The Obligatory Super Hole VIII – The Uppity Armchair CD Edition

Welcome to the eighth annual edition of a futile exercise I call The Super Hole. This year, unlike Super Holes VI and VII, I'll return to passing out letter grades along with proffering tidbits on how the spots could’ve been better. Granted, I could take the easy way out for all of them and just say, “Step 1: Hire me. Step 2: Leave me alone. Step 3: Drink in the genius.” But that would be rude. Very rude. Besides, some of these spots are actually quite good.

As usual: I only review ads shown during the four quarters of the game, so no pre- or post-game spots (although a couple sneak in). And no movie trailers, TV show promos, NFL ads or local ads.

Spots are arranged in alphabetical order according to brand. If I missed a couple, try one of the 8.3 million other blogs writing about this today.</p>

And if you helped make one of the ads that I ream, take solace in the fact that you worked on a Super Bowl ad. I worked on a blog about Super Bowl ads. I’d rather be getting reamed myself.


Audi, “Doberhuahua” – I love this spot, so I’ll just pick some nits. The banter between the dog show commentators could’ve been funnier, in the vein of “Best in Show.” I’m sure Fred Willard would’ve been available. The dog park scene could’ve used a smaller moment...

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Take two and die slowly

Fixing a brand is hard. Rarely does salvation arrive in the form of one product, tag line, commercial or initiative because a broken brand is rarely ill in just one area of operations. This fact, obvious though it should be, seems lost on too many brands. Forget improving product quality or the in-store experience. They want a silver bullet – a magic elixir that fixes all their ills with minimal time and effort. They are like a man who goes to the doctor and discovers he has extremely high cholesterol. The doctor advises, "I'm going to put you on Lipitor, and you'll have to exercise five days week and completely change your diet from one based on powdered mini donuts to one based on celery and bran. If you don't do these things, you'll have a heart attack within two years." The man balks, "What if I just take the Lipitor?" "That won't cut it," admonishes the doctor. "You'll just die a little more slowly." The patient considers this and then replies, "Nah, I think I'll just give the pills a shot. Because, science." Then, while on his way to the pharmacy, the man is struck and killed by a car driven by Alanis Morrisette.

That last sentence doesn't transfer so well as an ad analogy, but the rest holds true – and how many brands do the same thing every day? Ignore the advice of those who know how business works in hopes that tomorrow will just be a magically brighter day because they ran an FSI with three coupons instead of just two? Worse yet, how many such clients are clogging up your agency roster with missed opportunities and wild placebo chases?




So Long, and Thanks for All the Retweets

Photo by Bill HornsteinOn Monday, May 11, 2009, the statement "I've yet to hire a writer who uses ellipses in an ad" echoed out across the Twitterverse and into the feeds of 15 followers*. And so began the long, steady, often donut-powered accumulation of once-a-day crumbs of (alleged) ad wisdom that is @leeclowsbeard.

And today it ends. Kind of.

A few moments ago, I tweeted Crumb O' (Again, Alleged) Wisdom No. 1,000. That seems as good a milestone as any to give it a rest before I grow even more repetitive. Maybe for a few weeks or months. Maybe forever. Who knows. But unless a hue and cry rises from the Beardist Collective (or an outpouring of PayPal donations to, I need a break. But, I suspect as long as I'm in this business I'll have something to say about it. Just not every day. Spewing is easy. Spewing with purpose and meaning, less so.

If you've followed LCB for a while, you know what strange trip it has been. You can read much about that journey here, but to summarize: LCB started in May 2009 while I was freelancing. Three months later, I took a job back at an agency that had laid me off nearly three years prior. LCB gained followers, including then CCO of the Los Angeles TBWA/Chiat/Day office, Rob Schwartz. Eventually, I asked Rob if Lee knew what I was up to. "Yes! Who are you? Let's have lunch," replied Rob. So, in July 2010 I flew to L.A. for lunch with Lee and Rob, and the idea for the book was spawned. More tweeting, more followers, more value ensued. The day I signed the book production agreement with Chiat, I got fired. A year passed. The book, beautifully designed by Bill Hornstein, was released in June 2012. I became the ECD at a design firm (don't forget, I'm a writer) in Omaha. The one in Nebraska. Strange indeed.

The @leeclowsbeard book is still available in hardcover, iBook and Kindle versions, along with the free iOS app. I do not know how many hardcover copies remain. Also, as an aside, the book was never intended to be a moneymaker. Although if you buy through these links, I may get to take my wife out to dinner again.

As of this writing, LCB has just over 34,100 followers. I thank you all, even the bots I didn't manage to weed out. I hope that, more often than not, what I said helped get you through another day in adland. Or at least provided ammo for an overlong meeting. Yes, I know the "overlong" was unnecessary. 

And so, until time and brainpower permit a return to my hirsute ways, I bid you all adieu.

Grow long and prosper, 



The Obligatory Super Hole VII – Creative Director Edition

This year, I’ve decided to do things a bit different. Instead of merely reviewing the ads, I’ll act as a Monday-morning creative director and offer advice on how these spots could have been better. Which is easy for me to do when I don’t have a client in the edit suite demanding to have “Like us on Twitterspace!” plastered along the bottom third of the screen and insisting all action take place in the 4:3 frame because that's what their grammy still watches. Anyway. As usual: I only review ads shown during the four quarters of the game, so no pre- or post-game bits. No movie trailers, TV show promos, NFL ads or local ads.

Spots are more-or-less arranged in alphabetical order according to brand (but not holding company). I don’t guarantee that I got them all. You, too, have access to Google.

And if you helped make one of the ads that I didn’t care for, well, you worked on a Super Bowl ad. I did not. You can point out my typos and laugh.


Anheuser-Busch InBev, “Black Crown - Coronation” – The best way to change this spot would be to kill the product. Barring that, this bit won’t convince...

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