In an ironic twist, the industry that is currently attempting to regain cred among, well, everyone, the advertising industry recently launched an ad campaign to promote Advertising Week using the oldest trick in the book: sex. Created by DDB Worldwide, the ad, which promotes the industry's upcoming Advertising Week in September pictures a faceless woman with in a red bra and black top with her breasts bulging outward and the copy, "Advertising. We All Do It," positioned directly beneath the woman's cleavage.
Predictably, many are up in arms over the ad citing it as sexist, moronic and tired. All true but, then again, when has sex ever been in danger of not selling something. Whether it's to titalate guys or to piss of women, sex-laced campaigns featuring scantily clad women whose breasts are spilling forth, uncontrollably, from of their tops unquestionably draw attention and get the media to write about it, thereby, accomplishing a campaigns primary goal of awareness despite negative reaction.
Indicative of the spineless nature of industry, neither the client nor the agency are stepping up to the plate in reaction to this ad with both sides referring inquiries to the other as if the ad were a pair of skid-marked underwear.
Bring sanity back to the saga, Bartle Bogle Hegarty Global Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Advertising Week Cindy Gallop told Ad Age, "I see the campaign as funny and entertaining. Advertising is something we all do without thinking. The fact is a woman opening an extra button on her blouse for a date is a very regular occurrence." You go, Cindy!
With the increasing automation of the media buy/sell relationship, there has been a shift towards forcing a square peg in a round whole when it comes to a buyer gleaning information from a media seller for consideration as part of a media program. It's only natural to try to streamline the process but when it eliminates viable media properties, simply because the media property can't fit its (very worthy) square peg sell into the buyer's myopic, square buy hole, that's a very bad thing. And, seemingly, it's all done, not without merit, just to get all potential media vehicles on the same proverbial playing field so the buyer can then compare them using the same set of metrics. Well, an apple isn't an orange and it never will be but apples and oranges are both, still, food worthy of consumption.
It seems the proliferation of in-theater advertising insanity knows no limits. Theater Advertising Solutions LLC today announced a multi-year agreement for the distribution of a branded concession carry tray, called MovieTRAY, at all of Regal Entertainment Group's theaters nationwide. Under the agreement, Theater Advertising Solutions will be the exclusive provider of movie tray adverblather, further ruining the already horrifically advertising-drenched movie going experience.
Maybe Regal should consider selling the back of its seats to advertisers so adverbloated movie goers could at least get the pleasure of kicking the shit out of brands that would actually consider placing ads within movie theaters.
Ad Induced Hotness?
Writing in the Hendersonville News, Susan Hanley Lane shares her feelings regarding a racy Skechers billboard she saw when she was with her father in law as he was getting haircut. Noting the odd juxtaposition of the two figures on the billboard having simulated sex, advertising-style, with the presence of her father in law and two small girls playing outside near the board, Susan makes a convincingly cogent argument that, perhaps, we've taken this sex sells thing a bit too far.
She notes the walled garden that used to be called childhood has collapsed and has been replaced, at least for girls, by girlhood. In other words, kids aren't kids anymore but have, because of the continual presence of adult imagery, become young hotties in training. When you roll it up like that, it does certainly feel odd that young kids are routinely exposed to this sort of imagery. Many, including myself, have said, "Oh, just don't look. Turn the TV off. Monitor what your kids read and what they do online." Well, sure. That's all good but it's also like trying to juggle 12 tons of Jello while riding a unicycle. It's not possible. Kids are resourceful. If they want to see or do something, they'll find a way around parental blockage. Acknowledging that, one could argue if racy imagery that is now commonplace wasn't there in the first place, kids who circumvent so called blockage would find nothing more that a fully clothed Betty Crocker staring back at them.
Humor. Heard of It?
Last Month a KFC ad, showing call center workers singing with their mouths full to promote KFC's Zinger Crunch Salad, which ran in England garnered a record 1,671 complaints to the country's Advertising Standards Authority because many felt it would cause bad manners among children. At the time we said that was ridiculous and wondered if the human race was losing its sense of humor. Today, the ASA has agreed with us stating it did not agree with those that lodged complaints and that the ad was unlikely to cause bad manners. Parents teach manners. Commercials don't. There's a difference.
Write Nice Things Or Else
It seems BP (more accurately BP's agency MindShare who crafted BP's stringent "zero-tolerance policy") and Morgan Stanley have everybody's panties in a bunch over their recently publicized ad policies stipulating their right to pull ad schedules based on disagreeable editorial content. Ad Age has skewered the announcements, writing, "Shame on BP. And shame on Morgan Stanley and General Motors and any other advertisers involved in assaults on editorial integrity and independence. By wielding their ad budgets as weapons to beat down newsrooms, these companies threaten the bond that media properties have with their audiences, the very thing that gives media their value to advertisers to begin with."
We're none too pleased either. But, for all the reaction these announcements have received, there's nothing all that new. Policies such as these have been around forever. They've just never brazenly been made public. And that's the issue.
succumbed not yet aware of the Axe ad campaign messaging, went out and bought some of the company's shower gel then, checking the campaign out, commented on heavy intertwining of sex to sell the product, writing, "As I've said before, male showering is marketed as a requirement for meeting the standards of the other, cleaner sex. But Axe takes this a step further. Attractiveness isn't the end goal of showering here; sex is. The Axe website makes their intentions clearer than a horny freshman at a sorority party. The splash page features suggestive images of a shower's ceiling lined with mirrors, and bathroom with towels engraved with "His," "Hers," "Her Roomate's," "Her Sister's." You can just see the famous jocks of Heathers punching it in. Even the loading icon is horny. It reads "Your Mojo is Loading." And I guess that's what Axe really is, a mojo-enhancing lube for heterosexual sex.
Accumulating opinion and commentary from across the media and advertising spectrum, The Wall Wall Street Journal has compiled an outlook of the media landscape from network news, advertising, newspapers, book publishing, movies and music. While there are a few insightful suggestions surrounding network news and movies, much, such as turning advertisements into programming and microtargeting has been heard before. All the same, it's nice to see it wrapped up all in one place others who don't analyze this stuff on a minute by minute basis.
Money Shot, Butchered
When Tiger Woods made that famous 16th hole shot, leaving the Nike golf ball hanging on the edge of the cup, swoosh visible for two long seconds before dropping in, the ad industry speculated wildly over over how Nike would turn this moment into a commercial. Well, three weeks passed, nothing was released and the industry gave up hope. In the meantime - actually, the day the shot occurred, Joe Jaffe, pointed out this perfect opportunity for Nike and created a spec spot on his own. Simply and without un-necessary editorializing, Jaffe's version illustrated the miraculous moment and ended quietly with "Just do it." It took a fantastic sporting moment, which needed no additional explanation, and commercialized it beautifully.
While all had given up hope Nike would take advantage of this moment, a Nike-created spot finally emerged a week or so ago. It was about as timely as that Bud Light Super Bowl spot making fun the previous year's Janet Jackson nipple slip. Did it really have to take that long for client and agency to get their shit together? The spot, using the same imagery from the famous day and interspersed with black screen/white type banal messaging, closes with a lame, inside joke about how Woods should have, at least, landed the ball in a way that made the Nike logo more visible.
Over at the Adrants Soflow Network group, Robert Loch posted a quote from vacuum man Richard Dyson in which he claims suits are useless and creatives stink. Dyson said, "The agency business just isn't working for me. I don't want to talk to account planners, and account managers and these other assorted suits. I need to talk to the 'creatives' directly, and explain to them what I am trying to achieve. But they won't come to meetings because they are 'creative.'
"And the fact is that they are not creative at all. They are doing the very worst thing you can do, which is to sit staring at a drawing board trying to come up with an idea out of nowhere. You need dialogue to create. Of all the creative jobs I have encountered it is advertising people who make the most song and dance about creativity. And, you know, they are not creative at all. When I think of the real creation that my designers are involved in, and compare it with these 'creatives' who are earning so much more to just sit around the Groucho Club and be generally useless, it makes me vomit. I can't go on supporting an industry like that, I'm afraid."
What do you think. Comment here or see what others have said in the forum (yes, I know it's a pain, you have to join).