Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to sell bikes: a historical perspective

These pics are from a sponsored Buzzfeed post by Schwinn. It's a good strategy, really, and the ads are really interesting.

But a few jumped out at me:

Golden Age Hollywood Endorsement

"You know how to pedal, don't you Steve?"
And what a celebrity! There is no way anyone classier has ever sold bikes, like, ever. (and that includes Joan Crawford and Doris Day, who are on the complete list.)

Cowboy Endorsement

Complete with awesomely awkward headline!

The "Substitute for Parental Love" Angle

Years later, McDonald's would base its entire brand on this con.

...Great White Hunter Endorsement

As soon as the illustrator was done, he skinned the tiger to make a swell rug!

Sexual Innuendo

Does the seat vibrate or something?

Which leads us, naturally, to: 

Blatant Sexual Exploitation (of women)

Why does that always happen?

So there you have it: even in bicycle advertising, all roads lead to smut.

Horrible DM piece of the day (no, make that YEAR)

This is a mailer from The U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union, a member-owned financial services organization regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (a U.S. Government agency).

The message is simple: "Planning a boob job for yourself or your chick? Borrow money! (But do it responsibly.)"

How this thing ever got presented, approved, printed and mailed is a true mystery of (what I assume to be) the internal marketing departments of big bureaucracies.

Complaints were swift and vicious.
"I got home from a nice holiday weekend late last night and found this in the mail," Washington, D.C., resident Amber Wobschall told The Huffington Post. "I've really been a lifelong credit union member. I'm also a feminist," she said." So I was very disappointed to find this in my mailbox."
Ms. Wobschall went so far as to put up a petition, demanding (okay, 'asking'):
...the US Senate Federal Credit Union to acknowledge the inappropriateness of this mailing and make a public apology. 
And here it is, on the front page of their site:

May 30, 2012
To the Membership of the United States Senate FCU: 
It has come to our attention that the imagery and message in a recent marketing direct mail campaign has offended some of our membership. It was not the intention of this marketing campaign to insult, demean or in any way offend anyone in our field of membership. 
The Board of Directors and Senior management personally apologize to the membership of the United States Senate Federal Credit Union for this action. 
The comments and opinions of our members recently received are very important to the Board. We will always value your opinion, membership, and support of the Senate Federal Credit Union. 
We will also work diligently and constantly to keep your confidence in our leadership. 
Yours truly, 
Christopher C. Dey, Board Chairman 
Susan R. Enis, President and Chief Executive Officer 

I would have liked them to explain who, exactly, got fired over this.

But otherwise: Yay activism! Boo sexist jerk design team!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Remember when Sarah Michelle Gellar took on McDonald's?

Of course you don't, because you had no idea that 4-year-old who started the great burger wars of the '80s would grow up to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

But if you're over 35, I'll bet you remember that Burger King jingle...

(Found on Buzzfeed)

Russia's pin-up cell phone ads are awful even by Russian standards

The Cold War may be over, but mobile network MegaFon and its unknown (but presumably all-male) agency never left 007's original world of casual racism and sexism.

(Russian translations via Copyranter. Creative team interpretations are mine.)

Literal translation: "I will tell everything you want to know about roaming…"
What they were thinking: "The women we pay 130 rubles a minute to talk to look nothing like this."

Literal translation: "Bothered by uncertainty? Consultant will help you!"
What they were thinking: "Watch young Leda get bukkaked by those swans!"

 Literal translation:"Time is money!"
What they were thinking: "In post-Soviet Russia, prostitute pay YOU!"

Literal translation: "Roaming is not a myth. Find out your price rate!"
What they were thinking: "Our first version had him hung like a stallion, but it made our CD jealous."

Literal translation: "Tourist, be aware that roaming can be ruining!"
What they were thinking: "It's a hump, get it?"

Literal translation: "A High-quality network is vital on your business trips..."
What they were thinking: "Let's do one with Dominique Strauss-Kahn! Edgy!"

Literal translation: "Calling your relatives from Paris,  don’t forget to get information on your price rate."
What they were thinking: "The dog costs extra..."

Literal translation: "Don’t forget that each hotel has WiFi zones for you!"
What they were thinking: "Even her laptop has crabs."

Literal translation: "Stay connected no matter where you are!"
What they were thinking: "Anal probe costs extra."

Literal translation: "I prefer protected roaming!"
What they were thinking: "Stopped at a green light? That's a pegging!"

Literal translation: "The danger is in lack of mobile education!"
WWhat they were thinking: "Didn't KIA already do this one?"

Literal translation: "Let’s make international relations stronger."
What they were thinking: "We have never set foot outside of Russia, and foreigners frighten us."

Oh, nursing professionals will **love** this one

All ads via Ads of The World

I've worked with our national nurses' association, as well as done tons of healthcare branding, advertising and recruitment. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that nurses absolutely hate this shit. 

Not only is the "sexy nurse" stereotype (who is always female) damaging to the dignity of all women, it is particularly insulting to a professional cadre who are universally loved for caring for us at some of our lowest ebbs. As one nurse once told me, "the first person and the last person who will touch you when you are alive, will probably be a nurse.

Don't you think she (or he) deserves better than this?

The campaign is for a disposable syringe company, claiming that re-use of syringes (gross) is the #2 spreader of HIV. I usually think of this in back-alley smack terms, but I suppose its possible that Indian hospitals sterilize and reuse glass ones. But is this a stretch in correlation? 

Ask DDB.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Ici, c'est Pepsi"

Here, it's Pepsi!

Vincent just sent me this funny Pepsi ad from Quebec, in which a gang of French Canadian stereotypes attack an American tourist stereotype for daring to drink Coke.

Pepsi has long played the market in Quebec very differently than the "rest of Canada" because the soft drink has a special relationship with the province. It far outsells Coke there now, due to a its dedication to homegrown Quebec-only campaigns that celebrate their unique culture and sense of humour. This relationship is so tight and well-known that, when I was a kid, "Pepsi" was also a derogatory term for our francophone neighbours to the east and north.

The new ad is pretty funny even to this anglo. Anyone have credits?

Have a butcher's* at the sexploitation campaign of the day

*Butcher's Hook
Every morning, I get up early and enjoy some quiet time reading adblogs. Because the European ones are several hours ahead of me, it means I can get on top of the news before my second cup of coffee. Unfortunately, it also sometimes results in me hating being in advertising before I even get to the office.

Today was one of those days.

Full-size JPEG here

This rather disappointing campaign by BJL, featured in The Drum, is for Rustler's meat snacks. It features Lexi O’Leary (a fictional "butcher's daughter" who has her own Facebook profile) as a brainless sex toy fond of making naughty puns. Well... mostly brainless: The Facebook bio claims she's trilingual.

Full-size JPEG here

From The Drum:
John Armstrong, Rustlers marketing director, said: “Fit As A Butcher’s Daughter will dispel some of the negatives in a manner that will not only appeal to our target market of 16 to 24-year-old males but will also engage people who may not have tried the brand due to their misconceptions."

Full-size JPEG here

Misconceptions? How about the misconception that oversexed women lounge around in their underwear, just waiting for a zitty 17-year-old boy to give her a good boning?

It gets worse. In an interactive video, you can apparently edit her potty mouth. I couldn't be bothered.

There's a virtual butcher shop, too. And a TV campaign that won't load for me.

The one thing I am intrigued about is this expression, "Fit as a butcher's daughter". Is this a UK thing? I can't find it anywhere online.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Can a $295 hamburger feed the homeless?

Via Serious Eats

"Known as Le Burger Extravagant, this $295.00 burger is a mix of Japanese Waygu [sic] beef infused with 10-herb white truffle butter, seasoned with Salish Alderwood smoked Pacific sea salt, topped with cheddar cheese—hand-formed by the famous cheesemaker James Montgomery in Somerset, England, and cave-aged for 18 months—shaved black truffles, a fried quail egg and served on a white truffle-buttered Campagna Roll, which is topped with a blini, creme fraiche, and Paramout Caviar's exclusive Kaluga caviar—a beautiful golden caviar with a buttery, nutty taste and large pearls from the Huso Dauricus farm raised in Quzhou, China. The finishing touch to this incredible burger is a solid gold 'Fleur de Lis' toothpick encrusted with diamonds and designed by world-renowned jeweler Euphoria New York."

Yeah, it's a publicity stunt. At least the venerable NYC restaurant, Serendipity 3, is donating the profits from selling what is now the world's most expensive hamburger to the Bowery Mission.

But is such outrageously conspicuous consumption an appropriate way to raise funds for the homeless and starving?

Union Carbide's 1950s promise of "...a hand in things to come"

How d'ya like them apples?

Retronaut recently featured this amazing gallery of Big Brother-ish ads from Union Carbide. Besides the classic 1950s illustration and long copy, they are fascinating for the postwar arrogance of the whole thing.

This was an era when science was on the march, and anything was possible if we had the right men on the job. From pesticides to energy, petrochemicals to bionic parts, this company promised to shape the world of tomorrow.

The real question is, how many of these were positive developments, and how many contributed to the sad state of the world today?

Chemicals from coal. Check out the green mist.
This environmental destruction is supposed to be inspiring, not terrifying.
My elbow was recently rebuilt with stuff like this.
sand... I mean SAND!
Fabricated building materials. Dig the sexy lede.
The original Green Revolution.
Weatherproof materials and treatments.
Oscar-winning arc lighting.
Plastic landscape fabric.
God complex much?
Maybe se should go back to the word "atomic".
People are much less likely to mispronounce that.
Powering the modern housewife...

...and the jet set.
Of course, the optimism couldn't last forever. In December 1984, Union Carbide ended up having a "hand" in killing 3,787 people in Bhopal, India, when one of their pesticide plants leaked deadly toxins into the air of the nearby slums.

Among their other handiwork are the dioxins in Sydney Harbour, Australia, that have made all fish there unsuitable for human consumption, death by silicosis of 476 West Virginia miners in the 1920s, and buildings with lots and lots of asbestos.

 I wonder if these two later turned on, tuned in, and dropped out?

Friday, May 25, 2012

As we head into the weekend, don't forget...

My mom doesn't drink. I guess that's why I was such a grouchy kid.

Colonel Sanders as a zombie chicken #FdAdFriday

There's some sort of poetic justice in this. And I'm sure I'll figure out what it is just as soon as a stop throwing up.

Via Buzzlol

And by "bits" they mean "tits"... #FdAdFriday

Ummm... yeah.

Copyranter posted this mindless bit of mammary euphemism for Club Orange, an Irish orange juice brand that seems a little obsessed with squeezing round things.

That's right. Their entire brand is build around a boobies joke that isn't even funny.

Here's their Facebook:

And here is their outdoor campaign:

If great brands are built around a single-minded idea, then this one must be twice as great.