Editor's Letter

By Published on .

Advertising Week afforded us all ample opportunity to examine the condition of the industry; where we've been, where we're going, and the like. The Creativity panel, "The New Creativity," (see Pg. 12 for an overview) provided a very lively summation of the creative condition, thanks to a big brained group of panelists who are great doers AND great talkers, and who, tragically, were just getting warmed up when the panel came to an end (just as talked turned to the biggest question of all: how agencies will get paid for all this great new content they're going to create).

Maybe it was post panel positive energy, but upon turning to recent work, it seemed there was a heartening number of examples of creativity recently within the existing spot framework which still seemed to transcend "traditional" advertising.

One of them: Crispin Porter's Burger King spot "Blingo" (see Pg. 6). The spot is jammed with that quality that the best spots from the agency have demonstrated- it entertains, and can be enjoyed on a number of different levels by a range of people within a youngish target audience. The spot is a great case study for something like the lowly (yet apparently effective) fast food value menu. Picture all the ways that an audience could have been introduced to a new BK 99-cent menu. Now picture ever remembering them. But with this spot, as CP+B creatives assert, the agency wanted to come out big, to create a popular culture moment, rather than just linger over the product. The resulting rap clip of John Leguizamo as the character 99 is funny enough (the agency wisely steered clear of a too heavy-handed spoof), but it's so much more.

Is "Blingo" a piss take on fast food companies co-opting rap? Is it simply an entertaining bling and booty clip? Is it a postmodern commentary on and usage of celebrity? Is it the launch of a new character with legs that could stretch into the content world? The answer is yes. Or no. It doesn't matter. While other marketers' attempts to co-opt youth and the various flavors of urban culture usually end up being only unintentionally ironically funny, the Burger King spot sends up a genre while creating a more compelling straight up cultural appropriation than most of the actual examples of the art form being parodied. Oh, and this approach makes people want to go to Burger King. (Apparently, as of August, BK sales were up 11 percent overall, and, while yes there are a million factors to consider when you're talking about fast food fortunes, it's hard to see these gains as directly related to anything other than CP+B's advertising and in-store efforts).

Another heartening bit of youth(ish) targeted advertising came from Boost Mobile and Berlin Cameron. I'd read with trepidation the stories in Ad Age about Boost Mobile enlisting a few of today's top selling rap acts for the brand- especially given that previous outings with ebonics-spewing oldsters were mildly amusing at best. But the resulting "anthem" ad is not only well directed and features a nice Boost-specific original track, it embeds the brand and the point of the message-the service's Push to Talk feature-in something that transcends a TV commercial.

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