Make an Ad About Truth in Advertising, and You Could Win $5,000

Publisher holds contest for John Kenney's first novel

Truth in advertising? Bwaa ha ha ha ha! Actually, that's the title of a new first novel by former Ogilvy & Mather creative exec John Kenney. The book is about a copywriter who faces a life crisis while trying to create a diaper commercial for the Super Bowl. (Hey, we've all been there.) Now, Kenney's publisher, Touchstone, is holding a contest asking people to design ads for the book. The deadline for submissions, which must feature the title and author's name, was just extended to April 30. The winner gets $5,000. The entries are so far a very mixed bag. Nicholas Howard produced the best video, in my estimation, with Brother Ali's primal and infectious "Truth is here, the truth is here!" playing over snippets of Truth in Advertising's media reviews. My favorites among the print include a giant circle (more like a black hole) with the tiny word "square" in parentheses beneath; a big yellow happy face with its mouth taped shut and the headline "Just sell smiles"; and a mammoth asterisk atop a huge block of unreadable fine print. Another intriguing, evocative image shows a strange billboard with a shiny, seemingly reflective surface in some lonely wasteland on the edge of town. Its creator, Ray Ludacer, tells AdFreak that it's a photograph of a blurry bar code, designed to symbolize that "the lines of what is true in advertising are often blurred. You can see it as a mirror too." Hmmm, might be a tad too cerebral for ad land, Ray. Next time, just make the logo bigger.