I mean…wow. What the fuck were they thinking? THIS is the “I’m a Mac” killer? Seriously? Let’s break it down.

90’s TV star is walking through a mall. He sees Bill Gates shopping at a discount shoe store.

Get it? He’s a billionaire! Shopping at a cheap-ass shoes store. Ha!

Jerry and Bill talk about stuff that is not funny and has nothing to do with computers.

See how creative we are. We are so out there, we don’t even talk about our product.

Bill says that he is a platinum card member of the discount shoe store.

Cheap Billionaire=Comic Gold

The picture on the card is Bill’s mug shot from his college days.

Now that is funny.

Bill and Jerry leave the mall. Jerry mumbles weird shit about computer that are tasty. Bill adjusts his shorts to indicate that the tasty computers are on the way.

We are so cool. Those Mac commercials actually talk about what there computes do and why they’re better. We are so hip we don’t even mention our OS by name. Surfers RULE!

In conclusion, I’d have to say it’s the most effective computer commercial since the Mac 1984 Superbowl ad. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to run out and buy a Powerbook today. I am terrified that I have entrusted my photos and music to the boneheads who approved this spot!

Note: Adhack is NOT a Mac fanboy! He is writing this post on a PC.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Want a bite?

The Corn Growers Association is concerned about the public’s perception of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Apparently, they want us to stop worrying about a highly-processed sweetener that is in almost everything we eat.

To this end, they have produced some commercials to explain that HFCS is super-good happy food. Here’s spot number 1:

I like how they used the Microsoft Mojave method of portraying anyone who doesn’t like their product as a totally fucking moron. But what I really love are the undertones. Seriously, the garden setting? The woman tempting the man with something sweet and red? “Want a bite?” The phallic popsicle? This thing is swarming with symbolism. Somebody spent a lot of time thinking up this one.

Let’s look at spot 2:

Hmm, nothing wrong here. Just WHITE mom telling AFRICAN-AMERICAN mom that she is bad at raising her children. Nothing wrong with that. Hey what’s a little racial warfare when you’re trying to sell food additives? You can't let tolerance and understanding get in your way when you’re trying to sell something that IS ALREADY IN EVERYTHING!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The end of summer

Okay, I guess I have to accept it. Summer is over. We have Halloween to look forward to. And the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza period. But mostly, it’s nine long months of waiting until summer 09.

So here are five ways to mourn the end of the BEST season of the year:

1. No matter how cold it is, take one more swim in the pool/ocean/pond.

2. Barbecue an animal.

3. Wash all those beach towels that have been drying on your patio since July.

4. Go to a baseball game.

5. At sunset, turn out all the lights in your house and listen to Summer’s Almost Gone by The Doors. (Crying is optional.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kevin Smith makes a porno

If you are a fan of Kevin Smith’s work, you may have been following the battle over his latest film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. After fighting long and hard (ha!), Smith finally won the coveted R rating for his comedy. (The MPAA wanted to give it a box-office killing NC-17.)

But now according to Film School Rejects, Smith is having trouble getting the poster approved. Why? Well see for yourself:

Wow! It’s an oral sex joke. Advertising a light-hearted sex comedy. It even has a “Coming Soon” gag. This will not stand! We need to be protected from this kind of irresponsible advertising. Imagine what might happen if children saw this. They might…..giggle.

Just to make the situation totally shitty is the fact that our Canadian brothers and sisters get to see the poster. I guess Canadians have a higher level of tolerance for sex jokes. Or maybe they’re a nation of perverts.

It WOULD explain a lot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 4-The headhunter

Okay, you’ve got your book together, your resume is filled with action verbs (Oh, shit, I forgot to mention action verbs!) and your website is in the digg top 10. So now you’re ready to hit the street and go looking for an actual job, right?

Wrong. Looking for a creative position is not something for amateurs to attempt. To succeed, you need the help of professions. You need a headhunter.

There are basically types of headhunters, traditional and staffing agencies.

You know those moves where the agent works his ass off to make sure the actor gets the role of a lifetime? Well that’s how traditional recruiters operate. Except you get to do all the work, and they get way more than 10%. Here’s how it works. Take your portfolio to a recruiter and show them your work. They will laugh at you. They will say your book is shit and you need more classes. You’ll go home, polish your book and return in a few weeks. They will laugh at you again, and say you’re not ready for big-time advertising. You’ll go home and polish your book some more. After a few rounds of this, they will begrudgingly agree to take you on as a client. It’s a cruel system but not as bad as…

Staffing Agencies
Sign-up at one of these places and you will never have an empty email box. Every morning you will get tons of emails that look like this:

Direct Mail Copywriter-Health Services and Fast Food-$35/hr-Mid-Town-Duration-4 days-Starts 9/23!

There’ll be fun jobs, cool jobs, really really really inappropriate jobs. Art directors will get listings for writing jobs, writers will get listings for graphic designing jobs. And the money always sucks. Remember, $35 an hour is NOT good money for a creative. So why is the pay so bad? You see, the agency skims a little for their services. Like 100% or 200%. You might take home $250 a day, while the agency is making $500. And if that freelance gig turns into a permanent position, then you’re really fucked. The staffing agency could get half your salary for a year or two. (Read the contract before you sign it!)

Now that you have your headhunter, you are ready to enter the world of advertising. All you have to do is make it thorough one more hurtle. One more armpit staining, dry-throat making, stress test. It’s time for…The Interview.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome back

10 things to do when you return from a 3-day weekend.

1. Delete all voice mail messages.

2. Check trash can for beer bottles/cans. (Secret party that you weren’t invited to?)

3. Grab a few sodas from the Creative Director's private fridge. (You know he’s not coming in till Thursday.)

4. Make sure no one has swapped your chair for the crap chair that has been circulating around the office.

5. Check to see if all your bit torrents have finished downloading.

6. Sneak into the hot girl/guy’s cube and delete the voice mail message you sent on Saturday at 2am.

7. Stare at your screen for at least an hour while saying to yourself, “I’m fucking back. I’m fucking back.”

8. Pick the last remnants of BBQ from your teeth.

9. Daydream about what you are going to do on your next 3-day weekend.

10. Delete (without reading) all e-mails that contain the following words in the subject line: