BLACK MATCH

Icon

Trends, commentary, and insightful rants from the bleeding edge of advertising, content & branding.

Super Genius’ car rescue TV reality series bows Aug. 1(ReelChicago)

 

Bruno Massel gives an update on Garage Squad.

Bruno Massel gives an update on Garage Squad.

Super Genius’s all-Chicago produced reality series, “Garage Squad,” devoted to helping gearheads restore their cherished vintage vehicles, will premiere Friday, Aug. 1, on Velocity, a supercharged Discovery Channel entirely devoted to all things automotive. Velocity deems “Garage Squad” so good that it’s part of Velocity’s current Dream Car Week’s 14 hours of programming focusing on the most unique, beautiful and exotic vehicles.   The half-hour, 10-episode series was developed and produced at Velocity’s request by eight-year old Super Genius, a hybrid advertising/entertainment shop. The partners, co-managers Bill Connell and Mat Burnett – EPs on the series — and ECD Craig Motlong are former long-time Leo Burnett executives. “We’ve had a relationship with Velocity for several years, when we turned a turned a brand initiative into a series, called ‘One of a Kind’ for the network.  It’s about the early design and production of custom cars,” Connell says. (continue reading at ReelChicago).

Filed under: ad agency, advertising, super genius inc., TV Production, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DUMB WORDS! BANNED WORDS & PHRASES 2010

 

Her words are witchcraft and heresy. The very tools of the Devil!

 

Although by no means exact, rough web based estimates of the number of words in the English language put the total at somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million.  By any civilized standard this is too many! A million words! That has the sulfuric stench of the devil.  Here at super genius we’d wager that at least 40% of that is pure waste, and we’d like to do our part to cut that waste. On the heels of the infamous memo put out by Tribune CEO Randy Michaels (a memo we support by the way); we’ve decided to begin publishing our own list of words we’re banning in 2010 and invite crowdsourced (uh oh! spoiler alert on that one!) additions.  Now, a millions words is a lot for us to go through so as THE BANNENING continues and we add new words we’ll publish them in our twitter feed (there’s another one!) under #dumbwords. The real goal here, is to avoid using words that make you sound like a jargon drunk simpleton. By not using these words you enhance your reputation as a human being. And so:

BRAND PROMISE (yes we know, two words, but it’s combination that kills)

CROWDSOURCE (CROWDSOURCED)

TWEET

THE “CLOUD”

VAMPIRE

ALCOPOP (this was actually on the 2007 list but we didn’t publish that year)

BLOG (the term micro-blog has been added to our 2011 watchlist)

SOCCER

AKIMBO

Additional words will be published via the 140 character service known as Twitter under the hash #dumbwords. If you have words to add to the list please do the same. Cheers!

Filed under: advertising, Bad Ads, Self Help, skateboarding cats, Uncategorized, Vampires, , , , , , ,

DEEP BLUE BRANDING

Or what can Avatar tell us about effective advertising?

1)   Don’t Suck.

 Seems obvious, and it is, but this rule is broken all the time.  Let’s just start from a place of doing something well. Mmm’kay! It’s a good life lesson really not just for an Avatar listicle.  Hey, if you say you’re going to re-invent film-making then you need to actually go ahead and re-invent film-making.  Box. Checked.

 2)   I.T.S.S.  (It’s the story stupid)

 Yeah, bad acronym, but the point is that people still care about a simple story well told.  We can quibble over a few things (dialogue?) here and there but Avatar is your classic hero’s journey, your basic quest and growth story.  And you know what? People love that! They still do…maybe they just needed to see it with fresh eyes.  The authenticity of that simple Aristotelian good/bad, 3 act, sword in the stone story still sings with audiences.

 3)   Immersive story-telling equals Brand Immersion

 “This 3D stuff is gold, Jerry! Its gold!” Used to be that a great performance was enough to suck you so deeply into the story you didn’t want to leave.  Or the writing was so vivid and provocative you couldn’t put the book down.  Looks like Cameron has raised the bar just a wee bit in that regard.  Lots of online buzz about Avatars viewers who have sunk into depression because they can’t actually “live” in the world of Avatar.  The sense memory of that world (Pandora) is so real you desperately want to return.  Could the same soon be said of a branded experience? Well…its just content.  Well crafted content with a story people care about (see above).  So, you might laugh at world centered around Tide w/Bleach but if the story and the brand come together to create something really experiential people will pay attention.

Think about it this way, Avatar is essentially a 2.5 hour commercial for Greenpeace and people walk out “loving it.”

 4)   Community. Community. Community.

 We might be sick of hearing about brand communities. But damned if it doesn’t still work.  When passions are ignited people come together if whatever forums are available to discuss and extend and deepen their relationship with that “idea” or “story” or “product.”  Why does creating an outlet for brand communities still work? Essentially because its not a gimmick. It certainly can be in the wrong hands but if you make something good (see rule #1) and then provide clever and provocative ways for folks to share about that good thing connections are going to happen.  People will find a way to do it themselves (I’m sure there are Avatar meet-ups happening) so you might as well benefit from it in some way.

 5)   Three D – Schmeee D.

The technology is just the tool. The Idea is the Engine.  Cameron had apparently been dreaming about the idea of this world and this story for years. And then developed the technology to bring it to life.  This is the proper order of things, not “hey, what do I do with this cool 3D camera?” You start at the molecular level with a creative idea that’s powerful and then realize it in the best way possible.

Filed under: advertising, avatar, brands, consumer choice, online advertising, social media

Welcome to the Paradise, “New Media” Slumdogs

 

Child Corn Picker

Child Corn Picker

 

Lost in all the hype about New Media! And The Democratization of the News! And Newspapers are Dying! Is the fact that the information phase of the information revolution we’re in right now kind of blows.

We are working harder than ever before to find cool and interesting stuff. Between Digg and StumbleUpon and Reddit and MetaFilter and Facebook and Twitter, we are the ones who vote on the news, send it to the top, and retweet the hell out of it to make sure it gets massive and unprecedented exposure. It’s a simple system, inarguable for anyone who has faith in democracy.

I no longer have faith in democracy.

Here’s the problem. I don’t want to do this much work to find stuff I want to read. For every interesting take on Google vs. Facebook, or a solid analysis of the Iranian nuclear question, there are about fifty useless posts, either lists or lols or scraped content. My Twitter feed has become a series of Burma-Shave signs, haikus leading down a road to nowhere. I may be able to read anything I want, but I’m doing all this work to find it, and by the time I get it, I’m no longer interested.

Information is out there. But we’re doing all the work.

It’s not enough to have people act as information filters: people like you have to act as filters, or else it’s just not going to satisfy. You need trusted sources with a wide range of access to information. If you just choose your friends, you’re going to end up in an echo chamber, retweeting lol posts. You need independent sources of interesting stories, told in a way that’s compelling, challenging, and informative. We used to have something like this: they were called magazines and newspapers.

That’s why this spasm of eulogizing Ye Olde Media feels a little premature. We’re not going to wake up to find a dead tree on our front doorstep anymore. But if you want trusted, analytical, valued information, you’re not going to hook into the Tehran Twitter feed and watch people misspell words. You’re going to click on the New York Times, or the Economist, or Time. For the time being, media brands still matter. They help us stop digging through veins of information, and gain perspective on what’s true.

Filed under: advertising, consumer choice, facebook, social media, supergenius llc, twitter, , , , , ,

Planes, trains & advertising: The John Hughes School of Craft

weirdscienceJohn Hughes means a lot to everyone who grew up on his films. But if you’re from Chicago, he means a little bit more.

John Hughes reinvented Chicago. The suburbs around Chicago are fine, safe places to grow up, but they lack anything in the way of personality. When Hughes introduced us to the good people of Shermer, Illinois, teenagers of the greater Chicagoland area took a collective gasp. Here was someone who understood the mind-numbing sameness, the bland days that rolled into each other, the long flat streets that never went anywhere no matter how long you walked. No one saw cinema in this but him.

What Hughes did was to take Chicago and make it universal. For a stretch of the 1980’s, Shermer stood in for everything that was right and wrong about growing up in America. The trapped claustrophobia of The Breakfast Club. The giddy feeling of freedom from tedium in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. The geeky, insular, Dungeons-and-Dragons-in-the-basement world of Weird Science. These were more than iconic moments in film. These were our lives. No matter how universal the themes of his films, there was still something in them that was uniquely, relentlessly Chicago.

Hughes did all of this, of course, after putting in his time working at Leo Burnett and busting out of there to do great things. As former Burnetters ourselves, we know the talent that flows through that place, and the heights to which our former colleagues have and will soar. Hughes was special. And if we can create a small echo of his work here at Super-Genius by overturning old stories and making them feel relevant, fresh, and universal — by making our own Shermer, so to speak — then we have accomplished a great, true thing.

Hughes made a generation of Chicagoans proud of who we were. For that and a million other reasons, we are grateful. Because life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Filed under: advertising, , ,

Kids on the Future of TV

Filed under: advertising, , , , ,

Black Dynamite: In Your Face Advertising

ebonyjetrethinkCheck out a piece we wrote for EbonyJet.com that debuted today.

RETHINK is an occasional series featuring contemporary thought on classic Ebony And Jet photos and articles.

We asked ad agency executive Mat Burnett, of Super Genius LLC in Chicago to give some modern perspective on a series of revolutionary ads done by Johnson Publishing in the late 1960s and how far (or not) ethnic advertising has come since then.

Filed under: ad agency, advertising, supergenius llc, , , , , ,

Why We Blog

thacarterAgency blogs suck. That’s why we write one. It is a strange feeling to communicate in a medium you despise. Deep down, you despise blogs too. With rare exception, blogs do not add anything to your life. They are time-suckers. They are usually poorly written. They breed like gnats. Of these creatures, there are few things worse than the corporate blog, which are typically just glorified vehicles for press releases. Of the corporate blogs, there are few things worse than the advertising agency blog, because it has the stench of desperation. You can see someone, somewhere in the organization decided the blog had to be clever – because we’re an AD AGENCY, dammit – and so you have the obligatory twist of whimsy. But since it’s still a corporate communication, it has to go through legal, PR, IT, and some poor junior copywriter whose job it is to keep the blog from doing anything that would slander the reputation of the company. The result is inevitably unreadable. Why do we blog? I’m sure the readers of this blog are using the word ‘hypocrite’ along with their epithet of choice, and they’re probably not wrong. We might be hypocrites, or worse. We snark. We steal from popular culture. We bite the hands that feed us. We link to the sites that pique our interest and occasionally offer meta-commentary. We post opinions as fact. We have an alarmingly high opinion of ourselves. We lie to ourselves while pretending to be brutally honest. We’re maddeningly inconsistent. None of which you’ll find on a typical agency blog, except for the alarmingly high self-regard. If these were other times in history, we’d streak, or skywrite, or perform magic tricks. We’d paint, drink absinthe, and become expatriates. In some eras, we’d be hailed as prophets, in others, heretics. But this is 2009. And that is why we blog.

Filed under: advertising, online advertising, skateboarding cats, supergenius llc, , , , , , , ,

The Enduring Mythology of the “Name” Advertising Agency

death of the dinosaursThe Enduring Mythology of the “Name” Advertising Agency

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM. That’s the story. IBM was such an industry standard, and so widely perceived as being the best in the business, that no one could impugn you for making a decision based on that name alone.

Well, we all know that was a load of horse crap. Plenty of people got fired for buying IBM; IBM just had them quietly killed to preserve their word-of-mouth. But the temptation to buy something large, well-regarded, and safe is still with us. It’s how most of us buy (or bought, and will again) houses, cars, investment funds.

Oh, and by the way, advertising agencies.

That’s the funny part of this business. Agencies stake their name on their early campaigns that create edgy, breakthrough, back-of-a-napkin, two-guys-in-their-wetsuits campaigns that change a category and instantly make a name for themselves. Then those agencies get noticed, and get more business than the two guys in their wetsuits can handle. They get big. They hire people. They hire people to manage those people. And every level they add puts them further and further away from the ideas that made them great in the first place.

Here’s the ugly truth: big agencies get out of the idea business. They get into the selling-the-idea business. They stop feeling the idea and start thinking it to death. That’s why with every idea, you get a ream of paper explaining why the idea is not only good, it is also right. And they create an entire bureaucratic structure of planners, account service, creative and media to sell the idea to you, so you can sell it to your boss. Because nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

Everyone who works at Super-Genius has worked at a big agency. We’ve made the sausage. We know what goes into one. And we were once seduced by the big names, too. We get it.

But we wanted to talk ideas without asking the admin assistant to schedule a pre-brief meeting in the staff room. We wanted to pick up the phone and talk to you. We wanted to be closer to the work and farther away from the smoke and mirrors we use to sell you the work.

Who knows? We might hire a bunch of people and sell out to Omnicom tomorrow.

But today? You’ve got two guys in wetsuits. Anything is possible.

Filed under: ad agency, advertising, brands, supergenius llc, , , , , ,

About

Super Genius LLC is a digital media and creative incubator that excels at bringing fresh, new thinking to existing strategy as well as blank-page strategic development. Our mission is to open up unique and exciting ways of connecting brands and consumers.

"The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." William Gibson

Super Genius Tweets

SuperGenius LLC Flickr Photos

That guy

Plain White Ts

OAR

More Photos

Blog Stats

  • 6,260 hits
smt_blogger
sglogo1
Marketing Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites