Friday, April 29, 2011

F'd Ad Fridays: Purity Panties

Not so much an ad, as a marketing idea: underwear for teenage girls that will protect their honour by shaming any boy who comes in contact with them to back off.

You thought I was joking?

This is the offering put forward by "What Would Your Mother Do?"

"Having high schoolers of our own, we realize that at one point or another, teenagers are going to want to date. We've decided there's no reason to get uptight about it, after all, finding a romantic partner is a normal and healthy part of adolescent life. But, why not help our teens make wise choices (whatever that may be for them) while they navigate the dating scene? We created a line of underwear to use as conversation starters to help reinforce family morals as they relate to relationships and dating. One part Victorian (who are we kidding?), three parts frisky, these adorable undies put new meaning to saying it loud and proud."
A mixed message to young girls that they should look and feel "grown up" sexy, but still follow "family morals"? I guess it's par for the course these days.

Via Adrants.

F'd Ad Fridays: Umbilicalievable

This South African spot for the Toyota Aygo uses a rather maternal metaphor for independence.

Squeamishness-inducing graphics aside, I think the commercial's biggest failure is when it has to resort to a teacher with a visual labelled "umbilical cord" to make sure we don't think this is a commercial about making sausages.

Or evisceration.

Via Adrants.

F'd Ad Fridays: Kate's Dress? What Dress? (Nudity)

The Infopresse blog shared this rather naughty poke at today's royal wedding hoopla, courtesy Dutch fashion photographer Inez van Lamsweerde:

(There's more to it than that, but you'll have to click here (new window) for full-length.)

Yes, that's Kate Moss. No, she is not tastefully covered in lace. Yes, I know it's gratuitous. No, I don't have any idea what the message is. I'm just blogging these as fast as they come in.

F'd Ad Fridays: Really Slitty Ads

These ads, for an automatic door closer thingie company in Brazil, only sort-of work when you view them at full size. So click the pics, squint your eyes and prepare to be...

...confused? Here's a hint. This one is called "cocaine".

This one is called "crossdressing".

And this on is "Thief". Yeah, it doesn't work at all. But just look at all the whitespace! These "slits" are an Art Director's fantasy.

Ads by Dim`Canzian`Facci, São Paulo, Brazil.

Via Ads of The World.

F'd Ad Fridays: Jill(z)ing Off to Moist Mimbos

Admit it, guys, we deserved this. It's sexist commercial Karma:

Directed by Pink and Poodle's ECD Wencke van Amstel in cooperation with Paul Vos.

If cider is the "Lady's Pint", then I guess this is the "Ladies' Beer Ad".
Via Illegal Advertising.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big Corn and Big Sugar: Fighting (sweet) tooth and nail

The Consumerist reports that Big Sugar is none too sweet on Big Corn's attempts to rebrand high fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar". In fact, Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Company and C & H Sugar Company, Inc. are suing rcher Daniels Midland, Cargill, Tate & Lyle and the Corn Refiners Association in U.S. District Court for false advertising.

"This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple," sayeth the President and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative. "If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts."

The commercials in question are linked to the images below. (The Corn Refiners don't like embedding.)

Watch "Maze" (new window)

The corn people are, obviously, not amused:

"The name 'corn sugar' more accurately describes this sweetener and helps clarify food products labeling for manufacturers and consumers alike. The Corn Refiners Association petitioned the Food & Drug Administration in September 2010 to more succinctly and accurately describe what this natural ingredient is and where it comes from—corn.
High fructose corn syrup makes many healthy foods palatable and affordable for American consumers. It is disappointing that another sweetener would sue the competition for its own gain - and stand in the way of consumer clarity about added sugars in the diet.
Simply, this lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our right to petition the FDA to clear up consumer confusion about the name."
Interestingly, this new PR campaign comes at a time when consumers are starting to demand real sugar again — just look at the Pepsi Throwback phenomenon.

The health differences between cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup are debatable. But there is some evidence that HFCS, calorie for calorie, is processed differently in the body. A Princeton study, for example, found that HFCS led to significantly greater weight gain in lab rats:

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
Me, I'm just turned off by the whole corn situation in the United States: heavily subsidized, industrialized, genetically modified, and grown for fuel as well as being slipped into so many foods, it's a $15.1 Billion industry that obviously pulls a lot of weight as a political lobby.

I'm trying to cut down on all sugars, but somehow cane seems a little less evil — or at least more wholesome — these days.

Have you changed your sweetener habits lately? And why?

PETA almost manages to out-asinine the Tea Party

President Obama's a mutt, get it? His dad wasn't even African American, he was actually from Africa! So he's only part American, no matter what his birth certificate says!

Seriously, PETA, fuck off with this one. You may think it's an amusing piece of social commentary, but to the rest of us it's just another example of how your organization prefers publicity over human decency.

Via Copyranter.

The Importance of Being Guido

AdFreak just posted the first of this awesome viral video series by NYC's The Roundabout Theatre Company to promote their performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. It's transcripts from MTV's Jersey Shore, delivered Wilde style:

"The only thing worse than being over-tanned is not being over-tanned."

Here's a promo that features the actual performance. It runs until July 3.

This image really wants to be a condom ad

This isn't an ad for contraceptives, as far as I know.  But it probably should be.

Found on This is Photobomb

Care to suggest a headline? Do it in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Manhood in the Philippines: circumcision and spicy noodles

Copyranter got tipped off (pardon the pun) to this bizarre Filipino ad in which a boy and his father bond over mannish pursuits like circumcision and spicy noodles:

He even provided translation:

Doctor: Mr. Suarez, he's OK.
Kid: Dad, it didn't hurt!
Dad: I told you you can do it. You're a big boy already!
Kid: I didn't even cry!
VO: Because he's already a big boy, he can now eat Sweet & Spicy Lucky Me! Pancit Canton. It has the right blend and the right amount of spice that we enjoy.
Dad: Oh, can you handle it?
Kid (lowering voice): I can!

Beyond my "intactivist" leanings, the age of the boy getting circumcised freaked me out. Here's Yahoo! Answers' explanation:

"In the Philippines it is expected that all males are circumcised before puberty. If not, a boy will be teased as "supot". It is because he is not seen as "man enough" to face the pain."

Although I guess I should consider this boy lucky to have been brought to a doctor:

"In the rural areas, the quack doctor pulls the foreskin, and places a block of wood under the foreskin. The kid is given a leaf to bite on as the quack doctor whacks the foreskin off, often with a sharpened bamboo or coconut knife, or now, mostly machete knife."

In this context it's not all that different from female genital mutilation, is it?

Coming soon:

Old woman: Mrs. Rahim, she's OK.
Kid: Mom, it didn't hurt!
Mom: I told you you can do it. You're a big girl already!
Kid: I didn't even cry!
VO: Because she's already a big girl, she can now eat Sweet & Spicy Lucky Me! Iskudhexkaris. It has the right blend and the right amount of spice that we enjoy.
Mom: Oh, can you handle it?
Kid (lowering voice): I can!

I don't want to be too xenophobic here, but ads like this make me happy I live in a country where a typical coming of age is having a sip of your dad's beer while out fishing...

God's Gift of Gay

In a refreshing change from the very un-Christian hate we keep seeing in the USA, Toledo's Central United Methodist Church has decided to show some love instead.

From the Toledo Blade:

The Rev. Bill Barnard, Central’s part-time pastor, said the billboard message will be linked to a four-week sermon series, and the overall campaign goal is “to make a leap beyond tolerance.”

“Members of the congregation have experienced places and times where being lesbian or gay was tolerated — kind of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell, I know God forgives you,’” Barnard said. “We’re saying, ‘This is the way God created you. There’s nothing to forgive.’ “

You may say I'm a dreamer, but after President Obama's about-face on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and his refusal to support the insidious "Defense of Marriage Act", plus polls that show support for equal marriage may have reached a popular "tipping point", make me feel like real change is happening down there.

As a smug Canadian, my only concern now is that we could become the ones known for intolerance.

Target market fail enshrined in case study

Who the hell approves these case studies? (Not to mention the campaigns themselves?)

This case study layout for Korea's Cup Noodle Diet (posted on Ads of The World) is supposed to show how effective this "sexy white girl is so skinny her skirt fell off!" ambient is in getting attention:

From men, that is...

While women are shown walking past it with gazes cast down in embarrassment:

Yes, this is the photo they chose to feature.

Too bad those suit dudes aren't the market for your diet ramen. Or are they?

Just imagine the guy on the left coming home with a bag full of diet noodles for his wife: "Look what I bought you, honey! Now you can be as thin as the girl in the ad that I undressed in public today!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The amazing coal-powered car?

Adland shared a video of this clever billboard, posted outside the New York Auto Show, that contrasts the tailpipe emissions of the show's 1000+ cars with the "zero-emission" Nissan Leaf.

Good ad, but bad environmental science. Although New York City is actually one of the lowest per-capita emissions producers in the USA, due to low reliance on coal and heavy public transit use, the majority of the United States get its electricity from coal.

Electric cars are great, when they can be sustainably powered. But considering the US produced 1,787,910 tonnes of carbon last year in coal power generation alone (not to mention sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrogen oxides) the trade-off is really neighbourhood tailpipes versus distant smokestacks.

What you don't see can also kill you.

What do you think?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Admen Must be Crazy

I get that the Copywriter was trying to be cheeky in that old-school "battle of the sexes" sparring way. I can live with that, even if it can easily cause offence.

"Approach women as you do wild animals. With caution, a soothing voice,  and fellow human beings reduced to exotic props."

It's the total inappropriateness of the great white hunter among helpful natives thing that irks me the most. Plus, what is he carrying... a riding crop?

I actually like Dos Equis, too, since it has more taste than other Mexican beers - something its agency clearly lacks.

Via Adrants and Jezebel.

One of these McThings is not like the others...

Seen this Easter weekend in Prescott, Ontario:

Mmmmm... 100% pure Canadian beef. Sounds like food. 100% "seasoned" chicken breast? Well, maybe some of it is imported. Hmmm...

And tangy tartar sauce. Yeah, I suppose that's okay, but what is wrong with the "fish" that it doesn't rate an ingredient rave? WHAT THE HELL IS IN THAT THING?

When I was a kid, we always used to joke that it was sucker fish, or some other nasty creature. But then I visited their ingredients PDF, and it turns out the Fish patty is no worse than the others:
Filet-O-Fish® Portion: Alaskan Pollock, enriched bleached wheat flour, water, modified corn starch, yellow corn flour, salt, dextrose, sugar, dried yeast, cellulose gum, coloured with paprika and turmeric extracts, natural flavour (vegetable source). Cooked in 100% vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethypolysiloxane).
So I'll just assume that some copywriter felt "Alaskan Pollock" didn't sound as sexy as "tangy vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), relish (diced pickles, vinegar, salt, capers, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, natural flavour (vegetable souce)), frozen yolk, water, onions, vinegar, sugar, salt, spices, potassium sorbate, xanthan gum, dehydrated parsley, calcium disodium EDTA."

Although I probably would have gone with "wild-caught fish", or "Pacific pollock", or something else about wholesomeness, since the sauces are the least foodlike things they serve you and the "meat" is the most.

But who am I kidding? I go to McDonald's for anything but breakfast so infrequently, I left there with a severe case of the McPastymouth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Facial WTFlex?

BoingBoing just posted this video, taken from an infomercial for Facial-Flex - "clinically proven to lift, tone and firm your face chin and neck":

I'm scared too. Hold me.

Holy Moses!

Yesterday it was Jesus who was being exploited in an ad. In the spirit of inclusiveness, it seems, a Toronto film festival has decided to take a poke at Moses as well:

I found it amusing, personally, after the many automotive-exiting wardrobe malfunctions by Paris, Britney and others that have been making the rounds. (Look them up for yourself, perv!)

The TTC, however, was not so amused according to The National Post. A spokesperson acknowledged the comedic value of the ad but said, ‘‘there are instances where people might not find it funny.’’

The Canadian Jewish Congress would not comment.

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs from May 7 -15.

Friday, April 22, 2011

F'd Ad Fridays: Good Friday Edition

Not exactly the Garden of Gethsemane...

It wouldn't be Easter if someone didn't get in trouble over an ad mocking Jesus. Today's winner for irreverent "WTF?" comes from Italy, where a Jesus lookalike is being "crucified" tied to a bed by a large dominatrix and pleads to God for help — on his bluetooth earpiece:

The Telegraph quotes a reaction from Avvenire, a daily newspaper owned by the Catholic Bishops Conference: "It's a sordid concept and incredibly insulting to those who believe in Jesus Christ."

This was produced, by the way, by Italian technorocker Andrea Fumagalli from Bluvertigo.

Yeah, he's going to Hell.

F'd Ad Fridays: Unfortunate anus crab lips visual is unfortunate

When they speak, we run in terror.
See the rest of the campaign here.

F'd Ad Fridays: Creepy baby shirt bottled water ad

You heard me.

The music is a cover of Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood" by Uffie.

And yes, I realize that bottled water imported from France is an affront to Earth Day. Stay tuned for an affront to Good Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photoshop doesn't kill self esteem, Art Directors do

Oh, the vindication!

While I often blog about sexism in media, I am of two minds when it comes to Photoshopped models. While they do represent impossible body images, I have argued that the solution is not to regulate photo manipulation (as some demand) but to educate young consumers to view commercial pictures as if they were illustrations. My point is that before PS, airbrushing and especially illustration also presented unrealistic body ideals. It is, quite simply, nothing new.

Lo an behold, my blogger friends at Sociological Images, people with true feminist cred, post:

"Today we bemoan photoshopping, and here we have pre-photoshop examples of the kind of free-reign that artists had in idealizing their subject."

So, here's proof, for the contrarian in me, that unrealistic physical portrayals of women in media is nothing new. (The whole "Marilyn was a size 14" thing has been pretty much debunked.) But cold comfort for women to know that we're still manipulating the same physical stereotypes of a the much more sexist age of our grandparents.

See more at Buzzfeed.

Tanning is still the new smoking

I called it last year, and stand by it: indoor tanning is on its way out. First, the whole Guido/Jersey Shore meme equated indoor tanning with being a douche. Then cancer authorities started a social marketing war against what they saw as an unhealthy practice. Then legislators got involved.

At this point, you might as well close up your tanning shop. The viral internet has cast final judgement on the orange look as an aesthetic - whether acquired from sun, bed or spray.

Trending this week:

Some new and highly-sharable video content from The Onion:


Some poor anonymous girl becomes the movement's poster child on BuzzFeed:

Via The Brain.

 Ouch. But at least she's among good company.

Or is she?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

KD kicks back at university nutrition program

According to CBC News, Dan Clapson, a Calgary food blogger and nutrition educator at the University of Calgary has been served with a cease and desist order from Kraft's legal team.

What did he do? He struck at the heart of the megabrand's target market with a healthy cooking course for university students called "Kick the KD".

The name itself is a little provocative, but what probably really poked the bear is the graphic used on his site:

The parody of Kraft's blue and orange Kraft Dinner box must have set alarm bells ringing at corporate. Especially since Canadian university students are known for consuming mass quantities of the dayglo starchy goop.

Dan's description states,

"In a nutshell, this is a pilot cooking program in association with the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union. Kick The KD is aimed at local students who are interested in expanding their culinary horizons. We understand that ‘quick and easy’ food is a perfect fit for the busy student life, but not everything that’s simple has to come out of a box or take-out container."

And this is a real issue. Not ever learning how to cook real food can lead top a lifetime of poor nutrition, poor health, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and early death.

Dan told CBC, "This program has been running for a while, so I was definitely surprised. I am just one person and I don't really feel comfortable picking a fight with a billion-dollar company."

He added a little more on his blog:

"I do appreciate the fighting spirit of my KTKD-ers (can I still call them that?), and I am as let down as they are that a small, fifteen person cooking class can’t use a name with ‘KD’ in the title. Using a nickname like ‘KD’ (again, not knowing it was trademarked), for me, encompassed any semblance of mac ‘n’ cheese (is that trademarked?) coming out of a cardboard box. The idea of this program was never to say: ‘Stop eating that right now, or else!’, it is meant to give students exposure to hands-on cooking, where they can see different dishes and think: ‘Ok, that was surprisingly easy and just as convenient as making a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese!’"

But then, as a good cook, he attempts to make lemonade. Dan accepts his fate, and facing a May 2 deadline to find a new name, he has opened it up to crowdsourcing. (Just don't suggest "Ditch the Domino's" or "Dump The Double Down", okay?)

Although I expected better from KD. I mean, Canadians are going to make fun of Kraft Dinner, the same way we make fun of Timmy's coffee and Crappy Tire. It doesn't mean we hate these things. It's just the way we roll in Canada.

From Toronto Life

The fact that Kraft Dinner is a beloved meme here is a major force behind its popularity in Canada — that and its association with youthful excess.

Isn't there an internet rule about this?

We even loved when South Park, in lampooning Canadians with Terrence and Phillip, had them go on about Kraft Dinner (since Americans just call it "Mac 'n' Cheese).

Dan has probably gained a great deal of public goodwill from this episode, while Kraft — although presumably within their intellectual property rights — only looks like the bad guy with no sense of humour.

Sorry, KD. You suck. That's just the way it goes on the social internet.

Old Spice keeps losing momentum

In the case of Old Spice, it can. Following up on last year's phenomenon of Isaiah Mustafa's ads, the company first flunked with Raven Ray Lewis, then brought Mustafa back for a lukewarm sequel, and is now attempting a brand extension with some cheesy white dude:

It's kind of funny, sure. But it's lost that lovin' feelin.

The original campaign was brilliant because although it was a parody of manliness, there was a great deal of sincerity behind the approach. Mustafa really was the ideal man for many women, and while the things he did and proposed were exaggerated, they still struck a chord deep in the viewers' souls. The original campaign appealed to men because it appealed so much to women — the real decision-makers when it comes to what a man should smell like. The guys just wanted to be there to make sure it really was a joke.

The campaign went further by really personalizing the approach, responding to questions on Twitter, and providing over-the-top responses. But you can only pioneer a tactic once.

The campaign, Mustafa's sequels included, has regressed into male-pandering slapstick. It's as if the brand went from Cary Grant to the Three Stooges. The whole indirect marketing insight has been lost.

And women, seriously, how sexy is this?

Zombie Freddie Mercury says, "smell like me!"
Oh well.

Link via Copyranter.

Faking it

When agencies try to sell clients on social media strategies, we have to do something called "solution selling". It's a bit of a catch-22. To be able to prove your voodoo tactics are going to work, you have to show them that you've already successfully used them for someone else. In a media environment that changes daily, and in which being first means everything, this is kind of an issue.

So I guess that's how temptation got the better  of Jung von Matt — or so it seems.

According to Ads of The World's Ivan Raszl, this video case study by JVM, for mattress maker Lullaland, features blog mentions and Tweets that simply never happened:

For Ivan's part, he brings up the screencap of a post he supposedly made, but did not:

He then goes through the archives of every other blog referenced, and can't find those either. Even the Tweets are questionable.

If true, this is a pretty serious breach of social media karma. And odd, too, because JVM hardly need the publicity.

How would you feel if, as a client, someone tried to pull something like this on you. And how would you feel if you were misrepresented as a blogger?

Ivan says, on Facebook, "I don't mind as a blogger, but I do mind as a viewer."

I'm pretty pissed as both. Although as Dabitch on Adland points out, "This story after all, will ensure that everyone in the adblog world spends an afternoon talking about a shit spambot 'campaign'. Well played?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking the piss out* of royal wedding marketing.

BoingBoing just posted about Royal Virility Performance, a beer fortified with Viagra, chocolate, Horny Goat Weed "and a healthy dose of sarcasm."

According to the brewer, BrewDog Beer:

"With this beer we want to take the wheels off the royal wedding bandwagon being jumped on by dozens of breweries; The Royal Virility Performance is the perfect antidote to all the hype. A beer should be brewed with a purpose, not just because some toffs are getting married, so we created something at our brewery that will undermine those special edition beers and other assorted seaside tat, whilst at the same time actually give the happy couple something extra on their big day."

Could be worse. In Henry VIII's day, the King had to make due with sweet potato pie.

* Look it up

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gas Station TV pumps out high-octane fromage

Steve Hall over at Adrants just posted about this weird campaign from Gas Station TV a media company that sells ad space on out-of-home video screens on gas pumps.

File these under "so bad it has to be parody" — and by that I don't mean the first one's superficial parody of ED products. I'm talking about the unrepentant trashiness of the whole approach: the sexism, the bad puns, and the garish execution.

Ha! Ha! Boner pills! Prostitute! Nerd!

This is Channing Pierce, Miss Michigan USA 2011

I'd be more worried about what happened to her upper body.

The war on loose women

Social marketing has been with us a long time. It just went by other names, like "propaganda".

Buzz Feed just posted a collection of Second World War posters warning soldiers about the dangers of venereal disease from prostitutes and "procurable women".

Note how the first batch basically vilify the women as a secret enemy, while the last two put more onus of responsibility on male self-control and honour:

Ninety-eight percent?

If you sleep with a hussy, you're boning HITLER.

The pulp fiction cover style is actually kind of awesome.

This one has a Disney feel. She looks like the mirror in Snow White.

French girls: bags of trouble.

Wow. She really gets around.
Must... not... give in,,,
Friends don't let friends swive drunk.

There are more examples, including homefront messages, here.