david lubars

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Advertising By Bot.

HP split into two companies recently, one of which is called Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It is a $53B company. I’ve been picking on pre-break up company HP for its idea-less advertising for a couple of years, trying to learn more about the advertising by writing planners at BBDO, a terrific shop that know some advertising. To no avail.

hp enterprise

The launch advertising for Hewlett Packard Enterprise is preposterous in this day and age. It’s poor 1990 technology advertising. The brand strategy revolves around “accelerate next.” as in accelerate the speed with which customers use and benefit from technology. Say whaaat? The print work I saw this week is high school- like. The TV ad feels like as if it was directed by an ad bot.

I know Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes some serious technology and does amazing things. But ads are not one of them. Meg Whitman must be asleep at the switch. And BBDO? This is C team stuff. David Lubars can’t have an excuse. The brand brief must have been written by a temp. And I’m not even cranky this morning. This whole advertising cluster fork is amazing to me.

And the Siegle+Gale logo and naming project?  Also sophomoric. I can only hope the teams had about 10 days to do everything and that this the result. Accelerating Next can sometimes be a mistake.





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There is a new story today that suggests tomatoes have no taste because they’ve been genetically engineered to look good.  Brilliant red tomatoes with nary a color blotch, piled high in our grocery stores because of a gene mutation that has said “buh-bye” to flavor, sweetness and aroma.

I wonder if advertising has been genetically engineered to look pretty, the result of which has been impeded selling. Have we removed the important selling component of thoughtful copy in favor of pretty pictures?  Has the flavor gone out of our copy. The sensual response that good copywriting can evoke?  I fear the answer is yes.

To sell one must do more than convey, one must connect and inspire.

At Cannes, mightn’t we instate a copywriting award?  RU listening creative leaders?  (David  Lubars?) Let’s loose the robo-copy and build more artful selling. Put that on you BLT with light Hellman’s.  Peace!

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AT&T, a brand that taught me many things about advertising and marketing, is rudderless from a branding standpoint.  Yeah, they are making ads. Yeah, they have a branding idea “Rethink Possible.”  And now they have a campaign idea “It’s what you do with what we do” intended to make the brand idea work harder.  But frankly it’s a qualifying idea that waters down the already watered down. Ester Lee and David Lubars know better.  This is a billion dollars of nothingness in one man’s opinion.

Back in the 90s both of these ideas would have been corporate advertising efforts for AT&T — a company that didn’t like to do corporate advertising.  AT&T liked products and services.  Bell Labs, now AT&T Labs, was a hotbed of innovation. It was innovation. I’m sure there are hundreds of engineers who will argue this from a patent point of view, but the labs have lost their way.

AT&T has become a mobile phone company with a bad rep for network, thanks to the iPhone’s history of dropped calls. For 20 somethings that has defined the company.  So Rethink Possible is simply a tag-along mobile strategy drafting a category whose imagination is being captured by Apple.  BBDO can do better. AT&T can do better. The labs can go better. Peace! 

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Little Love

What’s the idea with Big Love?

You gotta love BBDO’s David Lubars trying to reinvent his agency with idea knick knacks that say “we get new media.” His new promotional and advertising efforts for HBO’s show “Big Love,” about a polygamist family in Utah, includes people walking around town with big thought bubbles (cartoon copy) displayed above their heads (coming to NY, Chicago, LA and Phil, Jan 14th) conveying personal secrets. Small audio billboards and sidewalk displays play Big Love characters’ secrets when you plug in your iPod headphones to the provided jacks. 

The “secrets” campaign repurposes the idea of the online property post secret, which has been a brilliant internet property for years. “Everyone has something to hide,” the campaign theme, is a nice experiential truism and one people can agree is probably a core value of the show. That said, not that many people know the cast of Big Love and, therefore, will care about their secrets.  The thought bubbles are fun but goofy and the media becomes the message, not vice versa.

Big Love is a good show. Everyone has something to hide is a good idea. The new media spin is a little forced.







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Wild days are these. General Motors is going to Washington with hat in hand trying to get some gov’t cheese bail out money to help retool its factories to build more Chevy Volts. Late to the table with the new electric Volt, GM finally strapped on a pair and decided it was time to do something about its hemorrhaging business. 
Chrysler, on the other hand, is launching the biggest ad campaign of the year in support of — are you ready for this — the Ram truck.  I’m not kidding. Is it any wonder Chrysler? Chrysler is owned by Cerberus Capital Management (capital, as in financial crisis.) Some dolt must have said in a marketing meeting “the Ram is our largest selling brand, let’s give it everything we’ve got.”   David Lubars (of ad agency BBDO,) Deborah Meyer (CMO of Chrysler,) and world class film director Tony Scott should all be ashamed of themselves. Does anyone hear a fiddle playing and smell smoke?
GMnext is the signal General Motors is sending into the market. Good idea. And Chrysler is sending some cowboy shizz called the “Ram Challenge.” OMG!

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Here’s a quote from today’s New York Times by Sony Electronics new SVP of advertising “Sony’s consumer research showed that consumers had great passion for Sony but that the brand was not making an emotional connection.”
Could we please, please stop confusing passion for a brand with commitment? People love Sony because of amazing design and quality. Sony ads need to convey that design and quality and do so without getting in the way.  But to listen to BBDO’s David Lubars it’s all about the ads.  Said Lubars, “They make products that delight people, that are fun and entertaining, and their communications should reflect that humanness.” (I’m sure Mr. Lubars said a lot more this, but that’s all that was reported.) The Times reporter embellished, “The humorous quality of the ads was meant to make the brand feel accessible.” 
Passion and “feel good” are byproducts of advertising — related to tone. Commitment to purchase is what agencies need to work on. Commitment to purchase and repurchase are the rational things people conger up when being passionate. Demonstrations of product superiority and difference are the way to that grail.

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