Thursday, September 22, 2011

On No Regrets Marketing


So I came across this ad for electronic cigarettes, originally from a Rolling Stones magazine. Obviously it's saying that sleeping with an overweight girl is something you should be ashamed of (but you're a man so you aren't, HAHA!). If you think about it, the issue of obesity in all its forms is almost uniformly cut out of advertising, unless it has to do with making you feel like you should improve (oh those never-ending Jenny Craig commercials). But it's certainly not something that is ever joked about, like the "useless husband" stereotype. Actually, overweight guys are kind of acceptable on TV (I'm thinking King of Queens, According to Jim) but you will NEVER see a fat woman with a handsome guy. I hate that fat, immature husband and smoking wife trope.

Is it clever to associate your product with something that men find stereotypically shameful (as seen in all the TV shows EVER)? Maybe they figure that some guys find electric cigs embarassing anyway, since they're a little less manly than the real thing (you would never see Clint Eastwood with an electronic cigarette clamped between his teeth), so may as well try to make it work for the product. I think the message of the ad is something like "Well sure, you'd normally regret sleeping with a "fat chick" but when all is said and done, you still got laid". The marketers are implying that you should do what  feels good or is good for you (like smoking an electronic cigarette) regardless of what your friends say.

Still. Does this image really make guys interested in the product at all? I don't really think it would. It's going for humour but I don't think it's the right kind.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Breaking the Barrier Between the Outside and Home

Do you think using scare tactics is a great way to get customers? It's definitely a way to get their attention anyway.

Last year ADT, a company selling home security systems, launched a "brilliant" marketing campaign in Santiago, Chile. Spring loaded boxes were folded and slipped under doors then, inside the home, these boxes would spring into shape, appearing as though they had been left behind by someone inside the house. On the front of the box was the statement "Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think" next to the ADT logo.

This was obviously pretty risky, but was it effective? Most home security companies tend to take the same road- advertising like life insurance companies and just trying to be somber enough to get attention. But consumers who don't think they are at risk are pretty likely to just tune out the message. This way at least, there was no getting around the ad, since it was sitting pretty glaringly behind the consumers' front door.

But is it a breach of privacy? Could it have made consumers feel threatened for more than the obvious reason- that they were at risk of burglary? While I do think that this campaign was ingeniously creative, I'd like to make a note that this probably scared a lot of people. If it were me, I'd be frightened at the thought of a company entering my private sphere, although I know they do it in much less obtrusive ways. There's a lack of thought about subtlety here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On Edmonton's Own Ad Scandal

So, the big news here in Edmonton is the below advertisement, from Fluid Hair Salon. It was actually created and launched a year ago, but was only caught by bloggers and made big in the last couple days. Since then, women's rights groups in the city have been up in arms, and it's not hard to see why.

A well-coiffed woman sits on a chair in front of a frightening Dexter-type man, sporting a nasty looking black eye. The caption "Look good in all you do" implies, sort of, that as long as she looks good eventually, with a shiny new necklace, abuse is just fine. It's a risky and dark ad, and I personally don't think that a salon should be touching this subject with a 10 foot pole, but that's just me.

However, up until now I'll admit that I wasn't that interested or insulted by this little controversy. It was a very misled "artsy" ad that never really got big before now, and in a way it actually does some good by bringing needed attention to the issue of domestic violence. 

What actually got me intrigued is that somewhere out there, someone was mad enough to vandalize the salon. Here are a couple pics from CBC:

"This is art that is wrongly named violence; that was violence wrongly named art!"
It's sort of poetic.

On American ROM- Advertising with Nationalism

So, what do you do when you've tied your brand to your country's brand, and your country isn't looking so good at the moment? You trick people into showing their nationalistic side, just like this Romanian chocolate bar:

I agree that this campaign was a great way for Rom to increase awareness of their product, but do you think that sparking outrage this way will give them lasting attention? They gambled with the goodwill of the public, and it seems to have paid off for now...