Start here


Print is Controversial

Many print ads are creative, thought provoking, and fun but there are those ads that go just a little to far and cause consumers to voice their outrage. When Harvey Nichols launched it 2012 sale campaign it featured traditional sophisticated models in the ad with one exception. The models appeared to have peed themselves with excitement over the sale. The ads read ” try to contain your excitement”.  The company felt this was a humorous way to address the somewhat irrational responses consumers have to its world-renowned sale. The store has reportedly encountered consumers sleeping outside the store prior to the sale and experienced shoppers fighting over designer bargains, which sell for up to 70% off. While the store felt it was a humorous and inoffensive depiction of the fairly well known expression from the movie Pretty Woman “It was so good, I almost peed my pants” UK shoppers felt it was disgusting and in very poor taste. This is a good lesson for marketers that some things are better in words than pictures. I have to admit the tongue-in-cheek humor is lost on me.

marketing 615 harvey nichols man pee

marketing 615 harvey nichols pee 1

marketing 615 pee woman



Print Mimics Life

Sometimes advertisers manage to create a print ad campaign that so closely mimics real life that its not only uncanny its brilliant. The iPad mini ads that appeared on the back cover of Time, Surfer, Wired Magazine, New Yorker and Wallpaper are a great example of an ad giving consumers accurate physical and visual clues for  a product’s features. The ads place the front cover of the magazine inside the photograph of a full scale version of the iPad mini against a blank background, which  allows the reader to judge how small the mini actually is. A less obvious benefit to the ads is that they serve as a subtle reminder that digital versions of the magazines are available on Apple’s Newsstand  app. The ad is even more amazing when you realize the average weight of a magazine (300 grams) also closely approximates the actual weight of the mini( 308 grams). I am not surprised these ingenious ads are  award winners .

marketing 615 apple-ipad-mini-new-yorker marketing 615 apple-ipad-mini-wired


Print is Meaningful

Many print ads  are created not to entertain but to promote  a worthwhile cause. This is the case with the award winning UNICEF print ads that ask for help in providing education to children in Chile . The Chilean educational system promotes the countries huge disparity between the rich and poor and has been the subject of protests by the Chilean population who hope to end the educational segregation, which favors the rich. The UNICEF ads seen below depict class portrait-style photographs of children in the streets next to a prostitute, drunk, and a dealer (influences the poor are exposed to). The ads tagline “A Child who learns is an adult who teaches” is part of the message intended to remind people that if they can change their education they can change the destiny of young lives. These ads are a great example that a message doesn’t have to be high tech to get its point across.

marketing 615 unicef 4marketing 615 unicef 3marketing 615 unicef 2marketing 615 unicef-drunk


Print is Alive

With the move by advertisers to use more lean techniques such as online video advertising, it is easy to assume that print advertising has become passe. However,  as Forbes points out, print is still a valuable and necessary component of an advertising campaign because it has specific advantages over online efforts. One of those advantages is print advertisements may remain visible for months or years while Internet ads may vanish in just seconds. Some of the best print ads are so visually creative  that the concept seems to jump off the page and capture the readers attention.

For example, what if you were a luxury department store and wanted to advertise an upcoming sale. As a consumer your first thought is not likely to be an ad that features a flock of pelicans, but that is exactly the kind of creative thinking that went into the award winning Harvey Nichols ad. In the ad below a huge flock of pelicans gathers around a single fish. One version of the ad simply says sale June first while another goes further to say be prepared to fight. The ad appropriately conjures up images of the mayhem that will ensue over the newly lowered prices. I don’t know about you but I have been to department and toy store sales that felt just like that!

marketing 615 pelicans Harvey-Nichols


What Life?

Remember the Toyota Venza commercial in which the teen talks about worrying about her parents after reading part of an online article that claimed older people were becoming anti-social. The teen claims her parents paltry 19 Facebook friends are far from real life and her own 687 friends. Meanwhile her parents are out in real life having a blast.

This was one of my favorite commercials because I often worry that the amount of time we spend on social networks is often causing us to become less social. People no longer sit and talk or go out and do things or if they do they spend the whole time posing for pictures to upload on social media and miss the entire experience. If you don’t believe me try and strike up a conversation in public and wait for that are you talking to me or are you a stalker look.

Recently, Facebook launched a new commercial ” The Things that Connect Us”. The ad uses  real-life scenes to portray the things that connect us. The ad then uses a string of bolded words to posit their relevance to Facebook.  This  Facebook  commercial fails not only because social media takes us away from real life but also because the analogies were so inane they actually enticed some people to create a funny parodies, which you can view below. After all if you spend all your time on Facebook you really can’t enjoy any of the things they say connect us in the first place.The whole thing just ends up being a poorly executed concept and an oxymoron.



Defying Reason

There are some advertisements that defy any logical reasoning. To me the best way to describe what I mean comes from a line from Phil Robertson in Duck Dynasty’s fourth season. In the episode Si Robertson tries to explain why he is late to pick Phil and Kay up and what follows is a series of very illogical explanations. As a result Phil describes Si as a “logic vacuum”, a situation in which Si can suck the logic right out of any logical circumstance.

So where am I going with all this? Enter Adblock a browser extension that according to Ad Age will strip all ads from websites. In September the company was about to launch an ad campaign after producing a video that raised over $55,000 to help pay for conventional online ads and a billboard on Times Square. Next up for the company would be a full page ad in the New York Times and wouldn’t that be interesting, an ad in the newspaper that may now rely on digital advertising placing an ad to end advertising?Yes, you heard right a company who understands the power and importance of advertising is advertising to raise money to get rid of advertising (insert head scratching here, I did). The video beckons people to crowd source funds so they never have to watch a YouTube commercial again. Wait, wasn’t that what I was just watching? Oh the logic, where has it all gone?


Say What?

I am always amazed at what some people believe when they read social media. It’s like that State Farm commercial where the girl in the ad says “they can’t put anything the internet that isn’t true.” She then walks off still believing the guy she met on the internet is a French model (not even seeing him in person brings her to the reality that he is not even model material). Some consumers will believe no matter what you put in front of them but shouldn’t a hoax be somewhat believable.

So what if someone told you a well known television personality had passed away from a marijuana overdose by hooking up over 90 vaporizers into one tube and having a bunch of groupies continually load it with the stickiest most potent marijuana on the market. Would you believe it? That’s exactly what the Internet Chronicle did in an article on May 14th when it reported the untimely death of Austin (Chumlee) Russell of the hit show Pawn Stars. Apparently, many of the stars fans took to social media  to mourn his loss. Because the rumor persisted the star himself had to take matters into his own hands with several tweets. See the link below to watch Chumlee proclaim he is alive!

O.k., we can agree that the spoof site fooled a few gullible people but not only are the death spoofs in poor taste they aren’t all that creative and it doesn’t even look like they put a lot of effort into a believable story line. In a related story 2 months prior to this one they put out a story that Chumlee had been arrested with 7 pounds of marijuana that was intended for personal use. In my opinion an equally poor attempt at a spoof that lacks creativity. Come on all you creatives I want a spoof I can feel good about being duped by.