Party City’s New Commercial Makes Local Mom Cry

Scene: Two 30-something women stand behind a table of party food, in a Party City commercial. And … action! Mom 1: This is incredible! Mom 2: Right. Mom 1: Yes! Mom 2: What is that? (pointing to a lone plate of crackers a few feet away) Mom 1: Those are some gluten-free options. Mom 2: […]

Pardon Me, but Your Manspreading Is Infringing on My Personal Space

As I write this post, 150 new words are making their debut on This seems like a shockingly high number, but it’s actually a pretty discriminating list compared to the 1,000 going into the Oxford English Dictionary and the whopping 1,700 Merriam-Webster said “kk” to. (Which you’d know means “okay” if you got an […]

Coming Soon to Your Corner …

There’s a rising trend these days in viral location-based marketing. A lot of people have been talking about this clever campaign for TNT, these secret-agent Coke machines branded toward the latest Bond flick and this hilarious bus stop campaign from the folks at Qualcomm. What are the agencies behind these campaigns doing right? In a […]

Our Favorite TV Ads from Childhood: The Pens Weigh In

Now that The Hired Pens is four Pens strong, we thought it would be fun to do the occasional roundtable discussion. Our plan is to tackle all the important, life-transforming issues of the day. Like our favorite TV ads from our childhoods. Enjoy … The Energizer: It’s Going to Surprise You (Dan) It’s 1987, and […]

And THIS Is How You Write an Effective Apology to Your Customers

During Hurricane Sandy, Boloco made a huge mistake: They sent out an email bragging that they were open during the hurricane. The moment they hit SEND, the hate email (and Tweets, status updates, etc.) rained down. Within an hour, CEO John Pepper had issued the below apology. From: John Pepper (Boloco CEO & Co-Founder) Sent: […]

Why Does This Little Girl’s Blog Have Over a Million Visitors?

Nine-year-old Martha Payne started a blog last month analyzing her school lunches. Boring, right? But, with over a million visitors in just six weeks, she has something to teach the likes of Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver. Why is her blog so successful? She pretty much sums it up in her profile: “My dad says […]

Just Because You Say It Doesn’t Make It So, Papa Gino’s

If you’re in marketing, you have to have some tolerance for BS. We’re in the business of hype, after all, and our job is to build things up and make people believe they can’t survive without whatever it is our client is trying to sell. However, I have my standards. I don’t use the word […]

Why Fictional Raccoon Attacks Require Legal Disclaimers

At some point in the past 15 years or so, advertisers recognized the inherent humor in small animals attacking humans. Of course, I first had this revelation roughly 25 years ago. It was late in the evening on the East Coast, and my Red Sox were playing the Mariners in the old Seattle Kingdome. During […]

Are Consumers Becoming Immune to Your Email?

Here’s a guest post from our pal, Gordon Plutsky, director of marketing and research at King Fish Media. There’s been a lot of buzz about the newly released comScore study, which reveals that overall email usage is down 8%. In particular, it has decreased 59% among teens, 18% among 25-34 year olds, and 10% among […]

My Boyfriend Doesn’t Get Me but My Deodorant Totally Does

The above line was taken from the blog, Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising. Pretty self-explanatory, but basically it’s a series of images of people with lines of dialog that no customer would ever actually utter. Click here for more examples. If you don’t work in advertising, you’ll think it’s really funny. If you […]