an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Levi’s Friends Store: Find Out What Your Friends Wear

Posted by Rosepixie on June 15, 2010

Facebook has opened up all sorts of marketing opportunities for companies and many are taking advantage of these opportunities.  Some are finding creative ways of incorporating Facebook’s tools and capabilities into their marketing while others are just trying to make the best of the tools as they are presented.  One company that has incorporated Facebook’s “like” button into their own website in a rather intense way is Levi’s.  They’ve set up two special Facebook stores – one an “Everyone” section in the “Friends Store” store (apparently everyone is your friend, they’re just friends you don’t know):

This part of the store shows you everything anyone has recently “liked” from their catalog (apparently they’ve put “like” buttons on everything).  This is, apparently, where to look to simply find out what the most popular styles are in general, since it’s probably going to show you entirely the opinions of a bunch of strangers.  And if you “like” something from Levi’s, it’s where your opinion will be shown to a bunch of strangers.

But if you want to know what just your friends like, you can click on the “Friends” part of the “Friends Store”:

So, I didn’t log in to find out if my friends had any opinions about Levi’s (although I’m doubting that they did, since my friends aren’t really the type to go through an online catalog and “like” the styles they like).  Presumably, though, this is the page where I get to see what I should be wearing to be more like, or more likable, by my friends.

If you doubt my interpretation that this is marketing that’s trying to get people to all dress the same as their friends, check out the marketing for the marketing campaign:

The text reads:

Like-minded shopping starts here.

Because they don’t want you to be thinking about dressing individually, they want you dressing in their most popular style and then peer pressuring your friends into all dressing in it too.  Which is incredibly creepy.

And this is part of why I don’t like the idea of Facebook knowing everything I buy online.  I don’t want companies using what I buy to try and pressure my friends into buying it too.  I think that my life is more interesting because my friends aren’t me.  I know me.  I am me.  I already have a me in my life.  Why would I want more mes?  That would be colossally boring!  My friends are each their own person with their own likes, dislikes and styles and I like it that way.

So, Levi’s, I get what you’re doing with this campaign, but clones are boring.  Besides, doesn’t this completely conflict with their whole individuality message from the “Go Forth” campaign?

Posted in Fashion | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Old Navy: Be a Mannequin

Posted by Rosepixie on May 29, 2010

Old Navy has been using mannequins as their spokespeople for a while now.  They even created relationships, personalities and backstories for them.  It’s all a bit weird and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what to say about it on this blog for a while now.  Unfortunately, as bad as I thought the “supermodelquins” were by themselves, they’ve taken the whole thing one step further – now they’re actually asking fans to be mannequins themselves.  They’ve created a reality TV style series of ads portraying a contest with real women trying to be mannequins and fans get to go online and vote for which woman should win.  The ads are pretty brutal.  Here’s just a sampling.

So, to be a “supermodelquin”, you have to not move (even your hair) and have the right poses.  Because those things are really important.  And the prize is being molded into a mannequin.

At first, I thought maybe that wasn’t so bad.  The “supermodelquins” are incredibly unrealistically proportioned for most of the population.  They’re well named – they appear to be proportioned like ideal supermodels.  I kind of wonder how the clothing fits them (I assume that they make special versions to fit the mannequins or use clips to fit them like most stores do).  So molding a mannequin from a real person with regular proportions would be a nice change of pace and introduce some believability to the mix.

But I was wrong.  They aren’t molding the new mannequin to actually be the size and shape of the winner – they’re just using the same proportions as the mannequins they already have and creating a head to look like the winner.  Check out these two images from the official website.  The first is the contestants as real humans (albeit, probably somewhat Photoshopped because marketers can’t seem to resist their editing tools) and the second is a composite shot I made of the mannequin versions they turn into if you hover over them with your mouse.

Quite a difference, isn’t there?  And those are three beautiful women!  They didn’t really need scary long necks or twig-thin legs.  But that’s how the “supermodelquins” look, so I guess that’s what they get.

My problem here is that it really reinforces this weird idea of what Old Navy wants its customers to look like and it’s not a good image.  I don’t really want to shop somewhere that thinks I should be a supermodel.  Nor do I want to be told I should be one.  Mannequins standing in stores are bad enough, do we really need them holding contests to reinforce their standards of beauty too?

Not to mention that they’re just kind of creepy.  Don’t believe me?  Check out one of their ads from before the contest.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Duluth Trading Company: Pants vs. Animals

Posted by Rosepixie on May 11, 2010

These are a few commercials from a recent campaign Duluth Trading Company has run for it’s clothing.

These ads are incredibly light on information and don’t even really illustrate the product that well, since they are line drawings, but they are funny and highly memorable.  I’d have to say they’re pretty effective too, since I’d rather the pants that allow for greater flexibility than the pants that got the guy kicked in the head, wouldn’t you?

I haven’t got a lot else to say about these ads.  They present a nicely consistent campaign and do a pretty good job of getting a not-terribly memorable product name into your head.  I think they were actually probably a good choice on the part of the company, even if they aren’t terribly informative commercials.

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Women of Marvel: More Pin-Up Girls than Heroes

Posted by Rosepixie on April 24, 2010

Being female around Halloween can be challenging.  Having a female child around Halloween is even more challenging.  The problem is that nearly all Halloween costumes sold commercially for women and girls are either SEXY or so over-the-top girly that they may as well be SEXY.  So if you don’t want your four-year-old dressing as either a pink puffy princess or a sexed up version of a pop star, you’re probably out of luck.  Even when we get the option to be something cool, it’s clear that the creators of the costume sort of missed the point.

Take the Women of Marvel line from Disguise, for example.  This line consists of 23 different costumes representing only four different characters (which in itself is sad – Marvel actually does have quite a few great female characters and this line does not represent them well).  The line has costumes designed for different ages, ranging from little girls up through adults.

*sigh*  Pink?  Really?  Really?  Black Cat seems a slightly odd choice for poster girl, as well.  She’s not one of Marvel’s biggest drawing female characters for female fans.  Why not use one of the amazing women from the X-Men, a book extremely popular among female comic fans?  Or Invisible Woman or Spider-Girl, the two biggest female characters really familiar to younger fans?  Or maybe Ms. Marvel who has the company name as part of her name?

But I think I’m missing the point here.  I’m expecting “Women of Marvel” to be a line of costumes representing superheroes.  Maybe I’m mistaken about that impression.

And here we see the real problem.  This isn’t a line of superheroine costumes – it’s a line of pin-up girl costumes.  If they were heroes, the ads would show them, you know, as heroes.  Instead we see them as snapshots being pulled out of Spider-Man’s wallet.  So they aren’t even people – they’re pictures owned by a guy.  Great.  Now there’s something I want to be!  “Mommy, Mommy!  I want to be a pin-up girl for Halloween!  How about that pink Spider-Girl dress?” (Seriously, there are two pink Spider-Girl costumes in the line.)

The marketing sort of explains why the line consists of two characters from an alternate future timeline and two relatively minor characters and none of the actual costumes worn by… any of them (although Emma Frost’s is close, but she’s already SEXY).  And why every single costume is a dress.  The message here is that girls aren’t superheroes, they’re girly sex objects.  Boys can be superheroes, though, with fake muscles and everything!

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Vintage Friday: Foot Saver Shoes

Posted by Rosepixie on April 23, 2010

This is an ad from 1935 and is for Foot Saver Shoes.

The text reads:

Just a Foolish Vestal Virgin!

She went to the Masquerade Ball as a Vestal Virgin.  And everything was thrilling – till he asked her to sit out a dance.  It was then that she saw him looking at her feet – her weak points, she knew, the toes twisted, the arches swollen, the heels all calloused.  She shouldn’t have worn those revealing sandals to this party.

…He left for the West several days later.  A short note from him.  Then silence.  Gossips wondered what could have nipped their budding romance.  But she knew!

***

Women of every age are thinking, as never before, about the appearance of their bare feet.  Swimming, stockingless ensembles, openwork sandals – all reveal feminine feet to critical eyes.  And misshapen feet are not only unlovely to look at but they indicate foot troubles which exact their penalty in “crows feet” at the eyes, jagged nerves, loss of vitality.

Foot Saver Shoes are smart.  Your first glance will tell you that.  They breathe New York – Paris – in every line.  They flatter your feet, make them appear trim – yes, even dainty!

Yet Foot Savers are also comfortable.  A slender hidden spring supports the arch, makes walking once more a pleasure.  Correctly shaped over “free walking” lasts, they grasp the foot gently, but snugly, prevent the toes from jamming down in the point of the shoe, keep the heel from sliding.  Wear them and you can retain – or regain, if need be – true beauty of foot – something to remember with summer bathing days just ahead.

This ad made me laugh when I first came across it.  The story about the guy who dumped the girl because of her ugly feet just struck me as very funny.  Why would you even want a guy who would dump you for having less than perfect feet?  And the girl in the picture has very pretty feet indeed, so either she’s the woman in the story after having fixed her feet or (more likely) they just couldn’t bring themselves to use a model with less than perfect feet.

I also find it interesting that this ad talks about pretty open sandals, but shows closed, full-coverage leather shoes.

Still, I can understand wanting shoes that are both more comfortable and better for your feet.  It’s a worthwhile thing to look for, so it makes sense to advertise a product that way.  I’m just not sure about the story!

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American Apparel: Best Butt Contest

Posted by Rosepixie on April 6, 2010

American Apparel recently held a contest to find “the best bottom in the world”.  Anyone could enter, but they had to submit photographs of their butts wearing American Apparel clothing to be posted on the website and voted on and commented on by users.  Anyone could then vote and comment on any photograph they wanted.  The winners were chosen by the company, but the winners of the popular vote got prizes too.

Of course, when you went to the website, the first page you saw was the women’s category.

Notice the poses and the choices of clothing in the featured pictures.  The large picture at the top cycled through different images.

Here’s the guy’s page, which you had to choose to go to via a tiny link in the top corner of the screen that I completely missed until I went looking for it, wondering if this was a women’s only contest or if I was missing something (you can see the link in the image).

See how very different this page feels than the women’s page?  There’s a few sexualized poses, but not nearly as many and none of the men are exposing nearly as much skin as pretty much all of the women are.  Hell, one of them isn’t even a picture of someone’s butt!

Not surprisingly, I have quite a few problems with this particular marketing gimmick.  First of all, the presentation is awful.  Asking people to send in pictures of their butts is one thing, but posting them online and encouraging others to vote and comment on them is quite another.  Much of the site is basically soft-core porn images and the comments are horrid and demeaning, as the images are being treated as porn.  This is just about the worst kind of objectification and even worse than the passive objectification that is usually fed to us in advertisements, this promotion actually invites us to participate in objectifying people, judging them and commenting on their body parts.

Second, this promotion specifically restricts what contestants can wear when entering.  All entries must portray contestants wearing American Apparel garments from specified categories (panties (women), bodysuits (women) or briefs(men)).  Since all of the products available for men to wear are less revealing than the products allowed for women to wear, they already have a major advantage in the objectification department in this case.  There are numerous styles available for women, but they are almost universally smaller garments than those available to the men and there are several thong and string options, which there are none of in the men’s category.  This makes the contest even more heavily forced into the soft-core porn territory it likely would have fallen into anyway (given the topic).  It also restricts the entrants to only previous customers of American Apparel.

Now, American Apparel is known for it’s objectifying and sexist ads, so this really shouldn’t be a surprise.  It just sort of hit a new low, in my opinion.  This is the company getting free advertising images from customers that they can use on their website with little cost to themselves (effectively none if they rig the contest so that they choose someone they wanted to model for them in the first place).  It’s pretty revolting.  I knew there was a reason I’d never bought anything from them.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Reebok EasyTone Shoes: It’s All About the Butt

Posted by Rosepixie on March 20, 2010

These are three ads for Reebok EasyTone shoes.  It’s pretty obvious what the advertisers considered the main selling point of these shoes.

Not only does the camera tells us what we should focus on, but the way she emphasizes words and phrases things does too.  And clearly wardrobe was informed of the point of this commercial before they chose her outfit.

Um… who decided that the best way to advertise shoes that tone your body as you walk was to show a body writhing on a bed?  Because that’s just weird.  Ooh!  And we get bonus made-up statistics in this one!

Ah.  So now we get to the core of the message.  Women are just boobs and butts.  Clearly we need to be constantly worrying about those two attributes (I mean, the rest doesn’t really matter, right?).  I’m glad that there’s advertisers who are considerate enough to tell me that I’m just T&A and the rest is irrelevant.  Oh, and my T&A aren’t good enough either, so clearly I need these shoes to help tone my butt.  And apparently I’m just screwed when it comes to my boobs.

Sorry, Reebok, but women are more than just walking T&A and telling us that we are simply that (and not good enough at it to boot), is not a good idea.  This is how we’ve gotten to the messed up situation we’re in where three year olds think they need boyfriends and six year olds wear miniskirts, because even our shoes tells us that we’re just eye candy for boys.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Everlon Knot: Bonding

Posted by Rosepixie on March 2, 2010

This commercial for the Everlon Diamond Knot Collection was sent to me by a friend.

I absolutely have to agree with the friend who sent this to me that this just might be the least creepy diamond ad I’ve ever seen.  It makes no creepy statements about the diamond but rather shows the couple being in love and bonding over an outdoor skating session.  It’s not perfect – it does equate the ring to love, which really doesn’t make any sense no matter how many times I hear it.  Still, it’s nice to see a jewelry ad that spends some time showing the couple just being together and happy rather than obsessing over the ring.  It also makes no statements about how big the diamond is – another plus.  If this is the best we get when it comes to jewelry ads, that’s a little sad, but really, it’s not too bad, either.  It made me smile.

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Vintage Friday: ICI Fibres

Posted by Rosepixie on February 12, 2010

This is a commercial from the 1970s for ICI Fibres men’s fashions.

This commercial makes me laugh.  It’s so trippy!  I feel like I’m watching an ad executive’s idea of a Dali painting!  The problem is that it really doesn’t do that much to get me interested in the actual clothes.  Mostly I enjoyed watching it as a weird art film.  I appreciate that it tries to show how easy it is to move in the clothing when the voice over is talking about that, but I couldn’t help but notice that when the voice is gushing about how many great colors the shirts come in, we’re seeing pretty boring, muted colors on the screen.  So while I think this was a fun idea and certainly an amusing ad to watch, I have to wonder how effective it actually was at selling clothing.

Posted in Fashion, Vintage | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Etro: Colors and Camouflage

Posted by Rosepixie on January 30, 2010

This is an ad for Etro fashions and was found in a magazine.



This ad definitely caught my attention with it’s unusually bright colors.  The problem is that even though it is extremely striking and the images are very attractive, it doesn’t display the clothing very well.  The bright backgrounds are really cool and definitely totally different from what I’m used to seeing in fashion ads, but the dresses blend in too well!  They’re all in exactly the same hues as the backgrounds and just as busy, making the details not so easy to see.

The idea of looking like an exotic bird of paradise is definitely conveyed here, though.  That idea is appealing to many and just the impression might be enough to get some people to look more into the line – check out the website or something.  But is that enough for such a large (4 page) ad?  Wouldn’t you want to actually get people to go “ooh!  I want that!”?  In this case, maybe getting them interested and standing out from the crowd was enough.  I don’t know.

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