Tag Archives: ill conceived advertising

Pour taste?

These Pepsi Max ads are apparently quite controversial – dealing as they do with the sensitive topic of Suicide.

I don’t personally have a problem with them – they’re just a more colourful version of the Little Book(s) of Bunny Suicides – perennial favourites in the Campbell household…

Apparently those books were inspiring copy cats (or rabbits) in China so were pulled off some shelves… I wouldn’t have thought they were a particularly useful how to guide – given the elaborate nature of the set ups involved.

If, by chance, you’ve reached this post by googling “how to” – and “suicide” please don’t do it. Instead call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Things I’ve learned from advertising: Easter

Apparently the God’s of Olympus celebrated Easter by chowing down on Ferrero Rocher.

Depending on which camp you come from Easter is either the ultimate Christian holiday or a pagan festival for the Goddess of fertility.

Probably both. Historically at least. In terms of the position in the calendar.

It is regardless of your position, enshrined in the western world’s calendar as a chance to reflect on the death of Christ and celebrate his resurrection.

It is not a celebration of the Greek gods who accidentally dropped some chocolates from the sky.

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Ad busters

The quality of advertising in regional Australia lags about 15 years behind the quality of spots produced in capital cities. Local advertising can be frustratingly bad.

Townsville suffers from a paucity of quality ad producers. Too many advertisers rely on quick fix production from the local networks. There’s a massive gap in the market for a creative video producer to come in and change that status quo.  

There are three local advertising phenomena that I think are particularly odd.  

1. Patio World v Superior Patio Systems – how is it that two competitors in a very narrow niche can afford to wage a long running advertising battle. One featuring an annoyingly catchy jingle – the other featuring a good looking girl the local paper rated as one of the region’s most famous faces. I don’t get it. Is it a perpetual motion loop where one advertises and the other can’t be out done so they advertise and the other can’t be outdone so they advertise… To end this viscious cycle both would have to stop at the same time – otherwise there’d just be one patio company out there on the airwaves. 

Rachel - the face of Patio World

Rachel - the face of Patio World

2. There’s an ad for a local computer repairs company where the young lady requiring computer repairs calls up using an iphone – and in what could be described as a continuity error – is calling up about a beige computer tower that looks like it was built in the 80s or bought at an ex-government auction. 

3. There’s a Kip McGrath Tutoring ad that has just started running locally that I think was probably actually produced in the 80s. This is not a figure of speech. The tutors feature moustaches and are wearing brown. It’s like one of those dodgy, dodgy corporate training videos. I know economic times are tough but rerunning ads from 20 years ago to cut costs is ridiculous.

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Open the bloodgates

Mosquitoes are nasty little bloodsuckers. Not to mention carriers of dangerous disease. So how should we educate the public on the danger? Cartoon infomercials? How bout unleashing a swarm on unsuspecting conference delegates?

The Queensland Government is spending a bit of money educating the general public on the perils of Dengue fever. The longer TV ads feature warnings not to wear dark clothes. Apparently dark clothes attrack the little Aussie mozzie.  Who’d have thought. Perhaps a resurrection of Don Spencer’s “Little Aussie Mozzie” song would have been an appropriate piece of educational propaganda:

What may not be the most politically correct piece of anti-mozzie propaganda – but was no doubt more effective – was a decision by Bill Gates to release a swarm of mosquitoes on an unsuspecting audience at a Technology and Design conference in California.

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No smog

You may have heard that the atheists are banding together to advertise. In possibly the weakest advertising campaign ever they’ve booked some bus billboards and are running this ad:

That’s right. The best they could do was “there’s probably no God”. Talk about not being able to stand on their convictions. The call to action – “now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. Over at the solapanel Mark Baddeley has a great post on what’s wrong with this campaign. I’m all for freedom of speech.  And it seems this campaign is making a very secular society consider the question of God’s existence – which can only be a good thing. 

The reason I’m writing this post is there is a most excellent site where you can make your own bus ad

Here’s mine:

There's probably no smog. So go outside and breathe deeply

There's probably no smog. So go outside and breathe deeply

Kind of lame – but I started with “there’s probably no dog” and then tried a series of words that rhymed with dog. I’m sure I could do better. But this makes what I believe is an important statement.

So, if you’re a dissatisfied atheist, or a theist with a better idea than a smog slogan, share your slogans in the comments, and go make your own.

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Things I learned from daytime television

I don’t often get the chance to watch daytime television. Not since my days as a slovenly uni bum anyway when that was all I did. Only I had pay TV so day time television meant sport. Today was one of those odd occasions where I found myself watching the Summer repeat bonanza special edition of Mornings with KAK.

While Kerri Anne herself is an Australian institution – who happened to mention this morning that she’d been doing the show for more than 25 years (only it was a repeat from last year so it’s even longer now) – her show still doesn’t seem to have the basics right. Infomercials are like a car crash – you can’t turn away but you know they leave carnage in their wake. If a family member is affected by infomercials it can be a painful process. On a side note – the Danoz direct oven that was being advertised this morning would make a very interesting coffee roaster… but back to the main point of this little tirade. And it will be little. If you have testimonials from happy customers singing the praises of your weightloss miracle cure concoction – do not. And I repeat. Do not. Have them read their testimonial from an autocue using words that are right out of the weasel word manual.

“It enabled me to engage in a vast array of activities I’d never really considered” might sound impressive to you sitting in your ivory tower of corporate promotional speak where you have to address a board of directors on sales results – but coming from a real woman who is claiming to have lost 30kg thanks to your product it sounds like she’s acting, or at the very least not as glowingly enthusiastic as she should be. Personal testimonies are an incredibly powerful way to sell a product. Unless they are riddled with jargon that sounds like it comes straight out of head office.

There’s a lesson here for all of us. Well providing we’re trying to sell something via an infomercial.

Actually – there is a lesson here for any Christian trying to explain the gospel to their friends/neighbours – avoid in house jargon at all costs. Authenticity depends on you sounding real and sincere – people don’t want a cardboard cut out towing the company line. If you’re going to use the power of personal testimony to sell something – make it personal. Don’t “identify a product that will help you overcome a drastic deficiency in your regular masticating schedule” – tell it like it is. In plain language.

Seriously people. Is it that hard to not automatically become a robot in front of a camera.

I did manage to flick over to Business Today or something like that on ABC 2 – where a terrified telephony lobbyist was trying to explain that communications companies will not be affected by the recession in the same way that other companies will – they’re a diversified bunch now.

He delivered a deadpan line of company speak gobbledygook that made little to no sense even to the business minded journalist asking the question – so little that she asked him to clarify – and his idea of clarification was to repeat verbatim what he’d said to the earlier question. An answer so filled with corporate double speak that none of it managed to penetrate my cold addled brain. Oh, and he reckons we should invest in communications companies. After a compelling sales pitch. I think it’s pretty funny that “communications” companies are developing a reputation for their inability to clearly communicate and articulate their business. Mobile phone contracts are a triumph of obfuscation. “Communication company” could well be a latter day oxymoron if all our modern day companies can do is trot out weasel words.

Posted on bail

There’s a list of things you shouldn’t do if you’re a major company that has received a government bailout. At the top of that list is taking out advertisements in major (expensive) publications thanking people for the generosity that was foisted on them by government distribution of tax dollars.

People are pretty unhappy that they have to bail out big companies from their own pockets. So if you book out a full page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal – you’re going to cop some flack. As Chrysler learned the hard way. Here’s a page full of feedback from its blog (which was pulled so this is the google cached version). And here’s a sample…

“Depending on placement, full page ads placed in the Wall Street journal can cost over $200,000, not to mention the other publications where this ad was placed. So, at least a quarter of a million dollars of our money was spent on an ad thanking us for our contribution. A contribution that the majority did not want to make. This ad screams “Hey, look what we are doing with your tax dollars, lol.” This ad is yet another example of frivolous and clueless spending. Thank us by using OUR money to make your company profitable, not with a meaningless ad. As the old saying goes,”Actions speak louder than words.”

Targeted ads miss the mark

The amount of information stored about us online – through Google and Facebook and their ilk is incredible. It’s meant to lead to brilliantly targeted advertising with content so compelling that clicking links is irresistible. I haven’t been one to click these links too much. Sometimes I do it in order to penalise the company – they have to pay per click.

Today Facebook tried to lure me to a site for “Liberal theologians” a celebration of liberal theology where fundamentalists don’t belong. Needless to say, I clicked. I feel like I have more in common with atheists than liberals – at least the atheists are logically consistent in their beliefs. 

I hope the guy behind that site thinks it’s money well spent. I can’t help but wondering why this guy is paying to advertise his blog on Facebook. 

I wonder if my generic “religious belief” was instead set to “intolerant fundamentalist Christian” what sort of ads would pop up? Probably not all those Christian dating service advertisements I’m inundated with. Surely those advertisers on Facebook should be targeting people listed as “single”.