The Second Hardest Thing To Do In Advertising…

Creating a unique voice is the second hardest thing to do in advertising. To make a fresh statement or express a distinctive point of view in a traditional ad sell provides a huge daily challenge for every working creative.

Because as much as that’s the task, it’s extraordinarily difficult to accomplish. Regularly generating original concepts taxes the imagination. Add that to the surplus of messages in a crowded, parity market and the challenge increases. Top that with a need to sell the new, the novel, or the unproven to clients who feel their careers ride on our labors and the challenge increases exponentially.

That’s what makes this television spot for FAGE Total Greek Yogurt so impressive. Instead of a spoon and smile, we get gleaming wet sculpture. Instead of ‘active cultures,’ we get poetry. And then there’s that marvelous, distinctive voice…

This magnificently fresh blend of live action and computer animation was brought to vivid life by Psyop. But the nearly nonsensical poem with its roll and rhythm that rises far above the vast desert of ordinary copy came straight from the writer.

“Plain was the same as it ever was the same. Plainly plain, samely same…”

This is truly remarkable work by Brian Tierney, a creative director and copywriter at Mullen Advertising of Boston. In an online interview, he credits his client with wanting to do something different to distinguish themselves–a seemingly obvious request but one that is actually rather rare; when you try something different, you can fail very publicly. And that’s scary.

Brian also cites a major influence on the copy as not Dr. Seuss but rather  “The Rowing Song” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This is marvelous writing made vivid by the inspired vocal casting of Willem Defoe. His weary yet excited tone jars the viewer from the stupor typical ad programming creates.

Some critics say that it’s all too much for a yogurt ad: too silly, too far-fetched, too too…  Distinctive ideas have a way of drawing that kind of opinion.  But I think it’s remarkable. It’s distinctive and again, creating this kind of unique voice is the second hardest thing to do in advertising.

The hardest thing to do is sustain it. Good luck with that–here’s hoping you keep surprising and delighting us.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON


Nothing Opens Minds Like A Well-Chosen Analogy

It’s a classic technique in debate.  And creative development, for that matter. When you reach an impasse, consider your subject from a totally different perspective.  Make a comparison, draw an analogy, reframe the argument.  Does it still make sense?  Does the new context change the meaning?  Does it reveal something you never questioned as inherently ridiculous?

That’s what a smart new series of web videos for Jet Blue do, courtesy of Mullen, the greatest advertising agency to ever come out of Rhode Island.  As the rest of us have grown to accept ever more crowded cabins and added fee gouging over luggage, four hidden camera,Candid Camera style spots take these airline practices to different venues and in the process, throw a harsh, unforgiving light on such anti-consumer tactics.  My favorite, posted below, brilliantly questions baggage fees, but others address issues around cramped cabins, stingy extras, even multi-stop ticketing.

It doesn’t look like this was a particularly glamorous shoot, but all the spots have an energy and intelligence that’s become increasingly rare in advertising.  Nicely done.

And Happy Friday…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79