Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

I’m fascinated by aspects of advertising like where the ideas come from and who makes the decisions.  It’s interesting how advertisers can get it wrong so many times. What they thought was appealing just isn’t. I ordered a latte at the cafe the other day and watched the barista put on a Bodies the Exhibition cup sleeve. Continuing my trend to be a somewhat difficult customer at times I promptly removed the sleeve from my cup and said “I know this wasn’t your idea, but what makes Bodies the Exhibition think that I want to drink my coffee looking at that thing?” At least they weren’t making subway sandwich wrappers.

So here is an interesting ad which is a takeoff of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles. If you don’t know about the controversy involving this video, then you should watch the video before reading on.

Okay, what are your thoughts? I have to say I don’t think it’s a very good advertisement. It certainly doesn’t make me want to buy Method cleaners and I do think it’s a bit creepy. Well apparently there’s been a lot of talk about this advert on feminist blogs and you can read Kate Harding’s take here. I really don’t have a feminist opinion about this, but I can say it’s not a very good commercial.

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You know you want to know.

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that the before picture in this lose-fat advert is something I aspire to. Either this is a brutal commentary on our culture or my own personal weight.


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…not in the way these manufacturers were  claiming.

They challenged the companies behind products such as vitamins, shampoo, detox patches and a body brush on the evidence they had to support the detox claims made.

No two companies seemed to use the same definition of detox – defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the removal of toxic substances or qualities.

In the majority of cases, producers and retailers were forced to admit that they had simply renamed processes like cleaning or brushing, as detox, the scientists said.


One researcher investigated a Garnier face wash which claimed to detoxify the skin by removing toxins.

”Your body is the best detox product you have” – Sense about Science

The “toxins” turned out to be the dirt, make-up and skin oils that any cleanser would be expected to remove, she said.

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Mad Men has entered the popular consciousness.

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An interesting commercial from 1995 on a number of levels. First of all why is famous dancer Alexander Godunov from the Bolshoi Ballet selling Canadian beer? Perhaps Godunov was more of a household name in Canada? His acting career in America certainly didn’t make him a household name although he was famous for those who knew him from the American Ballet Theater.

I also find it interesting that The Smiths are playing in the background. I love “How Soon Is Now”.

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What do Activa, Retsyn, Quadratein, and Taurine have in common? They are all invented chemical products that do absolutely nothing. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect from this article, and beware marketing. They’re trying to mislead you.

Marketers often have to come up with creative ways to gain a competitive advantage and sell T.S.O.C.—the same old crap. This requires repackaging common ingredients and giving them new (and newly trademarked) names and identities. Are they insulting our intelligence with their duplicity or does this type of marketing really work? If you’ve purchased the following products, you may have to side with the latter.

Bifidus Regularis and Bifidus Immunis
Probiotics are the new the cure-all craze. If you believe some food labels, they can solve everything from bad digestion to acne to obesity to a bad attitude. To help further their health claims, the marketing team at Dannon, which makes Activia, took things a step further. Banking on the power of suggestion, they came up with new names for two strains of bacteria found in their yogurt: bifidus regularis, which supposedly helps regulate your digestive system and L. casei immunitas, which, you guessed it, supposedly strengthens your immune system. Probiotics may have some benefits, but most yogurts contain them—the reason why there is a class action lawsuit accusing Dannon of a false advertising campaign promoting the benefits of their yogurt over others. The suit charges that the claims merely convince consumers to pay more. But how else would the marketing team get paid?

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I’ve just discovered “Mad Men” in its second season. What a great show. The show reveals the lives of the employees of an advertising firm in the early 1960’s. What I really like about this show is that it shows an earlier part of American history without the rose-colored nostalgia that we are so used to. It’s gritty, real and sometimes very depressing.

Because the characters work for an advertising firm, there is a lot of insight into the cultural norms of the time which I find fascinating. It also allows the show to have “Mad Men” intros to the actual commercials for the show. So this week it had a little intro into a pharmaceutical commercial that told us drug companies were not permitted to advertise on television until 1997. Normally that sort of connection between a show and its advertisers would be annoying, but since it’s not subliminal product placement it’s actually very interesting. And of course back in the 60’s they were much more open about what advertisers sponsored what shows.

Speaking of nostalgia, here’s a clip from the show.

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From The Huffingtonpost:

As a rule, Republicans appreciate the value in defining the Democratic presidential nominee, and the GOP is usually pretty good at it. In 2000, Al Gore, they said, was an “exaggerator.” This was not only effective, thanks to a quick embrace by the media, it was also part of a narrative — when Gore takes credit for some of the successes of the ’90s, don’t believe him because he exaggerates

In 2004, John Kerry, they said was a “flip-flopper.” This, too, was relatively effective, and was once again parroted by the media. The narrative here was equally clear — in the first post-9/11 election, in a time of war, we don’t want someone who’s inconsistent.

Four years later, the effort to define Barack Obama is proving to be more difficult for Republican attack dogs. The GOP keeps experimenting with new memes, but not only are they not sticking, some even contradict each other.

It’s true the GOP are great at branding. If the GOP is the Bud of marketing, then the Democrats are the Coors (the Coors founder famously didn’t believe in marketing.) I marvel at the fact that I’ve heard repeated the nonsense that somehow Barack Obama is an elitist but George Bush, John McCain and even Hillary Clinton are everyday ordinary folks. It’s powerful stuff.

What’s really interesting is that John Kerry and John McCain are virtually the same person. They are both war heroes from rich and established families and both of their second wives are rich heiresses. But you rarely hear the jabs about John McCain’s wealth that we heard about Kerry. And certainly John McCain is the biggest flip-flopper of them all.

Marketing is key to the Bush Administration. Time and time again we have heard them describe their failures as being image problems only. Rumsfeld regretted calling the war the War on Terror as if it was called anything else it would have been a success. George Bush recently said:

Bush “admitted to the Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran. Phrases such as ‘bring them on’ or ‘dead or alive’ [in reference to Osama bin Laden,] he said, ‘indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace.’

So why is the GOP having a hard time branding Obama? I have two suggestions to add to the mix. Americans are weary of the Republicans right now and almost everything they say lacks credibility. It’s a case of the boy crying wolf too much. People are suspicious of their attacks knowing that the alternative they offer is bleaker. Fear was a decider in the 2004 election. People may feel duped that they voted out of fear and got something far worse in return. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Second, the Republicans are sounding increasingly like whiners. What America desperately wants right now is a positive message to put forth and the Republicans are coming up short.

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In honor of Euro 2008, here’s a rather appropriate commercial from Euro 2004.

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This cartoon by David Horsey reminded me of the Alaska Airlines commercials from the 80’s.

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Seems like some ad campaigns are universal. Click here to watch the video.

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I just watched the film Logan’s Run for the first time. I realize I may be being a little hard on the film, but so much of it didn’t make sense. If what you want is a roller coaster ride with little t & a mixed in then certainly Logan’s Run is a good movie.

But so much of it didn’t make sense. The characters spend a long time trying to get out of the city, only to spend an equally long time getting back into it. Then you find there really is no wizard at the wheel. Where did the renewal ritual start? Who made it and why?

Here’s the trailer. Best quote from the trailer:

Welcome to the 23rd Century. The perfect world of total pleasure. Imagine a world in which you need never be alone. Touch a switch; turn a dial and the perfect lover steps into your arms.

I think that pretty much tells you market they were going for.

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Here are some funny ads starring Akira Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola. Best friends drink Suntory whisky together.

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It seems that Starbucks in suing the Rat City Roller Girls because their logo looks too much like Starbucks’. Well I love the Rat City Roller Girls’ logo and here are some of my other favorite Seattle logos.

1. Essential Baking Company

2. Pagliacci Pizza

3. The Seattle Storm

4. Caffe Ladro

5. Uptown Espresso


6. Fuel Coffee

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Last Call is a Seattle organization whose mission is to reduce alcohol-related driving accidents by encouraging ride sharing and cab rides. I saw this ad on a bus today and thought it was interesting. First of all because James Dean was in a car accident, and second because James Dean appears to be played by an Asian American. Unfortunately, this was the largest photo I could find.

You can see what your supposed to do with this poster.

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Clever that The Postal Service is now featured on commercials for UPS (United Parcel Service.) For the commercial, click here. For info on the Postal Service, click here.

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You’ll be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Indeed, it took me quite a while to choose this one.

The South African History Channel ad reads: “Unfortunately, we do show repeats.” playing on the popular saying — history repeats itself.

Via AMERICAblog.

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Forgive me if I’m late to the party on this one, but I just read that Barack Obama is looking to get Teamster support in Pennsylvania when I saw this:

On Wednesday, the Teamsters convoy made its way to Reading, Pennsylvania, where the York Peppermint Patty factory is shutting down, moving more than 250 jobs to Mexico.

What a tragedy. And a sign of the times. I’ve never been a huge fan of Hershey, but York Peppermint Patties are really good. Especially in brownies.

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Starbucks has just announced they will close their stores for two hours to retrain their employees:

Starbucks Corp. will close the doors at nearly 7,100 of its U.S. coffee shops for three hours one night later this month to give baristas a refresher course on espresso standards.

I became a teen before the coffee craze, so while a connoisseur I haven’t the foggiest idea how to use an espresso machine. I therefore am mesmerized and bewildered by any coffee technical speak. But I love to read http://www.starbucksgossip.com where I can enter into a crazy alternate universe where everyone understands this jargon. Here’s a sample:

There is a 3 page action item on the portal today. We will now only pull double shots, we will never re-steam milk even if it han’t gone below the re-steaming mark, thermometers in every drink, shot glasses only unless it’s a espresso to go, get rid to the big pitchers….basically it seems like a meeting to reiterate how important it is for our company for all partners to be on board as we move onward to recreate the 3rd place with quality espresso drinks.

By espresso to go they mean you are supposed to pour directly into the cup when someone gets a single or doppio to go since they are typically consumed immediately. Read the message from Howard.

No, the email (voicemail) actually said that espresso shots to go are to be pulled directly into the cup. Re read it.

Us lay people can only say:

I have to check/ask for foam on my latte @ most of the stores I go into. Not extra foam, just the foam that it is supposed to be topped with!! I had this problem a couple of years ago, and it has now resurfaced. Retraining would be a good thing!!

I feel you w/ the foam issue…I have to do that too and I always order a macchiato. I don’t know how they could forget! Thank you Father Starbucks!!!

As, I’ve said before I don’t go to Starbucks unless desperate, but I have to admit maybe Schultz is on to something. McDonald’s is trying to compete, but Starbucks will always have the edge if it they go after the classy customers. They want their customers to ask “Do you really want someone who flips burgers making your espresso, someone who makes minimum wage and doesn’t give a shit?” My guess is that it will work though Starbucks has probably already reached its peak.

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I’ve always loved subliminal advertising as well as liminal (you know, it’s what’s above the subliminal.)

Via the Slog

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