Shop Lifting - or “how we steal shit from pop culture to make our pitches relevant.”

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As an agency creative, I’m always amazed at our propensity for ripping off (aka “drawing inspiration from”) pop culture and now, social media trends. It seems that’s a huge part of what we do - “You’ve heard of the Amazing Race, yeah? Well imagine we do the whole thing in a Ford Escape and make it an online series? Do you hear that? It’s the sound of China running out of Ford Escapes BECAUSE I JUST SOLD THEM ALL WITH THAT IDEA. See you at the bar.” It seems a huge part of what we do is take what’s out there, juggle it and serve it up in our pitches and client presentations like lukewarm leftovers.

Now I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, for us to stay relevant we gotta use what’s out there. I’ve told a Creative Director more than once “Picture a hand-made Gondry puppet stage but with bananas” or “It’s OK GO, except with four thighmasters.” So I’m not above it, we all do it. Pinterest, flash mobs, 8-bit graphics, hipsters, TED, everything is fair game in the art of appropriation. This ongoing article series hopes to pinpoint what’s next in pop-culture-trend-stealing. Or in other words, you’ve pitched Zach Galifianakis 400 times, what can you take next?

I’ve seen this pop up a few times over the last week, it even has a catchy title, AdBombing - the act of putting drop down or pop-up menus on existing outdoor advertising or signage.

It recently came to light on the one-sheet for the piss-poor Adam “I Should Have Stopped At Happy Gilmore” Sandler flick That’s My Boy. The graphics stem from the brain of NY underground and subway artist Jilly Ballistic.

“The product you are looking for is currently under maintenance due to a lack of quality.” Delicious Coors Light? I doubt it, Ms. Ballistic. The Silver Bullet is ALWAYS operational.

Aside from “nom nom nom” I love the Facebook comment “BAHAHA”. I give this one three BAHAHA’s.

Adbombing seems a bit limited, and you may or may not have to contact Jilly Ballistic’s lawyers for rights usage, but leave it to a fresh Miami Ad School grad coming to a conference room near you to weave it into a presentation.

By the way is it too late to do something with planking? It is, isn’t it? Dammit.

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Paul Sincoff is a freelance copywriter in the San Francisco area and the creator of The Ad Agency In My Mind.

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