BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
My dog is delicious Ben Levy 31, January

I don’t know firsthand, of course. I’m just assuming she is because our house is now infested with ticks, and I don’t think they came for the steak.

That’s why the ants are here. (rimshot)

So I’m typing this on my in-laws’ 6 year old Dell laptop (which has a resolution of, like, 5) while our house gets bombed with stuff that was originally developed for use against the Vietcong.

The good news is the dog itself is tick-free, since it has Frontline medication that kills any bug that tries to snack on her. The bad news is they apparently bang more than bunnies. So our options at this point were to either gas ‘em or try charging ‘em rent.

Comments Off
Stick to the Script Ben Levy 27, January

All’s fair in love and war, or so they say. But in the arsenal of relationships, there’s no greater weapon than the question “does this make me look fat?”

There’s no rationale that can save you from this. It’s twice as bad if you’re married, because the fallout from this verbal nuclear bomb has been calculated to last twice as long as it’s radioactive counterpart. In the hopes that two could play at this deadliest of games, I tried the following experiment last week.

*****

“Do these jeans look ok?” I asked.

“what do you mean?”

“I mean do they look ok? I worry they’re too narrow.”

“They look fine. You look very skinny.”

(I’ve got her now!) “Are you saying I don’t normally look skinny?”

(pause) “I told you just the other day I thought you looked skin-”

“Are you saying I’m fat? You are, aren’t you? You think I’m fat, and these are the only jeans you actually like me in because they make me look skinny! I can’t believe you let me leave the house looking fat!”

(longer pause) “Ok, can we talk about a real crisis now?”

“I…uh…This is a crisis!”

“Uh-hunh. For real now, let’s talk about potential residency programs.”

*****

And just like that, it was over. You see, I’m a logical creature, and when she pointed out that there were worse things than my allegedly inflated ass, I couldn’t keep up the charade. I’ve been on the other end of this exchange more than enough times to know that I got all my lines right. But it didn’t matter.

If I were a woman, I could have told her she was “avoiding the issue”, “changing the topic”, or “probably wished I looked like those women on TV”. But that will never work for men. There are many benefits to being a man, but we will never be able to discount logic and rationale simply by glancing at our backsides in the mirror. Our thighs will never be big enough to eclipse world hunger; our asses shall always be just a little smaller than our nation’s economic troubles.

But if you ever find yourself on the losing end of the “real world”, my suggestion would be to step behind your female counterpart, nod at the offending bit of logical reality and say:

“Honey, I think they mentioned something about your pants.”

Comments Off
Fig. 1 Ben Levy 25, January

I’m facing some major changes in my life right now (the first one to make a puberty joke gets something thrown at them). There are some decisions that need to be made soon, and the wife and I have spent a lot of time agonizing over them.

Of course, nothing we decide will turn out how we expect anyway. But making decisions gives humans a pleasant (if false) sense of control, and so we follow the ancient forms.

While there are a lot of things I’d like to improve regarding my current situation, it represents a known quantity. I’ve adjusted to it. It’s comfortable.

The future makes no such guarantee. But stepping outside one’s comfort zone does come with some benefits. I’ve made this helpful graph to remind myself of them. I figured I’d post it here in case anyone else found it useful.

fig1

Comments Off
Ouch. Ben Levy 18, January

Did you know the tongue is one of the fastest-healing body parts?

I only bring this up because last night I burned my tongue badly enough that I practically lost feeling in it. (Damn you, Spinach and Artichoke Dip appetizer!)

It still wasn’t healed 24 hours later. When Jodi pulled a steaming hot pizza out of the oven tonight, my tongue recoiled in terror, and attempted to leap down my throat to save itself. A negotiator had to be called in to talk it out of my esophagus.

The pizza was quite good, after I waited 15 minutes for it to cool. Jodi waited about 30 seconds, and promptly burned her mouth.

Comments Off
“Viral” is not a medium Ben Levy 15, January

I like to rant (it’s kind of a prerequisite for keeping a blog) and this post is a well-practiced one. However, since I keep running into people who don’t seem to get it, I shall record it here, and henceforth refer them to the link. (This will both save my breath and increase my hits)

Everybody wants “viral” ads these days. Clients love it. It’s the new black. “We want this campaign to be viral” they say, and you can hear the self-satisfaction as they use an “industry word”. Really? You’d like it to be viral? Interesting. Could you tell me what that means?

They mention the evolution of dance, or that kid who did the thing. Some facebook apps get mentioned. If they’re really hip, they even talk about twitter.

But what it comes down to is this- Viral is not a medium. It is a measurement of success. The VW “Lemon” ad was viral. So was Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” spot. They were ads that passed from person to person, that became part of our society and culture. You don’t set out to make a viral ad. You set out to make the best, most effective ad possible. And when you succeed beyond your wildest imaginations- then it’s viral.

Viral isn’t a style of advertising, or a medium that should be considered. It’s the highest award any campaign can ever win. The award of mass recognition. Whether the message that gets you there happens online or in traditional media is irrelevant. Clients need to realize that you don’t create viral advertising by putting something online. You do it the way great ads have always been done. By being different, being honest, and being entertaining. And once you’ve done that?

Then you can be viral.*

*Following the above rules does not ensure your campaign will automatically be viral. The masses are a fickle beast, and utterly unpredictable. They would as soon watch videos of laughing babies as they would gorillas playing the drums.

Of blogs and rage Ben Levy 11, January

I’d like to start with a conversation that just ended:

All-knowing and beautiful life partner: “Outrageous!”
Me: “Yes, I agree.”
AKBLP: You should write a blog about it! Are you writing it?
Me: I wasn’t planning to.
AKBLP: Why not? Isn’t that the point of a blog? To express outrage!
Me: I guess it can be, but I don’t actually believe my posts change the world.
AKBLP: Then what good is it? Write a post!

The outrage in question revolved around a man whose dog bit a child at the dog park. Rather than apologize, the gentleman helpfully suggested that he had “been bit hundreds of times” and the child was “fine”.

I believe we can all agree that the guy is an asshole and his dog should have been removed from the park. Getting him euthanized would not be out of the question. (The man, not the dog.)

But what I really want to talk about is the misconception that blogs are world-changers. So there’s no confusion, my AKBLP is quite aware that brokenjpg.net is not a globe-spanning soapbox. In fact, she’s made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that nobody reads anything I write anyway, so would I please stop typing and clean up from dinner.

There are plenty of people who, when they feel passionate about something, run to blogosphere. And blogs are a vitally important source of (often wildly biased) information. However, the people who feel that posting a scathing, expletive-laden, letter to no one in particular will immediately set all things right are sorely mistaken. A published word does not a pundit make. And if you don’t have the influence or official capacity to affect real change, neither does your blog.

Which begs the question- why the hell do I keep a blog at all? Why go to the trouble of registering a domain, building a site, and attempting to write witty things day after day?

To which I reply: for the ladies, of course. For the ladies.

If you’re sensitive about religion, go read Family Circus. The following post is not for you.

Question for my Christian brothers: What’s the deal with Santa?

picture-232

It’s really been bothering me. It’s not because you’re lying to your kids. There are plenty of acceptable reasons to do that (Mommy and I are just wrestling, sweetie, go back to bed). It’s because I don’t understand why you’re lying to your kids.

Why the subterfuge? You’re giving your kid presents for crying out loud! Gifts! Loot! Why give the credit to some jolly fat guy in a robe? Santa doesn’t have to give them a time-out, or tell them not to run with scissors, or work overtime and sell his sperm just to afford that new video game system for them. Why should he get all the love?

The question puzzled me. But, with a bit of research* I’ve managed to deduce how all this “Santa Claus” business got started.

About 1500 years ago, in ancient Sumeria, there was a tradition that families would celebrate surviving the winter solstice by giving gifts to one another. It’s my belief that shortly after the tradition was started (like five minutes after), a child asked for an absurd present from their parents. Their own camel, for example. At this point, the parents knew they were screwed.

On the morning of the gift exchange, the child woke up, received their stuffed camel, and promptly threatened their parents with lawsuits, death, and tell-all-books. It was at this moment the wisdom of the ancients became apparent. “It wasn’t us” said the parents, “all winter-solstice gifts are given by the great Sana Claus. We asked him to give you a camel- a REAL one-but he must have gotten it wrong. The jerk.”

camel_plush_tan

Over the years, of course, the mythical figure became more and more hateful. “He wears a red suit, the color of Satan”. “He’s fat, and everyone knows fat people suck”. “He laughs all the time, and he never feels bad for giving you socks wrapped inside a PS3 box”. Simply put, I think Santa was created as a scapegoat.

Sure, sometimes Santa got credit for the good presents. But that was an acceptable loss, considering he was always there to take the heat when there were clothes under the tree. And so, one more religious mystery solved.

Except, my theory still doesn’t explain Easter. You give chocolate, for crap’s sake! How could you possibly go wrong with that? And what’s with the Eggs? Just stick some Godiva under their pillow and wait for the store-bought love!

*Absolute horseshit. I can assure you that no research of any kind went into this theory. I was a religion/anthropology minor in college. Which lets me assure you with great authority that any similarity to actual history or tradition in this post is purely accidental.

Comments Off