When we as an industry set out to create a beautiful ad, we tend to sometimes let our creativity and this thing called Photoshop run amock. Clearly demonstrating this penchant and fixation for beautifying everything in our path is this Dove commercial - created by Ogilvy Toronto and produced by Reginald Pike - in which an average looking woman is, first, subjected to intense physical makeover and then intense digital makeover turning her into the very familiar but very unreal woman we see gracing the pages of magazines and as subject matter for our advertising.
The discourse about ethics in advertising is getting picked up by people who'd like to help draw out that imaginary red line in a way that doesn't sound so whiny. Under the premise that society (and not just irate marketing bloggers) can now contribute to media messages, After These Messages does for the opinionated audience what Yelp did for hipsters who get their kicks bitching out posh restaurants. You log in, post an ad and then - get this - scale its ethical weight and relevance. The gauge includes questions like the following: If you created it, would you sleep well at night? Does it contribute to society? Will it bring good karma? Is it an effective piece of communication?
While everyone now walks past these over-sexed billboards shot as if a porn flick but designed by some European fashionista, they're still jarring. Or at least they are to us as we pass them by especially since the product being sold is just some over-priced, over-branded previously created concoction with just an ingredient or two changed and a new name slapped on it.
While George Parker doesn't like the new Eat Like A Snake Commercial for the new Burger King Triple Whopper, we think there was no other possible way to promote a fatburger than with a freaky commercial like this. Atfer all, who in their right mind would want to suck down this 1,000 calorie plus, four inch high burger than a snake? Oh wait, that McDonald's fat kid would love this thing and could probably suck it down in one bite too.
But anyway, Ariel's right when she says "Burger King has successfully spent the last few years integrating itself with pop culture. Nay... BK IS part of pop culture. Unlike the majority of companies...BK refuses to merely be a reaction of what is already taking place. They choose to create the reaction, and fairly intelligently." It's perhaps true the wackiness of all recent Burger King advertising is simply aimed more at creating an odd brand persona than actually trying to sell a burger. But, given the upcoming generation's hatred of "being sold," the odd approach Burger King is taking seems to be an appropriate one.
Europe loves futbol. America love football. Both games bring out competitive spirit and national patriotism. After viewing NBC's airing of Friday Night Lights, we feel we have to say never before has a TV show done such a wonderful job illustrating the love for and importance of a sport. A spin off of the 2004 Billy Bob Thornton movie of the same name based on H.G. Bissinger's book about the Odessa, Texas Permian High Panthers, the show brings to light small town America's love for the sport and the importance it plays in everyday life. While American soccer is alive an well on the fields of suburban America, that sport is unlikely to ever overtake the intensity of and love for good 'ol American football.
The Slug offers up a retrospective on this past Summer's inane Head On commercial and the media frenzy which ensued because of it. If you haven't seen the spot, it's the one that repeats, "Head On. Apply directly to the forehead," over and over and over but offers no actual statement as to what the product's purpose might be. Created completely without ironic insiderism, the commercial found itself the subject of many parodies, an MSNBC interview with Barbara Lippert in which she just won't shut up, coverage on NBC Nightly New with Brian Williams, again with Barbara Lippert, and, finally, a self-referential spoof created by the company itself. Still, no one knows what the hell the product is supposed to do. OK, yes, it's for headaches but they never say so. Witty.
As Brian Unger said on MSNBC, we shouldn't be surprised to hear "Bud, put it in your mouth" during the Super Bowl.
Add to the ever growing list of contextual fuckery this Pure Gum Spirits Turpentine ad which appeared directly next to a CNN story about a teen who drank turpentine to terminate her pregnancy. The kicker is the ads tagline, "Nature's Solvent." Yup, turpentine sure does make it easier to dissolve that fetus and make it really easy to slide right out into that trash can. Aside from the intellectually-challenged human idiocy that surrounds the use of these freakish remedies, the placement of this ad has to be the most freakish contextual placement fuck up to date. Can we possibly put an end to our own industry idiocy that causes these idiotic mistakes?
Al Pacino once said in Godfather III something to the effect of "As soon as I'm out, they pull me right back in." That's how we feel about this manufactured conspiracy theory we were going to ignore - originated in a MediaPost opinion piece by Eric Sass - that a new Lexus commercial somehow uses 9/11-like imagery. This is a waste of time. Everyone is reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into this. What...all ads shot in NYC that show the skyline will now be accused of treading inappropriately on 9/11? Please. Yea, there's two cars in the commercial. It's hardly as symmetrical as some claim nor in any way reminiscent of 9/11.
If you want to complain about an ad that reminds us of 9/11, why don't we look at the Cingular billboards with the two bars extending upward from the board. Those ads have been running for years. Sure 9/11 sucked. It always will suck. It will always a sad day in our history. But to think marketers are maliciously trying to make fun of 9/1 is just indicative we all have way too much time on our hands to analyze this crap.
I wasn't in the city on September 11, 2001. I was unemployed, sitting at home, looking for a job. A bit past 9 AM that day, I received a call from a former co-worker who said, "Did you hear what happened?" Of course I had not since I had pretty much tuned the world out after having been laid off following the dot com orgasm. I spent the next four days on the couch, glued to the television, suffering sensory overload as the event unfolded over and over and over.
I knew Karen Martin, a flight attendant who was aboard the ill fated American Airlines Flight 11 that day. I used to work with her years ago when we both worked at a Friday's restaurant. We didn't know each other well. Just about as well as any two close knit restaurant workers know each other but I think of her every time I see a 911 retrospective as I did Sunday night on CBS which re-aired that documentary about the New York Fire Department rookie. And just under five years ago when her name scrolled up the list on the banner behind Bono as he sung during half time at the Super Bowl in 2002. That was chilling.
When 9/11 rolls around each year, I often think of Jeff Jarvis who was right in the midst of it all that day and chronicled his experience of the tragedy in several audio tapes. He revisits the day five years later in a recent post on his blog.
While the day is etched into my mind as a very painful one, it's nothing compared to the indescribable pain and suffering those more directly involved went though and will continue to go through for the rest of their lives: the families of those who lost their lives in the towers, of the firefighters and police who died attempting to save those in the buildings, of the passengers and crew on the two planes that hit the towers, of the passengers and crew of the planes that hit the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania. And the innumerable others who were affected because of their involvement.
Five years later, ground zero is still ground zero though documentary host Robert Deniro tells us plans are underway for the beginnings of Freedom Tower, accompanying buildings and a large, permanent memorial. As part of the new World Trade Center design, the imprint of the towers will remain intact.
While it won't effect Times Square, New York's Bloomberg administration is moving forward with efforts to enforce Local Law 31, a 2005 law that restricts certain types of outdoor advertising structures which were built after 1979. The City wants to dismantle 50 to 60 percent of the boards, reduce the size of others and place restrictions on those that remain. Reacting to the move, OTR Media Group President and CEO Ari Noe said, "Banning billboards and scaffolding signage will cause a significant financial loss for many different sectors of the economy - property owners, local businesses, union labor, advertising agencies and advertisers," Particularly hurt by this move would be stores who are undergoing renovation and who advertise on the scaffolding to make sure people know they are still open for business. While it might be everywhere, outdoor advertising to us is the least invasive and annoying ad medium of them all. They just sit there, You don't have to look at them and they don't interrupt programming as literally every other form of advertising does. isn't there still crime here in the city that needs to be dealt with instead of this minutia?