an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for March, 2010

Schick Quattro Titanium: Become a Masterpiece

Posted by Rosepixie on March 31, 2010

This is an ad for Schick Quattro Titanium disposable razors.

The text reads:

Get a smooth, sculpted shave with the new Schick Quattro Titanium Disposable.  The only disposable razor with an edging blade for precision and 4 titanium-coated blades to help you shape as you shave.

Free your skin.

Well, I have to admit that the tagline fits with the image of one of Michelangelo’s sculptures (the famous David, of course).  He said that his sculptures were already fully formed inside the blocks of stone he had and that it was his job to free them.

The problem with the ad is that it sounds to me like it’s suggesting you can actually sculpt your own face with this razor, and I’m guessing that’s not really the case.  A razor merely lets you shape or cut off the hair you have, not actually remold your skin.  And you can create some illusions about your face shape with clever shaving, but few people actually have the skills to do so and those who do aren’t likely to be using disposable razors to do it.

I think this is an interesting ad, but I’m not sure it’s effective for a razor.  I probably would have stuck with something more… facial-hair themed.


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FCINO: Sheep

Posted by Rosepixie on March 30, 2010

This is a political ad paid for by Carly Fiorina, a businesswoman running for one of California’s Senate seats, attacking Tom Campbell.

This ad doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense.  I mean, the voice over makes a certain amount of sense (although it definitely assumes that you already agree with it’s position), but the imagery is totally off the wall.  I have no idea where the sheep thing came from, since sheep aren’t really known for their fiscal conservatism as far as I know and no other reason for using the image was given or even really implied.  The weird flashing image changes throughout the middle worked more as a distraction, making it hard to focus on what was being said, than anything else.  They weren’t helpful at all.

The voice over at the beginning also left a lot to be desired.  It really didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I thought I was watching an ad for something religious (and not in a good way – in a crazy cultish sort of way), not something to do with budgets.  Once it got into it’s message, it made a little more sense, but near the end it started to wander and get really confusing again.  Whoever wrote the script for this ad was clearly a fanatic about the topic, but also clearly not a great communicator.

Here’s the real problem: the ad didn’t tell me what I was supposed to be voting for.  And after not giving me something solid to remember to vote for (assuming I agreed with it), it was confusing and not very clearly memorable.  A few minutes after watching it all I remember is that the ad said Tom Campbell was bad with money… somehow?  And something about evil sheep.  That’s not a great advertising move.  I’d totally forgotten the stuff about the budget and taxes and everything within a few minutes.  I remembered the demon sheep, but I had no idea what it had to do with anything.  Nothing was well connected and too many pieces of information were presented in weird scatter-shot ways.  That’s not a great way to bring attention to your cause.  It’s a good way to get me to remember the other guy’s name.  And on voting day, if I can remember his name and not yours, chances are I’m going to vote for him unless I *really* hate him.

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

Movie Monday: Our Family Wedding

Posted by Rosepixie on March 29, 2010

This is a poster for the new movie Our Family Wedding.

What I find most interesting about this poster is that it seems to stress the interracial aspect of the pairing with the black and white vertical division between the groom’s side and bride’s side (although, the couple isn’t a black/white couple, it is a black/latina couple).  I haven’t been able to find out exactly how important that element is in the movie, but it doesn’t actually sound like that’s the focus.  It sounds like the movie is more about the couple’s parents taking over their wedding (which, in true movie fashion, needs to be thrown together in just a few weeks for some reason).  Obviously, they do deal with the race issue and talk about cultural traditions, but it doesn’t seem to be in a “we don’t marry their kind” sort of way, it seems to be more a “I don’t know their traditions” kind of way (and the fathers have a history before they even know their kids are acquainted, much less getting married).

The arrangement of the people is interesting.  The couple is looking happily at each other while their fathers look over them and seem to be “discussing” something strenuously.  This seems to convey more of a feeling of their fathers disapproving of the match, which doesn’t sound like it’s what the movie is about, than of their fathers taking over the wedding.  It does, however, go with the interracial-marriage-being-an-issue idea.

I don’t think that I like this poster.  It’s a well designed poster and is visually a great piece of graphic design, but I don’t think it works for this movie (unless the internet is very much lying to me about what this movie is about).  I don’t know.  Does anyone else have any thoughts about this poster?

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

British Airways: Not So Beautiful Harmony

Posted by Rosepixie on March 28, 2010

This is an ad for British Airways about fashion week in Mumbai.

So, the moment where I decided I needed to point out this ad was when the voiceover (which sounded like a quote from an interview) said:

It’s the buildings, it’s the textiles.  I just think it has the most amazing pulse and this diverse sort of extreme where you’ve got haute couture happening on one side and you’ve got extreme poverty happening on the other side, and this all sort of lives in this beautiful sort of harmony.

Really?  That’s a “beautiful sort of harmony”?  Because I’m betting that if anyone had interviewed the poor, hungry little kids who were used to illustrate the poverty part of that equation they would have said something very different about the same situation.

The people who can fly from the UK to Mumbai for fashion week are not going to have to worry about extreme poverty, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ok to turn it into some cute tourist attraction for them.  Those kids aren’t set dressing for the big art shows that are haute couture runway shows (because realistically, haute couture is wearable art that few people actually wear and basically no one wears as it appears in runway shows).  Those kids are real, flesh and bone people who are really struggling with lives filled with not enough food or money.  How do you suppose they feel knowing that there are people flying from halfway around the world to look at art most of them will never buy and even fewer will ever wear just meters from where they stand starving?  And how do you think it feels to be treated as “cultural background” shots to make the city look more exotic to foreign travelers who will probably never give them a second thought?

Seriously British Airways, this is pretty callous.  I’m not saying that you need to drop everything and become a charitable institution that feeds and clothes the world’s population, but is it really so much to ask that you not exploit them?  Those are people, not trees or buildings or cultural landmarks.  People.  They deserve to be treated with respect, even when they don’t have any money.

And if you, as a company, don’t treat people with respect (in your ads or elsewhere), I, as a consumer, have little reason to respect you and, thus, no reason to use your service or product..  The impression your ads give is important.  Why is that such a difficult concept for so many companies to grasp?

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

Postal Service: No More Stops

Posted by Rosepixie on March 27, 2010

This is the back of a postcard I received advertising for the U.S. Postal Service.

The mom looks so calm and collected, doesn’t she?  I mean, the baby looks decidedly unhappy and the mom is clearly juggling way too much stuff (a couple of bags, baby, keys and a cell phone), but she doesn’t look phased at all.  This does not look like a woman who’s fed up with errands.

That said, the baby totally looks fed up with the whole situation and ready to go home.

I really like this image.  It conveys how busy people are and how parents especially try to fit as many things in at once sometimes because going out with kids (especially really little ones) is such a hassle and can basically throw the whole day out of whack for the baby and, by extension, everyone around them.  It makes it really clear what the benefits of not having to make a special trip to the post office would be.

Usually I’ve found the Post Office’s mailings to be pretty boring, but this one was great.  It’s a well chosen image (a woman of color too!  and not used for any particular reason, it just happens to be a woman of color!  bonus points!) that conveys their message clearly.  And it’s respectful.  It both acknowledges the challenges of being a parent and shows a mom who’s not falling apart under them (or being saved by paper towels or something).  I love this picture.

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

Vintage Friday: Star Wars PSAs

Posted by Rosepixie on March 26, 2010

These are two public service announcements by the cast of the Star Wars movies.  I know the second one is from 1979 and I’m guessing that the first one is from around the same time.

The Droids tell us why not to smoke:

We learn that in the Star Wars galaxy, friends don’t let friends drink and drive:

I think that the first ad is far more effective than the second, since it does more than just give us a slogan, but they both made me laugh.  How does a droid smoke anyway?  And aren’t they piloting or flying, not driving?  Regardless, I think these are pretty good uses of the Star Wars IP.  I especially like the little postscript at the end of the first ad where C3pO is wondering if he has a heart.  It was sweet and very in character (it also reminded me of the Tin Woodman of Oz, which made me smile).

What do you think of these ads?  Would they make you decide not to smoke or drive drunk?  Would you at least remember them?

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

Mr. Clean: The Other Man

Posted by Rosepixie on March 25, 2010

Last year was Mr. Clean’s fiftieth birthday and to celebrate, the company ran a series of ads based on the belief that women have some kind of romantic attachment to him.  Here’s an example:

Other examples of ads from this campaign pretty much looked the same, but the background color varied and some of the other headlines read:

– Good men aren’t hard to find. Just look in the cleaning aisle

-Strong, clean and performs well under pressure

-A relationship built on stubborn stains and routine cleaning tasks

Apparently, the ad executives hired by Proctor and Gamble (the company that makes Mr. Clean products) really seriously believe that women have some kind of emotional, romantic attachment to this mute, cartoon bald guy who spends his days cleaning floors and toilets.

I’m not sure if I should laugh at this or be insulted.  Seriously, guys, he’s a cartoon spokesperson for a cleaning product and he doesn’t even talk, he just… sparkles.  He’s actually kind of creepy when you think about it.

But clearly Proctor and Gamble think that their primary customers for Mr. Clean are housewife moms (just visit Mr. Clean’s website and you’ll see what I mean) and while I would like to think that they respect this customer base, this ad campaign doesn’t make me feel like they do.  It reeks of the “desperate housewives” stereotype that would have been patronizing in the 1950s and 1960s, but now when fewer and fewer women are housewives at all is downright insulting.

I hate to break it to you guys, but men clean too.  Not that any other cleaning product company seems to know this either, but it’s true.  Women aren’t the only ones who have to scrub floors and toilets nor are they happy when they’re told that it’s their job to do so.  That’s not to say that women don’t scrub floors and toilets, just that they aren’t always the ones to do it and that they shouldn’t be the only ones expected to do it.

And, I’m sorry, but despite what cheesy gift books might say, “girl porn” is not pictures of guys cleaning.  It’s pretty much the same as guy porn, but with fewer big boobs and more hot guys.

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

Ignite Maxx: It’s Like Cheating!

Posted by Rosepixie on March 24, 2010

This is a commercial for a weight loss product called Ignite Maxx that I’m reasonably certain is a scam (meaning I don’t suggest you even consider taking it, the company screams “shady”).  At best it’s homeopathy, which is essentially a scam dressed up as natural medicine.

The woman in this ad makes me want to bang my head against the wall repeatedly.  First she very clearly states that for her, being fat meant being miserable because it meant she couldn’t wear the clothes she wanted.  I’m sorry, but if you’re entire life is miserable just because you can’t wear something you need to reevaluate.

Then I actually laughed out loud at her when she listed sizes.  She says that she was a size 13 and now wears a size 7.  Now, this woman looks like an adult to me.  In her twenties at least.  Definitely not a teenager.  For anyone who doesn’t regularly deal with women’s clothing sizes – they come in even numbers.  Only teenager clothes (“juniors”) come in odd numbered sizes.  So either this woman is trying to dress younger than she is (by quite a bit) or is delusional when it comes to sizes.  Regardless, this struck me as very funny.

Finally she tells us that she “put” several of her friends on this miracle drug and they’ve all lost at least 20 pounds.  To which I felt like responding, “so, you told all your friends they were fat? wow, remind me never to be your friend!”

This is an awful commercial.  The product seems to be terrible and the ad is just as bad.  At least you get an idea of what you’re getting into from it.  Would you want to do business with a company that so obviously thinks it’s customers are worthless and stupid just because they want to lose weight?  I wouldn’t.

Posted in Beauty | Tagged: , , , , | 19 Comments »

H1N1 Vaccines: TXT 4 Info

Posted by Rosepixie on March 23, 2010

This is a billboard for H1N1 Vaccines that a friend of mine saw and snapped a picture of for me.

This is one of the few ads that I’ve ever seen that is written almost entirely in text-speak.  It is asking people to send a text message for information, but it’s still not necessary for the request to have been written in text-speak.  The problem with text-speak is that it is a short-hand which isn’t used by or understood by everyone.  Granted, it’s becoming more and more prevalent every day, but it’s far from universal.

I think that I would find text-speak less objectionable if this wasn’t a public service announcement kind of ad.  In an ad that’s actually selling a product, I expect a certain level of gimmicky attempts to be “hip”.  The problem with putting it in a PSA is that it limits who you reach and with PSAs you want to reach as many people as possible.  It might be a small thing, but it can be more important than people realize.  My grandmother has a serious problem understanding text-speak, yet she both drives and uses a cell phone.  This ad could totally reach her, but I have a feeling that if she saw it she would either be confused or annoyed, which is not the goal.  The details are important, especially when they can so affect the accessibility of your ad!

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

Movie Monday: Confucius

Posted by Rosepixie on March 22, 2010

This is a trailer for the movie Confucius, which was only released in Asia as far as I know and caused much conflict in China where the government pushed the very popular Avatar out of the theaters to get people to see it.  I have no idea if it’s going to be released here or not, but I found the trailer interesting.

The trailer of this movie is very sweeping and cinematic, which seems odd for a bio-pic about a man who led a very quiet and simple, albeit extremely influential, life.  This also appears to take Confucius to court and to war and I’m not really sure who the girl is, but his life is actually pretty well documented, all things considered, and he wasn’t a military man or a statesman.  He was a philosopher and teacher.  The beginning kind of shows that, but it pretty quickly moves away from that idea.  My first thought was that perhaps this was simply the trailer trying to be exciting and not representing the movie very well, but some internet research suggests that the movie actually does portray Confucius as a diplomat and military strategist.

This trailer is long and, worse, feels that way.  It is pretty, but not gripping.  I didn’t find myself wrapped up in it, wanting to know what was going on or even caring about the people involved.  Mostly I found myself wondering how long it was going to go on about half way through!  That’s not a great strategy for a movie trailer.  Length isn’t a problem if you keep your audience engaged, but it is one if they aren’t interested.

So what did you think?  Did you find this trailer interesting or engaging?  Did it make you want to see the movie?

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