John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter
(619) 465-6100
Ad Blog: news and views about advertising, branding, marketing, and copywriting
June, 2003

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

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

June 30, 2003
A brand extension that goes beyond a company’s core business can be a way to capitalize on its strengths -- or dissipate them. The two keys to success lie in whether the brand extension fits the existing brand strengths, and whether the brand extension fits the consumer’s perception of the brand. Here’s the link to the story in CBS News MarketWatch:
Advertising copywriter blog link

In tough economic times, companies are desperate to shore up revenues, in some cases by selling their own brands down the river. However, extending the brand in stupid ways ain’t innovation; it’s stupidity. And that’s true in good economic times as well as bad.
Back to the top of the page

June 27, 2003
12:01 this morning marked the official launch of the national do-not-call list for advertising telemarketers, paid for by telemarketing companies. Here’s the link to the Reuters story:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Suddenly, direct mail is the only one-on-one mass-marketing option with any chance for success in cold new-business solicitations to consumers. (Yes, spam email is also an option, but not a good one.) Will this mean a rise in direct-response copywriting?
Back to the top of the page

June 26, 2003
A U.S. Supreme Court dismissal of Nike Inc. v. Kasky, means the free-speech issues of corporate communication on matters of public debate remains unsettled, and is back in the California State Supreme Court. The first link is a CBS News MarketWatch report, and the second is the AP report via Newsday:
Advertising copywriter blog link
Advertising copywriter blog link

In my April 23 blog entry, I said what I think about this case purely as an advertising copywriter. Now, as it relates to copywriters and the companies that employ them, this action leaves open the question as to what extent a corporate entity can “editorialize” through its website, advertorials, spokespeople, and press releases.
Back to the top of the page

June 25, 2003
Keeping abreast (ahem) of the latest award-winning beer commercials from the Cannes International Advertising Festival, in the Hartford (CT) Courant:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Yup, not a buxom babe in the bunch. Just smart, funny commercials in which the copywriter didn’t take the easy way out. See? It can be done.
Back to the top of the page

June 24, 2003
Congress debates an amendment to pending Medicare prescription-drug benefit legislation. The amendment will essentially be a blanket creative brief on all direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Here’s the link to the article in Ad Age:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Hmmm ... federally mandated “fair balance” in all ads, including equal time and space to side effects and comparable products. I liked what the sponsor of the amendment, Senator/Presidential Hopeful John Edwards (D-NC), had to say on the subject of advertising, but I would recommend a few tiny, tiny edits. How about this:

“Every time you turn on the TV, you get bombarded with drug candidate commercials that promise miracles. At a time when drug prices budget deficits are skyrocketing, the last thing we need is big drug companies political parties spending billions on misleading ads. We need to get critical health economic information out of the fine print so that consumers voters are informed.”

Ah, now that’s better. Or not.
Back to the top of the page

June 19, 2003
This bit of news from the Prague Post out of the Czech Republic tickles me in a way. What happens when a bunch of film students launch a hoax advertising campaign for a non-existent hypermart as a piece of public performance art?:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Well, one thing that happens, is they prove that film students aren’t necessarily advertising people. Considering the scope of the advertising campaign and the value of the offers being made (albeit in the interest of art, not commerce), only 1,000 people showed up for the “grand opening.” A success for a piece of performance art, but a dismal failure for an advertising campaign. Proof, in this copywriter’s point of view, that advertising is the ultimate performance art.
Back to the top of the page

June 18, 2003
Branding Alaskan salmon to the tune of an $50 million “industry revitalization strategy” that includes a $19 million advertising campaign. Here’s the article in the Fairbanks (AK) Daily News-Miner:
Advertising copywriter blog link

The fuzziness of the program (for instance, they haven’t yet determined who or where their target audiences are yet) makes the cynic in me wonder: is the economic recovery in the advertising industry (such as it is) being led by Government and quasi-governmental spending?
Back to the top of the page

June 11, 2003
It’s about time someone did this! It’s “Camp Logo,” an advertising summer camp for girls ages 14-19. Here’s the story in the San Antonio Business Journal:
Advertising copywriter blog link

One of the ways advertising has let down its own future, is in the lack of mentorship opportunities, especially in the creative fields of copywriting and art direction. Okay, granted that participation in “Camp Logo” is restricted by gender. But, any advertising agency or organization that wants to do this can set up its own program with its own rules. And, I can speak, because I’ve been running my own advertising copywriter mentorship program for years.
Back to the top of the page

June 9, 2003
Two articles today about sexuality in advertising, the first from the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) and the second from The Independent (U.K.):
Advertising copywriter blog link
Advertising copywriter blog link

Come on, folks. It’s about media placement. An advertising concept that may be appropriate (and possibly ignored) in a targeted magazine may be controversial (and highly noticed) as a billboard or prime-time television commercial. These marketing concepts aren’t just about advertising; they’re also about publicity - for the clients and the ad agencies.
Back to the top of the page

June 6, 2003
A serious look at advertising parodies, in the Globe and Mail:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Whether ad parodies are inside jobs or outside jobs, viral marketing or subviral marketing, for the brand or against it, the key concept is that their very existence reveals a good deal about what resonates with the public.
Back to the top of the page

June 5, 2003
Did Taco Bell steal the advertising concept of a talking Chihuahua? And, if it did, was the concept worth $30.1 million? Here’s an Associated Press article from my home-town newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Advertising copywriter blog link

The concept of a talking Chihuahua for a Mexican fast food company is not so unique that two separate creative teams working to the same creative brief might not have come up with it simultaneously and independently. The difference, was that one team had a contractual agency relationship, and the other team did not. And, while the staff copywriters and art directors at TBWA-Chiat/Day are still cranking out concepts on salary, the latter team is now potentially $30.1 million richer. Whether that award is justified (by intentional corporate theft of intellectual property) or not, here is how this ruling will affect my fellow freelance advertising copywriters and other outside consultants. Corporate advertising and marketing executives will now be much warier of talking to anyone outside of their existing network of creative relationships. It will become much harder for outside creative teams to get in the door.
Back to the top of the page

June 4, 2003
An interesting look at truth in advertising - it’s tougher than one would think - from the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant:
Advertising copywriter blog link

“Truth well-told” has been the slogan of the McCann-Erickson group of advertising agencies since before it was McCann-Erickson. And, for an advertising copywriter, it would be harder to find a better credo than that one.
Back to the top of the page

June 2, 2003
It appears I spoke too soon, back on March 15, on the success of generic Florida orange juice advertising. It seems a few citrus growers want out - mostly those who sell to branded companies, and mostly because the generic advertising budget is supported entirely by a per-box tax they have to pay whether they benefit directly or not. Here’s the link to the Associated Press article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Generic category advertising benefits everyone in the category. However, I must say I’ve never seen any generic Florida orange juice advertising recently. Perhaps that’s because I live in California, as much a competitor to Florida citrus growers as Brazil.
Back to the top of the page
Backwards in time to May 2003

My experience as a copywriter.

Main page | Consumer goods | Food services | Free red pen | Healthcare | Hospitality & tourism | Internet | Manufacturing | Packaged goods | Portfolio | 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 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 economy (and what to do about it)
The Tightwad Marketing project
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