The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Dec. 8th, 2008 #6, Vol.1

Why do skeletons never create any innovations? They don’t have the guts! My kids told me that joke with a bit of a change by me. Guts. I have seen so few people really have guts in life. I have a special admiration for those who take dares without someone daring them. I strive to honor those who put one foot into unknown territory while the other is placed on a banana peel by promising to be more like them. I hold my creative reputation cheapened when I shy away from putting myself on the very edge of creating something so different that failure will cause a life-long scar but success will gain at least another 15 minutes of fame.

It’s hard to include every gutsy creation or action in this blog. How could I approach including the bravery of the man who stood in front of tanks in Tianamen Square or firefighters and police officers who risk their lives daily? How does one list the nameless workers who tell their boss that his/her idea is NOT the most brilliant thing they have ever heard? Do I rehash the example of the auto industry stepping up and asking for billions with the same failing mindset that caused failure in the first place?

Guts. It’s action against all odds and convention. It’s what causes social evolution. It’s what too often causes those who have it to suffer during life and reap rewards and admiration only after death.

Despite this build-up, which I doubt I can follow with real gutsy examples; here’s some things that took guts to produce. I’m sure there was sweat on the brow of those who had to present the ideas and that’s good enough for me!


Amnesty International will always take it one step further, as well they should to drive home the message, but these magazine ads are unique  because the thought process was to use the center spread so the staples would appear on the people in the ad. Great thought and a gutsy decision to spend a little more on the center spread for a powerful message.





A chilling ambient ad is this one placed on windshields of parked cars. The message to slow down in school zones certainly stays with you. Can you imagine the silence in the conference room when this was presented? That certainly took guts!



Another great use of placement is this magazine ad for feeding hungry children. The first page says, “I will donate today and save a child.” The second page, which flips over the first, says, “I will donate later.” Let’s see  the bloated Sally Struthers top this one!



Here’s an image you won’t forget. The tag line drives it home; “You would care if it was your home!”



AXE me no questions…

You have to hand it to the people at AXE deodorant and body spray. They have taken their brand to a higher point than the old Hai Karate after shave and talc sets where the nerdy guy would slap some on and need to use martial arts to fight off women (it was the 1960s, so striking women was still considered okay and cigarettes were good for you).


Whether it’s for TV, print, ambients or guerilla marketing, the gutsy ideas have even gotten ME buying some of the products and I’m immune from advertising…I swear!



No, this wasn’t the ad that got me to buy the products!

The image below wins the prize for making people say “YEOW!” Talk about going a step beyond. THAT took guts!


And what’s a product without promotional items that can cause divorces?




An ambient for an erotic magazine is pictures of naked adults that were fitted into this cars windows and it was parked on the street. I wonder if there was a full moon that night?

Layout 1 (Page 5)


Speaking of sex…an ad for banana flavored condoms. What do you expect? Tarzan was a swinger!







It takes extreme guts to name a pizzeria “HELL” but a New Zealand pizzeria did just that and faced down the church and doubting consumers to become a national favorite.


The innovative punchout, fold it yourself coffin to hold leftovers is one of my favorites!



Good use of the volume control in this TV ad for Viagra.



Of course, no discussion of gutsy guerilla marketing gone wrong could possibly be complete without the 2007 Boston bomb scare. A number of LED signs designed to promote the television program Aqua Teen Hunger Force were mistakenly identified as explosive devices. At the time, these cute little blinking cartoon figures probably seemed like a brilliant way to raise curiosity. In retrospect, in this post-911 world installing a series of complex wire-filled devices with their own power sources on public structural elements like bridge supports was probably a tremendously terrible idea. Worse yet, the marketing company and device designers failed to notify the police of the devices’ true purpose even after learnings that they were being treated as bombs by authorities. Though no jail sentences resulted from the incident Turner Broadcasting paid millions of dollars to city police and Homeland Security to resolve the matter.

Advertising, costing the small fortune it does, was a bargain in this case as the incident was in the news for weeks. You just can’t buy advertising like this!




If I had to give an award for the guts in advertising or product promotion, it would have to go to It’s not so much the product, “demotivators,” they call them (the evil dopplegangers of those sappy motivational posters you see in offices) but the entire branding and customer experience they present. From the moment you log on to the moment you receive your order, they never fall out of character of a depressed, incompetent corporation. The act works and is brilliant. My guts hat is off to COO and owner, Edward Kersten.

Check it out and you’ll see what it means to have such wonderful self loathing. Truly a wonderful hatred!


At the afterlife, we like guts (especially if they’re cooked right). We want clients with the guts to allow us to reach beyond convention and to come up with innovative ideas that will not only sell your product but will also make people talk about the way it is sold. Give us a call and let us take you into realms you never knew existed.


Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creative

“Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae”
~ There is no great ability without a mixture of madness.



2 Responses to “The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Dec. 8th, 2008 #6, Vol.1”

  1. The Aqua Teen Hunger Force incident actually got me to start watching the show and I became a fan after watching a few episodes! It’s hilarious how they blur out the finger in news articles.

  2. Ok, I can dig this…

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