Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Postmodern beer advertising from Molson?

This is kind of hard to believe, but also quite remarkable.

After years of serving up ads that insinuiate that drinking their brand of beer will make you attractive to the opposite sex, Molson has decided to go meta.

The above ad, according to Sociological Images, appeared in Cosmopolitan. Just look at that sensitive, but ruggedly manly, dude with the adorable puppies and matching sweater and cap. A fine catch for any heterosexual woman! And look here! He's drinking a Molson!

While not very credible in its forced cuddliness, this ad probably went unnoticed between all the photoshopped boobs and bums that make up most of the ads in a women's mag.

But then someone caught wind of the other side of the campaign, that ran in FHM and Playboy:


As you read this, women across America are reading something very different: an advertisement (fig. 1) scientifically formulated to enhance their perception of men who drink Molson. The ad shown below, currently running in Cosmopolitan magazine, is a perfectly tuned combination of words and images designed by trained professionals.  Women who are exposed to it experience a very positive feeling.  A feeling which they will later project directly onto you. Triggering the process is as simple as ordering a Molson Canadian (fig. 2).

Extravagent dinners.  Subtitled movies. Floral arrangements tied together with little pieces of hay. It gets old.  And it gets expensive, depleting funds that could go to a new set of of 20-inch rims. But thanks to the miracle of Twin Advertising Technology, you can achieve success without putting in any time or effort. So drop the bouquet and pick up a Molson Canadian…

Sociological Images editor Lisa Wade (a respected blogging ally, I should disclose) was offended by the ruse, writing "The second ad, then, portrays men as lazy, shallow jerks who are just trying to get laid (not soft and sensitive at all). And it portrays women as stupid and manipulable."

But I think Molson was on to something here. And it has to do with the nature of the trick.

There is no way any male reader of those magazines would take the "Male" ad seriously. It is a parody of the many "how to pick up girls" ads that have been gracing those kinds of publications since the '60s.

It also needs to be seen in context of the culture of pranking Millennials have grown up with. While some women might be offended by the goofy trick, others may get as much of a laugh out of it as the men.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Åsk, from Adland, tells me this campaign is old. Like, real old. (It's always good to know the internet's longest-running ad blogger!)

More hysterical censorship from the UK

This transit ad, from the UK's Marks & Spencer chain, has been banned by the kingdom's ad regulator for being too sexy.

From their ruling:

"We noted the complainants’ concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that most children viewing the ad would understand that the poster was advertising lingerie and, as such, the models would not be fully clothed. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was only mildly sexual in nature, and as a result was unlikely to be seen as unsuitable to be seen by children. However, we considered that the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh. We also noted that the woman in this image wore stockings. We considered that the image was of an overtly sexual nature and was therefore unsuitable for untargeted outdoor display, as it was likely to be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible."
If you read this blog, you know my stand on this. Using sex to sell everything is just lazy. Objectifying women in ads is insulting. But those are my opinions, not things I want regulated.

I honestly believe that we, as consumers, need to decide for ourselves what we are willing to tolerate from advertisers. Sexual exploitation of women in ads is so commonplace, in ads aimed at both men and women, that I'm surprised it has any breakthrough potential at all anymore. My 7-year-old son, just last weekend, was stopped in his tracks by a larger-than-life POP poster at Sears showing a woman in see through underwear. But that stopping power wears off. (In his case, he just blurted out "booby covers!" and laughed.)

You can choose to complain to a business about their ads. Or you can choose to not do business with them. You can choose to complain to the owner of the media. But this knee-jerk banning that's happening with the ASA in the UK really seems over the top to me. Plus, it only works into the offending advertisers hands by giving people a reason to take notice of their ads.

Generally, in social marketing, we feel that it's more effective to recognize and reinforce good behaviour than punish and shame bad. Imagine if organizations like the ASA put more of their efforts into celebrating the advertisers who are "socially responsible",  giving them the free PR while the naughty ones languished in the oversaturated sexy soup of the ad landscape. Wouldn't that be nice?

Via The Drum and The Telegraph

Sometimes a cigar just... isn't a cigar at all

BoingBoing posted this hilariously unironic ad from WWII-era America.

Indeed, who is that man with the impressively large cigar? My guess is war profiteer. Although putting "Dramatist" among the high-status professions is curious.

Even curiouser is this funny little visual, which should be co-opted by the anti-circumcision lobby.

...or not O_O

Ah, the good old days...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1 in 5 teenagers will experiment with art

An illustrator friend, Marc A., shared this on Facebook:

Hosted by the Philbrook Museum of Art

Considering how much dope gets smoked in art schools, though, the comparison may be a little too close for comfort.

Luck is an attitude... a very Italian attitude

It's a cute ad, part of the new "Luck is an Attitude" campaign to push Martini on a younger generation. The aggressively flirtatious nature of Italian culture may rub some the wrong way, but it's actually pretty common there. I like the way Gianni keeps re-syching with his more passive self so that the day never really diverges except in sexiness and fun. And the vintage Italian film style and music certainly fit the brand.

What do you think?

Via Buzzfeed

"Boyfriend wanted" Facebook ad seems totally legit

It's for a speed dating site. I'm just always saddened that these ads target self-proclaimed married men.

(Then, of course, there's the copywriting...)

Sesame Street's catchiest tune was stolen from Italian porn

"Vorrei manamanarti!"

The most infectious tune ever written was apparently revisited in the new Muppet Movie (which I have yet to see) but I recall it best from the golden age of Sesame Street:

Slate tracked down the original song to, of all places,  a 1968 Italian soft-core movie called Sweden: Heaven and Hell by Luigi Scattini.

From Amazon: "Edmund Purdom narrates a pseudo-documentary about sexuality in Sweden. It shows contraceptives for teen girls, lesbian nightclubs, wife swapping, porno movies, biker gangs, and Walpurgis Night celebrations. It also examines Sweden's purported drug, drinking and suicide problems. It features the original appearance of the Piero Umiliani's nonsense song 'Mah Nà Mah Nà' which was later popularized by 'Sesame Street' and 'The Muppet Show'"

Piero Umiliani, according to Wikipedia, "composed the scores for many exploitation films in the 1960s and 1970s, covering genres such as spaghetti western, Eurospy, Giallo, and soft sex films. Although not as widely regarded as, for example, Ennio Morricone or Riz Ortolani, he helped form the style of the typical European 1960s and 1970s jazz influenced film soundtrack, that later experienced a revival in films such as Kill Bill, and "Crepuscolo Sul Mare" in Ocean's Twelve."

In other words, he may be the most awesome composer you've never heard of. But Henson heard it when it briefly charted on US radio, and gave it eternal life.

Here's the original clip. It is pretty uncontroversial.

Scientists develop tool to measure Photoshop Disasters

Via Wired
Scientists in the United States have developed tools to quantify the amount that an image has been digitally manipulated — but only of they have access to the original image.

While Wired talks about the breakthrough as a way to regulate image manipulation in advertising, at a time when some jurisdictions are cracking down on altered images, Nature says the system was developed as a way of combatting image fraud in scientific journals.

Nature also quotes developer Hany Farid, a computer scientist who studies digital forensics, wo points out that this system is no magic bullet:

"The requirement for both original and retouched images is an obvious flaw in his system, admits Farid, as researchers can’t always find their originals. But, in his opinion, it is impossible to get an accurate score for the extent of manipulation without the original image. Moreover, for both scientific journals and popular magazines, the very act of requiring original images to be provided could act as a deterrent against manipulation, he says."
In advertising and the fashion industry, therefore, the system will only work if media or regulators institute a scale of manipulation and insist on access to unaltered images. Which won't do much to deter dishonest marketers, who are not bound by the same honour and reputation system as scientists.

So, while this is pretty cool, we'll probably have to keep discovering image fraud the old fashioned way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chick-Fil-A by no means wants you to eat more kale

That's Vermont artist Bo Muller-Moore, who sells his curious "Eat More Kale" shirts at There, he says "I'm also about eating locally, supporting local farmers, bakers, famers markets, farm stands, CSA's, community gardens and restaurants, sustainable lifestyles, social commentary and community. Most importantly, I'm about printin' Vermont's one-at-a-time orginial design t-shirts. Have fun and remember: eat more kale!!!"

The man loves kale.

But Chick-Fil-A think it's a ripoff of their ads:

They have sent him a cease and desist letter, and are apparently prepared to sue. They even want him to hand over his internet domain. But Muller-Moore has lawyered up and declares, "Our plan is to not back down. This feels like David versus Goliath. I know what it's like to protect what's yours in business."

As does the big chicken chain, which will probably not give up either unless it starts to hurt their PR. Let's hope it does.

Via The Consumerist and Yahoo! Finance

Testicular Breakdancing

Marc shared this funny little dance number he saw on Adverbox.

It's an independent effort from writer/director Mark Pallis. The dancers are Dan Burns and Shay Lee.

There's only one problem, and that's the "Mo" theme. Movember has a focus on prostate cancer, while the dancers are demonstrating self-screening for testicular cancer. (Although the UK group includes other male-specific cancers.)

Oh well, I guess we should be happy that the breakdancers aren't checking their prostates. That would be much more awkward.

In Lorem Ipsum Veritas

This French wine has been Greeked... in Latin.

Vince shared this hilarious labelling gaffe. (via)

It's about as meaningful as any of the puffery they put on those things — "Hints of chocolate, ripe plums, tobacco and barnyard..."

Marketing Big Meat

Mother Jones recently ran an interesting exclusive: branding and packaging pages from a draft marketing plan fror Sara Lee about how they could reposition Hillshire Farm deli meats as a more sustainable and healthy option.

The scanned document looks like it was nicked from a recycling bin, but it's worth reading just for gems like this:

Give it up for pepper!

And this:

Good job, bees!
This off-the-cuff, conversational style is supposed to represent a new era of transparency and sustainability  in megameat.

Well, aspiring to transparency and sustainability anyway. And buying up small farms so that their newly-pluralized brand name actually means something.

It's good, though, that consumer pressure is forcing big processors into at least wanting to be seen as wholesome and small.

They also want to break into the food snob market by developing two new premium brands, "Smith & Smith" and "Flat Iron Ranch".

"Size of the prize"? I'm amazed that agency people can present that to a client with a straight face. But they also committed the following atrocities:

I am so ashamed of my industry right now.
Does this look into the marketing minds behind Big Meat surprise you? Disappoint you? Or just confirm what you already suspected.

This kind of rebranding, dressing factory-processed meat in a neighbourhood butcher's apron, is happening throughout the packaged meat sector.

But the big question is, how much marketing spin are you prepared to swallow?

And note to self: shred all draft marketing plans.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mick Jagger's first gig

At 15, he was the shoe boy in this 1959 episode of the kids' show "Seeing Sport".

He sure does have the rock 'n' roll attitude about it, though.

Via Dangerous Minds

In case you ever wondered what species went into Filet-O-Fish

This really unfortunate ad from Leo Burnett, Saudi Arabia, has the answer.

(According to Wikipedia, it's actually Pollock or Hoki.)

But I'll never be able to look at one of those things the same way again.

Via Ads of The World

The Star Wars Trilogy as a burlesque routine

Star Wars Burlesque from Tenderloins on Vimeo.

Creative Director Russall Beattie told that his show combines "the greatest thing of being a kid with the greatest thing of being an adult".

"Slave Leia" burlesque wasn't a big stretch.

"Cameltoe Boba Fett." however...

Tip via Buzzfeed

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Japanese Triple Whopper ad is weird

Creative sessions in Japanese ad agencies must be truly surreal experiences.

"That burger is ridiculously huge. How the hell are you supposed to get it in your mouth."

"If only you could expand your jaw, like a snake."

"Brilliant! Get the storyboard artist in here!"

Tip via Buzzfeed

Antiperspirant strong enough for a man who cheats on his wife

Also, apparently, strong enough for a man who hates his mother-in-law.

Apparently it is still the 1950s at Lowe, Turkey.

Via IBiA

Friday, November 25, 2011

F'd Ad Fridays: Culo, the big book of bums

Here's the 'about':

Well-versed in bringing women of extraordinary beauty to the forefront of mainstream popular culture, Mazzucco searched the globe for the world's most stunning women to appear in the book. The result is a 248 page collection of color photographs and art pieces showcasing a diverse group of women—some already legendary, some about to become so—who embody the spirit of culo and the start of a new era of beauty. 
American Photo hailed Raphael Mazzucco as "one of the top 50 photographers in the world to watch." Renowned for his images of some of the most exceptional women in the world, his work graces billboards and magazine covers and fills coffee table books for clients as diverse as Ralph Lauren, Bergdorf Goodman, Victoria's Secret, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Guess and L'Oreal. Raphael continues to define the look of popular culture and create iconic pop culture imagery, shooting portraiture for notable actors such as Adrien Brody, Benicio Del Toro, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon, and Rachel Weisz, as well as Marisa Miller's 2007 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photo sensation, in which she was 'wearing' only an iPod.
Raphael's arrival onto the art scene was met with critical acclaim during a two-year international tour of exhibitions in which his work was shown in Milan, Florence, Melbourne, Los Angeles and New York. 
Jimmy Iovine, acclaimed music executive and record producer, is Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, a unit of Universal Music Group, the global music leader. Interscope, the label Iovine co-founded, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with continued commitment to its diverse and gifted artists including Eminem, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, U2, The Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige and No Doubt- to name just a few. Iovine also heads up Beats by Dr. Dre, the enormously successful high-performance headphone and sound transmission company he co-founded with legendary artist and fellow producer, Dr. Dre, in January of 2008. In conjunction with Interscope's deal with American Idol, Iovine joined the show as mentor to the contestants in the 2011 season. Iovine began his career in the mid-70s as first a recording engineer (John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen) and then a producer (U2, Dire Straits, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Patti Smith) before starting Interscope Records in 1990. He co-produced the hit Eminem movie "8 Mile" as well as "Get Rich or Die Tryin;" starring 50 Cent and directed by Jim Sheridan and he executive produced the critically acclaimed LeBron James documentary "More Than A Game."
That sure is a lot of explanation for a book about asses.

Happy weekend, everyone.

F'd Ad Fridays: And now, 10 hours of Hypnotoad


F'd Ad Fridays: Cooking so good, you'll think you're being haunted by your dead grandmother

Well, that's... adorable? At least, until she sucks that little girl into the television.

By Y&R Brazil

F'd Ad Fridays: The battery ad that will haunt your nightmares

Click to enlarge. You'll shit bricks.

Part toy, part sex doll, all creepy.

By TBWA, Chile

Via IBiA

F'd Ad Fridays: Just walk away from this one

Seriously. Just do it.

Thanks to Scott for the link.

F'd Ad Fridays: "I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got"

"Edwina's insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase."
What a hilarious find by Buzzfeed's Dave Stopera — a Serbian Biology lesson book that stole its "happy family" on the cover from the Cohen Brother's awesome 1987 comedy, Raising Arizona.

If you haven't seen the film (shame on you) it's about a career criminal (Nicolas Cage) and his ex-cop wife (Holly Hunter) who turn to kidnapping when they cannot naturally conceive a child.

Not exactly textbook...

F'd Ad Fridays: The Pope shills for cocaine wine

Via Cracked

19th century Pope Leo XIII was such a big fan of Mariani wine (a patent medicine made of Bordeaux and coca leaves) that he awarded a Vatican gold medal to the wine, and also appeared on a poster endorsing it.

Talk about high holiness...

F'd Ad Fridays: Blood in the water

There aren't many Friday ads that I can share with my 7-year-old son, but this one he will love. "The real blood bleeding minnow". Awesome.

Via BoingBoing

F'd Ad Fridays: Gaga sings "Happy Birthday" into a hoo-ha

This kind of thing is what the internet was invented for.

According to YouTube user "imyourhooker":
"Novemember 22, 2011 at the TERRYXGAGA book signing, I stuck my phone in my pants, while it was recording, told her what I did, and asked her if she could whisper happy birthday to my crotch.  
I should hope so! It would feel weird to have someone you didn't love serenade your genitals.

 Via Buzzfeed

F'd Ad Fridays: When in Romania...

Earlier this week, Marc posted an article on Osocio about a Romanian candy company's campaign to rid Google's search engine of prejudicial stereotypes about their country and their people.

In response to suggested searches like this, which result from disparaging Googles done mostly by other Europeans, the advertiser asked people to do positive searches instead.

Nice, eh? I thought so, anyway.

And then, also this week, I catch this Romanian tourism campaign by Lowe&Partners online:

"Visit Romania, get drunk, get laid and meet Dracula". Not really helpful, is it?

F'd Ad Fridays: Vintage PSA from the Dead Kennedys

Via Buzzfeed
If you're old enough to have owned cassettes, you may be old enough to remember the "Home Taping is Killing Music" campaign the record labels used to guilt people out of illegally sharing their music. (We had to do it in analog back then.)

You may even be old enough to have owned a copy of this gem of early-80s California punk:

F'd Ad Fridays: It'll vacuum your WHAT?!?

Via Healthy Ads

Just what the hell is this laxative ad from DDB Health & Lifestyle Mumbai trying to say? It will vacuum out your colon? That must be some nasty poop pill.

F'd Ad Fridays: Underwear models show off their intellect

This video Christmas card from Victoria's Secret isn't doing any favours for the dignity of the modelling trade.

What a bunch of boobs.

Via Illegal Advertising

F'd Ad Fridays: Beer versus Wife

As awful as the message of these Australian ads is, the execution is quite hilarious:

By BBDO. Via Ads of The World

F'd Ad Fridays: It's never too early to teach your daughter to whore

Jezebel reports that these thong underpants were part of the Kmart Girl Xpress line of clothing that markets itself to tweens in Australia:

They have since been taken of the shelves.