Alex Chesbro's Blog

Musica, Musica

March 31, 2009
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I’m a music junkie.  I have a humongous music collection, although I’m sure it pales in comparison to some other peoples’.  I’ve got 6510 songs as of today, and I try to add 2 or 3 new albums a week.  I don’t really care what they are, I just like to listen to new music as much as possible.  I get bored of the same songs after a while.  It’s like listening to your girlfriend of years and years talk.  Well, maybe not, but it’s like being able to finish someone else’s sentences.  Right after the hook, if I know there’s going to be a drum fill, and it’s going to be high-hat, tom, snare roll, double kick, I just fall asleep.  It’s just not interesting.  The Rolling Stone Top 50 Albums of 2008 was full of great music, so I’m going to share some with you.  


Fall Out Boy: Folie a Deux


Some people drink the Haterade.  It’s understandable.  “Dance, Dace” was a cum stain on the sheets of Rock ‘n Roll, and the rest of “From Under the Cork Tree” just blew loads all over the place.  There were some bright spots on the album, but not enough to wipe away the facial you got from listening to the album.  FOB had a tough time competing with My Chemical Romance for Most Emo Shitgroup for a while, but both went their respective ways.  MCR is different now, for the better, as is FOB.  FOB’s newest album, Folie a Deux is incredible.  I’ve listened to it from start to finish no less than 20 times, and I’m listening to it as I write this.  This is a grandiose rock album that seeks to have FOB shed its Emo image and branch out into the Rock.  And rock it does.  With help from Elvis Costello and other, Folie is music to the ears, literally.  The beginning of the album limps a little, but it really comes into its own in “Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet,” which is a great song.  


Rock stars have been making records about rock stardom for decades, but few have had such fun singing about the absurdities, the narcissism — and, as the album title suggests, the follies — of a life lived in fame’s strobelit glare. “I don’t care what you think/As long as it’s about me,” sings Stump in “I Don’t Care,” adding what could be FOB’s credo, a summary of their trickster-ish approach to the emo game: “The best of us can find happiness in misery.” I think that about sums it up.  And I would like to add, Andy Hurley on drums, is the Ringo Starr of this generation.  He keeps the beat like a drummer should.  

Lady GaGa: The Fame



Ok, it makes me die a little inside to admit that this album…well…it ain’t half bad.  Yes, it’s Lady Gaga, whoever she is.  Yes, she wears shit on her face in every music video.  Yes, she looks like a total slut (bad? good?).  Yes, this is a Lady Gaga album.  And I like it, assholes.  I only listen to some of this on the tram ride to work.  It gets me angry enough to be productive throughout the day.  I like it, but I hate that I like it.  It’s like those guys who have to punish themselves after they beat off.  They love it, but they hate that it makes them feel good.  Now, there is a ton of electronical hoo-ha added to the music, and she uses the vocorder, and a little bit of Auto-Tune, but she’s not its bitch.  That’s T-Pain’s job.  he’s got that wrapped up like a crack baby.  What I like most about the few songs that I listen to is the fact that the beat is actually catchy, and not over-produced.  This is a guilty pleasure, like escorts.  Which I imagine she is in her free time.   

The Killers: Day and Age/Sawdust


I didn’t want to like the Killers.  When “Hot Fuss” came out, I tried not to like them, even though “Mr. Brightside” has what could be the most riveting lyrics ever: “now they’re going to bed, and my stomach is sick, but it’s all in my head, but she’s touching his chest, now.”  Anyway…

Day and Age is their newest album, and it’s a synth-pop masterpiece.  “Spaceman” is an alien-abduction diddy with a great hook and sing-along chorus.  But that’s really the only song I like on the album, so I make my own album, mashing it with “Sawdust,” their B-side album.  I call it “Sawdust Age.”  Sawdust starts out with “Tranquilize” feat. Lou Reed, and it’s an instant classic.  “Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf,” is a great song, with an order I like to not follow.  Although he does amend that by saying he’ll drink it by himself.  Then there is the Abbey Road version of “Sam’s Town,” which is leaps and bounds better than the original version.  It sounds like a completely different song, and maybe it should be treated as one. All in all, great albums.   


So, there’s 3 albums you should rush out to download ASAP.  Well, maybe not Lady GaGa, unless you like some self-punishment, but I promise you it’ll be good when your drunk.  Most things are.  



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They Don’t Have Any Fucking More

March 27, 2009
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This is something out of the ordinary.  Gettin’ arrested at Wal-Mart for dropping the F-bomb.  Look, I know you’re the family-friendly big box store.  I know you only accidentally sold T-shirts with Nazi graffiti  on them.  Whoops. Your bad.  But I swear in the store a ton.  I swear when I walk in.  “Fuck, I’ve got to go to Wal-Mart.”  I swear when I get in there and there’s the population of a small African nation clogging the aisles. “Fuck, look at these people.”  I swear when I’m walking to get whatever I need to get. “Fuck, I’ve gotta walk all the way over there?”  I swear when I finally get it.  “Fuck, is that it?  Why isn’t it cheaper?”  I swear when I get to the (2) open check out counters (out of 296). “Fuck, look at all these people.”  And then I swear when I get to walk out of that hole. “Fuck, I’m glad that’s over.”  So what’s the big deal?

On another note, I like playing the Wal-Mart game.  You can do it with any store, CVS, Walgreens, whatever.  But I think there’s something special about really screwing with the minds of the people working for an American Heartland Pseudo Evangelical Hate Mongering Big Box Store.  Here’s the rules.  Pick the 3 things you would pick to make the check out person stop a little.  Gasp, and maybe even look at you.  I’m going to give 2 options

Option 1)  Vaseline, avocado, fishing line

Option 2) Hand Lotion, Multi Vitamins, Crocs


Comments, ho!

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I gotta do this…

March 27, 2009
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Anyone who knows me knows that I hold a grudge against Crispin Porter + Bogusky.  Not really a grudge, more of a hatred.  I’m not a fan of stupid things, so naturally I don’t like CP+B.  Anyway, they “own” (own?) Miami Ad School, but I didn’t see any of those 3 at guest speaker nights.  Now, they do have a greenhouse, and Miranda tells me it’s da bomb, so I gotta give that to her.  I’m sure the employees are great fun people, as is the case at any agency, but some of their advertising needs to represent who they are.  

Let’s start with Burger King, and get that out of the way.  For the most part, I like this.  We had the Burger King guys come to guest speaker, and learned alot.  Buying DTV spots and pay-per -view is hella creative.  Narrowing your target audience to only people who eat at Burger King, what they called the “Superfan” is something I’m not so sure of, but it’s worked for them, and I can’t refute the bottom line.  And slapping advertising on everything in a BK is a great idea too.  Space is there for a reason.  Ok, that’s over.  Conclusion: I like CP+B ads for BK.  Except for Whopper Virgins.  I fucking hate those.

Nike:  The shit was on the fan before the fan even started up.  Track Town, USA?  Really?  *Vomit* I’m trying to find out if these things aired on TV or not.  I’ve been told they may have played on ESPN.  I’m sure at 2 am or something like that.  Terrible, terrible crap.  Beaverton, Oregon must be constantly in a state of shock that those were even made.  Conclusion: Suckfest

Microsoft: Ok.  We knew this was coming.  We in the advertising business, after hearing that Jerry Seinfeld had been paid around $10 million, were awaiting these ads with baited breath.  Even my sorry excuse for an ass was excited.  Then the 1st spot came out.  Instant FAIL.  Everybody was like ZOMG WTF.  It was…creative, I guess.  It was…boring as balls.  It left the door open for more facepalming.  Then the 2nd spot came out.  It was long.  Excruciatingly long.  I guess there was a shorter spot for TV, but I didn’t need to see a short one.  It’s like looking at midgets.  When you’ve already seen a full person, why would you settle for something smaller?  Look, Jerry and Bill are normal.  Look, Jerry just got paid $5 million dollars for this ad!  Whoo.  Then they did the “I’m a PC” ads.  What a waste of time.  No original idea whatsoever.  Where is the “big idea” in this?  Normal people using PCs?  Celebrities using PCs?  (PS, if you’re going to choose celebrities, don’t pick douchebags like Pharrell).  Epic fail.  Now, there is the “PCs are cheaper.”  They’re trying to drive home that people pay an “Apple tax,” that we just pay for the apple on the back of the screen.  Guess what?  People buy Apples because they work, they don’t fuck up, and the customer service (unlike the black hole that is HP’s), services us (in more ways that one, OH YEAH).  

Conclusion: Fail.  No other words fit.

All these ads (I’m still on MS) are all conceptual.  You can’t say “hey, our shit’s cheaper” the loudest, and expect people to pay attention to you.  That’s what little kids do, and everybody hates little kids.  I personally think it’s $300 million down the drain.  And Microsoft’s falling bottom line and profit just shows it.

Oh, and Apple continues to post profits.  What’s that Steve Ballmer, people don’t want to pay $500 more for an Apple?  Apparently they do.

God, let me wrap this up.  I don’t even think I can.  Screw it, I’ll leave you with a picture.  Fight in the comments, 12 rounds.  I can’t think of anything more to say. 


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5 Year Plan

March 27, 2009

I watched an interview on Forbes the other day.  They interviews Miles Young, top dog at WPP.  He said he favored 5 year plans.  And he had great 5 year plans when he was at O&M in Asia.  But when they asked him about his 5 year plan for Ogilvy for the next 5 years, he went into a 2 minute thesis statement about WHAT exactly a 5 year plan was.  End of interview.  No answer.  It left me feeling empty.  

So, without further ado, here’s my 5 year plan. In no particular order, mind you.

1) Work in Berlin: I’ve only been in D-dorf a few months, but still, I want to work in Berlin.  There’s no other city like it in the world, not even NYC.  It’s just got a special feel to it, and even though D-dorf may be wealthier as a city, Berlin is more creative.  And in advertising, creativity is lifeblood.  I think that’s a reasonable 5 year goal.

2) Get a new passport: Mine expires in 2011, anyway.  But I want to get a new one because the one I have is already filled up.  I’ve been helped by the 4 pages my Arbeitserlaubnis takes up.  It sucks that the EU doesn’t stamp passports anymore because of the Shengen agreement, but if you ask at the airports, they will.  I’m hitting up Spain in July, hopefully Austria later on, Italy a few time, and trying to plan a trip to Saudi Arabia to visit a friend.  If I can get a new passport before April 2011, this goal will be met.

3) Look like Jason Statham:  Yeah, you may laugh, and that’s fine, but this is basically me saying I want to get back into the shape I was in in High School, and improve on that.  Basically, just get healthy enough to complete my next goal…

4) Compete in a triathlon: I can run, and I can bike.  I don’t know about swimming.  I’ve heard these are addicting, and I loved racing bikes in college.  

5) Get a promotion of some kind:  Yeah, I realize that even moving up to Copywriter from Jr. CW would be a step, but I’d like to jump to Senior CW in 5 years.  I think it’s possible, and depending on the job market in Berlin in 5 years….this could be an easy step.


So what’s your 5 year plan?  Leave it in the comments!!

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I’m Gonna Make You Feel It; Can You Still Feel It?

March 27, 2009
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“Never use jargon words.  They are the hallmark of a pretentious ass.” — David Ogilvy


Oh man, meetings.  I love them, because I learn from them, and I hate them, because sometimes there are just incredible blowhards present.

I had a meeting the other day.  It was of the latter type.  We had 2 weeks to come up with a presentation thingie to present while our boss was away. During those 2 weeks, I wrote and wrote and wrote, and revised and revised and revised.  We had this concept, and we went from there.  Little fishy, if you ask me.  My boss gets back, and we go into a small meeting.  He takes a look and what we had.  He flips shit, and understandably so.  I wanted to part of that, and luckily I didn’t get the brunt of an ass-whipping.  Who I think did though, was a pretentious ass.

He defended what we had presented like it was his unborn child.  But what we had presented was a fucking concept, and you can’t advertise for a concept.  And when he talked, all I heard was *fart* and jargon words.  It was like I was being thumbed in the ass by the Pillsbury Doughboy.  He was like John Kerry, if Kerry were in marketing.  All kinds of brand truth and mumbo jumbo.  And I wanted to say, “hey, that’s stupid.”  But I didn’t.  I wish I did.  2 weeks of work, flushed down the drain. Then a re-boot to completion within 3 days.  That’s life, I guess.

What I’m getting at, is don’t make me feel it.  Don’t force something down my throat.  No matter how good you think it sounds, and no matter how much gusto and verve you muster to present it to me, don’t.  Wait a day before you open your mouth.  Maybe you’ll figure out that what you’re about to say isn’t the insides of a bacon sandwich.  Instead, it’s the insides of a shit sandwich.  We have a duty to our clients, but more than that, to our consumers.  Ogilvy said that we’re basically advertising to our wives.  I’ll take that farther and say we’re advertising to our family, and our friends.  Those are the people who we know best, who shoot us down the fastest, and who know us better than we do ourselves.  Why fill up a page with sanctimonious rat piss?

Anyway, I needed to rant, so I’m sorry if this came off deluded, trite, or just a crappy post.   My Bad.


March 27, 2009
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Welcome to my hell.  I’m going to try to keep this updated every day, or every few days.  Sorry if I don’t.  I’ll tackle topics that I want, advertising-related and not, so it should be fun.  Advertising, News, Fashion, Technology, My Brain, Culture, (some) Sports, and more will be skewered here.  I’ll try to get some guest-writers to make things more fun for people.  And of course, my life here in Dusseldorf.  


Hope things get crazy!

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