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.

18 Comments

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?

2 Comments

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

Pink Stuff & Super Heroes

A question the Free Hand of the Market has yet to answer:

“Why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff?”

From the mouths of babes. A young girl gets her first lesson in the ways corporate marketers reinforce cultural stereotypes. A young revolutionary in the making. Riley, you rawk:

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Filed under advertising, feminism

Pizza Is A Vegetable & Other GOP Job Creating Ideas

Mr. Beale was thrilled to learn that House Republicans have reclassified pizza as a vegetable. After all, I’m constantly nagging at him to eat his vegetables and reminding him of all the health benefits of adding fresh, organic produce to his diet. Now he just needs to wave that slice of meat lovers, stuffed-crust pizza in my face — with extra cheese. Ha ha!

Thanks a lot, House Republicans.

Seriously, this is some crazy shit right here. I realize it’s for the purposes of school lunches. But if you’re sending your kids to school and don’t want them saddled with diabetes and heart disease by the time they’re 20, I don’t think telling them the vegetable of the day is pizza is the way to do it. Maybe it’s just me.

Okay, raise your hand: who thinks this wasn’t just the House Republicans’ “fuck you” to Michelle Obama? I do. It’s just modern-day hippie-punching, with a twist.

I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan classified ketchup as a vegetable. Well, who says Republicans don’t like recycling? We laughed then and we’re laughing now. Okay, first of all, tomatoes are a fruit, technically — not a vegetable. But second of all, by the time it’s been processed with liberal doses of sodium and corn syrup and turned into ketchup or pizza sauce, only an idiot would try to pretend it’s a vegetable.

Can’t believe I’m even bothering to explain this. Le Sigh.

Which brings to mind something else: Republicans are always lobbying against things like junk food taxes and laws mandating posting calorie counts in fast food restaurants. Their argument is, “well, everyone knows McDonald’s and KFC are bad for you! Personal responsibility, people!” But then they go ahead and tell everyone pizza is a vegetable? A little hypocritical, don’tcha think?

I’m not shocked that people might be confused about the dubious health benefits of a Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad (770 calories, 42 grams of fat, and a whopping 1,350 mg. of sodium and 74 grams of carbs. Yeesh.) It says “salad” in the name!

No wonder people are confused: they tune into a popular TV show like The Biggest Loser and see eight-time Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Ono hawking Subway sandwiches — featuring chemically-laden, processed meats and genetically modified ingredients! I read Ono’s autobiography, and I promise you when training for the Olympics (in which he lost a pound a week and got down to 2% body fat) he did not eat processed meats and genetically modified foods.

Oh yeah, all this shit at the local strip mall is sooo healthy! And good for the planet, too! Yeah, Big Food has caught on to what the public wants, but instead of changing the way they do things, they’ve just changed advertising slogans. Free hand of the market, my ass.

Case in point: have you seen this ad from Chipotle, the fast food chain that claims to be so healthy and sustainable? I saw it at the movie theater. It’s got so many liberal dog whistles, from the Willie Nelson soundtrack to depiction of mechanized agri-business, that I immediately knew I was supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy toward Chipotle. Instead, I felt manipulated and offended, since I know Chipotle hawks the same genetically-modified crap as everyone else:

Pizza is not a vegetable and Subway is not health food and Chipotle is not dishing up sustainable burritos. But no wonder people are confused: it’s how the food industry wants it:

Q. On your blog you say, “confusion is one of the tried and true tools of the processed foods industry.” Can you say more about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways these companies confuse us?

A. I think one of the main ways the processed food industry is trying to grow and defend their business is by funding self-serving research. The goal of these studies isn’t to uncover “the truth” or to improve public health. Instead, the research is carefully constructed to create sound bites and statistics to help market their products or combat potential regulation. This is one of the primary ways we end up with conflicting studies that confuse consumers on what they should eat or drink.

Is this purposeful misdirection? Intent is always tough to prove, especially if you don’t have firsthand knowledge. Research tends to be the work of a select few within processed food companies, and I was never part of one of those groups. That said, if you dig into these studies and their methodology, you can usually find the telltale signs of how they have “stacked the deck” in their favor.

[...]

Q. What are three things you think every consumer should know about Big Food?

A. Big Food is profit-driven. Don’t be fooled into thinking a brand or the food company that owns it cares about you or your health.

Think critically. Most claims and advertising by Big Food companies are meant to manipulate you, not educate you. Read your labels and do your research.

There is no free lunch. Over the long-term, you always get what you pay for. Cheap food is very expensive once you add up the true costs — like the taxes you pay to subsidize Big Food companies, health consequences like obesity or diabetes, the devastating harm to our environment, and the inhumane treatment of animals raised within the industrialized food system.

Amen to that. I’m so fucking tired of being manipulated by Corporate Food and their minions in Congress, and then having everyone tell us we should know better. You know, we would know better if you didn’t constantly lie to us across a dizzying array of media platforms.

Obesity is a huge problem in this country and it is affecting the national health and welfare. But it goes way beyond obesity. These Frankenfoods that the corporate food industry is shoving down the American gullet are everywhere, even in supposed “health foods.” And the corporate food industry is purposely confusing us so we’ll just shut up and eat our cruel gruel like good little robots.

Well, I’m not shutting up. And I’m not buying your fake food, either.

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Filed under corporations, food, food supply, obesity, rants

Liberals/Muslims/Non-Christians Need Not Apply

[UPDATE]:

Shockingly, you can’t do that in Texas:

“The Texas Department of Public Safety certifies individuals to teach coursework and provide training required to be taken by individuals seeking to qualify for a Texas concealed handgun license. Certified instructors are required to comply with all applicable state and federal statutes. Conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion would place that instructor’s certification by the Department at risk of suspension or revocation. The Department became aware of the statements in question yesterday and has begun an investigation into the matter. The Department will take appropriate administrative action based on the findings from the investigation.”

Wooopsies!!!!!

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A radio ad for a handgun safety course in Texas forwarded to me by a friend. No Democrats or other undesirables allowed (click on the link to play; money quote starts at the :43 mark). Makes the “hello friends and neighbors” salutation all the more ironic.

I don’t care how many guns Crocket Keller owns. He’s still an asshole:

KellersStore10-18-11

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Filed under advertising, Texas