Marketing

Associated Global Systems – We Almost Deliver

Creative Brief for advertising copywriters

Client:
Associated Global Systems – a national corporation that tries unsuccessfully to deliver things.

Objective:
To establish Associated Global Systems as the “go to” shipping company for when you want most, but not all, of your packages delivered.

Background:
Coming on the heels of our very successful “Let Us Lose That For You” campaign, we’re looking at a new effort to raise awareness that Associated Global Systems can almost deliver your important items.

Target Audience:
Male/female 18-49. They are waiting on important deliveries and we want them to know that Associated Global Systems can help them misplace or disappear those deliveries through sheer incompetence and buffoonery.

Media:
Cable television, radio, print and billboard campaigns. Also, pop-up ads from websites that immediately play video.

Key Points:
– Associated Global Systems has perfected the supply chain mismanagement method of “undelivering” your important items.
-Make sure the consumer knows that if they call AGS wanting to know where their package is the answer will be “We’ll find out and call you back.”
-Make sure the consumer knows AGS reps will never actually call them back.
-Convey that when it comes to placing a box on a truck and driving that box somewhere, AGS is wholly stumped at the very prospect.
-Our ability to misplace packages and then shrug our shoulders sets us apart from our competitors.

The underlying theme of all the advertising creative should be that Associated Global Systems “can’t be bothered” to deliver your package properly. The client has already chosen the tagline “We Almost Deliver” and it should be used in all the ad creative.

Creative Insights:

-The “Where Is It?” billboard from the last campaign was very popular and the client would love to see a modified version of it for this campaign.

-Client also really liked the earlier TV spots with the elderly couple with nothing to sleep on because it hadn’t arrived yet.

-Client wants to make sure we feature “ethnic” individuals to drive home the point that AGS can lose your packages regardless of race, color, creed, etc.

-Make sure to link to the website! agsystems.com

-Make sure to reinforce the AGS “supply chain” methodology:

AGS

-Lots of companies use AGS to deliver their important goods, so the consumer should understand that AGS does not care a whittle about their missing delivery because in the grand scheme of things, the customer can lick our mud flaps.

Consumer takeaway:

“Associated Global Systems is a company with a bland name that can lose my Restoration Hardware order for me.”

“If I’m having lots of people over the house, I want to make sure there’s no sofa to sit on, so I’ll have Associated Global Systems not deliver it on time.”

“If there are any delivery hiccups, I can count on Associated Global Systems to not return my multiple phone calls.”

“Incompetent sociopathic megacorporation run by dunces.”

Note from  Account Service: Client would like to see some ideas by early next week, which to them means in a month or never.

Google Presents An Exciting Business Opportunity

My wife and I had been talking for a long time about a start-up business. We’d been looking for something challenging and rewarding. As you can imagine, when this well-targeted Google ad popped up it was a eureka moment for both of us:

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Labor camps! Of course! Why didn’t we think of that? So much better than ostrich farms or retailing on eBay.
I know from having read Anne Applebaum’s Gulag that labor camps can be immensely profitable – the Soviet Union relied on them. And part of China’s great economic success stems from the low-cost labor often associated with mass involuntary servitude.
As the ads contend, China is the world’s supplier of all your labor camp needs. North Korea too, I suppose, but they’re not really big on the Internet just yet.

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We immediately sketched out our plan for a small, manageable labor camp. Nothing too fancy as we could always expand later. We secured a small parcel of land in upstate New York (a bargain because it was clay soil next to a mosquito-infested swamp). Taxes are minimal.
As the ad promised, we got a better deal on a bulk labor camp. It arrived in 3,221 separate shipments. Granted, most of our spring was exhausting as we spent it installing fence posts, latrines and razor wire. But – I’m happy to say we’re now in business and looking forward to the adventure that is entrepreneurship.

Internet Marketing Brilliance

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This is an excellent internet advertisement for ClassesUSA that I tripped over recently. It does all the things an advertisement should do, and it does them well. I know this because for many years I worked in advertising.
RULE #1: A good ad always mentions that the president wants you to do something.
Everyone loves a president, except for roughly half of the population who did not vote for him. But for the ones who did? They love when the president tells them what he wants them to do. With the exception, I suppose, of those folks who don’t like political figures telling them what to do.
RULE #2: A good ad targets people other than you.
I personally love it when an ad targets someone other than the person looking at it. It makes me feel good to know there are other people in the world who are different than I am, and I enjoy seeing ads directed at them. In this case, the ad is targeting child-bearing moms who are receptive to President Obama wanting them to buy an arguably worthless college degree from a meagerly accredited, shady online university.
It’s odd because the advertiser is owned by Experian, the corporate behemoth that tracks all of us and our credit histories. They could probably very easily discern who I am and everything about me by looking at their vast electronic library of stored information. Instead they show me an ad targeting under-educated, subservient moms. Kudos.
RULE #3: A good ad has a picture of a freakish Charles Manson type who has absolutely nothing to do with the headline.

Obama wants moms to go back to school? Homeless man mugshot. It makes perfect sense to me. You might expect to see a photo of a mom. Or a woman of some sort, anyway. Someone who might tie in to the headline. No way. This is a good ad, and a good ad doesn’t bother with that. A good ad wants you to go, “What the hell?” as you look at a what could easily be a pedophile’s mugshot.
So there you have it. A brilliant ad concocted by marketing geniuses somewhere out there in the vast Internet. Or maybe in Boise, at some marketing firm located in a step-mom’s basement. It makes me want to get back into advertising.
Bonus points for the mouse-type at the bottom. It’s a legal disclaimer for a testimonial that’s not actually in the ad.

My First Consulting Gig

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I saw this ad on Facebook and it made me think of starting a marketing consultancy. I would sit down one-on-one with Don and say, “Don, do not use that picture in your ad.” It would undoubtedly increase sales in his company. And then I would charge him just $400.

Generating Buzz and Transcribing It

Because I have a moderately-trafficked weblog of niche humor that is appreciated by a tiny fraction of English-speaking humanity, marketing folks in charge of promoting products routinely target me in the hopes that I might mention their product and link to their websites.
More often than not they’re completely off-target. Last week I was approached by Nivea about promoting a skin care package for men, a website that tells you when your favorite actor will be on next, and a place that I believe sells panties. The marketer usually makes some feeble effort to suggest they love your weblog: “Hey! Really enjoy Banterist!” and then delivers the off-the-mark pitch: “I’m thinking your readers would love to hear about our amazing water filters. Can I send you some?”
Occasionally a PR guy or gal is on the mark or close to the mark or, as fate will have it, is actually pitching something I’m familiar with.
In this case it’s SimulScribe, a service which I actually use and have come to rely on. They have the unpleasant task of explaining what they do to the general population – 90% of whom aren’t that clever. They’re forced to help folks get their heads around their service, which is really simple in theory but still manages to make people ask weird questions. Remember how long it took to explain TiVo to people?

Continue reading…

So, Why Are You Single?

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So, why are you single?

Doug: I tried all the traditional ways to meet people and they hadn’t worked for me. You know – the gym, library, bars, the workplace, chance encounters, Craigslist, subway, Match, Lavalife, MySpace, Meetup, J-Date, Second Life, street festivals, Obama rallies and the like. But then I saw this urine-stained advertisement printed on a semi-adhesive piece of paper and haphazardly slapped on the bottom of a light pole mount. It occurred to me that I hadn’t tried them yet.
What did you do?
Well, I’m unemployed and don’t have a pen, so I had a dilemma – do I just take the urine-stained advertisement printed on a semi-adhesive piece of paper and haphazardly slapped on the bottom of a light pole mount, or do I try and memorize the website address so that when I get to Tasti Delite I can log on and try them out?
What did you ultimately decide?
I memorized it using a technique I think I heard about called “association.” First I memorized NYC because that’s where my halfway house is located. Second, I memorized singles because it’s what I am, and I like Kraft cheese singles – especially the peeling away of the cellophane for every individual slice.
And then I had to remember the dot-thing. Now, most businesses are dot-com, but these guys aren’t. So I just remembered them by thinking “What organization advertises themselves via urine-stained advertisement printed on a semi-adhesive piece of paper and haphazardly slapped on the bottom of a light pole mount?” That seemed to work wonders.
What happened next?

I sat down, ordered a large Chemical Chocolate flavor Tasti Delite, and logged on. They asked for a phone number I could be reached at, like they used to do in 1991 before email and stuff helped expedite things. So I gave them the number of the payphone outside my halfway house. Luckily for me Verizon had just repaired the receiver which had been shattered weeks earlier by my bunkmate, One-Eye Todd.

What kind of people have you met?

Well they haven’t called yet. My guess is they’re not in the office but busy focusing on their advertising efforts. And let’s face it, there are a lot of piss-covered light poles in this city.

Call Me Ambassador

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Recently Sprint issued new high-tech mobile phones with six months of unlimited service to various members of the internet community – the people known as “bloggers.”
Presumably this is a marketing effort and not charity.
Naturally, Banterist was included in the mix. Sprint is wisely intrigued with the power and influence this site wields over tens to twelves of people and would like to harness it for their gain. I have no problems with this. I like free things.
They are calling this their “Ambassador” program. As an Ambassador I have been asked to use the phone as much as possible and offer regular feedback to my handlers.
So, I am now in possession of a brand new Samsung SPH-A920 multimedia telephone with Sprint service. In return for unlimited free domestic calls and unlimited downloadable content, Sprint would like my opinion. And, presumably, they’d like me to mention Sprint and their phone as much as possible. I believe this to be a fair trade and intend to conduct experiments and issue dispatches regarding Sprint and their phone.
First impressions, appearances:
The phone is lightweight and, as New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin would say, “chocolate.”
I like the looks of the phone better than my bulky LG VX8000 which I purchased after my toddler murdered my LG VX7000.
The phone’s default font is “Rainbow” which makes every number you dial a different color. I quickly found out how to make it stop doing that and now enjoy a solid, masculine dark blue color. I’ve also arranged to have it speak the keys to me so instead of tones I get a nice lady saying “Two! One! Two! Five! Three! Seven!…” and “Ok!” I imagine I will grow tired of her fairly soon and make the keys silent.
The screen has very good picture quality. I opted for the “blue skies” wallpaper as opposed to the default one, which I’d describe as “blazing corn field.”
Downloadable content:
Sprint claims that as an Ambassador I can download content for free. To test this I went to their music store and purchased U2’s “One.” It would have cost me $2.50 were I not an Ambassador. But I am an Ambassador, and it cost nothing. I made a mental note to download all of John Mayer’s songs in the hopes that he’d see a percentage of the proceeds. I am thoughtful like that.
Operations:
The phone has an 816 area code – Kansas City, MO. Caller ID reveals the name on the phone to be “Ambassador.” I immediately decided to take advantage of this to harass my friends.
To test out the phone I called my brother, who did not recognize the number. In a falsetto Hispanic accent I told him I was Carlito looking for Mister Santos. He told me I had the wrong number. I apologized and hung up. I called him again as Carlito looking for Santos. He told me I still had the wrong number and asked which number I was trying to call. I mumbled “Santos” and hung up. I called back, but before I could say “Santos” he was on to me. I confessed. I regretted confessing, and wished I’d dragged the thing out until April 1st.
I then called my friend Dave and in an English accent claimed I was calling on behalf of “Ambassador Cleary” who needed to reschedule a ride to JFK airport. Dave didn’t quite get it, and said he didn’t need a car service and hung up. I called back and reiterated that Ambassador Cleary needed a ride to JFK at 9:30, but Dave still didn’t get it and said he didn’t need a ride to JFK. I then sent him a text message saying the same thing, followed by a “Voice SMS.”
The Voice SMS is one of the cooler features I have discovered so far. It lets you record and send a voice message to someone’s phone – no ringing or answering required. It’s a very cool feature for those times you don’t feel like talking to someone but need to convey information to them.
After the Voice SMS, Dave stopped answering the phone so I simply called and called and called. When he finally answered I hung up on him and called back. Eventually this became tiresome. To me. To Dave’s credit he never once seemed irritated, he was just confused because he didn’t need a ride to JFK. Dave is a nice and laid back person whose exacting physical standards place 98% of all females in the “heavy” category.
Both calls had good sound quality, and were free as I am an Ambassador. The sound quality seems better than my LG VX8000, though in fairness my son has possibly damaged that phone’s audio by chewing on the receiver.
High-tech wizardry:
The more I explore the Samsung SPH-A920, the more I realize how cool some of the features are. I think that’s the point of the Ambassador program. Sprint doesn’t want to have to explain all these things to people, so they cleverly make other people do it.
In my case the Media Player was a great find when I was out shopping with the wife. Shopping is boring. The solution? Watch Fox News in real-time on your phone. It’s fair and balanced, and you learn new things while your wife is doing whatever women do in dressing rooms. I like how Fox has news alerts constantly. I’m not sure what their standards are for something being declared a “Breaking News Alert” but they seem to be pretty low. Sprint offers plenty of other channels to check out once you get tired of “Breaking News” every three minutes. The only problem with a small screen is you can’t make out the scrolling news, time, logo, weather, date, barometric pressure and flashing things that Fox News clutters their broadcasts with. It’s mainly just a person talking about breaking news.
Later in the afternoon I tried to re-find Fox News but got lost and eventually discovered another feature – movie trailers. I watched a trailer for The Omen which consisted of a kid sitting on a swing for about 30 seconds. Technology that lets me watch movie trailers on my phone is pretty cool, though if Omen is about a kid on a swing I’ll stick with the original. Speaking of remakes – they never should have remade Pink Panther.
After the boring shopping expedition we were hungry and wanted to eat food. This is when I discovered how new technology is going to make life much better for all of us. Sprint’s Samsung SPH-A920 handset has a great directory search feature that tells you what’s around based on your GPS coordinates. Sprint will only look at your GPS coordinates if you give them the OK, so you Black Helicopter-seeing Big-Brother-is-Coming freaks can chill out. I typed in “restaurant” but before I could get any listings my wife decided we’d be brunching at Café des Amis across the street and that was that. She is the boss of me.
More on my Ambassadorship with Sprint and their magical Samsung SPH-A920 phone later.
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Profiles: The Guy Who Wrote “Tiny House”

Introducing “Profiles”, wherein we ask several questions of people we believe to have a well-developed sense of humor.
Our first interviewee: Joe Lawson, the writer behind GEICO’s reality show spoof Tiny House. Joe left the dark side of advertising agency account service in order to pursue his dream of being on the creative side. He works for the Martin Agency, a not unsmall agency in Virginia.


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“The marriage was built to last, but the house was built too small.”

The first time people see the TV spot for Tiny House they go through a series of emotions – shock, disbelief, anger, denial and finally, relief – after they realize that they’ve been had by yet another ad for GEICO.
Tiny House was recently praised in Slate as “one of the best ads on TV.” If you’ve had the television on for any period of time, you’ve probably seen it, and you’d probably agree.
Banterist: A lot of advertising people would kill to have something like Tiny House on their resume, yet they’re stuck with a portfolio of chicken flop for DayQuil and Monistat. Do you feel differently around those people when at big industry functions?
Joe: The most important thing is to avoid big industry functions. That way you’re not reminded of the transitory nature of goodness in advertising. Every once in a while, if you are lucky, you catch the tail of an opportunity and put something on TV that doesn’t annoy people, but most of the time 99% of us are producing crap.
Now that you’re an accomplished parodist, you’re in a position to introduce yourself to other accomplished parodists such as Weird Al Yankovic. Assuming you were forced to approach him, how would you introduce yourself?
Hi! I like your flip-flops! You are funny! (That’s how my two year-old daughter introduces herself to everyone and it works out great.)
A recent SLATE article by Seth Stevenson called Tiny House “the best ad on television.” Can you think of three situations where you might be inclined to play the “I wrote the best ad on television!” card?
“Look, we know the land was promised to you by God, but I wrote the best ad on television and I’m telling you, you have to take that shit back to Israel.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, did you write the best ad on television? Or was it me? That’s right. I wrote the best ad on television and I say we stay here until the Iraqi citizens can hold their own against the insurgency.”
“Am I the one who chose to live in Africa? No. I chose to write the best ad on television. Maybe when you write the best ad on television you can have steak, too.”
Likewise, having written the best ad on television must have piqued the interest of other agencies in acquiring you. Have you noticed your bosses following you to lunch or asking who you’re on the phone with?
Not at all. Advertising writers are becoming a commodity. If I left, another one would simply pop up in my place.
In my experience, every advertising copywriter is a frustrated screenwriter. Can you give me the log-line of the unfinished screenplay that’s undoubtedly on your desktop?
Actually, at the moment, it’s a short story about tiny Vikings.
Speaking of, Tiny House has undoubtedly motivated an aspiring-screenwriter to detour into advertising for a while. Do you have any advice for him or her?
“You’re going the wrong way.”
While at Nobu not long ago, I spotted Donald Trump and reality-show creator Mark Burnett dining. Should I have thanked them on your behalf or violently cursed at them on the world’s behalf?
Assuming you did neither, you did the right thing – you participated in your own life, something the average American has completely forgotten how to do. Burnett didn’t create unfulfilled lives, he just caters to the mass audience that has them.
Probably due to the preponderance of hacks in it, the advertising industry has been known to seize on a theme and do it to death. As soon as someone does handheld camera, everyone does handheld camera, as soon as someone does black & white with a touch of color, everyone does black & white with a touch of color. How many fake reality show ads do you expect to see in the next year?
If people want to take a stab at it, be my guest. I’m amazed Tiny House even ran. The networks were all over our asses about the fact that it looked so authentic. They were afraid the TV-viewing audience, you know, being dumb and all, would confuse it for actual programming, so we had trouble getting it through Legal. Obviously, that confusion was our intention, but the networks really, really care about the poor viewer, because, as you know, if someone confuses a commercial for actual programming then they…go up into the light. Just like in Logan’s Run.
There are many good creative types in the ad industry who are stifled by moronic clients. Is it hopeless for them, or is there some clever approach to get good spots past account executives named Vance?
The problem is, Vance isn’t smart enough or dumb enough. He’s right in the middle. If he were a fucking idiot, good spots would fill the airwaves. TV’s would be art museums. Problem is, Vance knows just enough to sniff out your hidden agenda. The only answer, and even this is low percentage, is tenacity. I presented Tiny House like eight times, never once changing it. You just keep presenting the stuff you want to do, the way you want to do it, and then one day you hopefully catch Vance off-guard because he had too much Smirnoff Ice the night before. Finally, if that doesn’t work, kill Vance. Seriously. Anyone who’s ever done anything half-decent in advertising has had to kill at least one guy. It’s standard practice.
I think if you are looking for creative fulfillment in advertising, you are on a slippery slope. You might find it for a while, but it won’t last. The longer you do it, the greater your tolerance becomes. Eventually you need a bigger and bigger creative fix to get the same buzz. My thinking is, if you’re going to invest that much time and thought and energy into trying to do something good, you should invest it in something you really care about, at least something you can call your own. Having said that, I’m sure there are people who really care about advertising and find it creatively fulfilling.
After watching ten minutes of Being Bobby Brown I was ready to join the Klan. Do you think that show is a simple abomination or a very clever stealth advertisement for racists?
Again, when I see shit like that, I don’t get mad at the network or the producers or the talent. I get mad at America. That show is not an abomination, it’s the American Dream. If keeping soldiers in Iraq allows me to get high as a kite and feed my dog lobster, then hell yes, I say we stay there as long as we can.
Following the London transit attacks, New York’s mayor implemented an ineffective, wholly cosmetic, knee-jerk subway bag search program that lacks a good tagline. Any ideas?
Just Open the Goddamn Bag.™
Look Mom No Bomb!™
Open the Bag or We Open Up Your Head. With Bullets. London-Style.™
Fuck You NYCLU.™
What one word do you think would enrage James Lipton?
Kwik.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you.

Report to Shareholders

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I am pleased to report a banner year for Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries.
Our earnings in 2004 reflect our commitment to a proactive and aggressive policy of standing outside the 14th Street Chase Bank and holding the door for people.
I credit our success to a simple and effective business model: Hold the door open for people leaving and entering the bank, because that’s where the money’s at.
Last year’s growth trend was no accident, and can be attributed to the fact that by standing in the same place every day during bank hours, we created a rapport with people entering and leaving the building. In other words, we built our brand, and in this business brand is everything. This is in direct contrast to our operations during the previous years in which we wandered dazed and bleeding down 2nd Avenue on an irregular basis.
As evidenced by last year’s outstanding performance, the one-location business model is a key to success in our industry.
In addition to optimizing our location, we introduced our new tagline: Please help me. We noticed a marked difference in returns after the introduction of Please help me, and have permanently phased out Quarter Quarter Quarter which, frankly, was never much of a focus group darling.
In the year ahead we will have our challenges, to be certain. There’s a pregnant teen outside Emack & Bolio’s seeking our clients. There’s been some hostility with the bank management. And I am bleeding. But these are all things that can be worked out.
Frankly, I am not concerned. We have the savvy and reputation that others in our industry lack. And we provide a valuable door-holding experience that Shrieking Pete does not.
I look forward to the year ahead. Under my stewardship I believe we can expect Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries to grow even more. I’m proud of where we are today, and I have you to thank for it.
Please help me,
Tavis E. Williams
Chairman and CEO
Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries

eBay: The Marchond Jones Edition Macintosh

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Hopefully you are bidding on a PowerMac G4 with a 733MHz processor, 1.25GB RAM and 60GB Hard Drive.
The keyboard and mouse are included. The keyboard had been used to generate witty articles, scathing letters to various customer service departments, and a long-winded letter to my college telling them their Film program was ruined by a bunch of commie hack professors.
The computer comes in the original box with the original styrofoam packing. The box features the original sticker from Marchond Jones – the name of the guy who sold me the computer. He didn’t really do anything, but when I picked out the computer he slapped his name sticker on it, no doubt to claim some kind of a commission. The Marchond Jones sticker is a collector’s edition, no doubt, as Marchond probably doesn’t work at Micro Center anymore. In the event Marchond Jones becomes famous, you can tell people he touched your PowerMac’s box once. Imagine their amazement, because I can’t.
The Macintosh is the perfect computer for people who hate Windows or who are just afraid of Windows. If you buy this computer, you can spend the rest of your days telling people that Macintosh rules and Windows sucks. It makes for great conversation.
The computer has OSX 10.2 installed. The original Software Restore and Apple Hardware Test disks are included. I am also including the OSX 10.2 install disks and iLife 1.0 disks because I am mildly pleasant. The “Setting Up” documentation is also included.
I will now answer dumb questions so no one else has to shame themselves:
Does it work?
Yes. It works, for God’s sake.
Are the power cords included?
Yes. The power cords are included and the mouse cable and keyboard cable. Huzzah.
Will you sell it to me off of eBay and ship it to Indonesia via FedEx?
No, you little foreign criminal.
Specs and Fantastic Bidding Opportunity

eBay: Please Buy My Sweater

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You are bidding on a white, hand-knit Irish fisherman’s sweater.
Why? I have no idea. Maybe you’re an Irish fisherman and you lost your sweater. Maybe you’d like to be an Irish fisherman, freezing half to death on the Irish Sea desperately searching for herring before paddling back to your loudmouth Irish wife whose wit makes up for her large bum. I don’t know. I’m not here to ask questions, I’m here to sell my white, size 42, hand-knit Irish sweater.
The sweater is in excellent condition because I don’t think I ever wore it. Why? Because I’m not Irish, nor am I a fisherman. I was simply charmed into buying it when I was over there, many years ago when I was enamored with the Irish and Guinness and thought the IRA was cool. The IRA isn’t cool by the way. They’re a bunch of thugs and if you make the mistake of inviting one to stay over he’ll camp out for two weeks, eat all your cheese and terrify your wimpy, longhair roommate. Then he’ll borrow $100 he doesn’t intend to repay, get his teeth knocked out by a bunch of Mexicans in a bar brawl and join the U.S. Army Rangers. Good riddance, Gerry.
Anyway, back to the sweater.
It’s white because it’s made with white sheep wool. It’s thick, so it’s great for cold weather or Bikram yoga. If you wear it with a pair of Ray Ban tortoise shell sunglasses you’ll look like Mickey Rourke in A Prayer For The Dying, a horrible film. If you don’t like white, stay tuned for more auctions. I’ve been to Ireland 16 times, and each time I came back with a sweater that I wound up storing in the closet for years. I’m that sharp.
This sweater features an intricate pattern which was how Irish folks used to determine what village a drowned fisherman came from. I don’t know what village this pattern is from, but rest assured if you drown some Irishman will run there and let everyone know.

Bid if you’re so inclined.

Notes To Igor On The Occasion Of His Hair Salon Opening

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Hi Igor. First of all, I wanted to welcome you to this country and wish you the best of luck on the occasion of your hair salon’s Grand Opening. Owning your own business is one of life’s great joys, especially when it’s a successful endeavor – just ask Mike Bloomberg. I hope your pursuit of the American Dream is a success. I’m sure you’ll find that this country offers unprecedented opportunities in business that you wouldn’t find in your native Russia, or Ukraine. Or wherever it is that they name people Igor.
Igor, I have a lot of experience in advertising, and I thought I would pass on some of that knowledge to you to help you better prepare your next neighborhood-leafleting advertisement campaign, so that it may be more effective.
Igor, consumers in Chelsea expect certain things from their hairdressers. For starters, they expect them to be named Michael, Stephan or Christopher. Igor is a tough sell, a name normally reserved for hunchbacks and people in the employ of demons. I realize you have incorporated your name into your business title, so it may not be possible to simply change it to Christopher or Flavio. All I can suggest is making the “o” in your name into a heart, and perhaps dotting your “I” with a daisy.
Igor, I have some problems with the photo you’ve chosen for the advertisement. Perhaps that’s you in the photo. Indeed, many business owners fall into the trap of advertising themselves as opposed to their business. It’s important to separate ego from the business model. The guy from Papa John’s keeps putting himself in his ads, as does real estate agent Barbara Corcoran, as did David Thomas from Wendy’s. Igor, I’m against this practice, especially if you look like you just got caught strangling a bus full of cheerleaders.
If the photo is to show someone who has received your services, I would suggest a picture of a smiling individual. Perhaps with styled hair, so as to better suggest what your business is capable of doing. I think hair salon models should have hair. Regardless, you don’t want to convey that your customers have been accused of murder.
As you’ll notice in your ad, the various services offered (coloring, permanent, pedicure, et al.) do not look like services the individual in the photograph would use. In fact, if such a gentleman came to me for highlights and a pedicure, I would depart the premises and seek employment in Ecuador.
If the photo is to show an employee of the establishment, I would still recommend smiling, as hairstylists are known to wield scissors and other sharp objects. Again, the purpose of an advertisement is to entice, not frighten. You want people to identify your business with quality hairstyling services, not grievous bodily harm.
Igor, I’ve waived my normal freelance rates so that I could offer these helpful tips, in an effort to help you make the most of your advertising dollar. You’re on your own from this point onward, but I’m certain that some day Igor will be to highlights what Slavomir is to dumplings.

eBay: Appalling Flatware For Sale

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There are many reasons you might wish to purchase the 75-piece set of amazingly heinous gold-plated Versace flatware I’ve recently come to possess through no fault of my own.
Perhaps you are an angry gay attorney with a lot of disposable income, desperately searching for a collection of cutlery to complement the glossy black dining table, blue sofa and neon waterfall in your tastelessly decorated domain.
The gold-plated Versace demitasse spoon suits any espresso, and would undoubtedly add a sophisticated accent to your endless bitching about the building staff and delivery menus left at your door. And, there are eight of them. With great spoons come great friends, goes the saying. Your acquisition of gold-plated Versace flatware could be the first step in acquiring a posse of mean-spirited dandies to love you for who you really are.
Please purchase my recently acquired gold-plated Versace flatware set.
Perhaps you are a made member of a crime syndicate. You know quite well that your Cadillac Escalade assault SUV announces your class and stature to the general public on the roadways and sidewalks; but, did you know what announces that same je ne sais quoi to your dinner guests?
That’s right. Just like a giant, inflatable rat alerts folks to a content non-union construction site, a gold-plated Versace sauce ladle tells folks you’re the boss. Absolutely nothing adds more class to the timeless act of sauce relocation. Your friends and enemies alike will give you the respect you crave. And your family will know they made the right decision not having you “dealt with” last Easter when you were acting all sassy to a Capo.
Please consider purchasing my recently acquired gold-plated Versace flatware set.
Overnight Hip-Hop success? Firstly, let me congratulate you on parlaying a fascination with vice, three gunshot wounds, and a history of felonies into a career. You know as I do that one must not only represent, but one must represent with style. Style is not just gold teeth, gold chains, gold rims and gold car antennas, my friend. Style is also gold-plated Versace flatware.
The late-night recording sessions are draining, G. To keep pace and deliver more phat raps about whores and liquor, you’re going to need sustenance. That sustenance is cake. And cake, my G, is best served with a gold-plated Versace cake server. What your entourage does with the remaining 74 cutlery pieces is unimportant. What matters is getting your cake on with class.
Please, someone, purchase my recently acquired gold-plated Versace flatware set.
By no means am I limiting purchase to angry gay lawyers, hoods or guys from ‘hoods. Perhaps you’re a self-made, middle-aged businessman suffering a mid-life crisis. You may have terminated your 32-year marriage, purchased a Ferrari, and spent three weeks in Costa Rica because of their laid back attitude about prostitution – but, at some point you’re going to want to settle down again. When that time comes, you’ll need to woo a trophy wife. Nothing woos a twenty-something opportunist quite like miso-glazed sea bass, Chalk Hill Chardonnay and two gold-plated Versace fish knives. She’ll be hanging on your arm before you can say “How much?”
Please, I’m serious, purchase my recently acquired 75-piece gold-plated Versace flatware set.
Finally, perhaps you are Donald Trump. Please, The Donald, take advantage of my not inexpensive, recently acquired, 75-piece gold-plated Versace flatware set. I watched almost a half-hour of The Apprentice, and think you’ll find the gold-plated dessert forks great for picking up nougat.
Will anyone purchase my recently acquired 75-piece gold-plated Versace flatware set?
This flatware monstrosity once set someone back nearly ten grand. If you think that’s pretty amazing, you’re not the only one. Although I encourage you to purchase it at a high price, it does not mean I will respect you for it.
All pieces feature the same gaudy Medusa logo that Versace uses to justify $900 cufflinks.
Set includes:
8 demitasse spoons
8 teaspoons
8 tablespoons
8 bread knives
9 knives
8 salad forks
8 dessert forks
9 regular forks
1 cake server
1 sauce ladle
2 fish knives
2 fish forks
2 serving spoons
1 large serving spoon
1 large spork-like spoon
Large box to hide all 75 godforsaken pieces
As I’ve mentioned, I hope someone will purchase my recently acquired 75-piece gold-plated Versace flatware set.
Perhaps that someone is you.
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Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage

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Dear Retailer:
Hello! We wish to introduce to you Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage and ask if you will consider carrying it in your establishment, for it is delicious.
Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage is created with a special clandestine recipe, and upon drinking delivers a sensation to the body not unlike the massaging fingers of 72 hot and sexy virgins.
As Allah is my witness, many who enjoy Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage express their feelings in a positive manner. The men shout with glee from underneath their ski masks, and without question there is much ululating from underneath the coverings of the females. Though terrifying-sounding, ululating is actually a sound of joy. The joy of quenching your thirst with Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage is like having a martyred son, but with more citrus flavor.
Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage comes with a full support package for our retailers. In return for eye-level shelf space, we offer excellent discounts on pallets of our product. In addition, we offer in-store point-of-purchase displays, vinyl banners, and we will put your competitors to death.
Our new summer iTunes bottlecap promotion is gearing up, and we will offer over 1,000,000 lucky customers the chance to download As Allah Is My Witness I shall Slay the Infidels and Bring Them to Bow Before Me for free.
For our restaurateur friends, Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage offers quantity discounts, not to mention promotional events such as the Alcohol is the Devil’s Lubricant Worldwide Toast which takes place every March 17th. Those restaurants which carry our delicious, sanctified beverage also receive free logo glassware, ashtrays, and neon window signs. All restaurants receive festive portraits of frowning mullahs with which one may pressure guests into ordering Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage.
We look forward to you working with us to make Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage the most popular beverage in the world, far out-selling the Coca Cola bile-water which the accursed infidel Americans force down our throats.
We hope we can work together soon. We must insist that you contact us quickly, as we have your cousin.
Sincerely,
Ayman Qutaybah
Regional Sales Director
Hamas’s Refreshing Orange Zionist Conspiracy Beverage

Advertising Strategy: Greater Balboa

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GOAL:
An outdoor and bus advertising campaign in conjunction with a print, radio and television run in selected U.S. markets.

BACKGROUND:
Greater Balboa has been plagued in recent years by piracy, occasional mob riots, and plague.

MESSAGE:
Come to Greater Balboa!

TARGET:
Americans, 50/50 male/female, unmarried, who make upwards of 40,000K per year. They are looking for a quality Caribbean vacation and are in the process of selecting an island to visit.

MAJOR OBSTACLES:
Unfortunately, many of our prospective tourists are still vaguely aware of the Machete Riots of 1997, and as a result are still somewhat afraid of Greater Balboa and her citizenry.
Many Americans are hesitant to visit an island that requires seven vaccination shots and a post-trip examination.
The intense media coverage of Esteemed Victorious Leader Dominic DuBaine’s ice-pick assassination was negative publicity at best and still reverberates among the many Americans who saw the televised incident during the Superbowl.
The majority of Greater Balboa’s tourist hotels were built downwind of Sulfur Springs, which some individuals find offensive.
Americans expect electricity.

MINOR OBSTACLES:
The tendency for Greater Balboans to forcibly request donations from our tourists.
The tendency for Greater Balboans to call tourists “demon invaders.”
Flushworm.

POSITIVES:
With the eradication of the Pox Flies nearly complete, visitors to Greater Balboa are increasingly likely to not be bitten.
A new highway built with mango husks and palm fronds bypasses the Villagio detention camp, which was always shocking and uncomfortable for first-time visitors to the island. The new highway now takes them down a prettier route past Man Made Falls, which should have water by Spring 2005.
The U.S. Dollar ($) to Greater Balboan Squab (@*) exchange rate is so favorable that a Balboan whore is no more expensive than an American hairbrush.
Nineteen of the “Tourist Face-Hacker Twenty-Three” have been apprehended and executed.

DIRECTION:
We would like a catchy tag line that expresses the true nature of Greater Balboa as the place to relax and unwind inside a maximum-security tourist enjoyment compound.
We encourage you to consider a musical jingle to capture the essence of the island. Even better if it is used on our two native instruments, the car hood and the shoe.
If it stops raining, we would encourage you to take some pictures of Mount Doom for use in the advertisements. We also have a large collection of stock photos of Aruba.

MANDATORIES:
Supreme Leader DuQuesnay has a list of individuals who may appear in the advertising. They have promised to smile and convey the essence of the island as he sees it.
Do not mention Suffocation Day as it is a difficult holiday to explain to non-islanders.
“Visit our official government website at http://www.caribeinternet.com/islands/classd/warning/greaterbalboa.html”