Oct 2016 16

Some thoughts on the new SickKids campaign, and how an idea is able to change the world in more ways than selling you the next big thing from Company X.

I have had a long career in advertising. The in-vogue brands to work on come and go. The awards and accolades quickly become yesterday’s news the day after the award shows. The hot shops become the places that say they are ‘going to turn things around’. And media is always evolving.

But one thing I have noticed has always been true – there are always those that realize the power of what we do and wish we could apply it to something bigger than selling the next cool car, or the reformulated beer, or talking about a sale.

We have the power to inspire and change perception.

For months, a good friend of mine in the biz has been saying he can’t wait for me to see what they are doing on SickKids, the hospital here in Toronto that has devoted itself to the unique kind of care a sick child needs. Since 1875, they’ve been healing kids, losing kids, and giving hope to parents and the next ‘sick kid’ that unfortunately comes through their doors.

And this week, the campaign broke.

Sick isn’t weak.

I am floored. I can’t begin to say how inspiring and head-spinning this idea is. First and foremost, it flips the story from feeling badly for these kids and showing them as they truly are: WARRIORS. Fucking utterly brave and strong warriors who aren’t prepared for the adult world but are already fighting their greatest battle in their lives – to be healthy and stay alive. And ‘sick’ will not win. They are fighters. And they grow stronger while ‘sick’ will just keep getting challenged. The fight will never end. Sick just can’t win.

Much respect to the team on this. It is not an idea that would be an easy sell. And the execution is flawless. Feels. I am proud to say I know so many of the people that worked on this. You did it. You did what we all SAY we want to do. You are affecting lives with more than just telling people they need the next big thing in cars or cell phone plans.

And Andrew Hart at SickKids says the donations are flowing in.

Sick can’t win. And I am happy to say – it seems Cynicism – mine included – can’t, either.


AGENCY: Cossette
ECDs: Carlos Moreno, Peter Ignazi
CREATIVE TEAM: Craig MacIntosh, Jaimes Zentil
CLIENT: SickKids – Lori Davison, Andrew Hart
DIRECTOR: Mark Zibert

Sep 2016 20

As the summer winds down, here’s some 2nd round radio work for Mastermind Toys. 

Previously on ‘The Sporadic Creative Output of Fuji Tamale Inc.’, the company was working with venerable toy retailer Mastermind Toys on an ongoing radio campaign for them.

We began in April with some strategic thinking and campaign conceptualizing. Then, moved on to to the writing, music direction, casting, and audio directing of the session (some spots from that round can be found here). Hard to say what the ‘sales results’ have been, but customers have been coming into the stores mentioning they remember the spots – without being asked. So hey, if ‘Attention’ is the first ‘A’ of the 5 ‘A’s of advertising, we’re on the radar.

No, I do not remember what the other 4 ‘A’s are.

In any case, onto Round 2, where we focused more on Summer Birthday Parties and Back to School. For the latter, Mastermind Toys isn’t really a ‘traditional’ top of mind back to school destination, so we took a different strategic approach.

Mastermind Toys had never done any broadcast advertising before and with 9 spots so far this summer, we’re slowly building a radio ‘branding’ foundation for them. Ongoing Brand Pillars: Thoughtful Toys, Selection, Staff, Fun. Thanks goes out to our clients Anne Baston and Nicki Kommit.

Production was again at TA2 Sound and Music’s lovely East studios. Our Producer was the organized and thorough freelance producer Kristina Loschiavo. Audio Engineering by the magic fingers of Vlad Nikolic. Catchy jingle written for Mastermind and Fuji Tamale by TA2.

‘No Nonsense Year’ :30

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‘Shopping for Georgia’ :30

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‘Blossom and Grow’ :30

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Copywriter: Andrew Bradley
Producer: Kristina Loschiavo
Audio Engineer: Vlad Nikolic
TA2 Exec Producer: Dana Gadsden
Director: Andrew Bradley
Agency: Fuji Tamale Inc.

Aired August, September 2016

Sep 2016 08

I have reached the ethical dilemma that all advertising copywriters eventually face. Writing ads for unethically mined diamonds? Political ads for a candidate I don’t believe in? Fur ads? Nope. I am wondering… Do I write holiday ads with Santa in them or not?

It’s the build-up to Christmas in the ad world. Yes, for everyone else it’s still ice cream truck weather and just back-to-school time. There’s still Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Remembrance Day to get through. But in the ad world, we’re hard at work like Santa’s elves on Holiday ads (or Christmas, as some retailers will still have the guts to call it). And I have a brief that could work if I just put Santa in the ads. It would solve the creative problem and I could get back to enjoying some summer weather.

But I’m against it. No Santa in ads. No.

My whole career I’ve been against writing holiday ads with Santa Claus in them. And I’ve managed to avoid it quite well considering I’ve had to write ads for fast food, cars, packaged goods, telecommunications carriers, confectionary, and retailers of all kinds including kid-specific ones. Christmas is a busy advertising time of year and when I think back, I’m actually amazed I’ve managed to avoid or write around the big fat guy.

I’m not anti-Christmas or anything. Other than the shopping stress that I am weeding myself off, I like it. It’s a great time to take a break with family and friends and be nice to everyone (or try). I’m just kind of anti-Santa. But that’s just a personal thing. Personally, I think it’s the worst lie we tell kids. When considering the roster of characters from the Hall of Lies we tell our children like The Stork, The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Fairies, Leprechauns, “Yes, that’s the same goldfish”… It’s the big whopper. The nuke of lies. Santa is the first magical thing kids believe in. Maybe the biggest in their lives and then they find out later… well, you know. You may even remember finding that out.

But, I’m not gonna tell people how to raise their kids. I’m against fluoride too, but whatever. I’m not a parent and probably won’t be one so I can’t really get all high and mighty about what is right and wrong. I’ve lied to my niece about it to help her parents out. If Santa is an easy way to get kids into the spirit of the season, so be it. If I had kids, I’m not sure which way I’d go. It’s a convenient lie. “Be good, he’s watching!” We’re all in this lie together.

But I will not use the red flannelled one in ads. Nope. And it’s not because I’m anti-Santa.

It’s actually to preserve the myth. For you. For your kids.

We’ve built a great lie. A great myth. He’s kind, gentle, giving… employs people, keeps them fed and safe year-round in one of the most hostile areas on the planet, is kind to people with physical limitations and animals… For a capitalist icon, he’s almost downright socialist actually.

But one thing I know about this construct and mythical world we have created around him is that SANTA DOESN’T SHILL FOR ANY FUCKING COMPANY. He’s a free-agent. He shouldn’t prefer Toyota over Honda. Or LEGO over Meccano. Or Dr. Oetker pizza over McCain. The man is all about trying to bring you what YOU want (or need, like socks). He doesn’t judge you for the brands you like. In fact, I prefer the version of Santa where he and his elves MADE EVERYTHING.

Ya, ya I know. This is sounding pretty nuts. But imagine this – you’re watching the Santa Claus parade with your kid and Santa finally appears at the end on his float, finally, waving and smiling. And then he pulls out a Sony Playstation 4 and holds it up high and looks in the camera and bellows “This one is the best. Fuck XBOX, kids. Playstation rules. Ho ho ho.” No. Just no.

Elves in ads? No problem. Reindeer trainers in ads? No problem. Talking reindeer, even? No problem. Mrs. Claus – well, maybe. But not for any stupid kitchen products or anything suggestive or she doesn’t come off as an equal partner in this crazy endeavour of Kris’.

Santa is off-limits. I’ll hint that he is nearby or exists, but that’s it. And I once wrote a TV spot where a man tried to revive a pot roast with a heart defibrillator as his scared family looked on wondering if it would live or die. So I usually have no shame or morals.

But I draw the line at Claus. Even for clients I like.

I will find another way to solve this brief. Maybe Jesus. Ya, I’ll just put Jesus in the ads!

He’s not made up at all.



Aug 2016 03

One of my favourite things about old advertising is how it can show us the norms of that day. Commercials from yesteryear are a great time capsule of fashion, pop culture, and yes, our attitudes towards certain behaviours.

Today, smoking is taboo and I’m starting to wonder if even holding a drink in a picture is going to be looked back upon as verboten someday.

Here’s the legendary Sammy Davis Jr. in a 1974 Japanese-only ad for Suntory Whisky. He’s clearly bombed out of his mind. This is one continuous shot without an edit, so who knows how many takes he had to do already He’s blitzed, drinking alone, smoking (the ashtray looks a bit full?), and probably got paid a boat load of money with the guarantee it would never be seen back home in the USA.

I love it. We’ve all had nights that look like this, no?




Aug 2016 02

Hello 3 regular readers! Hope you’re all having a good summer. I probably know that you are, because I have a feeling I see anyone that bothers to look at my page lately. Yes, been a bit light on the content. Well, sometimes what seems like a big hole in the ground has a strong foundation being made below street level. Who knows. 🙂

In any case, I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of freelance calls this week that I turned down. Yes, I’m that adamant about taking time off from the ad world right now.

But when asked my daily rate today, I gave my standard rate but then went on a tangent with the following that I should maybe put on the masthead…

I like to work with nice people and generally on products/services that I believe in so it’s negotiable. Like, a big blue-chip client doesn’t get a break. 🙂 But a company trying to change the world for the better? Sign me up and I’ll knock it down. For instance – homeless kittens with solar panels on them that are given out to young women in developing nations who need electricity because they are studying to get a University degree and then run for office in their oppressive patriarchal countries? Uh, ya!!!


Tuesday well, everyone. Feed  your souls as much (or more) as your bank accounts. It’s tough. Struggling with it myself. But the world won’t change itself.



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