an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for September, 2009

Got Milk?: It Makes Common Mutant Sense!

Posted by Rosepixie on September 30, 2009

This is an advertisement for milk that was found in a comic book.

Milk 1The text reads:

X-Men Origins: Wolverine only in theaters

Got Milk?

X marks the spot.

My powers to regenerate might be top secret but my ability to re-energize is simple.  Milk has protein to help build muscle and a unique mix of nutrients to help you refuel.  So, eat right, train hard and drink lowfat milk.  That’s just common mutant sense.

Body by Milk

I think the “Got Milk?” ad campaign is brilliant in general, but this particular ad stood out.  Not only is this not using the celebrity pictured here, but the fictional character he’s playing to sell milk, but it also tries to sell it to you on the basis that you might be a mutant too (otherwise why would it matter to you if it makes “common mutant sense”?).  This is niche marketing if I’ve ever seen it.  Somebody on marketing staff for this campaign said “hey, fanboys kind of live in their own little comic book worlds, right?  So, instead of just putting milk ads in comic books (which they do all the time), why don’t we make a special one aimed just at them?  What geek movie is coming out soon?”  And you know what?  I bet more readers stopped to actually read this ad in their comic books than to read the ones with race car drivers and rap stars.


Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kingory: Game or “Adult Entertainment”?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 29, 2009

This is a banner ad for Kingory that was found on a website for shortening URLs.

Kingory 1

This ad appears to be for some kind of porn game, doesn’t it?  The line “come play me” particularly bothers me.  It’s selling the girl, not the game, and people aren’t products (no matter what the ad agency seems to believe).  Even weirder, the game (which claims to be the “most-played web game”, but is not one I’ve ever heard of, which strikes me as suspicious) is a war strategy game with what appears to be building, resource management and troop disbursement.  This game does not appear to have anything to do with sex or even women.  Now, the Evony ads are rather notorious for using breasts to sell a civilization building game, but they at least don’t say “come play me“, just “start your journey now, my lord” and “save your lover”.  This seems somehow worse to me, since it’s actively implying that you get to “play” or control a woman.  I don’t know.  It just creeped me out.  Anyone else have thoughts on this one?

Edit: Here’s another version of this ad (this one doesn’t even give the title of the game).  Best of all, this one was found in an article about racist ads (not featured in the article, but as the ad breaking up the article).

Kingory 2

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

Movie Monday: Where The Wild Things Are

Posted by Rosepixie on September 28, 2009

These are two posters for the movie Where the Wild Things Are.

Where the Wild Things Are 1Where the Wild Things Are 2

I really like the first poster, but as visually appealing as the second poster is, I don’t think it works as well.  The first poster is well done on so many levels.  It’s visually appealing, it works with the tagline (“there’s one in all of us”) by showing both the Wild Thing and the kid letting out a great Wild-Thing-esque scream, and it recalls the book by having the Wild Thing both too big for the poster and almost an illusion (did the whole thing really happen, or was it in the boy’s imagination?).  That’s a lot to ask from one poster, but this one does it really well.  And everything about it is unmistakably Where the Wild Things Are, from the wolf suit and crown to the look of the Wild Thing himself.

The second poster is very attractive with it’s feeling of openness, but I don’t think it works as well.  While I like the idea of the Wild Thing peeking out from behind one of the trees (which really do call Sendak’s illustrations to mind nicely), it’s too cute a composition.  Wild Things aren’t supposed to be “cute”, they’re supposed to be wild and swinging from branches!  Somehow this just didn’t work in execution.  It also doesn’t match the tagline at all, or at least not obviously like the first poster did.  This one doesn’t get me excited like the first poster did.  Interested, maybe, but not excited at all.  Which is too bad, since if anything, Where the Wild Things Are is exciting!

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Pier 1 Imports: Furnishings for Squirrels!

Posted by Rosepixie on September 27, 2009

This ad was an insert in one of the local papers in Austin, TX and is for Pier 1 Imports.

Pier 1 Imports 1The text reads:

Pier 1 Imports

Creature Comforts

Hey critter, scamper in today for acorn-ucopia of savings!

up to 25% off

“Hey critter”?  I have to wonder if this ad is really aimed at humans or if Pier 1 Imports has a new division of products aimed at squirrels and chipmunks, because I can’t really think of any humans I know who identify themselves as “critters”.  And if Pier 1 has started selling products for squirrels, why are they advertising them in a human newspaper?  It doesn’t seem like very well-targeted marketing.  Of course, I’m not really sure how you would advertise to squirrels…  Anybody have any ideas?

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

Dove: PSA or Ad?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 26, 2009

This is a Dove ad that has gotten a lot of attention, both praise and criticism.

I like the idea they were going for here, because they’re right that the beauty industry is incredibly harmful to girls and women and those images and messages are unimaginably damaging.  However, Dove is unquestionably part of the beauty industry.  They sell beauty products and this was an ad.  Ostensibly it’s an ad for a self-esteem program on their website, but they wouldn’t have made it with the name “Dove” all over it the way it is if they weren’t also trying to get viewers to think about their products and see them favorably.  If you go to the website, the main pictures in the middle are all about self-esteem, which is great, but the first link at the top is for their products and there’s a big ad along the side stating that if you enter the UPC from one of their products they will donate $1 to a self-esteem program.

I’m not terribly fond of “buy our stuff and we’ll donate to this charity” promotions.  Dove has buckets of money.  If they were truly serious about donating a meaningful amount of money to these programs, they wouldn’t tie it to people buying their products.  They aren’t in need of customers, they have plenty of them (even I buy their stuff), so it’s not like they need to tie it to sales this way to make the donation possible.  They don’t.  And how many customers do you think realistically go and enter that code?  Again, if they really meant it, they could donate for every sale, not every customer who manages to learn about the program, buy a product and bother to go enter a code on the website.  I just have trouble seeing it as real charity when it’s got so many weird strings like this for no real good reason.

So, I kind of wandered off topic from the ad itself there, but I think it all ties back to the same idea.  Dove is marketing an idea that they don’t really seem to be behind.  They say they’re encouraging “real beauty”, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman over maybe size 12 in their ads and I know I’ve never seen a woman with a visible disability or anything like that.  So their definition of “real” beauty still seems pretty conventional.  And I have trouble taking their dire warnings about the beauty industry seriously (even though they are absolutely right about it) when they are part of that very same industry and filled the ad with the very images they are supposedly against.  The message is great and if this exact same video had been produced as a public service announcement or by an advocacy group I’d be all for it, but as it is, I’m deeply skeptical of it because it’s made by the very industry it’s saying is evil.

Posted in Beauty | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Modern Corsetry

Posted by Rosepixie on September 25, 2009

This is an ad for corsets from a 1934 catalog by National (a mail-order company).

Corsets 1

(click on the image for full size)

The text reads:

Silhouettes are made… not born

That is the Marvel of Modern Corsetry!

You will have lovely curves youthful bust If You Wear This Foundation!

Gently Molds the Figure to a Sleek… Graceful Smoothness  $1.98

Fits figures with hips 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

Whether you’re just a “wisp of a thing” or need rigid control, this garment is an excellent foundation for the 1934 fashions.  Concealed boning over the diaphragm gives you a nice flat “tummy”; elastic inserts at the sides mold your hips and thighs… and a special insert at the bottom takes up the strain when you bend.  Rayon-figured Cotton Poplin with Rayon-and-cotton Jersey bust section.  Wonderful for only $1.98

Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 32 to 44 bust.  Shpg. wt. 1 lb. 2 oz. $1.98

Skinlike Lastex Foundation

You never felt such freedom

You’ll look pounds slimmer

So comfortable you’ll never know it’s on!  $1.98

Not even the tiniest bulge will show after you have put it on!

Fits figures with hips 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

“Skinlike” takes every little wayward bulge and puts it firmly in place.  “Skinlike” moulds to your figure into a smooth, unbroken line, straight hips, small waist – and mind you, there’s not a bone in it.  Two-way stretch Lastex right to the bust-line “does the trick”, and above that it’s softest mesh and definitely shaped to give you bosom that new uplift look.  For that slim, supple, youthful look, wear “Skinlike.”

Colors: Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 30 to 38 bust.  Shipping weight, 10 oz.  $1.98




Won’t bulge

Won’t ride up

Lastex foundation

The Smart 1934 Contour… from the uplifted bust to the flowing back line… $1.98

Fits figures with 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

Rayon-Brocaded Poplin front with the new pointed bust.  Two-way stretch Lastex back to assure smooth hips and thighs and a nice flat seat.  It’s backless for evening frocks.  It’s boneless, yet it gives all the necessary support to the figure, and is absolutely guaranteed not to “ride up.”  Shoulder straps are elastic.

Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 30 to 38 bust.  Shipping weight, 10 oz. $1.98

This ad just made me laugh with all of it’s assurances that the corsets are super comfortable, but also capable of totally reshaping your body and making you appear magically thinner!  I’m sorry, but corsets don’t work that way.  Not that they can’t be comfortable, because they totally can, but if it’s really a corset, you absolutely know that you’re wearing it.  Anyway, I thought it was interesting.  I have a few more corset ads (and a bunch of ads for other stuff) from the same year that I’ll post in later weeks that are also interesting for other reasons.

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

Hermes: Yak Saddles!

Posted by Rosepixie on September 24, 2009

This ad was found in a fashion magazine and is for Hermes, a brand that makes clothing, household items and various random fashionable things.

Hermes 1aHermes 1b

Hermes 1cHermes 1d

(click on the images for full size)

The text reads:


An Indian Winter

This ad makes me laugh.  I love the yaks in high-fashion saddles.  Who thought up this ad?  Seriously, it is just so weird!  It makes me wonder if you can really buy a yak saddle from Hermes.  And if you can, why do they make such a thing?  There can’t possibly be that much demand for overpriced, fancy yak saddles!  I mean, it’s pretty, but it’s for a yak, not an thoroughbred horse!  Even the one in the ad doesn’t look especially cooperative (of course, it’s probably wondering what kind of idiot tries to lead a yak around in the snowy mountains wearing a cashmere skirt and high-heels).  I like this ad, though.  It’s quirky and strange in kind of a fun way.  It makes absolutely no sense, but it’s fun to look at!

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Philips: Exercise, with Electronics?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 23, 2009

This is one of a series of banner ads that I’ve seen recently on news websites and blogs for Philips, which is an electronics manufacturer.

Philips 1Philips makes electronics, like TVs and electric razors and cordless phones and Ultrasound machines.  Not time or, as far as I can tell, really anything that has to do with exercise (they don’t have a section of treadmills or anything like that on their website).  So what this ad has to do with their company, I really don’t know.  And it’s just one of a whole series like it!  Some suggest that taking breaks at work is important.  Well, yeah, but what does that have to do with Philips?  Some just say things equivalent to “health is a good thing to have”, which seems equally weird.  Now, it’s possible this is all simply supposed to somehow cause consumers to equate Philips with health, which puts the company in a good light, but this is a weird way of trying to do that.  I mean, the ads don’t even tell you what Philips is!  I just don’t get it and mostly it made me think Philips needs to rethink their marketing as it’s largely making them look confused, which does not make me want to buy one of their products.

Posted in Electronics | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Pantene: Beautiful Storytelling

Posted by Rosepixie on September 22, 2009

This is a Korean ad for Pantene hair care products and I found it by accident on YouTube.  Just to warn you, it’s four minutes long, but it’s very well worth watching.

So putting aside the fact that you can’t actually play like that on a taped-together violin, this is a masterful piece of storytelling.  It’s touching and beautiful, the acting is amazing and wonderfully subtle.  I was totally impressed by every bit of it.  If it weren’t for the girl’s hair being so focused on during her performance (and being so shiny and soft and bouncy! like in every other hair commercial), I wouldn’t have even thought this was a commercial until the logo at the end.  It’s absolutely wonderful storytelling.  I have no idea what any of it has to do with hair care products, but the tagline “you can shine” did work at the end of that story.  As an ad for Pantene, I’m not sure this works, but as a mini-movie I think it’s fantastic and I really enjoyed watching it.

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

IMVU: Dating Service?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 21, 2009

This is a banner ad for IMVU (I don’t think it stands for anything?) that was found while browsing the internet (I think it was on a news site, but I don’t remember anymore).

IMVU 1Doesn’t this look like a dating service ad made with avatars from Second Life or The Sims 2?  Even the “Meet New People” tag at the bottom screams “sleazy online dating service!”  Not to mention the girl who looks kind of like maybe she’s only wearing a bra and the couple making out like they’re in the latest teen movie.  Apparently IMVU is not a dating service, though.  It’s… well… I’m not actually sure what it is.  The website claims that it’s a “3D Avatar Chat Instant Messenger and Dress-Up Game” and I’m not sure what to make of that.  It sounds like it’s sort of a virtual world-lite.  Apparently you can make an avatar and choose a setting to be in and… I don’t know what happens after that.  You chat with other avatars that are there or you play with it like it’s a virtual paper-doll or…?  See, it’s kind of confusing.  And somehow, the idea that it’s really just a dating service with avatars never goes away.  So, while I’d like to say that this ad is probably misleading, if it is, then it’s misleading in the same way that most of their website is and they have bigger problems than one banner ad that sends the wrong message!

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