Tag Archives: advertising

Incongruous Cross-Promotional Banner Ad of the Day

Doris, could you order us some more legal pads, a box of blue Bics and a 16-pound bird? Thanks.

Character Assassination: The State Farm Guy

In this first edition of Character Assassination, allow me to present The State Farm Guy:

I don’t know what it is about him that makes me dislike him so. He’s just so… smarmy. He makes me squirm.

I know I’m not alone. Ask Google. Or the facebook. Meet I Hate The State Farm Guy, with over 2,500 friends:

(I’d steer clear of George Jungle. Yikes.)

I can’t decide whom I hate more, him or the esurance chick. But I fear my bitterness toward that pink haired floozy could be tinged with jealousy. My antipathy toward him is at least pure. What it is about insurance companies that their marketing campaigns are so likely to be divisive? Do you know anyone who’s moderate on Flo, the Progressive rep? I guess we wouldn’t pay attention to insurance commercials otherwise. Are admen that smart?

Journalism, by the Numbers, by the Wayside

For a quick by-the-numbers lesson on the sad state of current media affairs, read the opening sentence of media guru Ken Auletta’s column in this week’s New Yorker:

In the past three years, newspaper advertising revenues have plummeted, a fourth of all newsroom employees have been laid off or have accepted buyouts, and more than a hundred free local papers have folded.

The industry’s unlikely hero, Auletta continues, is AOL, which has hired 900 journalists in the last year, adding another 40 each week to its mushrooming Patch local newsroom network. Or should that be anti-hero? The compendium of online newspapers in small, affluent communities numbers 700 in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and each is run by an editor who makes, Auletta reports, between $40,000 and $50,000 a year.

Just a few short years ago, $40k was the starting salary for a bottom-of-the-masthead magazine reporter. Not, certainly, what an effective Editor-in-Chief should even consider. Honestly, I don’t know what Patch writers make, but I know it’s not much, and that it is a source of much nervous and angry chatter among journalists who are hungry for work but unwilling to chew and swallow their pride for sustenance. It’s no wonder we’re all so fucking bitter.

Other, funnier numbers from the story include:

  • 50% of internet surfers logged on using AOL pay-per-minute dial-up service in the late 1990s
  • 35 million AOL users in 2002
  • 4 million AOL users today (and falling precipitously)
  • 75% of current AOL dial-up subscribers have DSL or cable hook-ups and don’t need AOL — but don’t realize it
  • $9.99-$25.90 per month: price of AOL’s dial-up plan options [not in the story; I added that one]

Still being able to subscribe to the New Yorker and read it in print on the subway: Priceless.

Eat this! It’ll make you doody!

Spotted in Boston at the Fenway Park subway station, a rather ill-advised ad for Chipotle burritos. Too bad the baseball wordplay means nothing, and doesn’t distract from the immediate associations the slogan suggests. Like: CLEAR THE ROOM. Or VOID YOUR BOWELS.

If you can’t read the fine print it says, “For best results, don’t get on the subway directly after eating.”

Women’s Thoughts on Sexist Ads More Offensive than Ads Themselves

My brother sent me a link to some awesomely sexist magazine ads on icanhasinternets.com. So entertaining the mid-20th Century obsession with douching (if you don’t, he’ll leave you) and those starkly-drawn distinctions between the woman’s place in the home and the man’s place in the office. Or car. You look at these unbelievably offensive ads and think, Boy, have we come a long way.

Then you look at the comments and you take it back…

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It’s Always Sunny Sells Out in Season Six

When your favorite band — that one you knew since they pressed their first seven inch back in high school — sells out it’s easy to get a little outraged. And it feels entirely justifiable, in a music-snob, self-righteous kind of way. If you’re talking about a TV show, however, one on a mid-tier network that’s already in its sixth season, it’s harder to dignify indignation.

While I can appreciate Coors Light signing on to sponsor FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the product placement in last night’s season six premier was jarring. Between the Coors bottles, napkins and napkin holders, images of tapped Rockies were present in every shot from the bar.

Distracting for sure, but at least germane. When Dennis and Dee arrange a meeting with their high school crushes at a Subway, though, it’s just silly. The signage is absurd. And they’re there for breakfast. Breakfast? Even if there was some compelling reason within the show’s script to explain why they’d go to Subway, why the fuck would anyone — let alone two drunks without day jobs — go at breakfast?

Oh, that’s right: 

Subtle.

Well, I guess It’s Always Sunny has never been about subtlety. Nor has the advertising world. So maybe it’s a perfect union. I’m sure the characters, our degenerate friends Dee, Dennis, Mac, Charlie and Frank, would sell out in a flash if given the chance.

(Mini review of the season opener: Good. Not amazing, but good. Frank asking the tranny if she had to sell her dick to China? Awesome.)

I Hate Your Body… of Work

The “I Love My Body” Victoria’s Secret campaign has been running for several months now, but I only just had the pleasure of catching one of the TV spots. You guys love your bodies, huh? Go fuck yourselves.

I know, I sound so typical, but I don’t even care. Seriously… just go fuck yourselves.

Sure, I get where you’re going: we should all love our bodies. And watching videos of supermodels explaining why they love theirs (1, 2, 3, 4) really makes me reflect on how I feel about mine. Truly inspiring, thanks. I have an idea for Vickie’s marketing staff. If you want your models to seem relateable, your next commercials should show them standing in front of the mirror pinching millimeters of belly skin and whining about their insecurities. Wow, models really are like the rest of us! That’ll make me a VS shopper for sure!

Assholes.

Are You Too Cool for the Census? Yes/No Check One

Census forms are due today. Did you fill yours out? I did, and for that I can honestly credit the gov’s $133 million marketing campaign. The spending seems exorbitant, but it must have been effective because the ads convinced me send it back, and I’m one of the laziest, least particpatory citizens you’re likely to meet. Unless you take the L train.

According to a report on NPR, the lowest Census return rate comes from our very own Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where residents are, like, above it. Take a listen, because the transcript really doesn’t do the interview between NPR’s Robert Smith and The ‘Burg’s Nate Stark justice (my goodness, all those “like”s!):

Mr. STARK: We still get mail from the past 30 people that have lived there. So it’s like who knows if people are getting these.

SMITH: Well, actually the census knows. These few blocks around Wythe Avenue and 6th Street have about a 36 percent return rate.

Nate Stark has an explanation.

Mr. STARK: I guess it’s laziness and like, what’s the point? When it comes down to it, nobody wants to fill out like another form that’s just like getting sent to your house that really relatively has nothing to do with your life.

SMITH: He thinks the young people just haven’t been given a good enough reason to fill out the census.

Mr. STARK: I mean people would do if they got like five bucks.

SMITH: Five bucks?

Mr. STARK: Yeah. Or if there was like more than just like a piece of paper that’s like you have to do this or you could get in trouble, which no one will get in trouble; that’s why they don’t do it.

From the mouths of, like, total babes, eh? Add idle disobedience to day-glo Ray Bans on the list of this month’s top Bedford trends.  See, I freaking told you guys I wasn’t a hipster.

When False Advertising Merges into Cruelty

You’re driving on the highway. You’ve been driving on the highway for hours. And hours. And hours. Maybe you’re on your way from New York to Austin, Texas for SXSW. The Mid-Atlantic states long ago began to bleed into one another — Pennsawestvirginhioky — and all you want is for one of them to have something to show for itself — roadside attraction, lake, brush fire. That, and a cup of coffee. God, you need a cup of coffee.

You realize you’re under the speed limit when an oil truck appears from within the gaping blind spot of this rental van and merges into your lane. It’s a Pilot truck, splattered with an advertisement for the gas and mega-mini-mart chain that’s duke if not king in these parts. The behemoth slides itself to fill your frame of view and teases you with the sublime and impossible suggestion that you’re gaining ground on a tanker truck full to capacity with the caffeinated black  gold you lust for.

You imagine the possibilities of  pulling alongside and filling up. An interstate iteration of mid-air refueling. Your head bobs to the gentle sloshing of salvation. Blearily you snap out of it and sputter a mangled “Oh, you assholes” as you pull off at the next exit, restore energy and regain dignity with a defiant Dixie cup of joe from the Shell station.

Un-Advertising: Your Commute, Now With Social Commentary

If you’re an LA commuter running out of things to say to the people in your car pool, try planning your route to work past the sites of the 21 soaring pieces of art in the MAK Center’s city-wide exhibition How Many Billboards? Art in Stead. (There’s an updated map of locations on the site.) Up through March, the project’s central idea is that, in the words of the director, Kimberli Meyer,

art should occupy a visible position in the cacophony of mediated images in the city, and it should do so without merely adding to the visual noise. How Many Billboards? Art In Stead proposes that art periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment.

Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city’s thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising’s strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.

Think of good, for example:

Or how big a snowball a person can fit in his mouth:

[Via UrbanDaddy. Thanks, Hilla]