Tag Archives: Badvertising

Occupy Madison Avenue

Hey America, did you know there’s a culture war going on? Not the religious vs secular one we’ve always had, but a fun new one, the rich vs poor one? The takers vs makers one? The Occupy Wall Street vs Americans For Prosperity one? The “Me Generation” vs “Us Generation” one?

As an observer of the culture I find this new one far more interesting, relevant and, quite frankly, a far bigger deal than that other one. I know it’s a lot more fun for your Gannett fishwrap to write about Koran-burning pastors and fights over Muslim cemeteries in Rutherford County, and indeed these are important issues, I don’t mean to downplay them. But in terms of having a broad, lasting impact on American society, I think these religious wars over birth control and whether we are a Christian nation are really just sidebars.

This other culture war is the one which really defines us. It’s a battle of two beloved archetypes, pitting the “rugged individualist” against the “community organizer.” It’s a battle for the soul of America and American values. Do we value stuff? Or do we value each other? Are we all on our own? Or are we all in this together?

We’re not really having that national conversation right now, but it doesn’t mean the battle isn’t raging. Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment and Elizabeth Warren’s “you didn’t build that” speech brought it to the forefront, but post-election we’re just sort of dancing around the topic instead of having a direct debate.

And I have to say, if you want to know what’s happening in a culture, look at its advertising. Have you noticed that all of a sudden we’re seeing mixed-race and same-sex families in TV ads now? I think this is great. When Madison Avenue recognizes that the “average American family” is now multi-racial and multi-oriented, it tells me the bigots have lost and the all-inclusives have won (I know that’s not a word, I just made it up, but I like it).

So now we have a new culture war raging, and I find it absolutely fascinating to see it played out in … wait for it … car commercials.

If you watched the winter Olympic games, you repeatedly saw Cadillac’s ad featuring Mr. 1%er, a self-satisfied douchebag bragging on American exceptionalism and showing off all his cool stuff. This truly useless idiot seems to think we’re going to go back to the moon despite the fact that we keep cutting NASA’s budget so we can afford tax cuts for wealthy assholes like him. What a buffoon. I suppose he’s Cadillac’s target market. If you missed it, here it is:

This ad irritated a lot of us liberals, and no doubt it was designed to do just that. And now Ford has answered that ad with its own, featuring an actual community do-gooder named Pasho Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt, which takes food waste and turns it into compost for urban gardens.

You can see Ford’s “parody” ad here:

I just find this so fascinating. I suppose someone else will come out with an ad telling us to ride bicycles or use public transit. Wait for it, in 5… 4… 3….

Something big is happening in American culture right now. I wonder, maybe we need to be a little more intentional about the conversation? Instead of letting advertising agencies have the conversation for us? Just a thought.

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Filed under advertising, culture wars, pop culture

Super Bowl Derp Alert

[UPDATE]:

Atlanta anchorwoman Brenda Wood sets the haters straight:

Awesome.

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Tea Partiers are in an uproar over Coca Cola’s multicultural ad which features people singing “America The Bautiful” in different languages. You can watch the ad here:

Now there’s a #BoycotCoke hashtag. It takes some special kind of stupid to want to boycott Coca Cola for their ad celebrating American diversity. There are a lot of reasons to boycott Coke — here’s one, your health is another — but an ad featuring kids singing doesn’t exactly top my list.

P.S. Among the many ironies here is the fact that RWNJs got so upset about America The Beautiful being sung in foreign languages that they completely ignored the same-sex couple at 0:43. Bwaaaha.

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Filed under advertising, pop culture

Today’s Anti-Abortion WTF Moment

I ask you, who does this?

original

Unbelievable. I don’t think there’s enough irony in the world for this marketing ploy to make sense. Either this dry cleaners’ is cluelessly unaware of the historic, documented impact of anti-abortion laws, or else they are aware of it and are just being cruel. According to the story, Cincinnati’s Springdale Dry Cleaners has been getting negative publicity (and losing customers) over this since 2010. So I’ll take cruel.

Assholes.

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Filed under abortion, women's rights

Weird Advertising Ploy Du Jour

You know how I always say voting for people who hate government is akin to shopping at a vegan butcher shop? Well, one would think that might be the idea behind this London butcher’s shop, where faux human “meat” kinda makes me not want to eat any kind of meat, not for a good, long while.

In honor of Meatless Monday, I give you Wesker and Son, located in London’s Smithfield Market. Click on the link for some really, um, interesting photos. And I’ll post this one picture, just ’cause I’m mean:

Giving New Meaning To The Term “Sausage”

So, what gives? Is this butcher shop courtesy of PETA? Sadly, no:

Annnnnnnd there are the penises. If you’re currently howling “whyyyyyyyyyy?” the answer is “because the Resident Evil 6 video game.” This shop is basically a fucked-up marketing gimmick. Which hardly seems like a sufficient reason.

Oh. A video game. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

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Filed under advertising, food

Spampaign

[UPDATE]:

I just got a fundraising letter in the snail-mail. Can you believe it? They must be throwing everything out there.

Well, almost everything. The letter included a return envelope, but they were too cheap to spring for the stamp. LOL.

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I just got called by a Republican telefundraising service. They said they were with America’s Next Generation; when I asked who that was, the lady hesitated and then said, “A SuperPac.” I asked where they got their money from and she said, “Republican donors like yourself.”

LOL. I’ve never donated to a Republican group in my life. I’ve never voted Republican in my life, either. How they got my name and number I have no clue, but this happens every now and then — last election I got called by a little old lady who said she was calling from the College Republicans. I mean, you could just tell she was 90 gazillion years old. I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I’m on some list, probably related to church stuff I’ve done. Some mailing list got merged with another mailing list which got merged with another list and then before you know it you’re getting direct mail pieces from Gary Bauer and campaign calls from Republican SuperPacs.

They wanted me to listen to their new ad, which was basically cherry-picked Obama quotes preceded by a scary-voiced announcer dude saying, “Obama said this but here he is in his own voice saying this!” They focused on Obamacare (“he said the individual mandate is not a tax but the Supreme Court said it is!”), the debt (“he said Bush’s debt was unpatriotic but his is worse!”) and Obama’s re-election (“he said he should be a one term president if he didn’t get the job done! Well?! WELL?!“). Then, oddly, I got returned to a real person who wanted to know what else I wanted to hear in future ads. I told them I didn’t want to hear any of this crap and why the hell were they calling registered Democrats and Obama volunteers? They had no clue.

Of course not.

According to OpenSecrets, this anti-Obama SuperPac has spent a big chunk of its money on a company called InfoCision Management Corporation, the nation’s second-largest telemarketing company. Apparently asking you to tell them what other issues you want raised in future ads is the latest in call center campaigning! It personalizes the call! Makes it seem less scripted! Creates a connection between the organization and the individual! Increases the fulfillment rate exponentially! Strategery! Technology!

I dunno, but it seems to me that might work better on something like raising money for the symphony or art league, less well on trying to uproot a president. It also might help if they didn’t call registered Democrats when raising money for Republicans — you know, a little more “info” with your “cision”? But what do I know.

I thought this was funny: Via the Sunlight Foundation, here’s the office of America’s Next Generation:

Funny You Don’t Look Like A SuperPac

Anyway, I’m starting to think that campaigns are running out of ideas. They’ve got all this money thanks to the Supreme Court and no clue what to do with it. They’ve reduced themselves to spam marketers, bombarding everyone with this stuff and hoping something, somewhere sticks. Spamming only works because it costs next to nothing to send 100,000 Viagra and porn e-mails. I’m not sure that works with telefundraising and TV ads though.

Furthermore, we’re starting to read about how people might be tuning out TV campaign ads. No! Say it ain’t so! This is really bad news for the media, since campaign ads are their bread and butter these days. Hell, the news media started gearing up for the 2012 election the day after Obama was elected. It just never stops with them.

It’s almost kind of funny, except it’s not.

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Filed under advertising, Housekeeping

McDonald’s Fails At Twitter

Corporate America hasn’t yet learned there’s an evil dark side to social media. You know, it was just a couple months ago that ConAgra got on the wrong side of some New York food bloggers, after trying to dupe them into hawking their crappy frozen food.

And now McDonald’s has learned the downside of Twitter, launching a failed hashtag that was supposed to be a place for people to share their fond memories of eating at McDonald’s. Hah. Three guesses what happened.

Dear marketers: do not try to control social media. You will fail. And when you fail, you will look like idiots to the very people you’re trying to suck up to.

You can read some of the most hilarious entries at the link.

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Filed under corporations, twitter

Free Speech Or Free Hand?

I don’t know why conservatives are always confusing the two. Yet they do. Here’s Ben Stein, suing Kyocera for not signing him as a pitchman because they didn’t want to be represented by an idiot:

According to the complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Kyocera approached Stein in December 2010 to inquire as to his availability to appear in TV advertisements for Kyocera printers. Stein agreed and they began negotiating a contract. Three months later, before the contract was executed, Kyocera learned that Ben Stein is an idiot who denies the reality of global climate change. So they changed their mind and withdrew the offer, because they didn’t want to be represented by an idiot. That’s how capitalism works, right? Companies make decisions based on their interests, and contracts are the law of the land.

No! Capitalism works by suing people when you don’t get your way. To hear Stein tell it, even though they didn’t sign a contract, they still had a contract since Stein really, really, wanted the $300,000 Kyocera had offered contingent on signing the contract, which never happened.

Also, according to Stein, he has a right to the $300,000 under the Constitution, which guarantees him freedom of religion. See, Stein believes that global warming isn’t real because “God, and not man, control[s] the weather.” When Kyocera declined to pay Stein $300,000 to represent the corporation in part because it doesn’t want to be associated with that belief, it violated Stein’s constitutional right to $300,000. He also accuses Kyocera of violating his “freedom of speech” and “political freedom.” Stein has no political freedom, because Kyocera robbed him of the freedom when it refused to pay him $300,000.

No, you do not have a constitutional right to be a Kyocera pitchman.

News flash: Kyocera Corp. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels and other PV systems. While Stein would not have been hawking its solar products, I can see how having a vocal climate change denier pitching any of the company’s product lines would be a little awkward, to put it mildly. So a big boo to whatever genius suggested Ben Stein for this gig in the first place: advertising agency Seiter & Miller, I’m going to assume. That was just a dumbass move all around.

And I’m sorry, but Ben Stein? Hello? Try reading your own damn columns and books about the free hand of the market. Also, I haven’t had a chance to dig into the memory hole, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t find something in there from him decrying the burden of frivolous lawsuits and advocating tort reform and all that.

Pfft.

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Filed under advertising, Ben Stein, free hand of the market, free speech