Monday, April 30, 2012

"Fashion Shack" local ad may be the sketchiest ever shared this insanely bad ad from 2010, featuring a really creepy voiceover, hypnotic music, and a group of young women who I fear may never have been heard from again.

The Fashion Shack is based in South Carolina (hence the "y'alls"). Y'ikes.

The Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door

PETA is finally getting around to addressing the most important issue yet in animal welfare: Who are the sexiest non-celebrity vegetarians willing to objectify themselves for the cause?

Will it be Stephanie of Roseville, CA, who (in addition to the fact that she is naked) would like you to know, "There is an unfiltered kindness and love in an animals eyes that you just can't find in a persons" (sic)?

Or Erika of Greenville, SC, who riddles us this: "If you love animals called pets, why do you eat animals called dinner?"

There are men in the running as well.

Zachary of Brooklyn, NY, who seems to have a hard time keeping his underpants up, says "No animals were harmed in the making of this body."

Malik of Pembroke Pines, FL, says "Animals have a place in my heart, not in my stomach".

You only have two weeks left to vote for the two winners, who will then be sent to Hawaii together to  prove how much sex vegetarians can have. (Presuming they're both straight. But I don't want to promote any stereotypes here...)

See all the contestants at the PETA site.

Interestingly, the women outnumber the men by more than 5:1.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Someone is actually trying to patent a bra purse

This Kickstarter project states:

"We have all fallen victim to the pocketless dresses and even the dress pants with fake pockets. However, Kyle and Mariah, two students at the University of Washington, decided to create a way to give women options, free their hands, and let them party without worrying about a purse getting stolen."

I kind of get it, as a secret stash for mad money. But how practical is this thing when the bouncer asks the woman for ID and she starts unbuttoning her shirt? (Although it would probably get her on the guest list along with a backstage pass.)

And how exactly is she supposed to answer each one of the 20 texts per hour that the average young woman receives*?

As of this posting, they have raised $3,235 of their $4,000 goal, with 19 days to go. So I guess this thing may make it to market. In which case, we may have to rebrand the "booty call" to an entirely different set of anatomy.

* I pulled this fake stat out of my ass

Tip via Buzzfeed

Lou Ferrigno's bizarre viral for Online Schools

This video will teach you two things:

1) WOW players like to date each other; and

2) Why Lou Ferrigno was always overdubbed.

(As a kid, I thought that was an accent. Turns out Lou is just very hard of hearing. And weird as hell.)


For those of you too young to remember (meaning almost the entire target market of this "PSA"), Lou played The Incredible Hulk in the eponymous '70s TV series. After that, he played a badly-dubbed Hercules in a number of Italian films.

In conclusion, I have no idea what this has to do with Online Schools. But I shared it, so there's that.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wendy's Canada "poutitions" parliament to recognize our national dish

Update: Wendy's e-mailed me with the following:
"Thank you for mentioning the Wendy’s Poutition in your latest blog post. We just wanted to clarify that we have yet to reach our goal of 100,000  signatures (we’re at 2,465 as of today)."
Which confused the hell out of me, because the "progress" graphic said they had reached their goal. (Turns out its the default screen you get if you try to look at the "poutition" without "liking" the page first.)

Anyway, if you want to pitch for poutine, you still have a chance...

That's right. The goopy, seems-like-a-great-idea-after-last-call, mix of fries gravy and curd cheese that Quebec gave Canadians everywhere: Poutine.

In a pretty clever Facebook promotion, Wendy's Canada is asking Canadians to "like" its page and sign the "poutition". If they get 100,000 clicktivists, they say they'll officially submit it to Parliament for consideration.

And they've apparently made it.

I assume the Opposition NDP will support the motion, seeing as they have so much support in poutine's homeland of Quebec. And the majority Conservatives, who were mostly shut out of seats in Quebec, and are still looking to make in-roads to the major Ontario urban centres where poutine is popular, will find this issue worth considering. (The third-party Liberals, in honour of long-serving Prime Minister Jean Poutine, will likely vote on party lines.)

The idea of making a classic Quebec comfort food Canada's "national" dish is likely to cause some controversy, however. First of all because it is already a "national" dish in the nation-within-a-nation that is Quebec. Second, many Westerners have yet to be converted to the ultimate junk food.

But I think it's a nice way to acknowledge that most great Canadian cultural icons come from Quebec: jazz legend Oscar Peterson, Oscar-winning Director Denys Arcand, Captain of the Goddamn Starship Enterprise William Shatner, Celine D-...  Did I mention the Captain of the Goddamn Starship Enterprise?

Even Wendy's has seen fit to make this an opportunity for the "Rest of Canada" to make Quebec feel more loved, even going so far as to parody the federalist slogan "My Canada Includes Quebec".

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vulva jewellery? So that happened. #FdAdFriday

The Onion's AV Club has this to say about Grimes' (Claire Boucher's) new line of rings cast in realistic vulva shapes:

"Boucher's latest side project is a new line of jewelry produced with sculptor Morgan Black, the first product of which are the below "pussy rings." They are rings that look like vulvas. You wear them to declare your feminism, or your post-feminism, or your belief that feminism is a weak, old-fashioned construct embraced by those who don't have the vulvas to wear them right out on their fingers, which is fun or something. Or whatever."


Kraft's "mixed race" snack ad is all kinds of wrong #FdAdFriday

I'll let Bradley Koch from Sociological Images take it from here:
"The problem with a marketing campaign like this is that it trivializes the experience of people with multiple racial/ethnic identities who are still often met with derision and confusion. The first ad above perpetuates the self-fulfilling prophecy about “confused” identities. As a child, I remember family members telling me that they didn’t have a problem with interracial couples but worried about how others might react to their children."
Yeah, what he said.

And Kraft just keeps going and going with the awkward and inappropriately racialized gags.


The only Chip Shop ad I like... #FdAdFriday totally ruined by bad punctuation.

The Chip Shop Awards allow British creatives to show off how "edgy" they could be if it weren't for pesky things like client approvals, focus groups and basic human decency.

Many of them pander to the lowest instincts of cynical ad guys, with a good dose of racism thrown in:

And some good old toilet humour:

See more ads at Copyranter's Buzzfeed post, or go straight to the source


Your Grandma won't rest until you get a job #FdAdFriday

Sissy Spacek has seen better days...

That's the joke in this bizarre ad by Draftfcb Argentina. AdFreak covered it this week, and it made some people really upset. (A commenter on their Facebook page wrote, "I hate this ad and I hope all the people who made it die violently.")

 I thought it was kind of funny.

1980s War on Drugs PSAs do not age well #FdAdFriday

He is pitying the living fuck out of that fool.

Especially when they feature Mr. T and New Edition. (Although I'm not sure Bobby Brown should be giving any lectures about drugs.)

Via Buzzfeed

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A really, really depressing bicycle safety campaign

The concept works, I think, in conveying the idea of "distance". But at first I wasn't sure who it was talking to, cyclists (keep your distance from cars) or car drivers (keep your distance from cyclists). I was also unsure whether the 1.5 m was supposed to give me a mental image of a car tailgating a bike, or vice versa, or whether it was how much clearance drivers need to give a bike while driving past one. But at least it got me thinking about the issue, I guess.

What the campaign succeeds at is conveying the emotions of sadness and regret. It is quite honestly the most depressing ad campaign I have seen in quite some time.

And that too can be a problem. Many ad consumers simply can't cope with negative emotions. They protect themselves and their consciences by mentally separating themselves from the ad. ("That's not me!") This is called defensive processing, and it is the sworn enemy of hard-hitting social marketing.

That said, I was still moved by this campaign. When I am behind the wheel, I try to be as respectful and cautious as possible of both cyclists and pedestrians. 

And as a cyclist? Let's just say that this campaign just confirms my fears about riding a bike in traffic.

Campaign by Y&R South Africa
Spotted on Ads of The World

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I miss the good old days of ugly Lego

This Lego ad, from about 1981, is immensely popular on the internet circa 2012. It, and two others of the same vintage, were recently featured on the academic blog Sociological Images as examples of gender-neutral marketing of children's toys.

SI's Lisa Wade contrasts the Lego of her childhood with today's more gendered Lego sets for girls that put women back in the kitchen:

Or the beauty shop:

Granted, there are lots of different Legos for kids, but this is the one Mastermind Toys lists as "a brand new LEGO world for girls!"

I get it. I only have a son myself, but all of his little girl friends have totally bought into this whole "princess" thing — even though their parents are socially progressive yuppies like me. Kids should be able to (safely and responsibly) play however they want with whatever they have (my son has started making "spy weapons" out of cardboard tubes) so is there really a problem here?

Lisa writes, "In the circles I run in, it’s being roundly criticized for reproducing stereotypes of girls and women: domesticity, vanity, materialism, and an obsession with everything being pastel."

By the way, this controversy is a few months old already. What inspired me to weigh in was an even older Lego image, from a 1973 catalogue, that was featured on Retronaut:

This was around the time when I started playing with the iconic blocks, almost 40 years ago. Note that the craptacular ambulance built by 5-year-old "Maria" could have just as easily been built by "Mario".

And then it hit me what the real problem is.

Lego stopped being a "blank slate" imagination toy sometime in the '80s. While you can still buy plain blocks if you look hard enough, Lego is now much more about getting kids to act out branded and scripted narratives than asking them to start from scratch.

Here's an example. It's the bio of "Emma", one of the Lego Friends:

Favorite animal: Horse, Robin
Hair color: Black
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite food: Fruits and veggies. And chocolate. And cupcakes. And pizza…
I love: Designing clothes and jewelry, crafts, interior decorating, remodeling and horseback jumping.
I’m also good at: Yoga, giving makeovers, martial arts, making origami animals.
My friends think I’m sometimes: Forgetful, but I never forget to accessorize.
I want to be: A designer
Motto: “That’s SO you!”
I would never: Leave home in clothes and accessories that don’t match!
I like to hang out: At the beauty salon and my design studio.

There is literally nothing left to the imagination here.

Toys representing fictional characters with complex backstories existed when I was a kid, too, but not in Lego form. Instead they were "dolls" and "action figures".

I still have mine.

So my question is, should Lego be held to account for defining and gendering the play narrative for its dolls and action figures more than any other toy company?

To be fair, no. Parents do not have to buy these sets for their daughters, and they could well buy kitchen sets for their sons. It's just another company in the business of making money by giving kids (and parents) what they say they want.

I think the real shame here is that a classic toy that engaged children in unique imagination exercises 30 or 40 years ago has become just another product tie-in to increasingly monotonous children's entertainment. And part of this monotony is the cute girlie-girl thing.

I just miss my ugly, impractical Lego machines and houses. And I miss ads that sell nothing more than imagination. But then again, I miss being able to lose myself in a bucket of plastic bricks for an entire afternoon.

There is hope, though. In some places, Lego and its advertising still rock.

Check out this German campaign that shows retro lego geniuses. And this amazing Russian campaign that turns Lego kits into something else. And this fantastically minimalist American one from 2006.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

McDonald's wants to occupy your gut

This "lunch manifesto," in the style of social message videos like The Girl Effect, frames having lunch at the corporate behemoth as an act of rebellion against The Man.

Animal NY points out that, ironically, "in the early days of Occupy Wall Street, the McDonald’s located several blocks from Liberty Plaza served as a sort of unofficial comfort station for protesters". But now the OWS message has been "trivialized" to sell burgers.

The upside is that, unlike OWS, McDonald's food can't really "occupy" anyone for long...

More weird skin whitening ads from Asia

While the Western world tries desperately to convince its pale citizens to keep out of the sun and tanning booths, the East continues to baffle us with its obsession with skin whitening products.

In this case, a hand cream promises to make your skin so blindingly pallid, it will cast a white shadow. (Hmmm... that reminds me of a TV show I used to watch.)

The exaggeration is too obvious to accuse TBWA Hong Kong of false advertising in the concept itself, but these products can run the gamut from useless to downright dangerous. It's a shame people can't learn to love diverse beauty ideas, rather than being preyed on by snake oil ads.

Not the typical gruesome distracted driving ad

If you're freaked out by going to the dentist, don't watch. This very strange ad about distracted driving by the US Department of Transportation may be a little too extreme in its goofiness and gore to actually get its point across:

My other question: Is this campaign real? Or is it another spec nightmare?

Via Illegal Advertising

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dove gives "feel-bad" Facebook ads a makeover

Dove has introduced a new Facebook app (created by Ogilvy Australia) that lets you replace "feel bad" weight loss, cosmetic and body enhancement ads with positive messages about body acceptance, and then share them with other women:

I'm not quite sure how it works, but I would guess that it has permission to game the Facebook social ad system to re-target women who would otherwise be served up the "negative" ad with Dove messages.

But if that's the case, how does it affect Facebook's contract with its other advertisers? Ethics aside, if you had paid media money to have your nasty old muffin top ads served to a certain profile of woman, wouldn't you be pissed if they were subverted by Dove?

Or maybe, just maybe, the "bad" ads are actually decoys placed by Dove to provoke interaction with the brand? Hmmm...

I have no way to test this theory, however, as it is only available in Australia.

What do you think of this campaign? Is it real? Or is it a trick?

Creepy 1959 voyeur mag encourages stalking, collecting "pretty girls"

How sleazy could this 1959 ladmag really be? That was a time of wholesomeness and chaste respect for womanhood, right?

In this scanned full issue at Retronaut, you can learn the basics of treating women like trashy conquests, such as:


But don't worry, guys. It's all a big game to those girls. They want it.

See the full issue for a tour-de-force of mid-century repressed male fetishes, including easy foreign gals, farmers' daughters, "the kitten type", big bottoms and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

PETA sexploitation ads: Coming on a fire truck near you?

Add caption

Only if you live in Baltimore.

According to AdFreak, a Baltimore city councillor has proposed selling ad space on city vehicles to add an new revenue stream. PETA has already mocked up their own custom ad for the occasion, claiming that seeing a half-naked woman and a bad pun "will drive Baltimore residents to PETA's heart-healthy vegan recipes that will keep them firing on all cylinders."

Yeah, whatever.

This is how they sell video games in Japan now


I don't think you need to speak Japanese to get the overal message of this Sega promotional video, starring bikini model Yukie Kawamura. She plays the popular video game Super Monkey Ball on the new PS Vita platform. (Apparently this is a big deal.) During the play, she balances a bubble in her cleavage, is visited by a giant monkey mascot, and does contortions for the amusement of the all-male crew.

There is also a shorter vid, which shows new "adult" features of the game.

Gamma Squad's Nathan Birch describes it thusly:

"Sega’s Super Monkey Ball series is about cute cartoon moneys rolling around in hamster balls collecting bananas. It’s about as kid-friendly as a series can get, so of course Sega, master of understanding what makes its own franchises work, has added “adult” levels to the upcoming PS Vita version of Monkey Ball. 
Yup, in these levels the normal floor textures have been replaced by pictures of Japanese bikini model Yukie Kawamura, whose protruding breasts act as obstacles for your adorable hamster ball monkeys. So yeah, basically some burnt out developer at Sega, depressed at being forced to work on yet another Monkey Ball game, just decided to dump the contents of his softcore porn file into the game instead of designing textures."

"Adult"? ...right. It's all about attracting more adolescent boys and turning them into men who fantasize about weird shit like this:

Wait... what?

Coincidentally, "sega" is Italian slang for male masturbation (from the verb "segare", "to saw")...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Every day must be 4/20 at JWT Delhi #FdAdFriday

We were looking at these in a creative meeting today, and a designer colleague said "they look like Dali". I thought she said "they look like Delhi" and I was impressed that she was so well-versed in some of the odder movements in international ad markets.

These are supposedly anti-drinking-and-driving ads. To me, they look more like anti-doing-two-bags-of-grass-seventy-five-pellets-of-mescaline-five-sheets-of-high-powered-blotter-acid-a salt-shaker-half-full-of-cocaine-and-a-whole-galaxy-of-multi-coloured-uppers-downers-screamers-laughers-and-also-a-quart-of-tequila-a-quart-of-rum-a-case-of-Ballantine-ale-a-pint-of-raw-ether-and-two-dozen-amyls-and-driving ads.

Via Ads of the World

Crabs used to sell tampons #FdAdFriday

As Copyranter pointed out, "I'm pretty sure crabs and tampons shouldn't be in the same ad".

I guess it's pretty clever, if gross, to have the crab build beachfront crab condos out of plastic trash that has been there and done that. It's not as if sea creatures would complain about the...

...never mind.