John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter
(619) 465-6100
Ad Blog: news and views about advertising, branding, marketing, and copywriting
April 2011

Quick finder (main website):
Home | Advertising portfolio | Brochure portfolio | Services | Experience | FAQ | Advice | About me | Contact

Quick finder (advertising blog only):
Ad Blog main page | Monthly archives | Forward to May 2011

April 29 2011
This is a neat synopsis of a presentation by Bob Thacker, senior VP marketing for OfficeMax, from District, the student newspaper of the Savanna College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA):
Advertising copywriter blog link

It’s worth reading not so much for new thinking as for reinforcement of the value of traditional guerrilla marketing approaches, including creating events, making news, and going viral. All of which is notable because this guy Thacker has apparently made a career out of peddling what he calls “challenger brands” – brands competing against well-known, well-funded, and well-entrenched competition.

If you can’t outspend the opposition, you have to out-think them. And, for that matter, even if you could outspend the competition, if you outspend and out-think them you can crush them. That’s why I think every brand should think like a challenger brand – because the biggest, most-entrenched opposition of all is customer inertia.

Cool stuff!
Back to the top of the page

April 26 2011
Today I have a quick follow-up to the March 22 Ad Blog entry about insurer Aflac and its search for a new voice for its duck. The duck has been cast, in the form of a person about as far from the controversially comedic Gilbert Gottfried as possible. Here’s the story, from the Associated Press via Yahoo! News:
Advertising copywriter blog link

The thing is, although an everyman was cast to voice the duck, an everyman may not have been able to originate the duck’s quack. To gain traction, Aflac may have felt it needed the leverage of a star voice, and found it in Gottfried. Once the character was established, however, even as big a talent as Gottfried found himself easily replaceable by a member of the public.

Of course, 11 years ago, the ability to quickly crowdsource potential voice talent was non-existent. Nowadays, online crowdsourcing would be the natural place to start to get celebrity impressions and interpretations without the pitfalls of hiring the celebrities themselves. And that prompts another question: what rights do the originals have? In other words, if a company or ad agency issues a crowdsourced cattle call for voice talent to say a short catchphrase in the distinctive style of a known celebrity, can that celebrity claim at least some ownership of that style?

I think it would behoove one to describe the style without attaching an existing brand name in any communication. That could lend itself to fresher reads anyway, although if you have a voice in mind it may be a lot harder to get there.
Back to the top of the page

April 8 2011
“LOL” has officially entered that great arbiter of language, the Oxford English Dictionary. In this article, BBC News Magazine looks at how LOL went mainstream:
Advertising copywriter blog link

The meaning of LOL has evolved though, something that the OED seems to have missed in its definition. In the days of BBS-like chat rooms, LOL indicated genuine approbation for a funny comment. Now, there’s an irony to it that’s far from commendatory.

Language from subcultures penetrate the mainstream at ever faster rates now. But in the LOL days of the ’net, things moved slower. (Heck, remember dial-up? Buffering?) So, there might be a well-rounded, comprehensive historical picture of web-enabled linguistic evolution available for study.

Or not. Years of chat room transcripts from hundreds of forums vanished when CompuServe closed its online community. A Twitter feed or Facebook presence could be gone in the time it takes Google’s cache to clear, should those sites ever shut down. The fact is, digital data faces a twisted fate. That embarrassing website you put up a decade or so ago as a shrine to Britney or the Backstreet Boys? It might be seen forever via web archives. But those online conversations you had with professors, mentors, colleagues, and friends might be gone forever, unless you printed a hard copy.

Online content is a skeleton; online interactions are soft tissue. Life may be built on the bones, but it can’t move without the muscle. The thing is, it’s primarily the bones that survive as fossils to be studied.
Back to the top of the page

April 5 2011
The poor economy has many homeowners looking for creative ways to pay their mortgages. And one way, of course, is to turn their homes into giant billboards for advertisers. Here’s the story about one such advertiser, mobile ad company Adzookie, from CNN Money:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Adzookie is a startup located just up the I-5 in Anaheim, California. It will paint the house with its advertising message and then pay the mortgage every month the ad stays up. Contracts run from three months to a year, and when the ad run ends the company will repaint the house as it originally was. It launched its offer online today and by this afternoon had over 1,000 applications including one from a church.

The problem is placement. Out of those 1,000 hopefuls, how many will be in a location that supports the company’s brand and growth strategy? Not many, if any. I see another potential problem on the financial end. The total budget is $100,000, out of which the CEO estimates $8,000 per house will go toward painting. So five houses would be $40,000, 40% of the budget. Houses in desirable locations will tend to have pricey mortgages, adding several thousand dollars a month to a running tab. The budget might cover perhaps a half-dozen homes or so for the minimum contract of three months. To get all old school on the concept, that’s not a lot of reach or frequency.

Which is why I think the primary goal of the campaign was the buzz from this article and subsequent press releases as homes get painted, if indeed any do.
Back to the top of the page
Backwards in time to March 2011

My experience as a copywriter.

Main page | Advertising portfolio | Brochure portfolio | Consumer goods | Food services | Free red pen | Healthcare | Hospitality & tourism | Internet | Manufacturing | Packaged goods | Real estate & construction | Retail & restaurants | Service | Technology

Answers to frequently asked questions.

Why should you hire me as your advertising copywriter? | FAQ

Advertising & marketing advice.

Advertising strategy and other lies
An advertising copywriter’s bookshelf: recommended books
Brands and branding: a white paper
Do you make these mistakes in advertising?
Free (yes, free) advertising copywriting resources
Four ad copy traps that ensnare even experienced copywriters
How to become an advertising copywriter
How to take your copywriting portfolio to the next level
How to write a brochure: advice from an advertising copywriter
How to write better ads
Long John Silver on writing ads
More career advice: what’s it like being an advertising copywriter?
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part I: starting the enterprise
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part II: the entrepreneurial character
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part III: growing the enterprise
The ART of repurposing marketing copy (Or, why you shouldn’t use brochure copy as web content)
The economy (and what to do about it)
The Tightwad Marketing project
When you should consider hiring a freelance copywriter
Advertising copywriting mentorship
Back to the top of the page

Me, me, me.

Awards & honors | Curriculum vitae | Services

Email me.

Call or fax me.

Phone and fax: (619) 465-6100

Write me.

John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter
6877 Barker Way
San Diego, California

Back to the top of the page