“Rectal Hyperthermia”? What Are You Trying To Tell Me, Facebook?

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

About a month ago, a survey fielded by those nonstop pollsters at YouGov, revealed that in the past twelve months, usage of Facebook by Britain’s online audience has dropped a full 9%. Advertisers play a considerable role in that, with a full 23% citing ‘fed up with social marketing promotions’ as their reason for cutting back. The social network peaked in the UK with 30 million visitors in October 2012, dropping to 27 million this past March. Those have to be worrisome numbers, even to the notoriously cavalier Mark Zuckerberg…

This morning, I had one of those ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ moments of my own, courtesy of Facebook and their “Sponsored” posts. To the left, you’ll see a remarkable product that apparently middle-aged men really need for this constipation and ‘hemroids’ (sic): the Rectal Hyperthermia. Despite its stated aim of ‘enhanced natural healing’ for those suffering from problems with their back end, this is a truly terrifying product. Oh sure, they claim it also provides “pain relief in the back, shoulder, knees and other joints and muscles.  It also provides fast relief from stomach ache, menstrual cramps (usually in less than an hour almost always), tooth pain and migraine” but you don’t name a product “Rectal Hyperthermia” then expect to use it to treat knee pain.

Clearly, this must some bogus, offshore snake oil scam (Notice the syntax of the parenthetical above where they claim both to ‘usually’ and ‘almost always’ treat cramps in less than an hour? That’s classic ‘English-as-a-second-language’ writing.). And yet Facebook considered this advertiser worthy of highlighting in my wall with their increasingly omnipresent Sponsored Posts, clearly believing I represent the perfect demographic for this portable, carbon fiber far-infrared technology. And all for just $350.

I think the Brits are on to something…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Indignant, Appalled, and Pig Biting Mad

Anger is an ugly emotion. Even when it’s totally justified, it’s naked expression can be repelling, or at least highly off-putting. Moments of my own unrestrained anger make me cringe at their recollection…

Which is why I wouldn’t think I’d find this clip so compelling, but I definitely do. This is Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army. He is outraged. And it is beautiful to see.

Morrison is furious about a scandal involving seventeen army men, some officers of considerable rank, who are being investigated for creating and sharing “explicit and profane” emails that are demeaning to women. These allegations center around the kind of behavior that begins to form a culture of intimidation–nothing anywhere nearly as serious as the endless string of assaults and systemic cultures of rape that have festered in a few ugly corners of our military. Yet he doesn’t softpedal or downplay the charges. He resets expectations, then demands they be met. “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” That’s so true it hurts.

Morrison’s unblinking, clenched-teeth delivery sounds nothing like our endless stream of prevaricating American political weasels or PR spindoctors–it sounds more like Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.

And in times of great moral crisis, that’s beautiful.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


They Can’t Be Loving This…

I like art. I don’t pretend to always understand it, but it’s fun to experience something that changes the way you view the world…or even think of it.

And then there’s these guys: British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman who are staging their first show in Hong Kong with their hyper detailed sculptural piece de resistance “The Sum of all Evil.”

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

I wasn’t familiar with their previous work but apparently “Hell” is a big theme with them. This is only the latest in a series of massive dioramas they have painstakingly created: a vision of violence, war, the holocaust and–eye-catchingly–Ronald McDonald. Find more happy, feel-good imagery at the gallery’s website here.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

I’m sure this is a metaphor about mass consumerism; all that death and destruction staged with tiny Nazi, skeleton and corpse models. If you look closely, you can even see the Hamburglar amidst all the crucified Ronalds and mass graves. Everyone needs a hobby, but man, this is nothing so much as a testament to the power of caffeine and keenly-focused rage. Personally, I have a hard time summoning such anger over a Filet-o-Fish, but then, I’m not an artist. I’m in advertising. Which I guess makes me a target of the Chapman brothers.

The irony of course is that these YBA’s–Young British Artists–were discovered seven years ago by none other than Charles Saatchi. Yes, of this Saatchi.  Lovely job there Chuck. Nice work.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

As A Diabetic, Can’t I Sue Someone Over This?

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonSo apparently, anyone lucky enough to have attended the San Diego County Fair this past weekend experienced the latest breakthrough from the food development team at Krispy Kreme. At least I think they are food scientists: from the look of their latest creation, they well may be pulmonary assassins on some corporate mission to eradicate non-clogged auricles and ventricles.

Whatever their mission, they introduced a deep-fried beef ball at the Chicken Charlie’s food stand this past Saturday. Their innovation amounted to a glazed donut bun filled with Sloppy Joe meat and cheddar cheese. You read that right. And yes, I can hear you occluding just reading that past sentence.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

And yet, this is a classic case of ‘give the people what they want.’ Last year, Chicken Charlie’s served up fried cereal.  This year, in addition to this Krispy Kreme abomination, they also have a bacon-wrapped pickle and fried Kool-Aid, along with more prosaic fair fare like fried avocados and fried Klondike bars. It’s almost as if they heard the American public yell a collective ‘Uncle!’ before they entered the fairgrounds, surrendering all dignity, self-respect, and standards of decency before the altar of kill devil culinary consumerism. This is reminiscent of nothing so much as dining on a bet.

A few years ago, our society deemed it just to ban Captain Crunch from kid advertising due to it’s thin nutritive value. And yet a seamy, Summertime underbelly of America welcomes this kind of sensationalistic disregard for dietetic decency as totally acceptable. Pardon me if I seemed confused…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

This Could Be Your Next Social Media Tool

Dennis Ryan Olson, AdvertisingAccording to the good people at Curalate, creators of software that provides analytics on Pinterest and Instagram trends, the most repinned images feature rich details and luminous color.

Apparently, this software analyzed nearly a half million Pinterest posts made by advertisers for things like saturation, texture, brightness and hue. And the finding? People like color. Particularly what they call “multiple dominant colors” which get repinned 3.25 times more than those with only one dominant color. Additionally, if the image is blown out or very dim, its repinning numbers drop.

Other odd color-based fun facts brands might enjoy?

  • Predominantly red images get more repins than blue ones
  • Images in autumnal hues of red, orange and brown images receive about twice as many repins
  • Completely desaturated or saturated images have fewer repins than more moderately saturated images
  • Images with less white space get repinned more often
  • Brand images without faces receive more repins by nearly 23 percent
  • Images with a smoother texture are up to 17 times more repinned than images with a rough texture

So, much like the notion of writing web copy to optimize search, brands may soon be tweaking their color wheels to optimize sharing as visual-based communication grows increasingly important. But despite this science, brands should probably avoid carving these findings in stone. Most people recognize color goes through cycles of popularity. At least most people who have ever dealt with an apartment that features a refrigerator enameled in ‘avocado.’

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


The Beauty of the Tool Itself

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonThis is Monet’s palette. These layers of time-worn colors represent the remnants of what led to canvases such as these…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingIt’s curious how, simply as a tool, Monet’s palette carries the heft of true art. How the dint of wear and experience even shapes the way we perceive objects associated with the creation of work. Art is funny that way.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

The Internet Will Save Humanity. Well, Maybe Later, Right Now There’s This:

The latest Tumblr madness to make my day richer and more rewarding without bothering to balance that with any redeeming usefulness is this site: phones replaced with sandwiches.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

Guess what they do there. Oh, you’re ahead of me already? Whoa, you must be one of those internet wizards. Good on you.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Here Is Your Awesome Starter Kit

So back in the day, I worked with the ridiculously talented Troy Hayes, the principal architect of pop culture icon Spuds MacKenzie and now the brains behind Engine29. Of all the many talented art directors I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside, none have matched Troy’s ability to simplify a story down to its essence. That, along with a knack for simple line drawing made watching Troy convert scripts into storyboards a pure joy.

Anyway, Troy read about the text my daughter Grace sent me to take the sting out of losing a review and converted it into these t-shirts on Zazzle.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonWithout a doubt, this was the best thirty six dollars I’ve ever spent with my daughter. Thanks a ton Troy. God love you man.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

How About We All Agree Kevin Durant Is Awesome And Call It At That

Two days ago, after a tornado leveled Moore, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Kevin Durant donated one million dollars to the Red Cross to help relief efforts.

Yes, he’s an NBA star, yes he has boatloads of endorsements but still, he was moved enough to give away one million of his own dollars to try and help his community. And sure enough, his donation inspired matching donations from the Thunder organization, the NBA and the player’s union too.Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

But these days, that’s not good enough. At least two articles I read about his gift broke down what it actually meant to someone who enjoys the astronomical salary and endorsement money Durant does compared to more modest incomes. Because these days, we have to measure the charity, we have to insure it isn’t just another publicity stunt, a bit of grandstanding for the public from a headline grabbing egomaniac hungry for PR.

It wasn’t. He isn’t. No, that’s what we have the Kardashians for.  God save us.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson