Yeah. I said it. You don’t see many “mad propz” these days, but this one is well-deserved.

Back in 2005, when I started at BBDO NY, there was this writer-guy, Alec Brownstein, who sat around the corner from me. While being a junior at BBDO was somewhat intimidating, knowing guys like Alec made it a lot less so. He was always ready to chat it up and have a laugh. We both worked on Pizza Hut, but for me — it was the occasional assignment. This guy was doing ALL Pizza Hut. And he still was cool and smiling and shit. (I will always admire that. I can make lemonade out of lemons, but I can only pretend for so long. At some point, everyone cracks and says  ‘hey, this isn’t lemonade! This is crappy lemon-water. Fuck this.’)

Anyway, Alec went to work for Maxim. Then Publicis. It was a crazy few years, but we stayed in touch on and off. And then… he got a job at Y&R. An AWESOME job — but even more awesome about it — the way he scored it.

Click here to watch an interview with Alec and his new boss on Good Morning America.

Not only did he score a killer gig, he scored some big awards. Like One Show pencils.

Anyway, really proud. Alec isn’t just a smart dude, he’s a good dude.

Way to go.

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By now, you’ve probably seen one of the many stories about the iPhone 4. How some young engineer from Apple got shitfaced in a bar and lost it. And then some guy found it and sold it to Gizmodo. And then Gizmodo did a whole spread on it. And then how Steve Jobs blew up and called Gizmodo himself, demanding it back.

Here’s some of the coverage:

Gizmodo’s Expose

Article about the Debacle

After reading all this and discussing it with my coworkers, we were on the fence. Was this a stunt for free PR? Or real?

Would the kid who lost the phone have to move to Micronesia and live out his days fearing the wrath of Steve Jobs? Or was this all planned?

If Gizmodo really DID buy “stolen” property for $5,000, then… how does that reflect on them as journalists? Or, well… bloggers?

My gut reaction is this: Apple didn’t need this stunt. Sales of iPhones had no sign of slowing down — only increasing. Apple has a cult-like following of fanboys, and frankly, a stunt like this seemed almost BENEATH them. They just don’t need it. The new iPhone would sell itself.

If we find out that it was a PR stunt, I’ll be pretty disappointed in Apple. I like that they’re a class-act (for the most part), and a shameless ploy like this would just make them seem kinda… base. Ick.

Anyway…  just in case you have ill feelings about Gizmodo after reading this, consider this article.  After reading that, how can you not still LOVE them?

By now, if you haven’t bought an iPad or physically touched one or seen countless fluff pieces about it… well, you’re probably just finishing up a 7-month trek along the Appalachian Trail. Or playing space tourist on a Russian cosmo-craft. Or something.

The other day, my dog and I hit the Apple Store before our evening walk. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an iPad almost immediately and started opening apps and sweeping my fingers across its bright, impressive display. My fingers enjoyed the experience so much, they almost found their way down into my wallet for my credit card…

But then I noticed something. Many of the apps that were installed on the iPad were not… well… iPad apps. They were iPhone-sized apps that were compatible with the iPad platform. Which basically means, you can use a tiny little 3-inch app in the center of this big beautiful screen… or hit the “x2” button and it will enlarge, filling the whole screen. When it enlarges, it also gets ridiculously pixelated. Which is kind of a lip-curling turn-off.

Big Screen, Tiny Apps.

What’s the point? If I wanted to use iPhone-sized apps, I’d download them on my iPhone.

The HD (or full-sized) apps looked amazing. Totally gave me an understanding of why someone would want an iPad.

The video looked fantastic. The books looked pretty good… although, I’m still conflicted about reading books on iPad. The point of the Kindle was to give readers a screen that didn’t feel like a screen on the eyeballs. It feels more like paper. The iPad can’t deliver this… but it certainly can deliver full-color publications, which the Kindle cannot.

So, did I finally whip out my credit card? No. Here’s why:

  • Early adopters always get burned. Can you imagine buying the first iPhone? Before they added GPS and the App Store? Ugh. What’s the point!?
  • Fill that App Store with Full-Res iPad apps, Apple. I really have no reason to buy an iPad otherwise. Those life-altering apps are the selling point for me.
  • Waiting for v2 could mean all kinds of goodies for less money. I’d rather save my pennies for the version with more memory and a camera… for probably $399. (obviously a guess, but not a bad one)

Any agreers? Disagreers?  Tell me what you think.

Death of the Laugh Track

October 2, 2008

I was having a conversation with someone about 9/11 this morning. A cheery topic to start off any day.

And we talked about how humor sort of went away for a while after the attacks on the World Trade Center. How comedians didn’t really know what to say after such a horrible thing had happened to our country. And it took a little while for us all to laugh again.

We were smacked pretty hard in the face by the cold, damp hand of reality.

Speaking of reality…

Reality TV started to pick up in popularity just before 9/11. Then it exploded after 9/11. And dramas slowly became more popular than comedies. Why is that? After going through so much emotional hardship, didn’t we – as a country – need to laugh more than ever?

I tend to wonder if we just couldn’t put up with the network fluff that was considered to be funny anymore. Laugh tracks and over-enthused studio audiences were subconsciously TELLING US when to laugh… and we just couldn’t be told when to laugh anymore. We’d been through too much.

Some dumb actress getting her blouse stuck in a drawer and then subsequent canned laughter wouldn’t cut it anymore. It just seemed so empty.

I did a little research, checking out the Nielson ratings from the past years.

In 1999, some of the top comedies were Friends, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, Dharma & Greg, and Drew Carey. All canned-laughter-shows.

The 2001-2002 season (which kicked off shortly after the attacks on the WTC) included comedies like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace, Becker, and Frasier.

Jump to 2005. In the top 20 shows, there’s really only one sitcom – Two and a Half Men – which does have a laugh track. Desperate Housewives was #4, but isn’t really considered a comedy. Nor is House. 2005 barely has a hint of laugh tracks in its top shows.

Look at the comedies we laugh at today: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Samantha Who, the second coming of The Family Guy, 30 Rock, The Office, My Name is Earl, Ugly Betty… Not a laugh track in the lot of them. Only CBS has a few laugh-track-shows left on their roster… and frankly, I don’t know anyone who watches them.

There could be another contributing factor to the laugh track’s death: technology.

Perhaps as people replaced their tube TVs with plasma and LCD screens, laugh tracks and cheap production values didn’t really seem to jive with the killer displays and surround sound. Shows like Ugly Betty and 30 Rock have the feeling of being shot “on location” and not in some lame studio. (Even though a good deal of 30 Rock and other shows are still shot on soundstages.)

With big TVs come the need for big drama, big production values, and big laughs. No sissy lame-ass jokes on a small scale.

So, maybe it’s the onset of advanced technology. Or we just changed the way we laugh at things in general. Either way, the laugh track is dead.

Get with it, CBS. It’s not 1999 anymore.

This new viral spot from Diesel is mind-blowing.

As one of our interns said to me, “I don’t say this very often, but I wish I’d thought of that.” Amen, brother.

Visit this link to YouTube to see the video in action…

Ok. First of all, I know it’s been a while. I moved to Dallas. It’s been busy. But now I’m in my groove, and I’ll be sharing my adventures in advertising from down here, y’all. Should be a trip.

Anyway, this line is probably one of the better ones I’ve heard in a while. Came from this video from Current.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Basically, my friend down here sent me this video when I started obsessing over missing Pinkberry. There are a few knock-offs around Dallas (I’ve only tried BerryBerry so far… too creamy. Kinda gross. I need icy, tart, intense. I soldier on…)

Am I one of the many stereotypes? One of the women who can’t live without yogurt?

Do I care? No. But I have come to the conclusion that the gayer-sounding yogurt shops are probably more Pinkberry-esque. At least, I’m hoping my theory is correct. Gal needs her tart yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and fruity pebbles, dammit. There’s only so many weeks she can go without it

Easily one of the best episodes of ANY show on TV. Ever.

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more about “Hulu – Dennis And Dee Go On Welfare: …“, posted with vodpod

My Favorite Olympics.

August 20, 2008

For the first time in a while, I’ve watched the Olympics every day. Maybe it’s because I finally have an HD TV and everything – even synchronized swimming – looks great in HD.

Despite the fact that Ian Crocker (a high school friend’s younger brother) will go home with no hardware this time, there were definitely a few highlights for me this year, in my opinion:

  • Beijing is on the other side of the planet. Insomniacs rejoice. Something worth watching (LIVE, NO LESS!) at 3:30 am!
  • Hearing grown men repeat the last name “Dalhausser” over and over. Teehee. (pronounced Dollhouser.)
  • Hearing announcements repeated by an overenthusiastic Chinese announcer. Everything sounds funnier/cooler/more international in Chinese.
  • Watching hurdlers wipe out.

  • Seeing Nastia put that annoying little Shawn in her place in the all-around in women’s gymnastics. (Sorry, Shawn. You’ve been way too perky and confident coming into these games.)
  • Bela Karolyi’s semi-comprehensible, over-enthusiastic commentary. “Total reep-off!”
  • My grandmother’s valid point about “why do women wear bikinis in so many events?” Think about it – in running and beach volleyball, why don’t men wear the male equivalent of sport banana hammocks?
  • Dara Torres indirectly teaches the world how to appropriately pronounce our name.
  • Dara Torres (and a few other “older” silver-medal winners) raises the question: do older athletes “still got it” or can’t compete with the gold-winning whippersnappers?
  • Usain Bolt’s (Jamaica) obvious attitude problem. The hand-pistol? Flashing his pinky ring? Really? He’s not an Olympian. He’s a circus act.
  • The moms. Some of the funniest freakout video ever put on TV.
  • The opening ceremony. Good luck competing with THAT, London.
  • Oh yeah… and that Michael Phelps guy. Not shabby.

I must be the last person to know about this site… which KILLS me, because I have a personal vendetta against stupid people. All of them.

I don’t mean people who are medically mentally retarded. I mean, people who have no common sense. People who use the words “irregardless” and “acrossed.” People who never bothered to familiarize themselves with basic math, geography, and grammar.

C’mon. You hate em too.

The site is called “The Darwin Awards.” Basically, it covers stories about people who die in really tragic and idiotic ways. Is it mean? Sure. Is it deserved? Absolutely.

Smart people get a good chuckle. Dumb people should use the site as a “don’t do this, mmkay?” guide. Either way, it fully supports Darwin’s theory about “survival of the fittest.”

I’ll admit. I’ve been one of Paris Hilton’s biggest nay-sayers for a very long time. I remember being at NYU, way back in the late 90s/early 00s, and hearing about this little rich girl who only had any kind of notoriety because of her name and wealth.

Then she became unnecessarily famous and iconic. And part of a trend that probably has influenced more young women towards materialism, shallowness, over-sexualization, and plain old sluttiness.

And then McCain called her out on it. And frankly, his comments were pretty much right. She’s not a good influence. Maybe that makes me a red-state, old fart fuddy duddy too… but c’mon. She has made no positive contribution towards humanity. With all that money and free time, she could be trying to pull an Oprah or Angelina or Madonna. Even if half-heartedly. She’s got the money and visibility to do it. Instead, she follows her rocker boyfriend around on tour, makes crappy CDs, and lives off a fortune she never had to earn.

The American Dream.

Anyway, this rebuttal surfaced today on funnyordie.com. And frankly, she could have just ignored McCain’s comments… brushed them off like everyone else’s… but she’s obviously a part of Generation Obama (wooohooo! Gobama!   …ahem. Sorry. Little editorialism there.) And rather let a candidate she doesn’t like just trash her… she made this video:

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In it, she thanks the “white-haired dude” for his endorsement… as a presidential candidate. It’s hilarious. It’s smart. It’s a smack in the face to McCain. Something that really shouldn’t have backfired on him JUST DID. And, frankly, I gotta give her props for having a good sense of humor about how she’s perceived. She says, “I’m a celebrity, too. Only I’m not from the olden days, and I’m not promising change like that other guy. I’m just hot.”

“Olden days.” God… the last time I heard that annoying phrase used was by Tara Reid during an interview. And she used it, like, five times. ::shudder::

Give it a watch. Then go vote for Obama instead of that “wrinkly, white-haired guy.”