Adages

Our Columnist Gets The Lowdown on Jam Master Jay and Dr Pepper

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Jam Master Jay, the MC in the old-school rap group Run-DMC, who was fatally shot last month in Queens, may make a posthumous appearance in a Dr Pepper commercial, according to a Madison Ave. insider. Following the shooting, which remains unsolved, Joseph Simmons, a.k.a. Run, announced in a New York Times article that the band was "retired" and that an endorsement deal between the group and Dr Pepper would be dropped. "We had an endorsement deal with Dr Pepper," Run told the Times. "We can't make those commercials now." Adages has learned, however, that a Dr Pepper commercial featuring the rapper LL Cool J and Run-DMC was filmed-directed by Paul Hunter-and may be released soon. The marketer is adding a tribute to Jam Master Jay and will test the spot to make sure that viewers are not offended, the insider said. Dr Pepper could not be reached for comment Nov. 29.

Rewind and fast forward

Adages latest book club selection is Phaidon Press's latest coffee table masterpiece, "Rewind: Forty Years of Design and Advertising." Be careful, it's pricey at $75 and heavy (Adage editors guesstimated 12 pounds.; our mailroom scales said 8). It'll make a great holiday read and double as a doorstop. Unlike most picture books on advertising, this one puts advertising in its place. In other words, it demonstrates the relationship between advertising and the real world. Illustrations compare advertising with editorial design, architecture and product design; it organizes material chronologically by decade, beginning with the `60s; the text-by Creative Review founder Jeremy Myerson, journalist Graham Vickers and guest contributors-discusses the influence of history and social movements on advertising and design. Adages pick: a 1969 print ad by Doyle Dane Bernbach for the private relief group Christian Aid. "Fresh food is now flying into Biafra," reads the copy next to a graphic of a large, bizarre-looking fly. "Good nourishing stuff it is too. Sausage-flies are full of protein. So Biafran mothers feed them to their children. It's the only way to keep them alive. And if they can't stomach sausage-flies, there are always rats and lizards. But sausage flies are the easiest meat. At night they flock to any bright light they see. Which is more than can be said of relief planes." Which is more than can be said of much ad copy today.

Old pastures look greener for Big

Jonathan Ressler, CEO of Big Fat, runs a small shop that made a big splash several months back for its "undercover marketing" services. It paid hot models to talk about liquor brands in bars and soccer moms to chatter about sneakers at games in order to start buzz. Well, Jonathan called Adages recently and admitted that the undercover idea has run its course. Big ad conglomerates now offer the service. So Big Fat is moving on to greener pastures, which are, curiously, much like the old pastures: product placement with ordinary people. "No one believes Tiger Woods is driving a Buick," says Jonathan. "It's time to break the circle of stupidity and stop doing celebrity endorsements. It's time marketers start giving car leases to real people." Jonathan says he is already working with a client on the idea; let's hope it's an automaker. To inquire about a free car lease (it beats those zero-money-down promotions) give Big Fat a call. They're in the New York phone book.

The big skinny at rlinnett@crain.com