Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On the Reading of Text and Your Own Interpretation - Mad Men's Final Scene

Most often we're able to write a post, say our piece, do some interpretation if needed, hit publish and then wonder, once again, what exactly it is we're doing with our life.

But every once in a while, something occurs that puts a new spin on something we wrote about, and it seems worth it to revisit the scene with the new evidence in hand.  With my readership of upward of five humans, I feel it's only fair to try to keep up and adjust to new information.  If I did not adjust as new info came to light, I'd still be wearing diapers and needing to be put in a very large stroller.

In the final scene of the show, the hard drinking, mid-20th Century picture of a man, Don Draper, has utterly broken down.  In his wanderings between New York and LA, he has somewhat accidentally come to a hippie meditation retreat in California, and is subsequently abandoned there by his ride, but - vulnerable and shattered, he seems to open up in a way he has not previously in 7 seasons.  In his final shot, he sits cross-legged with a group on a coastal bluff, comfortable in a meditative position.  The scene cuts to the 1971 "Hilltop" ad from Coca-Cola, and the series ends.

The ad is very real, and ran in various iterations even during my very early youth which began in 1975 (I have memories of it appearing on TV when I was very little, at least the Christmas spot).

Friday, February 1, 2013

DC's "WTF? Month" pretty much sums it up

As if there were any doubt that DC Comics and I may be at an impasse, thanks to the requirements of the hype machine in the Direct Market, we already know that April is going to be "WTF? Month" at DC Comics.

this is, like, 10 layers of sad

Check out The Beat for more on this so-edgy-it-will-cut-you promotion.

Extensive bad language below the break.  Proceed with caution.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

DC Comics Father's Day Ad (from Comixology)


Well, I can't blame Comixology for trying, but...

This was the ad I received in my email today from Comixology.

1.  I find the idea that the target market for Comixology is really buying their dad $0.99 digital comics to be a bit disingenuous at best.  I mean, The Admiral owns an iPad and I do not (and he's doing very little to remedy my situation, because I think he likes to lord his superior technology over me), but he would probably just be confused with my generosity.  So, really, you're talking about DC hoping the guys who have kids old enough to buy things online will jump on Comixology and buy them comics.  But DC went way out of their way to alienate all those guys this year (the non 18-25 year old white males), so...

2.  Oh, right.  Remember when the Flash was Wally West and he had kids and was a father and existed?  Buy those, because that storyline really went somewhere.

3.  Batman.  Father...  why daddy?  WHY?  I WILL AVENGE YOUUUUUU????  (also, Happy Father's Day!)

4.  Wonder Woman, made of clay because no men to be daddy's on Paradise Island.  Oh, right.  The Azzarello stuff?  Well, sure.  Happy Deity Daddy Day!

5.  And Black Lightning.  Who somehow hid two teenage daughters from us until they suddenly existed.  So, Black Lightning is the late 40's superhero!  Man, he keeps in shape.

I kind of think Comixology just wants to move some $0.99 digital comics, but I also think just grabbing some images and overlaying them in Photoshop may not have been the way to go.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

To me, fashion is a mistur-ee

I recently saw this image online at the NY Times Magazines tumblr.  This is the latest collection from designer Thakoon Panichugal.

This picture is the worst thing I have ever seen.

Call me kooky, but this outfit is a mishmash of clothes randomly pulled off the shelf from a box store and put on a really dumb person suffering from malnutrition.  I am led to believe that this poor, sick girl has gotten lost on a tour of the house where James K. Polk spent his post-presidency golden years.  She cannot see to the end of the room.

I do not understand fashion.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Forever Lazy" - so, are we going "Wall-E" or more "Idiocracy" with this one?

What really caught my attention was that this product pitches itself as essentially creating less work for the user than a Snuggie/ Slanket.

What then caught my attention was that this product has a butt-hatch, and is damned proud of this particular throw-back/ innovation.

Today, I am fascinated with the new product, arrived just in time for cold weather and the holidays - the "Forever Lazy" one-piece garment of regret.

I suppose it would be poor marketing to sell this thing as the "The Official Wardrobe of Just Giving Up".

I love the value statement ideas, like "party it up with friends".  As if I will (a) buy my friends "Forever Lazy" sweat inducers, or (b) that they'd have their own, and think its okay to wear over to my house.  And somehow pitching to people that they can better cuddle with their pets in these outfits speaks to the likely target market I suspect, of people who seek comfort at all times as they watch CBS programming with their 20 cats.

Yes, it WILL be the talk of your next tailgate if you go for broke and wear the thing in public.  It will also be the talk of anyone who walks past your tailgating party and you hear whispers of "was that dude really wearing a 'Forever Lazy' in public?".

I'm not denying that it looks like it would be soft and toasty, but I think you need to do some mental math before deciding you want to be seen in a product that really pitches the ease of pooping while never having to remove the outfit.

Kudos to the actors and models hired for this shoot.  You really sold the idea that donning a "Forever Lazy" will immediately fill one's empty soul with shame and self-loathing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nuvigil Radio Ad: Pitching a world in which nobody ever heard of coffee

I am not one to say that a medication can't help you out.  Heck, the meds I'm on keep me from going on a merciless rampage through the city on a daily basis.

The other day, driving home from work, I heard an ad for a pill called "Nuvigil" which pitched itself as a solution for "Work Shift Disorder".   I don't often call shenanigans on other people's medical woes, but Nuvigil sounds like, dare I say?, a bunch of malarkey.  Or at least what its supposedly treating.

Now, even according to Nuvigil's own site, "Work Shift Disorder" seems to be an issue striking people who work the graveyard shift, which is in conflict with the normal pattern of sleeping at night and being up during the day.  While its not hard to agree that for those whose clocks don't adjust well, feeling logy on the job can't be much fun, but last I checked, we've had a solution for this problem for a few hundred years.  Its called "coffee" and "adjusting your schedule". 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Awesome News! The World is Ending! Everybody PARTY!!!

So, we were driving back from grabbing lunch at Curra's here in Austin, and at the intersection of Congress and Oltorf, three trucks were parked in a lot, all with the same graphic.

I could only get one of the trucks with my cell phone.

the most oddly depressing strip center in Austin gets a little added spice

In case you can't read the graphic:

Guarantee is a very strong word...  I'm just saying.

As if that wasn't wacky enough, Andrew - a guy I am 6 degrees away from being a relation (uh, Jamie's brother's wife's brother.  Yes, that sounds right)  also posted images on Facebook of himself next to exactly the same truck in Virginia.  He says there were five at his location.  So, people, let me know if you're spotting this fleet of people declaring the Earth will end before the Green Lantern movie gets released.

As Jason said "well, there's been somebody predicting the end times are about to happen since time began".  But I'm not exactly sure what the hook is here other than some mash-up of Mayan snake-god calendaring getting mixed up with Poltergeist-2/ tent revival/ end-times fun.  And, look, if its a financial scam, three months isn't really much time to maximize your profit.

On the one hand, if the world were ending...  Just imagine how kooky the next three months would really get.  I tell you what, I wouldn't feel very incentivized to show up at work or fill out my tax return.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HomeAway pulls Superbowl ads - The one with the smushed baby

I suppose it will be the new annual sport to see which company will have to pull its @#$% of an ad campaign by Tuesday after the Super Bowl when their "edgy" ad campaign backfires.

I'm not sure who told HomeAway that accidental injury to babies was hilarious, and, yes...  I get that it was a doll, but...  you've got 30 seconds to sell a somewhat new idea.  Did you want to spend it smushing a baby? 

Its pretty clear HomeAway wasn't advocating baby-violence (the doll was labeled "Test Baby", etc...), so I'm not sure I buy that particular argument.  And I admit, I laughed when baby Carlos got smacked with a police car door in The Hangover

Mostly, I just wasn't sure their joke was funny, and it hadn't had 20-odd minutes of screentime to get to that point.  It was a one-trick pony of a baby getting smushed, and from the banner ads that popped up on Monday enticing you to upload photos to the HomeAway site (so you could smush your friends' faces), it was pretty clear somebody planned to build a whole campaign around the idea of the smushed baby.  Smushed baby = the next Spuds McKenzie.*

But credit where credit is due:  If I wanted to tell Groupon how to handle ad controversy, I'd point directly to what HomeAway chose to do:  pull the ad, and make a very apologetic public statement.  Its even okay to say "look, we tested this and we thought it was okay", as long as you finish with "but we were wrong, and we're taking steps to fix it".  I think people know that young companies try new things during the Super Bowl, and you need to try pretty hard to get folks' attention.  So, sometimes there's a misfire. 

Frankly, I missed the part where on Tuesday, they'd pulled the banner ads. 

I'd liked the Vacation-inspired ad from last year.  That had seemed kind of funny, and it made me remember the product.**  That said, I find the idea of living in someone else's home totally creepy, so, no... I didn't use the product.  God made Marriot hotels for a reason.

*if you have to ask who Spuds is/ was, you're going to make me feel very old
**anybody else get creeped out that Beverly D'Angelo seemingly will not age?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Groupon Super Bowl Ad Fiasco and Not Getting How this Works

I was kind of sad to learn that Christopher Guest directed the Groupon ads during the Super Bowl.

For those of you not keeping up at home, Groupon hired mid-tier celebrities to begin a commercial seemingly earnestly pleading about an issue that draws charitable contributions or is a social issue.  Its a staple of Super Bowl advertising (see last year's Haitian relief effort).  But about half-way through the ad, the celebrity would basically laugh, say "F That!" and explain how instead of getting together to help, say, the whales, you should work together via Groupon to save money on extravagances for yourself.

Groupon works, I guess, by getting people to use social media to figure out that if, say, 50 people by a coupon from Groupon, they can all get, say, a pedicure for half off.

Groupon spent Monday online figuring out that, apparently, some people didn't find this approach funny.  And they really missed the part where, supposedly, Groupon was actually pleading for people to help the whales, the struggle in Tibet, etc...  Which, apparently, they thought they were doing.

Except for the part, of course, where they told you "ha ha!  @#$% those guys!  Let's rent a party boat!".

I'm guessing a few assumptions were made:

1)  30 seconds is a lot longer than it actually is
2)  People are actually engaging with your ad and trying to decipher what it is you're subliminally trying to get them to do
3)  Lots of people already understand the model of Groupon - they do not
4)  Anybody outside of the Groupon company was aware of their past as a company that developed similar technology for non-profits and charities - this has been a big part of their justification (that's some serious @#$%ing hubris, right there)
5)  People find making fun of fairly serious issues hilarious - they do not
6)  People actually notice what ads are for on a first viewing - again, they do not

Supposedly Groupon actually believed that making fun of these issues was highlighting the issue in question.  Which kind of makes me think nobody at Groupon has ever watched how advertising works during football games.  Football games are where commercials still make fun of people in glasses* and "regular guys" take pride in not knowing shit and believe that "cold" is somehow brewed into beer.  Seeing an ad that mocks not just a cause but the sort of jerk who would want to support a cause (you know, that guy in the sweater you know is somehow threatening and it just makes you want to smash his stupid face?) is not outside the realm of what happens during gametime every Sunday.

Did Groupon know this?  Maaaaaybe.  Picking real causes tells me they didn't think about it a whole lot.

You can't help but think a winking disclaimer and a URL to go donate NOW would have saved them a world of explaining.  I went to college.  Heck, I went to TV COLLEGE.  And I still just thought:  "wow, these guys at Groupon are incredible jerks.**"  Maybe the hosting I was doing and cooking of burgers distracted me too much from looking at the screen, and getting it, but "wow, these Groupon guys are incredible jerks" does not make me turn away from my guests, pick up the laptop and check out their product to learn their secret agenda for philanthropy via a dickish Timothy Hutton.

And maybe shame on me for thinking that Groupon might think that way, but have you been watching cable news lately?  Or looked at the internet?  A LOT of people seem to think its every American's duty to go out and buy a new hot tub before making sure kids get fed or learn how to read. Seeing someone jump on the "yeah, @#$% those guys" attitude seen in public discourse, news analysis, governmental budget cutting and what people seem to want their legislators to do... to further their business goals?  Of course I think someone is going to incorporate that sentiment into their marketing sooner or later.

And, no, I don't know anything about Groupon, so why not those guys?

In the CEO's blogpost, while kind of apologizing, he goes on to suggest that what they were doing was obvious (ie: it wasn't that we weren't funny or the gag flopped, its that you weren't clever enough to get it).  Which...  yes, you have to do some spin doctoring, but fer chrissake...  Just apologize, admit your ads sucked, sue somebody, and get on with it. 

*correction, they make fun of men in glasses.  Any woman in glasses in an ad during a football game is a sex machine gone incognito
**I did not use the word "jerks"