an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘print-ad’

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 »

HTY Gold: How Old?

Posted by Rosepixie on June 9, 2010

This is a magazine ad for a product called HTY Gold that promises to reduce the crepe-paper appearance of aged skin.

The text on the left side of the ad reads:

Prevent and conquer dry, wrinkled, crepe-paper skin!

Hide the Years: HTY Gold

The all-natural solution for aging skin… worth it’s weight in gold!

– No Chemicals, Preservatives, Fragrances or Parabens

– Rich in powerful antioxidants, HTY Gold truly reverses time’s aging effects on your skin

– HTY Gold is the only skin cream you need!  …the only product of it’s kind that alleviates shriveled crepe-paper skin on your face and body.

This ad comes with lots of fuzzy, rather unspecific promises.  What I noticed first about it, however, was the pictures.  The pair of images partway down the right-hand column of the ad showing two arms, one labeled “treated” and one labeled “untreated” seem appropriate for this product.  The untreated arm does indeed display the crepe-papery skin commonly seen on older people (I remember my 90 year old great aunt’s arms being very much like that).

The image above that before and after set, however, seems somewhat out of place.  It shows a tight close-up of a smiling model’s face.  Presumably she’s a happy customer, right?  Except that she appears to have perfect, youthful skin and be perhaps in her 30s, which is much too young to be likely to have crepe-paper arms like the ones shown just below her.  Not that we get to see her arms, of course, because the bit of arm in the picture is covered by a very chic sleeve.

So who is this product aiming for and what is it promising?  It sounds like a product for older people promising to help improve their skin and help them look and feel younger, but it shows a woman much younger than that suggesting they are either promising more than they could possibly offer (unless this is magic genie-cream) or that they are hoping to sell their product to younger women who don’t really need it.  Either way, it seems like a bad marketing decision to have chosen this model or image for this ad.

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

eBay: Because Electronics Don’t Change That Fast

Posted by Rosepixie on June 5, 2010

These are two recent magazine ads for eBay.

The text reads:

This season’s shows still look great on last season’s HD TV.

Last year’s music player at half price still plays this year’s music at full volume.

I think this is a great marketing tactic for eBay.  It’s hard to advertise a changing selection of used stuff, but they’ve managed here to point out that the products they feature regularly are still great and usually considerably cheaper than new versions.  And while many people love having the next great thing, realistically how often do most of us update our television sets?  Not yearly, anyway.  Because the ad is right – the newest shows are going to look just as good on an HD TV from last year as one from this year unless you’re buying a cutting edge TV, which most of us aren’t.

This is a nice, simple campaign that can be carried through any number of products and themes to illustrate the breadth of eBay’s selections and to tailor the ads to whatever venue they are being featured in.  It matches the service well and is memorable.  It does exactly what it’s supposed to do and it does it well.

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

Camel No. 9: Appealing to Girls

Posted by Rosepixie on June 1, 2010

This is a print ad for Camel No. 9 cigarettes.

Doesn’t this look like a perfume ad? Even the boxes look like they contain beauty products rather than cigarettes.

It also has the same graphic feel as many of the book covers aimed at teenage girls and if you walk through the “girls toys” aisle at your local toy store you’ll find a large number of dolls and other toys in boxes that look a lot like this ad.  That’s a scary thought.  Those packages and book covers are aiming for girls too young to legally smoke and if they are successfully appealing to those markets, why wouldn’t this ad do the same?

Camel clearly intends the ad to be seen primarily by women.  Even the warning included in the ad is one specifically aimed at women, as opposed to the more general warnings usually found on ads for tobacco products.

I have a hard time believing that this ad isn’t specifically targeting a market that it shouldn’t be because of how very similar it is to the marketing of products to young girls.  It’s ads like these that make me skeptical about the tobacco industry’s claims that they don’t market to underage customers today.  This sure looks like it’s marketing to underage customers!

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

Hard Rock Cafe: Anyone Can Be Cool

Posted by Rosepixie on May 30, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Hard Rock Cafe.

This is one of those ads that really took me by surprise.  I’m so used to Hard Rock Cafe cultivating the image of being for real rockers – the stereotypical real rockers with colored streaks in their hair and customized guitars and crazy rock star clothes – that I wasn’t expecting to find an ad that actually speaks directly to the people who seem to actually frequent the restaurants most often.  Because although I’ve been to several Hard Rock Cafes, I’ve never seen anyone that looks like that stereotypical rocker there in real life, they’re just in the pictures on the walls.  The patrons were all more like me and my family – middle class suburban families with parents waxing nostalgic about how they used to gush over Elvis and kids marveling at the cool memorabilia on the walls.

But when you get down to it, I’ll be a large number of those parents have some rebellion in their past (isn’t that what most famous rock stars and bands are in their heyday, after all, rebellion of some kind?).  And they remember it.  People don’t just grow up and stop being who they were, they’re just older and have more experience and more responsibilities.  You may spend your afternoons singing along to the Wiggles, but Nirvana will still be your favorite band of all time.  And that’s what this ad is appealing to – those youthful rebellions and secret musical preferences that adults learn to sort of put aside when they grow up because it gives the wrong impression or because it would wake the baby or because their mother-in-laws don’t like it or any number of other reasons.

I think that this is a brilliant ad for Hard Rock Cafe.  It doesn’t let go of the image they want to project, but it reaches out the customers they actually attract, rather than the ones they want to give the impression of attracting.

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

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: Not so Elegant

Posted by Rosepixie on May 26, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, a perfume.

Chanel is a very famous French fashion line started by a very famous designer named Coco Chanel, so it makes sense for them to name one of their fragrances after their famous designer.  What I don’t understand is the image paired with the fragrance here.  Coco Chanel was famous for her simple elegance, which was something of a revelation to the fashion world.  She basically invented the “little black dress” and her suits were classic (updated versions of her suit designs are still staples of the fashion house’s offerings even today).  She’s legendary even beyond the fashion world (how many fashion designers have picture book biographies written of them?).

And no company is in a better position to evoke her memory than Chanel itself.  They could have put a model in one of their signature suits, so like the ones she wore but with a slight modern twist.  Or dressed one in a little black dress with strands of pearls.  Elegance and simplicity – modern and classic all in one perfectly tailored and accessorized package.

But they inexplicably chose to pair the fragrance named for this legendary designer with a nude model posing with a mens’ shirt draped across her lap and a mens’ hat clutched to her chest (oh, and jewels, because she’s clearly a high class girl).  I can’t figure it out.  It’s just about the last thing I would have chosen to evoke Coco.  Maybe a tree or a vampire bat would have been lower on the list, but this would be pretty far down.

The only explanation I can come up with is that they wanted to covey the idea of sex appeal and for some unknown reason the only way advertisers seem to know how to do that these days is through having naked (or mostly naked) girls in their ads.  And sometimes that works for the product, but part of advertising is matching the ads to the product and in that respect I think this particular ad fails spectacularly.  Sorry, Chanel, but this is not a perfume I’d buy based on this ad.  I’d love to feel like I have a little piece of Coco’s elegance, but if this is what that perfume evokes, it’s not going to help me with that goal.

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

Coopers Homebrew: Just Add Water!

Posted by Rosepixie on May 16, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Coopers Homebrew All-in-One Microbrewery Beer Brewing Kit.

The text reads:

You’re a man damn it.  Get a man’s hobby.

Brewing beer at home has never been easier.  All you need is a Coopers Microbrew Kit – just add water and wait.

Coopers Homebrew

Brew your own at home.

So I was going to basically ignore the fact that building one of those model train sets – the real ones the hobbyists build, like what’s shown in the picture there, not the pre-fabricated ones you get in kits for little kids that just need to be put in place and they work – are really damn hard to build and take a lot of time, energy and hard work.  But then I realized that was stupid.  People who build those crazy awesome model train sets put in an enormous amount of time and energy on those things.  And money.  Did I mention they get really expensive?  Model trains aren’t cheap.

But apparently a hobby that requires real work and time isn’t “manly”.  Nope.  Manly hobbies are easy involve as little work as possible!  “Just add water” does not strike me as very manly.  It makes me think of all those various kits and things they make for kids that say “just add water!”  You know – you add water to a pill and it grows into a dinosaur shaped sponge!  Or you add water to the top of a plastic volcano where it mixes with powder and you have an instant volcanic eruption in your kitchen!

Actual brewing takes work as well.  It’s actually kind of an art and there are a million different ways you can affect the outcome to get different tasting beer (or ruin the end product entirely).  That’s how so many microbreweries can survive – each makes a different product by doing something slightly different.  And it’s hard work.

See the part about hard work here?  Now, I totally get that model trains aren’t “cool”, but that doesn’t make them not a real hobby.  I guess what I’m saying is that I have a hard time taking this ad seriously when it shows a hobby that’s really hard to do and says it’s not a “man’s hobby” and then says something that’s so easy you “just add water and wait” is a “man’s hobby”.  This makes me think that either they have no idea what they’re talking about or that they have very low opinions of men.

And the saddest thing is that I’m sure this works.  I’m sure that there are men who buy these kits and pride themselves on having more manly hobbies than others because of this kind of message.  And I hate that.

I also have to wonder if the company’s ads are all like this or if they have any that don’t play on masculinity like this, because I’m certain that they’d find a receptive audience for their product if they advertised to women as well – after all, women drink beer too.  If anyone can find me other ads from this company that are less focused on just the narrow-minded manly-men demographic I’d be extremely interested!

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

Vintage Friday: Vanish

Posted by Rosepixie on May 14, 2010

Today I have an ad from 1949 for a toilet cleaner called Vanish that I found on a blog.

The text reads:

Social Security Hint

Don’t let the “Ghost of the Past” cast reflections on you!

A “ghost” in your bathroom is socially distressing.  For sure protection against him, use Vanish, the double-action toilet bowl cleaner that (1) deodorizes (2) as it cleans.  Its bubbling action spreads a pleasant fragrance.

New Vanish kills toilet odors as it cleans

The “social security” pun was bad enough, but the drawing makes it look almost like the woman was about to draw on the bathroom mirror with lipstick when she was startled by the ghost holding (weirdly) a miniature outhouse.  Why a miniature outhouse?  Because they traditionally smell bad?  It still seems weird and I had to look at it twice to be sure that I was seeing it correctly.

I think this ad is on the right track, it just sort of missed the mark a little bit.  I actually think the social security joke is perhaps a little too subtle and the drawing is just too busy and strange.  The rest of the text paired with a simple graphic of the can would have been much better!  Still, it’s definitely interesting and caught my attention.

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

Gillette Odor Shield: Science and Technology!

Posted by Rosepixie on May 12, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Gillette Odor Shield deodorant and body wash for men.

The text reads:

Help eliminate odor: don’t just cover it up.

10X more odor protection coverage when used together

Introducing Gillette’s line of odor shield products.

Odor Shield Anti-Perspirant and Body Wash help eliminate body odor instead of just covering it up.  Odor shield technology targets and neutralizes body odor at the source.  And when used together, you get 10X more odor protection coverage.  So you can perform under pressure.

Targets: Shield zeroes in on odor

Neutralizes: Odor counteracted at the source

Protects: Helps eliminate body odor

This ad uses all of the hard-hitting “we use science!” cues that I’m used to seeing in ads for anti-aging makeup.  It’s primarily black and red (what is it about black and red that suggests serious science to advertising designers?), uses lots of outlines to direct your eye and suggest steps the product is going through in some sort of high-tech process, shows geometric shapes to suggest molecules or other “sciency” things, and gives completely unexplained numbers with no backing data (in this case – “10X more effective”).

Does this promise of serious science and high technology give me any more faith in the product?  Not really.  If you actually read what it says, it’s basically saying what every single product that promises to reduce or prevent body odor says.  This ad seems to be relying almost entirely on the “science” gimmick to sell it’s product.  The problem is that science means data and data is one thing that is conspicuously absent from this ad.  And that’s the problem.

In this day and age I expect that every product I buy had science involved in its creation somewhere along the line, whether it was in the initial development, practical creation or testing for safety and effectiveness.  Science isn’t a novelty – it’s the norm.  So why is your science special?  What does it tell us?  If it shows that your product is more effective, then tell us how much more, how it’s more effective and why it’s more effective.  And don’t forget that “more” is a relative term, so it’s vital that you tell us what it’s more effective than.

Basically, if you’re selling me something on the basis of science, you’d better either be showing me science or data of some kind to explain why that’s such a selling point or I’m going to assume that “science” is a selling point because you never used it before, which makes me doubt both your credibility and reliability.  Like I said – science is used in everything.  Every food you buy at the grocery store (even the vegetables in the produce department that are marked “organic”) have science and technology behind their being there.  So if you haven’t been using science until now to create a beauty product, I’m going to question the safety and validity of your products.

So I think that this ad needs some major rethinking.  Where did that “10X more effective” number come from?  How is this any different from any other anti-perspirant?  If you want to use data – use data.  But stop with the red/black shorthand for science.  Consumers are pretty savvy and can handle a few numbers.  It might even impress some of them.  But this technique is getting old.

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

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.

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