The Buzz

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Speak to a real live psycho

Now you too can get advice from Patrick Bateman, the finance and dismemberment expert. The Website for American Psycho, the flick based on Brett Easton Ellis' controversial 1991 novel, offers fans a subscription to daily messages from the protagonist ghoul. Some subscribers seem to feel a real connection. One hopeful participant wrote, "I believe we are very similar persons. I hope to meet you soon." Clifford Street, one of the film's producers, is behind the creepy e-mails from Bateman. He is not surprised that readers are moved to respond, often with messages that should probably be forwarded to the FBI. "Like in any form of entertainment, you're going to inspire some lunatics to respond," says Street.

Mugging for the boss

Looking for a promotion? Get yourself a coffee mug with your firm's logo. A survey from iSwag.com claims to have found that 37 percent of people who own a company mug have been promoted in the last six months, compared to just eight percent of people without such an accoutrement. (Of course, this could just mean that at some companies, a mug is one of the rewards issued with a promotion.) Lower-level employees were three times more likely to own something with their company logo on it than senior executives. Perhaps that's because the senior executives get their company logos printed on big checks, not T-shirts and mousepads.

Think dissident

When up-and-coming filmmakers James Doh and Karl Larsen made a spec spot for the Apple Macintosh G4, they were hoping to demonstrate their ability to create a full-scale commercial with a slick, professional look. Mission acccomplished. The low-budget, high-production-values :60 features the illicit sale of a G4 to foreign buyers (referring to the government's classification of the machine as a `supercomputer,' restricting shipping to countries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea).

The duo wanted to show the reel at TBWA/Chiat/Day, where Apple is a client. The agency said no. Larsen claims that's because Chiat wants to avoid any legal trouble that might arise if future Apple commercials turn out to look the teensiest bit like the spec spots. "They were afraid we might sue them [in that case], an idea we find laughable," he says. An agency spokesman declined to comment.

Despite TBWA/Chiat/Day's cold shoulder, the Apple spec spot is now something of a phenomenon. Larsen submitted it to Adcritic.com, a Website with Quicktime videos of commercials. In its first week, the commercial got over a quarter of a million hits, briefly knocking the Bud "Wassup" spots from their first-place ranking. Doh and Larsen might be able to take that success to the bank eventually; the duo, a graphic artist and a Website designer respectively, say they've been asked to bid on an undisclosed commercial project. Not by Chiat/Day, obviously.

Philly's D-Cup Bonanza

Steven Grasse of Philadelphia's Gyro Advertising is back in the news again, this time with his directorial debut. It's last month's first installment of Bikini Bandits (marked episode 7, but that's just to confuse people, he says), a series of short flicks made for AtomFilms.com. In less than two weeks, "it already got 300,000 hits," Grasse says with near-genuine awe. But that's not terribly surprising, since it's a "rock 'n' roll fantasy about hot chicks with big boobs, tiny bikinis and big guns," he notes. They also curse a lot. It's an homage to D-cup/B-moviemaker Russ Meyer, explains Grasse - all the bandits are real-life strippers - and the first episode stars brother Peter Grasse, a real-life Gyro account exec, who's abducted by the heavenly hussies and lethally ravished with foodstuffs in the back seat of a car. "My parents still haven't seen it," Grasse proudly points out. "So far, they refuse to watch it."

Having a Non-Sticky Cow

Junior creatives Brad Mislow and Julie Eyerman, aided by other `Young Guns,' designed the O&M entry in New York's CowParade. The parade is a public art initiative; companies and individuals sponsor fiberglass cows to be painted by area artists. The bovines are then displayed around the city. The O&M cow is an anti-littering PSA; it was meant to encourage passers-by to cover it in chewed gum. Says Dan Burrier, the CD who supervises the young creative teams: "It would be very easy to do an American Express cow or a Kodak cow, but we thought there was an opportunity to do something creative that was also about New York."

Too bad the City's Department of Health had a cow over the proposal; considerations of hygiene prevailed, and O&M's entry was nixed. Instead, the agency cow was pre-gummed and shellacked before finding its home in Times Square. Burrier, who merrily participated in a pilot project - the small gum horse pictured - concedes that touching the gummy animal is a little gross. The unglazed gum cow would have been "really cool," he says wistfully, "but I understand where the city's coming from."

Here's the Rub at JWT

Who wouldn't appreciate a nice rubdown? That's the thinking behind the new employee retention initiative at J. Walter Thompson/New York. The company hires a massage team to set up camp in a conference room each Friday. Samantha DiGennaro, director of communications, describes the impetus behind the program: "We're in such a competitive marketplace, any perk that we can offer, and any way to show our appreciation, we thought was a nice point of difference in terms of attracting and keeping employees." Not only is she a proponent of the theory, she is also a satisfied customer. "It feels so damn good at six o'clock on a Friday." Next: manicures, pedicures, facials?

Welcome to the neighborhood

In advertising, taunting competitors is all in a day's work. The latest example comes from FCB in San Francisco, whose territory has been invaded by GMO/Hill, which moved in next door. FCB spokesman Patrick Kiss explains, "There's a little bar on the corner called the Old Ship. We wanted to make sure we claimed ownership." FCB creatives J.D. Michaels, Christine Ellis and a few others created three ads to post in the Old Ship. "Benefits of your new neigborhood! A beautiful park, fresh air, and hey, FCB is hiring," reads the first. "Nice building! (Of course, ours is taller.) But everyone says size doesn't matter. Enjoy your weekend," taunts another. A third (right) goes straight to the heart of macho territorialism.

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