Father’s Day

June 19, 2016

Can you keep a dry eye after this beautifully produced commercial?


The Subtle Approach

June 14, 2016

As regular readers will know, I love good advertising. The following ad is for the Prince’s Trust organisation in England and it exemplifies the use of subtle nuance over the shock tactics used by so many charities.  Best played at full screen.

Note that even at the end, the information still-frame continues the Parallel Lives theme, with How Can You Help on the left, and How Can We Help You on the right. Very effective material, brilliantly produced.

Signs Of The End Times

May 5, 2016

I know that for many people, the fact that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were the last men standing in the GOP nomination battle — not to mention the fact, now, that Trump will actually be the GOP Presidential candidate — were a sign of the end times, a sign that things just cannot get worse.

But wait!

Kentucky Fried Chicken have developed an edible nail polish that tastes like Hot & Spicy; you just lick it until it is gone.




For now it is just available in Hong Kong, but how long will we be able to beat back the barbarians?


A New Famous Logo

April 26, 2016

I spent a great many years in marketing, including the successful redesign and relaunch of an already successful brand. I am aware, therefore, of the problems inherent in product change; and I remain fascinated by the general art of marketing and rebranding in particular.

That being said, it is no surprise that I would really enjoy the story of changing the logo of one of the world’s iconic products — Guinness and its harp.

The new logo and typeface on the left; the old on the right

I’m sure that a great many Guinness drinkers will not notice — at least consciously — the subtle change in design and font.  But as the story tells so well, the implication of hand-tooled craftsmanship will be unconsciously appreciated.

Great work.


Killing Mosquitos With Advertizing

April 21, 2016

A huge amount of commercial advertising is bad for you, sucking the life out of your brain and your wallet by inducing unnecessary consumerism. However, that cannot be said for a wonderfully innovative design being tried in Brazil where the mosquito-borne Zika virus is flourishing.

A company has developed a billboard that mimics the smell of humans and attracts mosquitos from more than a mile away. They are trapped in the billboard and are killed.  Not only is this a remarkable use of design and engineering, it has been released under Creative Commons, allowing any city to use it.

Bravo to everyone involved, and thanks to Creative Review for passing on this information.

Nissan Are The Rogues

February 28, 2016

This winter, the Nissan motor company has been running a series of TV commercials for its Rogue car, and each one appalls me more than the one before.

The conceit of each ad is that some aspect of nature — snow, trees, rocks — rather than being something to celebrate and enjoy is the enemy of mankind and that the Nissan Rogue is required to help people defeat these vicious opponents.

The message, available to impressionable children every day, is nothing but anti-environmentalism, anti-nature, and ultimately anti-human suggesting, as it does, that humanity can only “deal” with the forces of nature through some technological “fix”.

The whole campaign is a disgrace.

Big Brother IS Watching #2

February 18, 2016

Do you remember Foursquare? I guess it is still around but I haven’t heard of it for quite a while. It was an app that directed you to stores and restaurants close to where you were physically located based on the GPS data supplied by your mobile phone. I was reminded of it when I read this article from Creative Review called Creativity and Programmatic Advertizing.  The article might be a bit inside-the-beltway for those not in the advertising and marketing business, but it includes some extraordinary insights into the kind of information databanks that corporation compile about you and me.

First of all, the definition of “programmatic advertizing”:

“Programmatic advertising offers the chance to connect with the right consumer at the right place and time … Programmatic allows you to run segmented work that will appeal to all of your audiences – it then optimises the creative to the version that best suits a media channel’s audience.”

There is nothing new about the first sentence.  If you are placing ads on the TV show “Sesame Street” you are no doubt aiming at a different audience than if you place the same ad on “The Batchelor,” for example.  Even the second sentence is unoriginal: the ad you place on “The Batchelor” will (or should be) different than the ad you used on “Sesame Street“.

The difference today is the matter of scale.  Old campaigns may have had half-a-dozen different sets of copy and images for various market segments.  Today, technology has exploded that almost infinitely.

“Unilever’s Axe brand in Brazil … recently used programmatic adverts to serve online viewers with up to 100,000 variations of its Romeo Reboot ad.”

The particular variation you get to see is not random, of course. It is designed to appeal specifically to characteristics about you that the advertiser already knows from your purchase history, demographics, browsing profiles, and a million other data points that you don’t even recognize you are giving away.

I have no doubt that within a few years almost every ad will say something like “Hello Jak, here’s a piece of cookware that we know you’ve been thinking about.”  We already get this from Amazon.

I don’t need or want that kind of omniscience from corporations. And it sure makes me think more fondly of those quaint old Foursquare days.


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