Drug use is a serious issue. Drug PSAs are usually hard-hitting, in your face, depressing and emotionally draining. Apparently the UK-based national drug information service FRANK didn't get the memo when they had their new campaign created.
The campaign centers on a dog called Pablo who is a drug mule. In a commercial, Pablo mixes and mingles with drug dealers and users all while his chest is cut open because he was a mule.
No sooner are we lauding the importance of honest, graphically intense PSAs, we get this from Strawberry Frog, "ChangingThePresent.org seeks to make the world a better place one gift at a time by connecting givers with 350 non-profit organizations offering 1,600 gifts and to a universe of 500,000 registered philanthropic organizations. The two :30 spots spoof traditional holiday commercials by poking fun of gifts like bow-topped cars by replacing it with a sheep adorned by a big red ribbon (supports the Heifer Project International), and a beautiful jewelry box containing a polio vaccine (UNICEF)."
Without belittling the very important objective this campiagn seeks to accomplish, it just feels like the wind has been removed from the sails. Or maybe it's just the sudden emotional shift from empathetic compassion to tongue in cheek humor. Both are good. Both can work. Let's just hope the two campaigns don't appear back top back which, of course, they won't becasue one is UK based and the other American. Just sayin'.
It seems public service advertising is the only kind which contains any sort of meaningful drama or that's allowed to depict reality without being glossed over by meaningless creative pontification. All other forms of advertising pale in comparison. Mostly because PSAs depict real life. And real life is a far cry from the kind of fairy tale life painted inside the cozy confines of an ad campaign.
British children's charity Barnardo's is out with a powerful commercial in which a girl is repeatedly subjected to the after effects of child abuse. As the commercial progresses, the girl's troubled life is repeated with increasing intensity until it culminates with the rapid fire reality of child abuse, a cycle that, if unchecked, is doomed to repeat tself over and over again until dramatic steps are taken to prevent it.
- Hurtin' for love? Advertise on a stripper's apple bottoms. Dolla make you holla! (Via.)
- BU needs money too.
- Mind your social media Ps and Qs.
- The rumours are true: it snows in Switzerland.
- Ivanka Trump blogs for Brides.com.
- Bogus Nike discount code. Boooo. (Hoooo.)
- Maybe that dam is somebody's house.
- Possibly the best marijuana PSA evar. If you watch it while high on 4/20, the universe will fold in on itself. Also, just for the record, I have ironed my hair while under the influence. It is so, so dangerous.
Late to a party long populated with the likes of AmEx, Apple, Converse, Motorola, Microsoft, Dell, The Gap, and Giorgio Armani, Starbucks finally joins the Product (red) brigade, spearheaded by U2's Bono to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Buy a Starbucks exclusive beverage, save lives in Africa! If the watch-worthiness of the ad isn't equal to the cause, it's at least a tribute to the crippling mediocrity that halos brands grown lazy and slow. Way to go, BBDO!
If I'm shocked, it's only because this didn't happen sooner. Really. This has to be a record for the amount of time a top-heavy "lifestyle" company's spent resisting the rejuvenating call of Bono.
Here's a pretty idea. To drive donations to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Leo Burnett/Chicago and Starcom remind shoppers that "food shouldn't be a luxury."
To illustrate the point, ordinary items -- soup, broccoli, PB&J sandwiches -- are positioned as luxury goods, languishing in the manicured hands of luxe porcelain models.
The bottom portion of each piece invites viewers to donate what they can to the Depository. "Text MEALS to 90999 to give $5," it adds -- simple enough to do on impulse.
If you're in the Chi, expect to see these on CTA buses and rail cars from now to December 31st.
Here's a confusing metaphor. B-list star Kristen Johnston poses as Lady Godiva -- who rode a horse naked through Coventry to win a break on her husband's taxes -- in order to raise awareness about the hazards of horse-drawn carriages.
"Don't get taken for a ride," the ad reads. "Horse-drawn carriages are cruel."
I guess. Good fodder for the portfolio though -- a Maraschino cherry topping fine oeuvres like Austin Powers: the Spy Who Shagged Me and Strangers with Candy.
One of my favourite things to do during down-time is take personality quizzes that aggrandize me in some show-offable way. What movie are you? Which Sex and the City Character are You Most Like? Rate Your Dating Style!
And given how many MySpace bulletins composed of Q & A's with self-excusing titles like "soooo b0red!" or "stolen from sheila" I get in a day, it's clear I'm not alone in this inclination.
Which is why this quiz on TakeTakeTake.ca was so exciting: "What's Toronto's Take on You?" It was like, oh snap, I never realized my city would have an opinion about where I belong in its gleaming array of subcultures and whatnot.
For United Way, Publicis/Toronto gives us "Youth" and "Homelessness." Each introduces you to someone in dire straits: a homeless guy in his alley, staring despondently at passers-by; and a nervy new gangbanger.
Both look markedly stressed. Then each grabs hold of some part of themselves -- the homeless guy his torn jacket, the street kid his head -- and suddenly their skin peels off.*
Within the homeless man lies a clean-cut Joe with a uniform on. He steps easily out of his poverty-ridden skin -- kinda like the crazy sorceress whose ugliness "melted away" at the beginning of Disney's Beauty and the Beast -- and joins the sea of active, busy people on the streets.
Same deal with the kid. He grabs his head, peels off his hoodie-ensconced bad-ass self, and reemerges in -- lo! -- a baby blue soccer uniform.
"What you're really giving is a way out," each spot concludes, referring slyly to the donation you are now morally obligated to make.
I like the idea of being able to shake off your past and join the sunshiny stat-quo. But if the spots are appealing, it's because they oversimplify a taxing inner journey that can take years -- and plenty of sorrows -- to complete. Well, that's advertising for you.
The economy shake-up means hard times for everybody, but print news weeklies are probably among the heaviest-laden. Few people are willing to wait a day to see news in print; fewer still have the patience for a week, not when they can load Google News and have at it instantaneously.
In a desperate bid at self-preservation, the LA Weekly has launched "LONG LIVE PRINT." Weeklyites invaded the Detour Festival in Downtown LA to wave signs, distribute bookmarks (cringe) and ink the message onto other people's shirts with a printing press (nifty!).
Other media ran on newsstands and in the LA Weekly itself. See the creative in all its grungy glory:
Cool work by Ignited LA
. Painfully valiant though, given that we've never thought much about the LA Weekly
, and now we associate it with the struggle of by-weeklies to remain relevant in an increasingly by-the-Tweet
kind of world.