an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween: Sexy Dog Costumes!

Posted by Rosepixie on October 31, 2009

Clearly, what everyone really wanted for Halloween was matching sexy costumes for themselves and their dogs!  It’s a good thing that Spoiled Rotten Doggies was there to help us all out with that!

Some of their awesome options:

The Queens of Hearts:

Queen of Hearts Costumes

Candy Corn Witches:

Candy Corn Witch Costumes

Treasure Hunting Pirates:

Treasure Hunting Pirate Costumes

And possibly the most disturbing, Sexy Puppy School Girl:

School Puppy Costume

And… yeah.  I’m not even going to do a commentary on this one.  I will quote from SheFinds, however:

Can something be dressed up in a slut costume if it usually walks around naked?


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

Vintage Friday: Colgate with Mighty Mouse!

Posted by Rosepixie on October 30, 2009

This is an old ad for Colgate toothpaste starring Mighty Mouse!

This ad made me laugh so much!  It’s a bunch of cartoon mice jumping around on an aerosol toothpaste dispenser.  It doesn’t do much for explaining why you should brush your teeth, but it does make it look fun!  I guess that was a logical approach, seeing as this seems to have been aired during Mighty Mouse cartoons.  Still, it’s a pretty entertaining way to try and sell toothpaste!

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Oliver at the Window: Mystery and Trepidation

Posted by Rosepixie on October 29, 2009

This is the cover of the recent picture book, Oliver at the Window.

Oliver at the Window

I love this cover.  I think that it’s brilliantly designed.  The image is bright and simple, but it evokes a lot.  The little boy, Oliver, and the lion are watching out the window.  The way they are peeking out suggests to me that they are eager to watch out the window, but fearful or worried about what they might see (or what it might mean).  It definitely makes me want to read the book to find out what Oliver and the lion are watching out the window or waiting for.

Apparently this book is about a child who is starting preschool and each day he wonders which parent will pick him up, which house he will be staying in that night.  His parents are divorced and he’s clearly confused, scared and wondering about the whole situation.  His uncertainty is clearly portrayed on the cover of this book, but it’s still comforting somehow.  You know that whatever he’s worried about will be ok (if nothing else, he’s got that lion, right?).  This was a brilliantly designed cover!

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Dora: From Explorer to… Girly-Girl?

Posted by Rosepixie on October 28, 2009

One of the most popular (and, consequently, marketable) characters for children right now is Dora the Explorer.  She’s been unbelievably popular for a number of years now with kids in the preschool and toddler ages.  Her popularity cuts across both genders, multiple races (she herself is Latina and speaks both English and Spanish in her show), and a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.  She’s one of those characters that you probably know well if you’ve spent much time with a toddler or preschooler in America in the past five years.

Dora’s show tells the stories of her adventures with her best friend, Boots (the monkey).  They go everywhere, from jungles and deserts to pirate ships and imaginary storybook lands.  Dora’s done it all.  And she works hard, she really earns her “explorer” title.  She follows a map for each adventure and must overcome obstacles to achieve the goal set before her.  We know that her adventures can’t all be imaginary because one of her friends is the son of some animal conservationists and she goes on quite a few animal rescue missions with him.  He even earned his own spin-off show (a serious rarity in children’s programming), Go, Diego, Go! Dora is not a girl who stays still.  Here she is:

Dora the Explorer

But apparently someone at Nickelodeon has decided that Dora is a) only a girls’ property and b) in need of a make-over.  So Dora is getting a brand new look and a brand new show – Dora’s Explorer Girls.  This time, Dora is a tween who lives in a city and has a bunch of girl friends (but no boys!) and well… doesn’t go on any adventures.

Here’s Dora and her new friends (click for full size):

From the website:

Moms have grown to love Dora the Explorer almost as much as their little girls do.  She’s the perfect role model, a heroine little girls can relate to, learn from, and play with.

But little girls grow up.  (Sigh.)  Yes, it’s true.  Somewhere along the line that gentle, unassuming nature gives way to bold opinions as her world expands.

And older girls need role models, too.

That’s where Dora’s Explorer Girls come in.  This Dora is the same girl at heart, just a little older and on a whole new kind of adventure.  She’s the leader of her group of school friends: Naiya, Kate, Emma and Alana.  They’re the Explorer Girls, and they work together to solve mysteries, help others in their community and have lots of fun along the way.  They’re a whole group of heroines with varying interests and talents that older girls can learn from.

Of course, there will always be little girls.  (Thank goodness.)  So, the Dora we all know and love won’t change a bit.  She’ll still be the same take-charge girl leading your little ones on adventures for years to come.

And now, older girls can continue the friendship for a few more years.

Maybe your big girl would like to be an Explorer Girl?  Check out the rest of the site to start your child on a new adventure with Dora!

Wow.  So, Dora is apparently only appealing to girls (and their moms).  I wonder what that means for all the little boys and dads that I’ve met who absolutely adore Dora the Explorer?  Beyond that, it’s evidently such a tragedy that little girls (who, of course,  are all gentle and unassuming as small children) grow up to *gasp* have their own opinions and personalities!  “Thank goodness” that “there will always be little girls” who “won’t change one bit.”

Um… guys?  Dora had more spunk and personality as that cute, round little girl up top than she does as a thin, rather generically “hip” tween!  From her “Explorer Girls” bio:

Hola! Thanks for checking out the Explorer Girls site.  Soy Dora.  I live in Puerto Verde with my whole family: mi mama, mi papi, y mi abuela.  Plus my little sister Isabella and my little brother Guillermo.  My best friends and I are the Explorer Girls, and we work together to keep our city clean and green.  Whether starting a Save the Rainforest club at school or figuring out a mystery, we love to do everything together!  Todas juntas!

My favorite food: Arroz con pollo.  My papi makes the yummiest chicken and rice!

My favorite sport: It’s a tie between soccer and baseball!

My must-have: My friends, of course!  They’ve always got my back.

You can find me: All over the place!  If I’m not at school or on the soccer field, I’m probably at the Arco Iris Cafe with the Explorer Girls, or at a beach clean-up, or on a bike-a-thon, or volunteering at the animal shelter… there’s just so many great things to do in the city!

Big plans: I’m going to volunteer at the neighborhood animal shelter.  I love my dog, Cora, SOOOO much, and I know we can make a big difference for lots of animals who need a helping hand.  Or paw. 🙂

I don’t like: Litterbugs.

Litterbugs?  Seriously?  That’s the best you could do?  Ok, so Dora went from an “I can (literally) do anything” girl to a rather stereotyped, although clearly well intentioned, and kind of bland tween.  What about her friends?  Are they well rounded characters?  Let’s see – Naiya’s bio should be subtitled “Science Girl”, Kate is the actress (she thanks you for being her audience when you click on her bio), Emma is the musician and Alana is the athlete (soccer may be her only sport, but clearly it’s her identity).  Oh yeah, this is a well-rounded bunch.

And, again, no boys to be seen.  Because you couldn’t really be a tweenaged girl if you even acknowledged that boys exist.  Dora’s best friend was Diego – a boy!  What happened to him?  And what happened to Boots?  Admittedly, it might be hard to explain why there’s a monkey hanging around outside the middle school waiting for you, but still…  Does Dora really seem like the kind of girl who would care?  She’d be off on her way to an adventure in Antarctica before anyone finished asking the question anyway!

But this is clearly being marketed as pink, fashionable and girly.  And being an explorer is none of those things.  Being an explorer means getting dirty, asking questions and forming your own opinions.  And none of those are things that we want girls doing, are they?Of course, it would all be better if they could just stay little girls forever.


Posted in Entertainment | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Norton: Chicken vs. Dokken

Posted by Rosepixie on October 27, 2009

These are two commercials for Norton anti-virus software.  I saw the “deny” version while watching a show on Hulu and was amused and went looking for it to highlight on this blog.  In searching for it, I also found the “allow” version, so I thought I’d share both.

I am normally not terribly impressed with software commercials.  They are usually pretty useless and leave me wondering what the software is and why I should care (and sometimes what just happened in the commercial).  These commercials didn’t suffer from either of those problems.  They have a fun narrative and show very clearly what their product is and why I should care about it.  I think the “deny” version works a little better than the “allow” version as a solo piece, but they work best together.

Whoever came up with this did a great job.  It’s hilarious and fun to watch.  Somehow it hits all the right notes.  Even the chicken with the switch-blade, which could so easily have come off as stupid, works really well!  Having had personal experience with Norton, this doesn’t make me want to buy their software.  If I wasn’t personally acquainted with them already (and thereby somewhat suspicious of their anti-virus software), though, this would totally make me think about what kind of protection my computer had and consider one of their products to improve it.  Since I’m not likely to buy their software, I’ll just enjoy these totally awesome commercials!

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Movie Monday: The Last Airbender

Posted by Rosepixie on October 26, 2009

This is a trailer for The Last Airbender, which is based on the first season of the amazing Nickelodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The voice over for this trailer talks a lot… and says basically nothing.  That’s really what struck me after watching this.  It gives absolutely no information at all.  We don’t get the kid’s name, any information about who he is or why he’s important or what he does or why the world needs a savior or… anything.  It’s kind of disappointing.  And one of the biggest strengths of the show is the awesome ensemble cast, of which there is no sign in this trailer.  I’m betting a lot of fans won’t be going to see Aang (the kid shown here), they’ll be going to see one of the other main characters.  But there isn’t even a hint that they will be there!  And for people who aren’t fans, they’ve got to be clueless after this trailer!  It gives no reasons to go see the movie!  What’s going on?  Who is this kid?  What’s with the circle of candles?

The fleet of ships did look awesome (and just like the Fire Nation ships in the show), but they totally couldn’t save this pitiful trailer, in my opinion.

Anyone else have any other opinions about this one?  Is there anyone who wants to go see the movie because of this trailer?  Why?

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

Dove: Really Pro-Age!

Posted by Rosepixie on October 25, 2009

This is an ad for Dove’s Pro-Age line of products and it was evidently banned in the US for showing too much skin (although I’m guessing that if the women had been younger that never would have happened).

I actually really like this ad.  It’s tastefully done and the women in, while still obviously styled and everything, actually have wrinkles and age spots and all the natural, normal signs of having lived to be old enough to have grandchildren be retired.  The products this advertises actually do seem to celebrate this as well.  They promise to be gentle and to help “get rid of dead surface cells” on skin, but they say nothing about removing wrinkles or improving “elasticity” nor do they use any of the other weird anti-aging buzz-words.

This ad actually feels like it is genuinely trying to say that it’s ok to both look and be old.  That’s pretty contrary to nearly everything else the beauty industry says.  I’m impressed.  It’s clearly trying to sell products, but it’s doing it in a respectful, tasteful way that actually seems to mean what it says.  This is an ad about aging that isn’t telling me, at age 28, that I should already be trying to prevent wrinkles.  I felt like it was telling me to go ahead and live my life and not worry about it because I’ll still be beautiful in forty, fifty, sixty years.  And that is a message that I really appreciate getting.

I’m disappointed that this ad isn’t on the air.  It’s by far one of the best ads I’ve ever seen from the beauty industry and I think it does a great job of conveying a message that women don’t hear the vast majority of the time.  Some seem never to have heard it at all.  This is a message that deserves to be heard and I’m impressed that Dove managed to convey it so effectively.  Thank you, Dove!

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

Liquid Trust: Questionable in All Ways

Posted by Rosepixie on October 24, 2009

This is an ad found in a men’s magazine for Liquid Trust.

Liquid Trust 1

I had another ad for this same product, but I don’t have an image of it to share (it’s pretty boring anyway – a guy in a lab coat with a beaker of red liquid and a lot of text).  What that one says that I wanted to include with this image, however, is “new studies show that the human hormone Oxytocin fuels intimacy, reduces your stress in social situations and compels others to trust you.”

Now, I find this ad by itself pretty scary, but combined with that statement it’s even more creepy.  I’m sure there’s a fair amount of science behind this and the website states:

“We are strongly opposed to the use of Liquid Trust or any other thing for immoral or manipulative purposes. We truly hope that you will only use our products when you have only the best intentions in mind.”

It doesn’t feel like that statement is very genuine, though.  Now, perhaps it’s just the marketing department that’s truly putting such a creepy, controlling, manipulative spin on this product and it’s “virtues”, but since the marketing department controls the flow of information, that’s the impression the company is giving.  And while the handcuffs are a big reason for my creeped out by this ad, it’s not because I think handcuffs can’t be enjoyed by a couple that really does trust each other.  It’s just that I don’t think you can manufacture trust and I find the idea that they are selling such a snake oil product as a way to get women to submit to you willingly to be incredibly skeezy and morally repugnant.

Obviously, this ad isn’t meant for me.  Still, I feel like it’s incredibly manipulative in the same way that books like The Game are.  They promise that if you play manipulative mind games, all your most selfish dreams can come true and it’s all ok because you aren’t forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want!  It’s giving men a free pass to be manipulative and selfish and, worse, self-righteous if they don’t get what they want.  That’s not ok.

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Vintage Friday: 1950s Skating with Coca-Cola

Posted by Rosepixie on October 23, 2009

This is an ad from the 1950s that invokes nostalgia to sell Coca-Cola.

I totally get what this ad is trying to do and I think that it does a pretty good job of creating the “old fashioned” feel that it’s going for.  The picture on the wall that the ad starts with, the couples with skates, the guy in the sweater talking about how skating has been popular for generations, it all works together great.  And I assume this was made to run during the winter, so I guess I see why they would choose to go with this theme.

But I grew up doing this kind of winter activity and I can’t remember anyone ever coming in from skating, sledding or any other outdoor winter activity and asking for something “ice cold” to drink!  When you’re doing something fun in the snow and ice, you come in because it’s either gotten too cold or too dark, at which point you need to warm up.  For this, the ideal thing is to sit by a fireplace with hot chocolate or mulled wine or some other hot drink and sip slowly and just enjoy the warmth seeping through your body.  You don’t want more cold!

So while I actually do think this is a good commercial, it made me laugh because the first part made me want hot chocolate, not a cold soda!

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

Gables Pressler: Not-So-Green Marketing

Posted by Rosepixie on October 22, 2009

This is a brochure that I got in the mail from an apartment complex called Gables Pressler.

The front:

Gables Pressler 1

The inside:

(click on the images for full size)

The text on the front reads:

A Community in Your shade of green

Gables Pressler

The inside lists these “Green Amenities”:

– Stained concrete and bamboo flooring

– Granite countertops with stainless appliances

– Computer nooks and bookshelves

– Verdant courtyard and large pool

– Washer and dryer in each residence

– Hybrid car electrical outlets in parking garage

So clearly this apartment complex is trying to sell itself as being Earth-friendly.  The problem is that I’m not convinced.  First of all, this brochure is printed on glossy, high quality cardstock that in no way appears recycled (and is not marked as such anywhere).  It also came in a clear plastic sleeve.  Seriously.  A plastic sleeve with a gummed down flap.  Doesn’t that scream “Green”?  There is a little disk (that blue circle in the picture) that is apparently embedded with seeds and will grow flowers when planted.  That’s a very cute touch, I must say, and likely the reason they decided to use an envelope.  But why not use a cute recycled paper envelope with their logo on it instead of the wasteful clear plastic?

The “green” amenities don’t really impress me either.  The only feature listed there that actually strikes me as “green” (unless you want to be literal and count the garden) is the hybrid car outlets in the garage.  Now, if you read into the giant block of rather uninviting text it also lists they provide energy efficient appliances, “organic interior finishes” (I’m not sure what makes interior finishes “organic” and suspect that it’s as subjective, since “organic” isn’t a very well regulated term), and solar shades.  And if those are really what they claim, that’s potentially more Earth-friendly than many apartment complexes.  That said, that rooftop garden must use a lot of water (not to mention the pool and on-site dog bath).  Despite the promise of concrete floors, which sounds decidedly unappealing, this place sounds more “posh” and “snooty” than it does “green”.

The biggest impression that I got from this brochure was that someone missed the point.  I don’t know if it’s the people behind the complex itself, which would imply some problems with the complex itself (or at least with the idea that it’s really Earth-friendly).  This might just be a disconnect is with the marketing people (who I assume probably aren’t even connected to the apartment complex), which only implies some really dumb marketing that should never have made it to press.  Since all I have to go on is the marketing, I really don’t know which it is.  I hope it’s the marketing and I hope someone learned from this and decided to hire a different marketing firm in the future.

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