Friday, December 30, 2011

The Worst of F'd Ad Fridays, 2011

I'd like to recognize some really bizarre and/or awful advertising ideas from the past year with some sort of awards. I'll call them the "Effies".

Worst Performance by a Food Item as Penis

And the Effie goes to... Tums. For protecting people from being Tony Danza'd by their corn dogs.


Worst Performance by a Wallet as a Vulva

The Effie goes to PETA, who gave us this mental image:

Worst Sexual Exploitation of an Elderly Woman

Crosby's Molasses. Take your Effie.

Worst Idea for a Got Milk? Ad Ever

California Milk Processor Board, come and get what you deserve.

Worst Use of a Billboard to Stalk and Harass an Ex-Lover

Greg Fultz, you are a still phenomenal asshole.

Worst Photoshop Abuse of Animals

M-Wrap, of Thailand, come and claim your Effie.

And maybe we should cancel that gala dinner. I think everyone just lost their appetite.

Worst Typo in an Agency Self-Promo During an Awards Show

Grey Group? Grey? Are you here?

Worst Unintentionally Pornographic Street Team

Dr. Pepper, you old dog...

Worst Supporting Role by Teenage Underpants

Purity Panties... how many teen pregnancies and STIs have you prevented so far with these slogans?

Worst Performance by a Sex Doll in a Battery Ad


Worst web site

Worst Infomercial

Poop Trap. Gross.

Worst Pretentious Fashion Ad Porn

There was really stiff competition for this one, but Agent Provocateur nailed it:

Agent Provocateur - 'Fleurs Du Mal' from Epoch London on Vimeo.

And The Lifetime Achievement Effie for Effing Infamous Effed Up Ads Goes to:

Brazilian CD Rodolfo Sampaio, who managed to cause a global shitstorm this year over his unsanctioned "pedo" KIA ads:

Not only did he win a silver at Cannes with this nasty little spread, but he managed to cause a global PR crisis for KIA Motors.

Two years earlier, at DDB, the same CD managed to pull  the World Wildlife Federation into a world of hurt with this "award of merit" entry to The One Show:

To be that much of an awards whore, against the forces of taste, good judgement, strategy and client interest takes a truly effed perspective on advertising.  I can hardly wait to see what Mr. Sampaio comes up with for 2012.

That's it for our inaugural Effies. Try not to get too fucked up on Saturday night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011, Part Two

Yesterday, I started my countdown with the the most-read posts from #10 to #6. Here are the top five, based on total visits from Jan 1, 2011, to today.

#5 Interview with FEMEN's founder, Anna Hutsol 

This post wasn't even original, it was a repost from a Facebook interview I did with Anna through her translator/community manager, Eugene Smirnov, on Osocio. It was short and sweet, as she picked and chose the questions she would answer, but any FEMEN post immediately gets the interest and support of their global activist community and associated voyeurs.

And yes, the post contained boobs.

#4 Nude activism continues to take over the internet

No, my posts are not all about nudity and sexuality. But it's a testament to the power of those primal forces, in activism as well as advertising, that my top posts mostly involve naked people.

This one was both interesting and amusing. After Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's assistant Zhao Zhao was legally harassed for "spreading pornography online" with this picture, supporters started a nude protest blog called "Listen, Chinese Government: Nudity is NOT Pornography".

It's pretty weird. But in the tradition of PETA, FEMEN and "nude photo revolutionary" Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, it certainly gets them noticed.

#3 He's a straight talkin' PETA with a letter for the U of M...

Speaking of PETA, my distaste for their shock-and-eww tactics is a common topic here. But the PETA post that was my third most read of 2011 was neither. It was a personal appeal by one of my personal rock gods, Iggy Pop, to his alma mater to stop using live animals to train students in field medicine for the survival flight course.

It was a very well-written and rational appeal from a man who once described himself as "a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm". He even signed off with "Thanks for your time"!

Iggy has gone on to do more radical stuff for PETA, but to me this was his shining moment of elder statescraft.

#2 Disney's The Little Mermaid's sexual coming-of-age story, as told by her hipster meme

This was something I did on a winter weekend out of boredom. The Hipster Little Mermaid was a thing at the time, and I thought it would be fun to try to make a narrative out of it.

Yes, writers are sick people. But the internet is even sicker, and apparently any content that combines a teenage Disney Princess with the word "sex" is enough to bring them in like fruit flies on red wine. Even if there is no actual sex in the post, just a lot of English Major tomfoolery.

You can read the whole thing here.

#1 NZ church keeps up its irreverent Christian holiday ad tradition

As much as people love a good post about sex or nudity, blasphemy was the draw of the year. Despite being less than two weeks old, this post about the latest Christmas billboard by St Matthews in the City Church in Auckland, NZ, quickly took the lead in pageviews.

It's a beautiful ad, with an important message. According to Vicar Glynn Cardy:
"It's real. Christmas is real. It's about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope. This billboard portrays Mary, Jesus' mother, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant.   Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking.  Mary was unmarried, young, and poor.  This pregnancy would shape her future.  She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last."
The progressive  Anglican church has long been known for its radical Christian messages of questioning tradition and acceptance of all people. What would Jesus do?

He'd probably go to St. Matts.

Happy New Year. I'll be back tomorrow with 2011's most effed ads.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011, Part One

It's been a pretty good year on this blog. Started in 2009 as a way to share advertising insights and finds with my friends, colleagues and interested clients, it has picked up a respectable international readership — including many of the mainstream ad bloggers I consider best practisers.

The year's almost done, so I'll share the 2011 posts that generated the most interest online.

#10 Suck it, haters!

One of the cause communities from which I've gotten great support has been the so-called "lactivists". I am a very vocal proponent of breastfeeding as the preferred form on infant nutrition, and I have railed against prudes who find it obscene.

So I was especially pleased when Australian Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr and her actor husband Orlando Bloom announced the birth of their first child with a beautifully intimate photo of mother and child.

There was some controversy around the picture, but Ms. Kerr kept up the good work. And to disprove the theory that breastfeeding somehow leads to sag, she recently did a tasteful nude photoshoot for Industrie magazine. After all, motherhood is not the end of a woman's sexuality.

#9 Christina Hendricks celebrates Christmas with a product placement

While Miranda Kerr's personal photo celebrated her motherhood, this more recent shoot shared by Mad Men's Christina Hendricks simply used her enormous boobs to promote whisky.

Ms. Hendricks once told The Daily Mail, "If there’s anything to be learned from me it’s that I’m learning to celebrate what I was born with, even though it’s sometimes been inconvenient."

And intimidating. But as with any post dealing with sex or the female form, this one proved the old adage that anything featuring boobs, bowsers or babies will always draw eyeballs.

#8  1 in 5 teenagers will experiment with art

This refreshingly non-mammary campaign by the Philbrook Museum of Art is one of the great viral successes of the latter part of 2011. It just goes to show that big budgets are not needed when you have a really big idea.

It may not be the first time a campaign has satirized the War on Drugs, but it is certainly one of the better executions.

#7 Egyptian blogger exposes herself for freedom

The keywords I chose to define my content are: "Social, Cause, Marketing, Advertising, Branding, Human Rights, Sex, Sexism, Politics, Activism, Science, Fashion, Media". This post about the Egyptian feminist and atheist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's nude blog protest probably meets all of those criteria.

At just 20 years old, Ms. Elmahdy is at an age where online exhibitionism, in the west, hardly raises an eyebrow. But in post-Tahir Egypt, where a human rights struggle has turned into a violent conflict over the religious future of the country, she has exposed herself to criticism, abuse, and the possibility of being murdered for her beliefs. I hope she has a safe 2012.

#6 The stupid Skittles porn spoof ad you've already seen

With a blog title like that, you wouldn't expect this to be a top post. But since the internet is for porn, people tune in just to see the sex. The stupid, unsanctioned, Skittles bukkake sex.

Skittles - Newlyweds - Dir. Cousins [Not affiliated with Wrigley or Skittles. Contains explicit content not suitable for minors] from Cousins on Vimeo.

Contrary to popular belief, I post about more than sex. But these are the posts that get the most interest. This particular one was part of my "F'd Ad Fridays" feature, in which I rattle off the weirdest, sickest and stupidest ad campaigns and pop culture memes I've bookmarked throughout the week.

Well, that's it for the first half of the list. I'll post the top five tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

F'd Ad Fridays: And God bless us every one

I'll leave you with this animated Terry Gilliam Christmas Card from 1968, via Bleeding Cool.

Have a great one. I'll be back next week with my top posts of 2011.

F'd Ad Fridays: Christm-ass outfit

Via Yandy. Classy.

F'd Ad Fridays: The bad old days

Via TrèsSugar

Perhaps life was simpler back then. But can you really call that living?

F'd Ad Fridays: Now THAT's an "orgy wonderland"

Via Guyism
I guess if you had the stamina to gift every believer kid around the world in one night, you could pull this off too. Poor Mrs. Claus.

F'd Ad Fridays: I saw mommy flashing Santa Claus

Via 24 Frames

That dirty old bastard.

F'd Ad Fridays: How much more wrong could this ad be?

Via Cracked

None. None more wrong.

F'd Ad Fridays: Please explain this to me

Via Ads of The World

I am lost. And a little scared. next!

F'd Ad Fridays: Under the Cameltoe

AdFreak called this labialicious iPhone thing by the UK's Lean Mean Fighting Machine "the crassest holiday card of the season."


F'd Ad Fridays: F'd F'amily Xmas Card

Via Awkward Family Photos

F'd Ad Fridays: The creepiest Xmas ad ever

Via Copyranter

Is she dead? A sex doll? Or just drugged?


Best just to leave this one be.

F'd Ad Fridays: T-Mobile's Xmas flash mob is an orgy of suck

Oh, man. First they humiliate spokesmodel (and my fellow Canadian) Carly Foulkes with their "Orgy Wonderland" spot. Now they show the whole world that she has no sense of rhythm whatsoever.

Also, forcing generously-figured gospel singers to wear the same slinky pink dress reminds me of really unfortunate matching bridesmaids. One look does not fit all.

F'd Ad Fridays: F'ing Xmas Edition

All day today, I'll be featuring really bad ads and general pop culture crap for Xmas 2012.

Here's a start, from down under:

Via AdFreak

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Merry Christmas" is not a dirty word (okay, "words")

Via Shutterstock

Merry Christmas, dammit. That is not a religious statement to me. I may come from a Christian-based culture, but Christmas has far outgrown its origins as a religious holiday. It's secular to me. Pagan tree totems, Coca-Cola Santas, Rudolf cartoons... you can get through the entire season without once being filled with the Love of Christ. And I like it that way.

Our days of the week are named after gods who no longer hold sway over us, as they did over some of our ancestors. For a thousand plus years, as Christianity spread Borg-like through the western world, it assimilated all the sundry bits of tradition in found along the way. Finally, it met its match with the growing consumerism and over-the-top sentimentalism of the 19th Century, and the holiday we know today started to take shape.

Our Christmas is a Victorian invention. And it is a mostly secular thing now, celebrated by countless non- and ex-Christians around the world.

Sure, there are still people who enjoy the religious aspects. Great. But they no longer own the holiday. It is a cultural festival that belongs to everyone who wants to share a nice tradition of sharing time, gifts and food and drink with people during the year's darkest days.

Want an example that doesn't come from me? My brother David sent me a CBC article about this Christmas video made by international students from the University of Windsor:

I also love this quote from the article: "From all types of religions and beliefs and non-religions, too, nobody has ever felt bad about it," said international student advisor Henrique Chacon. "They feel included when somebody comes to them and says, 'merry Christmas.'"

Merry Christmas, Henrique. And Merry Christmas to the rest of you. You can keep your "Happy Holidays". I never did like generic brands.

Awww... what a cute little racist Skype ad!

The German/Indian one seems, somehow, not as bad. And the French/Tibetan(?) one is just confusing.

Campaign by Wunderman, Santiago, Chile.

Via Copyranter and Ads of The World

Berlin tries to out-sexy Paris

Surprisingly, there was no grim kinkiness involved. Just a barely-dressed lingerie model freezing her T&A off on the cold grey streets of the City of Lights.

Not particularly original, or even edgy by today's fashion ad standards. But I did like the soundtrack.

PETA prescribes meatlessness in mock pharma ad

It's pretty funny ay first, but goes on for way too long. And for the record, I'm against factory farming too. I prefer to eat animals that were loved to death.

Arnold Worldwide's Christmas "card" is cute

And labour/planning intensive. Acart could never pull this off. Our building only has 6 storeys.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The anti-gay-marriage movement in New Hampshire needs a better agency

Just some thoughts...

Whose values will I embrace? I don't know... which one of these groups thinks people have a right to be different from them? I pick that one. I also pick the one with better slogans.

Erosion can be a good thing. We wouldn't have the Grand Canyon without it. Or George Takei.

Tip via Buzzfeed

"Snatch" — Now that I have your attention...

Copyranter posted this rather unimaginative "edgy" campaign for a gym. Ads of The World has the whole series of pun-driven ads, but none is as eye-popping (or is it "pants-popping"?)  as this one.

Not really something I see closing more memberships. At least the creative team had fun.

Christmas toys weigh in on the abortion debate

via AdFreak

Thanks, Niagara Region Right to Life. Because what a complex scientific and ethical debate about the nature of humanity and reproductive rights really needs... is more crying nutcrackers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tide: for the whitest people in the world

I don't get it. Not one of them (via Ads of The World) means a damn thing to me. The headline is "Wherever you lose whiteness, Tide gets it back". And apparently Polish soccer kids are so white, their asses leave chalk marks wherever they sit, stand or lean.


Look at that asshole in the bike lane

A new Tumblr documents cars driving and parking in one of Toronto's busiest bike lanes in front of Sam James Coffee Bar and Speakeasy Tattoo, on Harbord St.

I'm not sure how effective a shaming strategy it will be, since the cars and drivers are hard to identify, but I'm sure it at least makes them feel some sense of justice.

Especially when they bust the TTC
What do you think? Is this a good way to start raising awareness of bike-friendly cities?

Tip via Treehugger


1995 AOL commercial

Isn't that Apollo and Starbuck from the first BSG series?

In 1995, I got my first agency job (after 5 years of freelancing). This is how much things have changed since then:

I'm also amazed how crappy the ad is. The acting and production values made me worried they were about to get naked. But then again, what possible connection could you make between the internet and porn?

Monday, December 19, 2011

I think Japan has a new slang term for "big ass"

At least, it will when people eat enough "Grand Canyon Burgers" — which tops the patty with cooked egg, mozzarella, Cheddar cheese and steak sauce made with soy and liquid smoke.

In case you're interested, the "Las Vegas" is topped with cheese sauce and more beef (looks like Steak-umms — shouldn't that be the Philadelphia Burger then?) The Broadway has a cream cheese and mustard sauce, and the Beverly Hills is another egg one.

Via Burger Business

A CSR ad with teeth

Rotten teeth. Ewwww...

It's for Industrial Strange Clubwear in Austria, by P&P Medien.

I don't thing they thought the English copy tthrough very well, though. (You don't need teeth to make the "B" sound, for example.)

Via Ads of The World

Friday, December 16, 2011

Paranoël Activity

I'm pretty damn pleased with our agency Christmas card this year. Written and Directed by Acart Copywriter/Videographer Christopher Redmond, it takes a different perspective on that supernatural old guy who breaks into your house once a year while you and your children are asleep:

Thanks to DOP Karl Roeder for helping out.

And some of you may recognize the scary little boy. He has certainly kept me up on many a night.