Boing Boing reports some news that bummed us out. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals just upheld a new Alabama statute that bans commercial distribution of sex toys, comparing such stimulation to prostitution.
It is "unlawful for any person to knowingly distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," says the statute.
We hang our heads for any state stripped of the right to experience Lelo, more a high culture bearer than detractor by any measure. Boing Boing also points out that while the gentle vibrator has gone into exile, guns are still A-OK. What a consolation!
Balendu draws our attention to this promotion for Beyonce Knowles' upcoming tour in Australia, which is drawing controversy from the usual slew of anti-smoking groups and mean PC people. One such group actually contacted the Federal Dept of Health to say the ad acts as a tobacco promotion, thus breaching the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act.
We're surprised by the lifelong groomed artist's decision to use the old-fashioned cigarette holder, particularly because of strong negative sentiment about tobacco's effects (as if nobody knew before). Nonetheless, the act makes a statement and we're impressed by B's gumption. The untouchable Audrey would appreciate the political hat-tip, even if her immortal pose with the long cigarette is decidedly more chic.
OMG! According to the United States Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, watching someone drinking a beer in a Japanese Asahi beer commercial may cause alcoholism in the States! Everyone, cover your eyes immediately before you succumb to the power of the almighty television commercial...in a language you can't even understand...in a commercial you will never see aired in America...because its a friggin Japanese commercial! Why doesn't the U.S. government just skip all this shit and force us right into the 1984-like world in which they really want us to live?
Overreact much? How about gone entirely insane. The government wants to take legal action against Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka who is seen in the Asahi ad consuming beer, a no-no in the States. While it's one thing to enforce the U.S. regulation of not showing the actual consumption of alcohol in advertisements, it's entirely another to foist that law on another country or a person who just happens to now live in the U.S. but made the commercial in another country under an entirely different jurisdiction.
We are so sick of all this Julie Roehm crap. Oh wait. No we're not. Are you kidding? Of course we're not. This is great shit to write about. So now she's suing Wal-mart for breach of employment contract and demanding the return of certain files and items from her office such as paint and a step ladder she left in her office. Aside from all the boring legal crap, perhaps the best line in the entire Advertising Age article about this latest chapter in the saga is, "Among the changes Ms. Roehm effected during her 11-month tenure at Wal-Mart: She painted her office." Classic. Priceless. Hilarious.
While she has concerns over what she believes is money owed her according to her contract, when she appeared today at a panel on the worth of Super Bowl advertising, she said her Wal-Mart dismissal was a "blessing." Certainly a strange comment to make on the eve of issuing a lawsuit against the employer that delivered that "blessing." Oh whatever, so the saga continues, wasting bit and bytes off online press space and killing trees all to regurgitate the same old crap: she wasn't a fit for Wal-Mart and they canned her ass. Get over it. Move on.
With nowhere left to run, agencies like Ogilvy are biting the bit and listing goals for minority hiring in '07, which include such ambitions as 16% minority new hires at exec level and 33% at the general level. Interpublic's created a minority incubator to nurture them through those first few payless, sleepless years in agency life. And others, like Arnold Worldwide multicultural programs director Tiffany Warren, are simply prostrating themselves in desperation: "I beg, I plead with [young minorities]: I tell them they'll make a real difference," she says.
Despite best intentions by agencies, however, nobody is out of the clear yet. A major critique of Ogilvy's percentage goals is that agencies can't gauge at the outset who or how many they'll hire, fire and promote in a given year. Additionally, the definition for "minority" is left up to the agencies themselves, meaning for the few who blanket "nonwhites" under the term, women remain an unprotected scarcity. You also get a symptomatic reverse-racism effect that can be awkward for the minority, agency and other employees involved: "You've got to have senior, visible minorities who can act as validation" that the industry has opportunities, says Ogilvy co-CEO Bill Gray.
Is there any way merit gets to play into this? Nobody wants to walk around knowing they get the Gucci suit because big O had a minority deficit.
C'est So Paris is a marketing effort aimed at making Parisian quirks more charming to the outside world, which Paris is notorious for shunning.
The site gets an A for effort but is occasionally a painful experience. Humour ads like this one feel a bit contrived. But there's a whole section on Parisian attitudes that we think is helpful if you happen to need lessons on how to pout, snarl at tourists and almost effortlessly tell someone to shut up in the most condescending way imaginable. Prizes can be won by users who send in their best imitation of a Parisian.
We're not sure why the long fog of Parisian obsolescence lifted but we suspect it might be because the country's air is a bit clearer now that the no-smoking ban has been passed. Though we suspect if the campaign does succeed Parisians still won't be good sports about the deluge of tourists monkeying their mannerisms and giving them infanticizing head-pats for that adorable self-entitled air.
Ad Freak contends France made serious media history yesterday when at the stroke of midnight they officially lifted a ban preventing gaudy supermarket ads from chafing the eyes of its chic denizens. The moment was consummated when, moments after the ball drop into '07, an ad for cheap Systeme U washing powder debuted on the TF1 and M6 channels.
Opinions range from optimism as France makes a friendly leap toward the 21st century, and outraged notions of culture bastardization and handicaps for small businesses.
Cheery allies for the lift include Serge Papin, chairman of Systeme U. "This is a great opportunity," he said. "We have everything to gain from it." Well, obviously.
The release of the ban comes shortly after publicized concerns over the rampant commercialization of the Champs-Elysees, a wonderstreet rapidly devolving into strip mall fare. Looks like the charmed sophisticate haven is losing ground to, dare we say it? McDonaldization? Or is that a battle that's already been lost? Sometimes we fall behind.
We dig this video released by FCCFU.com which, to the tune of "My Country 'Tis of Thee," slaps the FCC in the wrist for being such tight-asses about what's available on mainstream media.
It flirts with tastelessness but gets the point across in a way that made us grin and not roll our eyes. Good stuff. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
On Tuesday the European Court of Justice smashed Germany's attempt to challenge a law banning tobacco ads in the EU. Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou adds sting to the blow: "We now expect Germany to finalize the adoption in its national law as soon as possible, just as other member states have done."
This comes shortly after the decision to ban smoking in some public parts of Germany, following France and Spain.
Once among the most puff-puff friendly of continents, Europe's caught the anti-smoking bug. Someone noted "trying to walk down the street with a cigarette now lends an experience akin to racist reactions in the '50's."
A small salute to Matt at Caffeine Marketing for bringing the news to our attention. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
- Publicis Groupe wants to be advertising's God. Yes, it want full reign over the industry and is on it's way to accomplishing that goal by having acquisition discussions with Interpublic Group. George Parker thinks it's all a "giant fuck up."
_ Maine doesn't want to look at Santa's Butt while drinking beer. Yes, we know. It's strange.
- Here's a little holiday time-waster from Signature Marketing Solutions: Subservient Santa.