Tag Archives: advertising

Sad Men

Oops – last night I forgot to write a blog post for this week’s comic. So here it is! Yup, advertising ain’t what it used to be. Bet you never heard that one before. But I admit, as much as we like to complain, we have pretty cool jobs. We get to wear jeans to work and we get to think up “big ideas” all day, and sometimes giant companies give us millions of dollars to go make videos and apps and other creative stuff. So yeah, it’s fun. Just not on Sunday on your birthday (true story).

Focus Groups: Behind The Mirror

This week’s Dustinland touches on focus groups, which I experience via my day job, aka my only job: an ad man. It sounds really cool if you watch Mad Men, but read this comic and you might think again. You think Don Drapher had to sit there in a focus group in Baltimore for two days straight, eating crappy sandwiches? And at least if he did, he would have been drinking scotch the whole time.

But yeah, focus groups. I don’t want to give people the wrong impression. You should totally participate in them because it’s a really easy way to make some quick cash, and it’s very unlikely you’ll get made fun of because everyone on the other side of the mirror is usually too bored to even bother, unless you say something that’s just mind-blowingly stupid.

I also don’t want to make it seem like focus groups are completely pointless wastes of time and money that exist only to provide client and agency employees with job security and prevent good work from ever being produced. Maybe about half of focus groups work that way. I’m sure this topic has been talked to death by people with way more industry experience and know-how than I have, so I won’t dwell on it. I’ll just say that I think it’s way more useful to test ideas rather than actual work, especially if it’s in a conceptual phase. For example…

Persuasion 101

This week’s Dustinland is all about the fun world of advertising. Yes, I know: Dustin, you’re a ridiculous liberal. How can you work in advertising and help The Man lie to us about his evil products made by slaves in China? Well, that’s a good question. Unfortunately, that’s not the subject of this week’s comic.

This week we’re talking about some of the most basic tactics used to hawk products. From my creative experience, these are the ideas that either come to mind first because they’re easy, or that you fall back on in the end when you can’t find any other solutions (or because all your good ideas died in testing). Not to say that good advertising can’t result from these tactics. That would be like saying you can’t make a good movie that’s based around a love story, or a revenge plot. Some things just work, time and time again. Just because exaggerating a product’s benefit can be the easy way out, doesn’t mean it can’t be done in a smart way. I don’t know about the whole personification/anthropomorphism thing though. That just seems like a cop out. Or superheroes. That’s another one I forgot, but it’s not too far from personification. Either way you’re turning a problem into a bad guy or a solution into a hero — literally.

But yeah, I do advertising.

Rejected Nose Spray Ads

Regarding this Dustinland, I have to say, overall I’m not really a huge fan of nasal sprays, although I did once use this one with the ridiculous name of Nasaltron or something really clsoe to that, and it really did work wonders on my nose. I always imagined the nasal spray was really a Transformer but using it was definintely not that exciting. Although I would rather use a nasal spray continuously for three hours rather than sit through the new Transformers movie.

Survival of The Fittest

I took a break from politics for this week’s Dustinland since I had all this work stuff on my mind. It’s weird – like I said in the comic, I’ve never been the competitive type. I usually just do what has to be done and hope my work can stand for itself. But in my current job, it doesn’t work like that, and I find it really weird trying to succeed in this dog eat dog environment. I mean, in my office you don’t have to lie (well you do have to lie – it is advertising) or cheat or anything like that to get ahead, but you are constantly pitted against other people in terms of getting your work and your ideas to go through. I’m sure it’s the same way in many industries. It’s just weird when you find yourself hoping for someone else to fail, and knowing they’re thinking the exact same thing about you. Of course, you don’t want them to fail because you dislike them – in fact, if everyone could succeed together, that would be fantastic. But when there’s only room for one winner, then you have to root against the everyone else. I feel like Simon on American Idol, when he talks about how the contestants pretend to be sad when someone else gets voted off the show but inside they’re just happy it’s not them. But that’s pretty much the way it goes.