an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for November, 2009

Movie Monday: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Posted by Rosepixie on November 30, 2009

A friend of mine pointed out that a sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks is coming out this Christmas.  Here’s the extended trailer.

So, most of the trailer looks like more of the same thing the first movie had.  Cheap jokes and easy gags.  No real surprises there.

And then we get the Chipettes.  Now, I grew up watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and I was a girl, so I was a fan of the Chipettes.  Mostly I remember the really awesome movie where they all flew hot air balloons in a nonsensical race around the world for dolls filled with diamonds.  It had a great sequence of the girls singing “We’re the Girls of Rock and Roll” that I remember vividly.

But somehow I feel a little scarred by the Chipettes singing “Single Ladies”.  It’s just a terrible song for them.  They’re little girls – why did they pick that song?  And the movie is going to be marketed (as was the first one) to little kids – why did they pick that song?  There’s just something not very kid-friendly about “if you like it than you should have put a ring on it” that makes it feel extra wrong in this setting.

But the first movie did well and I’m sure this one will too.  Anyone else have a different reaction to this trailer?


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

L’Oreal Feria Hair Coloring

Posted by Rosepixie on November 29, 2009

This is a commercial for Loreal Feria, a line of hair dyes.  I came across it on YouTube.

There’s something very odd to me about saying that your hair should be the color of your voice.  Beyond the simple fact that for most people sound doesn’t have color, it’s just a weird concept.  Why your hair?  Why not your lips?  Clothing might make more sense, maybe, but hair somehow seems about as appropriate as saying your shoes should be the color of your voice, which sounds pretty weird and random.

I’m also pretty certain that a bizarre claim like this would never be used in an ad trying to sell hair coloring products to men.  This kind of weird nonsensical conflation of personality, different physical traits and beauty products is largely only found in ads for women’s products.  I’m certain someone could find me some examples to the contrary, and I’d love to see them, but I’m coming up blank trying to think of any!

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

The Carle Honors and the Eric Carle Museum

Posted by Rosepixie on November 28, 2009

This is a poster that was made to advertise the Carle Honors, which benefited the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

I love this poster and I think it’s perfect for the Eric Carle Museum and the Carle Honors.  Gerald and Piggie (the two cute characters featured in the poster) are the stars of a series of books by Mo Willems (probably most famous for the Pigeon).  The poster is adorable and cleverly links picture book art (the characters) with the kind of art usually categorized as “fine art” (the paintings and sculptures they are creating their own versions of).  This goes hand-in-hand with the museum’s mission of displaying picture book art the same way fine art always has been and inviting people to appreciate it in a new way.  I think it’s a fantastic poster!

Posted in Advocacy, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Vintage Friday: Nainsook

Posted by Rosepixie on November 27, 2009

This is another ad from 1934.  This time it’s for men’s underwear (we’ve had enough women’s, I thought it was the men’s turn).

This ad is from the same catalog as the corset ads that I’ve posted before, but the tone is so different!  Those are all about how the corsets feel and how they will make your life better, this is all about how the nainsooks are “government standard” and strong!  I love the little illustration of the two men trying to tear the nainsook apart!

This ad made me laugh, but I’m also quite certain that it worked.  It hits all the right notes for the time.  Now I think you’d have a hard time selling something called a “nainsook” to men in America no matter what strategy you went with.

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

Save the Murlocs: Fake PSAs Can Be the Most Fun

Posted by Rosepixie on November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  I thought that a public service announcement about something warm and fuzzy would be appropriate for Thanksgiving, but sadly, I only had one in my pile of ads and it’s not even a real PSA!  But it is funny, so I decided that maybe it was a good thing to post for a holiday anyway.

This is an ad for the Save the Murlocs Foundation, which is fictional (since murlocs aren’t real except in World of Warcraft) and was created by Jinx, a clothing retailer.  There are products (including a cute stuffed murloc) and a foundation website that tie in with the campaign.

Well, I don’t like killing murlocs anyway (they’re such drama queens!), but that certainly convinced me that they would take over Azeroth if their numbers weren’t kept down by all the very self-less adventurers who take time out of their busy lives to cull the massive hordes of murlocs that swarm the shores of nearly every beach known to humans, trolls, dwarves, tauren and everyone else!

Posted in Advocacy, Entertainment, Fashion | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Axe: Magic Skin Comic

Posted by Rosepixie on November 25, 2009

This is an ad for Axe Skin Contact Sensative Shower Gel that I’ve seen a couple of times in men’s magazines.

The text reads:


Guy thoughts: Axe Skin Contact Sensitive Shower Gel

Guy thoughts: …my skin… …it’s somehow… …transforming!

Woman: All done? Now I’m gonna get ready…

ZZZ-ZAP! The moment of truth!


Woman thoughts: His skin… …can’t stop… …touching!

Make your skin irresistible to touch

And cue laughter because this scenario is so incredibly unlikely except in the world where marketers frolic in the rainbow-dappled meadows with pink ponies all day.  And yet for some reason, many of Axe’s ad campaigns seem to hinge on the idea that if your skin or your hair is just perfect, girls will attack you (but only hot girls, because only hot girls exist in Happy Marketer Land).  And the girl isn’t just touching him because she likes how his skin feels, she’s literally compelled to touch him by some force she can’t identify.  She can’t help herself!

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

Scarleteen: Questions and Answers

Posted by Rosepixie on November 24, 2009

This is a banner ad for the website Scarleteen that I saw online.  It cycled through a bunch of photographs of teenagers above the text, but all of the text is represented here.

Even though there isn’t a ton of information here, I really like this ad.  It shows a wide variety of teenagers, both male and female, and in general they look pretty normal.  The implication that they will try to answer real questions with real answers implies an attempt to really address the issues teenagers are facing, not just the issues adults want them to be facing.  I have no idea if this is true, but the ad certainly does a great job of making the website sound informative and inviting.  No mean feat when that is rarely the case with sex education in any format these days!

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

Movie Monday: Barbie and the Three Musketeers

Posted by Rosepixie on November 23, 2009

This is a trailer for Barbie’s newest movie, Barbie and the Three Musketeers.

So, every time I see a trailer for a Barbie movie I cringe and think it’s going to be awful, but every time I see one of the movies it turns out to actually be pretty good.  This is the most cringe-worthy trailer yet, but given Barbie’s track record, I’m not going to rule out the movie based on that.

That said, she *clearly* needs a new marketing team for her movies.  How is this a “princess” movie at all?  And what’s with the Charlie’s Angels pose with fans, ribbons and a bow?  Come on!  These are the three musketeers!  They use swords!  All that great footage where the women are on horseback with SWORDS and practicing SWORDPLAY and stuff, that’s GREAT!  That’s what makes this movie look appealing!  The voice over about princesses and girl power makes it sound just stupid!

I think it’s awesome they pulled a classic story that wasn’t about a pretty, pretty princess for a change.  And I think it’s fantastic that having the main characters all be women makes it a heavily “girl power” movie.  But sell the movie on that basis, not on the “oooh, princesses with girl power!” basis, because all of Barbie’s movies have been about princesses with girl power.  This pitch makes this look the same as every other Barbie movie, when in fact they’ve all been very different from each other and very different from this one!

Yeah, your audience is largely four to six year olds, but they can still follow a trailer made up of movie clips with the sound from those clips.  They don’t need a stupid voice over.  The people making the movies seem to respect their audience, so maybe the marketing department needs to try that for a change too.  Then maybe I wouldn’t go into every Barbie movie thinking it’s going to be awful only be incredibly surprised (and feel stupid for feeling surprised about it again) when it’s actually really good.  And maybe some of those parents who won’t buy the movies because they are sold as pink princess fluff would give them a chance.

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Dooney and Bourke: Upsetting Purses

Posted by Rosepixie on November 22, 2009

This is an ad for Dooney and Bourke, a fashion line, from a women’s fashion magazine.

I understand why fashion lines put famous actresses in their ads – people want to be glamorous like the actresses and if the clothing get associated they might buy it to feel that way.  What I don’t understand is how this ad showing the actress looking so very distressed or depressed (clearly very unhappy) is really going to help sell clothing.  I mean, the models don’t always need to be smiling their faces off, but who thought that associating such a look of “I’m thinking about how short life is because my friend just died in a meaningless car crash” was a good look for the ad?

Obviously I’m reading a lot of story into the look, but that’s what this ad makes me want to do.  It does not make me want to have any more interest in the clothing, handbag or company behind them than I had before.  In fact, when I decided to do this ad today, I had to go looking for it because I couldn’t remember what company it was for, just who the actress was and the look on her face, and my files aren’t organized that way.  This ad does make me think of stories behind why she might have that expression, though.  In that way, it’s a great ad.  It definitely sticks in my head and makes me want to come back and think about it.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t sell the product nearly as well as it sells the actress.

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

Breast Cancer PSAs: Missing the Mark?

Posted by Rosepixie on November 21, 2009

These are two recent public service announcement ads about breast cancer put out by two different organizations.  Both are very recent.

This one is from the Men for Women Now Campaign:

This one is from ReThink Breast Cancer:

Both of these made me cringe.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bring attention and respect to serious medical conditions that very much need more research, but I really have my doubts that either of these ads does much to further that goal.  I get that they’re trying to make young men care about a disease that they, personally, will never suffer from, but I really find this approach kind of offensive.  The first ad is decidedly less obnoxious than the second, but it still kind of makes it a joke and further “others” women, their bodies and any conditions they suffer from that men don’t.  The second ad doesn’t even acknowledge the women at all, it just reduces them to walking boobs.

This does not seem like a helpful or respectful approach.  What do you think?

Posted in Advocacy, Health and Science | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »