an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for June, 2010

Vintage Friday: Fairy Tricycle

Posted by Rosepixie on June 25, 2010

This is a tricycle newspaper ad from sometime in the late 1800s.

I’m sorry it’s so tiny.  The text reads:

Cripples, ladies and girls, if you want air or exercise, buy a Fairy Tricycle – foot or hand [unknown word].

Bicycles cheap for all.

What I found interesting about this ad was that it grouped cripples and women together.  Now, thinking about what women at the time were wearing, they were pretty restricted, but women did ride bicycles at the time.  Not only were “bloomers” invented to make it easier, but many women managed just fine in skirts.

Still, they weren’t really supposed to exert themselves, so this ad may have been partially suggesting that this tricycle was a way to get a bit of outside exercise with little actual exertion (after all, even a cripple could manage it just fine!).

Regardless, I think it’s still an interesting relic of an earlier time.  Think about the fact that this ad came out the same time women were making some of the biggest strides in our history – getting degrees at universities for the first time, demanding voting rights and rights of ownership and inheritance, opening schools and banks without men to guide or oversee them or even just pretend to.  It shows a pretty stark picture of the kind of thinking they were up against, doesn’t it?  Because this ad didn’t come out of a vacuum (like the ads today don’t) and it’s way of thinking had to have been at least expected as the norm for it’s audience.  How much more interesting is it, then, that the advances been made and fought for at that time were happening?

And how interesting it is to compare it to the views we see in today’s ads.


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

Southlake, TX: Dachshund Racing and Barnes and Noble

Posted by Rosepixie on June 24, 2010

Today I have a commercial advertising the attractions of the city of Southlake, TX that I believe was made for the city’s marketing website.

Do you know what I took away from this video?  That this city is weird and that they didn’t have enough footage.  I swear that same shot of the little kid marveling at the fountain was in there multiple times.  And it’s not even that great a shot (he’s cute, but what does it tell me about Southlake, really?).

I do have to admit, there’s a part of me that really wants to know why there are dachshund races being held.  I mean, if you’ve ever met a real, live dachshund you know that their legs are very short (like, less than six inches high for a dog that’s typically about a foot and a half long not counting the tail).  That’s not really a dog built for racing.  They’re cute, but not speedsters.  And why do they each need their own fenced in lane?  Where there fights breaking out between the racers?  That doesn’t really seem dachshund like either.  Most of the ones I know will stand back and bark at you forever if they feel threatened, but if you get to close, they just back away and keep barking – actual contact is pretty much avoided.

Besides the strange dog races, I’m not quite sure what’s in Southlake that’s worth going there for.  There are apparently hotels, which I guess is good, since I’d need some place to sleep, but they didn’t show any especially remarkable hotels.  Beyond that, they showed a lot of retail stores that are basically everywhere else too.  I mean, yeah, that was a nice looking Barnes and Noble, but there’s one of those in pretty much every decent sized town or city at this point and they’re all pretty much the same.  That’s how chains work.  Yeah, the employees can make a big difference in how a particular store is stocked or set up, but fundamentally the same displays appear in every store and the same large quantities of boring bestsellers appear in every store.  So how is that a tourist draw?

Basically, I’m not sure how this video was really supposed to entice me to visit this place.  Maybe find out when those races take place and stop by if I’m already in the area, but that’s about it.  If they have better enticements for tourists, they need to show them, because chain stores, boring hotels and unspecified events isn’t really that exciting.

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

L’Oreal True Match: Get Your Airbrushed Finish

Posted by Rosepixie on June 23, 2010

This is a banner ad I came across online for L’Oreal True Match foundation.

The text reads:

L’Oreal Paris

New True Match Roller – Perfecting roll-on makeup

Get your airbrushed finish

Two things bother me about this ad.  First is that the makeup roller looks an awful lot like a paint roller and I don’t want to feel like I’m rolling paint onto my face.  That gets into the “what’s wrong with my face that you think I need so much makeup?” territory.

The second thing that bothers me about this ad is the last line about getting an airbrushed finish.  We all know that the images we see of models all around us are airbrushed, but somehow actually coming out and suggesting that we should all look airbrushed in real life has a very creepy vibe to it.  I don’t want to look airbrushed – I want to look human.  And I know I’m not alone on that one.

So this ad, even with so few words and a single image, managed to give me a lot of creepy, negative impressions.  This is not a great thing for an ad to do.  So, while I think this ad might work for some people, I’m not sure it was a great choice because I think it might turn off as many people as it attracts.

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

Zatanna: Mistress of Magic

Posted by Rosepixie on June 22, 2010

Last month DC Comics started a series focusing on the character Zatanna who is a stage magician with real magic powers.  To advertise this new comic, they’ve been using these two banner ads online.

What I love about these banner ads is that they have the feel of old carnival posters, which is very in line with Zatanna’s character and theme.  Even better, they’ve carried this idea through to the actual covers of the comic as well!  This is the cover of the second issue.

I love the poster feel and I could see the cover actually being a poster.  Actually, they should totally make poster versions of this cover.  Sadly, they probably won’t, since Zatanna doesn’t have a red S or a bat on her chest.  Too bad.

Basically, I think this is one of the most appealing, appropriate marketing campaigns I’ve seen from DC in a very long time.  I hope they keep doing interesting and fun things like this!  These are the kinds of marketing campaigns that make me want to read new comics!

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

You Again: Betty White Saves the Day

Posted by Rosepixie on June 21, 2010

This is a trailer for the movie You Again.

This is one of those trailers that gives you a situation rather than a plot and you’re sort of left wondering if the whole movie is just the situation from the trailer drawn out longer or if there is actually more plot and for some reason we just aren’t getting shown what it is.  The problem is that both types of movies exist and one type really works (the type with a plot) and the other usually doesn’t (the type that’s just a situation drawn out for an hour and a half).  So how are we supposed to know from this trailer if the movie is of the first type, and thus more worth seeing?

Luckily for this particular movie, they had Betty White and while the people who made the trailer may not have made the most compelling trailer for the first two minutes and fifteen seconds or so, the last clip with her was brilliantly chosen.  It stands on it’s own, is surprisingly funny and showcases a humor and actress that we haven’t seen throughout the rest of the trailer.  She may not have completely saved this trailer or even made the nature of the movie any less confusing, but Betty White’s brief moment of humor at the end there made the movie more appealing and memorable and that just might be enough to get a few more people to see it than otherwise would have.

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

Friskies: Giving Cats Hallucinations

Posted by Rosepixie on June 20, 2010

This is a current commercial for Friskies cat food.  My husband and I saw it while watching a television show on Hulu and were both so baffled by it that we had to pause the show and go find the ad on YouTube and watch it again to see if we’d imagined how bizarre it was.  We hadn’t.

Now that I’ve seen this ad a few times, I realize that it’s actually even stranger than I realized on that first viewing.  I have no idea what the people at Friskies were thinking when they made this ad because this seriously seems to tell viewers that Friskies pet food is laced with LSD or some similar hallucinatory drug.  If I had a cat who ate Friskies, I’d switch brands immediately.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure Friskies isn’t laced with LSD (or even with Cat Nip).  It may not be the very best cat food out there, but I don’t think it’s the equivalent of feeding your cat street drugs either.

Still, the commercial shows one seriously messed up cat trip.  It may look all cute, but think about this for a minute.  What’s wrong with that cat?  It’s in a happy fun world filled with it’s favorite food that are all just begging to be stalked and killed – frolicking cat-sized turkeys, ambling cat-size veal on four legs, dancing fish and chickens practically laying themselves out at the cat’s feet.  But what does the cat do?  I would have expected it to chase and probably eat the animals (they’re food, right?).  That’s not what it does.  It lazily strolls among them, almost like they’re it’s friends.  It’s eerie.  Cats don’t do that with prey.  That’s not a cat who realizes it’s in kitty paradise – it’s a cat who’s so strung out that it no longer realizes there are tasty meals dancing around it just begging to be pounced on.  That is not a healthy cat.

Friskies may have been trying to show a happy, wonderful human version of a happy cat, but anyone who actually has a cat will tell you that a real cat wouldn’t be happy like that.  A real cat would go crazy in such a fantasy world where they couldn’t chase the prey that’s everywhere.  And that’s why I have to stick with my original thought that I’d switch brands to something other than Friskies after seeing this, because Friskies clearly doesn’t know cats.

Besides, on the off chance the food is laced with LSD, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

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Angelsounds Fetal Heart Rate Monitor: Listen to Your Baby

Posted by Rosepixie on June 19, 2010

A friend of mine sent me this set of banner ads for Angelsounds Fetal Heart Rate Monitor.

I have no idea if the second ad is missing a word or if there’s just an extra apostrophe, but the sentence as it is isn’t terribly clear, since either you’re listening to something that isn’t specified or the ad is aimed at the small percentage of people expecting multiple children at once (twins, triplets, etc.).  The image and the placement of the words could indicate that you’re listening to your baby’s footsteps, but if your baby is taking footsteps while in your womb you have bigger things to worry about that what it’s heart rate is!

Basically, I find these ads really confusing.  There might be a perfectly reasonable need for a fetal heart rate monitor at home during pregnancy, but I’m unaware of what it would be.  As far as I knew, you could reasonably go your entire pregnancy only having the fetus’s heart monitored during visits to the doctor and while actually giving birth in a hospital.  I can totally understand a midwife wanting such a device, but I’m not clear on why an expectant parent would need one.

And the one year warranty kind of made me laugh, since I doubt most people would get any use out of this for more than a few months.  I mean, what do you do with it after you give birth?

The friend who sent this to me said that the ad also suggested the device would strengthen the feeling of being a mother.  This also seems odd to me.  It seems to suggest that women need their maternal feelings strengthened and I have to wonder how hearing the baby’s heartbeat through a device is supposed to do that when, presumably, feeling the baby actually kicking your internal organs daily isn’t apparently doing it.  I mean, it seems like the woman who isn’t sufficiently feeling maternal from what she can already feel of her baby as she carries it isn’t likely to be suddenly turned onto the feeling by a blipping on a speaker.

Besides, who’s to decide that a woman isn’t feeling motherly enough?  The ad seems to suggest that it’s aimed at the mother herself, but this does seem more like the kind of thing you get as a gift than something an expectant mother actually buys for herself.  And if you’re giving the gift to help the woman feel more like a mother, that’s somewhat insulting to her.  As if you’re saying “you aren’t motherly enough, so I got this to help you (or maybe make you feel guilty about your lack of motherly feelings)”.

Basically, I can completely understand these devices needing to exist.  I just think that this is a pretty insensitive and thoughtless way of advertising them.  Although, apparently the people making the ads didn’t feel the need to even proofread them, so perhaps thought is asking a bit much.  Still, this feels very callous and money-grubbing.  It could be worse, but that’s never an excuse.

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

Vintage Friday: Oil of Olay

Posted by Rosepixie on June 18, 2010

This is an ad from 1979 for Oil of Olay facial cream.

Well, at least we know from this commercial that looking young and products that make impossible and fuzzy promises about helping you do so has been around for at least the past several decades.  Which makes me sad.

When the guy shows up in this ad it suddenly reminded me very much of watching a cheesy soap opera.  I’m not sure if it was because of the corny line, the over-the-top poses or the dripping-with-fake-emotion voice.  Still, the comparison made me laugh.

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

Mars Chocolate: Healthy Living

Posted by Rosepixie on June 17, 2010

This is a banner ad for a new initiative from Mars Chocolate, the makers of brands like M&Ms, Snickers and Dove Chocolate.

Doesn’t this ad look friendly and well meaning?  Like something you’d see in an educational pamphlet about eating right or at a doctor’s office or something?

Except that the center of the cute Earth-like image at the bottom is a big round piece of chocolate, which isn’t usually the featured food in health-food pamphlets.  And when you go to the website, it’s all about health, how to make sure you’re eating right and exercising.  Oh, and chocolate.  It talks about the history of chocolate and extols the virtues of the chocolate sold by Mars.

The website does a great job of actually not being full of mixed messages, despite being run by a chocolate company.  It’s very up-front about their products and their marketing, actually.  The problem is the banner ad, which isn’t so up-front.  When I first saw it I wasn’t even sure what it was for.  I thought “Mars, the chocolate company?” and “is that chocolate in the middle?” and generally thought it was weird.  Honestly, if it weren’t for this blog, I doubt I would have followed the link to see what it was pointing to.  I was kind of put off by it.

While I appreciate the efforts Mars seems to be going to in order to encourage healthy eating and everything, I can’t help but feeling like this banner ad doesn’t convey their message that well.  It feels almost deceptive, and that’s not something that I would think they’d want, given how the whole campaign is about how they’re trying to go out of their way to be open about the health information on their products!  I just think that there has to be a better way for Mars to advertise this initiative beyond the website.

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

L’Oreal Colour Riche Anti-Aging Lipstick: My Face Looks Younger!

Posted by Rosepixie on June 16, 2010

This is a commercial for L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Anti-Aging Lipstick.

She really does claim that her whole face looks younger because of a lipstick.  Seriously?  Is this magic lipstick?  Because I’m pretty sure your face looks flawless because you’re a supermodel and have an army of make-up artists and digital touch-up techs to make it look however you or L’Oreal want it to look.

And the explanation for how the lipstick works is pretty weak.  It’s got some special stuff in the middle that’s supposed to plump and firm lips and is lusciously surrounded by color so bright you can’t tell how plump or firm the lips wearing the color really is in the first place.  How that amounts to making your whole face look younger, I’m not sure.

Basically, this whole ad felt like a lot of smoke and mirrors and empty promises for women who have been taught that looking a day over eighteen is tantamount to being dead.  I’m not impressed and found it annoying enough that it might come to mind next time I’m shopping and make me stay away from anything with L’Oreal on it.

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