Chickens Coming Home, but Not Exactly Roosting

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The last time Adages mentioned PETA -- something about Tucker Carlson threatening to smack PETA's Bruce Friedrich around -- we received a letter admonishing us for delighting in violence, whether it be directed at human or animal. Adages has to wonder what that letter writer would make of the latest PETA billboard, which seems to show Rambo Chicken threatening humans with bird flu (and a gun).

Adages, as it happens, sort of digs it. Sure, we disagree with PETA about pretty much everything and won't be going vegetarian until well after pork grease is trickling out of our tear ducts. But it's a funny billboard. (It would be even funnier if they put it up across the highway from one of those Chick-fil-A "Eat Mor Chikin" billboards with those crazy cows).

The boards, created in-house, will be slapped up in the top chicken-producing states of Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia.

Still, we had to ask, could certain people (like us, on a moodier day) see this campaign as delighting in potential human suffering -- especially if half the country wakes coughing up feathers.

Co-founder and President Ingrid Newkirk was kind enough to respond: "It's provocative, and it's a bit 'Planet of the Apes' (shoe on the other foot), but no one could seriously suggest (not that this will stop anyone!) that we're delighting in human suffering unless they are totally humorless."

We also had to ask if PETA was at all worried about vandalism. After all, it's not like Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia are known for huge contingents of PETA members. And we imagine people who rely on chicken-processing for their livelihoods might not cotton to the billboards.

Said Newkirk: "Vandalism just brings us another story about the issue: It's happened before. The worst problem with the way our billboards are defaced is that they are defaced in boring ways!"

Just eating it up
Food & Wine and Bravo held a soiree last week to celebrate the debut of their reality show, "Top Chef." Hosted by foodie Katie Lee Joel (wife of Billy) and judged by Food & Wine's Gail Simmons and Chef Tom Colicchio, the show is like "Project Runway," but with food you'd consider eating rather than clothes you'd never wear. When Colicchio took the microphone at the party, he fondly remembered being named a Food & Wine best new chef in 1991. "I was at Mondrian when you discovered me," he said. Which prompted Food & Wine VP-Associate Publisher of Marketing Chris Grdovic to remark, "I was still in high school." (This, as it turns out, is untrue.) Colicchio also pointed out a clip of the show playing on the TV as he spoke, offering a little behind-the-scenes commentary as he and Simmons judged the contestants' food. It was actually 5 a.m., he said, and "We were amazed at how bad some of the food was. ... The first six, the food was so god-awful, we just thought 'This is gonna be a long three-and-a-half weeks of really bad food."

Luckily for all involved the second group of contestants served up some scrumptious grub.

The book of Schwartz
David Ogilvy said "the consumer isn't a moron. She's your wife." Bill Bernbach said "a great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster." Will the new ad generation's quotes come from a little red book by Rob Schwartz? The book was distributed as a party favor at a dinner honoring the TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, executive creative director as Leader of the Year by the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association and the Ad Club of L.A. A sampling from the book of Schwartz-isms: "People typically don't care what the plan is, as long as there is one." On new-business pitches: "If you're going to a knife fight, bring a cannon." (Sounds like something Donald Rumsfeld would say.) On negative clients: "It's like they're dating Cindy Crawford and all they can focus on is the mole." (Well, it is pretty big.) Our favorite, though, was this: "An idea can come from anywhere. Hopefully, it comes from the Creative Department because we're paying them the most."

Requiem for a dream
Killed in its infancy (if not in its prime), former Advertising Age 2002 Launch of the Year Budget Living will be remembered March 25. Founding Editor Sarah Gray Miller will be holding a memorial service at her Harlem home for all former staffers. Says the invite: "Live cheap. Die Young." Rest in peace, guys.

Can't stop the Hammer
Adages would just like to welcome one of the latest additions to the blogosphere. MC Hammer (http://mchammer.blogspot.com). Like a true blogger, Hammer's blogging about pretty much everything: his new album, his new dance moves, love, family, football, baseball and whatever else strikes his fancy.

But we'd be remiss not to mention another recent celebrity blog, from none other than "Star Wars" star Chewbacca. Chewy's blogging at http://rrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnhhhh.blogspot.com (that's 13 r's, 10 n's and four h's). We don't speak Wookie, but it's funny all the same.

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Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo
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