an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for the ‘Electronics’ Category

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 »

Microsoft Kin: Justifying Online Stalking

Posted by Rosepixie on June 12, 2010

This is an ad for the Microsoft Kin, a smartphone aimed at young customers.

This ad really bothers me.  While the social experiment element of the whole thing is an interesting idea in theory, the reality of sending a young woman out to actually meet people she knows very little about for certain (if anything) is a very dangerous prospect.  And why they chose this particular meeting to showcase their experiment is just beyond me.

Here’s the thing – Rosa explains pretty well why Matty’s behavior towards her online is problematic without getting into the dangerous and triggery possibilities of it.  She says that it’s creepy and sounds as if she sort of regrets having accepted his friend request.  Matty clearly doesn’t have any idea why his behavior is problematic, or even that it is.  He seems to think it’s a great thing because it means it easier for him to “pick up girls” without any risk to him – he can sit at home “half naked” and he believes that he has the “magical words” to start a conversation and get to know someone in a way that he couldn’t do in person.  But is it a “nice” conversation if it’s begun by objectifying the girl (and clearly creeping her out) and has pretty much exclusively the purpose of “picking up” the girl?  He doesn’t mention getting to know her until he’s talking to her in person, which he clearly never expected to actually happen!

When she walks up to him and confronts him about the behavior, he clearly still doesn’t get it.  He justifies it and says it’s just a way of getting to know someone.  He also accuses her of cutting off the contact without giving him a chance and of inviting it in the first place by accepting the friend request.  He says “how else am I going to meet you?”  And you know what, she seems to accept responsibility for it.  He doesn’t.  At all.

And that’s how rape culture works.  That may sound extreme, but if you go back to early in the ad when she was describing Matty before they met you’ll hear that she said he was the online equivalent of a construction worker hollering at a pretty girl walking by, and that kind of thing is very recognized as part of rape culture.  Check out HollaBack if you don’t know what I’m talking about here.  It’s also very indicative of rape culture in that the person performing the action here (the guy making the overtures) is not determined to be at fault, but rather the girl is determined to be at fault because she somehow “invited it”.  But she didn’t ask him to hit on her this way – he did it under his own power.  He could have approached her in conversation many other ways that would have been not creepy and more likely to invite her to get to know him (and to let him get to know her).  But that doesn’t seem to have even occurred to him.

This is just such a problematic ad.  They could have done so much with this concept that could have been interesting and appealing, but instead they came up with this ad which mostly taught me that people are scary and Microsoft thinks that’s a good thing.  Sorry, but that doesn’t encourage me to buy your products.  I think this is a horribly irresponsible ad and am pretty disgusted that Microsoft came out with it.

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Nokia: Building a Green Brand

Posted by Rosepixie on May 25, 2010

This is a commercial focused on Nokia as a brand, rather than one specific product of theirs, and stresses the company’s efforts to be environmentally responsible.

This commercial visually used a lot of the “green” shorthands – crumpled up paper, a hand-drawn appearance, leaves everywhere, and (of course) the color green.  That said, it’s fairly well designed from a visual standpoint.

The flow is pretty good too – it takes you through the process of designing, building, packaging and shipping products, stressing the environmental focus at each step.  It’s problem is that this takes a long time and gets a little bit boring at points.  But overall, the visuals keep things moving pretty well.

In terms of branding, I think this does a pretty good job.  Am I convinced that Nokia phones are super awesome for the environment?  Not really.  They’re still phones.  But I am likely to remember this and it might be the thing that tips my decision in Nokia’s favor when I’m next debating between two phones from different companies.

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Garmin Nuvi 1690: Directing You Through Airports

Posted by Rosepixie on May 8, 2010

This is a magazine ad for the Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS device.

The text reads:

The navigator with connections.

Be in the know when you’re on the go with Nuvi 1690.  This intelligent navigator feeds you real-time content like flight status, Google Local Search, movie times, traffic and fuel prices from Garmin nulink! services.  Check your flight status before you leave the office or search for local events in your destination city, then get turn-by-turn directions when you’re navigating.  And since the 1690 comes with a free two-year data subscription to Garmin nulink!  there are no extra fees or fares during that time.

Follow the leader.

I think that the text on this ad is actually pretty good.  Unfortunately, I think the image is poorly chosen.  It’s a graphic, eye catching image that definitely suggests the idea of navigating around (especially if you’ve ever had to get through a maze of an airport in a very short time span in order to make a connecting flight).  Unfortunately, as far as I know, GPS devices don’t help you navigate the twists and turns of airports, nor does the text of this ad in any way suggest that this particular one does.  While it will tell you if your flight is on time, it won’t help you find it.  So why suggest that it will?  It seems confusing and not well thought out.

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Spy Watch: Secretly Gather Evidence

Posted by Rosepixie on April 20, 2010

I recently went on an airplane trip, which gave me the opportunity to check out a SkyMall catalog.  It was full of fascinating advertisements for strange products.  Apparently spies regularly shop SkyMall, since they had many “spy gadgets”, but one of the most interesting such ads was for this spy watch.

The text reads:

The ultimate spy gadget: the new digital video spy camera watch!

This stylish watch has a secret… it contains a hidden color camcorder – ideal as both a spy camera and a hidden camera.  It is small enough to wear anywhere!  Wherever you go with your mini camcorder on your wrist you’ll know for sure that you won’t miss anything!  Use it unnoticed for personal security or evidence gathering.  No one will know.  With built-in 2GB flash memory and rechargeable lithium battery, it lets you record both video and voice.  This is one of the most useful spy gadgets we have ever tried.  The built-in DVR makes this truly portable and spy worthy.

So why did this ad particularly catch my attention?  The part about gathering evidence.  See, nothing you record on a secret camera in a watch is going to be admissible evidence in a court for anything.  There are very strict rules about how evidence can be obtained and “I recorded it secretly on my spy watch” isn’t going to cut it for the same reasons taped phone conversations don’t.  So how can they be claiming that their watch will help you gather evidence?

They can claim it because you don’t need to have gathered evidence in any legitimate way as long as they aren’t required for a court case.  So if you just want to know if the babysitter is drinking beer after the kids go to bed or if your wife is lying about meeting her old high school boyfriend for lunch but don’t need to press charges if they are doing those things, you can “spy” on them using questionable methods all you want.  They can complain that you violated their privacy, but that’s a separate issue.

So this is a watch explicitly advertising itself as a tool for making unauthorized recordings (there are laws about recording or videotaping people without their knowledge – it’s a tort or civil wrong and pretty heavily frowned upon and can get you sued for invasion of privacy).  It’s one thing to say you’re selling a “spy” device, but I find it somewhat more problematic when the advertisements actually encourage potentially illegal activities.  I don’t have a big problem with small cameras existing, since they have some real uses.  But I do have a problem with advertisements encouraging illegal activities, even if the companies selling the products know that is a likely use of what they sell.  It’s reprehensible and irresponsible (and I would even argue that it could get the company sued as well, since their misrepresentation of the activity could lead to it happening when it otherwise might not, depending on how the judge felt like seeing it).

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

Vintage Friday: Edison Mazda Lamps

Posted by Rosepixie on April 16, 2010

This is a page from an advertising calendar selling Edison Mazda Lamps.  It’s from 1919.

Isn’t this image just beautiful?  I love how she almost looks like the light bulb in the little circle at the bottom.  The colors and shape are similar.  I have no idea if this woman had some special significance for the company or anything, but she is lovely and seems to glow in the night, almost like a lamp glows in the darkness.

The image doesn’t scream “buy our products”, but it does radiate warmth and light, which presumably is what the company wanted to associate with their products.  I kind of wish ads were still this beautiful, but it’s rare these days.  I’d totally buy their lamps based on this ad, though.

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Blackberry: All You Need is Love

Posted by Rosepixie on April 3, 2010

This is a recent commercial for Blackberry, a brand of smartphones.

So there are a few clips showing people using the phone in the ad, but for the most part, this ad has absolutely nothing to do with cell phones or anything relating to cell phones.  I think it’s cute as a piece of short film and I love the song, but the song isn’t theirs by any means and is so classic that there’s little hope it will ever truly be associated with Blackberry.  I guess I just don’t get it as an ad.  Why would this make me even remember the brand, much less want to buy one?

I saw this commercial first with my mother, who couldn’t figure out what it was for.  I couldn’t either until the end when it gave the brand name.  Later, I decided I wanted to feature it here, but couldn’t remember what it was a commercial for, even though I could remember some of the specific things that happened in it (the fashion designers, the couple in the cafe, the dancers).  I only found it again by accident.  That doesn’t really speak well to it’s marketing value.  Clearly it stuck in my mind, but not what it was for.

What do you think of this ad?  Does it make you think of Blackberry?  Does it make you want to buy one?  If it does, please tell me why, since I’m really trying to figure out what the thought process behind this one might have been!

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Wii: Fit Some Fit In

Posted by Rosepixie on March 16, 2010

These are two new commercials for the Wii aimed at women and featuring Wii Fit Plus.

I love that Nintendo is actually advertising to women (that’s really more than you can say for either of the other two consoles – and no, the PSP Lilac thing doesn’t count).  I also like that they’re recognizing the single biggest thing women say keeps them from gaming – that their lives are too busy.  Both of these commercials showed women with very busy lives.

What I don’t like about the commercials is that they showed women doing all the traditional things women are expected to do around the house (feed the kids, do the shopping and other errands, do the cleaning, etc.), while their husbands get to sleep later and relax more.  I was a little annoyed about it in the first ad, but by the time I got to the end of the second ad, where she’s vacuuming and he’s playing, I was pretty annoyed about it.  Granted, you could argue that she got to play earlier, but she also got up earlier and still got in a full day of work and errands.

Now, it may be completely true that this is still typical (statistics would bear that out), but that doesn’t mean that the image of it needs to be reinforced, further normalizing it and perpetuating it.  That’s why it annoys me.

It would have been so easy for them to subtly change that message in these ads, while still showing women with crazy busy days!  Have the couple wake up together and head out to breakfast.  The wife grabs her toast like in the ad while the husband is seen feeding the kids so she can catch some Wii Fit time.  Then she runs off to work (and presumably he does too, since he was wearing a suit when we last saw him) and she runs an errand on her way home and walks into the room at the same time as her husband, who is also carrying something from errands (say she has the bag of groceries and he has a dry cleaning bag or something), they put their stuff down and join their kids playing with the Wii.  And everybody is pitching in and she’s still just as busy, but he doesn’t look like a totally crappy husband in the process!

But no, we get busy housewives/mothers/businesswomen who do everything and still find time to work out while their husbands just get to play after they get home.  Can we try again please?

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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 »

Bing: The Decider

Posted by Rosepixie on February 11, 2010

This is a banner ad for the search engine Bing.  There are many designs with the same text.

So, what is a decision engine and how is it different from a search engine?  See, it doesn’t sound like something I’d want, since I don’t generally want other people deciding what I want for me and that’s the only thing I can imagine this means.  And if it doesn’t mean that my free will when browsing the internet isn’t taken away from me, then what does it mean?  Am I only going to be given one result for a search query because Bing “decided” that was the best one?  Is Bing going to “decide” if I’m looking to get information about ponies or to buy one when I search for “ponies”, regardless of what I might have actually wanted?  Or is it something else?

And the fact that I’m so uncertain about it and currently pretty sure that whatever a “decision engine” is, I don’t want one, says that this is probably not a very good advertising campaign.  Clarity is important.  And it’s important not to suggest you’re going to take away what people are getting already, because if you are, why would they want to switch to your product?

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