Asking for compassion on Super Bowl Sunday

February 8, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

It wasn’t on the field but during and after the Bowl that we got a sense of what’s on people’s minds. I see the commercials and programming around this event as a mass emotional snapshot. There are the key economic indicators – this is the culture version. And I’m seeing the big companies asking for some love. With the bailouts and the great lack of trust for corporations these days, I can see the reasoning.

We saw a sweet and tender Google commercial – reminiscent of Hallmark without the puppies and freckles; in fact, without anything living at all. Now, the world knows Google as the largest — perhaps most innovative — search company but this was not about what they do. This told a love story – we saw Google’s heart in a series of search boxes. Why? So we’ll feel better about them as their product weakens to competition or they start charging us per search. It’s easy to feel for the underdog but these guys got in a soft spot for the behemoth.

After the Saints won the big game, we were presented with “Undercover Boss.” A new reality show where the heads of large corporations take on the jobs of their personnel. In this episode, the president of Waste Management, a company with 45,000 employees, tried and often failed at tasks he had caused to be unreasonable through his own policy making.

Tears were shed around garbage trucks and porta-potties as he got a fresh look at his company and, so, himself. He made corporate changes for the common guy. Good TV. Good PR. Good business.

At the same time, I found out a stat that is the real reality show: Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest domestic violence day of the year.

Compassion needs to happen on both sides of the screen.


The world needs a jingle.

October 5, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @nyca 

Something happy and simple – catchy and upbeat. One that drives you crazy ‘cause it stays in your step after you’ve put your tired feet up.

condor_pasa_sheet_musicThe world needs hope in the face of reality, and jingles are sweet and sticky and mindless enough to melt the rigid walls of this moment to let us see possibility. Because on the outside they are silly, sunny and self-admittedly stupid. But beneath the sugar coating — if it’s a good, hard-working jingle — is a targeted selling message that plays again and again in your inner buyer’s ear. And the frequency mixes with the beat and makes you move, tickles your wiggle, the whimsy gives you a shimmy in the direction that it strategically intended. It controls you. 

It’s not sneaky as much as it is cajoling. And who here, after being bombarded by the blogs, searching the job sites, chatting with friends, listening to the radio, watching their 401k disappear, couldn’t use a peppy bit of cajoling? 

The economy needs a three trillion dollar stimulus package and the world needs a 90 second ditty. 

Oh, I know it’s not cool to do jingles in advertising any more – but cool won’t get us out of this. We need a syrupy, incessant hook to get our entrepreneurial juices going. And while we’re at it – gimme some cowbell. 

Let the music mavens begin. Let the chirpy voices rise. Let the grade school rhyme schemes be heard and winced to. 

And let iTunes make it a free download to pick us all up.