As we've done semi-hypocritically several times before, we've both celebrated and called into question the use of sexual imagery in advertising but we've always done it from our perspective: a guy's perspective. One the one hand, we'd love to see every ad feature a sexy woman. On the other, it becomes numbing, research says it doesn't work and we know it's less than kind to the portrayal of women. None of that matters. Well, it does but guys aren't the only ones viewing advertising and our opinion is only one half of the story. For true insight on how sexually laced advertising, much of it using racy female imagery to target females, affects the other half, women, give this Business Week article a read. It's written by those who are at the center of this issue: teens and young woman. It's their take on this that's more insightful than the drooling's of male ad slut.
If you happen to work as a grocery or retail store clerk you might find yourself checking into a hospital for dizziness or a mental institution for insanity all caused by being forced to revolving ads on the conveyor belt in front of you. In what is certainly one of the more blatantly disgusting forms of ad creep, EnVision Marketing Group, which patented the idea, is rolling out ads on the conveyor belts of 52 Cincinnati-based Kroger grocery stores.
Like a kid gleefully plastering every square inch of his bedroom wall with posters of Kelli Garner, EnVision CEO Frank Cox gushed, "Conveyor belts have never been on anybody's radar screen for marketing. But a store with eight to 10 checkout lanes, well, you're talking about 100 square feet of wasted ad real estate." Indeed. But what about all that food covering up the ads, Mr. Cox? Perhaps Cox should start calling hospitals to place ads on the ceilings of patient's room. Now there's a captive audience.
Well, it seems everyone's got some kind of award for something in this industry. It must be all that childhood self esteem training run amok and rearing its ugly head in adulthood. Anyway, Boards magazine is honoring woman "who have made significant creative and business contributions to the international advertising and commercial production communities." They will be highlighted in the magazine's September issue as well as at a celebration in New York.
Hmm. With all this intelligence on display, maybe Adrants should launch something a bit less intense such as, oh, the Hottest Men of Advertising or Advertising Agencies' Most Beautiful Women or a Cannes Six Pack And Racks Contest. Oh but wait, that would make the outside world think we're even bigger buffoons than those hipsterific folks over at Agency.com. It sure would be fun though. Anyone interested?
Over at Shake Well Before Use, Ariel wonders if Consumer Generated Media is an offensive, if not meaningless, term since its current iteration by marketers places so many limitations on it by boxing in CGM with all sorts of cut and paste rules of brand engagement. Or, worse, creating it on their own and passing it off as CGM like Pop Secret did. She argues true consumer generated media (or any term you choose to throw at it) should be organic and limitless. Opining insightfully, Ariel says marketers, in their efforts to hop on the latest trend, are wasting their time trying to create a desired reaction rather than maximizing and leveraging an already organically existing one.
In her recently released book, Danika:Crossing the Line, IRL racer Danika Patrick offers up this truism about her work in advertising, writing, "Here's the upshot. Sponsors such as Honda, Peak Antifreeze, and Secret deodorant have stepped up and are using a sexy woman racecar driver as a unique marketing tool. Let's face it, guys don't sell antifreeze quite the same way I do."
Danika approaches the whole notion of sex symbol with a refreshing nonchalance, saying, " Why not use whatever assets I have? I'm confident in myself as a driver. It's obvious I'm a girl, so why not use it as a tool?" Her statement does, though, open up the age old debate about whether one should use their sexual assets to get ahead in life. But is being a hot looking girl or guy really any different than being the best major league pitcher or the most famous Hollywood actor in terms of using those qualities to further one's life? All of us have various assets in our arsenal and we all use them to achieve our goals in life. Why should the asset of physical beauty be looked upon with less favor as if being beautiful automatically makes one dumb, desperate and lacking in higher intelligence?
While visiting the Kaiser Family Foundation, New York Senator Hillary Clinton said "At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy." Well, of course we will Hilary. How else are we going to shield kids from your pompous blather and insure our advertising messages get to the central cortex of every child's brain unfettered by your politically-motivated babble?
Public relations firm Idea Grove interviewed Fark Founder Drew Curtis who, like us, has a few things to say about the idiocy of most advertising. First, he doesn't understand the counterproductive approach most online advertisers take, saying, "The whole advertising industry confuses me sometimes. Advertisers for some reason really, really want to buy ads that annoy the shit out of the consumer. They want to buy ads that block you from seeing content, that shout at you when you hit the page, that stay on the computer desktop when you leave the site. You know why ads on the right sidebar get better clickthrough rates? Because people are trying to scroll down with their mouse and miss the damn bar, accidentally generating a click. Most popup ad clicks are generated by people missing the X to close the thing out." He may be right. Someone should do a study on the whole frustrated/missed click thing.
I really wasn't going to comment on this ad but after reporting mouth-shaped urinals were removed from a McDonald's in the Netherlands because they were seen as perversely sexual by a visiting American, I just wonder what that person would think of this girl's open mouth, ready to receive objects that, apparently, need oral attention. Aside from all that, the not so smart thought of opening a bottle with one's mouth and the fact this just looks like a mock up some art director wished actually ran somewhere, it's not a bad ad.
Tessa Wegert is at it again trying to convince us that people want to see ads on their desktops and that AdDiem's Digital Billboard, a company she wrote about last week that serves content and ads to a person's desktop, is something people would actually seek out and download. We didn't like it last week and we don't this week as she positions AdDiem's Digital Billboard as a custom publishing solution and gushes about that particular medium's benefits. OK. Last week, as the name indicates, it was a digital billboard. This week, that same company has somehow morphed into a custom publishing solution. Which is it Tessa and why would anyone want it?
Apparently, there are many people who feel the new Sony campaign promoting its new white PSP is racist because it features a white woman in a position of power over a black woman. Bells and whistles are going off over at Joystiq but there's also another image that's part of the campaign that shows the black woman getting her vengeance over the white woman. Can we all just relax? Sony and TBWA, of course, intended the ad to be controversial otherwise it'd sit there like all the other boring ads wasting our time every day. Racist or not, it's got us talking and that's half the battle any campaign faces.