St. Louis ADDYs – a week later

Last week it was all about the excitement of the upcoming St. Louis ADDY show, held for the first time to my knowledge in the Starlight Room of the Chase Park Plaza.

Traditionally, that has been the showplace for the St. Louis TAM (Targeted Advertising and Marketing) Awards. I couldn’t quite figure out if the ADDYs were taking a step up or down with the new location – though they certainly seemed to occupy a good deal more space than the TAMs normally need.

It was fun seeing old faces – and I guess that’s kind of how I have to phrase it as I don’t know too many people in the 30 and under crowd and they seemed to dominate the show’s attendees.

As they should.

Advertising has always been a business of the young and it may be even more so these days since the majority of pieces were either digital or interactive entries of some sort.

I continue to mourn the death of print advertising in general and definitely in the St. Louis area. Even the ADDY book is no longer – you can now find it online and it’s definitely worth a look (

I even thought there were some good print ads in the book – but do they qualify as print ads if they’re never printed?

Every day, I read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and I guess that makes me some sort of a dinosaur – turning the pages of an actual newspaper. It is a very rare occasion when I see a print ad that actually stops me with an attention-getting headline and perfectly executed art direction. Most of the ads are easily ignored and that’s a shame. In the ADDY book, there were no awards given for newspaper advertising. Not one.

There is a grand total of one print entry that fell into the Consumer or Trade Publication category (might as well combine those two since there are so few publications these days). Congrats go out to Kuhl-Swaine for their print ad for Ascend – a brand of tents I’ve never heard of before but have now – though I have no idea where the ad ran. Do outdoor enthusiasts read magazines? Does anyone?

Overall, there is a very high caliber of work being done in St. Louis – though I miss the CORE days when you looked at what they had done and you’d scratch your head and try and figure out how in the world they came up with what they did and then how they managed to actually sell it.

Perhaps the problem is that in this digital day and age, there is nothing that we haven’t seen before. So it’s a lot tougher to create communications that stand out and cut through – no matter what your media of choice may be.

That’s what we’re all tasked with on a daily basis in the wonderful world of advertising and marketing communications. So a simple shout out to each and every person who in some way shape or form contributed to the work that showed up in this year’s ADDYs.

They’re now behind us.

Get back to work.



The future looks dim for Kim

Head coach Kim Anderson will now have his name in University of Missouri basketball records as his team set an all-time record … for most losses in a row.

With Florida and Georgia next in line to face the mighty Tigers, odds are very good that Kim’s team should be able to extend that record to at least 15 losses in a row.

Looking a bit further down the line, powerhouse SEC basketball programs Auburn and Mississippi State will be licking their chops to make it 17 in a row and then on comes the SEC tournament where the Tigers are virtually certain to get the bottom seed, all but assuring they’ll finish the 2014-2015 season with the honorable distinction of being the worst basketball team in the history of the mighty Tigers.

Mike Alden, what have you done?

I have nothing against Kim Anderson. He had a stellar career at Mizzou and apparently did quite well coaching at the Division 2 level. When he was appointed head coach at Mizzou, it was hard to argue and he certainly had a mess on his hands to begin his tenure.

Frank Haith went on to greener pastures at the University of Tulsa. I just watched his team hand a beat down to Tulane and they seem to be doing okay. I liked Frank, tainted image and everything that he brought from his Miami U days.

Frank took over for Mike Anderson who returned to coach his beloved Hogs at Arkansas. Again, I liked Mike and he seemed to get a lot out of his players.

Kim, I’m not so sure. Maybe there’s something beyond his calm, courtside demeanor. Maybe he gets his players fired up at practices. Somehow I doubt it.

Even if he does, it certainly doesn’t seem to cross over into Tiger basketball games. I have tried to watch the majority of their games. That in itself is a tough task to do, start to finish. Air balls, balls bounced off of knees, mysterious passes to no one, silly fouls, frustration fouls, turnovers, clanked shot after clanked shot.

This is a young team, full of lots of freshmen and sophomores. They’re just developing their potential is what I hear.

What I see is very little potential.

What I see is a tough recruiting year coming up for the Tigers where Kim will totally fail in sealing the borders and the best talent in this state will take their talents elsewhere. So Kim will resort to signing a few juco transfers and though the current crop of MU Tigers may put on a few pounds in the off-season, they’ll still be who they are and Kim will still be who he is and we’ll be lamenting for a new head coach sometime about mid-December of 2015, saying that Kim has had his chance and it’s time to move on and find someone who can actually turn this program around.

They say that St. Louis is a baseball town. Try as they might, the Rams and the Blues will always be a notch below the Cardinals. (The Rams seem to fall a few more notches on a weekly basis and I’m sure silent Stan is mulling over his next move in the high-stakes NFL team in LA game.)

It’s a similar story at the University of Missouri. When we joined the SEC, Mizzou athletics totally put their focus on football.

Other programs have benefited by the move, no doubt. But cash is king and the king of cash in the NCAA is SEC football.

Basketball is an afterthought.

As a result, the program is in a very sad state of affairs.

And I don’t see it getting any better with Kim Anderson at the helm.

Again, I have nothing against Kim Anderson other than this simple fact.

Mizzou fans deserve better.


Dipping our toes in the ADDY awards waters

For those who toil daily in the wonderful world of advertising and marketing communications, the ADDY awards in St. Louis have a way of melting away the new fallen snow.

Well, not really.

Still, the ADDYs are a chance for area agencies to shine and yes, on occasion, an in-house marketing team manages to get in the game.

That’s the case this year with McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

Our Corporate Communications team has created some very strong work in a variety of categories. Print ads, videos, e-cards, iPad apps, direct mail – it’s been an honor to work on such a wide variety of materials and be part of a collaborative team that works as one each and every day.

Overall, we had three entries we thought were ADDY-worthy.

One was for our website, celebrating McCarthy’s 150th anniversary. Though we’re now in our 151st year, the site is still live and attracting new visitors daily.

The second piece we entered was our holiday e-card which also played off of our 150th anniversary. This one can be found at – and was one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on in my entire career. The idea was to offer up 150 Fun Things to do for the Holidays.

Easier said than done.

The first 70 or so items came pretty easily. Once we got the list over 100, it became a bit more of a struggle and it was during that time that we really began to get creative. Wearing holiday socks on the outside of your pants or going door-to-door caroling singing songs that have nothing to do with the holidays were just a few of the more random bizarre things we came up with. You can view them all if you visit the site.

The last piece we entered was the McCarthy app ( The app is unlike anything I’ve ever been involved with before. Think of it as a magazine on steroids where the articles have embedded video and you can enlarge key graphics, click on links that open up more info and generally, takes you on an interactive journey into the world of McCarthy.

So those were our three entries that we thought had a good chance of becoming an ADDY finalist. Unfortunately, the judges disagreed as the McCarthy app was the only one of our entries that made it in as a finalist. Still, that’s not bad.

Bat .333 in the MLB and you’re on your way to the Hall of Fame.

We entered the same three pieces in another competition called The AVA Awards ( – recognizing excellence in digital marketing. All three pieces were winners – one Platinum Award and two Golds. The AVA Awards had more than 2400 entries that came from across the U.S. and with a number of international entries as well. About 300 awards in total were given out so we felt like we were in pretty select company and when you view some of the winners from previous year’s (this year’s entries haven’t been posted yet), there is some really nice work.

So even though we only have one ADDY finalist, we’re still excited to be a part of it all. The St. Louis advertising and marketing community has taken its fair share of hits the past few years. Broadcast seems to be a thing of the past. And big budgets have gone the way of the big budget advertisers – they’ve left the community.

Still, the work that is being done in St. Louis is strong. There is a tremendous talent base here and call me crazy, but I’m still a firm believer that St. Louis’ glory days are ahead of us. But we all have to push. We all have to work hard to excel in what we do and do a better job of luring top talent to this market.

There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to make that happen.

Let’s make it happen.

Let’s GrOw St. Louis.

Four-day after 2015 Super Bowl commercials recall test

Now that the dust has settled from this year’s Super Bowl and everyone except for diehard Seahawks fans have gotten over Pete Carroll’s decision to pass the ball from the one-yard line with time on the clock and timeouts on their side, I thought I would do a little four-day after 2015 Super Bowl commercials recall test.

A record 120.8 million Americans tuned to their TVs for this year’s match. So advertisers who shelled out $4.5 million for a 30-second spot seemingly got their money’s worth.

Then again, your average American is probably busy dipping into the nacho cheese or grabbing another chicken wing or two during commercial breaks and may not have the rapt attention span that I gave to all of the various spots that ran throughout the game. (Here are most of them, if you’re interested in viewing again –

So what do I remember most?

Budweiser got me. That story of the lost puppy was so predictable, but so well done that I couldn’t help but like it. It won’t make me drink their beer (and neither will the 60-second spot they ran towards the end of the game with the big, bold type that slammed the microbrews with their pumpkin ales), but hey, I loved the commercial and that puppy was cute beyond words.

Victoria’s Secret surprised me. I thought they were going to run some spot with their models dressed up in football uniforms. What a waste that would have been. Instead, they put their product on display. Let the real games begin. Great copy.

McDonald’s won me over, too. Their whole campaign on lovin’ where random people will get free food during February if they give a little love back – brilliant marketing idea. I’m tempted to get a Big Mac just thinking about it.

Coke was also spreading the love – it was a quirky spot but I liked it and was sad to read today that they had to pull the campaign because their twitter plan backfired and they were hacked. Social media can bite back.

Skittles and Snickers didn’t disappoint. The Skittles commercial with the arm wrestling brought back some of the weirdness that had been missing in more recent Skittles efforts. The rainbow made me happy. And who couldn’t like the Brady Bunch commercial where Marsha just wasn’t herself because she was hungry. Unlike the dreaded Rob Lowe executions for DirecTV, Snickers continues to deliver great creative executions based off of a strong selling promise.

After that, things begin to get sketchy.

Car commercials are always hard to do. Dodge turned it over to a bunch of 100-year olds to deliver their message. Fiat had a commercial that I was convinced was a Viagra spot up until the very end. It was a well-directed spot and fun to watch but it left me thinking more about Viagra then the Fiat. Jeep took us around the world and I enjoyed the view – but that was about it. I don’t know what Toyota is trying to tell or sell me. Maybe I’m not the target audience. Kia? Chevy? BMW? Sorry, I know you were there, but I don’t quite remember what you were selling.

There was an anti-heroin commercial that was pretty impactful. Problem was, I kept waiting for it to turn humorous or have some surprise ending. Heroin only has bad endings. It was a good commercial but kind of a downer during the Super Bowl festivities.

Nationwide had some commercial that was also kind of a downer. I remember their end line of “Make Safe Happen” – but again, there was a little too much noise going on around me to really focus on what they were talking about. Hopefully, they’ll run it a few more times.

Doritos – meh.

Microsoft – I remember being impressed when I saw their commercial and I know they’re talking about the tremendous things that people are doing because of them but I can’t recall what they were saying right now.

They say you need to see a commercial a minimum of three times before you actually get the message.

Many of these spots I’m sure I’ll see again and I’ll try and pay better attention next time.

To all the others that I failed to mention because they weren’t top-of-my-mind – just wait ’til next year.