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Pepsi. United. Spicer.

Look at your feeds. Your friend’s and your family’s. Hell, look at mine. These three fails have dominated EVERYTHING the past few days, one following the other, aftershocks in a pop culture earthquake. I don’t even have to provide a summary. We’ve all seen the videos. Shared them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. If you turn on the news that’s all they are talking about.

And my o’ my, have we commented. Holy Hashtags! The shaming has been resounding. Pepsi is tone deaf! The “Friendly Skies” have gone berserk! Sean Spicer is a fool… or worse!

And you know what? In two weeks it won’t matter.

In some of these cases, maybe all of them, there will be a backlash of support, if for no other reason than to court controversy and/or create “click bait.” A second wave of folks will “rise up” and say what needs to be said. All ink is good ink, they will say about Pepsi’s idiotic commercial. “It became part of the conversation!” And that “doctor” who was bloodied while pulled from his plane seat? Well, it turns out he was nothing but a pill pusher anyway, convicted and defrocked. And Sean Spicer was only comparing one dictator to another. The righteous will quote Jesus: “Let him who is without sin… be the first to throw a stone…”

In the unlikely event that none of the above happens, this will: Pepsi shall throw support at various “urban” causes, proving they are not tone deaf to the needs of the “community.” Their PR will be all over it. United will codify its CEO’s janky apology with a full-page newspaper ad and a preachy commercial. They will give the mistreated passenger money to go away. Mr. Spicer will be muzzled and muted, more for embarrassing the President (that’s Trump’s job) than the content of his words.

In the end there is no end. More lunacy will occur, replacing the current noise with new louder noise. Shameful acts will occur and thusly be shamed. Then the shamers will be shamed. And so on and so forth. In the olden days of the 20th century any one of these scandals would have lasted for months. Not anymore. The modern content zombie constantly needs new flesh to tear apart. Why do you think they’re called “feeds?”

And yesterday’s chewed upon? You guessed it. They merely get up. People will still drink Pepsi. People will still fly United. And, if he’s not scapegoated into the private sector, Sean Spicer will still be the White House Press Secretary.

One final thought and it’s a dark one. We find this all terribly funny.
Maybe it’s true: “We are all Negan.”

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For copy & content creation that breaks through the noise, hit me up: https://steffanwork.wordpress.com/

Normally, I don’t go for hidden camera stuff (in advertising or entertainment) but this provocative campaign for a difficult subject is an exception. What I admire is the light touch it took with such a heavy subject. For example, the main actor is youthful, handsome and charming. In ordinary circumstances any father would be delighted to have his daughter date a fellow like this. Not casting an older, salacious man invites us into the concept. When the girls run up and hug him our first reaction is hardly uncomfortable. It seems normal… until we grasp what’s going on.

The real people are real too. This is not a dumb observation. In my opinion 90% of so-called “real” persons seen on videos today come off as vulgar, coached-up buffoons. It’s all about BIG reactions. But here the unaware parents are more perplexed than SHOCKED!!! These are genuine reactions. The subtle shift into full awareness make the commercial utterly believable and, in a way, transfixing. The light tone is counter-intuitive and utterly effective.  Bravo.

Read more in Adweek.

Client: BØRNEfonden (Child & Youth Foundation.)

Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like Minded

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Fury Road!

Believe it or not, I rarely go to You Tube for the truly gnarly stuff that gets so many views: fail videos, assaults on buses, gang fights, that sort of thing. I mostly stay away. Not necessarily for moral reasons (though I’d like to think so) but rather because it just doesn’t interest me. Sure, occasionally I was drawn to some big event that everyone was talking about. Arab Spring. Earthquake footage. But mostly I go to You Tube to learn how to do something, fix a machine, load a printer, tie a fishing knot. Oh, and movie trailers. I love me some movie trailers.

But then.

The other night I clicked on a lurid video depicting a street fight outside a bar in St. Augustine, Florida. I’d been watching movie trailers for a few obscure horror movies and I guess the content matched up. So I went there. A melee featuring a bunch of shirtless drunks beating the shit out of each other. Real blood! Real screaming! Everything was jittery just like in a found footage horror movie. But the horror was real!

I was riveted. Then I clicked on another video. This time a fight outside of nightclub in Manhattan. This intoxicated douchebag in a rumpled suit was standing up to a huge-ass bouncer. After some jawing back and forth the bouncer did what angry bouncers do. Pound that young urban professional, brother! That’s what I’m talking about! I clicked on another video. And another. Before I knew it it was 1 o’clock in the morning.

I turned off my computer. I felt unclean. There was sweat under my arms. Gross, I know. My two goldfish stared at me from their cube, bug eyed. They have huge eyes because that’s what kind of goldfish they are. But still. It was as if they were judging me. Unblinking bastards.

Yet, perhaps I deserved it.

I had discovered the real reality TV. Not the choreographed drama Real Housewives create to get more camera time. But real idiots being real assholes. With baseball bats made of wood. Knives and knuckles. Gore!

Half a century ago, Newton Minow famously called TV a “vast wasteland.” I believe he’s still alive. Dude needs to check out You Tube. It’s freaking Fury Road.