an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for February, 2010

My Heart is Like a Zoo: How Many Hearts?

Posted by Rosepixie on February 28, 2010

This is a trailer for the book My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall.

I love this trailer.  Picture book trailers are hard because it’s too easy to just read the book and too boring to just talk about it.  So how do you make it interesting, but still leave something to be discovered?  This trailer does a great job.  It presents a number of images from the book and cleverly animates their transitions so that they seem to almost morph into one another.  It not only allows us to see how beautiful the book is and how clever the pictures are, but it makes us want to see more and to figure out how to make more animals out of only heart shapes.

This is well worked to highlight the illustrations and their intricacy as well as to focus on the theme of the book itself.  It is paced to appeal to young children as well as adults, which is great, since the book is one that will likely be shared with young children.  I love seeing ads that actually play to the intended audience like this when most picture book ads play to adults.  Kids are consumers too, remember.  It may be adults paying for the book, but it’s often kids driving the purchases!


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Droid: Um… Huh?

Posted by Rosepixie on February 27, 2010

Here is yet another ad for the Droid mobile phone.  Previously I’ve looked at ads from this campaign that claimed that history shows robots never get lost and that presented us with a great image.

This ad is rather more confusing than the previous two.  I think that it’s supposed to be telling us about how great the search engine on the Droid works, but somehow the message is a little garbled.  Let’s break it down.

Unleash digital bloodhounds.

Ok, so the phone will find things for you.  Makes sense so far.

Just say the word and your phone jumps into overdrive.  Because Droid mashes applications with streamlined ease.

What?  So, is this telling me that the search will be fast because the phone’s applications are fast, implying the browser application is fast or that I can perform searches even when running a whole bunch of applications because the phone can handle many apps at once?  Either way, that’s not a clear way of saying it at all (btw, I’m pretty sure they meant the first one, but it took me three readings to make any sense at all of it).

Including speech recognition.

Um… ok… cool.  So I can just talk to the phone and it’ll know what to do.  I have so much faith in that, since phone speak recognition technology is generally fantastic (note: that was heavily sarcastic).

And Google-fueled search that knows exactly where you are.

Wait, so we’re talking about searching for physical things?  Or web searches?  I’m confused again!

A canine-precise detection device.  So nothing eludes you.

Except the meaning of this ad.

Oh, and just as a note, this ad has some of the worst grammar I’ve seen in a very long time.  You can use punctuation other than periods, guys!  Trust me.  Try it sometime, you might find it useful.

Posted in Electronics, Services | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vintage Friday: Tylenol

Posted by Rosepixie on February 26, 2010

This is an ad for Tylenol that apparently aired in 1990.

I really wonder how this ad got approved and actually made and aired and everything.  It’s not that it’s a bad video, it’s just that it’s pretty useless as an advertisement.  We not only don’t see anyone using Tylenol, but we don’t get to hear anyone tell us that it works well.  We just see a wife offering it to her husband, who turns it down because he doesn’t have a headache (a good reason) and then she decides to put it away until someone does have a headache.  That may tell us that this family has Tylenol and considers it a remedy for headaches, but we don’t know if any of them have actually ever used it for headaches or if it works.  I mean, people also used to consider tying clay crocodiles to their heads remedies for headaches*, but would you try it without someone telling you it worked?

I guess it just seems like it’s mostly a waste of ad time.  They could have had a commercial in exactly the same time for the same cost that had someone actually suffering from a headache and getting relief from Tylenol or talking about having done so.  Or maybe a doctor discussing how Tylenol is so scientifically proven to help headaches.  Both would be better options.  But instead we get a headache medicine commercial that is completely free of headaches.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems dumb.

*Seriously, they did.  It was a headache remedy in ancient Egypt and there’s even some science behind it (not the crocodile part, but the part where it puts pressure on your head).

Posted in Health and Science, Vintage | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nissan Cube: Choose Your Colors

Posted by Rosepixie on February 25, 2010

This is an ad for the Nissan Cube.  I have two different versions of it, but it’s exactly the same ad.

The text reads:

Set preferences

It’s your space.  The Cube mobile device lets you personalize with over 40 different colorful accessories.  Go ahead and edit your dash topper, 20 color interior illumination, ripple hooks and interior appliques.  Then upgrade your storage capacity with front-door bungees and a utility pouch.  Your undos and redos are limitless.

Shift the way you move.

I’m… not even sure what to make of this.  It’s describing this car like it’s a cell phone or an mp3 player or something.  Personally, I don’t shop for cars the same way I shop for small electronics.  For one thing, I’m far less likely to die if something goes wrong with my iPod than if something goes wrong with my car.  So while I do have a preferred range of colors on my list of things to look for in a car, it’s at the bottom of the list with the things marked “optional features”.  It’s not remotely near the important stuff that actually makes me consider looking at or buying a car.

And while I realize there are people who buy new cars as frequently as they buy new cell phones, I’m guessing that they look for different features than those listed here and are generally looking for more expensive cars than this (if you can afford a new car that often, chances are you can either afford a more expensive/flashy car or you can build/fix one yourself).  So who is this aimed at?  It actually reminds me of the way salespeople used to show women the mirrors as a feature because they facilitated make-up application.  It seems rather patronizing.  What do you think?

Posted in Cars | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Rocawear 9: Spray Your Clothes

Posted by Rosepixie on February 24, 2010

This is an ad for Rocawear 9 cologne for men and came from a magazine.

This ad gets points for being different from 99% of the cologne ads I see.  It does NOT involve a good-looking guy with a sexy girl (or two or three) draping themselves all over him.  This time it’s a sexy girl (see the sexy underwear?) draping herself all over a guy’s shirt.

Although this ad makes the same basic promise most cologne ads make (girls will find you attractive), this one does it in a slightly different way that I think makes it resonate a little better.  This one points out that a distinctive scent (like the one you would have if you wear the same cologne all the time), makes us think of the person who smells that way.  So if you have such a scent and leave it behind (say, on a piece of clothing), whenever the person who has that scent memory of you smells the piece of clothing, they will think of you.  It’s a way to make yourself memorable.  And being memorable is a little more than just being attractive.

As much as I hate the unnecessary girl in lingerie approach to advertising, I think that this ad really works.  It’s promise is actually well founded and not creepy – being missed is what you want when you’re in a relationship, not what you want when you’re just looking to attract one-night-stands.  What do you think?

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Feminists for Life: A Misreading

Posted by Rosepixie on February 23, 2010

This is an ad from Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion group.

The text reads:

Another anti-choice fanatic

“Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own it has been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.” – Susan B. Anthony

The woman who fought for the right to vote also fought for the right to life.  We proudly continue her legacy.

This is an interesting advocacy ad.  It’s very insidious because it takes a figure we are taught to admire very much, presents a quote taken entirely out of context, and then interprets it exactly as it wants to for us, ignoring what the quote actually says and refers to.  The hope is that we will be so busy thinking “wow, Susan B. Anthony thought this way, why don’t I?” that any misinterpretation of the quote itself will be completely overlooked.

So let’s look at that quote.  It does mention unborn babies, but it doesn’t mention anything even related to abortion.  See, one of Anthony’s big issues was mother’s rights because at the time, children belonged to the father.  This meant that women had no say over what happened to their children if their husbands or lovers didn’t want them to.  It also meant that in the event of a divorce, the father kept the children.  This also meant that if a man got a woman he wasn’t married to pregnant, he could take the child as long as he was willing to admit the indiscretion.  Anthony was working to change the laws that made that so.  Women did the vast majority of the childrearing, so it seemed terribly unjust to her and to other women of the time that their children could be ripped away from them at a moment’s notice because a spouse got tired of them or died and willed the children to a sibling or something.  When Anthony mentioned “unborn little ones”, she wasn’t referring to fetuses, she was referring to the children that women would have in the future.  The future when children couldn’t be taken from their mothers because children belonged to fathers and not mothers.

While abortions absolutely did happen during Susan B. Anthony’s lifetime and it’s entirely conceivable she knew about it, I’d be shocked if she ever mentioned it.  She was rather a prude and tended to avoid even giving a position on anything too controversial.  I’m not sure she’d be too fond of being used as a spokeswoman for any campaign relating to reproductive rights, regardless of the position.

Quotes are great and I love seeing them in ads.  They can ad a lot of credibility to an ad or a cause.  But they need to be used in context.  It’s not fair or right to take a quote and make it mean whatever you want it to mean.  That makes me more suspicious of your campaign, not more likely to agree with you.  If you’re either more concerned about swaying minds than being truthful or too lazy to do real research, you’re not dedicated enough to your cause to get me to agree with you.

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

Movie Monday: Toy Story 3

Posted by Rosepixie on February 22, 2010

This is a trailer for Toy Story 3 that I saw on a DVD (I think it’s on the Up DVD, but don’t quote me on that).

I think this is a great trailer.  It tells us nothing about the movie, but it doesn’t have to.  For a third movie, they can come out with a trailer really early and not have to say anything other than “look! these characters are back!”  They’ve released more information about the plot and more plot focused trailers since, and I’m sure that there will be more of them as the June release date gets closer.

What makes this ad really work is that it manages to show us not only all of the fun characters from the first two movies, but the organized chaos that is their world.  Each conveys his or her or its personality in just a few seconds of screen time, reminding us why we loved them.  And then we get part of Buzz and Woody’s eternal (mostly) friendly rivalry, which was such a vital component of both previous movies.  It’s like a miniature movie in and of itself, reminding us of the fun of the first two movies and letting us know that we can expect more of that fun in the third movie.

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Piaggio Aero: Objects May Be Smaller Than They Appear

Posted by Rosepixie on February 21, 2010

This is an ad for a Piaggio Aaro jet.  It’s aimed at businesses that own corporate jets.

It’s a pretty ad, I’ll give them that. The problem is that it’s kind of misleading.  I look at that and I see a big, shiny airplane.  The graphics at the top suggest that it’s plenty big enough to go anywhere and for anyone to be comfortable, right?  Yeah, until you read the text.

See that little map that shows arrows pointing from one coast to the other suggesting the plane can cross the country in one jump?  Next to it the text clarifies that the plane’s range is only 1,470 nm.  I’m going to assume “nm” means nautical miles (it usually means nanometers), which means that the plane’s range is only a little over 1,690 miles.  The country is about 2600 miles across from San Francisco to New York.  I don’t think you’ll make it across the country in one jump in this plane, unless Piaggio Aero measures distance far differently than I do.

But if you have to stop in your trip from L.A. to New York, at least you’ll be in a comfy cabin, right?  We can see the little graphic showing the stick person comfortably able to stand up and move around in the cabin-box right there at the top of the page!  Well, that image tells us that the cabin (which holds nine people) is six feet wide and five feet and nine inches tall.  As long as the seats are comfy the six feet isn’t likely a big problem, but the average height of a man in the U.S. is five feet and ten inches.  White men, who are the people who predominately get to fly around in private corporate jets, tend to be taller still.

At least all of this information is on the ad, though.  And not even in print that tiny.  Still, the graphics don’t seem to match.  If I were in the market to buy a jet, I’m not sure that this ad would work on me.  Besides, when you’re able to buy your own plane, your company couldn’t be in that much financial trouble, could it?  So is saving money really going to be the biggest concern for them?  Maybe it is.  I’ve never been in that position.  But I do know I wouldn’t want to feel like I was cutting corners, even a little, on something that’s going to be holding me 30,000 feet up in the air.  Would you?

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Verizon Wireless: Tapping Into Nostalgia

Posted by Rosepixie on February 20, 2010

This is a recent commercial for Verizon Wireless.

Recognize it?  Watch the original commercial to see just how closely they mimicked it.

This Verizon commercial is brilliant.  Not only does it tap into nostalgia, but it manages to include a surprising number of entertaining things you can do with a well-connected cell phone.  It could be pointed out that the original gum commercial was about bringing people together while the new version mostly shows people by themselves, but since arguably cell phones bring people together more than gum does, I can’t say that particular change really bothers me.  In fact, I’d have to say that the idea of gum bringing people together for kisses and stuff is kind of disgusting and the Verizon ad does not suffer from that at all!

I think that a parallel this close really works because we are able to so easily pull up the old ad it’s based on.  If we couldn’t do that, while the jingle would bring up warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, I’m not sure that it would be quite as effective and entertaining.  I think this ad is a good choice for Verizon.  It’s fun to watch and definitely conveys some major positives of their service.

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Vintage Friday: Biscuits Lefevre-Utile

Posted by Rosepixie on February 19, 2010

This is a French poster advertising biscuits from 1897.

I love this poster. It’s so needlessly pretty.  I mean, did they really need such a lavish image to advertise biscuits?  Probably not.  But, on the other hand, why not have one anyway if you can?  Companies don’t really think that way anymore.  I just love the colors and the way the woman is posed.  She’s clearly showing off the plate of biscuits, but she’s as much on display as it is.  I think the details are interesting and wonder why the artist chose them.  Her hair is so elaborately decorated with poppies and her dress drapes so beautifully, but she’s got bare feet.  It’s just such a beautiful design!  I wonder where it was intended to hang and how effective it was as an ad.  Today it’s just a pretty piece of art, but once it was really intended to sell biscuits.  Do you think it likely worked?

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