The Slug offers up a retrospective on this past Summer's inane Head On commercial and the media frenzy which ensued because of it. If you haven't seen the spot, it's the one that repeats, "Head On. Apply directly to the forehead," over and over and over but offers no actual statement as to what the product's purpose might be. Created completely without ironic insiderism, the commercial found itself the subject of many parodies, an MSNBC interview with Barbara Lippert in which she just won't shut up, coverage on NBC Nightly New with Brian Williams, again with Barbara Lippert, and, finally, a self-referential spoof created by the company itself. Still, no one knows what the hell the product is supposed to do. OK, yes, it's for headaches but they never say so. Witty.
As Brian Unger said on MSNBC, we shouldn't be surprised to hear "Bud, put it in your mouth" during the Super Bowl.
Add to the ever growing list of contextual fuckery this Pure Gum Spirits Turpentine ad which appeared directly next to a CNN story about a teen who drank turpentine to terminate her pregnancy. The kicker is the ads tagline, "Nature's Solvent." Yup, turpentine sure does make it easier to dissolve that fetus and make it really easy to slide right out into that trash can. Aside from the intellectually-challenged human idiocy that surrounds the use of these freakish remedies, the placement of this ad has to be the most freakish contextual placement fuck up to date. Can we possibly put an end to our own industry idiocy that causes these idiotic mistakes?
Al Pacino once said in Godfather III something to the effect of "As soon as I'm out, they pull me right back in." That's how we feel about this manufactured conspiracy theory we were going to ignore - originated in a MediaPost opinion piece by Eric Sass - that a new Lexus commercial somehow uses 9/11-like imagery. This is a waste of time. Everyone is reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into this. What...all ads shot in NYC that show the skyline will now be accused of treading inappropriately on 9/11? Please. Yea, there's two cars in the commercial. It's hardly as symmetrical as some claim nor in any way reminiscent of 9/11.
If you want to complain about an ad that reminds us of 9/11, why don't we look at the Cingular billboards with the two bars extending upward from the board. Those ads have been running for years. Sure 9/11 sucked. It always will suck. It will always a sad day in our history. But to think marketers are maliciously trying to make fun of 9/1 is just indicative we all have way too much time on our hands to analyze this crap.
I wasn't in the city on September 11, 2001. I was unemployed, sitting at home, looking for a job. A bit past 9 AM that day, I received a call from a former co-worker who said, "Did you hear what happened?" Of course I had not since I had pretty much tuned the world out after having been laid off following the dot com orgasm. I spent the next four days on the couch, glued to the television, suffering sensory overload as the event unfolded over and over and over.
I knew Karen Martin, a flight attendant who was aboard the ill fated American Airlines Flight 11 that day. I used to work with her years ago when we both worked at a Friday's restaurant. We didn't know each other well. Just about as well as any two close knit restaurant workers know each other but I think of her every time I see a 911 retrospective as I did Sunday night on CBS which re-aired that documentary about the New York Fire Department rookie. And just under five years ago when her name scrolled up the list on the banner behind Bono as he sung during half time at the Super Bowl in 2002. That was chilling.
When 9/11 rolls around each year, I often think of Jeff Jarvis who was right in the midst of it all that day and chronicled his experience of the tragedy in several audio tapes. He revisits the day five years later in a recent post on his blog.
While the day is etched into my mind as a very painful one, it's nothing compared to the indescribable pain and suffering those more directly involved went though and will continue to go through for the rest of their lives: the families of those who lost their lives in the towers, of the firefighters and police who died attempting to save those in the buildings, of the passengers and crew on the two planes that hit the towers, of the passengers and crew of the planes that hit the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania. And the innumerable others who were affected because of their involvement.
Five years later, ground zero is still ground zero though documentary host Robert Deniro tells us plans are underway for the beginnings of Freedom Tower, accompanying buildings and a large, permanent memorial. As part of the new World Trade Center design, the imprint of the towers will remain intact.
While it won't effect Times Square, New York's Bloomberg administration is moving forward with efforts to enforce Local Law 31, a 2005 law that restricts certain types of outdoor advertising structures which were built after 1979. The City wants to dismantle 50 to 60 percent of the boards, reduce the size of others and place restrictions on those that remain. Reacting to the move, OTR Media Group President and CEO Ari Noe said, "Banning billboards and scaffolding signage will cause a significant financial loss for many different sectors of the economy - property owners, local businesses, union labor, advertising agencies and advertisers," Particularly hurt by this move would be stores who are undergoing renovation and who advertise on the scaffolding to make sure people know they are still open for business. While it might be everywhere, outdoor advertising to us is the least invasive and annoying ad medium of them all. They just sit there, You don't have to look at them and they don't interrupt programming as literally every other form of advertising does. isn't there still crime here in the city that needs to be dealt with instead of this minutia?
Ariel, serving up some smack talk, offers us her review of a recent campaign for high-end women's athletic apparel boutique Sporteve and it isn't pretty. Designers take cover. Since there's no women in the testosterone-fueled offices of Adrants, we felt it only fair and balanced to ask the opinion of someone a bit closer to the audience with whom the ad is actually attempting to communicate. If you like a good ad trashing, give her a read and let her know what you think.
A site called Will Video For Food has put together a handy list for those thinking of wading into the cesspool known as viral video. The list, called Seven Deadly Sins of Advertising Viral Video, uses plenty of examples to back up the sins which include Make a white and brown cow. Pretend your not advertising. Spend a fortune on production. Tell consumers instead of engage them. Do a video contest because everyone else is. Set unrealistic conversion metrics. And throw in the towel and decide to just advertise around viral video. We'd add an eighth: Don't call you efforts viral until they become viral.
- Announcer Roy Coffman sends us this Dilbert comic strip in which Mom analyzes her son's advertising abilities.
- Like a marketer who can't wait to put put up a MySpace page, Scion has jumped into the Second Life. Time to move on to the Third Life.
- Ariel wonders why MK12 and other marketers are always asking her to "find my spot color or to uncoat my pantone" and why the use of sex in advertising "is so design-laced."
As we've done semi-hypocritically several times before, we've both celebrated and called into question the use of sexual imagery in advertising but we've always done it from our perspective: a guy's perspective. One the one hand, we'd love to see every ad feature a sexy woman. On the other, it becomes numbing, research says it doesn't work and we know it's less than kind to the portrayal of women. None of that matters. Well, it does but guys aren't the only ones viewing advertising and our opinion is only one half of the story. For true insight on how sexually laced advertising, much of it using racy female imagery to target females, affects the other half, women, give this Business Week article a read. It's written by those who are at the center of this issue: teens and young woman. It's their take on this that's more insightful than the drooling's of male ad slut.
If you happen to work as a grocery or retail store clerk you might find yourself checking into a hospital for dizziness or a mental institution for insanity all caused by being forced to revolving ads on the conveyor belt in front of you. In what is certainly one of the more blatantly disgusting forms of ad creep, EnVision Marketing Group, which patented the idea, is rolling out ads on the conveyor belts of 52 Cincinnati-based Kroger grocery stores.
Like a kid gleefully plastering every square inch of his bedroom wall with posters of Kelli Garner, EnVision CEO Frank Cox gushed, "Conveyor belts have never been on anybody's radar screen for marketing. But a store with eight to 10 checkout lanes, well, you're talking about 100 square feet of wasted ad real estate." Indeed. But what about all that food covering up the ads, Mr. Cox? Perhaps Cox should start calling hospitals to place ads on the ceilings of patient's room. Now there's a captive audience.