Category: Viral ROI
January 16th, 2013

The Kids, They Will Mess With Your Brand, Chapter 3.

We’ve said it before



…and we’ll probably say it again: The Kids, They Will Mess With Your Brand.

May we present to you the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.


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August 31st, 2012

Slip The Surly Bonds Of Earth. (Bring Bacon.)


Remember Pigs In Space?

Our pals at Bacon Salt did. And, from the Department Of “Damn, We Wish We’d Thought of that,” it inspired them to redefine the term “product launch.” As in, Bacon Salt is blasting into frickin’ space.

(OK,  more like, “they tied a cooler to a weather balloon.” Still…pretty rad.)


Behold Spacon-1, Interstellar Pork Delivery Vehicle – coupled to a 100,000 ft-rated weather balloon, equipped with a parachute system for re-entry, GoPro camera to record flight and GPS tracking device for recovery.


Sadly, the launch vehicle suffered a mission failure. (It popped.)

But still, they got to wear spacesuits.

We especially enjoyed Mission Control’s reaction to the vehicle failure:

Mortar salutes you, Bacon Salt. Today, bacon has reached out, and touched the face of God.

(Who, quite likely, would now liketh a washcloth.)

August 22nd, 2012

Putting The Awesome In Your Dog – Part 1.

Ever heard that saying: “It’s not the size of the dog in the incredibly bizarre-yet-awesome fight, it’s the amount of incredibly bizarre-yet-awesome in the dog?”

Probably not, because we just made it up.

But the point is this: If your budget is smaller than the other guy’s, you’d better make more interesting conversation. Not just some of the time. All of the time. If you give up? If you try to sound cool in your advertising, but the rest of your customers’ interactions with you are robotic and money-grubbing? The effect is this:  Your customer is at a party, chatting up an attractive someone, the happy couple steps outside for some air, and suddenly that quiet-yet-fascinating discussion of Epictetus becomes GOOD DAY SIR-OR-MADAM CAN WE INTEREST YOU IN LOW-LOW ZERO-DOWN-WITH-APPROVED-CREDIT CASH-BACK FINANCING?

Which is painful and weird. As opposed to good-weird. Good-weird is more like this:

*So, wait. We have to come up with some clever Fine Print? It’s closing in on feeding time and we’re having a hard time thinking good. Wait, good? Or is it well? We can’t remember no grammar now cuz food hunger is taking over part of body that word ideas come from. Oh look at cat! Cat is pretty. Want food, but can’t get until Fine Print is over. OK: You have to be an Eat24 member to use the $3 Coupon Code. If you’re not a member you can sign up in seconds. Also you can only use it at restaurants that accept Coupon Codes (but don’t worry, there are over 20,000 of them) and you must pay with a Credit card or PayPal. Also, don’t try to pull a fast one and just order chips and salsa. C’mon, they give that away for free at restaurants. Be a man (or a woah-man) and order a damn burrito. Any order of $10 or more will do, because that’s the order minimum. Finally, the Coupon Code can only be used once and will expire the 19th of August at Midnight PST. Good job, brain. Now shut up until food gets here. (Our brain, not your brain. Your brain can talk all it wants because we love the sound of your voice. It’s like a combination of Barry White and a thousand kittens purring).”

That’s a sample of fine print from an Eat24 email coupon.  Fine print. From an email coupon.

Fine print from an email coupon that mentions Barry White and a thousand kittens purring.

Why doesn’t all fine print mention Barry White and a thousand kittens purring? Wouldn’t you read more fine print if it had more stuff like that? (Did we just answer our own question?) Let’s take things one step further: If Eat24 is going to put goodness like Barry White and a thousand kittens purring in the fine print, they must want you to read the fine print, right? But that’s weird because fine print is the marketing communications equivalent of the swamps of Jersey, right? It’s where the bodies are buried, right? But if Eat24 wants readers to read it, that must mean Eat24 is lovable on the inside, too! You know what else it means? It means you should read everything Eat24 sends you, because who knows, in the middle of their legalese they might start rambling about Barry White and purring kittens.   This is science, people. This is irrefutable fact.

And what did this little exercise in Always Sounding Like Us cost? Zero. Pain-and-suffering incurred? None. Love-beyond-reason engendered? Plenty.


This is a picture of a rainbow having a nicotine fit. It has almost nothing to do with our conversation except, it’s random and fun. It made your day a little better. (That rainbow smokes too much and just throws the butts wherever. Rude.)

Which brings us to this:

Also random. Also fun. Also makes your day a little better. Even if it doesn’t really have a purpose. Even if it doesn’t really tell your fortune. And you know what? That cookie is stomping the terra firma. Likes. Shares. Retweets. Calls from our mothers. (Which we should probably return. Eeesh. We’re bad people. But we digress.)

It’s just a simple little conversational piece, appearing in a slightly unexpected place. Which is so Eat24. That’s their voice. Not some of the time. All of the time. Their customers love it. They expect it. They participate in it. And that’s why Eat24 is able to generate love beyond reason. That’s the bizarre that puts the awesome in their dog. That’s how a little startup with no VC funding is able to scare the hell out of the big boys. Because an intelligent conversation has the power to generate greater sales, more economically achieved.

Which is the reason we got into this business.

We do what we do the way we do it because we believe this in our bones: It does not require more money, or more meetings, or more buzzwords to sell well. It requires common sense, good manners and a sense of humor. It requires convincing your audience that you do what you do because you love doing it, not because you love money.

So while Eat24’s bigger, more well-funded competitors are quite likely sitting in a meeting, staring at a 120-slide PowerPoint detailing last week’s trendlines, Eat24 is having human conversations with their customers. Also, a freakin’ blast. Speaking of which – Mortar is proud to present “Food Truck In Your Pants,” the first of a whole slew of new Eat24 broadcast spots, breaking now.


It’s like we always* say: It’s not the size of the dog in the incredibly bizarre-yet-awesome fight, it’s the amount of incredibly bizarre-yet-awesome in the dog. But tell us what you think. After all, this is a conversation.


P.S. If you don’t live in Los Angeles and you’d like to see this and many other fine new Mortar-produced Eat24 spots on your tee-vee, let ’em know via Twitter @Eat24.


*At least since 11:30 this morning.


May 11th, 2012

Googly Eyes.

We love a good surprise. Especially ones that puts us in the same hemisphere as hobbits. Check what happens when you ask for walking directions from “The Shire” to “Mordor” in Google Maps:


Lord of the Rings fans will share in our gigglish glee. We admit, those Googlers can get preet-ty clever. But sometimes, the joke’s on them. Someone with far too much time on his hands found a way to turn Google Translate into a beatbox machine. Perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Remember: One does not simply walk into Mortar.

February 24th, 2012

But The Memo Clearly States: “…Not Crusaders And/Or Rebels.”

“You think you know Wheat Thins? F*%k you.

Prepare yourself to fall completely in love with – then back out of love with – then be sort of ok again with –  a brand, all in the space of 6:50.

Yes, we posted this because it’s funny.

Yes, we posted this because it reminds us just how ridiculous we all are in our attempts to turn the art of conversation into the “science” of marketing.

But most of all, we posted this because it reminds us of Kurt Vonnegut’s asshole.

No, not his actual asshole, but the big ol’ asterisk he drew in Breakfast of Champions that represented an asshole. Right in the middle of the page. Just drew that thing. In the middle of a non-illustrated novel.
Which is, as we’ve noted before, A Thing You Cannot Do. But he did.

Stephen Colbert’s sponsortunity/takedown/whatthehelljusthappened routine certainly shows us how ridiculous megacorporate brand strategists can be, but more importantly, it lifts the curtain on strategy itself. Which is a bona-fide asterisk-in-the-middle-of-the-page-moment.

You can’t do that, right? You can’t just tell people your brand strategy…they might…they might discover that crackers are not in fact baked by tree-dwelling elves, but that they come from giant megacorporations who want their money! Gasp!

Here’s another example:

This Old Spice ad starts out as a Bounce ad; becomes an Old Spice ad, then a Bounce ad again and finally, we get a strong powerful Old Spice finish.

Again, you can’t do that! You just spent half your expensive media time plugging a brand you didn’t mean to plug! Unless…unless you’re a megacorporation who happens to own both brands. But even then, aren’t you outing yourself as a megacorporation? Won’t the people rise up with pitchforks and torches?

And since you’re a megacorporation, aren’t you supposed to be acting like mega-tools? Like the people who wrote that Wheat Thins memo?

So, gentle readers, we ask you: How are we supposed to feel about this? Megacorporations drawing asterisks? It’s unnatural, we tells ya! And since megacorporations love nothing more than blindly following one another, is it reasonable to expect more of this?

We sure hope so.