NY Times about Judge Alito

This newspaper of record has come out on the issue of whether Judge Alito should be confirmed by the US Senate as a Supreme Court Justice.

Surprise! They are against him. In a piece entiltled Judge Alito’s Radical Views, they attack his “radically broad view of the president’s power” as well as “a radically narrow view of Congress’s power.” Sounds like the kind of Supreme Court justice any White House incumbent would want.

The previous court — with the retiring Justice O’Connor — stood up against the presidential push to violate the principle of habeas corpus, espousing the view that suspected terrorists could be held “indefinitely and without trial.”

This executive privilege has been named the “unitary executive” theory. Where was Judge Alito when President Nixon needed him?

The Times also thinks that the judge “would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.” The new Chief Justice Roberts made that point of strongly favoring judicial precedent over the Court’s power to legislate these diffficult matters from the bench — something Alito in his uninformative testimony has failed to do.

The Times says his paper trail is filled with cases favoring those in power at the expense of the little guy — whether they be racial minorities, the aging, workers or women. Or even, incredibly, car customers who think it should be illegal to turn back car odometers, insisting “Congress did not have the power” to protect them.

In summary, the newspaper feels that senators voting for this appointment will rue the day and wish they appointed someone more like Sanda Day O’Connor, with “her cautious, centrist approach to the law.”

The administration views Alito’s confirmation as an unevitable slam dunk. Time will tell.

See another blog’s take on the Times’ piece.

New Advertising Agency in NY Outsources to Asia

Remember the outcry over U.S. films being shot in Canada to cut production costs? Or using the Internet to allow programmers in Asia to compete with American programmers — another “world-is-flat” bid to cut costs to the bone?

Now, with the founding of Banerjee & Partners of New York, Bombay and Bangalore, this outsourcing has begun in advertising. Not only is there serious, American-culture-infused, creative talent in India, there is a booming film industry there to implement further cost savings.

Losang Gyatso, the executive creative director in New York, explained in an Adweek article that because Indians speak many different languages, all the advertising is created in English (former British colony) and driven by strong brand-building imagery.

The foreign creative idea has its detractors. Kevin Roddy, ECD at the Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad agency in New York said “It’s incredibly difficult to creatively direct someone who is thousands of miles away.” While he was Creative Director at Fallon in New York, he had to manage creative teams in Minneapolis.

Still the ad talent in the region is undeniable. In the last three years, Indian advertising has won thirteen Cannes Lions.

Popups in newspapers?

Apparently, the dreaded popup print ad is starting to appear offline as well as online.

ComputerAssociates has a watermark ad in the stock pages of The Nw York Times, according to AdRants. When you chck your stocks you are looking right at their CA logo.

Inventive, and not nearly as annoying as the online version.

To tell more the Computer Associates story, a small ad appears at the bottom of the page.

Judith Miller’s Op Ed in The NY Times

As mentioned yesterday in this blog, Times reporter Judith Miller has been given space to explain herself in the wake of her long-negotiated resignation from the paper.

In the Op Ed piece, she explains her decision to leave the Times after a distingushed 28-year career there.

She states her 85 days in jail for contempt for refusing to reveal her sources is more than twice as long a any other US journalist.

She agreed to testify only on the Valerie Plame Wilson matter , and only after Scooter Libby released her from her pledge of confidentiality. Once that was done, she did testify.

Some on Times felt she never should have testified, even if it meant she would be obstructing a serious investigation and therefore, would have been charged with obstruction of justice, a serious crime in itself.

The paper in response to the impasse between the court and Ms. Miller has advocated a Federal shield law to allow reporters to protect their sources without facing this level of legal coercion.

She has website, further discussing these matters, JudithMiller.org

CBS to Offer Threshold Online

CBS is trying to promote its new show, Threshold. It’s another alien mystery like the super popular Lost on rival ABC. (Lost garnered an impressive 23 million viewers for its season premiere.)

They’re actually offering as a free download , without advertising after the show airs at 9 pm on Friday nights. Threshold follows what happens when the US Navy discovers an alien spacecraft has landed in the Atlantic Ocean. It faces a tough race in the creepy alien mystery genre. (I like crime shows, but now I get my choice of investigator, city, and method of investigation — scientific or psychic. That’s too many crime shows.)

I have watched this show, and contrary to the TV critic at Salon.com, I think it is creepy but weak. Traditional sci-fi horror movies gloss over the fake science in the plot: this show revels in its hokum. One show used the “third generation copy of an MP3″ as key forensic evidence. What does that mean? What is the third generation of a perfect digital copy, with no degradation or error at all? Maybe you could say “an imperfect copy of an MP3.” (Others online have been tougher on the science in Threshold.)

But does the accuracy of science hooha matter in a creepy TV show, anyway?

Blog that predicts Supreme Court nominees

According to an MSNBC news program, one blog predicted Judge Alito would be the next nominee for the nation’s highest court.

The blog is scotusblog.com

While that was impressive, the blog, composed mainly by people from the law firm of Goldstein & Howe, also foretold that John Roberts would be nominated. One of them wrote “More likely, I think, is Judge John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit, who was only confirmed to that court last year.” This was written on November 7th, 2004. Justice Roberts was actually nominated on July 19th, 2005.

Another of the bloggers, Marty Lederman, said last Friday — before his latest prediction came true — “permit me to sheepishly add that I, too, predicted a Roberts nomination back in November (in a comment to Tom’s post, which apparently no longer exists online), and again in May.”

This particular blogger then goes on to say that his predictions seldom are correct.

Last Friday, one of the bloggers, Tom Goldstein, picked Alito as the next nominee and one “likely to energize the President’s conservative supporters.” He was right on both counts.

If you want to learn about the U.S. Supreme Court on the internet, this blog would be a good place to start.

Creative Ad Exec Resigns over Misogynist Remarks

Neil French, the worldwide creative director of WPP Group has had to resign after causing a storm with his remarks about women ad creatives, according to an article in The New York Times.

In a meeting in Toronto on October 6th, he said women “don’t make it to the top because they don’t deserve to.”

Nancy Vonk, Co-Chief Creative Director of Ogilvy in Toronto, writes about this over-the-top evening here. Her agency is part of the WPP Group. She attended the event and has known Mr. French for several years. She is familiar with his attitudes toward women. She writes, “Before us was a big part of the explanation of why more women aren’t succeeding in advertising,” as she believes his ideas are representative of the way top executives in the advertising business think.

Moreover, according to Vonk, Mr. French said most women leave the business to “go suckle something.” Was Mr. French trying to get fired? Was this a $100-a-seat frat party?

From my experience in advertising, listening as a guy to other ad guys talk, I have to say she is right. Often these conversations are straight out of the men’s locker room. I haven’t of course heard the discussions about who gets promoted to the top creative spot, but I can’t imagine their whole good ole boy tone disappears.

How to Create a Breakaway Brand

The latest Fortune magazine, dated October 31, 2005, has an article on how to create a beakaway brand. They give examples of major brands that have broken away from the pack: the Apple iPod ™, Google ™, DeWalt power tools, Eggo ™ waffles, to name a few.

The brands singled out command a premium price, and have customer loyalty. (Just ask an iPod user about their MP3 player. Then ask them to name another brand.)

The article singles out ten successful brands, and draws a different lesson from each one’s story. It’s a fascinating article, even if it is more than a little slanted to account side of advertising, definitely worth a trip to the newstand.*

* Creatives should read the description of the BBDO campaign for Sierra Mist ™. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds like a hoot: five comedians dubbed the “Mist-Takes” doing mini sitcoms about Sierra Mist ™. After only five years since its introduction, the brand is second in its highly competitive soft drink category.

Weiden + Kennedy = Too Much Flash?

AdRants is annoyed by their “Pompous Flashturbation” on their website as they lecture the Flash-deprived on the need for the plugin.

According to AdRants, W+K website’s source states:

“You will need to install a couple of plug-ins to fully experience our site. That is not because this is another one of those mindlessly flashy Web sites that give you a headache and make you wonder how you could ever sit through a meeting with those people.”

I frankly couldn’t find this writing anywhere in the early source pages I checked, but it does seem an unneeded lecture.

However, the Flash-powered version of the W+K site is nifty. And they have the courage to put up famous older work — like the dot-com-boom era stuff — that is well-done and fascinating. (Does anyone still use AltaVista? Don’t get too mad: they used to my starting page each time I surfed the web.)

Try the site, and go ahead and download the Flash ™ plugin

Apple Eminem TV spot a copycat?

The new Apple TV spot featuring Eminem sure looks like borrowed interest — borrowed from a spot for Lugz running shoes.

See a discussion of the remarkable similarities here at Adfreak.com The shoe commercial is from 2001. It is at this site, under Archives, Lugz, 01.

This makes me wonder is the commercial merely derivative or is there a sharing of talent somewhere — designer, or production company?