an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘psa’

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?


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Pathfinder: Double Meaning

Posted by Rosepixie on March 13, 2010

This is an ad for Pathfinder, a charitable organization that works to improve women’s access to birth control around the world.

What I find particularly interesting about this ad is the two ways that the image can be read.  Obviously, it is a woman’s hand with fingers crossed.  The obvious meaning is that she’s hoping for something (in this case, presumably that she won’t get pregnant).  The second way it could be seen however is that she’s evoking crossed legs – the way young girls are often taught to stay virginal, regardless of how practical the advice actually is.

Truthfully, the crossed-legs method is probably a more reliable method of birth control than the crossed fingers, but for many women it’s not as achievable.  Pathfinder is suggesting that those women need better options.

I actually think that this image works really well for the message they are trying to convey.  This is one of those issues where a print ad isn’t going to convince the people who aren’t already convinced, so you really just need an evocative ad to catch the attention of the people who are and encourage them to take action.  This is an evocative ad and has a good chance of doing that, so I think it works.

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Trojan Condoms: Protect the Nation!

Posted by Rosepixie on March 6, 2010

This is an ad for Trojan Condoms that is masquerading as a vintage PSA.

Mostly I found the voice-over in this commercial particularly funny.  It’s such a serious voice and the script is peppered with the least serious words for things (i.e. “boinking”).  I also laughed at the image of Mount Rushmore with condoms falling out of it.

The humor factor goes a long way here because this is actually not a very informative commercial.  There was some factual information given, but mostly it stuck to rhetoric and gimmicks.  I did notice that on the very brief screen where it listed facts about STDs (not the best term, by the way, Trojan, since you’re talking about STIs as much as STDs and I’m pretty sure some of your facts cover both) it listed the percentage of teen girls with STDs (again, I think that’s the STI/STD number, since the STD number alone is much lower), but not any guy-specific statistics.

I think this ad works pretty well, even if it does have some issues.  What do you think of it?

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Save the Murlocs: Fake PSAs Can Be the Most Fun

Posted by Rosepixie on November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  I thought that a public service announcement about something warm and fuzzy would be appropriate for Thanksgiving, but sadly, I only had one in my pile of ads and it’s not even a real PSA!  But it is funny, so I decided that maybe it was a good thing to post for a holiday anyway.

This is an ad for the Save the Murlocs Foundation, which is fictional (since murlocs aren’t real except in World of Warcraft) and was created by Jinx, a clothing retailer.  There are products (including a cute stuffed murloc) and a foundation website that tie in with the campaign.

Well, I don’t like killing murlocs anyway (they’re such drama queens!), but that certainly convinced me that they would take over Azeroth if their numbers weren’t kept down by all the very self-less adventurers who take time out of their busy lives to cull the massive hordes of murlocs that swarm the shores of nearly every beach known to humans, trolls, dwarves, tauren and everyone else!

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

Breast Cancer PSAs: Missing the Mark?

Posted by Rosepixie on November 21, 2009

These are two recent public service announcement ads about breast cancer put out by two different organizations.  Both are very recent.

This one is from the Men for Women Now Campaign:

This one is from ReThink Breast Cancer:

Both of these made me cringe.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bring attention and respect to serious medical conditions that very much need more research, but I really have my doubts that either of these ads does much to further that goal.  I get that they’re trying to make young men care about a disease that they, personally, will never suffer from, but I really find this approach kind of offensive.  The first ad is decidedly less obnoxious than the second, but it still kind of makes it a joke and further “others” women, their bodies and any conditions they suffer from that men don’t.  The second ad doesn’t even acknowledge the women at all, it just reduces them to walking boobs.

This does not seem like a helpful or respectful approach.  What do you think?

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

Raisin Brahms: Art and Humor

Posted by Rosepixie on November 10, 2009

This is a PSA for the arts that I saw on Hulu.

When this commercial came on, my husband and I just kind of watched in bafflement.  Obviously “Raisin Brahms” wasn’t a real product, but what was it really an ad for?  And then the “Americans for the Arts” splash came up at the end and we smiled.  The thing is, mostly we were smiling because the commercial had been so entertaining and memorable and I think we would have been entertained by it even if it hadn’t been a PSA for something we supported.

What I love about this PSA is that it’s humorous.  Most public service announcements take themselves very seriously, and as a result, often elicit groans when they come on, even when they are for topics people take seriously.  That’s not to say that there aren’t great serious PSAs, though, because there are.  It’s just refreshing to find one that’s different!

So, while this ad had me scratching my head for most of it, I think it worked.  I stuck around wanting to know what the ad was for rather than getting up to get a drink or something and I enjoyed the humor.  It’s a memorable ad and what it’s for is part of why it’s memorable – arts and breakfast cereal is an unusual pairing!

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Dove: PSA or Ad?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 26, 2009

This is a Dove ad that has gotten a lot of attention, both praise and criticism.

I like the idea they were going for here, because they’re right that the beauty industry is incredibly harmful to girls and women and those images and messages are unimaginably damaging.  However, Dove is unquestionably part of the beauty industry.  They sell beauty products and this was an ad.  Ostensibly it’s an ad for a self-esteem program on their website, but they wouldn’t have made it with the name “Dove” all over it the way it is if they weren’t also trying to get viewers to think about their products and see them favorably.  If you go to the website, the main pictures in the middle are all about self-esteem, which is great, but the first link at the top is for their products and there’s a big ad along the side stating that if you enter the UPC from one of their products they will donate $1 to a self-esteem program.

I’m not terribly fond of “buy our stuff and we’ll donate to this charity” promotions.  Dove has buckets of money.  If they were truly serious about donating a meaningful amount of money to these programs, they wouldn’t tie it to people buying their products.  They aren’t in need of customers, they have plenty of them (even I buy their stuff), so it’s not like they need to tie it to sales this way to make the donation possible.  They don’t.  And how many customers do you think realistically go and enter that code?  Again, if they really meant it, they could donate for every sale, not every customer who manages to learn about the program, buy a product and bother to go enter a code on the website.  I just have trouble seeing it as real charity when it’s got so many weird strings like this for no real good reason.

So, I kind of wandered off topic from the ad itself there, but I think it all ties back to the same idea.  Dove is marketing an idea that they don’t really seem to be behind.  They say they’re encouraging “real beauty”, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman over maybe size 12 in their ads and I know I’ve never seen a woman with a visible disability or anything like that.  So their definition of “real” beauty still seems pretty conventional.  And I have trouble taking their dire warnings about the beauty industry seriously (even though they are absolutely right about it) when they are part of that very same industry and filled the ad with the very images they are supposedly against.  The message is great and if this exact same video had been produced as a public service announcement or by an advocacy group I’d be all for it, but as it is, I’m deeply skeptical of it because it’s made by the very industry it’s saying is evil.

Posted in Beauty | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Holy Discontent, Batman!

Posted by Rosepixie on September 18, 2009

This is an ad featuring the cast of the live-action Batman show from the 1960s and is advocating fair pay for women as per the federal equal pay law.

This ad is awesome.  It uses the tropes of the show (Batman and Robin have been captured and are in deadly peril – as they were in every single episode) to actually create a story.  Batgirl makes her point articulately and Robin whines about how it’s stupid, both representing major arguments of the time.  Batman listens like he cares, but kind of dismisses Batgirl’s demands for fair treatment by trying to turn the focus back to his own concerns, the bomb and his captivity, thus representing another major tact taken in discussions of the issue.  The point is made well and the slant of the ad is very evident, but it’s done in a fun way and it’s clear that the writers have listened to discussions of the issue before.  So not only is this a fun little movie on it’s own, it’s actually a really good ad.  And it has Batgirl, so bonus points for that!

Posted in Advocacy, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »