Showing posts from December, 2020

Would Walter Cronkite Have an Instagram Account?

If you are a working journalist, as I am, you could be forgiven for wanting to off yourself daily for being reminded by other reporters of what a complete failure you are. Let me say upfront that I have enjoyed the spoils of my career, of which there have been many. I've been honored to rub elbows with famous journalists and other bold-faced names. I've attended the Oscars, talked at the Cannes ad festival, and partied at the Tribeca Film Festival. I've gone on TV to talk about this or that on occasion. I've had celebrity writers pick fights with me, some of them public — among them Salman Rushdie and the late Jimmy Breslin. Those were a lot of fun. But I never saw myself as the story. How naive of me. Professors, albeit brilliant ones, who like to write about current events are now being classified not just as journalists but as superstar journalists. Consider Ben Smith's puff piece on Heather Cox Richardson in the Times this week. Richardson teaches American hi

I'm Still Grieving Simple, Elegant Grey, Hating on AKQA

Ad agencies are in the business of selling stuff with simple brand names and easy to understand messages — just not when it comes to themselves. As Ad Age reports , agency names have become seriously whack. I swear I think they used alphabet soup to come up with some of these: dentsumcgarrybowen, Muh-tay-zik / Hof-fer (which used to be the somehow even worse M/H VCCP), and what used to be good old reliable Grey getting swallowed up into something called AKQA Group. (If you ask me, AKQA kinda sucked as a name even before the merger. Who in the business of brand marketing would ever decide that AKQA is a better name than simple, elegant and storied Grey ?) Remember when the idea was to make things simpler, not as impossible to make sense of as the Zodiac killer's cipher?

LGBTQ+-Themed 'Love Calls Back' Picks Up Ad Prize

I swear I don't do p.r. for these guys. But I can't help it if the Association of National Advertisers keeps doing newsworthy (or in this case, blog-worthy) stuff.  Earlier this week, I wrote about the trade group's members selecting "pivot" as the Word of the Year. Now, they've selected the winners of their Multicultural Excellence Awards of 2020—and it was a good year for the agency McCann.  ANA's Best in Show recognized what, for my money, was one of the best campaigns of the last couple of years: McCann's "Love Calls Back," for Verizon and PFLAG. The work was already recognized with awards like The One Show's Bronze Pencil and the Shorty Social Good Award. The cornerstone of the campaign, which was launched last year and ran across all Verizon's channels, was a moving, four-minute film featuring LGBTQ+ people reconnecting and reconciling over the phone with family members who'd previously rejected them for their sexual identi

Let's Do the Pivot: Marketers Pick the Word of the Year

It was the year that everybody quarantined, masked up and tried like hell to not give up hope. But for marketers, it was the year of the pivot.  The Association of National Advertisers has announced that "pivot" is its Word of the Year for 2020. Other popular terms it beat out: "virtual," "agility" and "resiliency." Since 2014, the ANA has surveyed its members to identify the word most resonant with marketers. Nearly 300 members responded to an online survey this month. Of course, pivot is a well-worn cliché of the business world. It was even the title of a 2016 book by former Google exec Jenny Blake. It also happens to be the name of a Canadian charter airline, a brand of mountain bikes, a defunct cable channel, and  an Indianapolis ad agency. But perhaps never before has the theme of pivoting been so meaningful to so many in the global business community than in this year of COVID-19, a collapsing economy and demands for social justice.  Here&

Dr. Fauci One of People Magazine's 'People of the Year'

In the bleakest year ever, People magazine gives us a little hope with its annual "People of the Year" issue, featuring the heroic Dr. Anthony Fauci on the cover. Dr. Fauci — who since the pandemic hit has been demonized at every turn by the torch-wielding, anti-science crowd — is, nonetheless, a true profile in courage. Not to throw shade at other honorees like George Clooney or Selena Gomez, but we will will always have Hollywood stars to look up to. On the other hand, a dedicated public servant like Dr. Fauci — up against impossible odds and holding our collective well-being in his hands — only comes along every so often. Kudos to People for making this light in the darkness in human form the year's sexiest cover boy.