Should A Brand Pull An Ad Because Commentary Turns Ugly?

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As you may have heard, DirecTV has pulled its latest ad featuring a fictional character Tommy, "The Truth" Thompson, from YouTube because the comments became a bit harsh. Central to the debate was the notion the spot contained racial overtones and glorified violence. You can view the spot below and decide for yourself.

We're not going to debate the finer points of racism, the hypersensitivities of today's culture nor the annoying inability of, it seems, anyone, to understand humor. Rather, we're going to ponder the mindset of a brand that pulls content just because things get ugly.

DirecTV said the spot was pulled from YouTube because "the content of the associated posts was devolving into an R-rated dialogue." The spot will continue to air as planned on national television.

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by Steve Hall    Jul-11-11    
Topic: Opinion



Cannes Lions: Bob Garfield on Creativity, Being an Ad Critic + the Ad That First Inspired Him

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Creatives young and old have had a love/hate relationship with Bob Garfield, who for the last 25 years has produced his "Ad Review" segment on Advertising Age. (His position on this? On a scale of one to five, few ads are total zeros and few ads are prize fives. Over his whole career the average ad has received about a 3.4, significantly higher than the average true quality of industry television advertising output at large.)

Ad bloggers, whether or not they agree with his arguments, arguably see him as the person who began what they continue today. He's also the author of The Chaos Scenario and co-hosts National Public Radio's "On the Media."

I ran into Bob at the Carlton this weekend, then later Monday in front of the Palais, sporting a decidedly cannois summer hat. (I didn't know at the time, but it was also his birthday.) He thoughtfully agreed to sit and talk at a nearby beachside restaurant -- which we only later discovered is probably the loudest atmospheres in all the land.

So forgive the sound on this bad-boy. Click below to see the video, and read the rest of this piece over at Yahoo! Scene.

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Nissan LEAF's 'Green' Commercial Makes No Sense

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Here's the issue we have with "green" commercials like this one from TBWA\Chiat\Day for the Nissan Leaf: they make no sense. In this commercial, a world is envisioned in which everything is powered by a gasoline engine. Except at the end when Robert Downey Jr. wonders what it would be like if everything didn't because we call drove a Nissan Leaf.

Uh, where the hell do people think the energy comes from to generate the electricity needed to charge the Nissan LEAF's batteries? Currently, mostly fossil fuels which power the electric plants. have you seen an electric plant? They have smokestacks. Which emit fumes. Which harm the atmosphere.

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by Steve Hall    May-31-11    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Creative Commentary, Opinion



Once Again, Sense of Humor Takes a Blow

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We're getting sick of writing headlines like this one. With increasing frequency, the ability of the human race to appreciate humor is dwindling and will soon be very much like the planet Vulcan crossed with some kind of politically correct self-esteem club; emotionless. overly logical and devoid of the ability to rib or poke fun at one another.

The Postal Service has reached a settlement with Burger King over an ad that depicted a mail carrier becoming distracted by Burger King breakfast food. The Post Office didn't take kindly to the ad and, in particular, copy with read, "With pancakes and eggs on my plate, the mail has to wait."

The Postal Service claimed Burger King used the brand's logo and uniform without permission and portrayed the mail carries in a less than positive light. while Burger King admits no wrong doing, it has agreed to revise the ad so that the uniform is generic and does not use the Postal Service logo.

It's amazing comedians are still employed.

by Steve Hall    May-23-11    
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Opinion, Policy



Walmart Gets Rapped With New Orleans Bounce

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We're going to go out on a limb here to say Walmart had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of this video in which New Orleans rapper Mr. Ghetto, accompanied by two booty shaking dancers, prattles on about the wonders of shopping at Walmart. All we can say is it's pretty fucking strange. But it will likely get Walmart more for their money than any recent marketing effort has.

With almost 56,000 views on YouTube in one day, the video is equally liked and disliked by viewers. Predictably, several comments center on race and the sad state of rap. Over at Walmart, we have to believe the marketing folks are either high fiving each other right now or shaking their heads in embarrassment they're associated with this dreadful oddity.

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by Steve Hall    May-18-11    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Opinion, Strange, Video



Rachel Bilson Sells Condoms...Uh...Ice Cream

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Perhaps during the last week or so while fast forwarding through commercials, you may have caught a peek at the odd combination of Rachel Bilson and a box of condoms. You think to yourself, "condom ads on TV...no big deal. After all, TV is rife with penile stiffening products, why not condoms too?"

Had you paused and rewound to watch the commercial, you would have seen Bilson who, stuck in a traffic jam, decides to hop out of her car, run over the tops of other cars to chase an 18 wheeler filled with condoms.

Oh wait. Had you actually paid attention while watching the commercial you would have realized it wasn't a commercial for condoms at all. Rather it was Unilever's U.S. introduction of the very questionably (for this country) named Magnum ice cream.

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by Steve Hall    May-17-11    
Topic: Brands, Celebrity, Commercials, Creative Commentary, Opinion, Strange



Marketers Sell Boobs and Butts to Little Girls

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Writing on Strollerbaby, Rebecca Odes has an insightful take on the proliferation of brands selling products to young girls that are designed to make them look, well, less young. From padded bras to booty firming shoes, it would seem marketers are intent on turning 12 year olds into sexed up models.

Odes calls attention to a recent campaign from Skechers that promotes the brand's Shape Up sneakers for girls which, much like Reebok's ReTone sneakers, are designed to tone the thighs and butts of little girls.

And while Skechers says the campaign's message is "the same messaging as Michelle Obama's Get Moving campaign," Odes wonders why little boys don't need their thighs and butts toned as well.

We've written about this topic ad naseum wondering about the wisdom of marketers attempting to turn young girls into stripper-esque tweens and the industry's notion that using sex to sell is is a worthy business strategy.

What's the solution? It's simple. While sex and the use of it as a means of convincing someone to do something will never go away, marketers could very easily simply cease making sexualized products for children and stop glorifying and glamorizing a sexed up lifestyle to those under the age of 18.

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by Steve Hall    May-17-11    
Topic: Opinion



Cause Group Overreacts to Man Wearing Dress in Sprint Ad

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In yet another sad confirmation the human race has lost its ability to appreciate humor, several cause groups have complained about a Sprint ad which ran several websites and newspapers Tuesday. The ad, which stated Sprint opposition to AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile, features a man in a dress that looks like the one the T-Mobile Babe wears in the T-Mobile campaign.

A man in a dress! Now that's funny! Come on, people! But no. No one has a sense of humor anymore.

On complaint came from REC Networks Founder Michi Etre who is transgender and didn't like the ad. He issued a statement which read, in part, "We are deeply disturbed by an advertisement that was developed and approved in part by organizations including Media Access Project and the Center For Media Justice. While we do not view this as intentional transphobia on the part of MAP or the other organizations or Sprint, who purchased the advertising space, we feel that the depiction is still inappropriate."

Again. A man in a dress. What's next? Louisa May Alcott's Little Woman retitled because it offends midg...uh...little people?

by Steve Hall    May-12-11    
Topic: Brands, Cause, Opinion, Policy



#@%& Stupid People! And Diesel Jeans Too!

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The Angry Aussie, and man with many opinions about meany topics, has an opinion about the Diesel Jeans Be Stupid campaign. And it's far from a positive one. Check out his profanity-laden video in which he trashes anyone who has anything at all to do with Diesel Jeans. It's manufacturers. It's marketers. The people who wear them. And the people who think the campaign was on to something. Guess we're on his list.

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by Steve Hall    May-11-11    
Topic: Opinion, Video



Fans Follow Celebrities on Twitter No Matter What They Say

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This guest article is written by David Murton who has been helping companies build and maintain their online relationships with customers since 2006. He is also a professional writer and blogger, with a particular interest in the open source Drupal platform. On a more personal note, David is an avid piano and accordion player, drawn especially to music of the classical and romantic periods.

Lo, it is written: the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. And, with celebrities now increasingly following their own followers on social media - the world's hippest new hit series - Matthew 20:16 has come to pass.

But Twitter 'twasn't always such. Back in the medium's early days - say, back when your current vehicle had about twenty thousand fewer miles - it was common for celebrities simply to treat social media merely as an extension of traditional media. That is, as just another billboard to plug their next film, book, or show, or to announce their latest political cause or adoption of a developing country's child.

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by Steve Hall    May- 4-11    
Topic: Opinion, Social










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