Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 Discussion - Bialek

1) What is Advertising?

I'd like to comment on the advertisement for Penguin - "Girls". I can see where they attempted to make the connection between authors and agents, but it still doesn't really "get" me. It looks more like a failed "Truth" campaign ad to me, like what they had in the late 90s/early 00s. Maybe it's because it followed right after the PSA section, but I was surprised it was just for Penguin Books and not a finger waggle about teenage partying.

Because of this, I couldn't help but break the mental association I made and looked up ads about partying on google. I found this image. It's hard to see the details because there's no larger resolution, but I'm going to guess it's some form of a sarcastic PSA. The girl's vomiting - that's not fun at all. "Girls" simply states "be here" in the upper corner, to the point it's almost impossible to see. The young women in "Girls" look like they might be drunk, they're having a wild time. Maybe this would be the follow up, I don't know. All I can say is that I can't see how "Girls" could be an advertisement to connect agents and authors for a book company - it just looks like a PSA to me. Maybe I just missed the point and don't understand how to read.

2) The Project Process

I couldn't help but comment on the Chick-Fil-A advertising campaign. Granted, I don't eat fast food, and I definitely don't support Chick-Fil-A, but their ad campaign with the cows is memorable and funny. I really stick to campaigns that make me laugh. Back home in the suburbs, there's a Chick-Fil-A on the side of a busy street. The managers of the place often hire someone to dress in the cow costume and hold up a sign saying EAT MOR CHIKIN and/or some kind of promotion going on to reel people in to eating at their establishment. I'd like to think it works pretty well, because Chick-Fil-A sees a decent amount of business out there.

Off the top of my head, I couldn't think of anything that would compare to the EAT MOR campaign. Instead, here is a spoof on the campaign I found on google. I have to say, kale is a very delicious and nutritious leafy green - but I don't think any person who loves a juicy burger or hunk of fried chicken would grab at it if meat is what they really want. I like snarky spoof ads, I get them. I think this one is pretty cute because it's not obnoxious, snarky, and in your face like others are, especially after the LGBT debacle months (a year?) ago. However, I don't think this would actually work outside of the blogosphere to people who really cater to this stuff, and maybe that is the point of a witty spoof ad. I'd eat kale over steak or chicken any day, but I guarantee most of the population of the US would not, and this ad wouldn't change a thing. Beef to chicken though? Sure, why not!

3) Creative Thinking

I love how Lynx ("Axe" in the US) is included in the book under "creative thinking". I agree, it's creative, and I am 100% positive many boys picked up the deodorant spray in hopes that their dating life would end up much like the commercials. I love it! The advertisement in the book, "Getting Dressed", makes me grin. It's memorable, it's a little raunchy, and it's funny. If I were a guy, pfft, I'd totally buy that product. Now I wouldn't assume I would grab a girl that would want to do business around the clock, but I'd have confidence I'd at least smell attractive. This ad is effective by far.

Of course I have to compare it to the Old Spice campaign. Old Spice took the whole angle of "use our product and suddenly become irresistible" and spun it on its side. While Lynx/Axe had a taste of humor, their ads are a bit more serious - they're not quite in your face about humor. Maybe a part of that is hoping that really naive men would honestly believe that spraying Lynx/Axe would suddenly make them a chick magnet, or to keep up the image of being for cool kids. Old Spice, on the other hand, made it outright funny and ridiculous. Handsome beefcake of a man stepping out of a shower, suddenly has tickets to a cruise, now on a horse - what's going on?! But it's that spontaneity that makes it hilarious, memorable, and well loved by many people, even if they don't use Old Spice. Heck, even as a girl I'd buy Old Spice just because the ads are so great, and I think that's what makes an amazing campaign.

4) The Brand Idea

The ad I'd like to point out here is "*Not Included" for the Amsterdam Hotel. I love it when ads use irony. The whole tongue-in-cheek thing really makes me giggle and smile in everything from advertisements to books to music videos. When a company doesn't take itself so seriously, it makes me feel like the company is more sincere or "real". Whether or not that's true, that's up for debate, but I haven't been done wrong by any company who doesn't have a casual attitude about their product.
Here is a current spot on for some new brand of shoe. Now, it isn't exactly ironic like the example in the book, but look at how Converse chooses to talk about its product and word things: "Get 'em before they're gone". Now I can think of all kinds of examples from the website from previous purchases (but I can't find them, erg) where they use such casual speech. I really, really love that type of thing. "Kick back, relax, we're your friends here" is what crosses through my mind. I'm certain this type of laid back speech is directed at younger generations, however - not to say that all older people dislike disrespectful-leaning speech, but more young people would appreciate this sort of thing. I'm one of them!

I see this as a connecting theme between all the ad campaigns I like, and even through all the ones I've posted here: a cool, laid back approach to selling their product, refusing to take themselves 100% seriously. I'd definitely pick Old Spice guy over some stuffy advertisement for Burberry any day.

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