an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘celebrity’

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.

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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.

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Movie Monday: Killers

Posted by Rosepixie on June 14, 2010

This is a trailer for the movie Killers.

What bothered me most about this trailer was that it didn’t tell us the major point of the movie (that the guy is a spy or something like it) until more than half way through the trailer!  I have trouble believing that the movie is divided that way, since a movie that is a romantic comedy until a little beyond the half-way point and then turns into a guns-explosions-and-car-chases action comedy doesn’t sound like the most balanced or enjoyable movie (and Hollywood likes things to fit into neat little genre boxes and that, clearly, doesn’t do so).

So why does the trailer portray it that way?  If it’s an action comedy, which is what I’m guessing it actually is, why is the trailer mostly focused on the romantic meeting and getting together part at the beginning?  That kind of feels like a trailer for Betwitched that spent half it’s time focused on how Samantha and Darren met and fell in love and then more than half-way through told us that Samantha was a witch and showed some clips of her trying to use, but also hide, her powers.  See the problem?  It wouldn’t really be a trailer for Betwitched, it would be a trailer for the opening sequence of the first episode of Betwitched.

I don’t want a trailer to tell me the whole movie before I go and see it, but I do want it to give me some idea of what I’m getting into.  This doesn’t feel like it’s doing that, since it left me wondering what I actually should expect from Killers – a romantic comedy that happens to have some guns, or something more like Mr. and Mrs. Smith which was a spy/action movie that happened to have some romance in it.

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Movie Monday: Eat Pray Love

Posted by Rosepixie on June 7, 2010

This is a poster for the upcoming movie version of Eat Pray Love.

I stared that this poster for a long time before deciding to talk about it here.  The thing is, this poster bugs me.  A lot.  And it took me a while to figure out exactly why.

It’s the nun.  I don’t think that the nun belongs in this poster.  In fact, I think she’s there deliberately and it bugs me even more now that I realize she’s the problem here.  The thing about Eat Pray Love is that it’s a memoir very specifically divided into three sections: eat, pray and love.  Each one follows the author’s journey to a different country and focuses very much on a different thing.  “Eat” focuses on her travels to Italy and, obviously, is in large part focused on her explorations of different dishes and foods.  “Pray” focuses on her travels to India and her spiritual quest there, which is not (obviously, since it’s in Italy and not the Vatican City) centered around Catholicism.  “Love” takes place in Indonesia and tells about her taking a lover there.

I’m pretty sure the nun is in this poster so that Julia Roberts eating gelato isn’t just representing the “eat” portion of the story, but that the poster can also evoke the “pray” part.  The problem is that it’s deceptive and makes me suspicious of the movie’s adaption of the book.  It’s deceptive because it suggests that “pray” has something to do with the Christian religion, which it doesn’t really.  It makes me suspicious because I have to wonder if Hollywood changed the story so that it does.

This may all sound like nitpicking, but in a country full of people who assume that the world is Christian and nothing that isn’t Christian is religious this kind of message is powerful.  Even subtle messages matter (hopefully if you’ve been reading this blog for a while that isn’t a new idea), and subtle message that I got from this poster was a continued marginalization of anything that wasn’t Christian.  There are so many ways they could have evoked Italy and food without Christian imagery and ways they could evoke India and her spiritual journey as well, but this is what they chose?  I just find it frustrating and disappointing.  We can do better and we should expect better.

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Weight Watchers: To Love Yourself

Posted by Rosepixie on June 2, 2010

This is a recent commercial for Weight Watchers featuring Jennifer Hudson (a singer/actress).

I actually really didn’t mind this commercial this much until she said that having lost weight “makes me love myself that much more”.  And that brought me up short.  At first glance, that statement isn’t so bad.  Great, she loves herself more now than she did before.  But if you think about what it’s telling the viewers, and more specifically the target audience of people who might want or need to lose some weight, it’s not such a great statement.  If losing weight is good because it will make you love yourself more, than that means that you aren’t as worthy of your own love until you lose that weight.

And that’s not a good message at all.  Because while I think Weight Watchers does a better job than most of showing healthy body shapes in their ads and not overly encouraging unhealthy body images, they aren’t in a vacuum.  Their sort of unspecific weight loss ads really only work because there’s so much other stuff in our media that tells us what “fat” is and when you need to lose weight (which, sadly, is pretty much all the time if you’re a woman).  And worse, Jennifer Hudson specifically has a lot of teenage fans, so using her as a spokesperson is going to get their attention more than if they had featured someone else.  And teenage girls already have a hard enough time learning that they can love themselves (even beyond concerns about body size or shape or anything).  Is it really a good idea to reinforce to them that they’d be more lovable if they looked different?

While I think that Jennifer Hudson could be a great spokesperson for Weight Watchers, I think that this one line makes this an incredibly irresponsible and potentially dangerous ad.  Even if it’s true for her that she loves herself more, that’s more indicative of the problems we have than something to be celebrated and passed on to other people.  It’s absolutely something worth talking about – but a thirty second ad spot isn’t long enough to do that in, nor is discussing such an issue the focus of an advertisement like this.  I think this is a pretty horrible ad and wish I could expect better from Weight Watchers.

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Movie Monday: Splice

Posted by Rosepixie on May 24, 2010

This is a poster for the upcoming movie Splice.

I honestly wouldn’t have batted an eye at this poster if it weren’t for the fact that I just recently saw the preview for the same movie.  The preview was pretty unremarkable (generic technology/science-turned-monster movie trailer), but it did seem to go to remarkable lengths to not really show us the clone creature herself, as if seeing what she looked like was one of the reasons to see the movie.

But apparently it isn’t, since here she is on the poster.  And there’s a foreign poster (German, I think, but I’m not positive of that) that just has a full-length shot of her naked.

So all I can think here is that either the department making the trailer and the department making the posters aren’t communicating (which is a giant marketing failure, since a coherent campaign is generally a good thing) or the fact that you don’t get to see her in the trailer was more by accident than anything.  And when your movie focuses on a unique creature, you’d better be sure to pay attention to how and when the creature is revealed in your marketing, since it’s going to make a difference.

As it is, I think they are both fine (if unremarkable) pieces of movie marketing.  They just don’t work together at all.

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Movie Monday: Prince of Persia

Posted by Rosepixie on May 17, 2010

This is a trailer for the upcoming movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

The visual part of this trailer is pretty typical for an action movie trailer – shots of the main characters, a few brief clips of places, and lots of action clips that move almost too fast to really show much of anything other than that there’s action in the movie.  And the movie looks very pretty.  Great sets with elaborate, crumbling buildings for the hero to try and avoid being crushed by, soaring Persian temples and exotic fantastical costumes.

But that’s not what I primarily noticed about this trailer.  The main thing I came away with from this trailer was that almost no one but the Princess said anything and she talked throughout the entire thing.  Now maybe she does sort of narrate the movie, but the dialog was so constant in the trailer that it almost got annoying.  There’s a point at which there’s just too much information to really take in and you have to wonder if it’s all necessary.  Her voice is beautiful and pleasant to listen to, but did we need it running over all of those action sequences?  And why didn’t the hero himself get to talk?

I don’t think that the voice over seriously hurt this trailer, but I do think that the trailer would have been improved if they had cut back on it a bit.

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Organic Liaison: Magic Shrinking Potion

Posted by Rosepixie on May 5, 2010

This is an animated advertisement featuring Kirstie Alley, a businessman and a fireman (don’t ask me) for a weight loss program called Organic Liaison.

I find this commercial to be incredibly weird.  First of all, when I first saw the commercial I assumed it was selling some kind of pink weight-loss drink, not an actual program with all the bells and whistles that weight loss programs generally come with – but it’s for a program, not a drink.

Beyond that, I thought that the “thin” version of Alley looked incredibly freakish.  Her clothing appears to be falling off and her limbs look like they could break any minute.  And she’s animated – she didn’t have to look frail.  Yet I honestly think that the “fat” version of Kirstie Alley in this commercial is considerably more attractive than the “thin” version.  She’s got nice curves, her clothes flatter her, she’s big, but not crazy-unhealthy-all-over-the-place fat.  And her face isn’t pointy.  She looks good.

I’m not sure what’s with the businessman and the fireman, but I assume they are supposed to somehow suggest that this program is for anyone, not just famous people like Alley.  I found the static people on the stairs behind them to be odd (especially the little old woman holding yet another bottle of the magic pink drink).

So what is with the pink drink?  No idea.  None of the products in the program look like that pink juice bottle.  Nor does the program seem to involve lots and lots of chugging magic potions.  It does involve a bunch of products that sound an awful lot like magic potions and have not been evaluated by the FDA, so I have no idea how effective they actually are (probably about as effective as most weight loss programs – as effective as the effort you put into them makes them).

This all means that I don’t think that this ad is actually very good.  It doesn’t show what it’s selling in any way that makes sense, it suggests magic and totally unrealistic results and the animation actually shows us an attractive woman becoming a scary, pointy lady who reminded me of a someone who kind of reminded me of a witch with her pointy chin and scary stick limbs.  This is not a good way to sell something.  And worse, it reinforces the idea that women should be the kind of unhealthy thin that you can really only achieve through eating disorders like anorexia.  Not a good message.

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Movie Monday: TiMER

Posted by Rosepixie on April 26, 2010

This is a poster that I came across recently for a movie I had not previously heard of called TiMER.

I found this an incredibly intriguing poster.  It’s simple, but a few details stand out.  The white dress and the phrase “the one” suggest this is a romantic comedy.  Interestingly, however, the guy is conspicuously not in the picture!  His hand is, but he isn’t.  This suggests that his identity is unknown.  Why?

The other detail that really stands out is on the woman’s wrist – the wrist holding the disembodied male hand.  It sort of looks like a watch, but if you look closely, it’s actually part of her or embedded into her skin, not something she’s wearing.  That really got me intrigued, since an embedded electronic device places this pretty squarely in the science fiction camp, which rarely mixes with the romantic comedy crowd due to the long-held and somewhat ridiculous idea that the two genres are incompatible (and that they are gendered oppositely, which is also pretty ridiculous, since genres don’t have genders).

So I’m hooked just from looking at a poster that is fundamentally little more than a woman with no background or context around her, just a red outline around the outside.  That’s great design work.  Whoever designed this poster did an amazing job.  This poster managed to take a movie I had never heard of and make it one I really want to see within a matter of maybe five minutes, just from having a few well placed details!

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CoverGirl: Cool Tools

Posted by Rosepixie on April 21, 2010

This is a recent ad for CoverGirl makeup starring Drew Barrymore.

I’m pretty sure this ad is trying to say that CoverGirl makeup is inexpensive but doesn’t look like it, and thus is a good deal while the economy is bad.  Because even if you’re having to cut back on your expenses, makeup clearly isn’t something to skimp on.  The problem is that it’s not very clear about that and the incredibly 1980s-ish outfit just made me laugh.

I also felt like the marketing people behind this ad were trying to sound hip with phrases like “cool tools” and “lash blast”, but they don’t actually sound that hip.  They sound kind of silly, actually, which doesn’t really go with the “expensive makeup line that doesn’t cost a lot” message.  It sort of goes with a makeup line that’s cheap, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what they want viewers to take away from the ad.

So I think this ad really didn’t work.  The marketing people are likely right about makeup being something people spend less on when the economy isn’t so good, but I’m not sure that this was the right way to respond.  What do you think?

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